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3ribgcton arrish;SABBATH SCHOOL SOCIETY.GLASGOW.I -. -- -- -- -- --,RE :.NT I- ) TOa. r 7 ltofl0 cFOCR REGULAR ATTENDANCEM.aL.LtoM WALKER.,FINLAI N.l. rtendeI 'M L.. 'LAIK, S ntendeANDhIEW .:RR,BThe Baldwin LibraryUS'ivers'mo sk
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OR,PRINCIPLE AND PREJUDICE.GALL & INGLIS.* onbron.;-r Eboinbur gh:80 P.\xriENOirER ROW. 6 GEORGE STREET.* */
C 0 NTENTS.PAQECHAPTER I.-FIRST IMPRESSIONS, ., II.-A FRIEND FOUND, .15, III.-PRINOIPLE IN CHARITY, 21, IV.-THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL, 33, V.-THn QUARREL, 46N VI.-A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE, 56"N VII.--A DISCOVERY, 67"N VIII.-GooD ron EvIu 72* *.f&^
Chku Mason.:OR,PRINCIPLE AND PREJUDICE.CHAPTER I.FIRST IMPRESSIONS.'OH, I shall never like her, I can tell you,Amy, and there is no use in arguing aboutit. Her very look tells what she is, and I, forone, need no better proof f character thanthat. If I should know her for a dozen years,I am certain that I shall never see occasion tochange my mind.'Amy walked slowly on with a seriouscountenance, feeling the utter uselessness ofendeavouring to reason against mere preju-dice. Then, in a few moments, she said,musingly, yet aloud,'Ellen's face is marked slightly from small-pox; but that, of course, is no proof against
6 ELLEN MASON.her, as I suppose it was not her fault that shehad the disease. Her countenance, however,has a very mild and calm expression.'' Sinister would describe it much betterthan any other word I know of,' replied hercompanion, with a contemptuous curl of thelip ; you must remember, Amy, that "onemay smile and smile and be a villain still."''Oh, Anna, how can you talk so aboutEllen Mason!' exclaimed Amy. She is anorphan, and almost a stranger to you, and youhave had but little opportunity of knowingwhat she is.''I never require much time or many op-portunities to find out people's characters,'replied Anna. I know that she is mean andmiserly, and those faults are despicable to me,wherever I meet them.'" 'How do you know that she can afford tospend more money than she does now, and"that she does not dress according to hermeans ?' inquired Amy.'Julia Graham's father knows all about it,and he says, that Mr Mason left both Ellenand her brother a hundred a year, and she isallowed by her guardian to draw freely to thefull amount.'
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 7'Perhaps she saves for the purpose of doinggood with her money,' said Amy, pausingbefore a picturesque-looking cottage, almosthidden by trees and shrubbery.'I shall want more positive proof thanmere assertion to make me believe that,' re-plied Anna.' Well, I only want you to wait for positiveproof before making up your mind about her,'said Amy; and 1 have just as strong groundsfor believing Ellen to be amiable, as you havefor your charges against her. My father saysthat we ought always to credit people withhaving good motives, until we have decidedproof to the contrary.'' You'll soon have proof enough to convinceyou that I am right,' said Anna, confidently;and then, with a careless good afternoon, shecontinued on her way.Amy Winthrop found her mother sewingupon the vine-covered portico, and she laidaside her bonnet and took a seat upon avacant chair beside her.' Are you tired, Amy ?' inquired Mrs Win-throp.' No, thank you, mother; I am thinking ofour new scholar, Ellen Mason,' replied Amy.* ~ ..
8 ELLEN MASON'She cannot have given you any cause ofannoyance already, I should think,' said MrsWinthrop.'No, I don't know that she has,' Amyanswered; 'although none of the girls seemto like her; and Anna West-the otherboarder-says that she is very miserly, andscarcely speaks to any one. In fact, mother,her manners are so very reserved and unpre.possessing, that at first I was inclined to agreewith Anna in talking against her; but I re-membered that it would be wrong, and insteadof doing so, I have been trying all the wayfrom school to induce her to feel more kindlytowards her, because she is a stranger and anorphan.''And how did you succeed ?' inquired MrsWinthrop, with an approving look'Not at all,' replied Amy; 'Anna has suchstrong prejudices, that there seems to be nouse in arguing with her.''I am very glad, Amy,' said Mrs Winthrop,'that you are disposed to be just towardsEllen, and I trust that you will continue yourefforts to prevent Anna's prejudices from in-fluencing you against her. I think you saidthat she was not a favourite with the other
rIRST IMPRESSIONS. 9girls; do you know what reason they havefor disliking her '' She is rather reserved, and Anna gives abad account of her; I think they have nomore particular reasons than these, for, youknow, she is a stranger to us all.''Poor Ellen! she must be very sad andlonely, surrounded only by companions whodislike her, and having neither father, mother,nor friend to sympathise with and advise her,'said Mrs Winthrop.Although Amy had argued in favour ofEllen, yet it was not on account of any deepinterest that she took in her, but merely froma strong dislike to seeing any one unjustlytreated. Mrs Winthrop instantly saw this,and her last remark was made with the hopeof exciting a new feeling of pity and affectiontowards the lonely stranger in her daughter'sbreast; and it produced the desired effect.'I will be her friend as far as I can, for shemust be very lonely, indeed,' said Amy.'How very earnestly God urged upon theIsraelites the duty of kindness to strangers;'said Mrs Winthrop ; 'and to them there musthave been very great meaning contained inthose few words: "Thou shalt not oppress a
10 ELLEN MASON.stranger; for ye know the heart of a stranger,seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."He strove to enforce the command by appeal-ing to their own personal experience, andreminding them of the desolation and loneli-ness that filled their hearts, when they them-selves were in the same situation. Of orphans,too, he seemed to have a special care, andagain and again directed that they should betenderly treated, and threatened to punish veryseverely all who disobeyed Him in this respect;declaring with so much emphasis: "If thouafflict them in any wise, and they cry at allunto Me, I will surely hear their cry ; and Mywrath will wax hot, and I will surely kill youwith the sword." So Ellen has a double claimupon your love and sympathy, Amy; she isnot only a stranger, but an orphan.''I think I shall like her, mother,' saidAmy; I am very sorry for her now, and Iwill cultivate her acquaintance with the hopeof finding something to love in her, when Iknow her better.''I have but little doubt, then, that you willsucceed my dear,' replied Mrs Winthrop,' butdo not let the frowns or opposition of yourcompanions turn you away from your purpose;
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 11and, above all, do not neglect to pray thatGod may assist your efforts and enable youto be useful to Ellen.'We will now turn to Ellen Mason, theobject of Anna West's prejudice. The twogirls are the only boarders in Miss Baxter'sfamily, but she has in addition to them eigh-teen pupils attending her day-school. Ellenhad the misfortune to lose both her parentswithin the space of a few weeks, and but ashort time previous to the opening of ourstory. Her brother and she were only chil-dren, and were left with a competent support;but they had a little cousin, only four yearsof age, an orphan, and quite unprovided for,who had been dependent upon the bounty oftheir parents for more than a year previousto their death.With a strange oversight, Mr Mason hadmade no mention of this child in his will, andhad placed it out of his wife's power to pro-vide for her from her portion. Mrs Masonwas strongly attached to the little one, andwhile on her dying bed sent for Mr James,the guardian of her children, and in his pre-sence left Mary to their oare. A' Ellen's highestwish was to fulfil her mother's request, and,
12 ELLEN MASON.accordingly, as soon as possible after her death,she called upon Mr James for this purpose.Upon learning from him that there was no-thing to prevent her spending her wholeincome, she resolved to save what she couldfrom it to devote to her friendless little cousin.At this time, Ellen was nearly fifteen, andhaving been expensively brought up,, was quitecapable of understanding the nature of thesacrifice which she was about to make. Sheknew that, to accomplish what she had under-taken, it would be necessary for her to giveup many little comforts to which she had beenaccustomed; yet she was ready to do this, notonly that she might obey her mother's wish,but that she might conform to the directionlaid down by the apostle : 'So labouring, yeought to support the weak, and to rememberthe words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, Itis more blessed to give than to receive.'Ellen was a Christian, aitd she was willingto deny herself to do good to others, andesteemed it a privilege to follow in her Mas-ter's footsteps, even where it obliged her tomake a-sacrifice of some selfish plans.Anna West was an intelligent scholar, andhad some very good traits of character. She
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 13was often benevolent and generous to an ex-treme, and under the impulse of the momentshe would perform some very kind deeds;yet as she acted entirely from impulse, un-guided by firm principle, she was as likely todo wrong as right under the influence ofexcited feeling. Her prejudices were strongand unreasonable; and instead of endeavour-ing to overcome them, she rather regardedtheir possession as a cause for self-gratu-lation. She boasted of her freedom fromhypocrisy, in refusing to shew the appearanceof favour towards those for whom she feltno affection, yet very often her independentfrankness, as she termed it, amounted to grossand rude unkindness."I do not like her,' she would say; andthis she considered as a sufficient excuse forany display of ill-nature or rudeness towardsthe object of the remark.Her duty to obey the commands of theSaviour, Anna entirely overlooked, or shewould have remembered the rule which He"laid down: before all things whatsoeverye would that 1i% should do unto you, do yeeven so unto them.'In many points Amy's character resembled
1 ELLEN MASON.' tLait f Anna, and she had the same strongimpulses..But Amy had been well instructed in herduty, and knew that all the warm emotionsof her heart must be brought into subjectionto the will of God, and she strove to act fromChristian principle rather than according tothe promptings of mere feeling. She, too,was a follower of the Saviour, and endeavouredLo imitate His example of kindness and goodwill towards all. She thought over hermother's words about the treatment of thestranger, and she did not forget her welfarewhen pleading to Heaven in her own behalf.Yet all the benevolence of her heart wasnot expended in mere thoughts and words;she had laid her plans for Ellen's benefit, andwaited only for the fitting time to put theminto execution.p
