IUOWB T -- aI
SOWING AND REAPING.
T ., M C LA R K t rEE ATTORNEYS 0 FF I C E
SOWING AND REAPING.
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."-GAL. vi. 7.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
This page contains no text.
SOWING AND REAPING.
gHERE, James, that will do nicely.
I can do all the rest very well
'l ,myself, and I think it must be
S quite time for you to go to
your work. Hasn't the church
clock gone nine ? "
"Not yet, mother; but I think I shan't
be much longer. I only want to fill the
pitcher and break up some of these lumps
of coal for you before I go."
"Never mind them, my boy, now," re-
plied his mother; you'll be just tired
out before you begin the day. Why don't
you give yourself a little more time to get
to Mr. Lane's in, and then you wouldn't
have to hurry so."
"I don't mind hurrying at all, mother,"
replied the boy, with a cheerful smile, as
he began dealing some vigorous blows upon
the coal. "I don't like creeping along;
it's too cold for that now, too; and be-
sides, you know, the more I can do for
you before I go to work, the more time
you have to spare for poor little Polly; and
she likes to have you nurse her."
The mother sighed as she answered, "I
don't find much time to nurse her now,
for there's so much work to be done, and
so little time to do it in-and all the
ladies seem to say they must have their
dresses at once-that I hardly see how I
can get it all done, work as hard as I
"There, you see, mother," exclaimed
James, as he took up the pitcher, the
more's the reason you should let me do all
I can to help you. It isn't much,, but
still every little helps."
The boy was outside the door by the
time he had finished speaking, therefore
the mother made no reply; but the loving
and satisfied look she cast upon him would
have told any one that she did not think
his help little, and that he was the pride
and sunshine of her life.
Mrs. White went on dressing the little
child whom James had spoken of as Polly.
She did not seem much above four years
old, and was very small and slender for
her age. Her little face had no colour in
it, and her arms lay in a languid way
wherever her mother placed them-very
unlike the active little limbs of a healthy
child of that age, which are rarely given
to being in the right place during the
operation of dressing, and which seem to
have a natural objection to going through
arm-holes. James and Polly were the
widow's only two surviving children. The
others had all died young, and anxiously
did the mother watch day by day as
she saw the same look that she so well
remembered stealing over the face of the
Here's the water," cried James's cheer-
ful voice, as he placed the pitcher in its
usual spot; and now I'm off. Good-bye,
mother; and good-bye, little Polly," he
added, stooping to kiss the child. His
face was graver as he looked up. Mother,
how pale she does get. The spring is .come,
but I don't see that she's any stronger;
and you hoped the bright weather would
cheer her up a bit."
"I did hope-," replied the mother
faintly; but she left the sentence unfin-
James now set off to his work, and
at a good pace, for he never would be late;
and in order to do as much as possible for
his mother, he never left himself time to
loiter on his way.
This morning a great crowd was collected
,on the bridge watching a horse that had
fallen into the river, and which was being
held up behind a boat; in another street
a brass band was performing. But James
overcame the desire to stop for either cause,
and hurried steadily on, because he knew
that the time he should thus waste would
be his master's, and not his own; and lie
had been taught the Bible plan of doing
work: "Not with eye-service, as men-
pleasers." He remembered his father's
maxim: Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily,
as to the Lord, and not unto men; and
so he was not "slothful in business."
James White was engaged in an attor-
ney's office. He had to go on messages,
keep the rooms in order, open the door,
&c. There were clerks who did the writ-
ing. He was only a sort of errand-lad;
but yet he and his mother had thought
themselves very fortunate when, coming,
as they did, strangers to the city, James
'had so soon succeeded in getting such a
respectable situation; for Mr. Lane was a
very kind master, and the boy's earnings,
though small, were a great help at home.
James did stop once upon his road, but
it was only for a few moments, and he
made up for it afterwards by running the
rest of the way-and that was to buy a
bunch of primroses. Polly was fond of
flowers, and so, now and then, James spent
one of his few halfpennies to buy her a
bunch, and felt as happy as a king when
he saw her large eyes brighten with plea-
sure and love. On reaching the office, he
looked about for a cup or something to
put his flowers in. He soon found one,
but there was no water; so he placed the
primroses in the mug as they were for the
present, and set about dusting Mr. Lane's
room and the outer office,, and putting
everything in order, against that gentle-
man and the clerks' arrival.
James had a busy day. Mr. Lane came
early, and sent him a long distance with
some notes; and, on his return, one. of the
clerks gave him some work to do. He
never thought about the primroses again.
It was rather late in the forenoon.
James was alone in the outer office, when
he heard a step upon the stairs. The door
was pushed open very unceremoniously,
and a boy rather older than himself came
in. He was by no means pleasant to look
at, having sharp, small eyes, and a large,
coarse mouth, and that peculiarly unwhole-
some general effect which is to be seen in
all boys who take to tobacco at an age
when their grandfathers (much more wisely)
spent their pence upon apples and ginger-
The youth in question had a letter in
his hand, and holding it out to James,
said 'familiarly, "Here, youngster, take
that to your governor, and tell him I'm
waiting for the answer." James took the
note, and carried it at once to Mr. Lane's
room, from whence he returned in a few
moments, telling the messenger that the
reply would be ready almost immediately,
and requesting him to sit down.
The stranger perched himself upon one
of the high stools, and leaning it back
against the desk, examined James from
head to foot with a curious and somewhat
contemptuous expression on his face.
At last he broke silence. "Do you
stick yourself in this precious lively back
room all day ? What do they give you a
week for it ? It ought to be something
Feeling that the latter question. was not
the business of his companion, James re-
plied only to the former, by saying, No,
I don't stay in. the room all day; I'm
often out on errands."
"Oh, well, but I mean do you come
here regular-work here every day ?"
"Yes," answered James.
",You must be a queer one, then," re-
torted the other. "I wouldn't be bound
to be in one place every day regular for
any money, let alone a dusty, dark, old
place like this; and he bestowed a very
disrespectful kick upon one of the law
books lying about.
"Does your master let you come or not,
as you like, then," inquired James, a little
Master !" echoed the stranger, with a
shout of derisive laughter; "do you think
I've got a master ? "
Why, who sent you with the letter,
then ?" demanded James.
