Friday, March 1, 2013

"The Little Lamb" tract

      The Religious Tract Society, founded 1799, 56 Paternoster Row and 65 St. Paul's Chuchyard, was the original name of a major British publisher of Christian literature intended initially for evangelism, and including literature aimed at children, women, and the poor.
      The RTS is also notable for being the publisher of the Boys' Own Paper and Girl's Own Paper.
      The founders were of the same type of evangelicals who founded the London Missionary Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society, for example David Bogue.
      The society started by publishing tracts, but rapidly expanded their work into the production of books and periodicals. Their books were mostly small but did include larger works such as the multi-volume Devotional Commentary and the massive Analytical Concordance to the Bible of Robert Young.
      From the 1860s, the Society began publishing novels aimed at women and children, providing a platform for a new generation of women writers, including Rosa Nouchette Carey. 
      In 1935 the RTS merged with the Christian Literature Society for India and Africa to form the United Society for Christian Literature (USCL). In 1931, there was a change of imprint to Lutterworth Press for all RTS publications intended for the home market.

Cover of the tract.
 The Little Lamb
Showing how it wandered, how it suffered, and how it was saved by the Good Shepherd.
London: The Religious Tract Society
The Little Lamb.
* * * *
      A friend of children, who loves them very much, one day went to see a school of infant orphans. He had been to visit them before, and had talked with them, and they knew him again. When he came into the schoolroom, their eyes looked bright, and they were very glad that he was come once more. Then they marched in a row, and went into another room, where there was a gallery, on which they were soon seated.
      Their friend talked to them kindly. He asked them about many things. He spoke to them about the Bible, and the good and true things in it. He gave them some short rhymes and verses, of which they were very fond, and they said them after him. He then told them some little stories about children, and about good men and women, and about many things which God had made and given to us. There was one story that pleased them very much, and as other children may like it too it is put in print that they also may know what he said about it.
A young shepherd by plays of flute while watching a flock of sheep.
 The Little Lamb
Showing how it wandered, how it suffered, and how it was saved by the Good Shepherd.
      There was a Little Lamb that lived in a very beautiful green field, 
Where flowers blow, and streams flow. 
      He was under the care of a very kind Shepherd, and was kept quiet safe. The little lamb ran about among the grass and played there, glad and happy. There were many other lambs, and they were never angry, they never hurt each other; but they all lived in peace and love.
      One day the little lamb of which we speak ran away from the rest, and went to the end of the field. All round it there was a bank and a hedge, to keep the flock from going astray. The little lamb went up to the top of the bank, and looked through the hedge. Everything seemed very pretty on the other side; there were many fine plants and the  
The little lamb leaves his flock.
birds were singing in the trees, and there was a large broad path that seemed to lead to some green fields beyond.
      For many days the little lamb went to the bank, and looked through the hedge. Then he did not seem so pleased as before with his own field
Where flowers grow, and streams flow;
but he wanted to go on the other side, and to run in the broad path.
      After some time, he looked about along the hedge to try and find a hole through which he might creep, and then go just a little way on the other side, and soon run back again. After looking a long time he found a hole in the hedge. He put in his nose, and then his neck, and then part of his body, when a sharp thorn give him a prick on the breast that covered it with blood. He pushed it aside, and went further in, when many thorns pricked his face, and his back, and his feet, and made his eyes almost blind. He ought to have gone back, but he saw a place where the hedge seemed thinner, and he pushed towards it. It was hard work; the wool on his back was torn, and he was hurt all over; but at last he got through the hedge to the other side. He now seemed glad, and rested on the grass, and heard the birds sing, and looked 
The lamb sees a storm brewing.
round and saw what a wide country there was all around, where he could rove about from place to place.
      The little lamb then rose, and went into the broad way: he found that it led into many other paths, and he ran on into one and another, and into a great many more paths. He seemed glad for a time, but as the sun was setting he wanted to get back again to the field,
Where flowers blow, and streams flow.
So he tried to find his way back again, but the more he went from one path to another he seemed to get further and further away. He was quite lost, lost. He then lay down under a tree, for he was very tired, and oh! how he wished that he had never gone astray! Then it began to get dark. The clouds were very heavy, and the rain fell fast, and a great storm came on. The lightening began to flash, and the thunder to roar, and the limbs of the little lamb shook with fear. The tree under which he lay was struck by the lightning: 
he was only just able to run away before it came down upon the place where he had rested. Some of the branches fell on his back as he was going away, and gave him great pain.
     The little lamb now ran into a thick wood, and tried to find shelter there. The night soon came on; not a star was to be seen; all was dark, dark. The lamb was cold and wet, hungry and weak. He knew not where to go or what to do.