A FRIEND FOUND. 15CHAPTER II.A FRIEND FOUND.THE next morning Amy started early to schoolwith the hope of seeing Anna, and making aneffort to induce her to feel more kindly towardsthe new scholar, or, at least, to treat her withmore forbearance, and not to influence theother girls against her.Anna was in the garden, and when Amyapproached, she greeted her with a smile ofwelcome; but the first few words spoken infavour of Ellen were sufficient to produce adecided change in her manner. She drewherself up to the full height of offended dignity,and said coldly,' I am not responsible to any one for myfancies or affections; and I prefer to act accord-ing to their dictates, rather than by any studiedrules of politeness.''Ellen is a stranger, and an orphan, justcome from the 4eath-bed of her parents,' saidAmy, feelingly.' That fact might work upon my sympathyin some cases,' replied Anna, coldly; 'but
16 ELTEN MASON.not in this one, where it would be thrownaway. She is cool and unfeeling as an ice-berg, I know, for I have watched her closely,and saw her endure the curling of a dozenlips with the calmness of a stoic.''Or, the endurance of a Christian,' saidAmy.Nonsense; all the appearance of religionabout her must be cant and hypocrisy,' Annaanswered.' How can you make such a charge againstone whom you scarcely know?' exclaimedAmy.'Spare your indignation, Amy' returnedAnna; 'for let me assure you it is all wastedThree weeks domestication with any one issufficient time for me to find out their charac-ter; and my mind is quite settled upon EllenMason. She is a heartless and miserly girl-I have seen it in many little things about hersince she has been here; and as she is sothoroughly disagreeable to me, I beg, as youregard my happiness, not to mention her nameagain where it can be avoided.'Amy once more felt the utter uselessnessof endeavouring to reason against such preju-dice, and ceased her effort. In a remote cor-
A FRIEND FOUND. 17ner of the garden she had caught a glimpseof a dark figure, walking to and fro, whichshe presumed to be the object of their conver-sation, and turning to her companion, she said,'I see Ellen in the garden, and as I havedetermined to be her friend, as far as I can,for the future, I shall go over and try to cul-tivate her acquaintance.''Of course, you are at liberty to do as youplease, Amy; but let me warn you not totrust her too far,' replied Anna.While Amy was advancing towards Ellenher heart misgave her, as she remembered thereserved manners of the stranger, and shebegan to fear that she might be forcing herattentions in a quarter where they were notdesired and would not be appreciated. But asense of duty urged her on, and she persistedin her determination.' Good morning, Ellen,' she said, pleasantly.Ellen slowly raised her eyes from the bookshe had been reading to return the greeting,and then instantly drooping them again,seemed about to resume her occupation. HadAmy followed the dictates of her inclinationonly, she would have gone away then, feelingthat this was a sufficient repulse; but she
18 ELLEN MASON.had been taught to govern her actions byhigher motives than mere inclination, andshe still persevered.' If you are not too much engaged with yourlessons,' she continued, kindly, 'I would liketo shew you a beautiful view of the river,which can be seen from a point in the woods.Miss Baxter allows her pupils to walk out atthis hour, I know.'' Yes, thank you,' said Ellen, brightening up,and evidently touched by the kind tones ofAmy's voice; my lessons are quite finished,and I was merely reading for recreation whatI have often read before.'As she ceased speaking, she closed the book,and handed it to Amy that she might see thetitle. It was a volume of Mrs Sigourney'spoems.'Are you fond of poetry ?' Amy inquired,as she returned the book.'Oh, very fond of it,' Ellen replied, herwhole countenance glowing with enthusiasm;'I always liked it, when-' here she pausedfor a few moments, and then added, withfirmly compressed lips, yet slightly tremulousaccents,'When I was happy at home; but lately I
A FRIEND FOUND. 19have been particularly fond of poetry, and findgreat comfort from it when I am sad and lonely.'Amy's tears were ready to flow in,sympathywith the deeper sorrow of her companion.She wanted to tell her how much she felt forher, yet knew not how to express it, and walkedsilently on. Yet there are other ways, distinctfrom words, of expressing the feelings of theheart; and without expressing any such de-monstrative evidence, Ellen was conscious thatshe was with one who could understand herand would not judge her unjustly. Her voicewas quite free from tremulousness, as she con-tinued, I' In acknowledging myself to be fond ofpoetry, I do not refer merely to the harmoniousjingle of words. The Bible is full of beautifulpoetry to me, and I never tire of its sublimity;and then, you know, it is the Word of God,and the promises it contains are very precious,indeed, to me.'Amy's eye brightened, and laying her handupon Ellen's arm, she said earnestly,' I am very glad that you love the BibleEllen ; and, although I have never had as muchneed of comfort as you, I know something ofthe value of its promises.'
20 ELLEn MASON.Here was a new bafld of union betweenAmy and the stranger. They were childrenof the same Parent, and travellers to a com-mon home. A long conversation followed ofdeep interest to both, and when they re-enteredthe garden, Ellen's countenance exhibited astriking contrast to what it had done whenAmy first met her. She felt that she was nolonger the isolated orphan, thrown among thosewho had neither affection nor pity for her, butone whose yearnings for human companion-ship had been satisfied, and who had found a.friend.Amy used all her influence to induce theother girls to regard Ellen more favourably,and was partly successful; but Anna's preju-dice against her seemed to increase with everynew proof of confidence or friendship con-ferred upon her by others. Like all prejudicedpersons, she was wilful and stubborn, and.determined not to be convinced that she hadmade an error of judgment; and almost everyaction of Ellen in her diseased imaginationseemed to proceed from some wrong motive.Anna would not willingly have wronged,,another upon any consideration, yet she wasunjust to Ellen, and was using all her efforts
PRINCIPLE IN CHARITY. 21to rob her of a greater treasure than gold-hergood name.She professed to have an utter abhorrenceof falsehood in every form, yet she was untrueto Ellen in attributing to her blame where itwas not deserved; and strangely enough shefelt no self-accusation or consciousness ofguilt in so doing. Be ye therefore merciful,as your Father also is merciful. Judge not,and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, andye shall not be condemned: forgive, and yeshall be forgiven.' These commands of theSaviour were quite neglected by Anna.CHAPTER III.PRINCIPLE IN CHARITY.A CASE of deep distress came under MissBaxter's observation, and she made a state-ment of it to her pupils.A widowed mother of three small childrenwas lying very ill, and unable to provide forher little ones; and as they had no other
22 ELLEN MASON.support, of course they were entirely destitute.She had been employed upon several occasionsto work at the school, and was therefore notquite unknown to the girls. They becamevery much interested in her, and it was imme-diately determined that a collection shouldbe taken up among them for her benefit.At recess Anna West produced a paper,upon which each one who chose to contributemight place her name, with the amount sheshe purposed giving opposite to it. She hadherself headed the list with ten shillings, andseveral soon followed her example with anequal sum, or somewhat less, as they deemedthemselves able. On the first intimation ofthe subscription, Ellen had quietly movedaway to a short distance; yet not so quietlyas to escape Anna's quick eye, and she curledher lip and glanced significantly towardssome of her companions.But there was an evident uneasiness aboutEllen, which seemed to indicate a doubt as towhether she was doing right in making thismovement; and after an apparent struggleagainst some selfish feeling, she returned andstood among them..Why, Miss Ellen, I wondered at your run-
PRINCIPLE IN CHARITY. 23ning off just as I was about to give you an un-usual opportunityfordisplayingyour liberality;but I am glad to welcome you back to duty,'said Anna, in a cool contemptuous manner.Unfortunately for Ellen, her friend AmyWinthrop was absent for a few days on avisit to a sick friend, and there was no one tocountenance her, or to whom she could turnfor sympathy.As she heard the words and understoodtheir hidden meaning, a sense of utter desola-tion, added to the pangs of a wounded spirit,well-nigh overcame her, and she did not dareeven to attempt an answer.'Come,' said Anna, either not caring forher embarrassment, or not seeing it; 'come,Ellen, I suppose you will do something very.generous: how much shall I put down foryou ? There,' she added, while Ellen hesi-tated, I will write down your name, whileyou make an estimate of your means.'The name was written, and Anna stood,pencil in hand, waiting to subscribe theamount; but still Ellen remained silent, andwith the same troubled countenance.'Five, ten, fifteen shillings; what will yougive?' continued Anna
24 ELLEN MASON.Ellen now felt that she must speak, forevery eye was upon her, and by a strongeffort she nerved herself to say,' I had rather you would not put down myname. I have nothing but the merest trifleto give, and it does not seem worth whiletaking s.o much trouble for so small a sum.''You are very modest indeed,' replied Anna,with a slight touch of sarcasm.Ellen opened her purse with tremblingfingers, and drew forth a sixpence, which shehanded to her with the simple remark,'I am very sorry, but this is all I can spare.''I appreciate the humility of your request,'Anna said, glancing at the small coin eon-temptuously, 'but you will excuse my notcomplying with it, as I greatly prefer makingeach one responsible for the amount whichthey subscribe;' and she marked sixpence ina distinct figure opposite to the name whichshe had previously written.There was no mistaking the sarcasm of thislast speech, and Ellen retired with burningcheeks.'There, did I not tell you what she was !'exclaimed Anna, as soon as she was out ofhearing.
PRINCIPLE IN CHARITY. 25'Well, I should have given nothing, ratherthan expose my meanness by offering such apaltry sum as that,' said Julia Graham.' So should I,' added the other girls in abreath.They did not know the mortification whichwrung the heart of Ellen, as she turned awayfrom them at Anna's first mention of the col-lection ; nor the hard struggle between prideand principle which took place when shecame back and stood among them, with down-cast countenance. She would willingly havefollowed their plan, and excused herself fromgiving anything. But the poor woman wasdeserving of her help, and she had somethingto spare for her, and the smallness of the sumwould be no excuse for withholding it. Thewidow's mite was blessed by the Saviour,and pronounced by Him to exceed in valuethe gold of the rich men. Her sixpence,although apparently so very trifling, wouldsubject her to a self-denial in giving it-: itwas all the spending money she had, or wouldhave for some weeks, and she could offer nomore. Instigated by these feelings, and withan inward prayer for the blessing of God uponthe effort, her course was determined upon.
