The Baldwin Library
N~ow I will have you! exclaimed the child.-p. 37.
GALL & INGLIS.
TEonbon: Obinhurge :
30 PATEBNOSTER ROW. GEORGQE STREET.
To THE READER, .
THE BOAT, 7
THE BIRD'S NEST,. 3.
"THE RED BERRIES, 19
THE HEN AND HER CHIOKEE, 29
ANNE BELL; OR, THE FAULTS, ..
THE MOTH, 45
THE BIBLE THE BEST BOOK, 52
THE Bow IN THE CLOUD, 62
THE ROSE-BUD, 70
THE WILLOW TREE, 78
THE GLOW-WORK 85
THE HATED TAS, 95
GooD AND BAD LocK 108
go tbe Umeaber.
CONSIDERING the extreme and everlasting import-
ance of early instruction-referring constantly to the
precept and its accompanying promise, "train up a
child in the way he should go, and when he is old he
will not depart from it," I have endeavoured, in each
of these lessons, to set forth the sole ground of a sin-
The doctrine attempted to be invariably enforced,
is that on which the Apostle, yea, every Apostle and
Evangelist so strenuously insists, "by grace are ye
saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it
is.the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should
boast." But in no instance is the reader, intention-
ally, left to suppose that the mere acknowledgment
of this truth is sufficient. Sanctification of the Spirit
unto obedience is never omitted. Indeed the avowed
object of each piece is, generally speaking, to point
out some error in practice, or to enforce some positive
duty, upon the ground, that, "without holiness none
can see God." The greater part of them are founded
on facts, or conversations that have really occurred
within my own knowledge; and many of the subjects
were suggested by young children who desired to have
little books written on them.
May the Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of
the sheep, whose impressive injunction was, "Feed my
lambs," smile upon these humble endeavours to bring
little children unto Him !
-,-;- -. :'& ;y.-
ONCE on a very pleasant morning in summer, a gen-
tleman and his wife left home to pass the day at a
friend's house; and as their little girl and boy had
behaved so as to satisfy them that they were not un-
worthy of some indulgence, they were allowed to ac-
company their papa and mamma. The house to
which they were going was a few miles distant; it
stood near the bank of a fine river, quite wide and
deep, and nothing could be prettier than the gently
sloping lawn that led from the house to the water.
It was a great treat to little John and his sister Bess
8 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN,
to ride in a gig, through the pleasant shady lanes, to
enjoy the smell of the sweet flowers in the hedges
and fields, and to hear the small birds sing so gaily in
the trees and green bushes. They saw fine gardens
and houses as they went along; but none appeared
so nice as the one which they were going to visit,
with its neat smooth lawn, and the river winding
along the bottom of it. Corn was ripening in the
fields, and fruit in the orchards-both are the gift of
the merciful Lord God to His' sinful creatures, who
too often look upon His undeserved bounties, and eat
of them too, without one feeling of thankfulness to
Him who openeth His hand and filleth all things liv-
ing with plenty.
The gentleman and lady to whom the house be-
longed, were very glad to see the children with their
papa and mamma, and kindly noticed them. After
getting their dinner, they had leave given them to
play upon the lawn, and their papa warned them not
to go too near the bank of the river; nor on any
account to get into the boat which they might find
there. John and Bess had been so often told that
the eye of the Lord God was always upon them, and
that nothing could ever be hid from Him who here-
after would judge them, that they had, through the
Divine blessing on these good instructions, been kept
from many of the evil ways into which children are
too aptto go; and their parents had much confidence
in them. I am afraid they were rather proud of this,
and that, depending too much on themselves, and
looking too little to the Lord for help and strength,
they were in greater danger than if they had been
truly humble children.
Away they went, and played upon the pleasant
green lawn; till by degrees they got near the river,
which shone so clear and bright with the reflection of
the sun, that they could hardly keep their eyes from
it. At last John cried out, "Oh, look, Bess, what a
pretty boat is there "
"Yes," replied she, "but we must not go near it."
-" We may go near it," said John, but we must
not get into it." Bess agreed to this.
If they had recollected what their mamma had
told them, when teaching them the Lord's prayer,
they would have been aware, that going of their own
accord into temptation, after praying God not to
lead them into it, was no better than mocking Him.
To the river side they went-the boat was a pretty
boat indeed, painted green, with black edges ; and it
was fastened to the shore by a long chain, which was
sunk in the water, while the boat resting against
the bank seemed fixed to it by a short hook only.
' Oh, how I should like to get into this pretty boat,"
said John. "Ah," replied Bess, "that would be dis-
obeying papa; and you know God sees us, though
he does not." John said, "I will not disobey papa ;
for I will not get into the boat; but I will sit down
on the bank, and only put my feet in the boat."
The foolish little boy, like too many children, and
grown people too, was ready to go to the brink of sin,
10 SHORT STORIES FOE CHILDREN.
and thought that if he did not break the very words
of the commandment, he would not be much to blame,
though his whole heart was set on the forbidden
thing. But God is not satisfied with such obedience.
He says, Give me thine heart: "-and as we have
but one heart, how can we give it to God, while we
bestow it upon His great enemy, sin ? John thought
that he had settled the matter extremely well; so he
sat down on the bank, which was quite level, and the
water there was very deep ; he put his feet into the
boat, and it immediately began to move away; the
poor child, frightened, started up, and in a moment
fell into the river, between the boat and the shore.
His little sister, who loved him dearly, stooped down
in great terror, and caught hold of the collar of his
coat, trying to pull him out ; but alas, the water fill-
ed his pockets and his shoes, and made his clothes so
heavy, that he sank lower and lower; and Bess
having nothing to hold by on the land, to support
her, must eitherhave let him sink alone, or have been
pulled in also.
Now see, my little readers, what an easy thing it is
to join hand in hand in sin-how impossible for sin-
ners to deliver themselves, or each other ; and what
a dreadful part of the misery that the wicked must
suffer in hell it will be, to see those whom they loved
best on ;earth brought to that place of torment also,
through their evil example and advice, or through
their neglect of warning them from the sins which
theysaw them ready to commit. If God had not taken
THE BOAT. 11
pity on these faulty children, they would have been
deep in the cold water, dead and stiff before night;
and if the Lord Jesus did not shew compassion to
you, and offer you salvation through His precious
blood, you would have no way of escape from the far
more deep and horrible pit that burns with eternal
Two men returning from work in the fields saw
this little girl stooping over what they knew to be a
dangerous place, and ran to the spot. They came up
just as she had become almost insensible from terror;
and while one drew John out of the water, the other
took Bess in his arms; and so both were carried to
their parents, who were long before they could see the
colour return to John's cheeks, or convince Bess that
her dear little brother was not dead; and you may
judge how sorry and ashamed the children were to
own their disobedience; but the Lord put His fear
in their hearts, and would not let them add to their
sin by telling a lie.
John is grown up now to be a man, and has chil-
dren of his own; and Bess is a woman, and wrote this
story herself for them, and for other dear children,
who like to hear of God's wonderful doings, and ten-
der mercies towards His creatures. And she assures
them that though they may be sitting in their quiet
homes, and think themselves as safe as can possibly
be, yet if they have not learned to know that their
hearts are sinful, and that there is no hope for sinners,
but in the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus
12 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
Christ; and if they have not begun to pray to Him
for pardon, and for a new heart to love and serve Him
faithfully, and if they do not daily try to do so, they
are in far greater danger than John was in, when he
fell into the broad, deep river.
Wide is the gate, and broad the way,
That leads mankind to sin:
And Satan's baits are painted gay,
To lure the careless in.
How may a simple child be wise,
And hidden snares discern ?
That wisdom God alone supplies;
Seek ye the Lord and learn.
Oh learn of Him, the lowly Lamb,
His gentle voice obey,
Walk in His steps, and sure I am
You cannot lose your way.
For He was patient, meek, and mild,
And loved His Father's will;
The humble and obedient child
He guards from every ill.
For you He bade His life-blood flow,
For you He conquered death;
His love shall watch your path belew,
And soothe your dying breath.
And He will bear you to the place
Where sin is known no more-
With angels to behold His face,
And His great name adore.
Et QZ3irb'xs Nest.
