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No niasa, no relation; he not oavn my lieio0nd-p. 106.
AND HOW IT. POINTS.
THE REV. DR R. NEWTON.
GALL & INGLIS.
o lAENtO : ebin bi alT:
25 PATERNOSTER SQ.; 6 GEORGE STREET.
RESISTING TEMPTATION .. ............ ........................ 5
RELIGION AND RUBIES ............................. .............. 21
LESSONS FROM THE ANT......... ......... .................... 39
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ............................... 58
THE HARD WAY ............. .......................... .....78
THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL GARDEN................................. 98
W AYs op Doria GooD ......................... ....... .... 118
THE BLESSEDNESS OF GIVING .................................. 133
TIME AND KNOWLEDGE.. .............. ...................... 148
MONEY AND USEFULNESS ......................................... 164
-__~ _- : __-_ -=--
"If sinners entice thee, consent thou not."--Pov. i. 10.
IF I should ask you, Who are meant by sinners ?
you would, perhaps, give me many different answers.
One would say, sinners are persons that curse and
swear-Another, thieves and robbers are meant by sin-
ners-Another, murderers are sinners. Anotherwould
say, sinners means those who get drunk and break the
Sabbath. And so on. All these answers would be
6 THE SAFE COMPASS.
cutrect, for it is true that all the different persons
named are siiners But none of these would be the
proper answer, or the best answer to give to the
question-who are meant by sinners ? When God
speaks about sinners in the Bible, He does not mean
only those persons who swear or steal, or commit
murder, or do such dreadful things, but He means
all persons who are not true Christians. All men
and women, all boys and girls whose hearts have not
been changed, and who do not love the Saviour, are
sinners in God's sight. Whenever we read about
"sinners" in the Bible, these are the persons in-
tended. This is the meaning of the word "sinners"
in our text. Do you know who wrote the book of
Proverbs? Solomon. He was the great king of Israel,
the wisest man, excepting our blessed Saviour, who
ever lived. Now, let us see what Solomon speaks of
sinners as doing in our text. He says, If sinners
entice thee." What does it mean to entice a person?
It means to persuade, or coax him to commit sin, or
to do something wrong. If you are trying to get a
person to do right, we never call it enticing him. It
is only when people are trying to make others do
wrong, that we use the word entice.
The meaning of the text then is,-if persons who
are not Christians, who don't love Jesus,-try to
persuade you to do wrong, don't mind them. For
instance, suppose you are on your way to Sunday-
school some bright, beautiful Sunday morning. At
the corner of the street you meet some young friends.
One of them says to you, Good morning, John,
where are you going ? You answer, I am going to
Sunday-school. Where are you going 7" He says-
"Oh, we're going out to spend the day at Fair-
mount Park. We've got our dinner in that basket.
You'd better come along, John, we're going to have
lc+s of fun." Now what would your friend be do-
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 7
ing ? He would be a sinner enticing you to break
the fourth commandment.
Suppose you are spending your summer vacation.
One fine afternoon you go out to play in the woods.
Adjoining the woods is an apple orchard. Before you
go, your mother says to you, Well, Johnny, I hope
you'll have a nice time in the woods; but, remem-
ber, you are not to go into the orchard on any account,
or to take any of the fruit there. Do you hear ?"
But it's a warm afternoon. After a while some
of the boys start for the orchard, and begin eating
the apples. But you remember what your mother
said, and go on with your play.
Presently, one of the boys calls out to you-
Halloo, John, dcn't you want some apples ?"
No;" you answer, very promptly : Mother
told me not to take any; and I don't intend to."
We're not going to climb up the trees," he says,
"but only to take some of these lying on the ground.
It won't do any harm to take these. They are so
ripe and juicy Just come over and taste them."
What would that boy be doing He would be a
sinner enticing you to break the fifth commandment,
by disobeying your mother. And so, whenever any-
body tries to persuade you to commit sin; to lie, or
swear, or break the Sabbath, or disobey your parents,
or to do anything, no matter what, which the Bible
says you must not do, that person is a sinner trying
to entice you. And here. in the text, God tells you
what to do in all such cases. He says, "If sinners
entice thee, consent thou not." Don't yield to their
enticements. Don't let them persuade you to join
them in sin. This is the great lesson we should
learn from out text.
I pray God to write this text on every heart here
this afternoon. Oh, how many sorrows and troubles
8 THE SAFE COMPASS.
it will save you from, if you will only remember
this text, and mind it, when "sinners entice" you!
I wish now to speak of three reasons why we
should not consent when sinners entice us.
The first reason is, because, when we begin to sin,
it's hard to stop.
There was a boy whose name was Frank. He
was in the orchard on the side of a hill. His father
was in the yard, adjoining the orchard, at the foot
of the hill. He called to him, "Frank, come here."
"Yes, sir," said Frank, and started to run at full
speed down the hill. He ran ever so far past his
father, towards the house.
"Frank, come here, I say; didn't you hear me
call 1" asked his father.
"Yes, sir," said Frank.
Well, then, what made you run past me ."
"Oh !" said Frank, "I got going, and couldn't
This is just the way in which people run into sin:
"Sinners entice them," and they consent. "They
get going, and can't stop."
I went, a short time ago," said a gentleman to a
friend, "to the jail, to see a young man who had
once been a Sunday-school scholar. The keeper
took a large bunch of keys, and led us through the
long, gloomy halls, unlocking one door after another,
until at length he opened the door of the room in
which sat the young man we had come to see. The
walls of the room were of course stone, the floor of
thick plank, and before the windows were strong
Without, all was beautiful: the green fields, the
sweet flowers, and the singing birds were as lovely
as ever, but this young man could enjoy none of
them; no, never could he look on them again, for
he was condemned to death. He had killed a man,
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 9
and now he himself was to die. Think of it, only
twenty years old, and yet a murderer !
I sat down beside him, and talked with him.
"Oh !" said he, as the tears rolled down his cheeks,
"to think that I should come to this! I didn't
mean to do it, but I was drunk; then I got angry,
and before I knew what I was about, I killed him.
Oh, if I had only minded my mother, and listened
to my Sunday-school teacher, I never should have
come to this ; I never should have been here !"
This young man "got aging, and couldn't stop."
When "sinners enticed him" to break the Sabbath,
to disobey his mother, to drink and gamble, he
ought not to have consented. It would have been
easy for him to take his stand then; but when he
once began to sin, like a stone thrown down the side
of a mountain, he found it hard to stop.
As the gentleman left him, he said: Will you pray
for me, sir 1 And oh! tell boys everywhere to mind
their mothers, and keep away from bad companions."
Think of this young man whenever you read or
hear the words of the text : "If sinners entice thee,
consent thou not."
The Arabs have a fable about The Miller and the
Camel, which illustrates, very well, the importance
of minding this text. The fable says, that one day
in winter, the miller was sleeping in his house, when
*he was awakened by a noise. On looking up, he saw
a camel who had thrust his nose through the window
of the room.
It's very cold out here," said the camel; "please
let me just put my nose into your room to get a
little warmed." "Very well," said the miller.
After a while the camel asked leave to put his neck
in; and then he begged to have his forefeet in the
room; and so he kept on, by little and little, until
at last he crowded in his whole body.
10 THE SAFE COMPASS.
Then he began to walk about the room, and knock
things over, and do just as he pleased. The miller
soon found him so rude and troublesome that the
room was not large enough for them both. He be-
gan to complain to the camel of the trouble he was
giving him, and told him to go out. "If you don't
like the room, you can leave it, whenever you
choose," said the camel; as for myself, I am very
comfortable, and intend to stay where I am."
This is just the way it is with sin. It comes
knocking at our hearts, and begs for entrance a little
way. As the old proverb says, "If you give it an
inch, it will take an ell." It goes on increasing its
power, step by step, until it becomes master in the
soul. It would have been easy enough for the
miller to have kept the camel out when he only had
his nose in the window but after he got his whole
body into the room, it was hard work to get him
out. So when sin, or sinners entice us, we should
not consent. We should guard against the first be-
ginning of it. Don't let its nose get in at the win-
dow, and then its body will never get into the room.
The Bible tells us to flee from the appearance of
Sevil. Let us resolve to do this; and, above all, let
us pray for the help of the Holy Spirit, that by His
grace we may be able to "keep our hearts with all
diligence," and guard against the entrance of any-
thing that may, as one of our collects says, "assault
or hurt the soul." If sinners entice thee, consent
thou not." The first reason why we should not con-
sent is, that when we begin to sin it's hard to stop.
But the second reason why we ought not to consent
to sin is because it is DANGEROUS.
Here is a long train of carriages on a railway.
They are crowded with passengers, and are flying
pleasantly along at full speed. Now they come to
where the track goes along near a high bank. Here
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 11
some wicked person has placed a heavy log of wood
across the track. The train comes thundering on. The
engineer does not see the log. Presently the engine
comes up against it with a tremendous crash. It is
thrown off the track. It drags the train after it.
One after another the carriages roll down the bank.
Many of them are broken to pieces. A dreadful
scene of confusion follows. Ten or fifteen of the
passengers are killed, and great numbers of them
wounded. All this loss and misery is produced by
the log that was laid across that track. Was it not
a very dangerous thing to place that log there ? Yes;
for it threw that train off the track, and occasioned
all that mischief.
Now, sin is dangerous in just the same way.
God's commandments are the path of duty he has
prepared for us to walk in-the track on which he
would have us run. But sin, like the log against
which the engine ran, throws us off the track of duty,
and causes great harm. Look at Adam and Eve in
the garden of Eden. They were like the first two
in a long train of cars. When Satan enticed them
to sin, he laid a log on their track. When they con-
sented to sin, they ran against that log. This threw
them off the track, and every car in the long, long
train that came after them. All the war, and misery,
and suffering, and death, which has filled the world
since then, have been the effect of throwing that
train off the track. Jesus has been occupied nearly
6000 years in trying to get that train on the track
again. It is not on yet, but He is sure to get it on
at last. This shows us what a dangerous thing it is
to consent to sin.
Not long ago some workmen were engaged in
building a large brick tower, which was to be car-
ried up very high. The master builder was very
particular in charging the masons to lay every brick
12 THE SAFE COMPASS.
with the greatest care, especially in the first courses
or rows, which had to bear the weight of all the rest
of the building. However, one of the workmen did
not mind what had been told him. In laying a
corner he very carelessly left one of the bricks a little
crooked, out of the line; or, as the masons call it,
" not plumb." Well, you may say, It was only
one single brick in a great pile of them. What
difference does it make if that was not exactly
straight ?" You will see directly. The work went
on. Nobody noticed that there was one brick wrong.
But as each new course of bricks was kept in a line
with those already laid, the tower was not put up ex-
actly straight, and the higher they built it the more
insecure it became. One day, when the tower had
been carried up about fifty feet, a tremendous crash
was heard. The building had fallen to the ground,
burying the workmen in the ruins. All the previous
work was lost, the materials were wasted; and, worse
than this, valuable lives were sacrificed, and all
because one brick had been laid wrong at the start.
The workman who carelessly laid that brick wrong
little thought what a dangerous thing he was doing,
and what terrible harm would result from his neglect.
My dear young friends, you are now building up
your character. In the habits you now form you
are laying the foundation of that character. One
bad habit, one brick laid wrong now, may ruin your
character by and bye. Remember what you are
doing, and see that every brick is kept straight. If
sinners entice thee, consent thou not," because it is
But this part of our subject is so important that
I must give you another illustration of the danger of
consenting to sin before we leave it.
There was a minister once, who had a bright,
beautiful boy, named James. He was his only
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 13
child. It was on a clear, calm, lovely Sabbath
morning in June, that the event took place of which
I am about to tell you. The cherries were ripe, and
the green leaves which were around them made them
appear very nice and tempting. James's father was
about to leave home to go to church. Knowing
that his son sometimes acted very improperly when
he was away, he was afraid that he might be tempt-
ed to disobey his father and break the Sabbath in
order to get the cherries. So, before he started, he
called James to him, and said, "My son, do you
know what day this is F"
Yes, sir; it's the Sabbath day."
"Can you wait until to-morrow for the cherries,
which are ripe V"
"Yes, sir," answered James.
Now remember, my dear boy, that this is God's
day. Don't go near that tree. Don't forget your
"No, sir," said he.
After his father had disappeared over the hill, and
his nurse was engaged in another part of the house,
he took his stand at the open window, and stood
gazing at the bright, beautiful fruit, as they hung
upon the tree, so ripe and juicy. Perhaps you are
ready to say, that "There were no sinners there to
tempt James." Yes, there was. Satan was there,
that old father of sin and sinners. He is the
greatest of all enticers. He came up to James,
unseen, and whispered in his ear, "Don't they look
ripe I Wouldn't it be nice to have a few 7 What's
to hinder! The nurse is away. Nobody will see
you. Your father will never know it. Why not go
and get a few Thus Satan enticed James. And
James consented. After he had filled his eye and his
heart with the cherries, he resolved to fill his hands
and his mouth. He stole quietly out of the house,
14 THE SAFE COMPASS.
and climbed up the tree. He had eaten as many
as he wanted then, and was plucking some to put
in his pocket, when the door of the house opened
suddenly. This frightened him. He missed his
hold, and fell some twelve feet to the ground. The
servant ran to pick him up, and carry him into the
house. But his neck was broken, and there lay the
young Sabbath-breaker, dead He had died in the
very act of breaking two of God's commandments at
once-the fourth and the fifth.
At noon his father returned. He found his little
boy dead. How must he have felt i Ah if we had
been there, we would have seen him wringing his
hands in sorrow, while he took up David's lamen-
tation over Absalom, and said : My son my son !
would God that I had died for thee Oh, James, my
son my son !"
If sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Don't
do it, because it is dangerous.
The third reason why we should not consent to sin
is because it is DISGRACEFUL.
Sin is disgraceful in two ways: It is disgraceful
in the looks it gives us, and in the company into which
it brings us. The looks it gives us; why, you ask,
What has sin to do with our looks ? I tell you it
has a great deal to do with our looks.
I suppose you have all seen a gutta-percha face ?
And I daresay you have amused yourself in pinch-
ing it one way, and pulling it another, and seeing
what different expressions it will put on. But when
you stop pulling or pinching it, it returns to the same
face that it was before.
Now, your faces are softer than gutta-percha, and
they are full of little strings called muscles. These
muscles, or strings, are pulled one way, or pulled an-
other, just according to your feelings. Sometimes
you feel grieved or sad, and the little muscles pull
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 15
your face into a very doleful expression. The mo-
ment anybody looks at you they know something is
troubling you, and you feel sorrowful. But if you
see a funny picture, or if something happens to make
you feel merry and glad, the little muscles pull your
face into smiles and dimples, and you look just ready
to burst out into a broad laugh.
But when we commit sin, wicked feelings are at
work pulling these strings. Anger pulls one set of
strings, and then you know what a disagreeable look
the face puts on in a moment! Pride pulls another
set of these strings, and so does vanity, or envy, or
deceit, or discontent; and each of these brings its
own peculiar look or expression over the face. And
the worst thing about it is, that if these strings are
pulled too often the face will not return to what it
was before, but the strings will become stiff, like
wires, and the face will keep wearing the ugly look
it put on all the time. By giving way to sin, or in-
dulging their bad feelings, some people get their
faces worked up to such a dreadful look that, when
you meet one of them in the street, the moment you
see him you can tell what his character is.
A face that was very lovely, when it was that of a
child, if it has the passion of anger often pulling at
it, will get at last to wear all the time, a sullen,
cross, dissatisfied look. Or, if a man has learned to
love money better than anything else, and to hoard
it up for its own sake, this will pull a set of strings
that will fix a close, mean, grasping look upon his
face, so that as you pass him, you will be ready to
say, "There goes a miser." Or, if one learns to lie
and steal, his face will show it, by and bye; it will
be impossible for him to put on an honest, truthful
You know, my dear children, the Bible tells us
that sin is a eproach, or a disgrace, and if we con-
16 THE SAFE COMPASS.
sent to it, or give way to it, it will pull those strings
in our faces that will make our very looks to be dis-
graceful. Don't let anger, or pride, or passion, get
hold of the strings, or they will make you appear so
ugly that no one will love to look at you. But let
love, and gentleness, and goodwill, and truth, and
honesty have hold of the strings, and they will make
your faces beautiful and lovely.
