• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 The two sons
 The prisoner released
 The mother’s return
 The friend in need
 Forbidden ground
 Clouds and sunshine
 The great plague
 The green velvet dress
 False friends
 Courage and candour
 The sailor’s resolve
 The gipsies
 Friends in need
 The old pauper
 The beautiful villa
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: A.L.O.E. series--
Title: Precepts in practice or, Stories illustrating the proverbs
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028200/00001
 Material Information
Title: Precepts in practice or, Stories illustrating the proverbs
Alternate Title: Precepts in practice
Stories illustrating the proverbs
Physical Description: 215, 8 p., 2 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: A. L. O. E., 1821-1893
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Edinburgh
New York
Publication Date: 1873
Copyright Date: 1873
 Subjects
Subject: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1873   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1873   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1873   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1873
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
General Note: Added t.p. and frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: A.L.O.E. series
Statement of Responsibility: by A.L.O.E.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028200
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH9396
oclc - 48560114
alephbibnum - 002238872

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece 1
        Frontispiece 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Preface
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
    The two sons
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The prisoner released
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    The mother’s return
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The friend in need
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Forbidden ground
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Clouds and sunshine
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    The great plague
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
    The green velvet dress
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    False friends
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Courage and candour
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
    The sailor’s resolve
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
    The gipsies
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
    Friends in need
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
    The old pauper
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
    The beautiful villa
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    Advertising
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
    Back Cover
        Page 227
        Page 228
    Spine
        Page 229
Full Text






K EP SINi PRACTICE






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J. N. *IVIA )INl LAY.
BOOKSELLER.
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LONDONEDNBUR H AND NEW YORK
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T. N LSONAND ONS
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PRECEPTS IN PRACTICE;


OR,


Stories M[ustrating the irobtrbs.





A. L. O E.,
A i//kr of The Silver Casket," The Robbers' Cave,"
&,c. &,c.













LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK,

1675.


















i.-

-T y rather..


S,,^p EAR young friends (perhaps I may rather
welcome some amongst you as old friends),
I would once more gather you around me to
7 listen to my simple stories. I have in each
one endeavoured to exemplify some truth
taught by the wise King Solomon, in the Book of Pro-
verbs. Perhaps the holy words, which I trust that
many of you have already learned to love, may be more
forcibly imprinted on your minds, and you may apply
them more to your own conduct, when you see them
illustrated by tales describing such events as may happen
to yourselves.
May the Giver of all good gifts make the choice of
Solomon also yours; may you, each and all, be endowed
with that wisdom from on high which is more precious
than rubies; and may you find, as you proceed onward
to that better home to which Heavenly Wisdom would
guide you, that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and
all her paths are peace.
A. L. O. E.












































































































































































































































































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A













--(,-----



I. THE TWO SONS, ... ... ...

II. THE PRISONER RELEASED, ... ... ... ... ..... 21

III. THE MOTHER'S RETURN, ... .. ... ......... 35

IV. THE FRIEND IN NEED, ... ... ... ... ... 43

V. FORBIDDEN GROUND, ...... ... ..... 62

VI. CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE, ... ... ... ... ... ... 76

VII. THE GREAT PLAGUE, ... ... ... ... ... ... 89

VIII. THE GREEN VELVET DRESS. ... 99

IX. FALSE FRIENDS, ... ...... ... ... ... ... 115

X. COURAGE AND CANDOUR, ... ... ..... ..... 129

XI. THE SAILOR'S RESOLVE. ... ..... ... ... 146

X II. THE GIPSIES, ... ... ... ... ...... ... 158

XIII. FRIENDS IN NEED, ... ... ... ... ..... ... 173

XIV. THE OLD PAUPER, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 190

XV. THE BEAUTIFUL VILLA, ... ... .. 203




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A wise son maketh a glad father : but a foolish man despiseth his
h._> ______













T H' ETW 0 SV 0 N /S



mother."- PRov. xv. 20.


T was a clear, cold morning in December. Not a
cloud was in the sky, and the sun shone brightly,
gilding the long icicles that hung from the eaves,
and gleaming on the frozen surface of the lake,
as though he would have melted them by his
kindly smile. But the cold was too intense for that;
there was no softening of the ice; no drop hung like a
tear from the glittering icicles. Alas that we should
ever find in life hearts colder and harder still, that even
kindness fails to melt!
Many persons were skating over the lake-sometimes







10 THE TWO SONS.

darting forward with the swiftness of the wind, then
making graceful curves to the right or the left, and
forming strange figures on the ice. And there were
many boys also enjoying themselves as much, although
in a different way-sliding along the slippery surface,
and making the air ring with their merry laughter.












NV
^F









THE FROZEN LAKE.

One of the gayest of these last was a rosy-cheeked
boy, who looked as though care or sorrow had never
traced a line on his face. He had just made a very
long slide, and stood flushed with the exercise to watch







THE TWO SONS. 11

his companions follow him on the glistening line, when
Dr. Merton, a. medical man, who was taking his morning
walk, and had come to the lake to see the skating, lightly
touched the boy on the shoulder.
"Paul Fane, is your mother better to-day ?"
"Oh, she's well enough-that's to say, she's always
ailing," replied the boy carelessly, still keeping his eye
upon the sliders.
Did she sleep better last night ?"
Oh, really, why I don't exactly know. I've not
seen her yet this morning."
Not seen her !" repeated Dr. Merton in surprise.
Oh, sir, I knew that she'd be worrying me about
my coming here upon the ice. She's so fidgety and
frightened-she treats one like a child, and is always
fancying that there is danger when there is none ;" and
the boy turned down his lip with a contemptuous ex-
pression.
I should say that you are in danger now," said Dr.
Merton, very gravely.
How- so? the ice is thick .enough to roast an ox
upon," replied Paul, striking it with his heel.
In danger of the anger of that great Being who hath
said, Honour thy father and thy mother-in danger of
much future pain and regret, when the time for obeying
that command shall be lost to you for ever."
Paul's cheek grew redder at these words. He felt half






12 THE TWO SONS.

inclined to make an insolent reply; but there was some-
thing in the doctor's manner which awed even his proud
and unruly spirit.
Where is your brother Harry ?" inquired Dr. Merton.
Oh, I suppose at home," replied Paul bluffly, glad of
any change in the conversation; and still more glad was
he when the gentleman turned away, and left him to
pursue his amusement.
And where was Harry on that right, cheerful morn-
ing, while his brother was enjoying himself upon the
ice ? In a little, dull, close room, with a peevish in-
valid, the sunshine mostly shut out by the dark blinds,
while the sound of merry voices from without contrasted
with the gloomy stillness within. Harry glided about
with a quiet step, trimmed the fire, set on the kettle,
prepared the gruel for his mother, and carried it gently
to the side of her bed. He arranged the pillows com-
fortably for the sufferer, and tended her even as she had
tended him in the days of his helpless infancy. The
fretfulness of the sick woman never moved his patience.
He remembered how often, when he was a babe, his cry
had broken her rest and disturbed her comfort. How
could he do enough for her who had given him life, and
watched over him and loved him long, long before he
had been able even to make the small return of a grate-
fil look? Oh! what a holy thing is filial obedience!
God commands it, God has blessed it, and He will bless








THE TWO SONS. 13

I ~- - -- *"--t-- *--"'1--i. .-. __ ^ __^_ ___







\. 4 j/ l-/!/--- /"


















HARRY TENDING HIS MOTHER.

it for ever. He that disobeys or neglects a parent is
planting thorns for his own pillow, and they are thorns
that shall one day pierce him even to the soul.
"Where is Paul ?" said Mrs. Fane with uneasiness.
"I am always anxious about that dear boy. I do trust
that he has not ventured upon the ice."
I believe, mother, that the ice has been considered
safe, quite safe, for the last three days."






14 THE TWO SONS.

"You know nothing about the matter," cried the
fretful invalid. "I had a cousin drowned once in that
lake when every one said that there was no danger. I
have forbidden you both a thousand times to go near the
ice;" and she gave her son a look of displeasure, as
though he had been the one to break her command.
Will you not take your gruel now?" said Harry,
again drawing her attention to it, and placing yet closer
to her that which he had so carefully made.
I do not like it--it's cold-it's full of lumps; you
never do anything well !"
"I must try and improve," said her son, struggling to
look cheerful, but feeling the task rather hard. If you
will not take this, shall I get you a little tea ?"
Mrs. Fane assented with a discontented air, and Harry
instantly proceeded to make some ; while all the time that
he was thus engaged his poor mother continued in a tone
of anxiety and sorrow to express her fears for her elder
son.
Are you more comfortable now, dear mother?" said
Harry, after she had partaken of her nice cup of tea.
Her only reply was a moan. Can I do anything else
for you ?-yes, I see; the top of that blind hangs loose,
and the light comes in on your eyes; I will set it right
in a minute!" and he jumped lightly on a chair to
reach it.
His, mother followed him with her eyes-her deep,







TIE TWO SONS. 15

sunken eyes. Gradually the moisture gathered in them,
as she looked at her dutiful son; for, fretful and unrea-
sonable towards him as illness might sometimes make
her, she yet dearly loved him, and felt his value. When
he returned to her side, these eyes were still fixed upon
him: she feebly pressed his hand, and murmured, You
are my comfort, Harry !"
And there was another Eye beholding with love that
obedient and dutiful child! He who was once subject
to an earthly parent, who cared for her even amid the
agonies of the Cross--He looked approvingly down upon
the true-hearted boy, who was filling the post assigned
him by his Lord-who was letting his light shine in his
home !
The red sun was setting before Paul returned; for,
heedless of the fears to which his absence might give
rise, he had taken his noonday meal with a neighbour.
It was not that he did not really love his fond mother,
but he loved himself a great deal more. He had never
chosen to consider obedience as a sacred duty, and irre-
verence towards a parent as a sin. He never dreamed
of sacrificing his will to hers; and a smile or a kiss to
his mother, when he had been more than usually selfish
or rude, had hitherto been sufficient to quiet the boy's
conscience, and, as he said, make all right between
them." But wounds are not so easily healed, a parent's
claims are not so easily set aside, and the hour had now






16 THE TWO SONS.

come when Paul was to feel the thorns which he had
planted for himself.
"I shall have a precious scold from mother," muttered
the boy half aloud, as he approached the door, "for
going on the ice, and staying out all day. I should like
to know what is the use of a holiday, if I am not to
spend it as I like ? I would rather be in school than
moping away my time at home like Harry! I wish
that I were old enough to go and enlist, and be out of


endlesss chiding !
You will never
hear it again, said
the solemn voice of
"one just quitting the
door as Paul came up
to it. He started to
see Dr. Merton.
What is the mat-
ter ?" cried Paul, a
Si strange feeling of fear
and awe coming over
his heart.
DR. MERTON AND PAUL.
"Your poor mother,
about two hours ago, was taken with an alarming fit-I
dare hardly give hopes that she will see the morning !"
Paul stayed to hear no more, but rushed into the
(253)







