“MAMMA," said a sailor boy, leaving the boat 

He was making for Bertie, his brother, to float,

"Mamma, after prayers came our stable-boy Ben, 

To ask me the meaning of 'fishers of men.' 

He said that his father, a fisherman brave, 

Was lost in a storm on the treacherous wave. 

When setting his lines and his nets on the bay, 

A tempest broke o'er him, and swept him away, 

Away from his cottage, and children, and wife. 

He battled in vain with the ocean for life, 

In vain, for he sank in the pitiless wave; 

The deep-sounding main was the fisherman's grave. 

Then Ben spoke of fishers, who stand on the edge 

Of lake or of streamlet, by willow or hedge; 

For hours and hours go wandering about 

On chance of a nibble from perch, bream, or trout, 

Content if their basket at close of the day 

Contain the few fishes they proudly display 

As proof of their skill; but, said stable-boy Ben, 

'Surely fishers like these are not "fishers of men"?' 

I told him, dear mother, you surely could tell 

What puzzled me sadly, and Bennie as well."

"My boy," said his mother, "When Jesus was here

He held every sinner most precious and dear;

And grieved o'er the lost with a deep yearning love,

Which comes as his gift from a Heaven above.

He taught his disciples to seek them, and then

He promised them they should be 'fishers of men.'

Now, just as Ben's father set nets for his prey,

Christ's followers seek for the souls gone astray,

To gather them out of the depth of their sin,

And teach them and bring them his pastures within.

And just as the angler will patiently stand

All day near a river, his rod in his hand,

 The 'fishers of men' will look out for the poor,

And call the young lambs from each city and moor,

And feed them, and clothe them, and teach them to rest 

Their troubles and cares on the Shepherd's kind breast;

Will seek out the garrets and streets full of crime, 

With the message of love from the Heavenly clime; 

Nor think of trials and troubles they meet 

If they bring one poor sinner to sit at His feet. 

And now, my son Alfred, tell stable-boy Ben 

That you, and that he, may be 'fishers of men.' 

Just show by your conduct how happy are they 

Who love the Lord Jesus, his precepts obey, 

And lure by example to enter his fold 

One sinner left perishing out in the cold, 

For want of a guide o'er the quagmire and fen 

Of sin and of sorrow; be 'fishers of men.'"

Missionary News