LITTLE boy, are you going to look for birds' nests I
If you are, stop a moment, and mind what I say to
A bird's nest is a very curious thing. You have
hands to work with, speech to ask for what you want,
and reason to consider what you are doing; yet I
think you could not make a nest if you tried for a
week. The bird has no hands, only a weak little bill
to use; it cannot ask for anything, and has not
reason or reflection: is it not wonderful a bird
should do what you cantiui,
14 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
Here, then, are two things that seem to be very
plain: one is, the very great goodness of God, who
enables the little bird to build her nest, and who
takes care she should find proper things to make it
with; and who puts green leaves on the trees to
shelter it from the cold winds and hot sun.
The other thing is, the great love which the pocr
bird must have for its young, since it can take such
very great pains to provide a warm house for them.
You see the bird never makes a bed for itself. No;
when night comes it perches on the twig of a tree,
pops its little head under its wing, and sleeps away
till the morning sun begins to shine, and then it
wakes and sings.
But when the bird is about to build a nest for its
young, it sets itself to work in earnest. It gathers
straw, wool, feathers, and little sticks, and with some
clay it makes all fast; and then it lays its eggs, and
sits patiently upon them till they are hatched; and
then it searches every where for insects, small worms,
and food of different sorts for the young ones. It
returns to the nest, feeds them, sits over them to
keep them warm, and chirps till they go to sleep.
My dear little boy, perhaps your mother, or aunt,
or some neighbour of yours, has a baby. You have
seen how fond she is of it, how she nurses and feeds
it, and puts it to sleep on her bosom ; how she
grieves if it is sick, and guards it from danger.
And when it begins to go alone, how delighted
she is! how she watches its little steps, and
rHE BIRD'S NEST 15
helps it along, and tells every body how cleverly
it walks !
Suppose that a strange man was to come to the
village, and when the mother is away, and the baby
in the cradle, was to snatch it up, and carry it off !
Suppose that you saw him, and knew that he would
surely cause its death, not knowing how to feed or
tend it; and that the mother would break her heart
at the loss of it, what would you do. I will tell you
what I think you would do ; for I dare say you are
a kind-hearted little fellow. I think you would run
after the man, and tell him all this, and beg him not
to take the child, and assure him that God would
be very angry if he did it. You would say so much,
that at last he might give you the baby. You would
go then to its mother and say, "See here, though I
was not big enough to get the poor thing out of the
man's hands by force, yet I reasoned it away from
him, and here is your dear little child again." Do
you not think it would be delightful to see the joy
of the mother on receiving her baby ? and would you
not be thankful to God for making you the means of
restoring it to her again
Yes, every body likes courage in a good cause,
and cowards deserve to be despised. The man who
would steal the child was both cowardly and cruel ;
and don't you think it is so to rob a poor innocent
bird of her young ? When you take the nest away,
the bird often sees you, and if it could speak, it
would hop before you, and say, "Oh, sir, pity me
16 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
-many a hard day's work that nest cost me, and I
thought that I had put it in a safe place. Many a
long hour I have sat over the eggs; and if you knew
the delight which I feel when the little yellow heads
of my darlings come out-or how joyful it makes
me to hear them chirp, and to put food in their hungry
beaks; and how proud I am when they begin to
hop and fly, indeed, indeed, you would not take them
away You don't know the proper food for them;
nor when they have had enough; you cannot keep
them so warm as I do. My heart will break if I
lose them : dear little man, do pray, oh, do restore
them to me again !"
But not a word can the bird say; it is dumb, and
its little heart may break, but it cannot complain. I
mean it cannot complain to you : but there is One
who knows the meaning of every sorrowful chirp it
gives ; God, whose tender mercies are over all His
works, notices the little birds :-King David men-
tioned it as one of the reasons why he loved and de-
sired God's temple, that they were protected there.
"Yea, the sparrow hath found an house and the
swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her
young; even thine altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King
and my God." And our Lord Jesus Christ said, that
though two sparrows were sold for a farthing, yet not
one could fall to the ground without God's consent.
He said that His Father cared for them. Now, you
know, or if you do not, you may read it in the 12th
verse of the 20th chapter of the Revelation, at the
THE BIRD'S NEST. 17
end of your Testament, that God has a book in
which every thing you do is written down; and He
will judge you out of it. If you can be so cruel,
after all that I have said, as to rob a bird's nest, I
cannot hinder you; but I give you warning that God
will surely punish you. He has said, "He shall
have judgment without mercy that hath shewed
no mercy." Do you know what that means t You
shall be judged and punished for every single sin
that you have committed, without any mercy at all.
And you know that if you do not share in the mercy
of Jesus Christ, you cannot escape hell!--a dreadful
word !-I tremble to name it; but it is better to re-
mind you of it now, than to leave you to go there.
Dear boy, pray to God to pardon all your sins, and
to cleanse you in the blood of Jesus Christ, and to
give you a new heart, and make you His child; and
do be merciful to the poor birds and animals, for the
sake of Him who made both them and you.
You will not go for nests now, for if you do, yot
will feel unhappy, since you must know that you are
doing a mean, cowardly, cruel, sinful action. You
will play with your top, or kite, or ball; run races,
or read some good and useful book-especially the
blessed Bible : and at night you will smile to recol-
lect how happy the bird is, sitting on her nest; and
you may repeat these lines, or, if you like, sing
I thank thee, Lord, for keeping me
From such a wicked deed,
18 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
As injuring the harmless birds,
Which Thou art pleased to feed.
Oh, let me never be enticed
To walk in sinful ways !
But teach me, Lord, to do Thy wil',
To pray and speak Thy praise.
Teach me to recollect the book
Of which I often heard,
Where all my deeds are written down,
And every naughty word
Oh, cleanse me in the precious blood
Of Jesus Christ, Thy Son ;
And for His blessed sake forgive
The evils I have done.
SteC 3eb Berries.
HENRY WILSON was an only child, very dear to his
papa and mamma, who took great pleasure in teach-
ing him all that a little boy of seven years old coul&
be expected to learn. They were careful to instruct
him, as soon as he was able to understand their
words, that we are all sinners in the sight of God,
and must certainly be shut out from heaven, and
after death sent to dwell in the place of torment,
among evil spirits, if Jesus Christ, the only Son of
God, who is himself God, one with the Father, had
not mercifully taken our nature upon Him, and suffer-
20 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
ed for our sins, that we might be delivered from the
wrath to come. Little Henry was likewise taught
that we must not only believe in the blessed Lord
Jesus as our Saviour, but also obey him as our King,
doing whatsoever He in the Bible commands us to
- observe and do, and avoiding what He has forbidden.
But as we are all inclined, by our evil nature, to
break God's laws ; and as Satan, the great enemy of
our souls, is always at hand to tempt us to do wrong,
Henry was also informed that God the Holy Ghost,
who likewise is one with the Father and the Son,
condescends to dwell in the hearts of those who be-
lieve in Jesus Christ, enabling them to strive against
sin, and to love and obey the Lord. Henry was also
taught to pray every day for the aid of this Holy
Spirit, without whose divine assistance he could do
nothing pleasing in the sight of God, for it was said
by our Lord Jesus Christ, Except a man be born
of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into -the
kingdom of God." (John iii. 5.)
Henry had an uncle, who was a clergyman; his
name was Morgan; he lived in a pretty house, near
his church, and had a nice garden. Mr and Mrs
Wilson took little Henry with them to pay him a
visit, late in the autumn, when the leaves were begin-
ning to fall from the trees,-a sight fitted to remind us
how soon we also must wither and be mingled with
the dust of the earth. When a dry yellow leaf was
blown across the path where they walked, and borne
out of their sight by the rough breeze, Henry recol-
THE RED BERRIES. 21
elected the words of the prophet Isaiah, "We all do
fade as a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind have
carried us away." (Isaiah Ixiv. 6.)
The day after they arrived, Henry asked permission
to walk by himself in the pretty garden, and his mam-
ma said he might do so, when his lessons were finish-
ed: his papa also consented, but said, "Be sure,
Henry, you do not eat anything that you find there."
Henry promised: and having said his lessons,
away he ran, quite delighted, into the garden. There
were a few flowers still in bloom; the China-rose
hung its delicate head, and by bending down so readi-
ly, avoided having its soft pink leaves scattered by
the wind that would have torn a much stronger blos-
som in pieces; and when the sun shone warm again,
this rose looked up, as fresh and as sweet as ever.