Did you ever hear the story of the Two Portraits ?
It comes in so nicely to illustrate this part of our
subject that I must tell it here.
An Italian painter once wanted to get a painting
that would do to represent the head and face of an
angel. One day, as he was passing through the
streets, he saw a little child whose face was the
brightest, the sweetest, and the most beautiful he
had ever seen. He said to himself, That is just
what I want." He asked permission to paint a like-
ness of the head and face of that child. It was
granted. He finished it, and hung it up in his study.
Everybody admired it. The sweet gentle look of
that face seemed like an angel's look. He often
gazed upon it when he was disturbed, or troubled,
and it seemed to soothe him and do him good. He
used to say that he would like to paint another head,
to be the very opposite of this; as unlike it, in
every respect, as possible. Then he would have the
two portraits to hang side by side-the one as the
head of an angel; the other, as the head of a fiend :
the one to represent heaven, the other to represent
hell. But many years passed away before he found
any one who looked horrible enough to be the sub-
ject for the second picture. At length, in a distant
land, he was once visiting a prison. There, he saw
a man whose appearance was the most dreadful he
had ever seen. His face had the fierce, haggard
look of a fiend, with glaring eyes, and cheeks deeply
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 17
marked with lust and crime. The moment he saw
the man, he said to himself, "This will do for my
second portrait." He painted a picture of this loath-
some face to hang beside that beautiful angel head
which had been in his study so long. And when
they hung there, side by side, oh, how great the con-
trast between them was The one looked, for all
the world, like the face of an angel, and the other
like the face of a fiend. But when the painter
came to inquire into the history of the prisoner,
you may judge what his surprise was, when he found
this hideous-looking man was the very same person
whose face, when a child, he had taken from which
to paint his portrait of an angel. And now that
face was so changed that he painted his portrait of
a fiend from it. And what had made this surprising
change ? One little word of three letters-sin. I
said that sin was disgraceful in the looks it gives us.
Here you see how true this is !
But sin is disgraceful also in the company to which
it brings us. When Jesus was on earth he said,
"Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."
Now, so far as we know, Satan was the first sinner.
He is the author, or father of sin. And if we are the
servants of sin, we must be the servants of Satan also.
But can there be any greater disgrace than this?
You know that in some cities, when men have com-
mitted great crimes for which they are condemned to
the penitentiary, they are obliged to wear a particu-
lar kind of prison dress. Then they are chained to-
gether in gangs of three or four, and compelled to
sweep the streets, and do other such like work for the
city authorities. Now, suppose you had a young
friend about 18 or 19 years old. We may call him
Charles Jackson. He has had a good education.
His parents are well off, and very respectable. His
father is an eminent physician in this city. But
18 THE SAFE COMPASS.
Charles was a bad boy. He gave his parents a great
deal of trouble, and several years ago he ran away
from home. And suppose that one day you are
walking through the streets of one of those cities
where the prisoners, in chains, are made to act as
scavengers. As you go along you pass one of those
chain-gang of prisoners. You look up in passing,
and there to your surprise and sorrow you see, chained
in between criminals, your old friend, Charles
Jackson! Oh, how shocked you are You say to
yourself, what a disgrace to be found in such com-
pany? Sin brought that disgrace upon Charles.
Now, do you know that Satan and the wicked
spirits with him are God's chain-gang prisoners. The
Bible tells us that that they are "reserved," or kept
in everlasting chains under darkness" (Jude 6).
Or, as it calls them in another place, "in chains of
darkness." They are God's prisoners in chains. And
all who consent to sin are bound in the same gang
with them. And if we remain in the company of
Satan here, in this life, we must share the wages
which he will receive at last, and be shut up in com-
pany with him for ever. There is one passage in the
Bible which speaks about this, and it is enough to
make one's blood run cold just to read it or hear it.
It is the 25th chapter of Matthew and 41st verse.
Here Jesus is describing the solemn scenes of the
judgment-day. He is seated on his glorious throne.
The holy angels are about him. All nations are
gathered before him. On his right hand stand the
righteous, i. e., all who have loved and served him.
He smiles on them and says, "Come, ye blessed
children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared
for you from the foundation of the world." On his
left hand stand the wicked, i. e., all who have con-
sented to sin and served Satan. He turns to them
with an awful frown, and says, Depart, ye cursed,
RESISTING TEMPTATION. 19
into everlasting fire. prepared for the devil and his
angels 1" Dreadful, dreadful words If the fire was
prepared for the devil and his angels, the place was
prepared for them too. Only think of being shut up
in the company of all wicked angels and men for ever!
What a disgrace The third reason why we should
not consent to sin is, that it is disgraceful.
Here, thmn, we have three good reasons why we
should not consent to sin. Thefirst is, because when
we begin it is hard to stop; the second is, because it is
dangerous ; and the third, because it is disgraceful.
In conclusion, my dear young friends, there are two
things we ought all of us to do. We ought to get rid
of the sins we have committed. This is one thing.
We are all sinners. Every one of us has committed
sin. The great thing is to get rid of it. Now, there
is only One Person in all the universe who can take
away sin. This is Jesus. He came, the Bible tells
us, "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." He
was nailed to the cross, and shed his precious blood
for this purpose. Hence the Bible tells us that "the
blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." If we
are truly sorry for our sins, and pray God for His
sake to pardon our sins, they will be all forgiven. He
will blot them out of His book of remembrance, and
they will never be mentioned any more. This is one
thing we ought to do. Get rid of the sins we have
And then there is another thing we ought to do;
and that is, to try and keep from sinning any more.
Said a boy to his sister one day, "I want the spirit
to look sin right in the face when it comes to me, and
"Yes, brother," said his sister, "and one thing
more you want; you want God's grace to see sin, and
know it when it comes, for it doesn't always show
20 THE SAFE COMPASS.
I suppose by God's grace this good girl meant
the Bible. This helps us to see things as God sees
them, just as though we were looking at them as He
does. There is nothing like the Bible to show us
what sin is. And then, while it shows us what is
sin, it shows us how to deal with it. "If sinners
entice thee, consent thou not." Take your stand at
once. Don't trifle with it. The moment it appears,
In front of my house there are two young shade
trees; or rather one in front of my house, and the
other in front of my next-door neighbour's house.
Last spring they both came out in leaf beautifully.
They looked very green and flourishing. After a
while the worms appeared,-those long, black, ugly-
looking creatures that play such havoc with our shade
trees every spring. Well, one day, when I was going
out of the house, I stopped a moment to look at the
tree, and found the worms had fairly got possession
of it, and were likely, in a few days, to eat up all the
leaves. I shook my head and said, "Ah! my gen-
tlemen, this'll never do." So I went in and got a
chair to stand upon, and, taking a cane in my hand,
I went to work and knocked off and killed every
worm that was on the tree. That saved the tree. It
has been growing nicely all the summer. But my
neighbour let the worms alone on his tree. The con-
sequence was, that they ate up every particle of leaf
that was on it. Then the tree died, and every time
I look at its bare, black, dismal-looking, deadbranches,
it teaches me a lesson. It seems to tell me the im-
portance of resisting sin as soon as it appears. What
the worms were to that tree, sins are to your soul.
Oh, pray God to give you grace to see your sins as
soon as they appear, and to try to get rid of them at
"If sinners entice thee, consent thou not."
She is more precious than rubies."-PRov. iii. 15.
SOLOMON is speaking of religion here. He calls
it wisdom. Wisdom is always represented as a
female. The first word in the text, the pronoun she,
means religion. Suppose, now, that we put this
word in place of the pronoun she, and then the verse
will read, Religion is more precious than rubies."
A ruby is a beautiful gem. It is a precious stone,
22 THE SAFE COMPASS.
of a bright rose or blood-red colour. If you look at
a ruby, when the sunlight is on it, you will see it
shining, and sparkling in the most beautiful manner.
Among precious stones the ruby is reckoned the
most valuable, next to the diamond. And because
it is considered so valuable, religion is here com-
pared to it. Solomon was a good judge, both of
rubies and of religion. He was the richest man on
the earth at the time in which he lived. He had
gold and silver almost without any end. He had all
kinds of jewels and precious stones. Among these,
no doubt, he had a great many rubies. He knew
how much they were worth, and what they were
good for. And then Solomon was a pious man.
He knew very well how much religion was worth.
He knew what it was good for. So that we know
he understood what he was speaking about when he
wrote the words of which we are now thinking.
But Solomon was not speaking for himself, when he
used these words-" A greater than Solomon is
here." It is God who is here speaking through him.
Solomon was one of those holy men of old" whom
the Holy Ghost employed to write the Bible. What
those men said was not their own words, but God's.
"They spake as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost." It is God, then, who is here speaking of
religion, and says, "She is more precious than
rubies." God knows how much rubies are worth,
for He made them all. And God knows how much
religion is worth, for He is the author of it. Now
here, you see, we have two things to examine or
compare together-religion and rubies. This is the
subject of our sermon this afternoon. When you go
home from church to-day, if anybody asks you what
was the sermon about, you can say it was about
religion and rubies compared.
She is more precious than rubies."
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 23
Now, the question we have to answer is, in what
way is religion more precious than rubies? I wish
to speak of five ways in which this is so.
And, in the first place, religion is more precious
than rubies in the WAY OF INSTRUCTION.
A ruby isaverybeautiful thing tolookat. It glitters
and sparkles in such a way that you can't help ad-
miring it. But what can a ruby teach you? What
instruction can it give you? Suppose that you
have one of the largest and most valuable rubies that
the world contains, but, at the same time, that you
have no Bible. Suppose, also, that you have never
seen or heard of a Bible. You have never had a single
lesson from it. You are entirely ignorant of all the
greatthings which the Bible teaches. Now,how much
could you learn about those things from your ruby 1
You look upon this beautiful world around you,-
the fields, the woods, the mountains, the hills, the
plains, the valleys, the rivers, and springs that run
among the hills,-the sun as it shines by day, and
the moon and the stars as they shine by night,-and
you want to know who made them all. And can
your ruby tell you Oh, no! But here religion
comes with her Bible. Can she tell you? Yes, in-
deed. She opens the first chapter of this wonderful
book and reads, "In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth." You look at yourself.
What a wonderful creature you are How strangely
your body is made, with its eyes, and ears, and
hands, and feet, and heart, and lungs. And then
the soul that dwells in this moving house; the soul
that thinks, and feels, and loves, and hates,-who
made it and put it in this curious body? The ruby
cannot tell you anything about it. But religion can
tell you. She opens her wondrous book again and
reads: "The Lord God formed man out of the dust
24 THE SAFE COMPASS.
of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life, and man became a living soul."
You have a dear little brother whom you love very
much. He is taken sick. The doctor comes to see
him-but can't cure him. He dies. You see him
put into the coffin. The lid is screwed down upon
him. Then comes the funeral. You go to the
grave-yard. The coffin is lowered into the grave.
You lean over and look down. How cold and damp
it seems! Now, the men shovel in the earth, and
your little brother is hidden from your sight. You
want to know what has become of him. And can
your ruby tell you 1 No. But here is religion with
her Bible. She opens it and reads, "the dust," i. e.,
the body, "shall return to the earth as it was; and
the spirit shall return unto God, who gave it." Ec-
cles. xii. 7.
But you have seen the flowers in the garden all
wither and die when winter came; yet on the return
of spring they start up and grow again. You have
seen the little worm weave a sort of coffin around
itself. In this it has lain all winter, as if dead.
But in spring that little coffin opens, and, instead of
the crawling worm, out comes a beautiful butterfly.
Now, as you stand by your little brother's grave,
you want to know whether he will live again like
the flowers, or whether his coffin will open, and he
will come out again as much changed as the worm
was when turned into the butterfly. Oh, how anxi-
ous are you to know this Well, ask your beautiful
ruby. Can it give you any answer ? Not a word.
But here is religion with her Bible. Ask her. She
opens the Bible, and reads, "Thy brother shall rise
again," John xi. 23. "The hour is coming in which
all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the
Son of Man, and shall come forth," John v. 28.
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 25
You have heard that God made you, and the
world, and all things. You know that He is very
powerful, and can do whatever He desires. But you
wish to know what sort of a God He is. Is He
kind, and loving, and gentle? or is He angry, and
fierce, and cruel? These are the questions which
your ruby can't answer. But ask religion about
them. She opens her Bible, and reads, God is
love," 1 John iv. 8. "The Lord is good unto all,
and His tender mercies are over all His works," Ps.
cxlv. 9. And now suppose that you are going to
die yourself. You feel that you are a sinner, and are
afraid to die. You want to know how your sins can
be pardoned, so that you may go to heaven when
you die. Can your ruby tell you? No. But you
ask religion. She opens her Bible, and reads, The
blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin,"
1 John i. 7. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and thou shalt be saved," Acts xvi. 31.
A little girl, named Mary, had been going to Sun-
day-school for some time. She was only about
seven or eight years old. But she had learned
enough to know that she was a sinner, and that
Jesus was the only Saviour. She loved Him, and
prayed to Him every day. Mary's parents never
went to church, and never read the Bible. They
were careless, wicked people, who never thought.
about God or heaven. One night Mary's father was
taken suddenly ill. His illness was very alarming.
The poor man saw death staring him in the face.
He felt that he was a sinner, and not prepared to
die. He asked his wife to pray for him. She said
she didn't know how to pray. "Oh, what shall I
do ?" he exclaimed, how can I die with all my sins
upon me ?"
Mary has learned a great deal about the Bible
at Sunday-school," said his wife; "suppose I call
26 THE SAFE COMPASS.
her. Perhaps she can tell you something that will
Call her at once," said he.
Mary was called, out of her sleep, to the bedside
of her dying father. "Mary, my child," said the
poor man, I'm going to die; but I feel that I'm a
great sinner. Can you tell me how a sinner like me
can be saved ?"
"Oh, yes, father," said Mary, "Jesus Christ came
into the world to save sinners."
"But how does He save sinners? and will He
save such a great sinner as I am ?"
Jesus says, in the Bible," replied Mary, Come
unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest.' God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever be
lieveth in Him should not perish, but have everlast-
ing life.' Him that cometh unto Me I will in nc
wise cast out.'"
Does the Bible say all that, Mary ?" asked the
dying man, with great earnestness.
"Yes," said Mary; "those are the very words I
learned in Sunday-school."
Then he asked Mary to kneel down and pray for
him. So she kneeled down and prayed that God
would have mercy on her dear father; that He
would pardon his sins, and save his soul, for Jesus'
In the morning, when Mary woke up, her father
was dead. But he died believing the words that
Mary told him from the Bible, and he found peace
in believing them. But, suppose that Mary had
taken a handful of rubies to her dying father, in-
stead of the instructions she gave him from the
Bible, would they have done him any good? None
at all. Well, then, you see that religion is more
precious than rubies in the way of instruction.
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 27
The second way in which it is more precious is in
the WAY OF HELP.
I mean by this, that religion will do a great deal
more to help us under the troubles that we have to
meet with in life than rubies can do. I don't think
I can illustrate this part of our subject better than
by telling you about a poor boy, so that you can see
what religion did to help him under his difficulties.
A minister of the gospel, after an absence of
several years, returned to spend a Sabbath at a town
in England, where he had formerly been settled.
After the services were over, a widow woman knocked
at the door of the vestry-room, and desired to see
him. Don't you remember me, sir I" she asked.
No, I do not," said he.
"Don't you remember my John ? He used to be
I can't say that I do," answered the minister.
Oh, sir," said the old woman, "my John is the
best John in the world; and I thought I would like
to tell you about him."
The minister said he would be glad to hear what
she had to say; and then she told her story as
"After you left us, sir, my husband died, and we
became very poor, indeed we were almost starving.
One day John said to me, 'Mother, dear, we can't
starve, and there is no work to be got; let me go to
sea for a time, and try to earn some money for you.
