A BEAUTIFUL woman lay on a bed of sickness in an elegant residence on one of the finest and most fashionable of Boston's broad avenues. She was surrounded with every luxury and attended by kind friends, anxious to anticipate every wish, and to relieve the monotony of her weary, painful days in every possible manner.

One afternoon she opened her eyes and said, in a low, weak voice:" Read to me, please. Oh dear, how I wish there was something new in matter and manner in the literary world. I am so tired of everything."

Her sister went into the next room for a book of poems; and while she was gone, the professional nurse who sat beside the bed, took from the pocket of her plain drab wrapper a small Bible, and opening it, began reading in a subdued voice:

"And seeing the multitude, He went up into a mountain, and when he was set, his disciples came unto him, and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying"

The sick woman listened attentively until the nurse paused with the words, 

"And the people were astonished at his doctrines, for he taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes;" then she said, "That is beautiful! That will create a sensation! Who wrote it? 

Where did you get it?"

"Why," said the nurse in astonishment, looking with surprise at her patient, and thinking at first she was wandering in her mind, "it is in the Bible; Christ's Sermon on the Mount, you know."

"That in the Bible? Anything so beautiful and so good as that in the Bible?"

"What did you suppose was in the Bible if not something good?" asked the nurse seriously, yet smiling, in spite of herself, at her patient's tone of surprise and incredulity.

"Oh, I don't know. I never thought much about it. I never opened a Bible in my life. It was a matter of pride with my father to never have a Bible in the house. How did this one come here? Oh, it's yours, your pocket Bible. It is strange you should have surprised me into listening to a chapter, and that I should have been so charmed and not know to what I was listening."

"You have certainly heard the Bible read in church?" asked the nurse in surprise.

"Not I. I never have been to church. We have always made a holiday of Sunday. Papa got into that way in Paris. We have been to all popular places of amusement, of course, but never to church. I never have thought about the Bible. I did not suppose it had literary merit. I had no idea it was written in the simple, beautiful style of the portion you have just read. I wish I had known it before."

A few hours later her disease took a fatal turn. The physician came and told her that her time on earth was very short. She would never see another sunrise.

"It cannot be possible," she said; "I never realized that death could come to me. What was that prayer you read, nurse?  'Our Father which art in Heaven.' Say it with me, husband," and he did. "I wish I had known it before," she said, over and over, until she fell into a sleep from which she passed into eternity, and that wail of regret was the last word upon her dying lips.

The nurse said it was one of the saddest experiences of her life to see that beautiful, cultivated, gifted young woman, with kind friends, a loving husband, and a beautiful home, she who had all her life taken pride in ignoring the Bible; turn, when death came, from everything she had prized to the little despised book, and die with the cry upon her lips, "I wish I had known it before." 

American Messenger