Like the pious soul that meekly bows beneath the
afflictions which God is pleased to send, and, humb-
ling itself under His mighty hand, is exalted in due
time: while the proud rebellious heart, that thinks
to brave His wrath, is broken and destroyed.
Several flowers, such as the Michaelmas-daisy, the
dark China-aster, and others of such plain and sober
colours, that they would not have been regarded among
the gay flowers of summer, appeared quite valuable
now that no brighter remained. So it is with the
ordinary comforts which we are ready to overlook while
our cup overflows with a variety of blessings; but
which we learn to prize when other enjoyments are
gone, and they too seem likely to depart. But the
22 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
cheerful-looking little flower, the heart's-ease, was
smiling in every place, and Henry knew that it would
continue all the winter under the sheltering shrubs of
evergreen. Neither storms nor losses can destroy
that blessed contentment which blossoms in the heart
of the Christian, who knows that the protecting arm
of his Saviour is still spread over him, to defend and
to deliver him.
There was little fruit in the garden: here and there
a bunch of grapes hung on the vine, some winter
apples remained on the trees, and a few currants,
that ripened very late upon a northerly wall, were
peeping from among the cobwebs and yellow leaves :
but nothing pleased little Henry so much as a bush,
covered with berries of a deep scarlet, soft to the
touch, and bright to the eye. He looked long at them,
then ran round and round the neat gravel walks, but
still returned, and stopped opposite, the bush. Henry
said to himself, If papa had not forbidden me to
eat any fruit, I should like just to pull a few of those
delightful berries-how sweet they must be "
While he was playing about, Mr Morgan came up,
and asked him how he liked the garden. "Very
much indeed, uncle," replied Henry. They walked a
little while together. Presently they passed the bush
which bore the beautiful red berries. And Mr Mor-
gan, seeing how his nephew looked at it, said, You
must be sure not to eat any of those berries, Henry."
" Oh, no, uncle," answered Henry, "papa desired me
not to gather anything."
THE RED BERRIES. 23
Mr Morgan said, "I know it, my dear; and you
will always find it your happiness, as well as duty, to
obey your parents." After dinner there was fruit on
the table-apples and pears, nuts and grapes, and
currants : but Henry was disappointed at not seeing
any of the fine red berries.
The next day was Sunday-Henry just walked
round the garden before breakfast; as he passed the
bush, "Oh," said he, "my uncle keeps this nice
fruit for himself. How mean he deserves to lose
some of it."
This was a very naughty saying; if Mr Morgan
did wish to preserve the berries, they were his own,
and he had a right to do as he pleased with them.
Whatever he gave little Henry, it was the gift of his
kindness; and he did him no wrong in denying him
other things-but it was uncharitable, and therefore
unlike a Christian, to suppose that he refused them
from a selfish motive. Thus it is that sinners enter-
tain hard thoughts of God, notwithstanding all His
love and kindness towards them. Henry was already
more than half determined to commit a sin, and
wanted to find excuses to blind his own conscience.
After breakfast, Henry asked leave to walk in the
garden till the time came to go to church. You
may do so," said his papa, "if you walk soberly, re-
collecting this is the Lord's day and not yours. Be-
seech Him to keep your mind fixed on such things aa
are suitable to the Sabbath. Remember, too, Henry
my charge, not to gather anything without leave."
24 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
Yes, papa," said Henry, and walked off.
What do you think he did 1 First I will tell you
what he ought to have done. The good advice of
his papa should have been followed; he should have
prayed that his thoughts might be kept on heavenly
things, and his heart prepared for the service of God
in His house; he should have avoided the place where
he knew that he would be led into temptation, and
very earnestly asked for the assistance of the Holy
Spirit to oppose his evil wishes.
But, alas little Henry did none of those things;
on the contrary, he went as fast as he could to the
bush, and gazed on the red berries till it seemed im-
possible to leave the spot without tasting them..
His heart began to beat very quick, he looked about
him, thought of his papa's command and advice, re-
collecting that it was not too late to pray to God,
who both could and would keep him from sin; and
then, in spite of all this, yielding to the temptation
that he might have avoided, he put forth his hand,
snatched several berries, and swallowed them in great
haste and alarm, as he heard his papa calling to him
from the gate.
The berries were not so sweet as Henry expected,
but slimy, and of such a sickening taste that he was
soon very sorry he had not followed the kind com-
.mand which his papa had given him.
To church went naughty Henry, sad and sulky, as
those usually are who feel that they have done wrong,
and begin to think of the consequences, which Satan
THE RED BERRIES. 25
always tries to prevent their doing till it is too
The psalm for the day was that very beautiful and
awful one, the 139th. I cannot tell you how fright-
ened and miserable the unhappy child felt, while his
kind papa, passing his finger under the lines, seemed
to point out every word that assured Henry his wick-
edness was all known to the Lord.
The little boy began to feel illness before the pray-
ers concluded, but concealed it as well as he could.
At last his uncle appeared in the pulpit, and gave out
the text from the very psalm they had been reading.
This was it : Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence "
Mr Morgan began by describing the dreadful state
of a sinner, who feels that though his wickedness
may be concealed from men, yet God sees and knows
it all Presently he spoke of Adam eating the for-
bidden fruit, and how he tried to hide himself when
he heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the
garden. Henry was now quite sure that his uncle
had seen him ; and as he thought of what he had
done, he began to cry and sob most piteously. Find-
ing it impossible to quiet him, and that he also ap-
peared in great pain, his papa carried him out of the
church, and took him home.
When laid upon his bed, little Henry was dread-
fully ill, and it was plain that he had eaten something
of a poisonous nature. How great was the distress
of his parents For a long time he could not speak
26 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
but as soon as he could, it was to ask for his uncle,
who came directly. "0 uncle, uncle," sobbed out
the boy, "do ask the Lord Jesus to forgive me I
never will do so again."
Mr Morgan asked him what he had done.
"You know very well, uncle; you told me of it in
"No, my child; I spoke of sin generally, and to all
the sinners around me. If you supposed it addressed
to you, it was because you knew your own guilt. I
hope this may lead you to repentance."
"But God will not forgive me, uncle: I knew I
was committing a great sin; and as soon as I had
done it I felt sure that He would not forgive me. And
oh, uncle I am going to that dreadful place where
liars and Sabbath-breakers, and disobedient children,
and all who despise God's law, are tormented for ever!"
Then he cried and screamed, and would take no com-
fort. If any of you had seen little Henry at that time,
you would have owned that a feast of many years on
all the sinful pleasures of the world would be too
dearly bought at the price of such an hour as that.
Mr Morgan and his sister and brother grieved
sadly; they prayed long and fervently beside the bed
of the unhappy sufferer. The life of the poor child
was spared: he felt deeply on account of his sin, and
it was well for him that he was taught to seek pardon
from God, through the Lord Jesus Christ our Savi-
And it is for us, dear children, to cast the burden
THE RED BERRIES. 27
of our guilt and sorrow on Jesus Christ, the Lamb of
God who taketh away the sin of the world, and who
has promised never to cast out any who come to Him
But suppose that Henry had died immediately,
from the effects of the poison : or, suppose that his
heart had been hardened to go on in the ways of sin;
what would have become of him at last ?-and what
will become of you, if you neglect to ask continually
the help of Him who alone is able to keep you from
falling, and to use that help when you obtain it ?
My little readers, and elder ones too, "pray with-
out ceasing." Study God's Word, obey His laws, and
seek for safety, blessing, and peace, holiness here, and
heaven hereafter, only through the blood and merits
of our Lord Jesus Christ, "who gave Himself for us
that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify
unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good
Can hearts endure, or hands be strong,
When God shall call the guilty throng
To stand before His throne ?
In light revealed each sinful deed,
And each transgressor left to plead
Unaided and alone ?
0 dreadful hour the false disgmse
That dimm'd the unbeliever's eyes,
Too late is rent away :
See Satan, the accuser, stand
Close by the trembling sinner's hand,
To claim him for a prey.
28 SHORT STORES FOR CHILDREN.
Be wise in time, to Jesus flee,
He died to set the captive free,
And change our fearful doom:
The Gospel feast is spread for all
Who listen to that gracious call:
"Arproach-there still is room."