I was very unwilling to part from him; but times
were bad, and as he seemed so anxious about it, I
gave him a parting kiss and prayer, and with his
Bible in his pocket, and a bundle in his hand, he set
off to the nearest seaport town, to try and get a situ-
ation on board a ship. He went from vessel to ves-
sel among the docks, for several days, but could not
get a situation. At last, when he was almost dis-
28 THE SAFE COMPASS.
courage, he saw the captain of a ship passing by,
'Don't you want a boy, sir said John. 'Why,
that's the very thing I'm looking for,' said the cap-
tain. Do then, sir, take me.' 'Well, where is your
character ' Nobody knows me here, sir,' said John.
' But in my own parish I could get a character in a
minute.' 'I can't take you without a character.'
The captain was turning away, when John thought
of his Bible, and opening it in an instant, he said,
' How will that do, sir 1' The captain read the fol-
FOR HIS GOOD BEHAVIOUR IN SUNDAY-SCHOOL.
That'll do, my boy,' said the captain, 'come along.'
Accordingly, John was shipped in a merchant vessel
bound for St Petersburgh. During the voyage a
dreadful storm arose. The wind blew a hurricane,
and every one expected the vessel to be lost. The
sailors had done all they could, and were waiting to
see the end. Then John took out his Bible, and in
a loud, solemn voice, read out the 51st Psalm.
While he was doing this, one after another, the
sailors first, and then the officers, gathered round
him. When he had done reading, he kneeled down
and prayed very earnestly that God would make the
storm to cease, and spare their lives. God heard that
prayer, and soon after the storm began to abate.
The captain thought that John's prayers had saved
the ship, and promised him a holiday when they got
to St Petersburgh.
"He kept his word, and while the ship was lying
there, he gave John the promised holiday. Boylike,
John went to the palace of the emperor to see all the
great people go to court. As he stood in wonder,
gazing on carriage after carriage passing by, some-
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 29
thing dropped at his feet. It was a bracelet, sparkling
with jewels, which had dropped from a lady's hand.
John picked it up, and called aloud for the coachman
to stop, but in vain; the crowd and the noise prevented
John from being noticed, and he returned to the ship
with the bracelet. 'You're a lucky fellow,' said the
captain; 'why, these are diamonds.' 'Yes, sir; but
they are not mine.' How did you get themV I
picked them up, and called to the driver to stop; but
he drove on, and did'nt hear me.' 'Then you did all
you could under the circumstances, and they are
clearly yours.' 'No, captain; they are not mine,'
said John. 'You foolish fellow,' said the captain,
'let me have the diamonds, and when we get back
to London, I'll sell them for you, and they'll fetch
lots of money.' That may be, sir; but they are not
mine, and suppose, captain, we should have another
storm as we go home, what then I' 'Aye, aye, Jack,'
said the captain, 'I didn't think of that! Well, we
must try and find the owner.' This was done. The
lady gave Jack a sum of money as a reward for his
honesty. This money, at the advice of the captain,
was laid out in skins and hides. When these were
sold on their return, John left the ship after his first
voyage, with eighty pounds, or $400 in his pocket.
He came straight home to his native village. He
found me in the work-house. He took me out and
rented a nice little cottage for me, and there he has
supported me ever since. He is the captain of a ship
now; but he never forgets his old mother. I tell you,
sir," said she, ending as she began, my John's the
best John in the world."
The minister thought she had good reason to think
so. But just see how religion helped this boy, under
his troubles, in a way in which the best ruby in the
world never could have done. It was religion which
taught John to love and honour his mother, and do
30 THE SAFE COMPASS.
all he could to help and comfort her : it was religion
which gave him that Bible with the recommendation
in it, and this secured him a situation: it was re-
ligion which taught him to read that Bible for com-
fort in the storm, and to pray to God for help, when
the officers and men could no longer help themselves:
it was religion that saved that ship, and all on board,
from destruction: it was religion that kept John
from acting dishonestly about the bracelet he had
found. That was the turning-point of his history.
If he had done wrong then, he probably never would
have succeeded as he afterwards did. It was religion
which built up for John the good character he pos-
sessed, and secured him his success in life. But
what could rubies have done, in the place of religion,
on any of these occasions ? And so you see, clearly
enough, that religion is better, i. e., more precious
than rubies in the way of help.
But religion is more precious than rubies in the
WAY OF COMFORT.
It is surprising to find in how many different ways
people are afflicted and troubled in this world. But
whatever the trouble is to which those who love Jesus
and are truly religious, are exposed, they find that
their religion gives them such comfort as no gold or
silver, or jewels, could ever give them.
There was a good man once, who was very rich.
He had so much money, and so many good things,
that one of his Christian friends asked him one day,
if he was not afraid of forgetting God, and thinking
too much of his money. His answer was, No, for
I enjoy God in all things." After a while, he lost
all his property, and was reduced almost to beggary.
His old friend was afraid this would be too much for
him, and asked him if his great losses did not make
him feel very unhappy ? But with a cheerful smile he
answered. "No' for now I enioy all things in God."
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 31
Ah if rich people would learn to enjoy God in all
things, their riches would never do them any harm.
And if the poor would learn to enjoy all things in
God, they would always be happy even in their
poverty. Religion can give people comfort under
trials when no rubies, or jewels of any kind, could
afford them any pleasure.
Some time ago there was a Brahmin, in India,
who was very rich. He owned many houses and ex-
tensive lands. He had a beautiful wife, and numer-
ous children. From conversation with a missionary,
and from reading the New Testament, he was led to
become a Christian. But when he was baptized,
according to the custom of that country, all his
friends and relations forsook him. He was disowned
by them all. Not one of them would speak to him,
or have anything to do with him. All his property,
too, was taken from him. He was left without a
cent, and was obliged to work for his own living.
One day, a British officer, who was a Christian
himself, and knew what this man had suffered by
becoming a Christian, asked him how he bore his
sorrows, and if he was supported under them.
"Ah!" said he, "I am often asked that. But no-
body asks me how I bear my joys. The Lord Jesus
sought me out, and found me a poor stray sheep
in the jungle. He brought me to His fold, and
fills me with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
What could rubies do to make a man happy under
such circumstances ? But religion gave this man
such comfort that, like Paul of old, when he had en-
dured the loss of all things" earthly, he considered
it a gain that he might win Christ."
There was a poor woman in England whose name
was Harriet Stoneman. She was afflicted for thirty-
nine years with a most distressing disease. Her
sufferings at times were dreadful. It was just as if
32 THE SAFE COMPASS.
her bones were being ground to pieces, or burnt up
in her body. At first she was the most miserable
and unhappy creature that you can imagine. But
after a while she became a Christian, and learned to
love Jesus. Then she was a new creature indeed.
Her religion did not cure her disease, or take away
her pains; but, oh, it gave her wonderful support
and comfort under them. Great as her sufferings
were, she never murmured or complained, but always
seemed cheerful and happy. She always had some
pleasant work to speak of Jesus, and the joy she
found in Him. Three shillings a week, about
seventy-five cents of our money, was all she had
for her support. Yet, out of this small sum, for
twenty-eight years, she regularly laid by a penny-
i. e., two cents a week for the missionary cause. And
notwithstanding her sufferings, she used to be con-
stantly writing letters, and sending tracts to people,
to try and do them good. Now, suppose this woman
had had a house full of rubies and gems given to
her, what could they have done to comfort her
Nothing at all. But in her greatest distress she
found real comfort in her religion.
Let us take one more illustration of this part of
our subject. Several years ago a large steamer,
called the Austria, caught fire at sea in coming to
this country from Europe. She had a great number
of passengers on board. Every effort was made to
put out the fire, but in vain. They couldn't get at
the engine to stop it, and the progress of the vessel
through the water only fanned the flames, and made
the fire burn the faster. The only prospect before
the passengers was a choice between two ways of
dying. They must either jump overboard and be
drowned, or remain in the vessel and be burned.
What a dreadful choice Of course there was great
confusion and distress on board that burning ship.
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 33
Some were so terrified that they could neither move
nor speak. Some cried ; some screamed; some ran
wildly about, wringing their hands, not knowing
what they did. What could rubies or jewels do
to comfort persons in such trying circumstances?
Nothing whatever. Why, gold and silver and pre-
cious things lay scattered on the deck, and nobody
would stoop to pick them up. But, in the midst of
this scene of terror, over in one corner of the deck,
as far away as possible from the fire, a little com-
pany of Christians were gathered together. They
had then no thought of being saved, though two
or three of them were saved, who afterwards told
what I am now describing. In an hour or two
they expected to be in eternity. And what are they
doing? They are cahn, and cheerful. They have
a Bible among them. A few verses are read. Then
one of them prays. Then they talk about Jesus and
that glorious heaven where they expect soon to meet.
Then they read and pray again. They found com-
fort in their religion then, when nothing else in all
the world could have given them comfort.
Religion is "more precious than rubies" in the
way of comfort.
But, fourthly, religion is more precious than
rubies" in the WAY OF ORNAMENT.
Rubies are chiefly used for ornament. We see
them in breastpins, on rings, on bracelets, and head-
dresses, and such like articles.
Rubies only adorn our bodies, but religion adorns
our souls. We cannot eat rubies, or drink them.
We cannot put them into our hearts, our eyes, our
cheeks, our lips. They belong to the outside of us.
But it is different with religion. This belongs parti-
cularly to the heart. It has its seat or dwelling-
place in the heart; and from the heart it makes it-
self felt over the whole person. You know how
34 THE SAFE COMPASS.
much more beautiful a landscape appears if you look
at it when the sun is shining, from what it is at
night, or on a dark and cloudy day. But religion is
the sunshine of the soul. It makes everything about
it look bright and beautiful.
We sometimes hear of people using different things
to improve their complexion, and make them look
pretty. The things used for this purpose are called
cosmetics. The meaning of cosmetic is, to make
beautiful. But true religion is the best cosmetic in
the world. It improves the looks of people more
than anything else can. I have known people,
whose faces were naturally really ugly, but who were
yet made so beautiful by religion, that you could not
look at them without admiring them. You know
when Moses came down from talking with God on
the Mount, his face was so bright and shining that
it fairly dazzled people's eyes, like looking at the
sun, and he had to put a veil over it, before his
friends could talk with him. And so you remember
the first martyr, St Stephen, while preaching to the
Jews, said: "Behold I see the heavens opened, and
the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God
and all that sat in the council, looking at him, saw
his face as it had been the face of an angel." It was
the religion of Stephen which made his face look so
Religion has a wonderful power in adorning
people, or improving their appearance. It gives
them "a meek and quiet spirit;" and this, the Bible
calls an ornament, which is in the sight of God of
great price." Religion makes the eye look brighter,
and the complexion clearer, and the smile sweeter,
and the voice softer, and everything about our person
better looking than it otherwise would be. You re-
member that we kept the last Washington's birthday
as a sort of holiday. In the evening many of the
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 3
finest houses in the city were illuminated. The
blinds were up, and the gas or candles were burning,
and the parlours were lighted up, so that as you
went by you could see the beautiful l paintings and
statuary that were in them. What a wonderful
change that illumination made in the appearance of
those houses But religion is the illumination of
the soul. It lights it up in such a way as to show
us beauties that we never should have seen without
it. And yet it only just begins to do this in the
present life. We never shall know, till we get to
heaven, what ornaments religion will put upon us,
or how beautiful it will make us appear.
You remember reading about the transfiguration
of Jesus on the Mount. The disciples who were
with Him saw His face shining with a brightness
more dazzling than that of the sun. His garments
became whiter than snow, and glittered and sparkled
most gloriously. I suppose that was the most glori-
ous sight ever seen in this world. And one of the
reasons why Jesus was transfigured in that way was
to give us, as it were, a peep into hearen,-to let us
have just a glance at His glory. Jesus appeared on
the Mount of TraiiAfiguration just as He appears
now in heaven. And He appeared in this manner in
order to show us a pattern of the beauty and glory
which He intends to put on all His people. If we
love Jesus He will make us look at last, and look
for ever, just as Ile looked Himself when he was
transfigured. The Bib]e tells us, that He will
change our vile bodies and make them like His own
Glorious body." It tells us, too, that when He
shall appear" again in the glory of His heavenly
kingdom "we shall be like Him." What a sight it
will be, when all who have loved and served Jesus
shall be shining forth in beauty and glory just as He
shone on the Mount of Transfiguration The finest
36 THE SAFE COMPASS.
rubies in the world will only be like dark spots upon
the sun compared to them. When you see an ugly-
looking worm crawling on the earth, you can hardly
think that some day it will put on beautiful wings,
and go flying about in the sunbeams, all glittering
with glory. But it will. And just such a change
awaits the Christian.
A poor, but very pious and Christian woman once
called to see two rich young ladies. They were ele-
gantly dressed, but they were ( L iIl. li-, too, and,
without regard to her poverty and mean appearance,
they received her with great kindness, and, inviting
her into a splendid dining-room, sat down to con-
verse with her upon religious subjects. While they
were thus engaged, a brother of the young ladies
happened to enter. He was a gay, thoughtless,
proud young man. He looked greatly astonished to
see his sisters engaged in conversation with such a
poor, shabby-looking woman. One of them rose up
directly, and said, Brother, don't be surprised;
this is a king's daughter, only she has not yet got
her fine clothing on."
In the way of ornament religion is more precious
I will speak of one more point, and this is, that
religion is more precious than rubies" in the WAY
Rubies are very valuable. I saw a small one in a
jeweller's store the other day, which they told me
was worth about L.30. Sometimes a ruby has been
found that was worth a thousand pounds. But,
suppose that all the rubies in the world could be
gathered together, in one great, glittering pile.
What a dazzling sight they would present I cannot
venture to guess how much they would be worth.
But this I know very well, that, whatever amount of
money they might be valued at, though it were mul-
RELIGION AND RUBIES COMPARED. 37
tiplied ten thousand times, it would still be true that
religion would be more precious than rubies. In the
way of riches it would be worth more than all those
rubies put together. We consider a man rich if he
is worth one hundred thousand pounds. But do you
know how rich religion makes a man ? Let me tell
you how to begin. The Bible tells us that Christians
are "joint-heirs with Christ," Rom. viii. 17. Now,
you know that the heir of a man is the person who
is to possess his property. Joint-heirs" are those
who share, or possess, property together. When we
are told that Christians are "joint-heirs with Christ,"
it means that Jesus will share with His people all
that belongs to Him. And how much is Jesus
worth? He said himself, "All things that the
Father hath are mine." Well, then, you must add
up the value of all the gold, and the silver, and
the gems, and the jewels, and the iron, and brass,
and the houses, and the lands in the world, and
you must multiply it by the number of all the
other worlds that God has made. That will tell
you how much Jesus is worth, and when you find
that out you will find how rich religion makes a
See !" said a rich landowner to a poor peasant,
as he pointed out to him the beautiful things around,
"those broad fields are mine. Those magnificent
parks, those beautiful forests, those snug, smiling
farms, and, in short, all you see belong to me."
The poor peasant was a Christian. He had not
much of worldly goods, but he felt that he was rich
in faith, and an heir of God's glorious kingdom.
He looked at the great landholder for a moment, and
then with the hope and joy of a Christian kindling
in his eye, he pointed towards heaven, saying,-
And is that yours also ?"
The lord of. all those possessions was silent. He
38 THE SAFE COMPASS.
felt in a moment that he with all his property was
poor, for he had nothing to take with him beyond
the grave; ". !I. the peasant was really rich, for he
was the owner of an inheritance, incorruptible, and
undefiled, and that fadeth not away." In the way
of riches religion is "more precious than rubies."
Now, we have compared religion and rubies to-
gether in fjie different ways, and have seen that
in each of them, she is more precious than
rubies." In the zway of instruction this is true;
and so it is in the way of help-in the way of com-
fort-in the way of ornament, and in the way of
And if this is so, then how earnestly we should
seek this great blessing. Religion is the principal
thing. It is the one thing needful," of which
Jesus spoke when he was on earth. This was what
lie meant when He said : Seek first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness."
Religion is the chief concern
Of mortals here below
May we its great importance learn,
Its sovereign virtue know.
Religion should our thoughts engage,
Amidst our youthful bloom,
'Twill fit us for declining age,
Or for an early tomb.
Oh I may our hearts by grace renewed
Be our Redeemer's throne;
And be our stubborn will subdued,
His government to own.
Let deep repentance, faith, and ilc-
Be joined with godly fear,
And all our conversation prAc-
Our hearts to be sincere.