"Well, a gent that's down at the door
on horseback asked me to bring it up;
and I daresay, when I take back the an-
swer, he'll give me sixpence, or maybap
a shilling if he's a real gent; and I call
that a much easier way of earning money
than poking in rooms and working; at
any rate, it suits me a sight better. But,
I say, what do they give you a week
James coloured and hesitated. He
didn't like his new acquaintance's freedom
and boldness; but he had never met
with such a character before, and didn't
know how to deal with him. He hardly
liked to refuse to give him an answer, and
besides, he saw no reason why he should
mind speaking the truth; so he said, after
a moment's pause, I get five shillings a
"Five shillings a week!" repeated the
stranger with the greatest contempt; "the
idea of working for that! You must be a
soft one. Why, I can get more than that
a day, and work just when and how I
"Five shillings a day?" inquired James,
with more interest in his manner.
Ay, many and many a time, as sure
as my name's Tom Clark."
But how do you do it ? asked James
eagerly. Could anybody else earn as
"Why, yes, to be sure, if they had
sense enough. I'd put you in the way if
"What sort of things do you do?"
asked James once more.
Tom Clark looked keenly with his sharp
eyes into the open face of his questioner,
and seemed a little embarrassed; but he
replied at length: "Well, I do as I'm
doing now-carry messages for people, and
hold horses, and-well-lots of other
things. There's plenty of ways of getting
money turn up in the streets;" and his
small eyes twinkled.
"I think it's better to be in steady
work," said James rather faintly; and his
companion was just going to answer, when
Mr. Lane came into the office with the
letter he had been writing, and Tom Clark
He went away, but he had left his
poison behind him. James's mind was in
a state of confusion. All the rest of the
day he thought of nothing but what the
strange boy had said; and he could not
help fancying how nice it would be if he
could earn as much. Five shillings a day!
What comforts he could get for little Polly!
How much he could help his mother!
What a sum it would be a year! Yes,
and after a while more selfish thoughts
crept in, and he began to think of the
different pleasures he should like to have
for himself; and from that he came to
remember how very few he had ever had,
and then discontent was in his heart; and
he reckoned up all the hours he had to be
at Mr. Lane's in a week, and then five
shillings seemed to him a miserable sum
for so much time.
And was this the same boy who was
so cheerful and kind at home with his
mother, and had been so willing at his
work all day ? The very same. James
had now met with his first strong temp-
tation, and the weakness of the flesh was
At length six o'clock came, the office
was closed, and James ready to start for
home. He remembered the primroses,
and forgetting how he had neglected them,
went to the shelf where he had placed
them. They were dry and withered.
While he had been dreaming about what
he would do for his little sister if he had
the power, he was letting the means of
pleasing her which he had within his reach
slowly wither away. James White is not
the only one who has made this mistake.
Well, the dead primroses didn't improve
poor James's temper; and when he reached
home he seemed so different from what he
generally was, that his mother, after
observing him anxiously for a little time,
asked if he were ill.
He said "No," rather shortly, and took
up a book; but his mother's eye soon saw
that the leaves did not turn over so
rapidly as they generally did in the boy's
hand, and going up to him, she gently
asked him to tell her what was the matter.
It was impossible for James to be un-
dutiful to such a mother; he had been
silent more from not knowing exactly how
to begin, and from an idea that she would
not approve of his new acquaintance's plan,
than from a deliberate desire to conceal it
So now, with a little hesitation, he
related the morning's conversation, paint-
ing in very lively colours the brilliant
prospect held out to him.
The widow's face looked very troubled
as she listened.
I do not think it was good advice, my
boy," she said. "It is not respectable to
lurk about the streets in that way, looking
out for odd jobs; it makes boys and men
idle, and you can't tell what sort of com-
panions they meet with."
Oh, I don't see that, mother; I needn't
make friends of people I don't like then
any more than now."
Ah, James, but you may get to like
those you wouldn't speak to now."
"Ah, but only think, mother, five
shillings a day would be thirty shillings a
week; and what a sum that would be;
how comfortable we could live!"
My dear boy, your father used often
to say, Wealth gotten by vanity shall be
diminished, but he that gathereth by
labour shall increase.' "
"But you know, mother, this*would be
"I'm not so sure of that ;-what was
this boy like ? "
Well," answered James, hesitating, "I
can't say I liked his looks much, and
indeed I thought him very disagreeable at
first; but I forgot all that when he began
to talk about what he earned."
"James," said his mother solemnly,
"you have been a comfort to me all your
life. I pray of you to take my advice
now, and not listen to what that stranger
has said to you. I know no good can
come of it. It is far better for you to be
in a respectable situation, even if you
don't earn as much. I have no fears
about our wanting anything; we have the
blessed Saviour's own promise, that if we
seek first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness, all these things will be
added unto us."
"Well, mother," replied the boy, kiss-
ing her, I thought of you and Polly, and
I would do anything for you."
I know that," replied the widow; but
because she knew that, her thoughts were
not less anxious nor her prayers less fer-
vent for her boy that night. She felt
that he stood upon the threshold of tempta-
tion; her simple faith in God led her to
trust him in his hands; then came the
bitter fear lest he should fall, should be
led away and become different from what
he had always been to her. It was a long
struggle between faith and distrust; but
at last her heart seemed to say within her,
"Shall I trust God to care for my daily
wants, my food and clothing, and shall I
owt trust him with my most valuable
treasure, the soul of my son ?" The
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thought seemed to come like a ray of
hope and comfort to her; she prayed
long and earnestly, and as she rose from
her knees, that verse came into her mind
(the verse she had often heard her dying
husband whisper to himself with smiling
lips), "Leave thy fatherless children, I
will preserve them alive; and let thy
widows trust in me;" and another that
she had been reading that very evening,-
"All thy children shall be taught of the
Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy
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A FEW days after this, Mr. Lane came out
of his private office one morning with
some papers in his hand, and looking round
the room, said to James,-
Where is Mr. Holmes ?"
"He is out, sir," replied James; "he
went about half an hour ago."
Where can he be gone?" said Mr.
Lane, half to himself; "I don't remember
telling him to go anywhere."