Wbt %nm anb baw Ctfctenz.
LET us put on our bonnets, Lucy, and give your bro-
thers their caps; we will go to the farm-yard, and see
the young brood of early chickens that was hatched a
few days ago. I know of very few scenes among the
animal creation more interesting or pleasing than that
which we are going to behold.
I see you are all ready; William may run his hoop
along the smooth walk, and we will lead little Frank,
for the morning dew is still moist on the grass, and
it would be a pity to allow him to wet his feet.
How sweetly the sun shines, while the fresh air
30 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
brings us the scent of many blossoms from the garden,
and the little birds are busily employed, collecting
whatever can assist them in making their nests strong,
and soft, and warm. They will soon be hatching
their young ones, and I know my children will not be
so cruel as to rob, or even to disturb them, if they are
so confiding as to build within our reach. Oh it is a
sad thing when man, who is appointed to rule the
inferior creatures, forgets his duty and becomes their
oppressor. I never knew a person who really loved
God, guilty of intentional cruelty to any creature that
He has been pleased to form.
Here is a bush of sweetbrier, just come into bloom;
you may gather a small sprig of it, but be careful;
the thorns are many and sharp, though you can hardly
see them, for the abundance of the leaves. It is so
with most of the earthly pleasures we delight in, my
children. The Lord has, indeed, given us liberally
all things to enjoy, but we must be moderate and cau-
tious in using them, or we shall find our too great
eagerness after worldly blessings become hurtful, and
perhaps we shall pierce ourselves through with many
sorrows in pursuing them. When I look at the sweet-
brier, I would think of our compassionate Saviour,
who was wounded by such bitter thorns, that we
might partake in the favour of God's love for ever.
Now, William, open the gate. So, Mrs Hen, you are
strutting about, I see, in the midst of your chickens,
very proud of them. Softly, Frank! Do not attempt
to catch the chickens ; observe how the mother ruffles
THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS. 31
her feathers, how loudly she threatens you while run.
ning with her beak stretched out to defend her darlings.
Now she calls them, and they have taken shelter under
her. Stand quiet a moment, and let us consider this
Do you remember, Lucy, about a month since, com.
plaining of this very hen, that she was so fearful and
shy, you never could persuade her to feed near you,
as the other fowls did, laying her feathers flat, from
cowardice, till she seemed so small, and she would run
away, as if you had been inclined to hurt her ? Look
now at her eye; how boldly she fixes it upon you,
watching every motion, and ready to fly in your face,
if you go near her. What a change The Scriptures
tell us that "love is strong as death," and here we
have an impressive instance of it. No kind of danger,
as I think, would now drive this hen to flight, or in-
duce her for a moment to forsake her chickens. Who
taught her this ? The eggs she sat on were, probably,
few of them her own ; we put them in a basket as
they came to hand, and left her to hatch them. From
that day nothing could tempt her to leave the nest.
The sun might shine brightly, and the other fowls run
cackling when called to be fed; she saw and heard it
all, but never staid away from the eggs longer than
to take one hasty meal every morning, and just smooth
her ruffled feathers.
Day after day, for three long weeks, she denied her-
self every enjoyment, sitting on these eggs, and losing
all care for her own comfort in the steady performance
32 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
of her duty. But while we admire this constancy in
the hen, we must not forget the lesson which she
seems to teach us, and which we very much need to
learn; let us ask ourselves, my dear children, if we
are ready to bear, for the sake of Him who died for
us, such privations as this poor simple fowl cheerfully
bore for her chickens. Alas I fear, not for one day.
How much need have we to look continually for the
help of the Holy Spirit, that we may learn to deny
ourselves, and take up our cross, and follow Christ.
Lucy, you may now scatter some of the barley that
you have brought. See how anxiously the fond
mother directs her little brood to the grains that seem
best for them She pecks at one, and calls over it,
and observes while they snatch it up. She must be
hungry, I am sure, but how little she cares for her
own wants till theirs are satisfied What a lesson of
disinterested love is here What a beautiful display
of Divine power in a creature, not even gifted with
reason, but obeying, like a machine, the instinct im-
planted by the Most High! "Marvellous are Thy
works, Lord God Almighty!"
Here come the other fowls, at full speed; they
knew by your voice that you were calling the hen to
feed. With what a jealous eye she watches them !
That fine cock, with his grand feathers and proud
strut, is very spiteful sometimes against young chick-
ens : it is not always that the prettiest creature is
most valuable. Mind, William, he looks angry; oh!
but see, all are sheltered, in a moment, beneath the
THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS. 33
wings of the hen, and, bold as he is, he dares not to
Who would think that a few soft downy feathers
would be such a defence for so many little living
creatures like those But God has made every thing
to answer the end He designed it for. Do you re-
member that beautiful psalm, the ninty-first, which
describes the Divine love and protection, in terms
taken, I think, from such a scene as this ? "He
that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High,
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty;"
" He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under
his wings shalt thou trust." We must look at such
an object as this to understand the force of these
words: we must see how very safe the chickens are,
so long as the hen is not removed or injured, and then,
recollecting that our God cannot change, cannot fail
His people, let us rejoice in our unbounded security :
unbounded indeed it is, while we continue to make
Him our refuge ; but, my children, how prone we are
to leave that place of perfect safety, and wander about
in a dangerous world without Him! If, when the
cock ran after the little chickens, one of them had re-
fused to take shelter under its mother's wing, and
attempted to defend itself, you would hardly have
pitied its fate so wilfuily brought on; yet, whenever
you dare to neglect praying to God, when you run
into temptation, or remain in evil company, or look
for safety in any thing but Him, you commit the
same folly, and a great sin; exposing yourselves to
34 sHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREfi.
the danger of much worse misfortune, and eterna'
punishment. You see how anxious the hen is to col-
lect her little ones under her feathers, as well know-
ing they cannot be safe any where else. Does not
this remind you of our Lord's tender and sorrowful
address to Jerusalem ? "How often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gather-
eth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Many terrible judgments, even utter destruction,
overtook that rebellious people. They would not be
gathered by the Lord Jesus, who came to seek and
to save that which was lost : they would not receive
Him as their Saviour, nor acknowledge Him as their
King, and they were delivered into the hands of those
who had no pity. May we fear, lest the same con-
demnation should come upon us, as it surely will, if
we neglect so great salvation!
Can you look at that poor feeble fowl, and behold
her courage, her fortitude, her contempt of danger in
the discharge of her duty, and yet doubt that, weak as
we are, we can do all things through Christ, who
strengtheneth us I
We will now return home, and let us pray that the
lesson here given may not be in vain. Learn sub-
mission to your parents, as the little chickens obey
every note of their mother. Learn not to trust to
your own wisdom or strength, but be guided by the
counsel of God, who teaches the simple fowls of the
air. Learn patience, self-denial, and steadfastness in
a good cause; and above all learn what would be
THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS. 35
your wretched state, now and for ever, if you had not
a sure refuge to flee unto in all times of danger and
distress, in Him, whose love is everlasting, as His
power is infinite : who openeth His hand, and filleth
all things living with plenteousness; feeding you
with the bread of life, and inviting you to draw water
out of the wells of salvation : for He hath made
His wonderful works to be remembered."
Holy Saviour, mighty King,
O'er me spread thy guardian wing :
When by trembling fears distress'd,
Let me fly to Thee and rest.
Call me, keep me by thy side,
Teach me there alone to hide;
Where for safety should I flee,
If my footsteps stray'd from Thee?
Warn me with thy gentle voice,
Point my path, and guide my choice;
Let me, Lord, in Thee possess
Wisdom, peace, and righteousnesa
nwe 3ell; or, S9e faults.
"AH, butterfly! pretty butterfly! let me catch
you," said Anne, as she ran after a very beautiful
little red one, that was sporting over a bed of
But the butterfly did not choose to be caught: it
often rested, as if to invite the child's approach;
then, as soon as she stretched out her hand, away it
flew, leaving her further off then ever.
Still Anne followed; at last it alighted on a rose,
and seemed inclined to make a long visit, for it fold-
ed its pretty soft wings, and was very quiet. Now,
ANNE BELL; OR, THE FAULTS. 37
butterfly, stay a minute, and I shall have you," said
Anne, as she drew near with great caution. She
struck her hand quickly down, but missed the flower,
and was sadly scratched by the thorn, while the in-
sect flew merrily off, unhurt.