THE TWO SONS. 17

house. One of the neighbours was there, who had
kindly offered to stay that night to help Harry to nurse
his dying parent. The young boy was now praying
beside her bed-praying for his mother on earth to his
Father in heaven !
Paul went up to the bed, cold, trembling with his
emotions. He gazed in anguish on the altered features
of one whose love he had so ill repaid. Mrs. Fane lay
unconscious of all that passed-unconscious of the bitter
tears shed by her sons. She no longer could rejoice in
the affection of the one, or be stung by the neglect of
the other. Oh! what would not Paul have given, as he
hung over her now, for one forgiving look from those
closed eyes! What would he not have given to have
heard those pale lips speak, even though it had been but
to chide! But his grief and his fears now came too
late-his mother never spoke again!
In a few days both the boys stood by the open grave,
and no one who had seen the sorrow of both, without being
aware of the former circumstances of their lives, would
have known what different recollections filled their hearts
-like poison in the bleeding wound of one, soothing
balm in that of his brother! "My last act towards
my mother was that of disobedience-her last feeling
towards me was of displeasure and pain! I clouded,
perhaps I shortened her life; and the anger of my God
is upon me!" Such were the thoughts of Paul-his
(253) 2







18 THE TWO SONS.


























THE FUNERAL.

agonizing thoughts-as he heard the earth fall on the
coffin of her who had loved him best upon earth. But
not for untold wealth would Harry have exchanged the
remembrance of his parent's last fond look, her last
sweet words to him. "Harry, you are my comfort !"
sounded in his ears as though an angel had repeated
it to the mourner.
And not then alone, but when time had softened his








THE TWO SONS. 19

sorrow-yes, even through the long course of his honoured,
useful life, if care weighed on his heart, he thought of
those words, and they lightened his burden of care;
when joy elated his spirit, they yet brightened that joy
-his mother's blessing seemed for ever resting upon
him Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy
days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God
giveth thee. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a
foolish man despiseth his mother.


He makes his mother sad,
The proud, unruly child,
Who will not brook
Her warning look,
Nor hear her counsels mild.

He makes his mother sad,
"Who, in his thoughtless mirth,
Can e'er forget
His mighty debt
To her who gave him birth.

He makes his mother sad,
Who turns from Wisdom's way;
Whose stubborn will,
Rebelling still,
Refuses to obey.

He makes his mother sad-
And sad his lot must prove:
A mother's fears,
A mother's tears,
Are marked by God above !









20 THE TWO SONS.

Oh! who so sad as he
Who o'er a parent's grave
Too late repents,
Too late laments
The bitter pain he gave'.

May we ne'er know such grief,
Nor cause one feeling sad;
Let our delight
Be to requite,
And make our parents glad.

















7 -I-- ...--; T-- -- '-"




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I i, :-
7, ,







CHAPTER IL

THE PRISONER RELEASED,


Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my
sin ? '-PROV. XX. 9.


HERE were many bright young faces in the
daily school which was taught by Willy Thorn,
but there was one face which, though young,
never wore a smile. In play-time many an
orange, apple, or cake, was given by the school-boys to
each other; but there was one of whom no one ever
seemed to think, one who never received even a look of
kindness. Many of the boys returned to cheerful homes
to repeat to their parents what they had heard from
their teacher; but one felt desolate and alone in the
world, there was none to welcome him to his wretched
dwelling, for such a place cannot be called a home.
Why did his companions dislike sitting next in school
to the pale boy with the sunken cheek and the droop-






22 THE PRISONER RELEASED.

ing eye, and why in the merry hours of play did they
seek to exclude him from their circle ? Alas! there was
a stain on the character of Seth Delmar-he had once
been in prison for stealing bread from a baker, he was
now shunned and despised as a thief!
The poor boy had deeply repented of his sin, and now
bitterly felt its consequences. In vain he showed him-
self ever ready to oblige, bore meekly the taunts and
neglect of his companions, and was most watchful over
his own conduct. Thorn remarked the painful position
of the child, and feeling that to drive him into despair
might be to drive him further into sin, and that not a
little self-righteousness was at the bottom of the scorn
with which his school-fellows treated the unhappy Seth,
he resolved to take the first opportunity of speaking to
them upon the subject, and of showing to them their
conduct in its true light.
Seth, who was patient and persevering with his tasks,
had gained from his teacher the prize of a small book;
and the first gleam of pleasure which any one present
had ever seen on his wan features, lighted them up for
a moment as he received it. It immediately faded
away, however, as he glanced timidly round on his
companions, and saw that no one cared for his success,
that perhaps it would only add to the dislike felt to-
wards him.
The next day Thorn observed the boy bending over







THE PRISONER RELEASED. 28

this book, while large drops, in spite of his efforts to
stop them, forced their way from his eyes as he looked
on it. Seeing that something must have occurred,
Thorn walked up to the spot, and found out at once the
cause of Seth's distress. On the title-page of the book
Thorn had written his name; but just under it now ap-
peared, in a very different hand, the single terrible word
THIEF!
This has been a most thoughtless-I wish that I
could say only thoughtless act," said Thorn, with an
expression grave almost to sternness. "I will not ask
who is the author of this cruel insult, but we must
suppose that he who thus condemns another, notwith-
standing the warning, Judge not, that ye be not judged,
is at least conscious that his own heart is pure, that he
never has sinned."
The children looked at each other in silence, and
then one of the elder boys, Bat Nayland, muttered, half
aloud, Conscious of never having stolen a farthing "
I did not say, conscious of never having stolen, but
of never having sinned. All sin is disobedience to the
Most High, as sin to be repented of, and as sin to be
punished, whether it be theft, falsehood, or unkindness
to another. The law forbidding us to covet in our
secret hearts was as solemnly given amid the terrors of
Sinai, is as binding upon man as Thou shalt do no
murder. If the chain-cable upon which the safety of






24 THE PRISONER RELEASED.

a vessel depends be snapped asunder in a storm, no
matter how small be the link that gives way, the chain
is as truly broken, and the vessel as certainly in danger,
as if it had been dashed into a thousand pieces."
Still, I do think," said Bat Nayland, "that there
are some greater sinners, and greater commandments,
and that we are not to be put on a level with thieves."
Do you remember," said Thorn, mildly, turning to
a boy who was near him, "which our blessed Lord
Himself said were the two great commandments of the
law ?"
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.
This is the first and great commandment. And the
second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself."
"And those who break the great commandments
must, of course, be great sinners ? "
There was a general murmur of assent.
"And now tell me," said Thorn, speaking more
earnestly, and looking around him as he spoke, "which
of us can plead not guilty to the charge of having broken
these great commandments-broken them often-broken
them every day of our lives ? "
No voice was raised in reply-conscience was bearing
silent witness against all. Thorn continued: "The
Almighty has a claim to our greatest love; He has







THE PRISONER RELEASED. 25

created us, preserved us, redeemed us-He has deigned
to say, My son, give Me thy heart but which of us have
obeyed the heavenly call ? Has it been our delight to
serve Him, to pray to Him ? have we thought on Him with
reverence, gratitude, and love; seeking His glory before
our own pleasure, making His will the law of our lives?
This it is, my children, to keep the first commandment:
if any one present feels in his heart that he never has
wilfully broken it, let him now raise up his hand in
token that he can say Not guilty to this charge !"
Every hand remained motionless and still.
"And who has loved his neighbour as himself?
Who has never done an unjust action, nor spoken an
ill-natured word, nor harboured an envious thought in
his heart? Guilty, all guilty we stand before our
God! we have broken His commands, we have offended
against His holiness; alas! who can say, I have made
my heart clean, I am pure from my sin !"
"And now," continued Thorn, after another solemn
pause, "which of you here can give me a verse from the
Word of God which tells us the just punishment of sin?"
Seth answered, in a very low voice, which would not
have been heard but for the great silence which pre-
vailed through the room, "The soul that sinneth, it
shall die !"
Then what is to become of us all? cried William
Browne, who had but lately joined the school; "must






26 THE PRISONER RELEASED,

all be punished, as all have sinned ? is there no hope of
escape ? "
Our hope is in the blessed Son of God, who came
down to earth that He might raise us to heaven-who
bore our punishment that we might share His bliss.
Through faith in Him even the chief of sinners may be
saved-the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin."
"But then," said Nayland, "if those who have
sinned much, and those who have sinned less, may all
go to heaven if they only believe, it seems as if it did
not matter whether we tried to obey or not-as though,
the Lord having done all, we have nothing left to do."
"God forbid that you should think so," hastily inter-
rupted Thorn. "All must strive for holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord. If any man have
not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. The Bible
abounds in passages that show that for the wilfully dis-
obedient, who will not repent, the Lord's despised
mercy will but add to the punishment of their sin! "
"I do not quite understand this," said William
Browne.
In order to explain to you how our salvation is
only from the Lord, and yet that we must work out our
salvation with fear and trembling, I will repeat to
you a little allegory or parable. Remember that my
tale is intended to convey a deeper meaning than what
may at first sight appear; exert your minds to dis-







THE PRISONER RELEASED. 27

cover that meaning, I am telling you the history of
man, I am telling you the history of yourselves."
All the school listened with silence and attention, as,
after a minute's consideration, the teacher began.
There was a great and powerful Sovereign, who
ruled over an extensive kingdom. But wise and just
as were his laws, formed to make all happy who obeyed
them, there were rebels who rose against their King,
broke his commands, despised his statutes, and most
justly deserved the sentence of death pronounced upon
them as traitors. Amongst these was a youth, whom I
need not name, who, after having had judgment passed
upon him, was confined in a prison named Cdndemac-
tion, until the executioner, Justice, should be sent to
carry out the sentence of the law.
Very strong was his prison, very thick its walls;
the grated window, through which the light scarcely
came, forbade all hope of release. Sometimes the youth
tried to flatter himself with the idea that his Sovereign
was too merciful to destroy him ; but then the sentence
of the judge rose in his mind, he felt that Justice de-
manded his punishment. Then he sought amusement
to drive away the fear of death, and sometimes suc-
ceeded in his miserable efforts to be gay; but still the
thought of what was before him forced itself on his
mind, and he never could be really happy."
A wretched state to be in," observed Nayland.