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"I think, sir, I heard him say some-
thing about the time the trains started for
"True, true !" exclaimed Mr. Lane; "I
gave him directions yesterday evening to
go there to-day, and quite forgot it when
I sent Conway to Hampstead; how vex-
ing! and now these papers ought to be
copied at once;" and Mr. Lane turned
back to his room, looking decidedly
James stood in doubt for a few moments;
he knew he could write a very good hand,
but he was afraid his master might think
it a liberty if he offered his services. It
was some time before he could make up
his mind; but at last, taking up a piece of
paper, he wrote upon it a few lines as
neatly as he could, and carried them to Mr.
To his knock Mr. Lane replied, "Come
in;" and James presented himself with a
blushing face, and his scrap of paper in
his hand. "If you please, sir," he said,
"if you want those papers copied to-day,
this is my writing, I don't know whether
you would think it good enough."
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Mr. Lane looked at it with some as-
tonishment, for it was really very good,
and he asked how he had learned to write
James told him that they had once
been better off-that his father bad been
the master of a National School, and had
given him, as far as he could, a good
education; but that happening to meet
with a severe accident by which his head
was injured, he had been obliged to give
up his situation, and from that time to
his death had rarely been able to do any-
thing; so that the whole support of the
family had fallen upon the mother, until
James was himself old enough to do a little
to help her. He added that his mother
had always been careful that he should
keep up all that his father had taught
him; and he told in his simple way many
things about her which interested Mr.
Lane very much.
So James was trusted to copy the
documents, and very proud of the com-
mission he felt; indeed it gave him more
satisfaction than anything that had oc-
curred since the conversation with Tom
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Clark, which still kept in his mind, and,
notwithstanding his mother's wise advice,
made him restless and dissatisfied. But
he took great pains with the writing;
and when he carried it in to his master,
he praised him very much for it, and said
that perhaps he should employ him that
way another time.
Mr. Lane thought about James as he
was walking home, but when he reached
there, his wife had to tell him about some
things that had happened during the day;
and while they were at dinner, Emily, his
daughter, had a great deal to talk to him
about, and so his thoughts were turned
into quite a different direction. Later in
the evening, Mr. Lane was sitting in his
easy-chair, near the fire, reading, and Mrs.
Lane busy with her work, and Emily
drawing. The weather had changed, and
it was become a wet, stormy night; the
wind howled round the house, sometimes
whistling among the chimneys, or the
trees in the garden, at others dashing
against the windows with a violent blow,
bringing with it torrents of rain and
rattling hail, which sometimes even found
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their way down the chimney and fell
hissing upon the fire.
What a night !" exclaimed Mr. Lane,
looking up from his book.
"I like to hear it," said Emily; "it
makes this warm fire and comfortable
room seem so pleasant."
"That would be an agreeable reflec-
tion," said her mother, "if we were not
obliged to remember how many people are
compelled to be out, notwithstanding the
weather. I do always pity those poor
policemen on such a night as this."
While they were speaking, and just as
a gust of wind came like a feather-bed
thrown against the windows, followed by
a deluge of rain, the door bell rang.
Who can that be ? asked Mr. Lane.
"I don't know," replied his wife; "I
expect nothing to-night, and am very
glad that no one has to be out on my
Emily's cheeks grew red, and she
stooped down over her drawing; she had
more than a suspicion of what the cause of
the bell-ringing might be; and she cer-
tainly felt a touch of remorse that any
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one should be out at such a time on her
For the truth was, that a few days be-
fore, Emily had had a new dress bought,
which had been sent to be made, without
any directions from Mrs. Lane as to when
it was to be brought home; for it was not
particularly wanted by any time, and Mrs.
Lane objected strongly to making people
work hard, and at unreasonable hours,
simply to gratify a foolish vanity.
But Emily, unfortunately, thought dif-
ferently; she wanted to have this new
frock to wear at a party to which she was
invited; and so, taking the opportunity of
staying a few moments behind her mother
in the milliner's show-room, she gave
directions that the dress must be sent
home on Tuesday evening without fail.
And now her heart began to beat, as
she heard the servant's hand upon the
"If you please," said Anna, "here's a
dress from Mrs. Chanter's."
"What a pity she should have sent it
to-night !" exclaimed Mrs. Lane; "the
person must have been wet through."
SUNSHINE AND RAIN. 25
"She was indeed, ma'am," said Anna,
as dripping as a drowned rat; and she
said Mrs. Chanter wouldn't have sent her
with it, only you said so particular it
"There must be some mistake; I gave
no such directions," said Mrs. Lane, glanc-
ing at her daughter and noticing her
heightened colour. "Did you, Emily ?"
she continued, when Anna had gone from
"Yes, mamma," replied Emily, hanging
down her head.
"Why did you do so ?" said her
mother, in a tone of great vexation; "you
know how much your father and I object
to over-taxing work-people, or giving un-
necessary trouble to any one."
"But, mamma," pleaded Emily, "I
wanted the dress so to wear to-morrow,
and four days isn't such a very little time
to make a frock in."
No, not if yours were the only one to
be made; but the same woman may have
several given to her, and perhaps be
required to make them all in as short a
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"I didn't think of that," confessed
"I think," said Mr. Lane, joining in the
conversation, if the thoughtless women
and girls who order things to be done in
impossible periods of time, could only look
into some of the houses, and some of the work-
shops, and see the effects of their cruelty (for
it is nothing less, Emily, though I know half
of it is done without thought), they would
shudder to see the amount of life, or to say
the least, of health, that is sacrificed in order
that they may wear a new dress at such a
party, or a new bonnet at such a morning
0 papa!" said Emily, with tears in
her eyes, I shouldn't like any one to kill
or hurt herself in working for me."
"I don't believe you would, wilfully,"
said her father; but look only at the
present instance: supposing your frock
has been made without over-working or
injuring anybody, what do you think of
the poor young woman who had to bring
it home ? It is not likely that she lives
anywhere in this neighbourhood, and has
perhaps had to come two miles purposely,
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and on such a night as this," continued he,
rather indignantly, "when I wouldn't let
a dog go out."
"I am very sorry, indeed," said Emily,
"and I think I will never do such a thing
"I hope you never will, my dear," said
her mother ; it grieves us both greatly,
as you see; and independent of our regret
for the persons who are sufferers by your
foolish directions, we feel that it gives
people reason for calling us inconsistent.