26 ELLEN MASON.She retired from the ill-natured levity ofAnna and her companions, to seek refuge inher own room; where, with no prying eye towitness it, she might give vent to her morti-fied and wounded feelings. There was yet aquarter of an hour remaining of the half hourallotted for recess, and she hoped to regainher composure before the bell should summonthem again to the school-room.Quite independent of the contempt whichher trifling boon,had met with from the othergirls, its smallness troubled her; she wassorry that she could not give more to assistthe poor woman and her little ones. Buthere there was a balm to be found; for shecould kneel down before her Father in heaven,open her heart freely to Him, and, withoutdread of repulse or scorn, ask Him to exertHis sovereign power to alleviate the sufferingof the afflicted widow, and spare her life, thather children might not become desolate or-phans. She arose from prayer, with all self-ish feelings absorbed by deep interest inthese objects of charity. Her own sad expe-rience had made her well acquainted withsorrow, and she knew that there were otherways of comforting the afflicted, as well as
PRINCIPLE TN CHARITY. 27by the bestowal of money. She began toreflect how she might render such aid in thepresent case. There were the look of sym-pathy, the word of consolation or encourage-ment, and little acts of kindness. These shehad it in her power to give; and making anearnest resolution that they should not bewithheld, with a calm countenance and steadyfootstep she joined her fellow-pupils in theschool-room.'Well, young ladies, I suppose you haveresponded quite handsomely to my appeal inbehalf of Mrs Gale ? said Miss Baxter, asAnna entered with the paper in her hand.'We have a full list,' replied Anna,' andsome of the girls have contributed quitelargely. Shall I read the names ?''No,' Miss Baxter answered; such a pro-ceeding does not seem to be at all necessary,particularly as I suppose the donors desire tofollow the scriptural injunction, of not lettingthe left hand know what the right hand doeth.'It was Anna's turn to blush now; yet hereyes flashed with anger and mortification, asshe silently laid the paper upon Miss Baxter'stable.Miss Baxter told her pupils that she would
28 ELLEN MASON.appoint a committee from among their num-ber to assist her in the disposal of the fund,and among others she named Ellen Masonand Anna West.There will be a different sort of benevo-lence from mere giving required of you, youngladies,' their teacher continued, 'and whichwill demand, perhaps, a little more self-denial.We will purchase materials for clothing witha portion of the money, aud these must bemade up by your hands; so, you see, a littleindustrious exertion will be necessary toaccomplish this, and some considerable eco-nomy of yoir leisure hours.'The effect of this remark was visible on thevaried countenances of those who heard it.Some looked pleased, as if glad of an oppor-tunity of being able to assist in this way;but others, who preferred careless amusementto the luxury of doing good, wore an expres-sion of serious annoyance.Among the latter was Anna West, who,quite unused to practising self-denial, feltthat sitting still, stitching upon a piece ofwork, hour after hour, was a very differentmatter from taking from a full purse moneythat would never be missed.
A FRIEND FOUND. 29Ellen, on the contrary, experienced a thrillof satisfaction at the prospect of being able inthis way to add to her small donation, andher active mind was soon busy in planninghow she might best hoard her time for thispurpose. Upon one point, however, she feltsome slight twinges of conscience. WhenMiss Baxter appointed her as one of the com-mittee, she had seen a sneer upon more thanone countenance, as if this was an undeservedhonour to one who gave so little, and shecould not but regard it in a similar light her-self.Miss Baxter had barely glanced at the totalamount of the list, and could not know whata very mean portion of it she had contributed,and she concluded that it would be best toundeceive her. As soon, then, as she had anopportunity of seeing Miss Baxter alone, shesaid blushingly,' Hadn't you better appoint some one elsein my place on the committee, Miss Baxter ?'' I hope you are not afraid of being calledupon to work too hard, Ellen,' replied MissBaxter, not a little surprised at the request.'Oh, no; I should. only be too glad toassist Mrs Gale,' said Ellen, very quickly.
30 ELLEN MASON.'Then why are you so anxious to throw offthis responsibility ?' inquired Miss Baxter.Ellen had a very sensitive spirit, and it wasan exceedingly disagreeable thing for her tobe obliged to explain to Miss Baxter thesmallness of her donation, so the blushdeepened upon her brow, and she repliednervously,'I only gave sixpence.''Did you?' returned Miss Baxter, in anindifferent tone, and as if at a loss to tracethe connection between Ellen's last remark,and the point under consideration, yet shelooked up in her face with a slight, but earnestscrutiny.' Yes, ma'am ; it was such a mere trifle, andI supposed you were under a wrong impres-pression in thinking that I had given more,'Ellen said, scarcely knowing what reply tomake.'Do you think, Ellen, that your havinggiven so small a sum for Mrs Gale is a suffi-cient reason why you should decline en-gaging in active service for her ?' asked MissBaxter.Ellen hesitated for a moment, and thenreplied, frankly
A FRIEND FOUND. 31'No, ma'am; I did not think so; yet Ithought, perhaps, that if you had known howlittle I gave, you might have preferred namingsome one else, who had given more liberally.''I think it was not from want of interest inthe benevolent object that caused you to giveso little,' said Miss Baxter, after a short pause.'Oh, no, ma'am!' exclaimed Ellen, thetears starting to her eyes; I have seen toomuch of sorrow myself not to feel an interestin those who suffer, even where it may be owingto a different cause ; and if I had had moremoney at my command, Mrs Gale would havebeen most welcome to it. You may think itstrange, Miss Baxter,' she added, with con-siderable embarrassment, 'but I only hadsixpence that I could give away.'Miss Baxter did feel some surprise at thesmallness of Ellen's means, but she was per-fectly assured of her sincerity, and she an-swered promptly,'We are told that, if there be first a willingmind, it is accepted according to that a manhath; and God does not require us to givebeyond what we are able. You had not 'thepower of accomplishing much, by your gener-osity in mere giving; but now you will have
32 ELLEN MASON.an opportunity of shewing the strength ofyour benevolence, by labouring for the poor.Are you quite willing to do this?'Oh, yes, ma'am; and I shall consider itquite a favour that I am allowed to do so,'replied Ellen, brightening up.She was leaving the room-fearful of en-croaching upon Miss Baxter's time-and hadreached the door, when she turned again to-wards her, and inquired,' Will you please tell me where Mrs Galelives ?'Miss Baxter gave her the direction, with anapproving smile. She thought she understoodthe reason why Ellen made the inquiry, andshe was not mistaken, as the next questionproved.'Have you any objection to my callingthere, Miss Baxter ?''None at all,' replied Miss Baxter: 'MrsGale is very poor, and has been brought upin very humble life, yet she is a Christian;and seeing or talking with her would be pro-ductive of no evil to any one.'Why was it that the words she is a Chris-tian,' fell so pleasantly upon Ellen's ears ? andwhy was it that this intelligence caused her
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL. 33to hasten, with increased alacrity, to put onher bonnet and prepare for her walk ?Ellen acted from religious principles. Shefelt the force of the command, to do good toall men as she had opportunity, but esteemedit a special privilege to help one who was 'ofthe household of faith.' She was no strangerin the dwellings of the poor, and all her re-serve of manner vanished in her intercoursewith them, from whom she was sure of receiv-ing a warm welcome.CHAPTER IV.THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL.ELLEN pursued her way rapidly along theroad leading to Mrs Gale's house. The doorwas open when she reached it, and the chil-dren were upon the door-step. The eldest-aboy, about six years old-held in his arms apuny baby of eight or ten months, whose crieshe was trying to stifle by various ineffectualmeans; first knocking upon the door-step
34 ELLEN MASON.with a thick stick, then clasping it tightly tohis bosom, as he might have seen their motherdo, and then earnestly calling to some chickens-the property of a more thriving neighbour-which were parading about on the road,entirely regardless of his invitation.'Poor little baby: it is not well, I fear,'said Ellen, gently patting its head.The cries of the child subsided into a sub-dued murmur, while it looked up in her face,half slily; as if for the purpose of ascertainingwhether it might trust the owner of that kind"voice and soft hand. The investigation provedsatisfactory, and it stretched out its armstoward her; glad to see some one larger andbetter able to take care of it than the littleinexperienced nurses who had had it in chargesince its mother's illness.' No, Lizzie, the lady does not want you, Iam afraid,' said the boy, holding her back;and then immediately addressing Ellen withthe question,'Did you wish to see my mother, Miss?'Ellen might have hesitated about takingthe baby, for its soiled clothes bore evidencethat it had been deprived of a mother's care;but the pitiful expression upon its lip at its
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL. 35brother's repulse, awoke a degree of sympathyin its favour, that quite overcame the effect ofits disorderly appearance.' I came to see your mother and you, too;and if Lizzie would like to have me carry herfor a little while, I shall be very glad to doso,' said Ellen, taking the infant in her arms.'You are very kind,' said the boy, shrink-ing back; 'but her frock is not clean, formother has been too sick to dress her sincethe morning.'' That is'a very plain excuse,' replied Ellen,but now, if you will take me in, I should liketo see your mother.'The little boy led the way, and Ellen fol-lowed, carrying the baby. The furniture inthe room was scanty and of the meanest de-scription; but Ellen's quick eye saw upon astand-with several other books-a wellwornBible, and she felt that there were poorer andmore dreary habitations than this one : thosewhere the rays of divine truth never pene-trated.The sick woman had raised her head fromthe pillow, upon hearing a stranger's voice atthe door, and when she entered was waitingwith some little curiosity to ascertain who it
36 ELLEN MASON.could be. Ellen introduced herself as a pupilof Miss Baxter, and as having called hopingto relieve her loneliness for an hour or so.'You are very kind, I am sure,' repliedMrs Gale, very gratefully; 'but I am afraidmy children will be troublesome if you en-courage them, and the baby is quite too heavyfor you, besides not being in a fit condition fora lady to carry.'Ellen denied the weight .of the child asbeing any objection; and said that themother's illness was a sufficient excuse forits appearance; but offered to wash it andput on its night-clothes.It required some little argument to induceMrs Gale to consent to this, yet she did atlast, and Ellen had the extreme satisfaction ofseeing a great improvement in the little one,wrought through her own self-denying exer-tion. Made more comfortable by the ablu-tion, it very soon fell into an easy sleep,and then she laid it on the bed, and felt atliberty to converse with the mother.Mrs Gale was neither improperly loquaci-ous, nor inclined to dwell complainingly uponher sufferings; but she opened her heartfreely in answer to Ellen's sympathising in-