'- ,, .
" Go to the ant-consider her ways, and Le wise.'-PRov. vi. G.
WHAT a very little thing an ant is Some of
them are so small that we can hardly see them.
The largest of them are not longer than the end of
your little finger. We might crush hundreds of
them at a time by a single stamp of our foot. Many
persons despise them. Very few think of them as
they ought But here Solomon, who was the wisest
I--.- .. : _---.,
they onght- Rlut here Solomlonl, who was the wisest
40 THE SAFE COMPASS.
man who ever lived, sets up a little ant before us
as our teacher. He says,-" Go to the ant,-consi-
der her ways, and be wise."
Suppose you should come to your class in Sunday
school, some Sunday morning, and find your teach-
er's chair empty. You would perhaps say to your-
self, "Well, we're not going to have any teacher to-
day." And suppose that while you were waiting,
you should see a little tiny ant climb up into the
chair. There you see it creeping up, and up, and
presently it gets on to the seat of the chair. You
watch it narrowly to see what it is going to do.
Pretty soon it takes its place right in the middle of the
chair. There it lifts itself up on its hind legs in a
kind of sitting posture. It puts on a grave, wise,
knowing look. It makes a graceful bow of its little
head, and begins to speak. How funny it would be.
You look and listen very attentively. It says,-
My dear young friends, will you allow me to take
your kind teacher's place to-day ? I am a little mite
of a creature, I know, but please don't despise me on
that account. I don't know how to read, and I can't
pretend to explain the wonderful things in the Bible,
that your teacher is accustomed to talk to you about.
But I should like to tell you about myself, and the
tribe of people that I belong to. We ants are a curi-
ous set of creatures. And yet I think you will be
interested in some of our habits and customs, and
perhaps you may learn some useful lessons from hear-
ing about our ways of living.
Now, if anything of this kind could take place,
and your tiny little teacher could speak to you, she
would have a great many interesting things to tell.
She could tell you about the houses they live in,
some of which are forty storeys high, twenty storeys
being dug out, one beneath another, under the earth,
and twenty storeys being built up over them, above
LESSONS FROM 1HE ANT. 41
ground : she could tell you about the different kinds
of trades they follow, how some are miners, and dig
down into the ground: some are masons, and build
very curious houses, with long walls supported by
pillars, and covered over with arched ceilings. She
could tell you how some are carpenters, who build
houses out of wood, having many chambers which
communicate with each other by entries and galleries;
how some are nurses, and spend their whole time
taking care of the young ones; some are labourers,
and are made, like the negro slaves in the South, to
work for their masters; while some are soldiers,
whose only business it is to mount guard, and stand
ready to defend their friends and fellow-citizens in
case of any attack being made upon them.
These, and a great many other curious things, she
could speak about. I am sure you would remember
the lessons of your little teacher on that day, as long
as you live. But, of course, nothing like this will
ever take place. We have only been supposing that
it might-though we know very well that it can't.
We know that ants can't speak, at least they can't
speak English; and so can't make themselves under-
stood to us, though there is no doubt that they have
some way of speaking, or of making themselves
understood, to one another. But though they are
not able to come and teach us, yet we can go to them
and learn. And this is just what Solomon tells us
to do in the text. He says, "Go to the ant,-consider
her ways, and be wise." This is what we are now
going to do. We are going to the ant "to consider
her ways,"-that is, to inquire how she lives, and
labours, and to find what useful lessons we can learn
I wish to speak of five lessons we may learn from
The first of these is a lesson of INDusm'TY.
42 THE SAFE COMPASS.
We speak of "the little busy bee" as teaching us
a lesson of industry; and so it does; but the ant is
a better example of industry even than the bee.
Suppose we go and look at one of these ant settle-
ments. We may call it a village, or town of ants.
It is underground, of course. But suppose we could
just lift off the covering, and look at what is going
on, what a busy scene we should behold! This
little town has more inhabitants than New York or
Now let us go into the nursery department first.
Here we look into a little room. The floor is covered
all over with little white things, about the size of a
grain of rice or wheat. These are called larve. They
are the baby ants. Now, they don't look like ants at
all, but rather like little grubs or worms. But they
are the young ants, or ants in their baby state. There
are thousands upon thousands of them. And there
is an amazing amount of work to be done for them.
Those ants that you see there, going about among
these babies, are the nurses. They have a pretty
busy time of it, and need to be very industrious.
Only see what they have to do. The babies must be
kept clean. Hence you will see some of the nurses
going about among the little ones and wiping off
every bit of dirt they see upon them. They have no
towels or napkins to do this with, but they do it very
nicely with their hands, or what are called their
antennae or feelers. Then these babies have to be fed,
two or three times a day, and to do this for so many
of them is no small job. And then the babies
require to be often moved about, from one part of the
house to the other. They must be kept in just a
certain degree of warmth, or else they will die. The
ants have no thermometers to tell how warm it is,
for God has taught them to find this out without a
thermometer. They can't regulate the heat in their
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 43
nurseries as we can. When ours are too cool, we
only have to stir up the fire and put a little more
coal on. If it is too warm, we shut up the register
from the furnace, or open the room door, and the
trouble is soon remedied. But when it is too cold in
the ants' nursery they have to carry their babies to
another part where it is warmer. Every morning,
after the sun is up, they have to carry all their babies,
one by one, to the upper rooms where the sunbeams
make it warm. And then, before the sun sets, they
carry them all down again to the lower rooms, where
they are protected from the cold night air. And this
they continue to do, day after day, as long as they
live, without ever getting tired. What examples of
industry these ants are !
And now let us go out of the nursery, and look
at the working ants, or labourers. Here we may
learn the same lesson of industry. These labouring
ants have to provide food for their large household .
11 the day long they may be found toiling patiently,
endeavouring to carry provisions to their homes.
There is no better school in the world, in which to
learn the lesson of industry, than in a settlement of
ants. There are no idlers about their establishments.
Every one has something to do. You will see one
loaded with a grain of wheat, another with a dead
fly, another with a bit of sugar, and another, per-
haps, with a little piece of wood, which is wanted at
home for some purpose or other. If an ant finds
the body of some dead insect, such as a bee, for in-
stance, which is too large for him to carry, by him-
self, he will hurry back to the settlement, and get
two or three of his friends to come and help him.
Then they will take hold of it together, and never
leave it till they get it home. If they find it too
large to be carried into their door, they will break it
up, and carry it in. piece by piece. A gentleman
44 THE SAFE COMPASS.
saw an ant dragging along a piece of wood, so laryC
that he could barely get on with it on level ground.
By and bye he came to a steep little hill on his way
home. He tried to get up the hill, but the little log
rolled him down again. He tried it four or five
times with no better success. Presently, two other
ants came along. The little fellow ran up to them,
as if to tell them of his trouble. Then they turned
back and helped him up the hill. As soon as they
got on level ground again the two helpers went about
their business, and left their friend to get on by him-
They never leave home without having some special
business to attend to, and never go back again with-
out carrying something with them, or having news
to tell of something useful which has been discovered
and which requires the help of others. And when
one of them comes to tell that he has found a piece
of sugar, or bread, or any kind of fruit, even though
it is in the highest storey of a large house, they im-
mediately form themselves in a line, and march after
their leader, till they reach the prize he has told them
of, and then they work on, without stopping, till it
is all stowed away in their homes. They work from
morning till night, and when it is moonlight, at least,
they often work all through the night.
What an example to lazy, idling people, whether
young or old, the ants are, in this respect! Let us
never despise these worthy little creatures. But
when we feel tempted to indolence in our studies, or
our work, let us think of the text,--"Go to the ant
-consider her ways, and be wise."
Our first lesson from the ant is a lesson of in-
Our second lesson from the ant is a lesson of PEr-
The ant is quite as remarkable for its perseverance
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 45
as for its industry. They never seem to get dis-
couraged by the difficulties that meet them in what
they are doing. If an unlucky horse or cow happens
to tread upon their town, and crush a dozen or more
of their houses, they stop whatever else they are
doing, and go to work to repair the damage done.
If the same thing occurs again the next day, or every
day for a week, still they are ready, in a moment, to
clear away the ruins, and make the best of what they
A gentleman was once watching an ant hill that
had been broken up. He saw one of the nurses
which had one of her hind legs taken off in the crash;
yet she went to work at once to help to remove their
young to a place of safety, and this poor wounded
creature actually succeeded, herself, in carrying away
ten of the baby ants to their new settlement before
the repairs were completed. What wonderful perse-
verance that was!
Sometimes the ants have taught this lesson in a
way that has led to very important results, when they
little thought how much good they were doing.
There was once a celebrated king and conqueror
known as Timour the Tartar. On one occasion he
was defeated in battle, and, in fleeing from his ene-
mies, he sought shelter in an old ruined building.
Here he was obliged to spend many hours, being
afraid to venture out lest he should be seen and taken,
or killed. Separated from his friends, alone, help-
less, and not knowing what would happen to him
next, he naturally felt very sad and discouraged. As
he lay stretched out, to rest himself upon the floor
of the ruined building, thinking about what he should
do, he noticed a little ant carrying something about
as big as itself. He watched it as it made its way
across the floor. Presently it came to the wall, and
tried to get up with its load. But the burden was
46 THE SAFE COMPASS
too heavy for it, and down they both tumbled to-
gether. Not discouraged, however, it tried again,
and tumbled again. Again it tried, and again it
tumbled. Still the persevering little creature would'nt
give it up. Timour became very much interested in
watching the ant. Sixty-nine time she tried to get
up the wall, and sixty-nine times she tumbled down.
But she tried the seventieth time, and succeeded.
She carried her burden at last to the top of the wall.
Timour said afterwards to his friends, "That sight
gave me courage, and I never forgot it." He went
to the ant; considered her ways, and was wise. He
learned a lesson of perseverance. This is one of the
most important lessons we have to learn. All the
good men, and all the great men in the world, have
learned this lesson. And if we want to be good and
great we must learn it. We can't begin too soon.
The very youngest of you, my dear children, even
these little infant children, should learn and practice
this lesson everyday. Never say, "I can't." By
God's help and by trying you can do almost anything.
I never quoted Latin in a children's sermon before,
but I'm going to do it now. There is an old proverb
of just three words, which comes in so nicely here
that I must quote it. The proverb is, "Perseverantia
vincit omnia,"-the meaning is, Perseverance con-
quers all things. This is worth remembering. I
suppose the ants don't understand Latin; but it is
very clear that they understand all about this pro-
verb, and they practice it well.
A lady once was going by a rope-walk. At one
end of the building she saw a little boy, about nine
years old, turning a large wheel. He had to turn
that wheel five hours every day. He only received
about eighteen cents a day for his work. But he had
a poor sick mother at home, and he was glad to be
able to do anything to help her.
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 47
My little fellow," said the lady to him; ;don't
you ever get tired of turning this wheel "
Yes, ma'am, sometimes," said he.
"And what do you do than ?" asked the lady.
"I take the other hand."
That was right. It was a noble reply. That little
fellow understood about the Latin proverb. He was
practising upon it. I have no doubt that boy will
make his mark in the world. It is a great thing to
know how to take the other hand. Oh, don't give
up, and begin to fret and cry as soon as you feel
tired, but just take the other hand. Perseverance
conquers all things." The second lesson we learn
from the ants is a lesson of perseverance.
But we go to the ant again for our third lesson,
and this is a LESSON OF UNION.
I mean by this, that we may learn from them the
benefits of being united, and of working together.
Take a single ant, and what an insignificant little
creature it is. You can blow it away with a breath.
You can crush it with your little finger. If the ants
should break up their union with one another, and
try to live by themselves, or in little companies of
half-a-dozen, or a dozen together, very soon they
would all perish. It is being united together that
makes them strong, and enables them to build their
houses, and store them with provisions, and take care
of their young, and protect themselves from danger.
It is by their union with one another that the ants
are often enabled to preserve themselves from being
entirely destroyed. In some parts of South America
the rivers overflow their banks, and flood the country
around, at certain seasons of the year. In those
places the ants build their houses from three to six
feet high, above ground. They do this, like the
builders of the tower of Babel, to protect themselves
from being swept away by the floods. But even this
48 TTIE SAFE COMPASS.
does not always succeed. Sometimes the very tops
of their highest houses will be overflowed. Then the
ants have nothing but their strong union feeling to
preserve themselves from destruction. They do it in
this way. A number of the very strongest among
them will go and take firm hold of some tree, or
shrub, with their fore claws or feet. Then some
others will take hold of their hind feet, and others
again of theirs, till thousands upon thousands of
them are bound together, forming a great living chain
of ants, and thus they float upon the surface of the
water, anchored safely to the tree by the strong grasp
of their friends, till the floods have rolled away, and
they can go back to their homes. Here we see how
the ants are saved from destruction by their love of
And this union of the ants not only saves them
from destruction, it also enables them to do great good,
which they never could do if they were not thus
united. In some parts of South America the ants
act as the scavengers, or sweepers, or cleaners of the
country. They make their appearance in immense
numbers every two or three years, and their object
seems to be to cleanse or purify the country. The
people are glad to see them come, and throw open
their houses for them to come in. The ants march
in troops like huge armies. They go through every
room, find their way into every nook and corner,
every hole and crack, and destroy all the rats and
mice, and scorpions, and cockroaches, and other ver-
min, and then quietly go back to the forests where
they came from.
An English gentleman was living in this part of
the country once who didn't understand the nature
of these visits. He had not "been to the ants to
consider their ways." He was not wise in regard to
them. He was walking in his garden one morning,
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 49
when he heard his servant calling out, "The ants
are coming! the ants are coming!" "Well," says he,
"let 'em come." He didn't know what this meant.
But on entering his house he found a solid column
of ants, about ten inches wide, pouring like a stream
of dark water into his dwelling. He seized a broom
and tried to sweep them away, but in vain. He got
some molasses, and tried to stop their progress by
pouring this out before them. But they passed on,
making a bridge over the molasses out of the bodies
Af their companions, and still they pressed on. Then
he got a kettle of boiling water, and poured it on
them. But though he broke their ranks for a few
moments, and destroyed vast multitudes of them :
still, for every one killed, there seemed to come a
thousand more. Presently their broken ranks were
formed again, and on they went. The Englishman
was fairly beaten. He was obliged to surrender and
leave his house in possession of these invaders.
Soon after he had to go off on some business till the
latter part of the day.
On speaking to one of the natives about what had
occurred, the native told him that they considered
these ants one of their greatest blessings. The Eng-
lishman shook his head, and said,-
Well, it seems to me you must be very badly off
in this country for blessings, if you have to reckon
these things among them.
But when he came home in the evening he changed
his mind. The house he occupied had been overrun
with all sorts of vermin. On entering it there was
not an ant to be seen. The only trace of their having
been there was found in the scattered bones of rats
and mice; the hard shells of beetles and roaches,
their legs and wings, and the husks of eggs,-all of
which had been devoured. The ants were all gone,
and the house was left perfectly free from vermin.
50 THE SAFE COMPASS.
This was a blessing indeed. Those little creatures
had come as missionaries of purity and cleanliness.
And they had fulfilled their mission well. But if
they had not been united together, what could they
And so it is with us. Whether in the nation-in
the Church-in the Sunday-school-or in the family,
it is a great blessing to be united. We can keep off
a great many evils from ourselves, and do good to
others, in many ways, if we are united, which we
never can do when separated. Let us learn from
the ant a lesson of union. And let us do all we can
to promote union-union in our country-union in
our Church-union in our school-union in our fa-
milies. There is strength in union-there is safety
in union-there is blessing in union.
But we "go to the ant" again, and the fourth lesson
we learn from her is a LESSON OF KINDNESS.
Although they have somuch to do, and works hard,
they seem to be a very happy set of little creatures.
Sometimes they have a little holiday, or recess time
together, and then they may be seen having nice fun
with each other. Their favourite amusement at such
times is in wrestling and racing matches. And those
who have spent much time in watching them say it
is very amusing to notice their different tricks and
pranks. A gentleman says he observed one species
of ants, who at such times are very fond of carrying
one another on their backs. The ant to be carried
will throw his front legs round the neck of the one
that carries him, and cling to the other part of the
body with his hind legs, and so hold on while he gets
his ride, after the style of the celebrated John Gilpin,
of whom the poet Cowper wrote so humorously.