Anne was now quiet angry. "Ah, naughty butter-
fly! if I can but catch you, I will make you pay for
She ran on, keeping close to the object of her pur-
suit, until it again settled itself on some long tangled
"Now I will have you !" exclaimed the child, as
she pounced upon it with outstretched hands. The
butterfly was caught, and so was Anne; for in her
eagerness she lost her footing, fell head foremost, and
was severely stung by some nettles that grew here
and there among the grass. Her crying brought her
mamma from the parlour, where she was writing.
Mrs Bell lifted her little girl, and seeing how her face
was marked, said, Oh Anne, how did you get this
Anne did not like to tell; she knew how very often
her mamma had checked the cruel sport of catching
insects. She therefore said nothing, but continued
Mrs Bell, seeing her hand clenched, opened it; and
there, crushed to death, was the pretty red buttery.
" So," said Mrs Bell, gravely, "I now know whose
fault it was."
"It was the butterfly's fault, mamma, for leading
38 SHORT STORIES TOR CHILDREN.
me such a chase; and the gardener's fault for leav-
ing those nasty nettles near the walks."
"If you can prove," said her mother, that the
butterfly insisted on your catching it, or that you
were obliged to tumble into the long, wild grass, I
may partly agree with you; but at present I think
that little Anne Bell is the person to blame; and
that the many faults which led to this disaster well
deserve the punishment that they. have brought."
As if a butterfly was of any value !" said Anne;
"and I am so hurt;" then she cried louder than
This is making the Ihatter worse," observed her
mamma-" Come in; I will apply something to re-
lieve the pain, and talk to you about your morning's
Anne flung the dead insect away, and sullenly fol-
Mrs Bell bathed the swollen face of her child with a
lotion that abated the mart; and then placing her. by
her side, inquired,
"Now, Anne, how many faults did you commit in
this business 1"
Anne was silent.
"Answer," said her mother.
"I suppose it was a fault to do what you bade me
not to do, mamma."
"Yes, that was disobedience; then youh chd;e a
time when you knew I was engaged, nnd c'.ul4 V.
observe you j there was deceit Rckn-as IPg on."
ANNE BELL; OR, THE FAULTS. 39
Anne counted two on her fingers, and looked much
"Wanton cruelty, Anne, is a sad, a very sad thing
indeed; and passion is another fault."
"Then I have committed four faults, mamma."
More still, Anne-you were not only unwilling to
confess the matter, but when discovered, threw the
blame elsewhere, which shewed that you were hard-
ened against the chastisement which you received :
then you despised God's work, saying, a butterfly was
of no value; and were quite sullen and resentful, be-
cause I did not suffer my pity tor your pain to blind
me to the greatness of your offence."
"Oh, mamma," interrupted Anne, crying, don't
reckon any more, I am frightened to think how bad
I have been-pray forget my faults."
Anne," replied her mother, "I am happy that you
now perceive them : at first you would scarcely allow
that you had been to blame. But I have only shewn
you the faults of which you were guilty within a few
short minutes. Look into your heart, my child, and
you will discover many other offences, daily and hourly
committed: and what will it avail you that I should
forget them, if the Almighty God, who knows all you
do, and say, and think, should keep these faults in re-
Anne sighed deeply, and said, "What shall I do,
Beseech your Heavenly Father to blot them from
His book, through the blood -4 Him who was calle
40 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
JEsus, because He should save His people from their
sins." (Matthew i. 21.)
Anne knelt down, and implored forgiveness in the
name of her Saviour-her mother adding a petition
that the Lord would create in her a new, a contrite,
and merciful heart.
I am afraid, mamma, you think me very cruel,"
said Anne, after she rose up, "but indeed it was not
that which made me hurt the butterfly; I only wanted
to look at it."
Could you not do so as it rested on the flowers 1"
"Yes,,mamma, but-but-it amused me to run
"And that was cruelty," said Mrs Bell, "distress-
ing a harmless creature merely for your diversion. It
was presumption too : He who made you run about,
also formed this insect to fly about. The same sun
warmed you both; the same air refreshed you: nay,
"the birds and insects are more immediately God's
care, as they have nobody to feed and provide for
them as you have."
Do you think that God cared for the butterfly,
Undoubtedly; His tender mercies are over all His
works: it is said, 'Thou hast created all things, and
for Thy pleasure they are and were created.' (Rev. iv.
11.) Our blessed Lord declares, that a sparrow falleth
not to the ground without His permission, and directs
our attention to the care the Almighty takes of His
helpless creatures. I am quite sure that the spirit of
ANNE BELL; OR, THE FAULTS. 41
Christ and the spirit of cruelty cannot dwell in the
"But what did you mean by my despising God's
work, mamma ?"
We have no right to say of any thing it has pleas-
ed God to make, that it is of no value; and in all
creation probably there is not a more beautiful ob-
ject than the butterfly. I am sure none ever led me
to such serious and profitable thoughts."
"How so, mamma 1"
"First, as I spoke of its beauty, let me tell you
that if I was to shew you in a microscope, even the
speck of dust that still cleaves to your hand, you will
be astonished to find it composed of the most lovely
feathers, richer than those of the peacock or the phea-
sant. Then the little delicate fibres that stretch along
its wings, the beautiful regularity of every part, and
the manner in which it is enabled to move so quickly
through the air, would really delight you. But above
all, when I think on what the butterfly was, and what
it is, the change fills my whole heart with that great
event of which it is a type or representation."
"What event, mamma 1"
"The resurrection of the body. You know, Anne,
that the first form in which the insect always appears,
is that of a worm; a creature bred in the earth, and
unable to rise above it. Such creatures as you and I,
Anne, who are formed out of dust, and must re-
turn to it again : and who find ourselves little dis-
oosed, and less able to rise to the contemplation of
42 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
heavenly things; chasing some fancied pleasure, as
you did the poor butterfly to-day, continually offend-
ing God in our eagerness after perishing enjoyments,
that bring only bitterness and pain at last. Like
the.caterpillar we eat up the fruits of the earth, and
often with as little sense of thankfulness to Him who
"But this is very sad, mamma-how can the
thought of it afford you pleasure "
My pleasure arises from considering the'wonder-
ful power of God displayed in the insect, and leading
me to His promise of changing my 'vile body, that it
may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, accord-
ing to the working whereby He is able even to sub-
due all things unto Himself.' (Phil. iii. 21.)
The worm, having surrounded itself with a sort of
shell, remains enclosed like a corpse in the tomb, with-
out life or motion : after a time the shell breaks, and
gives liberty to a creature so different from the one
which entered it, that I often think the butterfly was
made to leave the infidel without excuse, even in the
sight of men. When I trace the flight of that beauti-
ful creature through the air, into which it could not
possibly lift up itself without such a wondrous change,
Iam led to say, in a deep feeling of my present state,
' My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken Thou me,
according to Thy word.' And my spirit rises into
those regions of life, and light, and joy, into which I
hope, by the sufferings and merits of my glorious Re-
deemer, to be admitted at the close of my pilgrimage
ANNE BELL ; OR, THE FAULTS 43
Oh, mamma exclamed Anne, in tears, "how
sorry I am that I killed the butterfly !"
"To kill or to hurt anything without sufficient
cause, my dear, is very sinful-very far removed from
like-mindedness to Christ Jesus. You have sadly ex-
perienced to-day that in your heart are the seeds of
disobedience, passion, pride, cruelty, deceit, and in-
difference to the glory of your Creator, in His works.
The flight of a butterfly across your path has called
all these evil dispositions into action in a moment.
Oh, my child, what must these hearts be in the
sight of Him who is perfect righteousness and pu-
rity What need we have, daily, hourly, to implore
the aid of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and to sanctify
us, who cannot make our own hearts clean : and how
should our souls bless the Lord, and all that is with-
in us bless the holy name of Him through whom
alone we can escape eternal death; who hath redeem-
ed us to God by His blood, and made the believer an
heir of everlasting life "
Glory to Him who made the world;
Whose hand its flowery garment wove;
And o'er its rolling orb unfurl'd
The banner of eternal love ;
And brought from dust the various race
Of living forms that crowd its space.