28 THE PRISONER RELEASED.

"It is by nature the state of us all," said Thorn.
"We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of
God; we are all sentenced, and justly sentenced; and
but for the hopes of a better life beyond, what would
this world be but a prison! But to return to the rebel
in my story :-
"One night as, clothed in his dark and ragged attire,
he was reflecting upon his unhappy fate, a bright light
shone in his prison, and he beheld coming towards him
a Friend-one whose kindness he had long neglected,
but who had not forgotten him in his adversity. The
garments worn by that Friend were white and spotless;
there was no stain upon them; they were such as be-
fitted one of high estate, of one of such rank that it
might have been little expected that his foot would ever
tread the dungeon of Condemnation!
"He addressed the young rebel in terms of love and
pity. He told the condemned one that he had quitted
everything, risked everything from pure love, to save
him from the death which he had deserved. He warned
him that Justice was about to enter that prison, to shed
the blood of the prisoner within; that there was but
one way of escape. If the rebel changed garments with
his merciful visitor, put off his own rags to wear that
white robe, he might yet make his way from the prison
of Condemnation, and pass Justice himself in security!
The Friend, moreover, told the rebel that by using the







THE PRISONER RELEASED. 29

watchword Faith, even the guards at the outer door
would suffer him to go free; and that he would find
outside a guide most trusty and safe, who would lead
him to a place of security. Then, as the prisoner, with
trembling haste, made the needful exchange of dress, his
heart throbbing with the hope of freedom, and, we may
also trust, with gratitude to the merciful Being who was
content to remain and suffer death in his stead, his
Friend placed in his hand a paper, containing his last
dying request to the sinner whom he had saved, and
charged the youth, if not for his Preserver's sake, yet
for his own, to shun for ever those rebels who had led
him into the guilt which was now to be atoned for at
so fearful a price."
"And did he really escape, and did his merciful
Friend really stay and die for him?" cried young
Browne.
You may turn to your Bibles for an answer to that
question, and there see who was wounded for our trans-
gressions and bruised for our iniquities; who came to
us when we lay in deep condemnation, and saved us by
giving his life for us !"
"I begin to understand your meaning," said Nay-
land, thoughtfully; "but I never dreamed before that
I was a rebel, that I was in danger of punishment, or
needed such a Friend to suffer what my sins had
deserved."






80 THE PRISONER RELEASED.

"And the white robe is the garment of the Lord's
righteousness?" murmured Seth.
"Yes," said Thorn; that which we must wear if we
would quit the prison, or pass safely the executioner,
Justice. And this brings me to the point which I wished
to explain, that salvation is only from the Lord, and
that yet we must work out our salvation with fear and
trembling. Who can deny that the prisoner owed his
escape wholly and entirely to the mercy of his Friend?"
No one," exclaimed several voices; he had no
power to help himself at all."
But now, suppose that the prisoner, while yet be-
neath the shadow of his dungeon, should throw away
his disguise as something quite unneeded, should forget
his watchword, turn away from his guide, and, notwith-
standing the last earnest warning from his Deliverer,
hasten to join the rebels again ?"
He would be ungrateful, wicked, mad to do so !"
cried the boys; and Nayland added, He would de-
serve to be dragged back to his dungeon, and suffer a
worse fate than if he never had left it."
"It is so," said Thorn; "and so it will be when the
Lord comes to judge the earth. Those who, having
tasted of the Saviour's mercy, still persist in joining His
foes-who put aside His perfect righteousness, and choose
the ways that He has condemned, not repenting of or
forsaking those sins which cost His precious life, will be







THE PRISONER RELEASED. 81

more severely judged than the heathen who have never
known Him or His laws."
"There is one thing which I should like to know,"
lisped the youngest child in the school : "What was
put in the paper which the kind Friend gave to the
poor prisoner just as he set him free ? "
"His dying request, doubtless," said Nayland.
"What words would you say were to be found in
that paper?" said Thorn to Edmund Butler, an in-
telligent boy, who was usually at the head of the
school.
Edmund reflected for a moment, and then said, "If
ye love Me, keep My commandments."
Thorn saw that an answer was trembling on the lips
of poor Seth, and encouraged him by a glance to say it
aloud.: "This is My commandment, That ye love one
another, as I have loved you."
"Here, then," said the teacher, "is the motive of
love. Remember," he continued, impressively, that
this was our Saviour's dying request, when He who was
innocence itself was about to suffer shame, agony, and
death for our sakes. Is there one heart here so cold
that it would slight the last wish of a dying Friend-so
ungrateful that it would seek to make no return for
love so exceeding great? Can we think on His mercy,
and yet be unmerciful; and, by our unkind, ungenerous
conduct towards our fellow-creatures, show that the






32 THE PRISONER RELEASED.

highest motive has no power over our souls, and that
we choose heartlessly and ungratefully to neglect the
only way by which we can prove our love to Him who
loved us and gave Himself for us ? "
There was no immediate answer to this question-
perhaps the teacher did not expect to receive one; but
as the boys passed out of the school-room, when the
lessons were over, Thorn saw with a feeling of pleasure
young Nayland walk up to Seth Delmar, and, while his
cheek flushed crimson, whisper something in his ear, to
which the poor boy replied by warmly grasping his
hand. And Seth was no longer persecuted in the
school, despised by his companions, or taunted with his
sin. The boys had learned to show more indulgence to
the failings of others, from having a truer knowledge of
their own; and finding that they had all broken the
great commandment, and had no hope but from the
merits and mercy of their Lord, they looked with more
pity upon a poor fellow-sinner, whose transgression had
been repented of and forgiven.

No heart is pure from evil; none
Can say before the Holy One,
I in my strength the race have run,
Have fought the fight successfully!

In faith and virtue I have dwelt;
No proud, unholy feelings felt,
Nor mocked my Maker when I knelt,
By wandering thoughts of vanity.








THE PRISONER RELEASED.

My first desire, in all things seen,
To glorify my God hath been;
My lips are pure, my heart is clean;-
Thou know'st my soul's integrity! "

Ah, no! far other plea be mine,
As at Thy cross, 0 Lamb divine,
For Thy dear sake, and only Thine,
I ask for mercy tremblingly!

My sins are more than I can count,
Each day is swelling the amount;
All stained with guilt, I seek the Fount
Of holiness and purity.

Forgive the debt that I confess,-
Wash out my sins, my efforts bless;
And clothe me with Thy righteousness,
In time and through eternity!
























(253) 3



















CHAPTER III.

THE MOTHER'S RETURN.


Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. "-Pov. iii. 5.


i AM so glad that dear mother is coming back
to-day !" cried little Mary Benson ; "it
"seemed as if the week would never be
over."
Yes; if we had not been so busy knit-
ting these cuffs for her, we should have found the time
weary indeed," said Maria. "But how much pleased
she will be to have them; and what a surprise it will
be to her when she did not even know that we could
knit !"
It was very kind in Mrs. Peters to teach us. I
hope that she will not let out her secret: mother was to
call at her house on her way back, to leave the parcel of
wool."







THE MOTHER'S RETURN. .15























She will forget alll when she presses us to herjl
heart ri little ar her eyes srkli with leas-





Q- _7

















MARIA AND MARY.

"' Poor mother! she will be weary enough with her
long, tiresome walk."
She will forget all when she presses us to her
heart," cried little Mary, her eyes sparkling with pleas-






36 THE MOTHER'S RETURN.

ure at the thought. Oh, to think of being in her dear
arms again How we shall rush into them "
If mother could have afforded to pay for the coach,
she might have been here by this time; but it seems as
if she had never one sixpence to spare," sighed Maria.
"I cannot help thinking," added the little girl, after a
pause, turning listlessly over the pages of a book which
she was rather looking at than reading-" I cannot help
thinking that the Almighty cares less for us than He
does for the rich and the great. If He is as tender and
loving as we are told that He is, how is it that we want
for so many things ? "
Oh, Maria, it is very sinful to think in that way!
We must trust in the Lord with all our heart; and not,
in our naughty pride, fancy that we know what is good
for us better than He who is all wisdom as well as
love."
"I should like to know why there are such differences
in the world," said Maria.
"We must remember what the Saviour said to Peter:
What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know
hereafter. In another world we shall see that all God
does is right. Do you not recollect what the clergyman
told us in his sermon last Sunday-that if there were
no differences of station in this life, the rich would not
be able to exercise charity, nor the poor to exercise
patience? "







THE MOTHER'S RETURN. 87

The task of the rich is much easier than that of the
poor," observed Maria, with a discontented look.
"Perhaps not," gently suggested Mary. "I do not
think that the Bible makes it appear so : we are so
often warned of the dangers of riches ; and none of us
can tell, if we had them, whether we should make a
good use of them. I like those lines which mother
taught us to repeat-
The greatest evil we can fear
Is-to possess our portion here.' "
We are little likely to suffer from that evil," ob-
served Maria, with a bitter smile. It does seem to
me hard that mother-who is always so religious, and
patient, and good-should have to work so hard and
yet gain so little, while others have plenty without
working at all. It seems as if God were hiding His face
from us6"
Oh trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and
lean not unto thine own understanding. This is one
of the verses which mother told me quiets her mind
whenever she is tempted to murmur at her lot. But is
not that mother crossing the field ? Yes, yes it is our
own dear mother And both of the children, with a
cry of delight, flew to the door to meet her, carrying
their little present in their hands.
But what was the amazement of the girls at the recep-
tion which they met with from their mother--from her








88 THE MOTHER'S RETURN.



























1--
t. t"I /P













1/' ,C --I- .jIV

WATCHING FOR MOTHER.

whom they so tenderly loved and had been so anxiously

expecting Mrs. Benson's face was flushed, her manner

hurried. Not one kiss, not one welcome smile, not one

kind word did she give; but waving them away im-







THE MOTHER'S RETURN. 39

patiently as they sprang forward to welcome her,.
Back, back !" she cried; don't touch me !"-and
passing them in a moment, she hastened up-stairs to her
own room.
Neither of the children could at first utter a word.
With open eyes and lips apart, they stood as if trans-
fixed, their surprise and mortification were so great.
Then slowly and sadly they retraced their steps, and
returned to the room which they had just quitted.
Neither spoke for a little while, till Maria, pettishly
flinging down the cuff which she had knitted, ex-
claimed,-
Who would ever have thought that mother could be
so unkind !"
Unkind ? Oh, never, never say such a word!"
cried Mary, her own eyes swimming with tears.
She looked as if she would have pushed me back-
me, her own child !-if I had ventured a little nearer;
and after not having seen us for so many days I can-
not think what could make her treat us in such a
manner !"
"Don't think, but trust," faltered her gentle sister.
"We may be certain that mother has good reasons of
her own. She always loves us, and acts for our good;
and though we cannot just now understand what she
does, we may be sure, quite sure, that it is wise and
kind."






40 THE MOTHER'S RETURN.

Bless you, my child, for your loving trust !" ex-
claimed her mother, who was at that moment entering
the room, and who now pressed her little daughter to
her heart more warmly and more tenderly than ever, as
though to make up by increasing love for even five
minutes' apparent neglect.
0 mother, why would you not let us come near
you ? exclaimed Maria, as she, too, shared in the fond
embrace.
For your own sakes, my darlings; only for your
own sakes. I had called on Mrs. Peters, as I had pro-
mised, on my way; and not till I had entered into her
cottage did I know that her only son was then lying
there dangerously ill of the scarlet fever."
Poor Robin !" cried the little girls, full of sympathy
for the trouble of their neighbour. Is not that fever
terrible and infectious ? "
Most infectious, my children; and I own that I
felt grieved and frightened at having entered the house.
I fear not for myself. Were it not for you I should have
offered to remain to help to nurse the poor boy : but I
dreaded lest I might be carrying here death in my very
clothes-that I might be bringing misery into my own
happy home; and not till I had laid aside my bonnet
and large cloak did I dare to embrace my children.
You met me so eagerly at the door that I was obliged
to call out very hastily, or you would have been in my







THE MOTHER'S RETURN. 41

arms before I could stop you; and I had no time for
explanations then."
Mother had good reasons," said Maria to herself:
" how strange it was that I ever could doubt her !"
And how is poor Mrs. Peters ?" inquired Mary, as
her mother took a chair near the fire, and her little
daughters seated themselves at her feet. She is so
fond of her son she could not live without him.
How does she bear this terrible trial ? "
Like a Christian," replied her mother-" like one
who knows that all events are in the hands of an all-
wise Being, who does not willingly afflict His children.
All her hopes and her fears are laid before Him in
prayer; and having used all human means to preserve
her son, she now rests humbly on the infinite mercy of
the Lord, who ordereth all things well. She has been
given that trusting, confiding spirit which is so pleasing
in the sight of Heaven."
"Ah, that is what I want !" murmured Maria, hiding
her head on her parent's knee. ""Mother, I have learned
a lesson to-day from the pain which it cost me to doubt
your love, and the shame that I feel now that I ever
could have done so. Mary deserved your first kiss,
mother. I can love, very greatly love; but she can
both love and trust."