Your father's principles and mine are well
known, as being those of persons anxious
to improve the condition of the working-
classes; now, might not that young girl
say with justice, that she sees no good in
professions, if people act in this way, and
that she has often experienced more con-
sideration and kindness from those who
make no profession at all? It is our
duty, as servants of Him who 'came not
to be ministered unto, but to minister,' to
endeavour to do our best for our fellow-
creatures; and it casts a slur upon Chris-
tianity, if we show ourselves indifferent or
unkind to others, when those who do not
28 SUNSHINE AND RAIN.
claim to be actuated by love to Him often
perform deeds of kindness and benevolence
to their fellow-men, worthy of imitation by
the most ardent professing Christian."
"Indeed, mamma," said Emily, "I never
thought, when I said what I did, that it
might lead to so much harm."
"That is the danger of doing wrong,
my child," said Mr. Lane; "it may be
small at the beginning, but we never can
foresee the extent it may reach to. But,
Lucy," he added, turning to his wife, "I
wanted to tell you about a boy we have
in the office, who interests me a good deal.
He always struck me as being a nice young
fellow (indeed I engaged him chiefly
because he has such an open face, and
meets one's eye so honestly when he
speaka; and he does his work steadily,
and the clerks speak of him as very
obliging. But I found out something
about him a little time ago, that made me
like the boy better than ever. You know
(or perhaps you don't know, my dear,
which is more likely) that I very often
find my basin of soup at luncheon more
than I care to sup, and the remainder, of
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course, is left for the office boys, if they
care to have it,-which I have generally
found that they do, and without spending
much time over it. But I observed James,
this boy, on two or three occasions pour it
away into a cup; and 'once or twice when
I have happened to be in the office when
he left, I have noticed the cup go with
him. I had an idea, from the boy's face,
that some kind deed was connected with
it, and so I asked him one day why be
took the soup home. He then told me
that he had a little sickly sister, and the
soup was so much more strengthening for
her than anything they could buy, and she
enjoyed it so much."
"Since then, no doubt," interrupted
Mrs. Lane, looking at her husband affec-
tionately, "you have found your soup too
much for you pretty regularly ? "
A smile and a look of intelligence were
the only reply.
"Then mind, Fred," continued his wife,
"in future you send for a larger basin,
and then there will be enough for you
Mr. Lane laughed. "I can't tell how
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it is, I have never remembered to mention
this to you before; but, however, to-day I
made further discoveries. I wanted some
deeds copied in a hurry, and I had foolishly
sent out Holmes and Conway together.
James saw that I was annoyed, and after
I had been in my room again a few
minutes, he brought in a scrap of paper
very neatly written, and said if I thought
that good enough, perhaps I would let him
copy the papers. It was very good writing
indeed, and I was very glad of his help,
as you may be sure. So I questioned him
afterwards about his family, and found
that they had known better days: his
father was a schoolmaster, but lost his
situation through ill health, following upon
an accident; and then, of course, they got
down in the world, as the mother had to
support them all. She is a widow now,
and must haveahard struggletokeep herself
and two children, one of them an invalid ;
for of course the poor little sick thing must
take up a deal of her time, and James's
earnings are not much."
"And what does the mother do?"
asked Mrs. Lane.
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"I never thought to ask," was the
reply; the boy spoke of her work, but
of course that may mean a great variety
"And did you hear what was the matter
with the little girl? "
"I should think it must be something
of a decline : she has been delicate from her
birth, and James says she gets weaker and
thinner every day; she does not complain
of pain, but never seems to care about
moving about, and is never so happy as
when in her mother's arms."
"Poor little .thing," said Mrs. Lane
tenderly; and how often perhaps is the
mother called away from her to attend to
other things! I could not bear to leave
our darling Oswie's bed when he was .ill;
and I can feel for mothers not so happily
circumstanced as I. I should like to go
and see this family very much."
"That was what I wanted to ask you
to do," said Mr. Lane. "The name is
White, and here is the address," giving her
a card. "I should like to do something
for them, if I find them what I believe
they are, from James's account, and indeed
from his own manner. His father must
have taught him well, and his mother has
been wise enough to make him keep it all
up; he is a very superior boy to his
"We will endeavour to go to-morrow
then, if it be fine," said Mrs. Lane; "for
I see," she added, glancing at the card,
"that it is a tolerable 'distance from
JAMES left the office in something like his
old cheerful mood, and walked homewards,
thinking how pleased his mother would be
when she came to hear of Mr. Lane having
trusted him to copy deeds. But before he
had got to the end of the street, a loud
Well, young 'un, here you are at
last!" and looking up, James saw Tom
Clark before him. It was strange how
at the sight of this lad the cheerful mood
passed away, and the discontented feelings
which he had first roused began to gain
the mastery again. And yet James could
not deny to himself that he felt considerable
repugnance to this new acquaintance; and
his appearance was not improved this
evening by the enormous meerschaum pipe
he held between his lips, and from which
he sent forth every minute clouds of suffo-
cating smoke. He also wore a large pin
in his neckcloth, and a very massive-looking
watch guard; but James was not judge
enough to know whether they were good
Hie replied rather shortly to Tom's greet-
ing, for his mind felt in a confused state,
and he hardly knew whether to be glad
or sorry they had met again; but Tom did
not seem to notice his manner, and con-
tinued with the greatest familiarity,-
Well, what do. you think about what
we were talking of the other day; have
you made up your mind to give up that
slow concern, and get something worth
working for ?"
"No," said James, "I haven't made up
my mind at all. I don't know whether I
should like your way of life; and besides,
since I saw you, Mr. Lane has given me
some writing to do, and says perhaps he
shall give me more. So, you see, I may
get more wages from him than I do
"Yes, and a precious grand rise you'd
get, I daresay ; two shillings a week more,
perhaps, and, I'll be bound, you'd have to
stick to the desk all day as hard as the
clerks do. That'd be a very clever thing
for you, 'pon my word."
James. said nothing;' Tom's influence
was working upon him again.
Now, what I offer you," he continued,
"is really good for something; you'd get
more in a week than you do now in a
month,-ay, you'd get more in a day,
perhaps, sometimes. Why, look at this
pipe," he exclaimed, taking it from his
mouth; "I got that by one day's work,
and it is a pipe,-that it is."
I shouldn't care to spend my money
upon that, at any rate," said James, with
a faint laugh.
Well, you needn't; there's many ways
of getting rid of money, as well as of get-
ting it; but I know you'd be sure to do
well in my line, you look the right sort of
James had too much sense to stand
flattery, and this approach to it suggested
a question, which he accordingly put to
his new acquaintance,-
Why do you want me so much to take
up your line, as you call it; you never
saw me before; and can't care anything
for me ?"