When they get through their rides they let each other
down very gently. Boys and girls might learn a
lesson in gentleness from seeing the ants at play.
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 51
There seems to be nothing like selfishness among
ants. If one of their number has a heavier burden
to carry than he can get along with, another will
come and help him. They act faithfully up to that
good Bible rule which tell us to "bear one another's
burdens." If one of them is in trouble or distress
it excites the sympathy of the others, and they do
all they can to help and comfort him. A gentleman,
who was watching some ants one day, took a pair
of scissors and cut off one of the antennae or feelers
of a little fellow. It seemed to give him a good
deal of distress and pain. Presently some of his
companions came up to him, and evidently pitying
his distress, seemed to be trying to comfort him, and
they actually anointed the wounded limb with some
transparent fluid from their mouths.
Sometimes, when one of their labourers is acci-
dentally wounded at his work, he is taken to one of
their rooms, which is used as a kind of a hospital,
where he is taken care of till he gets well again.
But if they find he can't be cured, and isn't likely
to be useful any more, they take no more care of
him, but throw his body out among the rubbish of
When the young ones are being fed, the nurses al-
ways attend to the smallest of them first; and the older
ones never touch the food, but keep quiet and still
until their littler brothers have been fed and are sa-
tisfied. Here they set a very good example, and one
worthy of being followed by the young in all our
If one of their companions is threatened with an
attack, the others will all join together for his de-
They are all the time trying to promote each
other's welfare. Those who go abroad bring food
home, for those who are building their houses, or
52 THE SAFE COMPASS.
taking care of their young. And if one of them, in
going about, happens to find a lot of nice provisions,
he scampers back as fast as he can to tell his friends
at home about it, and to show them the way to it.
A lady once had a pot of molasses, which she
found infested by ants. She tried various ways to
keep them from getting at it, but all in vain. At
last she fastened a cord round the vessel which held
it, and let it hang down from a hook in the ceiling.
Now it happened that therl was just one single ant
left upon that vessel. The lady thought she had
swept them all off before she hung it up. But this
little fellow had escaped her notice. When he found
himself alone with that ocean of sweetness, he ate as
much as he wanted. Then he mounted the rope.
He climbed up it to the ceiling. He crossed the ceil-
ing;-he marched down the wall, and made straight
for home. As soon as he arrived, he told his friends
he had found the molasses, and was ready to show
them the way. Directly a great company of them
were ready to follow him. They formed in a line of
march. He headed the line, and led them down
that cord into the "happy ,ll.,"'' at the foot of it.
At once they attacked the molasses. Each one took
a load and started for home. Pretty soon there were
two lines of ants to be seen along that cord: one
was going up full, the other was coming down
empty. They never stopped till they had left that
vessel perfectly clean of molasses. And when the
good lady came to take down her molasses,-behold,
-it wasn't there.
Of course, ants never heard the eighth command-
nent. They know nothing about stealing. It is
perfectly right for them to lay their hands on every-
thing they find that suits them. And these things
that I have mentioned show that they are real noble
little fellows. They are polite and kind, full of ten-
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 53
derness and sympathy. They are always ready tu
help and comfort one another. They have no sel-
fishness, but are ready, at once, to share all the good
things they get with others. These are excellent
qualities. And if we imitate the ants in these
things, we shall be kind to the poor and needy.
And when we have learned to love Jesus, and find
how happy it makes us to serve Him, we shall want
to send the gospel to those who are without it. Like
the little New Zealand girl in England, who, when
she became a Christian, wanted to go back to her
own country and tell her friends about Jesus, we
shall be ready to say-" Do you think we can keep
the good news to ourselves We learn from the
ants a lesson of kindness.
We "go to the ant" once more, and the fifth and last
lesson we learn from her is a LESSON OF PRUDENCE.
The word prudence is made up of two Latin
words, the meaning of which is looking ahead, or
seeing before. You know what a telescope is. It
is an instrument to help us to see things that are far
off in regard to distance. The word telescope means
seeing at a distance, or seeing through a distance.
Now, if we could have a similar instrument to enable
us to see things that are far off in regard to time,
that would be a great invention. We might call it
a chronoscope. That would mean an instrument for
looking through time. Then, at the beginning of
the year, we could just take a peep through our
chronoscope, and tell in a minute all that was going
to happen during the year. We should know when
it was going to rain, and when the weather would
be fine. We should know who was going to be sick,
and who to be well;-who was going to live, and
who to die. But that would be knowing more than
would be good for us. God might have given us
such an instrument if He had thought best. But it
54 THE SAFE COMPASS.
wasn't best, and so He has not given it to us. To
take the place of it, however, He has given us what
we call prudence. This means the power to think
about the future, and make preparation for it. And
this prudence the ants have in a remarkable degree.
I don't mean to say that the ants think and reason
as we do. But still they act as though they did.
God teaches them what to do without thinking, just
as He does the birds, and the bees, and the beavers.
And this power in animals, which enables them to
know how to work and get their living, we call in-
stinct. Nobody knows what instinct is, only it is
that which enables animals to do, without thinking
or learning, what we do by learning and thinking.
Solomon says, in the verses just after our text,
that the ant, having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
yet provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth
her food in the harvest." It used to be thought that
the ants lived all through the winter on the food
which they laid up in the summer. But in our
climate, when the cold weather comes, the ants re-
main in a torpid condition as if asleep, and don't
need anything to eat. But it was different in a warm
country like that in which Solomon lived. There
the winters are not so cold as to put the ants to sleep
or make them torpid. But then they have long
rainy seasons, too, in which ants can't go out to
gather food. During those seasons they live on the
food which they have laid up during summer-time
and harvest. And thus it is they teach us a lesson
There is a fable told of the ant and the grasshop-
per. A poor grasshopper, who had outlived the
summer, and was ready to perish with cold and hun
ger, happened to come near to a settlement of ants,
who were living happily in their well-stored home.
He humbly begged them to spare him a morsel of
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 55
food from their plentiful stores. One of the ants
asked him what he had been doing all summer, and
how it happened that he had not laid up a stock of
food as they had done. "Alas gentlemen," said
the poor, starving grasshopper, I passed the time
merrily and pleasantly, in drinking, singing, and
dancing, and never once thought of winter."
If that be the case," said the ant, all I have
to say is, that they who drink, sing, and dance in
summer, must starve in winter."
We should follow the example of the ants while
we are young, by preparing for the future of the pre-
sent life. It is our summer, our harvest-time, while
we are young. This is the time for us to get ready
for what is before us, when we become men and
women. We should be diligent in learning all we
can, and storing our minds with useful knowledge.
This will help to make us useful and happy when
we grow up. But if, like the grasshopper in sum-
mer, we are idle, and careless, and think of nothing
but fun and frolic, we shall be ignorant and good for
nothing when we grow up. Oh, then, my dear chil-
dren, learn well from the ant this lesson ofprudence.
Form good habits now. Be industrious. Be per-
severing. Learn all you can now, and then, when
you go out into the world, you will be ready to do
your duty well. You will be loved and honoured by
all who know you.
But we shodfldfollow the example of the ants also in
preparing for the life to come. That life will never
end. This life is the harvest-time which God has
given us in which to make preparation for that life.
I spoke a little while ago about a chronoscope, an in-
strument for looking into the future with, and find-
ing out 'vhat we should do to make us ready for it
We have such an instrument. The Bible is our
chronoscope for eternity. We can look through this,
56 THE SAFE COMPASS.
and see just what we want to make us happy after
death. It shows us that we must have our sins par-
doned, and our hearts changed ;-we must love and
serve Jesus. Then all that we do for Him will be
like food prepared, or money laid up for us in heaven.
Eternity is like a long winter. Those who do not
love and serve Jesus are going on to meet it without
There was once a rich nobleman who kept a fool.
This was a person whose office it was to do and say
funny things, so as to make those about him laugh,
and be merry. The nobleman gave the fool a staff,
as a sign of his office, telling him to keep it till he
found some one who was a greater fool than himself.
Not many years after, the nobleman was taken sick,
and was going to die. The fool went to see him.
"I must shortly leave you," said the nobleman.
"And whither art thou going V"
"Into the other world," said his lordship.
"And when will you return again within a
Within a year 1"
"When, then 1"
"Never," said the fool, "and what preparation
and provision hast thou made for so long a journey,
and for being happy there ?"
"None at all," said the nobleman.
Here, then, take my staff," said the fool, "for
with all my nonsense I am not guilty of such folly as
To be going into eternity without preparation
the greatest of all folly.
We have learned five lessons from the ant. These
are-a lesson of industry-a lesson ofperseverance-
LESSONS FROM THE ANT. 57
a lesson of union-a lesson of kindness-and a lesson
tf prudence. Now, let us all pray God to give us
grace to go and practice these lessons.
There is a beautiful collect in the Prayer-book, ii
which we are taught to pray-" that we may boti
perceive, and know, what things we ought to do, and
also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the
same." Let this be our prayer, and then we shall be
able with good effect to "go to the ant,-to con-
sider her ways, and be wise !"
I'' .- .
"To him thatsoweth righteousness, shall be a sure reward.'
SUPPOSE it is early spring. We are in the country,
going by a newly-ploughed field. There we see a
man walking deliberately over the field. He has a
bag under his arm, fastened across his shoulders.
As he walks on,. he keeps putting his hand in the
bag. He takes it out full of something, which he
scatters around him on the ground. What is he do-
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 59
ing ? He is sowing seed. Perhaps it is wheat,
early spring wheat. It may be rye ; or, very possi-
bly, it may be oats, that he is sowing. We know
it is some kind of grain. This is a very common
thing in the country. You may always see it done
there in the fall and in the spring. Almost every
farmer has more or less to do in sowing grain. But
did you ever hear of a farmer sowing righteousness
in hie field I It sounds very strange to talk about
sowing righteousness. We understand what it means
to sow flower seeds in our gardens, or grain in our
fields; but to talk about sowing righteousness is not
quite so plain. Now, before we go on, let us see
if we can find out what righteousness means.
In the Bible, a righteous person is one who loves
and serves God, i. e., one who is a true Christian.
And when people become true Christians themselves,
they want to do all they can to try to make other
people Christians. And all the good things that such
people do in this way, the Bible calls righteousness.
Sowing, in the text, means doing. Righteousness,
in the text, means kind acts, good works of any kind,
that Christian people do, out of love to Jesus, and
from a desire to make others love Him. And thus
we find out that sowing righteousness" means do-
ing good. Suppose we should put these two words
instead of the others in our text, then it would
read in this way-" To him that doeth good shall
be a sure reward." The minister.of the gospel is
sowing righteousness, or doing good, when he
preaches the gospel of Jesus to his fellow-men. The
Sunday-school teacher is sowing righteousness, or do-
ing good, when he sits down with his class to explain
the Bible to them, and try to show them the way
to heaven. The tract distributor is sowing righteous-
ness, or doing good, who carries his little books,
like leaves from the tree of life, and puts them in
60 THE SAFE COMPASS.
the hands or the homes of those who are forgetting
God, and breaking his laws.
John Howard was sowing righteousness, or doing
good, when he went through the principal cities of
Europe, like an angel of mercy, trying to improve
the condition of the poor, wretched prisoners, and to
have them comfortably fed and clothed, and taken
John Williams, the martyr missionary of Erro-
manga, was sowing righteousness, or doing good,
when he built that little schooner, the Messenger of
Peace, in order that he might sail to other heathen
islands, and tell the poor, ignorant people there the
way to heaven.
Christian men or women, Christian boys or girls,
who visit the poor and the sick in their affliction,
who feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and try
to comfort those who are in distress and trouble, are
sowing righteousness, or doing good. Sunday-school
teachers and scholars who work with their own
hands, or save from their own earnings, that they
may make an offering to God, in order to spread the
gospel abroad, and bless both the souls and bodies
of men, are sowing righteousness, or doing good.
Remember, then, that sowing righteousness means
doing good. And to him that soweth righteous-
ness shall be a sure reward."
Some years ago, I preached a number of sermons
about the best things. If we were on that course
still, we might put this sermon among them, and call
it the best seed, or, the best sowing. Righteousness is
the best seed in the world to sow.
I want to give you three reasons why it is so.
Righteousness is the best seed to sow.
In the first place, because of THE SIZE OF THE FIELD
in which this sowing may be carried on.
The field in which this work is carried on is very
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 61
large. Suppose we should visit some of the farms
in the adjoining country, in order to find out the
general size of the fields in which the farmers sow
their grain. Perhaps some of the largest fields we
should see would contain ten or twelve acres. Out
in our Western States there are corn-fields contain-
ing as many as five or six hundred, or a thousand
acres of land.
But still, however large these grain fields are, they
are nothing when compared with the field in which
righteousness is sown. When Jesus was telling his
disciples the size of it, He said,-" The field is the
world." This makes a very large field. I cannot
begin to tell you how many acres there are in this
field. Hundreds, thousands, millions of acres, com-
pared to the whole of this field, would only be like
a drop of water compared to all that is in the
If you wish to sow wheat, or rye, or barley, you
must go to some particular spot-to some field that
has been ploughed and prepared for the grain. But
if you want to sow righteousness, to do good to men,
the field is lying around you wherever you go. You
can sow righteousness everywhere. I can't sow
wheat in this pulpit, but I can sow righteousness
here. The teachers of your Sunday-school can't
sow wheat in their school, as they sit with their
classes, but they can sow righteousness there. You
can't sow wheat at home, while studying your les-
sons, or attending to the duties you have to perform,
but you can sow righteousness there. When you
are on your way to school, or playing with your
companions during recess, you can't be sowing wheat
there, but you may be sowing righteousness. If
you go through some of the lanes and alleys of our
city, and visit the poor and the sick in their garrets
or cellars, those are no places to sow wheat in, but
62 THE SAFE COMPASS.
ah they are grand places in which to sow right-
Here is a vessel at sea. She is on her way round
Cape Horn, bound to California. The orew and
passengers together make a large company of people.
They expect to be at sea for weeks and months.
The captain of that vessel can't sow wheat, or rye,
or any such like seed while he is at sea. But if he
is a Christian man, he can be sowing righteousness
all through the voyage.
You know what sort of a country Greenland is.
It lies far up towards the north pole. It is one of
the coldest countries in the world. There are huge
mountains of ice that never melt, and vast tracts of
snow, hundreds of miles in extent, that never disap-
pear. Greenland is no place to sow wheat or rye in.
If hundreds of bushels were sown, not a single grain
would ever grow. But the Moravian missionaries
have been there for years sowing righteousness, and
what they have sown has taken root, has sprung up,
and grown, and yielded abundant fruit.
You know, too, what sort of a country Africa is.
In some parts it is very fertile and beautiful. In
other parts it is very barren. There are great sandy
deserts, where no water is found. The sun blazes
down upon them with a dreadful, scorching heat.
Nothing can grow there. Those burning deserts are
not the place in which to sow grain, and expect it
to grow. But we can sow righteousness even there;
we can do good in the name of Jesus, and the seed
will grow and yield fruit. You know that people
travel over those deserts on camels, and go in great
companies, called caravans. Some time since, one
of these caravans was going across an African desert.
When they halted for the night, one of the com-
pany, who lived in those parts, was taken suddenly
ill. It was soon seen tl at he was going to die. An
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 63
English missionary, in the caravan, went to the side
of the sick man before he died. He had only time
to speak a few words to him.
Are you afraid to die, my friend 1" asked he.
No, sir," said the dying man.
What is your hope ?" asked the missionary.
"Jesus," was his whispered reply, as he sunk back
and expired. The missionary saw something in the
closed hand of the dead man. He opened it, and
found there, a torn piece of a leaf of the New
Testament, on which these words were printed-
The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from
all sin." Somebody had been sowing righteousness
in this man's path. Here was a single grain of the
good seed which had taken root. The fruit of that
one grain was the saving of a precious soul.
The field for sowing righteousness is so large that
you never can get out of it. Wherever you go, you
are in it still. Wherever you stay, it is all around
you. At church, or at school-at home, or in the
street-in the city, or in the country-on land, or
on the sea-in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in
America, in the islands of the sea, wherever you
are placed, in any part of this round earth, the field
is always about you. And I think you will admit
that righteousness is the best seed to sow, because of
the size of the field.