      In the dark night the little lamb heard the cries of wild beasts. Then a great lion roared aloud, and came nearer and nearer. He saw the little lamb and soon came near to him. Oh! how did he shake with fear! He rose and tried to run away, the lion was about to spring on him, when, lo! the little lamb fell down into a deep and narrow pit. The lion stood over the pit and roared and lashed his tail. The lamb fell to the bottom of the pit, among thorns, and mud, and creeping things. Oh! how did he suffer! His wool was torn and dirty, his body was full of pain, and the lion was
near him. There the lamb lay, and his cries became more and more faint, and he seemed ready to die.
      While the lamb was going astray, the kind Shepherd, on walking round the field, missed him. He saw the foot-marks, and found the hole in the hedge, and some of the wool left there, and knew the sad state of his little lamb. He then took his crook in one hand, and a lamp in the other, and went after the lost one. When he came into the dark wood he stopped, for he heard the faint cries of the little lamb. He then ran to the pit. The lion saw him and his lamp, and turned round an ran  away, for he was afraid of the Shepherd. The cries of the little lamb had almost died away when the Shepherd came near. By the light of his lamp he saw the lamb, and spoke kindly to him. Then with his rod and with his crook he drew the little lamb out of the dirty pit.
      The kind Shepherd then took the little lamb, and washed him quite clean, and put oil on his wounds, and bound them up, and took him up in his arms and carried him in his bosom. Oh! how happy was the little lamb now! When he heard the lion and the wild beasts roar, he clung
the closer and closer to the arm and the heart of the kind Shepherd, who bore him back to the field,
Where flowers blow, and streams flow.
      Now the little lamb no more wished to go astray. He loved to keep near the Good Shepherd, and was safe and happy in his fold.
* * * *
      When the kind friend who had thus spoke to the children had done, he and they had a great deal to say to each other. He first of all asked them "Who is like the little lamb?" Several said, "We are sir." He stopped as if he wanted some other answer, when at last a little girl added, "I am sir." He then said, "That is right, every one should feel that he or she has gone astray like the little lamb." Then he taught them, a line at a time, to say this text after him:
"All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned every one to his own way;
And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
      "Yes," said he, "Jesus Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that is, the cross. Oh! how we ought to love Him who saw us going astray, and came to seek and to save the lost."
      Then they talked about the naughty ways of the little lamb. How he wanted to get out of the field. How he would not go back when the thorns pricked him; like children, who know what is right and do what is wrong. And of the lion, and the text which says, that Satan, "as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." And of the cries of the little lamb, and how the kind Shepherd was so quick to hear him, and how the true Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, is always ready to hear all who pray to Him.
Satan, "as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
      Then their friend asked who was like the kind Shepherd, when many little tongues said, "Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd." "Yes," he said "you are quite right; and now say these words again after me.
"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd;
He shall gather the lambs with his arm,
And carry them in his bosom." --Isaiah 40:11
      The little orphans said these words over and over again. Then their kind friend said, "Yes, my dear children, Jesus is the Good Shepherd; and you all know how he took little children in His arms, and put His hands on them, and blessed them. And He is now ready to bless you, my dears. He is as kind now, He is in heaven as when on earth. And let us never forget that Jesus Christ said, "I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life
The Good Shepherd carries his lost little lamb.
for the sheep," John 10: 11. And He did give up His life on the cross to save us. We must believe on Him, love Him, and obey Him.
      "Now let me add, that Christ, after He had died for us and rose again, and before He went back to heaven, said unto Peter, "Feed my lambs." Oh! how kind He was! Oh! how kind He is! How we should love Him!
      "Now, my dear children. I have been trying to feed you little lambs before me, and to lead you into green pastures and beside the still waters, so I hope you will all try to think of what I have said and taught you from the Bible."
      It was past school-time, and play-time was come, but the dear little children wanted their friend to stay longer: he did so; and they had much to say to one another. As he left the room, the eyes and faces of the little ones seemed to say, "We hope, sir, you will come to see us again.   
Jesus welcomes the little children.
Green Pastures.
"The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteouness for
His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death.
I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."     

The Little Lamb.

O Lord, our Shepherd, deign to keep
Thy little lambs, Thy feeble sheep,
And when our feet would go astry,
Uphold the guide us in Thy way.

Our Shepherd Jesus, kindly gave
His precious life, the flock to save:
Oh may we hear and know His voice,
Ans in His love alone rejoice.

When faint and trembling with alarms,
Oh gather us within thine arms:
Kind Shepherd, on They gracious breast
The weakest lamb may safely rest.

Lead us to pastures rich and green.
Where Thy free bounties most are seen;   
There may Thy gentle waters roll,
To cheer and save the fainting soul.

Thus blest, though we should walk the vale
Where death's deep shadows will prevail,
We shall our heavenly Shepherd see,
His rod and staff our comfort be.

Surely Thy goodness and our praise
Shall fill up all our fading days;
Then dying, gather us above
              To Thy own fold, the heaven of love.            

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