Glory to Him, whose care upholds
The works His wondrous skill hath wrought;
Whose arm each helpless form enfolds,
Whose wisdom hath a lesson taught,
44 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
Even in the worm that crawls along,
"The meanest of the reptile throng.
Glory to Him, whose power shall raise
The forms of men that sleep in earth,
And give, to His eternal praise,
The splendours of a heavenly birth;
Bidding us burst the tomb and soar
Where sin and death are known no mnc:
11 i i
J I li
e I oti.
COME hither, Maria, and drive that foolish little insect
from the candle. He has long been P -'. ri t. round
it, and now ventures so near, that ti, .jes will
catch him, See how he glides away on his pretty
gossamer wings, more afraid of the friendly hand that
guards, than of the destructive fire that threatens his
Now he skims along the ceiling, and might there
be safe ; but I much fear that the light of the candle
will still tempt him. I wish we could drive him out
46 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
into the garden, where the stars are glittering beyond
his reach, and the sweet cool breeze could not harm
him. You do well to open the window, and we will
try to chase him out. Go, pretty creature, you do not
know the dangers that await you here-go to flutter
in your own pure element, and leave the brightness
that tempts you to your ruin.
'Tis all in vain, Maria! he will not depart. See
how resolved he is to approach the candle, now soar-
ing above our reach, now skimming quickly past us,
now resting high on the wall, now buried in the folds
of the curtain; but always coming near the candle in
his flight. Well, we will hunt him no longer, but
leave the window a little way open, and you may keep
guard over the light.
Already the poor insect has returned to his danger-
ous station, and approaches nearer at every turn.
Well done, you saved him then ; but he is little thank-
ful for your good offices. Never mind, Maria, when
we have a kind action to perform, though its object
be but a moth, let us not be discouraged. Gratitude
is seldom found, even among men; and when disposed
to complain on that point, let us consider how in-
sensible, how unthankful are our own hearts, undei
the mercies which the Lord showers upon us daily;
and viewing our characters as in a glass, seek by
Divine grace to correct in ourselves what we feel to
be so unamiable in others-what in us is so guilty.
Why did you cry out ? you have scorched your
finger in brushing the moth from the very edge of
THE MOTH. 47
the flame, and he has flown off, sadly burnt, though
not disabled. I hope the lesson will be sufficient to
make him keep his distance now. He suffers pain,
but knows not what a valuable lesson it may give him.
Thus it often is with us : we meet with events that
we call unfortunate, and do not patiently examine the
meaning of such messages. Nothing falls out by
chance, and if in all our ways we acknowledged God,
we should find Him directing our path continually :
but instead of seeking instruction from what is ordered
by His providential care, we judge of every thing by
our own perverse will, and call events favourable or
otherwise as they please us, or not-too often prefer-
ring what is forbidden and ruinous.
The moth has returned He is buzzing about the
candle, more determined than ever to reach the flame.
You have struck him rather hard, but it is in vain.
You see that he only mounted out of your way, and
descends again. You cannot save him-he has plung-
ed into the blaze. See in what agony he now spins
upon the table, his limbs burnt and shrivelled up.
Put an end to his suffering, Maria: kill him at once
-it is the only mercy we can now shew to the
wretched little victim of obstinate error. It is well
you have crushed him, and his span of existence is
past; but he died in the act of teaching us wisdom,
though void of it himself ; and we must not lose the
benefit of the parting instructions which he affords.
I see you look surprised and do not understand
me. The moth certainly did not speak to us, nor was
48 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
he at all conscious of being sent for our advantage:
but the scene we have witnessed is full of profitable
warning. So much so, that I have often thought, the
propensity of these little creatures to perish thus, is
brought before our eyes that we may lay it to heart
and reflect on the end of a self-willed course, and
pray to be delivered from every temptation.
We must consider the moth as the type of a human
Deing, and the candle as representing sin, which leads
to death everlasting. The great enemy of mankind
who first tempted Eve to transgress, constantlywatches
to involve us in guilt, the consequences of which, he
well knows, are as fatal to our souls, as the flame was
to the body of that poor insect. He clothes in such
colours as may most attract us, and persuades us that
we may safely play on the brink of destruction, while
trusting on our own prudence and virtue that we
shall not go beyond the bounds. The history of the
world shews us how skilful the tempter is in adapt-
ing his baits to the various dispositions of those with
whom he has to deal. Judas was covetous; he was
entrusted with the bag that contained the slender
store of our blessed Lord and His Apostles. From
this bag, it would seem Judas occasionally stole
(see John xii. 6); and Satan made use of his covetous-
ness to engage him in the blackest crime that ever
man committed-he sold for money his Divine Mas-
ter, whose companion he was, whose teaching he
daily heard, and who, in all the beauty of His glorious
character, meek and lowly of heart, holy, harmless,
THE MOTH. 49
undefiled, speaking as never man spake, going about
doing good and pouring down continual benefits on
the evil and unthankful, became an object of bargain
and sale with this wretched man, and was by him
delivered up to a cruel death. What an awful in-
stance have we here of Satan's power and cunning !
We are expressly told that the devil entered into
Judas Iscariot for this purpose: he had caused the
prospect of a little gain to shine before his imagina-
tion, as the candle did in the sight of that moth, and
the miserable sinner suffered his thoughts to dwell
upon it, until the temptation became too great to be
resisted, and he was fully possessed of the evil spirit.
We know the dreadful end of this traitor. When he
saw that Jesus was condemned, he was struck with
horror at the enormity of his crime, and would even
have returned the wages of iniquity, but it was too
late: the blood-guiltiness that he had brought on
himself clave.to him ; he was driven to despair, and
hanged himself; and the Scripture, in telling us he
went to his own place, clearly shews that his portion
for ever is in outer darkness, where is weeping and
wailing and gnashing of teeth. Now, my dear child,
though we cannot commit the same dreadful deed
that Judas did in selling our Lord in person, yet re-
member that we can betray His cause, dishonour
His name, and destroy our own souls, by yielding to
the temptations of the same enemy. Some people
are soon made angry by trifles, and for such he con-
trives many little vexations, until the indulgence of
50 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
their passionate temper, resisting and grieving the
Holy Spirit, has destroyed all comfort, and left them
a prey to sin and ruin. kome are inclined to be en-
vious; to these, opportunities are given, by shewing
them people who excel them in beauty, riches, learn-
ing, or whatever else the world terms fortunate ; and
envy and emulation are ranked with wrath and strife,
and other things that shut sinners out of heaven.
For the vain and idle, there are amusements worse
than unprofitable, and revellings where the very name
of God is forgotten, or only used in blasphemy.
Every moth may find a flame round which to flutter
till he falls a victim to the blaze. The friendly hand
that would withhold us, and the kind voice that
warns us of our danger, often excite more resentment
than gratitude : experience itself, when we have been
partly drawn into the snare, and suffered for it in
our souls, is soon forgotten, and does not prevent our
returning with fresh eagerness to the pursuit. It is
the nature of sin to intoxicate, and he who begins
by playing with temptation, will soon be overthrown
I have been told of a lady who brought up a young
bear; it was a harmless cub when she first took it :
she was assured by her friends that in time it would
become dangerous, but she would not give up her
plaything. After some time, when the bear had
grown large and strong, she was amusing herself with
it as usual, and the animal suddenly seized her be-
tween his paws, and crushed her so, that she died in
THE MOTH. 5i
a few hours. This is much like the moth and candle
-like the sinner and his sin. The lady should have
given up her savage favourite, when told he would
become a very bear; the moth should have flown out
at the window when we opened it for him; and we
ought to fly from the presence of everything that
Scripture, reason, or experience tells us may end in
endangering our souls. After the moth had burned
himself, he certainly did not intend to suffer the same
pain again; yet he returned to the candle. So it is
with you, too often. You do wrong, and feel not only
the bodily punishment, but the shame and deadness
of spirit, and distress of mind that follow, when the
heart is not hardened in guilt; yet how heedless
you are, often running into the way of the same temp-
tation again, and laying yourself open to worse con-
sequences than before. It is a sad proof how evil we
are by nature, that we always incline to what is likely
to harm us, and shun what we know to be good.