But, secondly, righteousness is the best seed to sow,
because OF THE NUMBER AND KIND OF SOWEES.
None but farmers sow grain in the earth; and
farmers make but a small part of a nation. Only a
few persons therefore can be sowers of grain, but
there is no end to the number of persons who may
be sowers of righteousness. All the people in the
world may engage in this work, if they will become
Christians, and learn to love Jesus.
And then farmers are only one class of men ; but
64 THE SAFE COMPASS.
all classes of persons may be sowers of righteous-
We don't allow our females to go out into the
fields and sow grain; but we allow them all to go
out wherever they please, and sow righteousness.
And there are a great many more of this kind of
sowers among the females than among the males.
Our mothers, and sisters, and aunts are generally
much more busily engaged in sowing righteousness
than our fathers, and brothers, and uncles are. It
ought not to be so, but so it is.
We don't allow our young children to go out into
the fields and sow grain. It is not proper work for
them. They are not big enough, or strong enough
to do it. But sowing righteousness is proper work
for children to engage in; even very little children
may engage in this work.
A little pet child, about six years old, began to
go to Sunday-school two years ago. He had not
been going long before he learned three important
lessons. They took strong hold of his mind. These
were the three lessons,-
That God made him.
That God was good.
That he ought to love God and pray to Him.
One Sunday afternoon he came home from schw l
He climbed up into his father's lap, and began to
ask him questions.
"Papa," said he, who made you 1"
God made me, my son."
"Who made ma "
God made ma; He made everything."
Papa, I love God for making me ; do you love
God, too, for making you T"
"Yes," said his father, before he knew what he
was saying. But he was not a Christian; he did
not love God. His conscience troubled him for tell-
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 65
ing a lie to his little boy. He began to think of his
sins. He soon became a Christian, and joined the
Church, together with his wife. Soon after this,
little Oscar, this was his name, was taken sick.
God sent His angel for him. Papa," said he, "I'm
going to die. I shall soon see God."
He was sent into the world to be a little sower of
righteousness. He sowed the seed of righteous-
ness in the heart of his father and his mother, and
then God took him home to heaven.
If you were a poor sick cripple, confined all the
time to your bed, you could not go out into the
fields and sow grain; but you might be sowing
righteousness all the time.
There is a poor coloured woman living down
Tenth Street. Her name is Hannah Carson. She
has not a halfpenny in the world of her own. She
depends entirely on charity for her support. For
fifteen years she has never lifted her hand to her
head. If you go in to see her she can't shake hands
with you. She is not able to move a single joint of
her body. She could no more go out into the field
and scatter a handful of grain there than she could
fly. But she is sowing righteousness all the time.
She never murmurs or complains. She loves Jesus,
and He gives her grace to be always resigned, cheer-
ful, and happy. By her example she is preaching
powerful sermons to all who see her. Thus she is
I was reading lately of a poor woman, who made
her living by selling apples in the market. This
woman had a little daughter. The child of a poor
apple woman, what could she do I In sowing seed
for the farmer she could do nothing. But in sow-
ing righteousness, we shall see directly what she
could do. She was taken to a Sunday-school.
There she became a Christian. Then, like a little
66 THE SAFE COMPASS.
missionary, she persuaded two other poor little girls
to attend the same school with her. They both
learned to love the Saviour, and became devoted
Christians. When these girls grew up to the age of
fifteen or sixteen years, they were removed to an-
other part of the country where there were no Sab-
bath-schools, and where nobody tried to teach the
children about Jesus and heaven. They soon started
a Sunday-school there. It grew and prospered, and
did so much good that by and bye another was
started, and then another. And so it went on till
eleven Sunday-schools were established in that part
of the country; and all the good that was done by
these eleven schools could be traced back to the
efforts of the poor little daughter of the apple wo-
man Surely, all must admit that righteousness is
the best kind of seed to sow.
One day, some years ago, a little girl, about eight
years old, was sitting on the grass, in front of her
father's cottage in Prussia. Her father was a com-
mon labourer. They were very poor, and the little
girl was very meanly dressed; but she was a little
Christian. She loved Jesus, and it made her very
happy to think about Him, and sing sweet hymns
in His praise. This was just what she was doing
at the time of which I am speaking. She was sing-
ing about Jesus, and her eyes were filled with tears.
While she was singing, Count P- a nobleman,
who lived in that neighbourhood, was passing by.
He was very rich, and indulged in all kinds of
wicked pleasures. He was an infidel, too, and was
very fond of making a mock of religion and religious
persons. He heard the little girl's sweet voice as
she was singing. He saw her happy-looking face,
and yet hei eyes filled with tears, and he stopped a
moment to talk with her
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 67
"Why do you weep, my little girl asked the
count. "Are you sick ?"
No, sir," she replied ; "but I am so happy !"
"How can you weep if you are L b'.I.y asked the
count, with surprise.
"Because I love the Lord Jesus Christ so much."
"Why do you love Him so much ? He has been
been dead a long time. He can do you no good."
"Oh, no, sir! He is not dead, He lives in
Well, suppose he does, what benefit is that to
you ? If He could help you, He would give monej
to your mother, that she might buy you better
"I don't wish for money; but the Lord Jesus
Christ will take me one day to Himself in heaven.'
"Pooh! nonsense," said the count, "your grand-
mother, or some such foolish person, has told you
No, sir; it's not nonsense," cried the child, but
it's true. I know it's true ; and it makes me glad."
The count turned and went away ; but he could
not forget what he had seen and heard. The happy
face of that sweet child, with her bright eyes filled
with tears, seemed to be before his mind all the time.
And her earnest words, "It's true; and it makes
me glad," were ringing in his ears wherever he went.
He said to himself, How strange this is ? There's
nothing in infidelity to make a poor child like this
so glad. There must be something in religion that
I don't understand." Then he would try to banish
these thoughts from his mind. But he found it
impossible; and after a long and hard struggle
he gave up his infidelity, and became an earnest and
And so I might go on by the hour giving you
68 THE SAFE COMPASS.
illustrations to show how people, without number,
and in all conditions of life, may become sowers of
righteousness. Kings on their thrones, and beggars
by the wayside; princes in their palaces, and
peasants in their huts; soldiers in the army, and
sailors on the sea; learned men, and unlearned men ;
rich men, and poor men; old men, and little child-
ren ; mothers, and daughters ; all sorts and kinds of
people, when they learn to love Jesus, may engage
in this good work of sowing righteousness. It is the
best seed to sow because of the number and kind of
And then the third reason why righteousness is the
best seed in the world to sow, is, because of THE CER-
TAINTY OF THE REWARD.
When a farmer sows his field with grain, he hopes
for his reward in a good harvest; generally he gets
it, but he cannot be quite sure about it. The frost
may come and destroy his grain. Or there may be
no rain, and the drought may kill it. Or the insects
may come and spoil his crops. Or, he may have a
good harvest, and gather the ripened grain into his
barn, and then the lightning may set fire to it, and
burn it all up. If a man sows wheat in his field he
cannot quote the text in reference to it, and say, to
him that soweth wheat shall be a sure harvest."
It is only when we are engaged in sowing right-
eousness, that we can look with certainty for the
reward. The reward of sowing righteousness is
made up of pleasure and profit.
Part of the reward here is made up of pleasure.
This is sure. Let me tell you a story to show you
how this is.
Joe Benton lived in the country. Not far from
his father's house was a large pond. His cousin
Herbert had given him a beautiful boat, elegantly
rigged with mast and sails, all ready to go to sea
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 69
on the pond. Joe had formed a sailing company
among his schoolmates. They had elected him
captain. The boat was snugly stowed away in a
little cave, near the pond. At three o'clock, on
Saturday afternoon, the boys were to meet, and
launch the boat. On the morning of this day Joe
rose bright and early. It was a lovely morning.
Joe was in fine spirits. He chuckled with delight
when he thought of the afternoon. "Glorious!"
said he to himself, as he finished dressing. "Now,
I've just time to run down to the pond, before break-
fast, and see that the boat is all right. Then I'll
hurry home and learn my lessons for Monday, so as
to be ready for the afternoon, for the captain must
be up to time."
Away he went, scampering towards the cave
where the boat had been left ready for the launch.
As he drew near he saw signs of mischief, and felt
uneasy. The big stone before the cave had been
rolled away. The moment he looked within he
burst into a loud cry. There was the beautiful boat
which his cousin had given him, with its masts and
sails all broken to pieces, and a large hole bored in
Joe stood for a moment motionless with grief and
surprise; then, with his face all red with anger, he
exclaimed,-" I know who did it-the mean scamp !
It was Fritz Brown; and he was mad because I
didn't ask him to come to the launch; but I'll pay
him up for this caper, see if I don't." Then he
pushed back the ruined boat into the cove, and,
hurrying on some way down the road, he fastened a
string across the footpath, a few inches from the
ground, and carefully hid himself in the bushes.
Presently a step was heard, and Joe eagerly peeped
South. He expected to see Fritz coming along, but
instead of that it was his cousin Herbert. He was
70 TH11 SAFE COMPASS.
the last person Joe cared to see just then, so he un-
fastened the string and lay quiet, hoping that he
would not see him. But Herbert's quick eye soon
caught sight of him, and Joe had to tell him all that
had happened, and wound up by saying,-" But
never mind; I mean to make him smart for it."
"Well, what do you mean to do, Joe ?" asked
Why, you see, Fritz carries a basket of eggs to
market every morning, and I mean to trip him over
this string, and smash 'em all."
Joe knew that this was not a right feeling, and
expected to get a sharp lecture from his cousin ; but
to his surprise, he only said, in a quiet way,-
Well, I think Fritz does deserve some punish-
ment ; but this string is an old trick ; I can tell you
something better than that."
What ?" cried Joe, eagerly.
How would you like to put a few coals of fire
on his head 1"
"What burn him 7" asked Joe, doubtfully. His
cousin nodded his head, with a queer smile. Joe
clapped his hands. Bravo !" said he, "that's just
the thing, Cousin Herbert. You see, his hair is so
thick he wouldn't get burnt much before he'd have
time to shake 'em off; but I'd just like t9 see him
jump once. Now, tell me how to do it-quick !"
"' If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst,
give him drink; for in so doing, thou shalt heap
coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil,
but overcome evil with good.' There," said Her-
bert, that's God way of doing it, and I think that's
the best kind of punishment that Fritz could have."
You should have seen how long Joe's face grew
while Herbert was speaking. Now, I do say,
Cousin Herbert, added Joe, that's a real take in.
Why, it's no punishment at all."
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOLliNSS. 71
"Try it once," said Herbert. Treat Fritz kind-
ly, and I am certain that he will feel so ashamed
and unhappy, that kicking or beating him would be
like fun in comparison."
Joe was not really a bad boy, but he was now in
a very ill temper, and he said, sullenly,-" But
you've told me a story, Cousin Herbert. You said
this kind of coals would burn, and they don't at all."
You're mistaken about that," said Herbert.
" I've known such coals burn up malice, envy, ill-
feeling, and a great deal of rubbish, and then leave
some cold hearts feeling as warm and pleasant as
Joe drew a long sigh. Well, tell me a good coal
to put on Fritz's head, and I'll see about it."
You know," said Herbert, that Fritz is very
poor, and can seldom buy himself a book, although
he is very fond of reading, but you have quite a
library. Now suppose-but no, I won't suppose
anything about it. Just think over the matter, and
find your own coal. But be sure to kindle it with
love, for no other fire burns like that." Then Her-
bert sprang over the fence, and went whistling away.
Before Joe had time to collect his thoughts, he
saw Fritz coming down the lane, carrying a basket
of eggs in one hand, and a pail of milk in the other.
For a moment the thought crossed Joe's mind,
" What a grand smash it would have been if Fritz
had fallen over the string !" but he drove it away
in an instant, and was glad enough that the string
was put away in his pocket. Fritz started and
looked very uncomfortable when he first caught sight
of Joe, but the good fellow began at once with,
" Fritz, do you have much time to read now?"
"Sometimes," said Fritz, "when I've driven the
cows home and done all my chores, I have a little
72 THE SAFE COMPASS.
piece of daylight left; but the trouble is, I've read
every book I can get hold of."
How would you like to take my new book of
Fritz's eyes fairly danced. Oh, may I may I
I'd be so careful of it."
Yes," answered Joe; "and perhaps I've some
others you'd like to read. And Fritz," he added, a
little slyly, I would ask you to come and help to
sail my new boat this afternoon, but some one has
gone and broken the masts, and torn up the sails,
and made a great hole in the bottom. Who do you
suppose did it V"
Fritz's head dropped on his breast, but after a
moment he looked up with great effort and said,-
"Oh, Joe I did it; but I can't begin to tell
you how sorry I am. You didn't know I was so
mean when you promised me the books, did you 9"
Well, I rather thought you did it," said Joe,
"And yet you didn't"-Fritz couldn't get any
farther. He felt as if he would choke. His face
was as red as a coal. He could stand it no longer,
so off he walked without saying a word.
That coal does burn," said Joe to himself. "I
know Fritz would rather I had smashed every egg
in his basket than offered to lend him that book.
But I feel fine." Joe took two or three somersets,
and went home with a light heart, and a grand appe-
tite for breakfast.
When the captain and crew of the little vessel
met at the appointed hour, they found Fritz there
before them, eagerly trying to repair the injuries,
and as soon as he saw Joe he hurried to present him
with a beautiful flag which he had bought for the
boat with a part of his egg money. The boat was
repaired and launched, and made a grand trip, and
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 73
everything turned out as Cousin Herbert had said,
for Joe's heart was so warm and full of kind thoughts,
that he never was more happy in his life. And Joe
found out afterwards, that the more he used of this
curious kind of coal, the larger supply he had on
hand,-kind thoughts, kind words, and kind actions.
I declare, Cousin Herbert," said he, with a queer
twinkle in his eye, I think I shall have to set up a
I should be glad to have all of you, my young
friends, engage in this branch of the coal business.
If every family would be careful to keep a supply
of Joe Benton's coals on hand, and make a good use
of them, how happy they would be. Joe was sow-
ing righteousness when he put that coal on Fritz's
head, and he had a sure reward" in the pleasure
which it yielded him-pleasure is one part of the re-
ward of sowing righteousness. This is sure.
The other part of the reward is profit. This is
sure also. Sometimes the profit of sowing righteous-
ness is found here in this life.
Some years ago, a gentleman in England died,
leaving a widow and two sons. They were quite
well off, but the sons were wild, dissipated young
men, and they soon spent most of the property left
them. The mother had a small sum of her own-
about twenty pounds. To prevent her sons from
spending it in wickedness she gave it to a missionary
society, formed for the support of the gospel in India
The young men were very angry when they found
*what their mother had done with it. They swore
dreadfully, and said it might as well have been
thrown into the sea. That is what I think," she
said; for God says in His Word," Cast thy bread
upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many
days.' This money may do us all more good by and
bye than if we should spend it on ourselves now.".
74 TIE SAFE COMPASS.
In giving this money to the Lord, this poor widow
was sowing righteousness. We shall see directly
what her reward was.
When the sons had spent, in their wickedness, all
the money they could get, they enlisted in the army,
and were ordered to India.
The regiment to which the eldest son belonged
was stationed far up the Ganges. But there was an
English missionary in that neighbourhood; through
his influence that son became a Christian.
His poor mother, lonely and sad, never expected
to see her sons again when they left her for India;
but still she kept on praying for them. One day,
just after she had been engaged in earnest prayer, a
letter was brought her from India. It was from her
elder son. It told the joyful news of his conver-
sion ; of his deep sorrow for his past sins, and his
earnest desire for his mother's forgiveness. Half un-
read, the letter dropped from her trembling hand,
and, with tears streaming down her aged cheeks, she
exclaimed,--" Oh my twenty pounds my twenty
pounds the Lord be praised for this sure reward !"
This converted son soon removed to Fort-William,
near Calcutta. Here he met his younger brother.
He induced him to attend the service at the mission,
and ere long he too became a Christian.