This home question seemed to take Tom
Clark rather aback, and he didn't appear
ready with an answer. After a few
moments, he said, with some little con-
fusion, A fellow may like another fellow,
if he hasn't seen him before; but glanc-
ing askance at James, and seeing him not
quite satisfied with this explanation, he
continued, besides, I won't deny you may
be of use to me."
"Now," said James, "I can understand
why you want me to join you. I always
like any one to tell the truth at once;
and I want you to tell me something else,
before I say more about. There isn't any-
thing wrong in what you would advise
me to do ? "
Wrong !" echoed Tom, with a rather
puzzled face; "do you mean," he asked
after a pause, anything to bring you into
trouble with the p'lece ? "
"Oh no," exclaimed James, "I never
thought of such a thing as that, of course;
but you know there are many things
wrong that the police wouldn't take you
Tom glanced aside at his companion
with a disdainful smile, which he didit
see, and said: It's the fault of them that
gets into trouble; if they have their wits
about them, they needn't fear anybody."
James thought that something more'
than wits was necessary to produce this
happy state of things, at any rate he knew
he had been taught so; but he let the re-
mark pass without reply, and the boys
continued their talk for some time.
At length, in reply to a long description
from Tom Clark as to the ways in which
James might spend his money, the latter
replied: But, you know, I shouldn't
keep it all for myself; I should give a lot
of it to mother and my little sister; and
we should all be so comfortable."
AN ENEMY. 37
"What !" exclaimed Tom, with the
greatest possible amount of astonishment
and contempt in his voice..
"Why, I should give a good lot of it to
mother," repeated James, with a rising
colour, but firmly, for he was always cour-
ageous in speaking in her praise.
Well," retorted his companion with a
shout of laughter, "I didn't think you
were such a donkey."
What do you mean by that?" said
"Why, that I should think a young
fellow could find a better use for his
money than taking it home to buy bread
and butter for the young 'uns," was the
James was going to give an indignant
reply, but a thought came into his mind,
and he said almost pityingly, "Of course
you haven't got a mother, or else you
wouldn't talk in that way; you'd know
"Oh, haven't I ?" shouted Tom; "that
shows how much you know. I do happen
to have one, and a pack of young brothers
and sisters too; but I'm not going to work
to keep them; that's mother's business,
and I leave it to her."
Then it's very wrong of you, and very
ungrateful," said James warmly. "Do
you think you've nothing to do for her,
in return for all she did for you when you
were a child ? And do you leave her to
work by herself for all those children?
It's too bad of you, Tom Clark. Have
you got a father ?"
"Yes," said Tom, "I've got a father
too; but he doesn't do much but drink,
and beat 'em all now and then. It ain't
a nice place at all, I'm told; it's more than
a year since Ive seen any of 'em."
Oh, what a shame cried James;
"you ought to help your mother, and take
care of her; you must be-"
"Now don't you come the preacher over
me," interrupted Tom roughly. "I'm not
going to stand it. I know what I ought
to do better than you do, and I don't woat
any of your advice. And I suppose," he
continued sneeringly, it was thee mother
wanted to know if there were anything
' wrong' going on. I wouldn't be such a
baby, tied to mother's apron string."
AN ENEMY. 39
"I'm no more a baby than you are,"
retorted James manfully; "but I'm not
ashamed to take my mother's advice, nor
to say that I take it And it has proved
that she knew best in this matter, after
all; for she told me I should not be likely
to meet with good companions if I had
anything to do with you."
Tom looked savagely at his companion,
and said, "You'd never do for me, I see;
I should want a fellow with some pluck in
him, not such a simpleton as you."
"And I," said James, looking him boldly
in the face, "am glad you have come out
in your true colours so soon; you'd be no
companion for me, and I hope you'll find
your wits enough to keep you out of trou-
ble ;" and with this defiance the boys
James's heart was still in a tumult as
he walked homewards; but he felt an un-
speakable relief; it seemed like a weight
removed to know that the cloud that had
been between his mother and himself was
cleared away; and it is something in
praise of the boy's character to say, that
he felt comforted by the reflection that
she was right. He had none of that false
pride which makes some think it such a
hard thing to confess that they have been
in the wrong. He was certainly sorry that
he had been so foolish, and had kept his
mother (as he knew he had) for many days
in a state of anxiety; but as for being
sorry that the confession of that foolish-
ness had to be made, such an idea never
entered into James White's honest head.
Anger towards his late companion was the
chief feeling at first; and by-and-by there
was room for others. He remembered his
own advantages; a pious father and
mother, a home into which no discord
ever entered, his freedom from tempta-
tions; yes, James remembered too, with a
blush, how much he had been attracted
by, and how near falling into, this first
incitement to evil. Then he thought of
Tom's home. A drunken father, continual
quarrelling and ill-usage; and even if there
were nothing else, was not this enough to
drive a boy to seek other companions, and
no doubt to meet with many temptations?
James thought of all this humbly, and re-
called the words, "Who made thee' to
differ from another? and what hast thou
that thou didst not receive ?" He went
on with yet. quicker steps, and soon reached
home. His mother could not but notice
the cheerful expression of his face, and she
greeted him with a more than usually
How's Polly by this time ?" was al-
most his first question.
"She has seemed very weak and com-
plaining all day," was the reply, "and I have
just put her to bed. Poor little dear, I'm
afraid she'll never be better in this world."
0 mother! I hope it isn't so bad as
that," said James; "you know she was
very bad last winter, but got better when
the summer came round. But here's a
nice drop of soup for her again-isn't it
kind of Mr. Lane ? I do believe since he
knew that it was for Polly he has left
some every day purposely, and more than
he used to."
"Polly has had another treat to-day,"
said the mother with glistening eyes;
" what do you think it was ?"
"I don't know, I'm sure," said James;
"No," replied Mrs. White, "grapes, hot-
"Grapes !" exclaimed James in aston-
ishment; "where did you get them from,
"You sit down and have your tea,"
said Mrs. White, who, having placed all
ready upon the table, had resumed her
work, "and I will tell you all about it.
There !-the kindness of people often as-
tonishes me. I've thought many a time,
if we only knew all the little acts of good-
ness that are done every day, it would
make the world seem much better than it
does now, when we hear most about the
unkindness and the wickedness in it."