Are you not often more disposed for idle conversation
and play, than to address the Lord in prayer ? Is
not a book of mere amusement taken up with livelier
interest than the Bible ? While making a merit of
paying your little contribution to the charitable so-
cieties, do you not feel it a greater indulgence to ex-
pend money in pampering your appetite and pleasing
your eye ? just as the moth preferred the bright
glare and close heat of that dangerous candle to the
pure, fresh breeze that invited him to leave it. In
all this we see the necessity of "praying always with
52 SHORT STORIES FOR CHItDREN.
all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watch-
ing thereunto with all perseverance." We not only
need a new heart to hate the evil and love the good,
but continual supplies also of Divine grace, to prevent
our following the will of a corrupt nature, which is
ever joining with the enemy of our souls, to draw us
aside from the right way. We want faith : the
world is ever proving itself an active enemy, and
"this is the victory that overcometh the world, even
our faith." If we deeply consider that the Son of
God exposed Himself to be in all points tempted like
as we are, that He might be a merciful and faithful
High Priest," and that as He himself hath suffered,
being tempted, He is able to succour them that are
tempted," we should be more encouraged to come
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. A
false reliance on our own strength, leads us nearer
and nearer to destruction, as the poor moth, wheeling
round the candle, approached it more closely at every
turn : whereas, if all our dependence was on the
Lord, in whom alone we have righteousness and
strength, our house would be built on a rock that
could not be removed, and Satan might cause all his
storms to beat on it in vain. We pray against being
led into temptation. Let us shun that from which
we seek to be delivered, and take comfort from this
assurance, "God is faithful, who will not suffer you
to be tempted above that ye are able; but will, with
the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye
may be able to bear it."
THE MOTH. 53
While sporting on the verge of sin,
We slight the secret voice within,
And brave the tempter's power;
Rejoicing in the circle bright,
Where pleasure sheds her glowing light
That shines but to devour.
Great Guardian of Thy helpless band,
Extend, 0 Lord, Thy pitying hand
To snatch us from the snare;
Reveal to our deluded eyes
Where, shrouded in its beauty, lies
The spectre of despair.
Man sees a path with flowers besp.ead,
And inly longs to bend his tread
O'er that delicious road ;
Incredulous, a track so sweet,
Can e'er conduct his willing feet
To Death's profound abode.
O Thou who bidst the day-star shine,
Illume us with its light divine,
Let each deception cease;
Though thorny be the way, and sotei,
Teach us the narrow path to keep,
That ends in lasting peace.
ANNE, and her sister Ellen, had been busily employed
all the morning at their lessons. Ellen finished her
piece of sewing just as her sister began the last line
in her copy; and by the time that her little work-box
was neatly put up in its place, Anne had wiped her
pen, exclaiming, "There now business is done, and
as it rains so fast, we are sure of a nice story from
To mamma they went; and having satisfied her
that their tasks were indeed properly done, claimed
the reward. "What story shall it be ?" said mamma.
"Oh, a pretty history out of the Bible, if you please,
mamma," replied Ellen. "Yes," said Anne, "there are
many beautiful histories in the Bible. I do love it
'THE BIBLE THE BEST BOOK. 5X
best of all books, for the sweet histories that are in it.
I am never tired of hearing about Moses and Joshua,
how they led the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan;
or of David, how he killed Goliath, and fled from
Saul, and how he became king. An i then about
naughty Absalom, and wise Solomon, a.ud Samuel, the
little priest. Oh,.there is no book likei the Bible !"
"So I say too," ahd.-l. Ell. i ; iagar and Ishmael-
what a ].rtt-v "t hatb i,t when the angel of the
Lord shew..d t h:- T'iit.t-il of water, to save the child
from dyijg: ail. thein ..1....ut. Miriam hiding herself,
to watch what would become of her little baby-brother,
in his ark of bulrushes; and the history of gentle
Ruth, and Queen Esther, who saved the poor Jews
from death. But mamma has got the Bible open, so
let us listen now, Anne, and talk afterwards."
The children seated themselves upon two little stools,
near their mother, and with smiling looks waited for
her to begin. But she had something to say to them
My dear children seem quite agreed that the Bible
is the best book." Oh yes, mamma, and it is; is
it not V" they both cried out.
Surely, my dears. All that man's wisdom and
taste can produce, is far more inferior to the words of
this blessed book than yonder scrap of red paper is to
the rich fragrant roses blowing in the garden." The
children looked delighted; mamma went on.
Still, I am afraid that you may injure yourselves
and indeed commit sin, by thinking too much of the
amusement that you find in the Bible."
56 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
"Too much, mamma ?" "Yes; thinking so much
of the amusement as to make you forget or disregard
the instruction that it is intended to convey to our
souls. There is in the Bible no idle word. It is a
message from the Most High God to His sinful, ignor-
ant creatures, given to teach them what is His holy
will; and the beautiful histories which you delight in,
form a part of this lesson. In the histories that you
have named, and all others, we are shewn examples,
whether of piety or wickedness, 'profitable,' as St
Paul tells us, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
instruction in righteousness;' and the object is, 'that
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.' When we overlook this, we not
only do wrong, but acquire a habit of trifling with
holy things, and pierce ourselves through with many
sorrows, by neglecting to use the means which God
has given, in the manner that He has commanded."
"I believe, mamma," said Anne, "I often do this.
I am forgetting every thing but the pleasure of the
I do not," said Ellen; "I see the hand of God all
along, and think of His wonderful providence."
"I am glad you do so," replied her mamma, "but
you must observe many other things besides the pro-
vidential government of God. All the parables in the
New Testament, as you well know, are given to teach
us our duty as Christians, and many of them are ex-
plained by our blessed Lord himself."
"Yes, mamma," said Anne; "but we are speaking
of the Old Testament histories now."
THE BIBLE THE BEST BOOK. 57
"In those histories, my dear, we have a constant
lesson ; snd there is not one of them that does not
point to the Saviour who was to come, or to duties,
privileges, and promises of the gospel. When we
read them, we must bear in mind the sin of Adam,
and the curse which fell upon the human race, and
upon the earth itself, in consequence of that sin.
We must remember that man can find no favour in
God's sight, nor hope to escape everlasting death, ex-
cepting through the promised Saviour, Jesus who
delivered us from the wrath to come.' We must also
remember, that the sinners redeemed by Him, become
'a peculiar people, zealous of good works ;' and that
although 'we must through much tribulation enter
into the kingdom of God,' yet to those who believe,
exceeding great and precious promises are given of
such strength and support as they need. They find
God a refuge, 'a very present help in trouble ; when
their heart and their flesh fail, they find Him the
strength of their heart and their portion for ever.'
"How beautifully does this appear in the whole
history of David! You delight to hear how the lovely
shepherd youth met the boasting Philistine giant,
and slew him with a pebble, so delivering not only
himself, but the vast armies of Israel. In this, my
dear children, David is a type of the Lord Jesus
Christ, meeting and vanquishing Satan, our terrible
foe; and purchasing deliverance for us. David is
also here a type of each humble Christian, who, hav-
ing made the Lord of Hosts his only hope and
strength, meets and conquers those who would de-
58 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
stroy his soul, as it is written, Resist the devil and
he will flee from you.' Do you always recollect
these things, when listening to the best of all books,
the Bible 1"
"Indeed, mamma," said Ellen, "I do not. It is
true that I often say to myself, 'How wonderfully
God delivers His people out of their dangers !' but
I do not think so much about our Saviour, as it seems
I ought to do."
Alas, my child how can such as we dare at all
to think upon the Holy Lord God, or take His name
into our mouths, unless at the same time we regard
Him as our reconciled Father, through Jesus Christ ?
So awfully pure and holy is the Most High, that He
is a consuming fire to all out of Christ. Every bless
ing, every comfort, every hope that we enjoy-health
and strength, the use of our limbs and our senses,
safety by day, repose at night, food and raiment-all,
all are the purchase of our Redeemer's blood. He
says, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and on
earth.' How mercifully that power is used, let our
lips confess while our souls bless the Lord."