Trust in the Lord with all thy heart
While sunshine glitters o'er thee;







42 THE MOTHER'S RETURN.

Oh, choose in youth the better part,
When all is bright before thee!
Nor think thy pleasures will decrease :
'Tis Faith that here brings joy and peace,
And leads to heaven's glory.

Trust in the Lord with all thy heart
When sorrows gather o'er thee;
When lone and desolate thou art,
And all is dark before thee.
'Tis Faith that can the mourner cheer;
'Tis Faith gives hope and patience here,
And leads to heaven's glory.


















- .
,_ .- __ -_, -:- ::--
~F-
I


















CHAPTER IV,

THE FRIEND IN NEED,


"Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not."--PRov. xxvii 10.


"M HERE was not a happier mother in the village
than Mrs. Peters, nor a better son than her
Robin. She had trained up her child in the
way he should go, and it was now his delight
to walk in it ; she had not shrunk from correct-
ing his faults, and he loved her the better for the cor-
rection; she had taught him from the Bible his duty
towards his God, and from the same pages he had learned
his duty towards his mother. It was a pleasant sight on
the Sabbath morning, to see them walking up the little
pathway which led to the church-the feeble parent
leaning on the strong, healthy son, who carried her Bible
and prayer-book for her. Mrs. Peters never had the
slightest feeling of envy towards those who appeared
above her in the world-she would not have changed







44 THE FRIEND IN NEED.






O x















__' __ _' S ,







GOING TO CHURCH.
places with any one. "They may have riches, fine
houses, broad lands," she would say; "but who has a
son like mine "
On the Sunday afternoon, however, Robin did not
accompany his mother to church. Perhaps you may
suppose that, after his hard work all the week, he thought
suppose that, after his hard work all t he week, he thought







THE FRIEND IN NEED. 45

that he needed a little rest or amusement; that you
might have found him at "the idle corner of the village,
joining in the sports of younger companions; and that
he considered, like too many, alas! that having given
the Sabbath morning to religion, he might do what he
pleased with the rest of the day. Let us follow Robin
Peters in his Sunday pursuits, and see where, after par-
taking of dinner with his mother, he bends his willing
steps.
Over the common, through the wood, up the steep
hill-side It matters not
to him that the way is
long; that in winter part
of the road scarcely de-
serves the name of one at
all, being almost impass- -- -
able from slough and snow.
Cheerfully he hastens
along, with a light spring-
ing step; sometimes short-
ening the way with a
hymn, or gazing around on
the endless variety of ON A VISIT.
nature, and lifting up his heart to nature's God There
is surely something very pleasant that awaits Robin
Peters at the end of his walk, that he always should
take it in this one direction ; should never give it up,







46 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

fair weather or foul; and look so happy while pursuing
his way!
He stops at last at the door of a poor little hovel, built
partly of mud, and thatched with straw. The broken
panes in the single window have been patched with paper
by Robin's hand, instead of being, as formerly, stuffed up
with rags; but either way they speak of poverty and
want. By the miserable little fire-which could scarcely
be kept up at all, but for the sticks which Robin has
supplied-sits a poor old man, almost bent double by
time, the long hair falling on his wrinkled brow, his hand








"77








OLD WILL AYLMEBR.
trembling, his eye dim with age. But there is a kindling
pleasure even in that dim eye, as he hears a well-known
rap at the door; and warm is the press of that thin,







THE FRIEND IN NEED. 47

trembling hand, as it returns the kindly grasp of
Robin !
First there are inquiries for the old man's health, and
these take some time to answer; for it is a relief to the
suffering to pour out long complaints-it is a comfort to
them if one kindly ear will listen with interest and
patience. Then the contents of Robin's pockets are
emptied upon the broken deal box, which serves at once
as chest of drawers and table to the old man, and a seat
to the visitors, "few and far between," who find their
way to the hovel on the hill. The present brought by
the youth varies from week to week. He has little to
give, but he always brings something to eke out old Will
Aylmer's parish allowance: sometimes it is a little tea
from his mother; perhaps a pair of warm socks, knitted
by herself; or a part of his own dinner, if he has nothing
else to bring to the poor and aged friend of his father.
After the depths of the pockets had been duly explored,
Robin, seated on the box, very close to the old man, for
Aylmer was extremely hard of hearing, repeated to him,
in a loud tone of voice, as much of the morning's sermon
as he could remember. He whom age and infirmities
kept from the house of God, thus, from the kindness of
a youth, every week received some portion of spiritual
food. But most did he enjoy when Robin opened the
Bible-for, poor as Aylmer was, he was provided with
that-and in the same loud, distinct voice read the






48 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

blessed words which the dim eyes of his friend could no
longer see.
After the holy book was closed, it was long before
Robin found that he was able to depart, Aylmer liked so
much to hear all about his friends and his neighbours-
everything which passed in the village in which the old
man had once lived. It was something for him to think
over during the long, lonely week, to prevent his feeling
himself quite shut out from the living world. And Robin
had not only to speak, but to listen; and this, notwith-
standing the deafness of old Aylmer, was perhaps the
harder task of the two. Not only the poor man's sight,
but his memory also was failing: his mind was growing
weak and childish with age, and his tedious and oft-
repeated tales would have wearied out any patience that
was not grounded on Christian love! And so the after-
noon of the Sabbath passed with Robin Peters, and he
returned weary but happy to his home, to enjoy a quiet,
holy evening with his mother. He had poured sweetness
into a bitter cup; he had followed the footsteps of his
compassionate Lord; and he had obeyed the precept
given in the Scriptures, Thine own friend, and thy
father's friend, forsake not.
After what has been written, it is scarcely necessary to
add that the life of Robin was a happy one. At peace
with God and at peace with man; earning his bread by
honest industry; in debt to none, in enmity with none;







THE FRIEND IN NEED. 49

blessed with friends, cheerful spirits, and excellent health,
he was far happier than many who wear a crown. But
though religion can support the Lord's people under trials,
it does not prevent their having to undergo them like
others, and after several years had been spent in comfort
and peace, a cloud was gathering over the home of Robin.
One Saturday evening he returned from his work com-
plaining of headache and a pain in his throat. Mrs.
Peters concluded that he had taken a chill, and, advising
him to go early to rest, prepared for him some simple
remedy, which she trusted would "set all to rights."
Robin took what she gave him with thanks, but he
seemed strangely silent that evening, and sat with his
brow resting upon his hand, as though oppressed by a
weight in his head. The fond mother grew anxious-
who can help being so whose earthly happiness rests upon
one ? She felt her son's hand feverish and hot; she was
alarmed by the burning flush on his cheek, and proposed
begging the doctor to call. At first Robin objected to
this: he had hardly ever known sickness in his life, the
medical man lived at some distance, and the night was
closing in. In the maladies of the body-but, oh, how
much more in those of the soul !-how foolish and
dangerous a thing is delay!
Another hour passed, and the fever and pain of the
sufferer appeared to increase. Again the mother anxi-
ously proposed to send for the doctor; and this time
(253) 4






50 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

Robin made no opposition. "Perhaps it might be as
well," he faintly said. "I did not like making you
uneasy by saying it before- but there has been a case of
scarlet fever up at the farm."
The words struck like a knife into the mother's heart!
There was not another moment of delay; she hastily ran
out to the door of a neighbour, and easilyfound a friend (for
it was often remarked that Mrs. Peters and her son never
wanted friends) who would hasten off for the medical man.
Robin in the meantime retired to his bed, feeling
unable to sit up longer. The symptoms of his disorder
soon became more alarming--a scarlet glow spread over
his frame, his pulse beat high, his temples throbbed;
and his mother, in an agony of fear which she could only
calm by prayer, sat watching for the arrival of the doctor.
Dr. Merton had just sat down to a very late dinner
with two old school-fellows of his, whom he had not met
for years; and they promised themselves a very pleasant
evening together. "Nothing like old friendships, and
old friends! he said gaily, as the covers were removed
from the steaming dishes, and they saw before them a
comfortable repast, which the late hour and a twenty
miles' ride had given all a hearty appetite to enjoy.
"Nothing like old friends, old stories, old recollections !
-we shall seem to live our school-days over again, and
feel ourselves boys once more !"
There was a ring at the door-bell, a very loud ring-








THE FRIEND IN NEED. 51

there was impatience and haste in the sound of it. "I
hope that's nothing to disturb our sociable evening,"
said Dr. Merton, who, having filled the plates of both
his friends, was just placing a slice of roast beef on his
own. He paused, with the carving knife and fork still
in his hand, as his servant entered the room.
"Please, sir, here's Tom Grange come in haste from
Redburn, and he says that Robin Peters is taken very
ill, and his mother begs to see you directly."
The knife and fork were laid down, perhaps a little
unwillingly, and the doctor arose from his chair.
Why, Merton, you're not going now !" cried one of
his companions.
"Just wait till after dinner," said the other.
"Excuse me; Mrs. Peters is not the woman to send
me such a message without sufficient cause. I have
known her and her son too for many a long year, and
they shall not find me fail them in their trouble."
So the doctor put on his great-coat, took down his hat,
begged his friends to do justice to the good cheer provided,
and left them, if I must own it, with no small regret, to
sally forth in that cold wintry night, tired and hungry as
he was. He walked fast, both to save time and to
keep- himself warm; but his pace would have been even
more rapid had he known the agonizing anxiety, in-
creasing every minute, with which his arrival was
expected. The door, as he reached it, was opened by






52 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

the widow, who looked upon him with the breathless
earnestness of one who expects to hear a sentence of
life or death.
A very short examination of the sufferer enabled the
doctor to pronounce that his case was one of decided
scarlet fever. Some one must sit up with him and watch
him that night; a messenger should instantly be sent
with the remedies required; the doctor would himself
call the first thing the next morning.
"You do not think my boy-very ill, sir?" faltered
the mother, folding her hands, and fixing her eyes upon
Dr. Merton with an expression of much grief, which
touched the kind man to the heart.
"He is ill, I cannot deny that; but keep a good heart,
he has youth and a fine constitution in his favour; and
I need not remind you, my friend, to apply for help to
Him in whose hands are the issues of life and of death."
Oh, how often that night, that long, fearful night, did
prayer arise from the widow's low-roofed cottage! It
seemed as though the darkness would never be passed.
At the end of every weary hour the night-breeze brought
the sound of the church-clock to the watcher's ear, while
the stars still trembled in the sky. The wick of the
candle burned long and low, the last spark in the grate
had died out, and there lay the sufferer, so helpless, so
still, that it seemed as though his soul were in like man-
ner silently, surely passing from its dwelling of clay