"I'm waiting very patiently for your
story, mother," said James, laughing as
well as he could with his mouth full of
bread and butter.
Well then, I had to go out this morn-
ing to match the trimming for this dress,
and as Polly didn't like to be left alone,
and it was a nice mild morning, I carried
her with me. The poor child didn't seem
to notice much that was going on, though
I tried to amuse her with the different
things; but 'as we passed by the fruit
shop in High Street, she caught sight of
the window and said, I should like some
of that.' I stopped, without remembering
how little chance there was that I could
buy her anything that was there, at this
time of the year; and then she pointed to
some beautiful grapes and said, 'Do get
me a few of those, mother, they look so
nice.' My heart ached, Jem, to be obliged
to tell her that they were so dear I couldn't
afford it, and I thought what I would have
given for even one for her. I saw some
oranges in the window, and I tried to per-
suade her to have one of them instead;
but she only shook her head and said,
with her lip beginning to tremble, 'No,
thank you; some of the others, only just
"Poor little dear! exclaimed James.
"My eyes were filling with tears," con-
tinued the mother, when just at the mo-
ment I heard a tap at the shop window,
and I saw the mistress beckoning to me
to come in. I went in, and it seems she
had been watching us, though I had not
noticed her; and she looked at Polly, and
asked me very kindly how long she had
been ill, and what was the matter with
her; and when I told her, she asked if the
child wasn't wanting something that was
in the window. I told her that it was the
grapes, but that of course people like us
couldn't afford such things, and I was
sorry I had stopped with the child. I had
hardly done speaking when she reached
down the grapes from the window, and
took a pair of scissors and cut off a nice
little bunch, which she put into a paper
bag and gave me; and as she did so, she
said, so kindly, you can't think, 'I wish
I could afford to give you more, but I am
not a rich woman myself, and at this time
of year grapes are dear; but perhaps these
few will satisfy the poor child.' She stooped
down and kissed Polly as she spoke, and
continued, 'I lost a little girl myself in
that way once, and I can always feel for
other mothers; it is so hard to see chil-
dren long for things we can't give them.'
I thanked her with all my heart, but I
couldn't say much, such unexpected kind-
ness quite overcame me; and, poor little
Polly, she did enjoy some of the grapes so
much; she thought she had never tasted
anything so good. Now wasn't it kind?"
concluded Mrs. White, "and from a stranger
"Ah, that it was!" exclaimed James;
"what a good woman she must be. I
should like to have seen Polly's face when
you put the first into her mouth."
"It brightened up, I can assure you,"
said the mother.
After a little pause James began,-
Mother, I met Tom Clark coming
"What! that boy that came to the
office ?" inquired his mother with an ex-
pression of anxiety on her face.
"Yes," replied James; "but don't be
uneasy about him, mother; I've found out
now what sort of a fellow he is; and you
were quite right about him. We got very
angry with each other, and I don't think
it's likely he'll ever speak to me again."
He then went on to tell his mother the
substance of the conversation that had
passed between them; which the widow
listened to with a thankful heart. She
blessed God for having so guided events,
that the true character of this tempter
had appeared before he had gained more
influence over her son. Now she saw the
answer to that cry of faith which had
comforted her in her trouble: "Why art
thou cast down, 0 my soul ? and why art
thou disquieted within me ? Hope in God;
for I shall yet praise him, who is the
health of my countenance, and my God."
THE next day was wet; it was not till
Thursday that Mrs. Lane and her daugh-
ter were able to pay the promised visit.
It was a long distance to the street they
were in search of but they reached it in
due time, and found out the right number.
On inquiring for Mrs. White, they were
told by a woman who came out of a room
on the ground-floor that she lived at the
back, up one flight; so Emily and her
mother ascended the stairs. The house
had evidently once known better days, or
at any rate richer tenants; for the stair-
case was tolerably broad, and the balusters,
which were strong and rather ornamental,
seemed to be old oak.
Mrs. Lane tapped at the door which
had been described to her, and upon being
bidden to come in, found herself in a small
but remarkably neat and clean room; and
the first thing that struck her eye was a
pleasant-looking middle-aged woman, busily
employed upon a black dress, while various
articles of mourning attire lay near her.
Everything in the room was in order : the
little diamond-paned window was as clean
as possible, and let in as much light as its
heavy framing would allow of; the earth-
enware was arranged neatly upon shelves;
and a few books were placed in order
upon a chest of drawers: the floor and
the little wooden table were as white as
scrubbing could make them; and the walls
were decorated here and there with some
pretty but cheap prints. Mrs. Lane no-
ticed all this at a glance; and she noticed,
too, a look of pain upon the woman's face,
-a look as of tears, that she could shed
if she had only time.
Mrs. White rose upon the entrance of
her visitors, and carefully laid aside her
work, so that it should neither be soiled
nor creased, and looked with a question-
ing expression into Mrs. Lane's face.
My husband, Mr. Lane," said that lady,
in explanation, "wished me to come and
see you; for he is much pleased with your
boy, and thinks he must have a very good
mother, from the way he seems to have
been brought up."
The mother's face brightened up at
hearing this; and she said in a few words
how happy she was to know that James
was doing his duty, and giving satisfac-
"Do not let me hinder you with your
work," said Mrs. Lane, observing that the
widow's eye had glanced towards it while
she was speaking. "We can talk while
you go on with it."
"Thank you," replied Mrs. White, pre-
paring to take it up again, "I am very
much hurried with it; it has to be done
in such a short time."
At this moment a feeble little voice
cried, "Mother, do nurse me a bit; I am
so tired of lying here;" and turning round,
Mrs. Lane saw in a small bed, behind the
door, which she had not before noticed, a
little pale child, whose weary young face
was very touching.
Mrs. White started up and hurried to
the bedside: she kissed the little sufferer, .
tenderly lifted her up, rearranged the pil-
low, and whispered, "I can't just now, my
pet; I shall soon have done the work, and
in the evening I'll nurse you ever so long."
The little thing sighed and turned round
wearily, but she said no more; and the
mother with another kiss, followed by a
deep sigh, came back to her seat, and
mournfully took up her sewing.
Poor little soul I" said Mrs. Lane, with
sympathy in her voice and her face; "can
you not really spare time to take her for
a little while ? that is very hard for you."