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL. 37quiries, and the sorrowful story was soonimparted. A kind neighbour came in nowand then, when she could be spared from herown family, to see after the children and her-self, and this was all the attention which theyreceived; yet they were neither desolate norwithout hope. She could not read her Bible,but her mind was well stored with precioustexts, which she could recall; and theseserved to beguile the weary hours.Ellen promised to make her a short visiteach day, and read to her a portion from theBible and other good books, and for thiskindness the sick woman scarcely knew howto express her gratitude. One thing struckEllen particularly. Without having had theadvantage of a good education, Mrs Gale'smanners were refined, and her conversationdisplayed a remarkable degree of intelligence.This she could not but attribute to the spirit,whose fruits are 'love and gentleness' as wellas 'goodness and faith.'Ellen retired from the cottage profited andpleased, and with renewed determinations toput forth every effort to assist the poor family.But as she retraced her way home, her mindhad other and less satisfactory subjects for
38 ELLEN MASON.contemplation. It would have been impos-sible for one even less sensitive than Ellen bynature, not to have understood the low esti-mation in which she was held by the most ofher fellow-pupils.That Anna West had exerted a very power-ful agency in producing this, she readily per-ceived; yet why Anna should dislike her shecould not determine. They had been perfectstrangers to each other, until but a few weeksprevious, and since then she could remembernothing which she had done to call forth anysuch feeling.Yet whatever the cause might be, Ellen feltthat her own duty was plain. She was to' rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him ;'to put away from her 'all bitterness, andwrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speak-ing, with all malice ;' and to be kind, tender-nearted and forgiving, even as God, for Christ'ssake, had forgiven her. If she did this, thenshe might appropriate to herself the promise,'No weapon that is formed against thee shallprosper; and every tongue that shall riseagainst thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.'Yes; it was much better that she shouldleave her reputation entirely in the hands of
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL 39her Heavenly Father; and she rejoiced thatHe had encouraged her to do it.With these reflections she opened the gatewhich separated the enclosure of the schoolgrounds from the road, and proceeded alongthe avenue to a rustic arbour, covered withthick vines. Seating herself upon the lowbench, she took a small volume of the Testa-ment from her pocket, and commenced reading.She had not occupied this position long,when the sound of voices arrested her, atten-tion, and as the party advanced nearer, shecould distinguish the words.'Yes; it was a perfect farce to place EllenMason on the committee,' said one, whom sherecognized as Julia Graham.'The honour was very cheaply gained atsixpence, I think,' remarked another.'I wonder she was not ashamed to allowMiss Baxter to remain under a wrong impres-sion as to what she had given; for it musthave been by mistake that she was appointed,'added Julia.' She has meanness enough for anything:all stingy people are mean,' said Anna West.The three girls had paused under a treejust outside of the arbour and Ellen could
40 ELLEN MASON.distinctly see their figures between an openingin the vines. Mortified and indignant as shewas at the charges made against her, she hadyet a clear perception of the impropriety oflistening to a conversation about herself whichwas never intended for her ears.But it was difficult for her to decide whatwas best to be done: by leaving the arbourshe would be out of the way of hearing anyfurther remarks that might be made, while byremaining she might spare them the shameof knowing that they had been overheard.For an instant she was tempted to go tothem, and explain her conduct, by informingthem of her interview with Miss Baxter; buther natural diffidence, added to a dread lestshe might, under the influence of excitement,act contrary to the rules laid down in theGospel, and display an improper spirit, heldher back.In the meantime the conversation proceededvigorously,.and still upon the same subject.The timid reserve which characterized herconduct towards strangers was denounced asill-natured haughtiness, and her attention toreligious duties as pharisaical.Ellen was subject to human weakness, and
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL. 41with a quick sense of injury, she started for-ward, determined, if not to exculpate herselfin their eyes, at least to charge them withtheir injustice; but ere it was too late, hersteps were arrested by a glimpse of the smallTestament, open still at the place where shehad been reading. Softly, as the dew uponthe heated grass, fell upon her heart the wordsof the Saviour, But I say unto you, That yeresist not evil; but whosoever shall smitethee on thy right cheek, turn to him the otheralso. Ye have heard that it hath been said,Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thineenemy : But I say unto you, Love your ene-mies, bless them that curse you, do good tothem that hate you, and pray for them thatdespitefully use you, and persecute you; thatye may be called the children of your Fatherwhich is in heaven : for He maketh His sunto rise on the evil and the good, and sendethrain on the just and on the unjust.'Her duty was plain now; and she experi-enced a feeling of satisfaction in the midst ofher trial, by reflecting that the Saviour hadsuffered in the same way, and that He wellknew how to succour her in this temptation.She would rely upon His grace, and invoke
42 ELLEN MASON.His aid that the blessing might indeed behers. Free from all agitation how, she calmlydetermined, if possible, not to hear what wassaid, by engaging her attention with some-thing else; and for this purpose, she againcommenced reading the Testament.She had perused but a few verses, how-ever, when a movement of the group disturbedher efforts, and the next instant, the threegirls had entered the arbour, and were stand-ing before her.It was too late to retreat now, and Ellenquietly nodded her head in acknowledgmentof their presence. The countenances of theintruders expressed the combined feelings ofsurprise, vexation, and resentment ; andstrangely enough the latter predominated intheir hearts.It is a singular fact in such cases, thatthose most to blame generally feel the mostanger; while the injured one may be calmand unruffled. They were evidently placedin an awkward position: not knowing justhow much of the conversation Ellen mighthave heard.Anna was the first to recover her self-pos-session. Convinced that sufficient must have
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL. 43come to her ears to give her a pretty correctimpression of their opinion of her, she deemedit best to put a bold face on the affair. Inas indifferent a tone as she could assume,she said,' I suppose you can now realise the truthof the homely old proverb, Ellen-Listenersnever hear any good of themselves !'An angry retort was upon Ellen's lip, andher bosom heaved convulsively: she controlledthe outburst of passion by a strong effort, andremained silent.' I think such meanness deserves the rewardwhich it generally receives,' responded Julia,who always seconded Anna's opinions.Ellen felt her only safety to be in flight,and without speaking she arose and walkedout of the arbour, by the opposite door to thatthrough which Anna and her companions hadentered.When she had gone, they looked at oneanother for a few moments, silently wonderingat her inexplicable conduct.'She seems to be possessed of a dumbspirit,' said Anna, whose prejudice had lostnone of its strength.'It was too mean of her to sit still andI
44 ELLEN MASON.listen to all we had to say,' responded JuliaGraham.' And not one bit mean of us to say whatwe did of her, I suppose,' added Sallie Blake,the third speaker.' We only spoke the truth,' replied Anna,indignantly.'Well, truth or not truth, for my part, I ammore than half ashamed of it,' Sallie answered;' and her behaviour just now has convincedme that we do not understand her, and for thefuture I mean to forbear expressing my opi-nion of her until further developments.''That sixpence was a sufficiently plain in-dication for me: I, for one, need nothingfurther,' replied Anna.' Well, that is mysterious to me, and I can-not explain it; but still she may have hadsome good reason for giving so little,' repliedSallie.'No good reason possibly, with such aliberal allowance of spending money as shehas,' Julia answered.'Well, time will determine her character,and I intend to wait for it,' said Sallie ; but,in the meantime, Julia,' she added, 'it isgetting very late, and mother has a particular
THE VISIT AND THE TRIAL. 45objection to my going home when tea is halfover; so, with your leave, we will bid Annagood-bye.'Sallie Blake was a good-natured girl, andfrank, and generous in disposition, but nowfor the first time she became conscious of theinjustice which she had probably done toEllen, while acting under the influence ofAnna West.Ellen had retired from the arbour with aburning cheek and a swelling heart, fully re-alising the truth of the text, 'A woundedspirit who can bear ?' Although outwardlyso calm and reserved, her feelings were deepand sensitive, and from her very infancy shehad felt the strong yearnings for sympathyand affection.In preparing to leave her home for school,amidst all the freshness of her double bereave-ment, and the grief of parting with her brother,one human source of consolation remained toher. She was going abroad among strangers,to be sure, and to one of her disposition thiswould prove to be a severe trial, yet it wascomforting to look forward to a time whenthose strangers should become her warmfriends, whose love would be the means of
46 ELLEN MASON.producing new happiness. How bitterly allthese hopes had been disappointed, you havealready seen.Well was it for Ellen that in this tryinghour she could turn her eyes and thoughts toa Friend who never disappoints the hope,' whose loving-kindness is better than life,'and whose 'faithfulness reacheth to the clouds.Weary and heavy laden, she could go to herSaviour, at His' own invitation, and leavingher burden at His feet, find rest for her soul.Oh, how great is Thy goodness, which Thouhast laid up for them that fear Thee ; whichThou hast wrought for them that trust in Theebefore the sons of men Thou shalt hidethem in the secret of Thy presence from thepride of man ; Thou shalt keep them secretlyin a pavilion from the strife of tongues.'CHAPTER V.THE QUARREL.FOR a time after this Ellen's life at schoolpassedratherpleasantly; forAmyWinthrophad
THE QUARREL. 47returned, and Sallie Blake, with two or threeothers, had shewn a kindly feeling towardsher. The girls met an hour every other after-noon, to make up the garments for Mrs Galeand her children, and, in addition to this, anywho chose took home pieces of work to finishat their leisure hours. As might be expected,some sewed faster than others ; and those whoaccomplished the least during the hour ofmeeting were not generally those who took thework home to finish.One afternoon, while they were engaged inthis business, Sallie Blake said aloud,'Well, Anna West, I have seen you throwdown that little apron at least a half dozentimes in the last ten minutes. And I declare,'she added, lifting it up, and examining it, 'youhaven't finished the seams yet, and this is yoursecond afternoon upon it. If Mrs Gale waitsfor you to make up the clothes, I am afraidshe will not get them before Christmas, ifthen.'' I don't pretend to be a quick sewer, and Ihave no taste for such coarse work. I prefershewing my benevolence in a more substantialform than mere stitches,' replied Anna, withevident annoyance.