THE FRIEND IN NEED. 53

But with the return of morning's light the fever rose,
and the malady took its more terrible form. Robin knew
nothing of what was passing around him; even his much-
loved mother he recognized no more; his mind became
full of strange, wild fancies, the delirious dreams of fever.
His mother listened in anguish to his ravings; but a
deeper grief was spared her-even when reason no longer
guided his lips, those lips uttered not a word that could
raise a blush on the cheek of his mother. Robin's con-
versation had been pure in the days of his health-he
had kept his mouth as with a bridle; and the habit of
a life was seen even now when he lay at the gates of
death His mother heard his unconscious prayers-
words from Scripture instinctively spoken; and while
her hot tears gushed more freely forth, she was thankful
from the depths of her soul. There was no death-bed
repentance here for a life devoted to sin; Robin had not
left the work of faith and love for the dregs of age or
the languor of a sick-bed. She felt that if Heaven were
pleased to take him from her now, he was safe, safe in
the care of One who loved him better than even she did;
though consciousness might never return to him, though
he might never again breathe on earth one connected
prayer, he was safe, in time and in eternity, through the
merits of the Saviour whom he had loved.
0 sir! I am so thankful to see you!" exclaimed
Mrs. Peters, as, pale and worn with watching, she received






54 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

the doctor at an early hour of the morning. "My poor
boy is very feverish and restless indeed-he does not
know me !"-the tears rolled down her cheek as she
spoke; "I am scarcely able to make him keep in his
bed !"
"You must have assistance," said Dr. Merton, walking
up to his patient. Words broke from Robin's lips as he
approached him-words rather gasped forth than spoken:
"I must go-he expects me; indeed I must go-my
own friend and my father's friend." He made an effort
to rise, but sank back exhausted on the pillow.
There is something on his mind," observed the
doctor.
It is that he is accustomed to visit a poor old friend,
Will Aylmer, who lives in the hovel on the hill."
"Will Aylmer! repeated the doctor, as though the
name were familiar to him. And well might it be so,
for the feeble old man had in years long past served as
gardener to his father; and many a time had the little
Merton received flowers from his hand, or been carried in
his arms, which then were sturdy and strong.
Dr. Merton now examined his patient, and the poor
mother read from the doctor's looks, rather than from his
words, that he entertained little hope of her son's re-
covery. As he quitted that home of sorrow, Dr. Merton
sighed from mingling feelings.
"I fear that poor Robin is near his last home," thought






THE FRIEND IN NEED. 55

he; "and yet why should I fear, since I believe that
for him it will be but an earlier enjoyment of bliss!
He has shamed me, that poor peasant boy! Even in his
delirium he is thinking of another; he is struggling to
rise from the bed of death to go on his wonted visit of
kindness to his own and his father's friend! and I, blessed
with means so much larger than his, have for thirty long
years neglected, nay forgotten, the old faithful servant of
my family! I shall look upon poor Will Aylmer as a
legacy from Robin. He has done what he could for his
friend during life; and by his dying words-if it please
God that he should die-he shall have done yet more for
the old man."
For three days Robin continued in an alarming state,
and his mother never closed an eye in sleep. Love and
fear seemed to give her weak frame strength to support
any amount of fatigue; or, as she said, it was the good-
ness of the Almighty that held her up through her bitter
trial. On the fourth morning Robin sank into a deep
sleep. She gazed on his features, pale and death-like as
they were; for the red flush of fever had all passed away,
and he lay motionless, silent, but with that peaceful look
which often remains when the spirit has departed. A
terrible doubt flashed upon the mother's mind, a doubt
whether all were not over! She approaches her son
with a step noiseless as the dew, the light feather of a
bird in her hand. She holds it near to his lips-hia






56 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

breath has moved it !-no! that was but the trembling
of her fingers! She lays it on the pillow, her heart
throbbing fast-is that the morning breeze that so
lightly stirs the down ? No; thank God, he still breathes!
-he still lives !
Mrs. Peters sank upon her knees, buried her face in
her hands, and once more implored Him who had com-
passion on the desolate widow of Nain, to save her beloved
son; "But, O Lord," she added, with an almost bursting
heart, "if it be Thy will to remove him to a happier
world, give me grace not to murmur beneath the rod,
but to say humbly, 'Thy will be done.' "
As she rose from her knees she turned her eyes towards
her son, and they met his, calmly, lovingly fixed upon
her, with an expression, oh how different from that which
they had worn during the feverish excitement of de-
lirium "You were praying for me," he said, very
faintly; "and the Lord has answered your prayer! '.
The deep joy of that moment would have overpowered
the mother, had it not been tempered by a fear that this
improvement might be but as the last flash of a dying
lamp, and that the danger was not yet over.
But from that hour Robin's recovery rapidly progressed,
and the fever never returned. He was weak, indeed,
for many a long day; his vigorous arm had lost all its
powers-he had to be fed and supported like a child.
But it was a delight to Mrs. Peters to do everything for







THE FRIEND IN NEED. 57































SEEKING THE LORD.

him, and to watch his gradual improvement in strength.
Nor, poor as she was, did she ever know want while her
son was unable to work. All the neighbourhood seemed
pleased to do something for Robin-to help him who had
been so ready to help others. The squire's lady sent
\ l,
i-i


















-" IW









been so ready t~o help others. The squire's lady ser






58 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

wine and meat from her own table; the clergyman's wife
brought him strong broth; the farmer, his master, supplied
him with bacon and eggs; and many a neighbour who
had little to give yet joyfully gave of that little.
"How good every one is to me !" exclaimed Robin,
as a parcel from the grocer's was opened before him on
the first day that he was able to quit his bed. I only
wish that I could send some of this to Will Aylmer; I
am afraid that he has missed me while I was ill."
"Oh, he has been looked after," replied Mrs. Peters
with a smile: her care-worn face was becoming quite
bright again.
Who has taken care of him ? inquired Robin.
"I must not tell you, my son; you are to hear all
from the old man's own lips."
"I am afraid that it will be very long before I am
strong enough to visit him;-how glad I shall be to see
him again!"
Two or three days after this, a bright warm sun
tempted the invalid to take advantage of the doctor's
permission, and try a little walk in the open air. Lean-
ing on the arm of his thankful, happy mother, Robin
again crossed that threshold which it once seemed so
likely that he would only pass in his coffin. It was a
sweet morning in the early spring, and oh, how delight-
ful to him who had been confined on the couch of fever
was the sunshine that lighted up the face of nature, the







THE FRIEND IN NEED. 69

sight of the woods with their light mantle of green, the
blue sky dappled with fleecy clouds; even the crocus
and the snowdrop in his mother's little garden seemed to
speak of joy and hope; and pleasant was the feeling of
the balmy breeze that played upon his pale, sunken cheek.
"The common air, the earth, the skies,
To him were opening paradise "
Robin lifted up his heart in silent thanksgiving, and in
prayer that the life which the Almighty had preserved
might be always devoted to His service.
"Do you feel strong enough, my son, to walk as far as
that cottage yonder ?" inquired Mrs. Peters.
I think that, with your arm, I might reach even the
tree beyond."
"Then, suppose that we pay a visit to old Aylner !"
Robin laughed aloud at the idea. "Why, my dear
mother, neither you nor I have strength to go one quarter
of that distance; I fear that I must delay that visit for
some time to come."
"There is nothing like trying," replied Mrs. Peters
gaily; and they proceeded a little way together.
"Is it not strange?-I am weary already," said the
youth.
"Then we will rest in this cottage for a little."
"It was empty before my illness; if there is any one
in it now, a patient just recovered from the scarlet fever
might not be made very welcome."







60 THE FRIEND IN NEED.

"Oh, you will be made welcome here, I can answer
for that," cried Mrs. Peters; and at that moment who
should come tottering from the door, joy overspreading
his aged face, his eyes glistening with tears of pleasure
and affection, but Robin's poor old friend! He grasped
the youth's hand in both his own, and blessed God fer-
vently for letting him see the face of his "dear boy"
once more!
"But how is this ?" exclaimed Robin, with joyful
surprise.
The deaf man rather read the question in Robin's eyes
than caught the sense of it from words which he scarcely
could hear. Dr. Merton-bless him !-has brought me
here, and has promised to care for the poor old man:
and he bade me tell you"-Aylmer paused, and pressed
his hand'upon his wrinkled forehead, for his powers of
memory were almost gone-" he bade me tell you that
these comforts I owed to you. I can't recollect all that
he said, but I know very well that he ended with the
words, 'Thine own friend, and thy father's friend,
forsake not.' "
Forsake not thou thy father's friend,
Forsake not thou thine own,
Though care and grief his form may bow,
And frosts of age are on his brow,
And like a leafless willow now
He stands on earth alone.
Forsake not thou thy father's friend,
Revere the hoary head.








THE FRIEND IN NEED. 61

Thou mayst have little to bestow
To lessen want or lighten woe,
But who does not the comfort know
Which one kind word can shed!

Forsake not thou thy father's friend,-
So, when thy strength is o'er,
Mayst thou ne'er want a friend in need,
Thy age to cheer, thy footsteps lead;
And He who is a Friend indeed"
Be thine for evermore!

















r'Zj~jPR

















CHAPTER V.

FORBIDDEN GROUND.

"M' y son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. '-PRov. i. 10.