The mother looked up with swimming
eyes: "0 ma'am," she said, "I see you
can feel for me; you know what it must
be to refuse her; but this mourning must
be done; and what is worse, it was thrown
back by another dress that was ordered all
in a hurry to be done between, or I should
not have been so hard pushed. But you
know, of course, what mourning is; and I
have promised to send this home to-night
without fail; but it is a hard, hard task
"Do you think the little one would
come to me for a few minutes ?" asked
Mrs. Lane; it would be a change for her,
though it would not be like your taking
her, I know."
"Thank you, ma'am, I'm sure," said
the widow gratefully; "but I'm afraid (I
hope you won't mind my saying so) that she
wouldn't care to go to any one else but me."
"I fear so, too," said Mrs. Lane kindly,
"but let me try;" and crossing over to
the bed, she spoke to the little one in her
tenderest tones. As she turned down the
quilt her heart throbbed painfully to see
the child with trembling lips, and the tears
stealing from under her eyelids, crying
quietly. She tried her utmost to induce
the little invalid to let her nurse her for
a while; but she shook her head gently,
and said, "No, I don't care-only mother."
The mother started from her seat, as
though she could restrain herself no longer;
but at that moment Emily came up to her
mamma with a face of great distress, and
holding something clasped in her hand
which she gave to her, saying, almost with
a sob, Look, mamma, I picked it up upon
*the floor; and so I have been the cause of
Mrs. Lane took the scrap from her
daughter's hand, and with hardly less grief
saw that it was a morsel of the dress which
Emilyhad just had sent home, and which she
had ordered to be made in so short a time.
With a mingled feeling of sorrow and
shame she turned to Mrs. White, and hold-
ing out the little piece of silk,- said :-
"Was it this dress that you had to
make in such a hurry, and which ,delayed
you with the mourning?"
"Yes, ma'am," replied the widow; but
she said no more, guessing from Emily's
words and manner that she had had some-
thing to do with it.
"I am very sorry, then, to tefl you,"
continued Mrs. Lane, that we have been
the cause of your trouble, for that frock
was my daughter's; though I did not
know till this moment that you were the
person who made it."
"Don't say we have been to blame,
mamma," broke in Emily; because it was
all my fault. I knew you would not have
let me hurry any one about making it;
and I gave the directions unknown to
mamma," she continued, turning to Mrs.
White. "Oh, do pray believe that mam-
ma had nothing to do with it, and that it
was all my fault."
I do indeed believe it," replied the
good woman kindly; and I daresay, miss,
you would never have done it either, if you
had had any idea that it would have given
any one pain."
No, indeed, I would not," said Emily;
"but I ought not to have done it at all;
mamma and papa have so often told me
"Young ladies little know what they
sometimes make work-women suffer; I'm
sure they would not act so if they did,"
said the widow.
"Can I do anything for you?" said
Emily penitently. Mamma, is there any-
thing I can do for Mrs. White, to show her
how sorry I am ? "
"Look here, Emily," said her mother,
who, during the above conversation had
been looking at the widow's work; "I see
Mrs. White is just now sewing on the braid
to this skirt; you can take off your gloves
and go on with it, while she nurses her little
girl for a short time."
Mrs. White protested against the young
lady doing any such thing; but Emily had
her gloves off in a moment, and evinced
such a desire to show her penitence, that
the poor woman at last consented, and was
thus enabled to devote a little time to her
Mrs. Lane looked with pity upon the
thin little face resting against the mother's
bosom. Death seemed to be clearly
written upon it; but a satisfied look stole
over the small features, as the child felt
herself held in her mother's arms. Mrs.
White and her visitor had a long and in-
teresting conversation, while Emily stitched
away with the most unremitting industry.
The widow- related much of her former life;
and Mrs. Lane had reason to believe her
all, or even more than all that her husband
had judged her to be, from James's account.
The poor mother had now given up all
hope of little Polly's recovery, and all ex-
pectation that the spring would do any-
thing more for her than scatter daisies ovet
her grave. At length the skirt was fin-
ished, after many faint efforts on Mrs.
White's part to induce Emily to lay it
aside; and little Polly having fallen sound
asleep, was laid gently upon her bed with-
out disturbing her; and the grateful widow
prepared once more to continue her sewing
with a lightened heart.
Before leaving, Mrs. Lane inquired at
what hour she expected to have the
dresses finished; and having been told,
continued, "I will send a servant at that
time to take them home for you; you
need not, then, leave the child to-night.
She is a very steady girl; you will have no
occasion to fear trusting them with her."
"Thank you very much, ma'amj' ex-
claimed the widow; I shall be most
thankful for that. The dresses are to go
to Mrs. Chanter's, as she will send them
home with the mantles and other things
she has to provide." And, after receiving
many expressions of gratitude, Mrs. Lane
and Emily took leave.
The servant who went in the evening
to fetch the dresses, carried with her some
soup and jelly, and other things, for poor
little Polly; for though, under all cir-
cumstances, Mrs. Lane would have been
ready and willing to help anybody in sick-
ness or want, she felt particularly called
upon in this case to do all she could for
those who had been caused suffering by
one of her family. As for Emily, she was
so distressed at the idea of what she had
been the cause of; that she thought enough
could not be done, and she was continually
suggesting something or other that would
be nice for Polly, and proposing a visit to
She and her mother paid many visits
there during the short remainder of the
little invalid's life (for she never rallied),
and in a very few weeks the tiny corpse
was laid upon the humble bed, hardly
looking paler than it had often looked in
life. The widow grieved, as every true
mother must grieve, at such a loss; but
she did not sorrow like those who have no
hope; she knew that her child had ex-
changed a suffering existence for a blissful
life, and that she was in His hands "who
doeth all things well."
She was deeply thankful, too, for a
mercy which she had not anticipated,-
which was, that through Mrs. Lane's kind-
ness, she had been enabled to lay aside
her work, and devote her time entirely to
the little sufferer during the last few days
of her life. This remembrance was always
a consolation to her, and soothed her under
James, too; felt his sister's loss greatly.
It was a sad night for him when he came
home and saw her in that long quiet sleep;
and sadder still, day after day to miss the
feeble smile, and the little patient face,
which, though it had added little to the
joys of home, had contributed much to its
love, and self-denial, and sanctity.