48 ELLEN MASON.Like many others who boast of their inde-pendent frankness in speaking out their mindsfreely, Anna had a particular objection to suchindependence when shewn by another towardsher own failings.' I think, for my part,' returned Sallie, 'thatthis stitching is a very important part of be-nevolence, where the object is not able to makeap the things for herself : unless, indeed, sheshould happen to be a Hottentot or Hindoo,and did not think it necessary to wear re-gularly made habiliments. Now, there is EllenMason, who has.sewed away steadily ever since,as if for a wager, and has accomplished a won-derfully large quantity of work ; I think I hadrather take my chance with Ellen, after all, ifI were poor.'During the progress of this speech Anna'stemper had been rising, and now it had at-tained an unusual height. Had Sallie beentrying her utmost to provoke her, she couldnot have succeeded better than by drawingthis comparison with Ellen,The manner in which I choose to be cha-ritable,' she replied, angrily, 'is nobody's busi-ness but my own; and there is one comfort,if I am not fond of sewing, I was never yet
THE QUARREL. 49mean enough to offer a few pennies whereothers gave crowns, nor to listen to private re-marks made about me.'These unkind words had hardly escapedAnna's lips when she would have given muchto have been able to recall them; yet they hadbeen uttered; and quite too proud to apolo-gise, she preferred abiding by them, and con-cealing the real feelings of her heart. In thisshe was successful, for no one could havedetected regret in her flashing eyes andheightened colour.Ellen was far from being perfect, and theinterval of cessation from hostilities had thrownher off her guard. She was irritated beyondher own unaided measure of forbearance, andshe sought no higher assistance, but repliedquickly, prompted by the impulse of the mo-ment,' You have no right to treat me so unjustlyand rudely. I have not injured you in anyway at all. I gave according to the extent ofmy means, as I suppose you all did, and I wasnot a willing listener to the unkind remarkswhich were made about me'As Ellen stood erect, her face suffused withthe deep flush of angry excitement, her ap-T
50 ELLEN MASON.pearance presented a striking contrast to thequiet, subdued, Christian manner in whichshe had received the insulting imputationsbrought against her in the arbour. SallieBlake wondered at it, yet on the whole rejoicedin it.I may have been unjust, for I never gaveyou credit for the amount of gentleness andsweetness of temper which you are now dis-playing,' replied Anna, in a tone of irony.' Ellen is quite right,' said Sallie: I liketo see people able to take their own part.''And so calmly and politely,' retortedAnna, glancing towards Ellen's excited coun-tenance.' I merely followed your example, andscarcely deserve your encomium,' repliedEllen, her anger increasing with the amountof provocation.' You provoked Ellen to speak as she did,you know, Anna,' said Amy, anxious to takeher part; and she never would have answeredin that way had it not been for your unkind-ness to her.'The pleasant tones of a friendly voicebrought Ellen to reflection in a moment, andshe became quite conscious of the part she
THE QUARREL. 51had been acting. Now her meditations werebitter indeed. She had resolved to do herduty upon all occasions, at school, and by aconsistent Christian deportment to do awaywith the prejudice against her. Yet she hadso soon broken these resolutions and for-gotten the injunction of the Saviour, whichhad seemed so binding upon her but a fewdays previous.While these thoughts were producing theireffect upon her mind, the girls continued thedispute with increased energy, arguing for, oragainst her, as the case might be; yet she satwith her face covered, too much interested inthe upbraidings of her own conscience to heedthe tumult without. Attracted by the soundof angry voices, Miss Baxter suddenly en-tered the room.'Young ladies,' she said, as soon as herpresence produced silence; I regret exceed-ingly to find you in the midst of disorder anddisputing, when I hoped you were so peace-fully and profitably employed. Will youinform me of the cause of such confusion ?'After a few moments of uninterrupted still-ness, Miss Baxter turned to Amy, who seemedmore calm than any other and inquired,
52 ELLEN MASON.'Amy, can you give me an account of thisdifficulty?''Anna West said something that madeEllen Mason angry,' replied Amy, slightlyhesitating; and then some of us blamedAnna and some Ellen.''You forgot that Sallie Blake made remarksthat induced Anna to say what she did ofEllen,' said Julia Graham.'I did not think of Sallie's remarks havinganything to do with it,' replied Amy; 'butnow I remember; Sallie compared Anna'swork with Ellen's, and. accused her of beingless industrious than Ellen, and that was theway it commenced.'' I only said what was very easily proved,said Sallie.And I nothing more than the truth,' re-sponded Anna.' What have you to say, Ellen ?' asked MissBaxter.'That I did very wrong,' replied Ellen; 'Ispoke angrily where I ought to have beenpatient and forbearing.'The humble, regretful manner in whichthese few words were spoken pleased and sur-prised Miss Baxter.
THE QUARREL. 53' Well, however much you may have beento blame, Ellen,' she answered, 'you havetaken the very first step towards amendment.'Ellen had nerved herself by a very strongeffort to make this confession of delinquency,for all the natural feelings of her heart hadrisen up against it, and grace only enabledher to come out conqueror.But now that it was done, her whole frametrembled violently, and finding it impossibleto suppress the sobs that were almost chokingher to gain utterance, she glided out of theroom.Although but imperfectly acquainted withAnna's real feelings, Miss Baxter felt prettycertain that she entertained no friendly re-gard for Ellen ; and notwithstanding the ac-knowledgment of blame having come fromEllen alone, she presumed it quite probablethat Anna was mbst at fault in the quarrel.With this idea, she reproved the angry dis-play which had been made, and made somevery sensible remarks about the wickednessof such a state of heart as must have pro-duced it.Governed only, as Anna was, by the dic-tates of her own proud and passionate feel-
54 ELLEN MASON.ings, the reproof failed to benefit her. De-termined never to blame herself, where byany possibility it could be attached to another,she believed herself in this instance to havebeen more sinned against than sinning, andquite undeserving of the censure which shehad received. Of course, with these impres-sions, her heart was in no measure softenedtowards Ellen.'What do you think of Ellen Mason's con-duct this afternoon ?' inquired one of the girls,a short time afterward, in the garden.That she understands getting out of adifficulty better than any one I ever knew,'Anna replied coolly.' Her confession, which Miss Baxter madeso much of, was merely to produce effect,'rejoined Julia.' But Amy Winthrop told me that Ellengoes to see Mrs Gale, and reads to her everyday, and has even washed the children, whenthere was no one else to do it,' said one of thegirls.'Washed the children !' exclaimed Anna,as if quite horrified; that is disgusting toan extreme.''The children are very nice little things,A'
THE QUARREL. 55and their mother has been very particularabout them,' said Emily Day, the formerspeaker.'Don't attempt to apologise for any suchstrange and unlady-like behaviour,' interrupt-ed Anna.'But if there was no one else to washthem, it seemed like a work of charity to doit,' persisted Emily.'It would have been easy to have hiredsome one. Any one with common generosityin money matters would soon have seen theway to prevent any such disagreeable neces-sity,' said Anna.' I dare say she likes to go to see Mrs Gale,and that there is no necessity in the case. Yourecollect the old adage, "Birds of a featherflock together," said Julia Graham.'Well,' said Sallie Blake, who came up intime to hear a portion of the conversation,'here are you girls talking as much scandal,as if your own characters were so perfectlyfree from reproach that no one could ever darebreathe a word against you, by way of return-ing the compliment. For myself, ever sincethe day when Ellen overheard us by the arbour,I have thought a great deal about the mean-
56 ELLEN MASON.ness and wickedness of evil speaking, and Iintend to make a strong effort to overcomethe habit.'Anna was ready with a retort, but beforeshe had time to utter it, the agile Sallie wasoutside of the gate, and on the way towardsher home.CHAPTER VI.A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE.'BE not overcome of evil, but overcome evilwith good.' When she was alone in herroom, Ellen's mind dwelt much upon thesewords.This was the rule which she had hoped tocarry out in her intercourse with Miss Baxter'spupils, yet she had most signally failed. Shehad forgotten her dependence upon God, andrelied upon her own strength to accomplishit, and this was the cause of her failure. Fullysensible now of her error, conscious of her ownweakness and need of divine power to enableher to do right, with true oenitence she knelt
A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE. 57and prayed for forgiveness and grace to fol-low in the footsteps of the meek and lowlySaviour.In the heat of the excitement at first, shehad been tempted to throw the blame uponAnna alone, and to apologise for her own con-duct by the excuse that there was no harm inthe few words which she had spoken.But now, in the hour of calm reflection, shefelt that the spirit. in which she had utteredthem was not in accordance with the principleslaid down in the Gospel.Anna was not unfeeling, and had she knownthe suffering which Ellen endured for havinggiven way to the anger which her taunts hadprovoked, she would have regretted her mis-conduct; but her own conscience was renderedso callous by selfishness, that she could nothave appreciated the pangs of the more tender-hearted Ellen, and would have wondered howany one could feel so much sorrow for sosmall an offence.Yet how much better is it for the sinner tobow down, like Ellen, in deep contrition beforea Father, and ask for pardon that is freelyoffered, than to live on carelessly and unfeel-ingly in the commission of sin, to suffer at
58 ELLEN MASON.last the goadings of remorse, in that worldwhere no forgiveness can be obtained.Ellen's repentance was sincere; she hadlearned a lesson of self-distrust, and she stroveto walk softly and humbly before God; watch-ful of every step, and armed to meet everynew temptation. Perhaps the solitary lifewhich she led, out of school hours, tended toassist her efforts ; at least it freed her fromthe evil influence of a worldly-minded com-panion. She did not weary in well-doing, butpersisted in her visits of benevolence to MrsGale, and in performing any little act of kind-ness which might benefit her.I would not, however, have any of myyoung readers suppose by this that the straitroad of duty was a very easy one to Ellen.She was liable to, and did experience, all thedifficulties and temptations which are to befound in the way; the worst being the sug-gestions of her own heart; but these, byDivine grace, she met and conquered, andthen walked humbly on in the strength whichGod gave her.I have given you the result of this combatwithout describing the hardness of the war-fare by which it was accomplished. As the
A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE. 59Israelites gathered manna in the early morn-ing for each day, and by its sustenance con-tinued on their course towards Canaan, so didEllen, day by day, at the dawn of morning,gather spiritual food, and, refreshed andstrengthened, go on in her journey towardsheaven. She received life and grace from asource that is inexhaustible, and still open foiall who choose to avail themselves of it.Amy encouraged her in all her efforts, andconfidently spoke of a time coming, when shewould be appreciated as she deserved, even bythe prejudiced Anna. Amy's own mind wasquite clear as to Ellen's principles; yet shesometimes wondered at the rigid economy ob-served by her, even in her gifts of benevolence,and Ellen's natural reserve, combined with acertain sort of modest dislike to tell her owngood deeds, prevented her imparting the truereason of this.There was comfort for Ellen in the properdischarge of her duty, comfort in the societyof such a friend as Amy, and it was very de-lightful for her to notice the gratitude andjoy with which she was welcomed in her visitsto Mrs Gale's cottage; and with so manysources of pleasure. she could not be unhappy.
60 ELLEN MASON.Still she wished most earnestly to be able toovercome the prejudice which existed againsther, and determined, if possible, to do so, byfollowing the Saviour's rule.With this intention she watched for an op-portunity of returning good for the evil whichshe had received, although too retiring, andhaving too much self-respect to obtrude herservices where she felt that they could not beagreeable.Anna was quite a proficient in music, andvery proud of her attainments, and ambitiousto excel her companions. She had been for-tunate enough to obtain from a gentleman,who had heard her play, and was pleased withher performance, a piece of manuscript music-the unpublished production of a great com-poser. It was long and rather difficult ofexecution, and she kept it carefully laid awaywhere no one could have access to it, from adesire to have the exclusive benefit of it her-self, and to be able to play what others couldnot; and as she took but little pains to con-ceal her selfishness, none of her companionshad ever ventured to ask to borrow it.Imagine then her chagrin and vexationupon hearing one day the first few strains
A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE. 61played over with the slow irregular move-ment of a learner. She had been practisingbut a short time before, and had no very dis-tinct recollection of putting away her cherish-ed piece of music, and therefore presumedthat she might have inadvertently left it uponthe piano. Hastily advancing towards theparlour for the purpose of ascertaining whocould have appropriated her exclusive property,she saw Ellen Mason seated at the instrumentwith the music before her.With a quick hand-her vexation beingconsiderably increased by finding that Ellenwas the offender-she took hold of it, saying,in an irritated voice,' This piece of music is mine, and was leftunintentionally, for I am very careful of it.'No, it is mine,' replied Ellen, quite asquickly, though in a less excited manner.It is impossible for me to be mistaken,'said Anna, 'as the music is in manuscript,and I know it too well for that.'SThat is just the case with me, as I broughtit here in my trunk, which it has never leftuntil to-day,' replied Ellen, calmly, yet stilldeterminately retaining one hand upon thepiece of music.