ITTLE Joseph Ashton was idling about the streets
of London on a Sunday afternoon. He had
been to church in the morning, and had be-
haved there like a quiet, attentive child : he
\ had brought home the text to his grandmother,
and had also learned two other verses from the Bible.
Joseph was not without some feeling of religion: in
church he often appeared very devout, especially when
he heard the sweet music of the hymn. His grand-
mother found him obedient and loving, and fondly
hoped that her dear son might grow up a true servant
of the Lord. But, alas! poor Joseph's goodness was
often as the morning dew, it could not stand the hot
sun of temptation. Like that strange creature called
the chameleon, which is said to change its colour accord-







FORBIDDEN GROUND. 68

ing to the objects that are near it, Joseph changed his
conduct according to his companions: he had learned
many good things both at home and at school, but he
had not yet learned to say No !
Little Joseph now i
stood at the side of S.
the New Road, look-
ing carelessly at the
crowds passing before
him, watching the tired
omnibus horses drag-
ging their heavy loads
-alas! that mercy, if
not religion, should not H
give them their one ,j
day's rest! There were
hawkers, and sellers
of sweetmeats behind
their tempting stalls,
little thinking, poor
and often ignorant as .
they are, that they are LITTLE JOSEPH.
doing the work of the Evil One, by leading others to
sin! What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man
give in exchange for his soul ? What will these poor
sinners think of their miserable profits, the heaps of






64 FORBIDDEN GROUND,

pence collected on the Sabbath, when they stand before
the Judge of quick and dead Oh, for a voice to warn
them in time, to persuade them that He in whose hands
are all things would abundantly make up to them, here
and hereafter, for all that they might give up for His
sake; that better, far better, is poverty than sin; that
it is a happy thing to trust in the mercy of God, who
knows and pities their wants; and that the blessing of
the Lord it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow thereto.
I fear that these were not the thoughts of little
Joseph, whose mind was just in that vacant state which
tempts evil to enter. As he stood with both his hands
in his pockets, leaning against an iron lamp-post, two
school-fellows of his, Jack and Thomas Higgins, came
up to him from behind.
"I say, Joseph," cried Jack, slapping him on the
shoulder, "have you any coppers about you ?"
Why, yes; what makes you ask me ? "
"I've a mind to some of that pink rock on yon stall
-it's the nicest thing in the world. I shared my
gingerbread with you yesterday, so it's only fair that
you stand treat to-day."
"I'll get some to-morrow," said Joseph, who had a
lively remembrance of the impressive manner of the
clergyman that morning when he repeated the command-
ment of the Most High, Remember the Sabbath-day, to
keep it holy.








FORBIDDEN GROUND. 65




l It

























been -utting silly fancies into your head about it's bein-
wrong to buy a little barley-sugar on Sunday? cried












Tom, in a mocking tone.
~i~ i !. ..,, ,,I B,,

ing his God. He stood fumbling his pence in his
"' .. J;-.. ,,,N ^i ,"J




















"pocket, in an uncomfortable, irr esolte manner.
To in-_ a ,ockin ton...








I /i.,

THE STREET STALL.

"To-moerrow! Oh, nonsense! we want it now."
"You don't mean to say that your old granny has
been putting silly fancies into your head about nt in' bing
wrong to buy a little barley-sugar on Sunday?" cried

Tom, in a mocking tone.
"She'll next say that it's a sin to eat it!" laughed
Jack.
Joseph coloured, as though there were anything to be
ashamed of in listening to his grandmother, or in obey-
ing his God. He stood fumbling his pence in his
pocket, in an uncomfortable, irresolute manner.
(253)






66 FORBIDDEN GROUND.

"' Come, out with it!" cried Jack, like a good fellow
as you are; I'll be bound no one will peach you to your
granny."
I'd not be tied to her apron-strings like a baby!" said
Tom. "There! just look at the stall; isn't it tempting ? "
Very tempting it certainly was, and poor Joseph was
one who had little courage to resist temptation. So he
exchanged his pence for the piece of pink rock, which
he divided between himself and his companions; who,
having obtained all that they wanted from their school-
fellow, sauntered carelessly away.
Joseph was in the act of eating his portion of the
sweetmeat, feeling uneasy from a consciousness of doing
wrong-for he had not attained that terrible hardness
of heart which comes by long practice of sin--when a
lady, who took an interest in the school which he
attended, approached him on her way towards church.
At one glance she recognized the boy, who had been
rather a favourite of hers; and his look of shame, yet
more than the employment in which he was engaged,
and the nearness of the stall at which he had been buy-
ing, showed Mrs. Graham that he had been profaning
the Sabbath.
"Is any pleasure worth a sin ?" she said softly as
she passed; and, gently as those words were spoken,
they seemed to leave a sting behind. The short enjoy-
ment of the sweetmeat was speedily over; indeed, so







FORBIDDEN GROUND, 67

unpleasant were the feelings of its purchaser, that it
could hardly be said to have been enjoyed at all.
Joseph returned home discontented and ashamed; he
knew that he had acted both sinfully and weakly, and
had neglected the warning in the Bible, My son, if sin-
ners entice thee, consent thou not.
A few weeks after this occurrence, Mrs. Graham
announced her intention of giving a treat to all the chil-
dren of the school. She had a pretty country villa but
a few miles from town, and invited the scholars to take
tea and cake, and spend a half-holiday in her grounds.
A large van was hired to convey the whole party; and
the expedition to Maythorn Lodge was looked forward
to with extreme delight.
A fear certainly crossed the mind of Joseph, that, his
late fault having been noticed by the lady, he might be
excluded from the treat given to the rest. But it was
not so; and when the crowded van drove off, while the
merry throng with laughter and shouts clustered within
like bees in a swarm, there was none among them gayer
or happier than Joseph.
It seemed as if everything combined to heighten the
pleasure provided for the children. The weather was
neither too hot nor too cold; the delightful sun of May
shone to brighten but not to burn; the hedges were gay
with the blossoms of spring, and the meadows were
spangled with daisies,






68 FORBIDDEN GROUND,

Mrs. Graham with cheerful kindness received her
young guests. A long deal table had been spread on
the lawn; huge piles of sliced cake appeared down the
middle; and as the merry, eager children took their
places on each side, hot tea was handed round in large
kettles. The benevolent lady looked smilingly on, as if
sharing the enjoyment which she gave.



















THE LAWN.
"" And now," said she, when the repast was ended, "I
shall leave you to amuse yourselves here. I know that
you will enjoy a good merry game, and the lawn will
make a capital play-ground. I have but to desire you
all to respect my flowers, and, above all, not to run over







FORBIDDEN GROUND. 69

my strawberry beds; that gravel path shall mark out
your bounds-all beyond it is forbidden ground."
A ready promise was instantly made, which, probably,
every one intended to keep. The lady thought that
there would be little temptation to break it, for the fruit
of the strawberry had not yet appeared, though plenty
of blossoms on the low green plants gave promise of an
abundant supply before long.
For a while no difficulty was felt in obeying the kind
lady's command. The flowers were quite safe on their
stalks, not a foot touched a strawberry blossom. But,
unfortunately, Jack Higgins had brought his bat, and
nothing would please either his brother or him but the
idea of a game of cricket.
"If we had a field to play in," said Edmund Butler,
"there is nothing that I should like better; but there is
hardly room for such a game here, for it is very likely
indeed that the ball would be sent into the forbidden
ground. The strawberry bed would be in danger."
"It certainly would," added Joseph.
"I wish that it stood anywhere but where it does !"
exclaimed Tom, preparing two stumps for the wicket;
"but I don't believe that we'll do any harm, and I'm
quite resolved to have a game!"
There was instantly a division amongst the boys, some
deciding to obey the wishes of their kind friend, some to
follow their own amusement. I am happy to say that






70 FORBIDDEN GROUND.

the greater number decided to run no risk of offending
her, so that Jack began to fear that he could hardly
collect enough of companions to enable him to play at
cricket.
"I wonder at you all he cried. "It's the manliest
game going, and the only one fit for Englishmen You'll
join us, Joe Ashton, I know that you will-there's no-
body bowls like you! "
Again the weak boy doubted and hesitated, afraid to
do wrong, but without courage to do right. Much rather
would he have joined his companions now playing at
"hunt the ring;" but the hand of Jack was upon his
shoulder; Tom was laughing at his scruples; both urg-
ing him to join them; and the struggle ended with him
as it usually ended-he could not withstand the per-
suasion of others.
Joseph was very successful in his bowling; and in the
pleasure and excitement of the game thought little of the
strawberry bed. As the game proceeded his position in
it was changed; he was now one of those who stood to
catch the ball, and was eagerly watching the success of
his side, ready, like a greyhound, to bound forward if
required, when a strong blow from Jack Higgins, who
then happened to be batsman, sent the ball right into the
midst of the strawberries! Instantly the young player
rushed after it: on his quickness the whole game might
hang, for the bowler was taking his run. As he reached







FORBIDDEN GROUND. 71

the ball Joseph's foot tripped, and down he fell, at the
very moment when Mrs. Graham and a party of ladies,
having come from the house to witness the sports, stood
by the edge of the parterre !
"I hope that you have not hurt yourself!" said one
of the ladies, as Joseph, flushed and panting, scrambled
to his feet.
"He has hurt himself," replied Mrs. Graham's dis-
pleased voice. Joseph did not venture to lift up his eyes
to her face. "He who has disregarded my wishes, and,
at the very time when he was experiencing my kindness,
wilfully disobeyed my command, has little right to expect
more indulgence at my hand. I came prepared with
another invitation to the young friends who have visited
me to-day. I intended to ask them all to return here
again when the summer sun shall have ripened those
strawberries, when they shall be welcome to gather them
for themselves; but as for Joseph, he has already had
more than his share in the blossoms which he has de-
stroyed, which never can bear any fruit-there is no
use in his coming to look on while others enjoy what
might have been his, if he could have learned the duty
of obedience! "
Then was the time for Jack and Tom to have stepped
forward and honestly owned their share in the fault.
But I appeal to those who, like Joseph, have weakly
yielded to the persuasions of those who tempted them to






72 FORBIDDE-N GROUND.

do wrong, whether the companions who have led them
into trouble are the ones to try to help them out of it.
The Higgins both were silent, and for this time escaped
the punishment which is certain, sooner or later, to over-
take those who persevere in a course of rebellion.
Joseph's heart swelled, a choking feeling was in his
throat: to be thus disgraced before all, and debarred
from a treat which he would so greatly have enjoyed,
and to know that the punishment was just, turned all
the pleasure of the day into bitterness.
Mrs. Graham saw his look of distress, and her gentle
heart pitied the boy, though she felt too strongly how
important the lesson might be to him through the whole
course of his future life, to relax in her firm resolve.
She followed him, however, as he sadly walked away to
a more retired part of the garden. She laid her hand
on his arm: he started, for he had not heard her noise-
less step as she approached.
"You are very sorry for what has happened, Joseph
-I see that you are; you are very sorry to have dis-
pleased a friend and forfeited a pleasure."
Joseph looked fixedly on the ground, while his eyes
gradually filled with tears. "They made me do it!"
at last he muttered, in a low tone. Without appearing
to notice the interruption, the lady proceeded : I should
have willingly overlooked your fault, had it been the
first brought under my observation; but it is not long







FORBIDDEN GROUND. 73
























',,'"i //"









MRS. GRAHAM AND JOSEPH.

since I had reason to believe you guilty of a much more
serious offence. You have now only disobeyed an earthly
friend-you had then broken the solemn law of your
God. You have deprived yourself now of a little







74 FORBIDDEN GROUND.

pleasure; but who can say how great will be the loss,
both in this world and in the next, of him who wilfully
profanes the holy Sabbath of the Lord, the maker of
heaven and earth "
"They made me do it!" again murmured the boy.
Heaven forgive them for tempting a weak brother;
but their fault does not justify you. What would you
say of the soldier who could be persuaded to go over to
the side of the enemy ? or the subject who, from fear of a
laugh or a jest, could desert the cause of his king ? Ask
strength from the Lord to stand firm in the right, though
you alone should defend it: fear nothing but the dis-
pleasure of a holy God. Keep his Sabbaths unbroken,
and rest assured that you shall find them yield rich fruits
of peace and of joy. Oh, follow not the multitude to do
evil. When sinners entice thee, consent thou not. They
may laugh down your doubts and your scruples now,
but they cannot excuse your sin, nor save you from its
punishment in the terrible day of judgment."
When sinners entice,
And from thee would wrest
That gem beyond price,
The day God hath blest,
The day that was given
Our souls to prepare
For the sabbath of heaven-
Oh, shun thou the snare!