The Lanes formed a tolerably decided
opinion of the family, from what they saw
of them during this season of affliction.;
but Mr. Lane thought it right to make
inquiries in the town where they. had
formerly lived ; and from a friend residing
there'he heard the highest accounts of the
conduct and principles of both Mr. and
Mrs. White. He now carried out the plan
he had long ago formed, and told James
that he should for the future employ him
in the office entirely in writing, for which
he would have a much higher salary, to be
increased as he continued to improve. He
also had the boy admitted to an excellent
evening' school, where he could carry on
what his father had commenced; and
James took every advantage of this opportu-
nity to grow more useful to his master, and
to do his duty better.
So James is going on: what he will
arrive at, time only will show; but he is
going the right way'to become a respect-
able and useful man, and Mr. Lane is de-
termined to help him on to the extent of
One day, not long since, as he was going
home from the office, he met a crowd of
people surrounding a policeman, who was
leading off a prisoner to the station-house.
This, unfortunately, is a common sight,
but still James had the curiosity to glance
at the culprit, and was astonished and
sorry to see his some time acquaintance,-
Tom Clark! The policeman and his pris-
oner passed on, but James stood motionless,
struck with consternation. After a few
moments he asked of the bystanders what
the boy had done. He was told that he
had been found trying to rob a goldsmith's
shop, by cutting out a square of glass.
" It will go hard with him this time," said
one of the crowd ; "he's been before the
magistrates before now for pocket-picking:
he's a bad fellow."
James walked on with a very sober
face; and one of the verses- his mother had
pointed out to him came back to his mind
with double force : "A faithful man shall
abound with blessings'; but he that hasteth
to be rich shall not be innocent."
THE IMPERFECT COPY.
BY A. L. 0. E.
"ALWAYS busy at your drawing, Edwin ?"
said his elder brother Henry, as he entered
the school-room one morning.
Edwin looked up for a moment with a
smile, and then went on tracing with evi-
dent pleasure the outline of a face. His
brother came behind him, and looked over
his shoulder ; Edwin listened for his re-
marks, though without ceasing to draw.
"You are taking pains, I see," said Henry
at last in a kindly tone; "but I am afraid
that you will have to use your India-rubber
here, and here; these lines, you may per-
ceive, are not in good drawing."
"I don't see much wrong in them," re-
plied Edwin, suspending his pencil, with
THE IMPERFECT COPY.
something of vexation in his tone, for he
had expected nothing but praise.
If you compare them with your study
you will perceive that all this outline is in-
correct. Where is the study? asked
Henry, looking in vain, for it on the table.
"Oh, it's somewhere up-stairs," said
Edwin. I remember very well what it is
like, and can go on without looking at it
Would you oblige me by bringing it ? "
said his brother, who perceived that as
long as Edwin merely drew from memory,
he would not see the faults in his sketch.
Edwin went up-stairs, rather unwilling-
ly, and soon brought down a beautiful
study-a face most perfect in form and
Henry silently put the two pictures to-
gether. Edwin gazed with, bitter disap-
pointment on his own copy, which but a
few minutes before he had thought so good.
Not a feature was really like; the whole
looked crooked and cramped; even his
partial eye could not but see a thousand
faults in his sketch.
I shall never get it right! Edwin ex-
THE IMPERFECT COPY., 61
claimed in a burst of vexation; and, snatch-
ing up the unfortunate drawing, he would
have torn it asunder, had4ie not been pre-
vented by his brother.
My dear Edwin, you. have doubly
erred; first in being too easily satisfied,
and then in being too easily discouraged."
I shall never make it like that beauti-
ful face !" cried the disheartened boy.
"You need patience, you need help, you
need, above all, often to look at your copy.
A perfect resemblance you never may
have, but you may succeed in getting
one which will do credit both to you
and your master."
Edwin took up the pencil which he had
flung down, and carefully and attentively
studied the picture. He found very much
in his copy to alter, very much to rub out;
but at last he completed a very fair sketch,
which he presented, with a little hesitation,
to his brother.
I shall have this framed, and hung up
in my room," said Henry.
Oh, it is not worth that !" exclaimed
Edwin, colouring with pleasure and sur-
THE IMPERFECT COPY.
"Not in itself, perhaps," replied Henry;
"but it will serve often to remind us
both of an important truth, which was
suggested to me when I saw you labouring
at your copy."
Edwin looked in surprise at his brother,
who thus proceeded to explain his words:-
"We, dear Edwin, as Christians, have
all one work set before us: to copy into
our lives the example set us by a heavenly
Master. It is in the Bible that we behold
the features of a character perfect and pure.
But how many of us choose rather to im-
agine for ourselves what a Christian should
be like! We aim low; we are content
with little progress; we perhaps please
ourselves with the thought of our own
wisdom and goodness, while every one but
ourselves can see that our copy is wretched
*" What are we to do?" asked Edwin.
We must closely examine the study
set us in the Bible; we must compare our
lives with God's law; and we shall then
soon find enough of weakness and sin to
make us humble ourselves before God.
When we read of the meekness and gentle-
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ness of Christ, we shall be ashamed of our
own passion and pride; when we find how
holy was our great Example, we shall be
grieved to think how unlike to him we
"We can never make a good copy,"
sighed Edwin; "we may just give up the
attempt at once."
"You judge as you did when you wished
to tear up your picture in despair, as soon
as you saw how imperfect it was. No, no,
my dear boy, I say to you now, as I said
to you then, you need patience, you need
help, help from the good Spirit of God;
and, above all, you need to look often at
your study, to keep the character and
work of your Lord ever before your eyes."
"But if I do my best, I shall still fall
so short !"
I know it," said Henry gravely; "but
feeling that you never can reach perfection
here, should not prevent your aiming at it.
God will complete his work in the hearts
of his servants, not on earth, but in heaven.
There the copy, feebly commenced below,
shall be made a likeness indeed! For
what says the Word of God: We know that
64 THE IMPERFECT COPY.
when he shall appear we shall be like him,
for iwe shall see him as he is !"
'"o see the Lord, and to be made like
him; it seems too much to hope for!"
"It is not more than God has promised,"
replied Henry, "to those who come to the
Saviour by faith. Worthless as our copy
is in itself, it will be glorified, made beauti-
ful, made perfect; and will be raised to a
place of honour in the mansions of uur
heavenly Father "
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