62 ELLEN MASON.' I'd thank you, Miss Ellen, to let me havemy music without obliging me to call uponMiss Baxter,' persisted Anna.I am not afraid of Miss Baxter's interfer-ence, as, of course, she will allow me to keepmy own property,' Ellen replied.' I explained to you that the music is mine,and it is ridiculous to reason about what canbe so easily proved, as Miss Baxter and allthe girls have often seen me with it, beforeyou came here,' said Anna, her anger in-creasing.'And I am quite sure of my right to it, forit has never been out of my possession sinceit was given to me, and here is my name uponit,' replied Ellen, pointing to her name anda date, written in ink upon one corner of thesheet.'In your own writing; that is no proofat all,' Anna answered, with marked em-phasis.Ellen instantly understood the imputation,and trembled violently; every passionate emo-tion of her heart being aroused by it. Anangry answer was upon her lips ; but she hadnot so soon forgotten the lesson which shehad been so painfully taught. One hard
A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE. 63struggle with herself, and one earnest cry forhelp, from Him who alone can give it, andthe victory was gained.'I did write my name upon it'-she re-plied, trying to speak calmly-' when myfather first brought it home to me-morethan a year ago-as you may see by the date.It was given to him by a gentleman who hadcopied it from the original manuscript; butI never attempted it before, because I knewso little of music, and it seemed to be dif-ficult.'There was an air of truth about what Ellensaid, which must have convinced any one lessprejudiced than Anna; but the words fellpowerless upon a mind that was made up tobelieve nothing of her who spoke them. Itseemed to her impossible that the story couldbe true. Judging Ellen by her own standard,she could not believe that she could havethe music in her trunk ever since her ar-rival at school, without displaying it to thescholars.In her vanity, too, she had been too longIn the habit of regarding the possession ofthe manuscript copy, as a rare privilege, ex-clusively her own, and its bestowment as a
64 ELLEN MASON.particular compliment to herself, to be ledeasily to believe that another might have anequal right to the favour with herself; andthat other one so inferior as she deemed Ellento be. The only way, then, to account forthe difficulty was to take a broad ground,and credit Ellen with a very large amount ofdeception and impudence, and this her un-warrantable prejudice made her quite readyto do.' I must have my music, and there is no usein objecting,' she said, endeavouring to freeit from Ellen's hold.Ellen was convinced that it really didbelong to her, and felt as if she had a rightto refuse to yield up her own property toanother, and she still resolutely retained hergrasp.' Do you mean to let me have it ?' inquiredAnna, authoritatively.Ellen was about to answer distinctly anddecidedly No ;' when the words of theSaviour occurred to her, But I say unto you,That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shallsmite thee on the right cheek, turn to him theother also.This surely was a better rule than for her
A LESSON OF FORBEARANCE. 65to engage in a violent and shameful encounterin her own behalf with Anna, and an appli-cation to Miss Baxter would doubtless makeall right between them. She removed herhand from the disputed music, saying, mildly,I think you will find out your mistakesoon.'Without deigning an answer, Anna tookthe music, and left the room.Ellen's first feeling was humble gratitudethat she had been so far able to conform tothe example of her Saviour, and her thank-fulness at the victory achieved over herself inthis last contest, for a time subdued all sorrowat the temporary loss of her property, and theslight mortification which is usually experi-enced when one feels called upon to yield toanother on a disputed pointIn accordance with her resolution of apply-ing to her teacher to relieve her, she repairedto Miss Baxter's room, and explained thematter to her, without blaming Anna unne-cessarily. Miss Baxter knew that Anna hadowned a similar piece of copied music, andtelling Ellen that she supposed she had left itin her own room, instead of upon the piano,E
66 ELLEN MASON.and would soon be convinced of her error, sheadvised her to say nothing about it.But if Ellen was disposed to be quiet uponthe subject, Anna was not, and the girls wereduly informed the next morning of the pilfer-ing of her music-as she called it-and theimpudent attempt to escape detection bywriting her name upon it over a false dateThis story, with its embellishments, was re-ceived incredulously by Amy and Sallie,doubtingly by two or three others, and witheager ears by the rest. Upon the first portionit produced no other effect than increasedwonder at Anna's singular and unjust pre-judice against Ellen; upon the second, awavering of opinion as to which of the twodisputants was right, and a vague impres.sion against both; but upon the third, agrowing dislike to poor Ellen.And all this Ellen felt, yet bore uncom-plainingly : she was beginning to experiencea certain sort of quiet satisfaction in thepatient endurance of trial, which made theduty far less difficult to perform than she hadonce imagined it to be..d--~." " '~ ^ **
A DISCOVERY. 67CHAPTER VII.A DISCOVERY.Two days passed, and Ellen began to feelanxious about the fate of her music: foralthough not influenced by the same mo-tives as Anna, she yet valued it highly, andwas very desirous to have it again in herpossession.On the morning of the third day, duringthe time of recess, some of the girls wereengaged in a game of 'hide and seek' onthe play-ground. The article to be hiddenwas a pocket handkerchief, and there were.may little devices to secrete it carefully, andmuch running to and fro among the trees.The bustle attracted the attention of a livelylittle terrier belonging to the establishment,who, seeming to presume his services mightbe needed, was not slow in offering them inhis usual officious and business-like manner.Being a general favourite, he received a wanmwelcome.'Come, Gyp,' called Sallie Blake; 'sup-
68 ELLEN MASON.pose you run and see if you can find thehandkerchief, sir.'Gyp looked up in her face inquiringlywhile she spoke ; then in the direction towhich she pointed, and then erecting hisears with an intelligent expression, as ifhe had caught her meaning, he darted offtowards a summer-house in view, andcommenced a vigorous search inside anilaround it.In the mean time the girls continuedtheir search : but the handkerchief seemedto be very securely hidden this time, andnot to be found.'Gyp has it see! here he comes withsomething in his mouth,' exclaimed Emily.The little fellow rapidly advanced towardsSallie, as the one who had despatched himupon the errand, and therefore the properperson to whom to carry its fruits.'No, no; it is not the handkerchief, buta greater treasure,' said Sallie, carefully re-leasing it from his grasp.'Come here, Anna West,' she continuedin a louder tone; 'come see what Gyp hasfound for you.'The girls, Anna among them, crowded
A DISCOVERY. 69around Sallie, while she endeavoured tosmooth out, what now plainly appeared tobe the missing manuscript music.'That is not mine,' said Anna, movingoff, and refusing to take the soiled andcrumpled sheet of paper : 'mine is at homein my drawer.''Then why did you write your name onthis ?' inquired Sallie, pointing to some verydistinct pencil marks.Anna coloured, and look confused, but didnot answer.' It is certainly yours; and the one inyour drawer must belong to Ellen,' remarkedone of the girls.- I always thought you must be mistaken,'said Emily; because, you know, it wasquite possible that Ellen's father should haveknown the gentleman who gave you themusic, and I dare say he gave copies of it tomore than one person.'It is very singular, and I do not under-stand it,' replied Anna, as soon as she couldcollect her thoughts : I left my music uponthe piano in the parlour, and how could ithave got here?''It is all clear enough to me now,' Sallie
70 ELLEN MASON.answered; 'you did not leave it in theparlour as you thought; for now I remem-ber distinctly seeing you with it in yourhand, as you walked through the grove withJulia Graham., It is strange that I did notrecollect it before. I suppose you musthave laid it upon a seat in the arbour, andthen have forgotten to bring it away whenyou left.'Anna's own memory convinced her ofthe truth of Sallie's statement. She couldremember perfectly well, now, having carriedit with her to the summer-house, and layingit upon a bench, while she and Julia restedthere. Her mortification was extreme, asshe stood and looked upon her ruined pro-perty, thinking over her misconduct andthe effect of it upon the minds of her com-panions who stood around. In a momentshe saw that she had been unjust to Ellen,certainly in this instance, and not unlikelyin all the preceding ones. She could notrecall a single act of personal unkindnessfrom Ellen towards herself, excepting thosefew hasty words, which she now felt to havebeen provoked by her own ill-natured re-marks.
A DISCOVERY. 71Anna was not incapable of doing a gene-rous or good action, by any means, and shewas strongly inclined to make an open con-fession of her error; but her pride of heartarose against it, and not having Ellen'sstrong religious principles to uphold her, shefaltered, and turned away without performingthis act of common justice.Here is your music,' said Sallie.'It is too much spoiled to be of any use to menow,' Anna replied, as she continued onher way.Amy turned to look for Ellen; but she,fearing trust herself, lest she might havedisplayed some ill-timed triumph, had walkedaway in another direction.Quite an animated discussion, by those whoremained, followed the departure of the twogirls, which was kept up until the bell sum-moned them to the school-room.In the afternoon of the same day, Ellenreceived her music, with a slip of paper accom-panying it, upon which was written,'Ellen Mason will excuse the very naturalmistake which was made about this music.I see now that the error caused me to treather rudely and unkindly.'4
72 ELLEN MASON.This was the nearest approach to anapology that Anna's pride would allow herto make; but it was sufficient to satisfy theunexacting Ellen, who regarded it as atoken that she would yet be properly un-derstood by all her companions, and beable to overcome Anna's strong prejudiceagainst her.This last was a pleasant idea to Ellen, forshe felt no dislike to her, but, on the con-trary, would have gladly been her friend.She wondered if their might not be somelittle unobtrusive act of kindness which shemight perform for her, and which wouldassist in the accomplishment of her desires,and her imagination soon suggested a plan.CHAPTER VIII.GOOD FOR EVIL.ELLEN had overheard Anna say, in answerto a proposition from one of the girls, thatshe should make a copy from the ruinedmanuscript.