When fools treat with scorn
What God hath approved,








FORBIDDEN GROUND. 75

Their laugh must be borne,
Thy faith be unmoved.
As arrows fall lightly
On mail-covered breast.
The soul that acts rightly
Need ne'er fear the jest.

Oh! follow not thou
The crowd to do ill;
What many allow
May be perilous still.
The sins of another
Excuse not thine own;
The fall of a brother
Is warning alone.

Though hand joined in hand,
The Scriptures will tell,
How on a whole land
Dread punishment fell;-
The flames of Gomorrah,
The waves of the Flood,
Bereaved Egypt's sorrow,
And Palestine's blood!

"When sinners entice,
Consent not, my son;"
Paths many has vice-
Salvation but one :
The Christian's allegiance
By faith he must prove-
Faith working obedience-
The obedience of love !




59."'-^ -^ ---y ~








77,

*.i^,-s" '/,". 1 '.' '1:] ',,
-A






CHAPTER VI.

CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.


"The hope of the righteous shall be gladness."-PRov. x. 28.


T will rain, I tell you !-it will rain !" cried
Priscilla; "it always does when one wishes it
to be fine 1 So you need not put on your
bonnet, Lucy; there will be no boating for us
to-day."
"It is not raining one drop-the grass is quite dry,"
replied Lucy, running for the twentieth time to the
door.
"But the sea-weed that hangs there is quite soft and
damp, and that is a sure sign of rain. Only see these
black, heavy clouds "
Only see that dear little bit of bright blue between
them I think, Priscilla, that you are always looking
out for clouds. I never notice them at all till the rain
begins to drop !"






CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 77

"That is because you are a thoughtless, foolish little
thing observed her sister, with a kind of scornful pity.
Well, I'm glad that I'm not so wise as you; I'd
rather be merry than wise," was the laughing Lucy's
reply.
This time, however, it appeared that the elder sister
was the mistaken one. The patch of blue in the sky, to
Lucy's delight, became larger and larger; the sun shone
out cheerfully; and, no longer afraid of the weather,
both girls set out on their walk towards Ryde. They
were there to meet their uncle, a boatman, who had
promised them a row over the water to Portsmouth,
where he was to show them the docks and feast them
with cakes; and as the girls had never been to England
before, having been both born and brought up in the Isle
of Wight, they had both looked forward to this expedi-
tion for a very long time, though with different feelings,
according to their different dispositions. Lucy was all
delight at the thought of the pleasure-Priscilla all fear
lest anything should occur to prevent their being able to
enjoy it.
They made their way over the fields-the one mirth-
ful, the other grave. They shortened part of the distance
by passing along a lane; and a lovely lane it was, all
adorned with wild-flowers.
"I like this path so much !" cried the happy little
Lucy Such beautiful plants grow in the hedges, that,







78 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.


*' / ,*


























were I not in a very great hurry to get on, I should
gather a splendid nosegay on the way "
"I. do not like this path at all," replied her elder
sister,; "it is so narrow, one is caught every minute by
the thorns."
Ah, Priscilla you are always looking out for thorns !
I never think of them till I find myself caught"
LUCY- AN PISILA
wereI no in ver gre hury ge on I shoul
S g~hr slndd osga n hewa[
"I dono like hi p~ha ll,"repied er lde
sis~er ; "i i so narrow, oneis cag eey iueb
the l hors.
"Ah, Piseil ou ae awy okn o[fr on
I~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~~~ nee hn f e ilIfn yefcuh.






CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 79

"That is because you are a silly, giddy child was
Priscilla's contemptuous reply.
It will be easily seen, from this short conversation,
that however wise Priscilla might be in the eyes of
other people, or in her own, she was not the most
pleasant companion in the world. She was considered a
very sensible girl, one possessing reflection beyond her
years; and in some respects she deserved the character.
She was wise in keeping clear of evil society; she was
wise in performing her daily duties, and in not expecting
too much from the world: but she was not wise in ever
casting a shade of gloom over what Providence intended
to be bright; she was not wise in ever meeting mis-
fortune half-way-in always looking at the dark side of
every event, and seeming as though she thought it al-
most a sin to be happy! In truth, in these matters, by
taking the opposite extreme, Priscilla was just as foolish
as her sister. The one, eager after pleasure, often met
with disappointment: the other, fearing disappointment,
scarce knew pleasure at all.
There was the same difference between them on the
subject of religion, in which both had been carefully in-
structed. Lucy was too easily carried away by amuse-
ment: with a warm heart, but a giddy and thoughtless
spirit, she too often, alas! neglected the one thing needful
for the passing diversion of the hour. Priscilla never
forgot her Bible reading or her prayer; but both were






80 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.

too often a mere matter of form. She would not for
any temptation have worked, bought or sold, on the
Sabbath; but she never considered it a delight. Pris-
cilla quite put aside the commandment in the Bible,
Rejoice evermore; and again I say unto you, Rejoice;
while her sister forgot, in her heedless mirth, that it is
also written, Rejoice with trembling. The one girl knew
too little of the fear of the Lord; the other was a
stranger to his love.
At length the sisters reached the shore, and saw before
them the sparkling waves of the sea. On the waters
large men-of-war were lying at anchor; little boats were
floating on the sunny tide; some moving on steadily, as
their line of oars rose and fell; others speeding along
with graceful motion, like butterflies spreading their
silver wings. Amongst the many boats which were
plying here and there, and those which were fastened to
the pier, Priscilla and Lucy vainly searched for the
Nautilus, which was that which belonged to their uncle.
As with anxious looks they proceeded along the shore,
exclamations of impatience bursting from their lips, they
were approached by an old friend of their uncle's, whom
they had seen several times before.
"On the look-out, eh ?" said the old sailor, as he
came towards them. "You'll not hail the Nautilus
to-day. Your uncle was engaged this morning by a
gentleman to carry him round to the Undercliff in his







CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 81

boat; and I suspect that they'll have ugly weather,"
he added, turning his weather-beaten face towards the
sea, "so he asked me to wait for you here, and tell you
why he could not give you a row over the water; and,
as he thought as how you might be a little disappointed,
he sends you a shilling a-piece to make all straight."
Tears burst from the eyes of little Lucy : she turned
aside that the sailor might not see them. Delighted as
she ever was at the prospect of.pleasure, she never could
bear to lose it; and every little disappointment appeared
to her as a real and serious misfortune. Priscilla showed
less vexation at losing her excursion, though she took
the shilling with a discontented air; and her first words,
as she turned to walk back with her sister, were as un-
just as they were ungrateful to that good Providence
that gives us so much even upon earth to enjoy.
"I knew that it would be so! it always happens
thus If one expects a little pleasure, disappointment
is sure to come !"
How strange and unkind in my uncle !" said Lucy,
still half crying; "and to think that these stupid shil-
lings could make up for the loss of such a delightful
treat !"
"We had better walk faster," observed her prudent
sister ; "your blue bit of sky is quite disappearing
now."
"And these thorns are very annoying," Lucy added,
(253) 6






82 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.

fretfully, as, trying too hastily to free herself from a
bramble, she tore a large hole in her dress.
"Life seems all full of clouds and of thorns," observed
Priscilla, in the tone of one who is conscious of uttering
a very wise saying; "and to hope to find it anything
else is folly only fit for a very little child. There !-
was not that a drop of rain ? Yes; another and another,
and so large That great cloud is going to burst just
over our heads, and, as always happens, there is no
place near where we could take shelter from a storm."
"Oh, you are wrong there for once! there is Bertha
Fielding's cottage; it is a little, a very little out of our
way, and I am sure that the good woman will make us
welcome."
Thither ran the two little girls in the rain, which was
now falling thick and fast. A sudden flash of lightning
quickened their steps, till, heated and breathless, they
slackened their pace as they approached the neat little
cot. There was the voice of a woman singing within-
a feeble, trembling voice, in which little melody was
left; but its tones sounded earnest, as if coming from
the heart, and from a heart that was cheerful and
happy,-
"Content with this, I ask no more,
But to Thy care the rest resign;
Sick or in health, or rich or poor,
All shall be well if Thou art mine!"
The girls' hasty tap silenced the hymn, and a kind






CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 83

voice bade them come in. The inside of the cottage
was clean and neat, but its appearance bespoke great
poverty. The clock, which had once merrily ticked on
the white-washed wall, was gone from its place; there
was no arm-chair by the side of the fire; and many a
treasured family piece of old china had disappeared from
the wooden shelf. A pale, sickly-looking woman lay upon
the bed, which was now almost the sole furniture of the
little abode. Her countenance appeared worn with pain
and with want; yet it still bore a peaceful, hopeful ex-
pression.
May we wait here a little, till the shower is over?"
said Priscilla, as she entered the cottage.
"Most heartily welcome," replied Bertha. "I was
rather inclined just now to feel sorry at the rain falling,
as I suffer a good deal from the damp; but I was wrong,
for it has brought me two visitors to-day, and that is a
real pleasure in this lonely place."
"I am afraid that you are very poorly," said Lucy,
approaching her kindly.
"I am quite laid up at present with rheumatism, my
dear, and have been so for the last six weeks. I can
scarcely rise from my bed."
What a misery to have to lie so long on your bed !"
cried Priscilla, who had known something of illness.
"What a mercy to have a good bed to lie on !" re-
plied the sufferer, with a patient smile.






84 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.

"But you will recover before long, and be able to
work again," said Lucy, with kind interest in her looks.
"I hope so, if it please God," answered Bertha.
"Ah!" cried Priscilla, "I daresay that you have
been hoping and hoping all the time that you have been
ill."
"I always cherish hope, my dear."
"Then you are disappointed every day of your life."
"Oh no!" cried the sick woman, cheerfully; "my
hope is firm and sure, and can never be disappointed."
That is impossible," said Priscilla.
"Oh, tell me your secret !" cried Lucy, with anima-
tion. "I always am hoping too, but I so often find
that I never can have what I hope for."
"My secret is a very simple one," replied Bertha.
"I ask the Lord, for the sake of His blessed Son, to give
me all that is good for me; and I hope-I more than
hope-I feel certain-that the Lord hears and will
grant my prayer."
"Yet you are sent poverty and pain," said Priscilla.
"I firmly believe that both poverty and pain will
work together for my good, and that. I shall suffer from
neither of them one moment longer than the all-wise
Father knows to be best for His child."
Yet you must be very miserable now," said Pris-
cilla, glancing round on the almost comfortless abode,
and then at its suffering inmate.







CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 85

"Miserable oh no; that is no word for a Christian !
When I think of my deserts, and then of all that is left
me, I should think it a sin to be miserable,"
A sin!" repeated Priscilla, in surprise; "and what
have you to make you anything else ?"
"Some comforts even of this earth. I have never
yet gone one day quite without food; God has till now
provided me with daily bread. I have a roof over my
head, and some kind friends, and one friend "-here she
laid her hand on a Bible-" that casts sunshine over the
darkest trial. My hearing and my eyesight are spared
to me-how great a blessing is this! Then I have
sweet thoughts to cheer me as I lie here in pain. I
trust that, through my Saviour, my sins have been for-
given. Is that no cause for happiness ? I trust that
every hour brings me nearer to a home where there
shall be no more sorrow, or crying, or pain. Is that no
cause for happiness ? I believe that my gracious God is
with me even here, to support my courage and keep me
from falling. Is that no cause for happiness ? Oh, well
may I count up my mercies! well may I thank Him
who bestowed them all !-the Rock of my strength and
my salvation !" Tears filled her eyes as she spoke, but
not tears of sorrow : The hope of the righteous shall be
gladness.
Priscilla sighed. When she contrasted her lot with
that of this poor woman-her peevish discontent, her






86 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.

cold, heartless service, with Bertha's loving, grateful,
happy spirit-she felt abashed and humbled in her own
eyes.
"The rain is over," she said, turning to the door.
"I am sure that we are much obliged to you, Bertha;
and I shall often think over what you have said."
Lucy glided to her sister, and whispered a few words
to her, at the same time pressing something into her
hand. "You speak for me," was all that could be
overheard. Priscilla's smile was brighter than usual.
We happen to have been given a little money," she
said, going up to Bertha with Lucy; we have no real
wants ourselves, and we should be glad, very glad, if
you would spend it in getting any little comfort for
yourself."
May the Almighty bless you for your kindness, dear
children !" cried Bertha, fervently clasping her hands.
" It is He who has sent you here to-day. He knew that
I had not a crust left in my cottage-that I had no
earthly means of procuring one. He has answered my
prayer. I hoped in Him, and He has not disappointed
"my hope. But I cannot deprive you of both shillings,"
she added; it is too much-"
Oh no !" exclaimed Priscilla we will never touch
that money again !"
"Prissy," said Lucy gaily to her sister, as they
hastened along the wet path, not complaining when their






CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 87

shoes were fixed in the mire, and showers of moisture
dropped on them from the trees, I am almost glad now
that we were disappointed of our treat; I think that it
was a good thing after all."
Yes ; and I am glad that the shower came, though
we dreaded it so much."
"I daresay that if we looked at things as poor
Bertha looks, we should find a great deal to make us
glad."
Glad, and thankful besides," said Priscilla.
"Ah, you are thinking less of the thorns and the
clouds !"
I see that earthly joys and earthly sorrows are
mixed, like the lovely wild-flowers with the brambles;
so that we should not care too much for the one, nor
fret too much at the other. And as, when dark clouds
roll over the sky, we yet know that the blue heaven is
always beyond, we may look through all troubles with
a sure glad hope."
"And the hope of the righteous shall be gladness,"
said Lucy.
Oh! who should be joyful and glad,
If not those whom the Saviour has loved,
Who, living or dying, their happiness rest
On the Rock which can never be moved ?
What have we, as sinners, deserved?
What hath God in His graciousness given ?
Let us love Him and serve Him, rejoicing below,
As we hope to do always in heaven.







8 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.

Can myriads of glittering lights
E'er equal the brightness of day ?
Or all that the world holds of pleasure and wealth
The joys of religion outweigh?
What have we, as sinners, deserved ?
What hath God in His graciousness given ?
Let us love Him and serve Him, rejoicing below,
As we hope to do always in heaven.

Shall we murmur at pains or at grief,
If our God be our Father and Friend ?
"Those pains-they can bring us but nearer to Him ;
That grief-oh, how soon it will end!
What have we, as sinners, deserved ?
What hath God in His graciousness given ?
Let us love Him and serve Him, rejoicing below,
As we hope to do always in heaven.










i ., --_. -
-_ -





-.% .'{ ,,, - -. -: ', '
*"-y ~~'~i~C I

















CHAPTER VII.

THE GREAT PLAGUE.


"Fools make a mock at sin."-PRov. xiv. 9.


"> HAT a violent storm is raging!" said Thorn
l the teacher to his scholars, as, after having
dismissed them at the close of the school
hours, he found them clustering together in
the porch, afraid of venturing forth into the






occupy myself with reading."

The boys gladly availed themselves of the permission,
and began to play together in one part of the room,
s sFools make a miock at sin.c"leaOrs. XwiV. eI


c a violent storm is raging" said Thorn
















while the weary teacher sat down in another, rested his
pale brow on hmi hand, and tried, as far as the noise
pale brow on his hand, and tried, as far as the noise






90 THE GREAT PLAGUE.

and talking would let him, to forget his fatigue in
a book.
He soon, however, found it impossible not to hear
what was passing; his eye rested, indeed, on the page,
but his mind could not take in the sense of it. He
loved his pupils too well to think that his care of them
should end with the hours of study: he looked on the im-
mortal beings committed to his charge as those for whom
he must one day render an account to his God and theirs.
"No, we're all tired of that! cried the voice of Bat
Nayland, as some well-known game was proposed. "I
know something that will give us a deal more fun: let's
play at the highwayman and the judge! "
"What's that? what's that ?" cried a dozen young
voices.
"Oh! it's what I saw at the penny theatre, about a
clever thief robbing a judge: only think-robbing a
judge !" The last words were repeated around the room
in various tones of amusement and surprise.
Oh! you shall know all about it: but first we must
arrange the parts. You, Pat, shall be the thief, and I
will be the judge-no, you shall be the judge and I the
thief! He was interrupted by a burst of laughter.
Be quiet, will you ?-who'll be the policeman ? "
"I I !" cried several of the children, eager to join
in the proposed play.
Now, Sam, you shall be the fat landlady,"-there






THE GREAT PLAGUE. 91

was another roar of merriment, louder than before;-
for you must know that the thief is to get drunk;
that's how he is to be taken by the policeman; and he
staggers here and there,"-Bat began to imitate the un-
steady movements of an intoxicated man, amid the
renewed mirth of the children;-" and when they seize
him he calls out a great oath-you shall hear it all just
as I heard it."
I hope not," said Thorn, very quietly, raising his
eyes from his book. The boys were quiet in a moment:
they had almost forgotten the presence of their teacher.
"Why, sir, do you think that there is any harm ?
said Bat Nayland: "it does not make us thieves to
have a little fun about them."
"It lessens your horror for their crime; and remem-
ber the words in the Bible, Fools make a mock at sin.
Can you imagine any true child of God laughing at
theft, drunkenness, and swearing? "
There was profound silence in the room.
"This is one cause, I believe, why penny theatres are
one of the most fruitful sources of vice and ruin to those
who attend them. Wickedness, instead of appearing
hateful as it does in God's Word, is made amusing, and
even sometimes attractive; and those who willingly
place- themselves in the way of being corrupted by such
sights, only mock the Holy One when they pray, Lead
us not into temptation.







92 THE GREAT PLAGUE.






7

"- 'f, ,,' n





II .
/ -"-




























THE TEACHER'S STORY.

"But," continued the teacher in a more cheerful tone,

"if I have stopped your amusement in one way, it is

but fair that I should contribute to it in another. I

hear the rain still pattering without-what would you

say to my telling you a story ? "







THE GREAT PLAGUE. 93

"A story! a story!" repeated the scholars, forming
in a little circle around their teacher; for where are the
children to be found upon earth on whom that word
does not act like a spell!
"It is now long, long ago," commenced Thorn,
"nearly two hundred years, since the fearful plague
raged in London. Nothing which we have witnessed
in these happier days can give an idea of the horrors of
that time. It is said that nearly seventy thousand
people perished of this awful malady-some authors
make the number even ninety thousand The nearest
relatives were afraid of each other. When an unfor-
tunate being showed symptoms that the disease had
seized him-the swelling under the arms, the pain in
the throat, the black spots, which were signs of the
plague-his very servants fled from him in terror; and
unless some one was found to help the sufferer from love
even stronger than fear of death, he was left to perish
alone; for the plague was fearfully infectious. When a
door was marked with a cross, the sign that the fearful
scourge had entered the house, it was shunned by all but
the driver of the dead-cart-that gloomy conveyance which
moved slowly through the silent streets to carry away the
bodies of those who had sunk beneath the terrible disease!"
Was London ever in such a horrible state ?" cried
Bat Nayland; it must have been a thousand times
worse than the cholera! "






94 THE GREAT PLAGUE.


















-- r 4- -. -\-. *_ '--
g!
























THE PLAGUE IN LONDON.

What I have told you about it I believe to be
strictly true; I leave you all, however, to judge
whether what I am about to relate can be so.
"In a small house, at the time when the plague was
raging, dwelt a widow with five young children. She
loved them with the fondest, truest love : they were all






THE GREAT PLAGUE. 95

that were left her in the world. From the first appear-
ance of the plague in London her heart had been full of
painful anxiety-far less for herself than for them.
Determined to take every human precaution to guard
her little ones from danger, she forbade them to quit the
house, which she only left herself in order to procure
food, holding a handkerchief steeped in vinegar before
her face, as far as possible to keep out infection. Her
anxiety became yet more distressing when she saw one
morning on the door of the very opposite house the fatal
sign marked, and below it chalked the heart-touching
words, 'Lord have mercy upon us !'
"That day the mother was compelled to go out for
bread. She left her home with a very heavy heart, first
looking earnestly upon all and each of her children, to
see if they yet appeared healthy and well, repeating her
command that none should stir out, and inwardly
breathing a prayer that the Almighty would preserve
them during her absence.
"As she returned with hurried steps towards her
home, shuddering at the recollection of the sights of
horror which she had seen in the course of her walk,
with terror she observed her eldest son playing upon the
very threshold of the infected house, and trying to imi-
tate with a piece of chalk the dreadful signs upon the
door !"
"The little idiot "-" He must have been without






96 THE GREAT PLAGUE.

his senses !"--"What did the poor mother do ?" were
the exclamations which burst from Thorn's listeners.
"She could not speak, in the transport of her anger
and grief: she seized him by the arm, and dragged him
into her own house, with feelings which only a mother
can understand. She found her four other children
assembled in her little parlour, amusing themselves by
-would you believe it ?-playing at catching the
plague! "
"Oh no, no!" cried the children at once. "You
told us that we should judge whether the story were
true, and we are sure that this cannot be true !"
"And why not ?" inquired the teacher.
"Because," answered Bat, replying for the rest, "the
plague was too horrible a thing to make a joke of!
Just at a time when their mother was so anxious,
when thousands were suffering so much around them-
no, no! that would have been too bad; they could
never have made game of the plague!"
"And yet what were my pupils doing ten minutes
ago but making game of a far worse disease than the
plague-the fatal disease of sin ? Its spots are blacker,
the pain it gives more terrible: often has it caused the
death of the body, and, except where repented of and
forsaken, the death, the endless death of the soul! Oh,
my children! it may be your lot, as it was that
mother's, to be obliged to go out and meet the danger,





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