For a long while the sorrowing mother had re
ceived no tidings from this younger son. She knew
not whether he was dead or alive. For days, and
weeks, and months, she had hoped and longed for
news from him, but in vain. At length a large
package came to hand. It brought her help and
comfort in her poverty in the shape of money; but,
better than that, it told her of the happy death of
her oldest son, and that her youngest son was now
a rejoicing Christian through the preaching of a
missionary. "Ah!" she exclaimed, in her deep
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 75
gladness, what a faithful God I have trusted in!
My twenty pounds again! Oh, what a sure re-
But this was not all. That younger son left the
army and became a minister. His old mother heard
of it with unspeakable joy. But she was now
tottering on the borders of the grave, and never ex-
pected to see her darling boy again in this world.
She was waiting every day for death, the messenger
Jesus sends to call his people home. Little did she
think of the joy which was awaiting her before she
went home. Without her knowledge, her youngest
son had resolved to return to England. It was the
close of a bright day in summer. The sun had just
gone down. The old family Bible was opened on
the stand. She was about to read her evening por-
tion. As she leaned a moment on her old oaken
arm-chair, there was a gentle tap at the door. Be-
fore she could answer it, it was opened, a genteel-
looking man, dressed like a clergyman, rushed in.
He threw his strong arms round her, and exclaimed,
-"My mother! Oh, my mother!" She clung
round his neck, and wept her full heart out on his
bosom. Then they sat down together, and talked
over all God's wonderful dealings with them since
they had been parted.
Once more the dear old mother exclaimed-
"Those twenty pounds! those twenty pounds! Oh,
what a reward the Lord has given me for them."
She was sowing righteousness when she gave them
to the Lord, and to her there was a sure reward.
She had her reward here in this life.
But those who sow righteousness will get the best
part of their reward in heaven. Nobody has ever
come back to tell us what that reward is. But I
want to tell you how it appeared to a little boy, who
was just going there. His name was Eddy. He
76 THE SAFE COMPASS.
had learned to love Jesus, and had been trying to
sow righteousness, and now he was going to get his
reward. He lay upon his dying bed. He had been
suffering from pain and fever for days, but now his
sufferings were almost over. Nothing was heard in
that chamber but the sound of his faint breathing,
and the sobs of his sorrowing parents and friends,
who had gathered round his bed. He had been
silent for some time, and appeared to sleep. They
thought that perhaps he would pass away in sleep;
but suddenly his blue eyes opened, wide and clear,
and a sweet smile played over his face. He looked
earnestly upwards, and then, turning to his mother,
"Mother, what is that beautiful country I see
beyond the mountains-the high mountains V"
"I don't see them, Eddy, dear," said his mother.
" There are no mountains in sight of our house."
Look there, dear mother," said the child, point-
ing upwards ; "yonder are the mountains. Don't
you see them now ?" His mother shook her head.
" They are near me now," said he; so large and
high, and behind them the country looks so beauti-
ful, and the people are so happy. There are no sick
children there. Papa, can't you see behind the
mountains ? Tell me the name of that beautiful
His parents looked at each other, and said-" The
land you see is heaven, dear Eddy, where Jesus
Yes," said he, it's heaven-it's heaven Oh !
let me go. But how shall I get across those dark
mountains? Father, won't you carry me l They
are beckoning me from the other side, and I must
There was not a dry eye in that chamber. All
there felt as if they were just on the borders of
THE REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 77
heaven. It seemed as if the curtains were drawn
aside, that they might look in upon its glories.
"Mother-father, don't cry," said Eddy, "but
come with me across the mountains. Oh, come!"
Then there was silence in that chamber for a while.
No one was willing to speak. At last he turned to
his mother; his face was beaming with joy, and,
stretching out his little arms for a last embrace, he
Good-bye, mother, I am going; but don't be
afraid; the angel of Jesus is waiting to carry me
over the mountains. Good-bye."
These were his last words. There was a sure
reward" for him in that beautiful world which he saw
beyond the mountains. And if we love Jesus, and
sow righteousness, there will be a sure reward for us
there too. There is a reward of pleasure in sowing
righteousness, as Joe Benton found when he put that
live coal on Fritz's head. There is a reward of
profit in sowing righteousness,-profit in this world,
as the poor widow found when she gave her twenty
pounds to the missionary society,-and profit in the
world to come, as little Eddy found when the angel
took him over the mountains to the beautiful world
Now we have had three reasons why sowing
righteousness is the best sowing. It is so because
of the size of the field; because of the number and
kind of sowers ; and because of the certainty of the
My dear young friends, pray to Jesus to make you
his children; to teach you to love Him, and to help
you all to be sowers of righteousness, and then there
will be a sure reward for you.
S K K "
o j |trb v1
The way of transgressors is hard."--Pror. xiii. 15.
How many different ways there are in the world
for people to walk in! Some of these are rough
ways, and others are smooth. Some are crooked
ways, and others are straight. Some are broad, and
others are narrow. Some are steep, and others are
level. Some are pleasant, and others are unpleasant.
Some are easy to walk in, while others are hard.
THE HARD WA, 79
Our text tells us about the hard way. Solomon
says, "The way of transgressors is hard." What
does the word transgressor mean 1 It means, lite-
rally, one who walks over.
Suppose your school should go out into the
country some fine summer day to have a pic-nic in
the woods. It is a beautiful shady place to which
you go, with a nice, smooth, velvet lawn spread out
under the branches of the trees. But there is one
part of the woods where the ground is low and
marshy. At a little distance from this spot there
have been some stakes driven into the ground, with
a cord stretched along from one to another. When
you all get out there, before you scatter to ramble
through the woods and amuse yourselves, your super-
intendent speaks a few words to the scholars. He
tells you that he hopes you will have a nice time,
and enjoy yourselves very much. But there is one
special thing he has to say. These are his words-
" You see those stakes, and the line stretched across
them. No scholar here must cross that line. Under
no circumstances whatever must any of you go over
that line. This is the law for the day. You all hear
it. You all understand it. You all promise to mind
it. Then you are dismissed to play."
Everything goes on pleasantly for a while. But
by and bye several of the boys are playing down by
the stakes. Presently one of them sees a tree with
nice .apples on it, a little distance beyond the for-
bidden line. Look at those ripe apples," says he;
" come on, boys, let's go and get some."
"No," says one of the other boys, "don't you see
there's the line which the superintendent said we
mustn't go over."
"I should like to know what harm it's going to
do, just to go over a few steps to get some nice
80 THE SAFE COMPASS.
applAe. Besides the superintendent won't know
anything about it." And so, over he goes.
Now what is that boy when he goes over that
line ? He is a transgressor. He walks over the line
which he was told not to walk over. So God's laws
are the lines which He has set up to show us where
we must not go ; when we break those laws we walk
over God's lines. That makes us sinners, or trans-
gressors; for the apostle says, "Sin is the transgres-
sion of the law ;" that means, it is walking over the
line that God has set ap for us. And in our text,
Solomon says, that "The way of transgressors (or
of those who walk over these lines), is hard."
There are three things about the transgressor's
way which make it hard. The first of these is the
GUIDE he has to follow.
When we walk in the way of sin or transgression,
our guide is Satan. You know the Bible tells us of
all those who do not love and serve God, that Satan
" worketh or ruleth in their hearts" (Ephes. ii. 2),
and that they are led captive by him at his will"
(2 Tim. ii. 26). They are in his power. He is
their guide or leader. So long as they are in the
transgressor's way, they can't get away from him,
but are obliged to follow him as their guide. And
to have such a guide must make that way a hard way.
Let me try to show you how.
Suppose we were in Switzerland, and wanted to
go to the top of Mont Blanc. That is a very dan-
gerous mountain to go up. Nobody can get up
without a guide. The way is very hard to find. In
some places you have to walk over mountains of ice.
At times the only path is just like a shelf of ice, not
broader than your two hands, while at the side is a
dreadful gulf or chasm hundreds of feet deep. Only
think of a wall of ice higher than the top of a church
steeple, and about a foot wide '. and then think of
THE HARD WAY. 81
walking along the top of that wall, with no railing
on one side, and nothing to hold on to on the other.
If you stumble or slip, down you plunge, and are
dashed to pieces. Why, it makes the head grow
dizzy, and the blood run cold just to think about it.
This shows you why the travellers up that mountain
need a guide. And it isn't any guide you would be
willing to take. You want to be sure that your
guide is intelligent, or that he knows the way well
himself. You want to be sure that he is honest and
faithful, so that he won't lead you into any unneces-
sary danger. And you want to be sure that he is
strong and powerful, so that if you get faint on the
way, and need assistance, he can help you. Some-
times in going over those dangerous passes, the guide
ties a rope round the body of the traveller, and then
fastens it to his own body, so that if the traveller
should slip, he can stop him from falling; and many
a one has been saved in this way.
And suppose, now, that in the valley of Chamouni,
at the foot of Mont Blanc, from which travellers
start to go up the mountain, there was a very wicked
man acting as guide. He is so wicked that he un-
dertakes to guide travellers up the mountain on pur-
pose to destroy them. None who follow his guidance
ever get safe down again. He either leads them to
some slippery path, where they are sure to fall; or
when they reach the middle of one of those high,
narrow, icy paths, along the edge of a dreadful pre-
cipice, he gives them a push, and down they go to
Now, if you had to travel along such a mountain-
path, with such a guide to lead you, I want to know
if you would not think that that was a hard way to
travel Certainly you would. Well, Satan is just
such a guide. His only object in guiding people is
to lead them to destruction. Our journey through
82 THE SAFE COMPASS.
life is like a pathway over a dangerous mountain.
We must have a guide. There are only two guides
to choose between : Jesus is one; Satan is the other.
If we take Jesus for our guide, He will lead us in
wisdom's ways; and "her ways are ways of plea-
santness, and all her paths are peace." If we take
Satan for our guide he will lead us in the way of
transgressors ;" and we shall find that that is a hard
See, there is Judas Iscariot. He was one of the
twelve apostles chosen by our Saviour to be with
Him while He was on earth. But, though he was
with Jesus, he did not take Him for his guide. He
allowed Satan to guide him. Judas was made Trea-
surer of the Company or Society of the Apostles.
He kept the bag in which their money was put.
Satan tempted him to steal some of that money.
This was leading him into a slippery path. He
didn't get as much money as he wanted. Then
Satan put into his mind the horrible thought of be-
traying his Master, and selling Him to His enemies
for thirty pieces of silver, or about fifteen dollars,
the price, in those days, of a common slave. Thus
Satan led Judas to one of those narrow paths along
the edge of an awful precipice. As soon as he had
betrayed his Master, he tempted him to go and hang
himself. When he did this, Satan pushed him off
from that dangerous path, and plunged him into
everlasting destruction. And this is what he tries
to do to all transgressors who follow his guidance.
"The way of transgressors is hard."
It is hard, in the first place, because of the guide
which those who walk in it must follow.
But in the second place, The way of transgressors
is hard," because of the RECOLLECTIONS which those
have of it who walk therein.
Some years ago, there was a good minister in
THE ITART) WAT. 83
England, whose name was Dr Doddridge. On one
occasion he had a very singular dream. He thought
in his dream, that he was taken sick and died. His
spirit left the body, and soared away towards heaven
under the guidance of an angel. After a long flight
he arrived at the gate of the heavenly city. He en-
tered. Then the angel introduced him into a very
beautiful palace, where he was to remain. Here the
angel left him, telling him he would find enough to
interest him in those rooms till the Lord of the city
came to him. Then he began to look around. The
walls of the room were covered all over with paint-
ings, which seemed to be wrought curiously into the
materials of which the walls were made. On ex-
amining them closely, he was greatly surprised to
find that these paintings formed a long series of
pictures representing the history of his own life on
earth. All that he had done,-all that he had said
-or thought, or felt, was here pictured out on the
walls of the palace in which he was to live for ever.
His sins, which had been forgiven for Jesus' sake,
were not introduced. But every deed of kindness
or charity-all that he had done to show his love for
Jesus, or his desire to please Him, was pointed out
Now, suppose we knew that God was engaged in
taking photograph pictures of all our thoughts and
feelings, our words and actions, during our whole
lives. And suppose we knew that these pictures
were to be fastened to the walls of the house in
which our souls are to live for ever, so that they should
be always before us, and that everybody might see
them, then how very careful we should be to try
and always have right thoughts and feelings, and
always to speak and act in such a way that we should
not feel ashamed to look ourselves, or to have any
one else look at the pictures of what we had been
84 THE SAFE COMPASS.
doing, or say ing, or thinking, or feeling. If we are
trying to love and serve God, then all the pictures
of our life, painted on the walls of our heavenly
home, will be such as we shall love to look upon.
This is one of the things which makes wisdom's
ways a pleasant way. All the recollections we shall
have of it hereafter will be pleasant recollections.
But it is very different with "the way of the
transgressor." All the recollections of those who
walk in this way will be painful. This is one of
the things that makes this way hard. I might tell
you many stories to illustrate this part of our ser-
mon, but I will only give you one. This, however,
I hope you will never forget.
Henry Stanley was the son of pious parents. He
was the oldest of a family of four boys, and was of
a bold and daring disposition. One summer's morn-
ing, when he was twelve years old, his father came
to him and said: Henry, my boy, this is your
birthday, and I am going to give you and your
brothers a holiday this afternoon; you may go into
the fields, and take one or two of your companions
The afternoon came, bright and beautiful. Be-
fore starting, Mr Stanley said-" Henry, you are
older than any of your brothers or friends; you must,
therefore, set them a good example. Don't go
through Farmer Clarke's field, for there is a danger-
ous bull there. Go round by the lane. Now mind
what I say." Mr Stanley then told Henry to take
great care of Frank, his youngest brother. Frank
was a beautiful child, about six years of age, with
bright dark eyes and rosy cheeks-the pride and pet
of the family. At the close of the day the boys
were to have tea with an old servant of their
mother's, called Dame Burton, who lived in a neat,
pretty cottage at the foot of the lane. They set off
THE HARD WAY. 85
in high glee, taking with them their dog Roughie."
Frank was very fond of Roughie, who was his con-
stant companion. On this occasion, Frank had tied
a ribbon round his favourite's neck, so that they
walked together the whole way. They expected to
have a happy time, and so they would have had if
Henry had only kept out of the way of transgres-
When they had gone some distance they came to
Farmer Clarke's field and the lane, which were close
together. Here they stopped. I wish we could
only go through the field," said Henry, in a fretful,
grumbling tone, "It's so much nearer. I'm sure
the bull wouldn't hurt us. I don't think father
knew we had Roughie with us, or I'm sure he
wouldn't have forbidden us to go."
"Oh, do come along the lane," said his brother
Alfred, it's not much further ; and if we go through
the field we shall be disobeying father."
Well," said Henry, let me stop and look
through the gate; I should like at least to see this
Frank came to the gate with Roughie, and sat
singing on the stile, tying flowers, which he had
gathered by the way, on Roughie's neck. Presently
he saw some bright ones growing on the bank, and
knowing nothing about the bull, he slipped off the
stile, ran into the field, and began to pick the
flowers. Meanwhile, Henry looked through the gate,
but saw nothing of the bull. It isn't here," said
he ; but he had hardly spoken the words before he
heard a low bellowing. Not in the least frightened,
Henry climbed up the gate. At length he saw the
bull approaching slowly, though he did not appear
to see him. He then got down, not noticing Frank;
he did not even look for him, as he thought he was
with his brothers, who were walking up the lane.
86 THE SAFE COMPASS.
He next opened the gate, which was fastened very
securely, saying-" Now for some fun." Thought-
less, wicked boy Thus he went into the trans-
gressor's way." We shall see directly how hard he
He picked up some stones, and, entering the field,
he began to throw them at the bull. Directly the
bull began pawing the ground, and bellowing with
rage. Now Henry was frightened, and ran out of
the field, but forgetting to fasten the gate after him.
His brothers were gone some distance, and were
seated on the bank at the road-side waiting for him.
Henry came up panting for breath, and cried : You
cowards You were afraid of the bull! Why-"
Here Alfred interrupted him, saying, in a quick,
hurried tone, Where's Frankie ? Oh Henry, why
didn't you bring him with you V"
Henry stopped, and turned pale. "He must
have come-" But here he was interrupted again by
seeing the bull coming up the lane at full speed to-
wards them. Henry shrieked with terror, and tried
to follow his brothers, who were running with all
their might. But presently the bull overtook him,
tossed him high up in the air, and left him lying
senseless in the road. In this state he was picked
up and carried home.