GOOD EOR EVIL. 73I do not copy music well, and couldnot make one fit to be seen, without spend-ing more time and patience than I have atmy disposal.'Upon this answer her plan was founded.She could copy manuscript very neatly, anddid not object to spend time and patience inan effort to do even so small an amount ofgood. Anna performed the piece with somuch taste and skill that Ellen felt sure shemust regret its loss very much ; notwithstand-ing that its value had somewhat diminishedby finding that another had it in possessionas well as herself.To accomplish this task, and still continueto discharge scrupulously the various dutieswhich she had taken upon herself, would re-quire extra exertion, and Ellen prepared her-self for this. She had not leisure hours ather disposal; but small fragments of time-minutes-were seized upon and closely oc-cupied; and although it proved to be atedious affair, yet her zeal did not diminish;but she worked on steadily and perseveiinglyfor nearly two weeks. Then, when to hergreat satisfaction she saw it completed ingood style, without a single blot or mistake,
74 ELLEN MASON.she wondered that she had been able to do somuch in those odd points of time which shehad accustomed herself to regard as incapableof being put to any use.The copy was sent to Anna, with a veryshort but polite note asking her acceptanceof it, and Ellen calmly awaited the result;striving to follow the Saviour's rule, Dogood, hoping for nothing again,' and tobe quite satisfied with the promise whichfollows it; 'and your reward shall be great,and ye shall be the children of the Highest.'She took up a garment which she had beenmaking for one of Mrs Gale's children, andcommenced sewing rapidly; but she had notproceeded very far, when some one knockedat her door. She opened it, and saw Annastanding there; for a moment she hesitatedfrom embarrassment, but recovering herself,invited her to come in.' I dare say you may be surprised at thisvisit from me, Ellen Mason,' Anna com-menced, in her own independent sort ofway; 'but I am sure you cannot be moreso now than I was awhile ago in receivingthat nicely copied manuscript from you. Ihave come to thank you for it as well as
GOOD FOR EVIL. 75I can; but I cannot imagine what couldhave induced you to take so much troubleto do a favour for me, when I have treatedyou badly ever since you came here. Itmust have required a great deal of time, andconsiderably more patience, to make such abeautiful copy as that.''I am very glad you like it,' said Ellen,brightening.'And will my liking it be a sufficientcompensation ?' inquired Anna.'Oh, yes, indeed; I did it only in hopesof pleasing you,' Ellen replied, frankly.'And why were you so anxious to pleaseme, when I never tried to please you?' Annaagain inquired.'I wanted to make you love me,' Ellenanswered: 'and'-she added, hesitatingly,knowing how often she had been misunder-stood-'and I wanted to follow the exampleof the Saviour, in doing good to those whodid not love me.'For the moment the two girls seemedto have changed places, for Ellen sat calmlyengaged with her sewing, while Anna'sdowncast eyes and perturbed countenanceshewed plainly-that her mind was ill at ease.
76 ELLEN MASON.The better to explain the feelings whichdisturbed the latter, we will go back to the"time of her receiving the result of Ellen'slabours. At first her prejudice readily sug-gested a bad motive, even for this act of puregood will, and she imagined that it might bebut another illustration of her miserly nature,and that she expected to be paid for it. Butupon consulting the note, and finding nothingto justify any such conclusion, she resolvedfor once not to be unjust, in attributing awrong motive upon a slender foundation.This led her to seek the interview, andnow Ellen's earnest manner convinced herthat she had sadly misjudged her. This con-viction, and the upbraidings of conscienceproduced by it, silenced her for a time; butsoon recovering herself, and determined tobe just at last, she said, with more emotionthan Ellen had ever before seen her display-'I fear I have done .you great injustice,Ellen; I have accused you of almost every-thing that is bad, and never gave you creditfor a single good motive, as far as I can nowrecollect.''I have very often done wrong sinceyou first knew me,' said Ellen, candidly;
GOOD FOR EVIL. 77'but I have sometimes thought that youdid not quite understand me, because youdid not know what reasons I had for actingas I did. But that is all over now, I hope,and I shall be very glad indeed to be yourfriend.'As Ellen finished speaking, she extendedher hand, and Anna returned its pressure;not with the same fervour, however, for thetouch seemed to call up the old feelings,and once more she was under their influence,as she remembered the charitable list, andthe small gift of sixpence. Ellen instantlyfelt this change, and a cloud of sadness settledupon her face as she began to dread that thetrial was not yet over.' I have one favour to ask of you, Anna,'she said, in a slightly tremulous tone ; 'andit is that you will believe me to be right,sometimes, even where appearances seem tobe against me.'Anna did not answer, and after a shortpause, Ellen continued-'I know that you and the other girls mustthink me mean in money matters, when Igive so little to the poor ; but I have a goodmotive, I think, for being saving.'
78 ELLEN MASON.Here Anna interrupted her by candidlyacknowledging what her thoughts had beenupon this subject. There was a momentaryhesitation, and then Ellen simply and unos-tentatiously related the story of the little or-phan cousin, and her mother's dying request.Conscience-stricken, and full of astonish-ment, Anna exclaimed-' And it is for this you hoard your moneywith so much self-denial?'Ellen looked at her, wondering that theperformance of so plain an act of duty shouldexcite surprise, and replied, with unaffectedhumility-'It was my mother's dying request.''And is it possible that all this time, undera mistake, I have been treating you in themost unkind and unjust manner; and tryingto influence others against you?' said Anna,musingly.'But it was only through a mistake,after all,' returned Ellen: 'you judged bywhat you saw, and did not know my motives.'It was a wilful error,' Anna answered,with energy: 'caused by my stubborn andwicked prejudice. I see it all plainly now,when it is too late.'
GOOD FOR EVIL. 79' Oh, no 1 not too late, Anna,' replied Ellen,eagerly ; 'I am already more than repaid forthe annoyance which the misunderstandingcost me, and it will be so pleasant in thefuture to feel that you are my friend, and willlook mildly upon my faults.''I have a favour to ask of you, Ellen,' saidAnna, after a short pause.'What is it ?' Ellen asked.'That you may teach me how to be as goodand gentle as yourself,' Anna replied.For a moment a feeling of proud self-gratu-lation filled Ellen's heart. Now, at last, herefforts were to be crowned with success, andher character for goodness to be appreciatedas it deserved.But this selfish triumph was subdued by arecollection of Him who had made her to differfrom Anna; of her own wanderings from theright way, and His kind forbearance; and ofthe powerful grace exerted in her behalf, whichhad alone rescued her from the evil influenceof her own wicked and deceitful heart. Shehad not gained a single victory over an easilybesetting sin, by her own desire, or by herown might, but only through the strengthgiven to her from God. In Him only could
80 ELLEN MASON.she then glory, and His faithfulness and lovewere abundant and manifold enough to fill hersoul with grateful praise, and to dispel allmere selfish thoughts.'I cannot teach you this, Anna,' she re-plied ; 'I did not know it myself until Godtaught me. Jesus says, " Learn of me, for Iam meek and lowly in heart."'Anna admired 'the beauty of holiness' asit had been displayed in Ellen's consistentconduct, but the Son of God, in her eyes, wasas a root out of dry ground, without form orcomeliness,' and without speaking, she turnedand left the room.Ellen had not only lost an enemy, but shehad gained a firm friend; for now Annaseemed to be endeavouring with earnest de-termination to make amends for past injuries.She had learned a lesson not easily to be for-gotten; that prejudices are not to be reliedupon for facts, and, that giving heed to theprecept, 'Judge not according to the appear-ance,' may prevent our doing injustice, andsave us many a bitter reflection.From this ime a marked change was ap-parent in Ellen. Occupying now a morufavourable position, and no longer oppressed
GOOD FOR EVIL. 81with the constant dread of being misunder-stood, her spirits recovered their elasticity,and she acted out the good impulses of herheart freely and unconstrainedly. Her reserveof manner seemed to have vanished entirely,as with a light step and cheerful countenanceshe moved among her companions, sure of akind greeting from all.'How much Ellen Mason has changed sinceshe came here It is difficult to realise thatshe is the same shy, awkward stranger, whowas first introduced to us a few months ago,and whom nobody liked,' said Sallie Blake,one afternoon, as Ellen sat under a tree uponthe play-ground, engaged in an animated con-versation with one of the girls.'Yes, indeed,' returned Emily Day; whocould have believed that any one could changeso much in so short a time ?'Amy Winthrop looked at the glow of en-thusiasm which lighted up Ellen's counte-nance, and remembered, months before, whena similar effect had been produced upon her,by a few words of kindness.'No,' she said earnestly, 'I do not thinkthe change is so great in Ellen as in the cir-cumstances around her.'F
82 ELLEN MASON.Her companions looked up inquiringly.'When Ellen first came here,' Amy con-tinued, nobody tried to win her love, but allseemed bent upon avoiding her. She couldnot help seeing this, and she must have feltvery uncomfortably, in being obliged to beamong those whom she knew to be prejudicedagainst her, and ready to attribute a hadmotive to every thing she said or did.'~L
Ir lr Ct:1hin1n office.ONE day, as the Prophet Elisha passed on hisway to Shunem, a rich woman saw him,pressed him to stop at her house, and takesome refreshment. Whenever he passed thatway afterwards, he called to see her.After some time she said to her husband,'This is a good man that passes here so often:let us make a little chamber on the wall; andplace in it a bed, a table, a stool, and a candle-stick; and whenever he comes, let him go intoit and rest. Now, she had no children; sothe prophet promised her, as a reward, thatshe would have a son. And when the childwas grown, he went with his father into theharvest-field to see the reapers; whilst therehe complained, saying, My head, my head.'His father directed one of the young mento take him up in his arms, and carry him tohis mother; he sat upon her knees until noon,and then died.
84 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.When I was spending a few weeks, lastsummer, with my friends in the country, agentleman invited me to see his beautifulgarden. I went, but he was not at home.The gardener, however, shewed me all overit; and it contained some very beautifulflowers. After he had shewn me the whole,I thanked him for his trouble and kindness,and told hin I had a much more beautiful onethan that.He shook his head, and smiled, saying, 'Itwas hard to be surpassed'-for his masterwas a very rich man, and spared no expenseto have the most beautiful garden in thecountry.I said it was just so with the garden Ispoke of, and invited him to call in and seeit for himself, should he ever be in my neigh-bourhood.He asked me where it was. I said, 'InBaltimore.' 'Not in the city ?' said he 'Yes,'I replied, 'and in the middle of the city too:and I have flowers of all kinds growing thereall the year round.'Now, where do you think the garden ofwhich I spoke is ? Why, the Sunday-schoolis my garden; and the boys and girls are my
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. 85flowers! I suppose they never thought ofbeing called flowers before. But you knowthe Bible calls us 'flowers of the field thatto-day are, and to-morrow are cut down, andcast into the oven.' It calls us flowers becauseour life is like theirs, so short-the least thingmay destroy them.That gardener was fond of his flowers-soam I. As I walk about the Sunday-school, Isee in the different classes different beds offlowers. There are some that look like roses,some like dahlias, some like sun-flowers, somelike tulips, some like pinks, and some plainand almost unobserved, like the mignionetteand violet-in short, every colour you canconceive. Nor am I the only gardener.Different classes, or beds, are given to othergardeners to train, and cultivate, and causethem to bloom in full beauty.I remember the gardener said he wanted toshew me a very beautiful flower; and when hecame to the place it was gone. I asked himwhere it was. He replied, 'My master musthave gathered it, and taken it home withhim.';A little while ago when I returned to mySabbath-school after three months' absence,
86 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.I looked around for this flower, and for that;I found, I think, four missing, that used togrow there; and I was led to say, 'My Masterhas taken them home to bloom in heaven.'Let me ask, are we going to live for ever onthis earth ?Go to the grave-yards, and who are buriedthere? Men, women, and children. Whereare our friends, our fathers, our mothers, ourbrothers, and sisters, whom we loved so much ?Where are our school-fellows who used towalk with us to school, who used to sit uponthe same bench, learn the same lesson, andplay the same games? They are not here,and you might search the whole world over,and you could not find them. Their place isempty. What then has become of them. Iwill tell you. Death has come and carriedthem away!Tell me, then, why do we die ?We don't want to die, do we? No; I ex-pect you are all afraid of death. When anyof you are sick, and there is thought to beany danger of your dying, what will you notdo in order that you may live ? You willswallow the most bitter and disagreeable me-dicines the doctor chooses to give you. You
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. 87will let him cut off your right arm, or yourleg, or even cut out your eye-yes, do any-thing for him if he will only promise to saveyou from deathI Skin for skin-yea allthat a man hath will he give for his life.'There was once an awful storm on the seacoast, and as those who lived near it werelooking at the great waves which camedashing from the dark blue ocean over therocks, that were here and there standing outfrom the water, they saw a vessel coming to-wards the shore-the wind driving her withits irresistible force, and the crew doing allthey could to keep her away. It was, how-ever, in vain. She came closer and closer.Between the shore and the vessel there weresome very large rocks: as the waves keptdashing upon them they soon swept forwardthe vessel with all the men on board; so thatat last, mounting on one of them, she wasthrown with great violence against the rocks.There was a crash heard, and the next momentthat strong and beautiful vessel was gone topieces Those on shore could see it all; butthe waves were too high, and the wind toofierce, to let them send out any boats to aidthe poor sailors who had no life-boat.
88 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.But what has become of all those personswho were on board? Are they all drowned?No; look, there is one poor man strugglingwith the waves. He is trying to swim. Allthe rest are gone; and as they look aroundat him and hope he may be saved, they seehim catch hold of a buoy which floats uponthe water.Oh if those people on shore could onlyget to him, throw out a rope, or something ofthat kind! But no;-however much theymay wish it, it is too far; and they cannotrender him any help. There he hangs, andrises and falls with every wave; still he willnot let go his hold. Is that man willing todie, do you think ? No he would hang therefor years if it were possible, rather than die.At last the sun begins to go down; thedarkness steals over the angry waters ; andthe people on the shore feel that they mustgo to their comfortable homes, and leave thepoor sailor hanging to the buoy for his life.They pity him from their very hearts. Asthey go homeward they turn round, everynow and then, to see if he is still there. Canthey see anything of either the buoy or theman, amid the darkness No ; all seems to
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. 89be gone, when another wave comes and raisesup the buoy and there is the poor sailor still !They go to their homes-they pray for him-they dream of him ; and they think a greatdeal about him.As soon as the morning comes, the firstthing they think of is he-the poor sailor,they had to leave in such a dangerous posi-tion the night before-and they wonder if heis still there.The dark clouds are all gone-the fiercewind hath ceased to blow, and the roughwater has become smooth. There is the wreckof the vessel, and there is the buoy they sawlast night exactly in the same place-butwhere is the poor sailor ? In vain they maylook for him. He is gone-gone to the verybottom, because he could not hold on anylonger; and there he must remain until Godcalls all our dead bodies to rise at the resur-rection of the dead.Now, why is it that we all die when we doall we can to live ? Is it not because of sinDoes not the Bible tell us:-' Death hathpassed upon all men in that all have sinned.'Yes, all of us are sinners, and therefore wemust die. Sin entered into the world, and
90 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.death by sin'-and so death passes on us all.If there had been no sin-if man had neverdisobeyed God-if you could now live withoutsinning, there would be no death. Whenthen you can shew me a little child, whetherit be a boy or girl, that has never sinned, andis not a sinner, we shall see one that will neverdie. *I once went over a large prison, and wastaken into the narrow passage where I sawa great number of small black doors. I thinkthere were about five rows of them, one aboveanother. I asked what they were for? Theytold me they were the cells in which theprisoners were confined. I asked why theywere confined, and was told that it was be-cause they had disobeyed the laws. Somewere imprisoned for one thing, and some foranother. Some had only stolen a triflingmatter; others something valuable. Butthere was no difference-all were locked upalike. They had sinned, and were thereforeconfined.Soon after I was called upon to attend aburial at one of the grave-yards; and as werode through the ground, and I saw graveafter grave, and vault after vault: and when
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. 91they put the person whose funeral it was intoone of those narrow cells in the vault, I said,This is a prison full of cells. It is God'sprison for the body that has sinned.' Inevery grave I saw a cell; and it seems to me,when I look, as if every one of them were amonument to remind us that we are sinners,and must soon be confined as prisoners untilGod calls us to judgment. The earth seemsto be full of graves and grave-yards; but inheaven there is no such thing-because sinis not there.Can you tell me who die ?Is it only the old man with silver locks,who walks slowly and feebly tottering along,leaning on a stick, and nearly bent to earthby old age ?Is it only the man in the prime of life whohas passed by the time of childhood andyouth; who is now engrossed in business andwhose days of pleasure are almost over ?Is it only that little girl who is pale andthin-who is always complaining of pain andsickness-who has no strength to join in thepleasures and games of her young companions-whose life seems a burden to her-who is
92 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.every now and then confined to a bed of suf-fering, and is expected daily to die ?Is it only that little boy who moves aboutquietly-who seems never to do anythingthat is wrong-who always has his lessons byheart-who listens to all his teacher says-who loves his Sunday-school, his church andall that is good-who is kind and affectionateto his companions, and keeps the Sabbathholy-who is more like a little angel than alittle boy-who loves to hear about Jesus, andwhat is better still, loves Jesus as his Saviour,and his God?Is it only such that die? Ah no! whendeath comes, it does not ask if you are youngor old; sick or well; good or bad. It takesaway more children than grown persons.Take a measure in your hand, go to a grave-yard, and judge for yourself. You will findmore little graves there than large ones; andsince I have been a minister I have attendedthe burial of more children than grown per-sons.And shall that pretty little child die?Shall these little hands be still and motion-less ? Shall these bright and sparkling eyes
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. 93now looking at this page be closed for ever iShall the soft, warm, and coloured cheek behard, cold, and pale ? and shall that tonguebe silent? the whole body be lifeless-shallevery part die ? No. The grave only takesthe body, whilst the soul, that is to live forever, flies away to God who gave it. Thesoul can live, think, and act, separate fromthe body. It was only a house in which itlived on earth; and there is a day comingwhen it shall again be joined to it. Youhave seen the sweet little humming-bird as itswiftly passed from flower to flower gatheringhoney. It was once like the soul, shut up ina little shell. It was God that brought itforth-so God will also raise up our bodies,and bring them forth by His wisdom andpower.Now, let me tell you a parable. There wasa great island in the midst of the water; faraway from any other land. The people hadno ships in which they could go in search ofwhat was on the other side.Every day there came a great ship to thisisland, and it had strange men on board;men unlike the inhabitants of the island.They got out of their vessel and seized one.
94 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.and then another of the poor islanders, andcarried them away; old and young, rich andpoor. There was no such thing, as stoppingthem. Away they went; and nobody knewanything about them. Those who had beenleft behind, cried and mourned for those whowere gone.Nobody knew what to do; when one daya man came to the island and built a littleboat at his own expense. He told the peoplehe would go and cross that sea, and find whathad become of their friends. They watchedhim until his little boat was out of sight;and many wondered if he would really return.Some thought he never could, as no one hadbeen ever known to do so.At the end of three days the boat is seen,and all rush to the shore saying, 'He hasfound our friends Yes, he has found them !'As soon as he lands they all cry out at once,'Did you really find them?' 'Yes,' he re-plies, 'I have seen them all, and theywere all alive.' 'What are they doing?-arethey all happy they eagerly asked. 'Theyare all starting,' he said, 'for a country faraway.' When they get there they will betried; some of them who are good, and had
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. 95endeavoured to live here as they ought, willbe made happy, and will live in a most beau-tiful country, whence they would not comeback to you for all the world. But someothers, when tried, are found unworthy ofsuch a good country; these are wicked andbad, and are sent away to places of misery.'But they ask, Will the ship come and carryany more away ?''Yes, every day it will be here until all ofyou are carried away; so the best thing foryou to do is to prepare yourselves now forthat trial, and then you need not fear theship's coming.'' And pray what are we to do to get ready?for the ship may be here for us before we areready.''Take this book,' he said, 'it is writteirwith my blood, and will tell you what to do.It is very plain and simple-a child mayunderstand it; and it will be quite sufficientto guide you, if you will only obey its precepts.Now, was not that a kind and dear friend,and must not that book be a most excellentand good one ?Do you understand this parable ? The i i4iudis our world. The ship is Death ; which
96 THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.comes and carries us away. The country weare carried to is in Eternity. Christ Jesus isthat kind and good Friend; who died for usand rose again. The Bible is the book whichhe wrote and has given us, to tell how wemust prepare for that other world. Let us,then, love Jesus Christ more and more; readour Bibles attentively, that we may be madewise and good; and so when Death comesand carries us away, we shall go and live withJesus and all the good and happy people inheaven.Do any of you think that you are preparedto die ? There are some children so thought-less, careless, and wicked, that if they were todie, God would be angry with them, andpunish them for ever in hell. There arealso some that have been prepared when deathcame, and it had no terror for them.There was a little boy about eleven yearsof age, a Sunday-school scholar, who was oneday bitten by a mad dog. The doctor cutthe part out; but the fatal poison had gotinto his veins, and in some weeks sheweditself. He knew there was little or no hope;but nevertheless he took patiently all themedicine the doctor prescribed. He bid