And now you are wondering what has become of
dear little Frank. You remember he had slipped
into the field to gather flowers. Roughie followed
him. Presently the dog began to bark loudly, and
ran away from Frank. This made Frank turn round,
when he saw the bull running up to him. The
poor child screamed, and called for his mother; but
she could neither hear nor help him. The bull
came on, and running at Frank, tossed him over the
hedge on to a hayrick which was in the next field.
Afterwards, some men who were going by, saw
THE HARD WAY. 87
Roughie, who had climbed up on to the hayrick,
where his little master lay bleeding, and was bark-
ing furiously. They lifted the dear boy down, and
carried him to Dame Burton's cottage. They
thought that he had only fainted, and tried every-
thing to bring him to, but in vain. Then he was
carried home, and laid gently on the sofa. His poor
mother-ah think of her feelings !-was leaning
over his pale, sweet face, when suddenly, so suddenly
that she started back, his large dark eyes opened,
and his gentle voice said,-" Dear, dear mother;
kiss me, dear mother;" and then, before she could
stoop down to kiss him, his eyes were closed, his
lips were still, and a bright angel had received the
spirit of dear little Frankie to carry it up to heaven.
It was a long time before Henry became conscious.
When he first came to his senses, he found himself
in a darkened room, with the curtains drawn closely
round his bed. He raised himself on one side, and
listened; he heard some one sighing deeply.
"Mother," he murmured softly. The curtains were
opened. Mother, where is Frankie ?-what has
"You have been ill, my child," said his mother,
quietly ; and smoothing his pillow, she laid his head
town on it. Her face was calm and sorrowful, but
there was no reproach in it. Henry seemed con-
fused and bewildered. At length he said,-
" Mother, have I been dreaming? What a fright I
had How strange it seems But, mother, no !
I've not been dreaming. I remember it all now.
Oh mother, tell me,--do tell me where Frankie
"In heaven, my child; dear little Frankie is a
beautiful angel now."
Ah I think how Henry must have felt then He
88 THE SAFE COMPARE.
looked like the very picture of heart-breaking sorrow.
Seeing his great distress, his mother said,-
Frankie is happy now we cannot wish him
"Oh, mother, I have killed him. Can you ever
forgive me 1 I never can be happy any more. My
brother oh I my brother I"
His mother let him cry in this way for awhile, and
then pitying the poor fellow's great distress, she
said,-" Your father and I have forgiven you, my
child, but now you must pray for the forgiveness of
your heavenly Father."
Mother, won't you pray for me I" asked Henry.
His mother kneeled down at his bedside, and
earnestly prayed that God would forgive his great
sin, and give him grace to keep out of the transgres-
sor's ways for the future. But, ah no words can
express the anguish of poor Henry's heart when he
thought that his darling pet, his dear little Frankie,
was in his tiny grave, brought there through his dis-
obedience; and that he should never hear his merry
laugh again when playing with old Roughie. Poor
Henry he had learned a bitter lesson indeed.
Slowly he recovered his health again, but he
never, never forgot the scenes of that day. His
whole life was embittered by the sad recollections
of his twelfth birthday. And though he found
peace at last, through the blood of Jesus, and felt
that God, for Christ's sake, had forgiven his sin, yet
the recollection of it hung over him like a gloomy
shadow. And suppose that we could have seen him
months, or even years, after that melancholy event
had taken place. He is going by Farmer Clarke's
field. He stops at the gate. The whole scene
comes fresh before him again. He bows down his
head and weeps bitter tears. We go up to him and
ask him to tell us what it is which makes the way
THE HARD WAY. 89
of the transgressor hard." He looks up, with his
eyes full of tears, as he wrings his hands, and says,
-" Oh, it's the recollections /-the dreadful recollec-
The first thing that makes it hard is the guide.
The second thing is the recollections. The third
thing I would speak of as making "the way of trans-
gressors hard" is the WAGES.
Sometimes when a person is working for another,
he is not paid all at once, but gets so much a week
or month, and the rest when the work is finished.
And this is the way in which God pays people for
what they do in this life. So transgressors get part
of their wages now, but the full payment will not be
received till they get to the end of their hard way,-
that is, till they come to die. Now the wages which
transgressors receive are made up of two things-
viz., shame and suffering.
Shame is a part of these wages. The Bible tells
us that "shame shall be the promotion of fools."
"Fools" here means the same as "transgressors."
And "promotion" here means reward or wages.
Shame is sure to be the wages of transgressors. This
means that sin will always be followed by disgrace
Take some examples. The first transgressor that
ever lived was Satan. He transgressed in heaven.
He became proud. He was not willing to do and
be what God wanted him to be and do. For this he
was driven out of heaven. He was cast down to
hell. And, now, instead of loving and serving God,
which is the highest honour-yes, and the greatest
happiness, too,-he spends his whole time in doing
what he knows God does not like,-that is, in tempt-
ing men to commit all kinds of wickedness. In-
stead of being pure and holy, so that every one
would love and reverence him, he is horribly vile and
90 THE SAFE COMPASS.
sinful. There is not a single person in all the uni-
verse that loves him. He is known as "the old
serpent," a deceiver," a liar," "a murderer,"
"the evil one." Oh, what shame Satan has got from
his transgression !
The next transgressors that we read of were Adam
and Eve. They transgressed in the Garden of Eden.
They ate of the tree of which God had forbidden
them to eat. Then they felt that they were sinners.
They knew that they were naked, and they were
ashamed. When God came to speak to them they
were afraid and ran away, and tried to hide them-
selves among the trees of the garden. The mark of
sin was on their souls. This made them feel
ashamed to come before God.
The next transgressor was Cain. He transgressed
by killing his brother. For this God put a mark
upon him. Then he went forth a wanderer and a
vagabond on the face of the earth. We do not know
what the mark was which God put upon Cain; but
it was something by which he might be known as a
murderer, and yet which would keep others from
murdering him. Suppose that God should cause a
great blood-red spot, which could not be washed off,
or hidden from view, to come out on the forehead of
every one guilty of murder, what a dreadful dis-
grace it would be to have such a mark If the
mark on Cain wa& something of this kind, then he
must have been afraid to lift up his head in the pre-
sence of his fellow-creatures. No doubt he felt that
shame, burning shame, was part of the wages of
transgression. This helps to make this way hard.
And it is always so with those who walk in the
way of transgressors. They may get money, and
find pleasure, while walking in this way, but they
are sure to cover themselves with disgrace. Let
a person be known as a liar, a thief, a drunkard, and
THE HARD WAY. 91
every honest, good man or woman will try to keep
out of his way. We feel that it is a shame even to
be known as the companions of such people.
There is the apostle Paul. How everybody
honours his name What glory shines around it !
Why is this Because he kept out of the way of
transgressors. He was faithful to his Master. But
there is Judas Iscariot. He was an apostle too.
But what different feelings are called up when his
name is mentioned. It is black with disgrace and
shame. Why is this 7 Because he went in the way
of transgressors. He betrayed his Master. There
is George Washington. Glorious name What a
"halo of brightness and beauty shines around it !
You feel your heart swell within you when you hear
it. You are ready almost to take off your hat and
make a low bow at the mere mention of it. All the
world honours that name. They will do it while
the world stands. Why 1 Because he was not a
transgressor. He was a good man, and faithful to
his country. But there is the name of Benedict
Arnold. What feelings of unpleasantness and dis-
gust are excited by this name. If you saw it on the
ground you would be almost ready to spit on it, and
trample it in the mire and dirt. It is a name
covered all over with the foulest shame and dis-
honour. And why? Because he was a transgres-
sor, a traitor against his country. He tried to sell
his country for gold. He walked in the hard way,
and he received part of his wages in shame.
Martin Luther used to say that if you wrestle
with a sweep, whether you throw him down or he
throws you, you are sure to be grimed and black-
ened with soot. Now, sin or transgression is a sooty,
blackening thing. Wherever it touches you it leaves
a mark; and these marks are shameful.
Did you ever hear the story of Amos and the
92 THE SAFE COMPASS.
nails ? There was a bad boy once, whose name was
Amos. His father was a very good man, and was
grieved and troubled at the wickedness of his son.
He had tried in vain to convince him of his sin, and
induce him to do better. One day his father said
to him, Amos, here is a hammer and a keg of nails ;
I wish you every time you do a wrong thing to
drive one of these nails into this post."
Well, father, I will," said Amos.
After a while Amos came to his father and said,
"I have used all the nails; the keg is empty.
Come and see."
His father went to the spot, and found the post
black with nails. "Amos," said he, "have you
done something wrong for each of these nails ?"
"Yes, sir," said the boy.
Oh, Amos," said his father, sorrowfully, "how
sad this is to think of Why will you not turn
about and try to be a good boy 1"
Amos stood thoughtfully for a few moments, and
then said,-" Father, I'll try. I know I have been
very bad. Now I mean to pray God to help me to
"Very well," said his father; "now take the
hammer, and every time you do a good act, or resist
a wrong one, draw out a nail, and put it in the keg
After some time the boy came to his father, and
said: "Come, father, and see the nails in the keg
again. I have pulled out a nail for every good act,
and now the keg is full again."
"I am glad to see it my son," said his father,
" but see, the marks of the nails remain."
So it is with transgression. It always leaves its
marks. These marks it is a shame to bear. This
shame is part of the wages which those must receive
who walk in this hard way.
THE HARD WAY. 93
Another part of these wages is suffering. If you
put your finger in the fire will it burn Yes. Will
the burning hurt you? Yes. God has made our
bodies so that burning causes great suffering, in
order to make us keep from going too near the fire.
And he has made suffering part of the wages of
transgression, in order to keep us from sin. If we
should go out to the almshouse, and find out the
history of those who are insane, or sick and suffering
in other ways; how many sad illustrations we should
find of the truth of our text, "The way of trans-
gressors is hard." But I want to give you a very
striking illustration of it, that occurred once among
some boys in a school in England.
Bob Winslow was the worst boy in the village.
His father never checked him, but let him have
ll his own way, till he had grown to be the terror
of the neighbourhood. He particularly loved to
make sport of old, lame, crippled persons. There
was one poor woman, bent down by age and infir-
mities, that Bob used especially to make game of.
She came every day, leaning on her crutch, to draw
water from the well near her house, and just within
the play-ground of the school-house. Bob would
sometimes follow close behind her, pretending to be
lame, and hobbling along on his umbrella for a
crutch, and mimicking her motions. "Only look at
her," he would say, "isn't she like the letter S, with
an extra crook in it ?" One day when he was doing
this, the old woman turned round, and, looking at
him reproachfully, said, Go home, child, and read
the story of Elisha and the two bears out of the
"Shame on you, Bob !" said Charles Mansfield,
one of the best boys in the school; Shame, I say,
to laugh at the poor woman's misfortunes! I've
heard my grandmother say that she became a cripple
94 rI;E SAFE COMPASS.
by lifting her poor, afflicted son, and tending him
night and day."
I don't care what made her so," said Bob, I
wouldn't stay in the world if I was such an ugly-
looking thing as that. Do look !"
"Shame! shame on you!" said Charles, and
"Shame shame !" echoed from each of the boys
present. You may get your own back broken one of
these days, Bob,-who knows ?"
Charles Mansfield sprung to the old woman, and
said, "Let me help you, grandmother." Then he
kindly took her pail, filled it at the well, and carried
it home for her, and the boys made an arrangement
for one of them to come every day, and fetch her a
pail of water. God bless you God bless you,
all! dear boys," said the old woman, as she wiped
away her tears, and entered her poor lonely home.
Bob Winslow's conduct was reported to the master.
He was very much grieved, and sentenced him to
stay in school and study, instead of going out to
play at recess for a week. This was pretty hard
punishment, for Bob had very little love for study,
but was prodigiously fond of play. Yet this was
a slight punishment compared with what he was
so soon to receive.
On the second day of his confinement, he sat near
the open window, watching the boys at their sports
in the playground. Suddenly, while the master was
occupied in another part of the room, he rose and
jumped from the window into the midst of the boys,
with a shout at what he had done. Now let him
punish me again, if he can !" cried he. As he said
this, he ran backwards, throwing up his arms in
defiance, and shouting, when-suddenly his voice
ceased; there was a heavy plunge, and a loud groan
burst on the ears of his startled companions.
It so happened that the well, of which we have
THE HARD WAY. 95
spoken, was being repaired. The workmen were at
a distance, collecting their materials, and had care-
lessly left the opening of the well uncovered. As Bob
was going backwards, at the very moment of his
triumph, he stepped into the mouth of the well, and
down he went. There was a cry of horror from the
boys. They all rushed to the spot. Charles Mans-
field, the bravest of them all, was the first to seize
the well-rope. He jumped into the bucket, and got
the boys to lower him down. The well was deep;
but, fortunately, there was not much water in it, and
Bob lay motionless at the bottom. Charles lifted
him carefully, and with one arm round his apparently
lifeless body, the other on the rope, he gave the
signal, and was slowly raised to the top.
The pale face of the wicked boy filled his com-
panions with horror. Without saying a word, they
carried him to the house of the poor woman,
whom he had treated so cruelly. She had seen the
accident from her window, and was hobbling along
on her crutch to meet them. Poor Bob was taken
into her humble home, and laid upon her bed. The
kind-hearted old woman, forgetful of his ill-treat-
ment of her, got out her bandages, her camphor
bottle, and other things; and, while one of the boys
ran for the doctor, and another for their teacher, she
sat down by his side and bathed his hands and his
forehead, as tenderly as though he had been her own
son. After the doctor had dressed his wounds, he
was carried on a litter to his own home, surrounded
by his sorrowing companions, but still insensible.
A few hours later in the day a group of boys met
on the playground. They talked to one another in
a low voice. They looked pale and sad. Presently,
Charles Mansfield came up.
"Well, boys, how is poor Bob now 1 Have any
of you heard ?"
96 THE SAFE COMPASS.
"Oh, Charlie!" cried several at once, as they
gathered round him. "Oh! don't you know
haven't you heard l Why, he has opened his eyes,
and is able to speak ; but his back is broken, and he
will be a cripple and a hunchback for life I"
Charles clasped his hands, without uttering a
word, and burst into tears. He couldn't speak for
a while. At last, with the tears still streaming
down his pale cheeks, but with a manly voice, he
said, "Boys, I hope we shall never forget the lesson
we have learned to-day. The Bible says, The way of
the transgressor is hard ;' and poor Bob's experience
proves how true that is."
I cannot tell you the dreadful suffering, both of
mind and body, that Bob passed through during the
months that he lay upon that sick bed. He found out
that it is the wages of the transgressor which makes
his way so hard. Great suffering indeed he passed
through as part of the wages he had to receive.
I am glad to be able to tell you that Bob became
a Christian on that bed of suffering. His sin was
forgiven. Like Amos, he drew the nails out of the
post; but ah in his broken back the marks of the
nails remained. The way of transgressors is hard."
The guide, the recollections, and the wages make it
hard. The wages are made up of shame and suffering.
My dear, young friends, we have all been in this
way. Jesus came to show us how to get out of it.
His blood takes away transgression.
If Jesus is our friend, we have nothing to fear.
Martin Luther says, that Satan came to him one
day, and said, Luther, you are a great sinner, you
will be lost." "Stop, stop," said Luther, "not so
fast, one thing at a time, if you please. You say I
am a great sinner. That is true, though you ought
to be the last to say anything to any one about sin.
I am a great sinner. Yes, but Jesus is a great
THE HARD WAY. 97
Saviour. His blood cleanses from all sin; and,
therefore, though I am a great sinner, I shall go
to heaven. I shall not be lost." Then Satan went
off, and had nothing more to say. This is true.
Jesus can pardon all our sins. If our sins are for-
given for His sake, we can never be lost. Oh,
turn to Jesus, then. Trust in Him. He will take
you out of the hard way, and put you in that way
which is all pleasantness and peace. As long as
you live, remember this text :-" The way of trans-
gressors is hard !"