"If we always thought of this, sister," said Anne,
"every thing that we read in the Bible would make
us love Jesus Christ more and more." "It ought to
do so," replied her mamma, "but our ungrateful
hearts are so ready to forget His benefits, and so
little inclined for His service, that I fear you do not
always pray for the help of the Holy Spirit, although
He is given to take of the things of Christ, and shew
them unto us-to bring all things to our remem-
THE BIBLE THE BEST BOOK. 59
brance-and to lead us into all truth. Our Lord
says, 'Search the Scriptures,' 'they are they which
testify of Me.' It is He 'of whom Moses in the law,
and the prophets did write.' To Him gave all the
Our blessed Lord is sometimes spoken of in the
Old Testament under the name of an Angel. Jacob
thus prays, God, before whom my fathers Abraham
and Isaac did walk, the God which led me all my
life long unto this day; the Angel which redeemed
me from all evil, bless the lads.' You take great
pleasure in hearing the delightful history of Israel's
deliverance out of Egypt, and how the Lord led them
through the wilderness to the land of Canaan. Do
you remember that an Angel went before them ? "
Yes, mamma, and they were told not to provoke
True, my dears : Jehovah said, 'My name is in
Him;' and this Angel had power to forgive 'sins, or
not to forgive them. 'Who can forgive sins but
God alone "
"The Jews said that, mamma."
"Yes, Ellen; and the Jews were right. They
heard Jesus Christ declare to the sick man that his
sins were forgiven; and they saw a miracle performed,
to prove that He had 'power upon earth to forgive
sins.' This should have convinced them that He was
indeed God manifest in the flesh,' but their hard
and unbelieving hearts would not allow it. Seeing
they did not perceive, and hearing they could not
understand.' Shall we be like those unhappy Jews,
60 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
shutting our eyes and our ears against the blessed
truths that testify of Jesus "
Oh no, mamma, I hope not," said Anne, very
earnestly, and Ellen said the same.
Then, my children, we must diligently seek in
the Bible for what will so strengthen our faith, and
assure our hearts; always praying that we be not for-
getful hearers, but doers of the word. Satan, who op-
posed the work of our redemption, and even dared to
meet and to tempt the Son of God, is always watch-
ing to draw off our thoughts from Him, whom to
know is eternal life. We may take up the Bible to
be interested by its histories, and delighted by the
beautiful language in which they are written, yet
seek no real profit from it. We may believe all that
is told us of the creation, and even the whole of our
Saviour's life, death, and resurrection, without being
the better or the happier. It is when we look into
the Bible as if it was a letter written to us, and every
word of it meant for our instruction, that it becomes
a light to our feet, shewing us the path to heaven
We must feel ourselves to be poor ruined creatures,
and come seeking our only Saviour, Jesus Christ, in
every part of the book. Theywho seek Him early shall
The children were very thankful to their mamma
for telling them all this; and they listened very at-
tentively, while she read to them the history of Abra-
ham going to sacrifice his son Isaac, in the 22d chap-
ter of Genesis. She also explained how beautifully
the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was foreshewn in it.
THE BIBLE THE BEST BOOK. 61
But Isaac was not slain at last," said Ellen, and
our Lord was."
"Isaac was spared," said her mamma, "through
the offering of another in his stead. As the death of
the ram saved the life of Isaac's body, so did the pre-
cious blood of Christ deliver Isaac's soul from the
bitter pains of eternal-death. God spared not His
own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,' and the
blessed Jesus was contented to be delivered up, and to
die upon the cross, for the sinful children of men.
Let us never cease to give honour unto Him who is
adored by the angels of heaven, joining with the
spirits of just men made perfect ; and glorifying Him,
and saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.'"
When with humble joy I look
In Thy sweet and holy book,
Blessed Jesus, make me see
How it testifies of Thee !
Thou, the woman's promised Seed,
Cam'st to suffer and to bleed
But, in rising from the dead,
Thou hast bruised the serpent's head.
All along the sacred lines,
Lord, thy gentle glory shines:
Abraham Thy day could see-
May his faith be found in me !
Let me walk in holy fear,
Knowing Thou art ever near;
Never by my heart forgot,
Though mine eyes behold Thee not.
By Thy Spirit and Thy Word
Still vouchsafe to guide me, Lord;
Teach me now to love Thy ways,
And in heaven I'll sing Thy praise.
*Iie 3MoW in tflc MtouV.
JOHN and Henry were returning together from their
school, when a very heavy shower of rain came on,
and they were glad to take shelter under some trees
that grew a little way from the road side. Carefully
preserving their books from being wetted, the little
fellows stood close together, watching the large drop.
as they fell around, and listening to the noise which
they made on the surface of a pretty stream, not far
from their retreat.
I wish it would stop raining," said Henry, I am
quite tired of standing here." "It will soon be
over," replied John, "and then the grass will look
so fresh, and the flowers smell so sweet after the
shower, that the rest of our walk will be delightful.
God sends rain to maV e the earth fruitful; and I like
to see it fall."
Presently the sun shone out beautifully; and the
rain ceased to patter upon the leaves. Our two little
boys left their shelter, and returned towards the road.
"Oh look, brother !" cried John, "what a lovely rain-
bow! It seems so large and bright, and quite near
A man who was passing them on horseback heard
the remark, and said, "Ay, 'tis very near; and if you
run to the place where the end of it rests, you will
find a fine pot of m.oney." __
THE BOW IN THE CLOUD. 63
"Which end, sir," said Henry; but the man was
out of hearing, having spoken a falsehood for the sake
of a silly jest. This is very wicked : it is also very
cruel to deceive the young and ignorant for when
they find themselves imposed on by bad people, they
sometimes are afraid to believe what is told them by
Now Henry was a silly boy, and a little covetous, I
fear : he stood quite still, and stared first at one end
of the rainbow, then at the other, in great perplexity.
"Come," said his brother, "we shall be late home."
"And if we take home a pot of money with us, will
not that be a good excuse for staying out a little? I
wish I knew which end of the rainbow it is at!" I
don't think it is at either end," observed John, "for I
have seen rainbows in so many different places, that
if what the man said was true, we could hardly walk a
mile any way without stumbling over a pot of money."
Henry did not mind what he was saying, but went
on talking to himself. "That end is certainly nearer
to me, but then it is on the other side of the water,
and the man must have known I could not get at it.
The other is a good way off, at the top of the hill;
but a pot of money is worth trying for, and I'll have
a run. Here, John, hold my book; and if you keep
it safe, may be I'll give you a handful of my silver and
gold," and away ran the simpleton, over hedge and
ditch. John followed him a little way, calling him
back; but poor Henry thought he wanted to get be-
fore him, and lay hold on the prize; so he ran faster
than before and John gave over the chase.
64 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
The minister, who lived very near the place, had
walked out to enjoy the freshness of the air, after the
rain; from a little distance he had seen Henry start
off in such a hurry; and knowing how foolish chil-
dren sometimes are about such things, he partly guessed
what he was about. He pursued his walk; and came
out on the road just where John was quietly going to-
wards his home.
The little boy made him a bow, which the minister
kindly noticed, and then asked him where his brother
He is gone to fetch a pot of money, sir."
"A pot of money!"
Yes, sir; or at least to look for one," and John told
him what had passed. The minister could hardly help
smiling, when he turned and saw poor Henry at a
good distance, sitting on the top of a gate and looking
about in all directions for the rainbow, which had
disappeared while he made his way under some bushes.
He did not remain there long, however, but jumped
down on the other side, and continued to run up the
"Pray, sir, is it true said John, who knew that
the kind minister would not be displeased at his ask-
ing a question.
"No," replied the minister, "your brother will meet
the disappointment that is usually found by those who
seek for what God has never promised. The rainbow
ought in a particular manner to raise our thoughts
above this earth and its treasures."
"It is very beautiful, sir," said John,
THE BOW IN THE CLOUD. 65
"It is indeed ; and we must not forget the pur-
pose which God has commanded it to answer. I
hope you remember it."
"Yes, sir: I have learned that chapter. God
made a covenant with Noah, and set His bow in the
cloud, And God said unto Noah, this is the token
of the covenant which I have established between me
and all flesh that is upon the earth."
Right : the dreadful wickedness of the world had
provoked the Most High to destroy with a great flood
every living creature, excepting Noah and those shut
up in the ark with him. It was a terrible judgment,
and the remembrance of it would be so alarming to us,
sinful creatures, that in seeing how much evil there is
around us, and feeling the wickedness of our own
hearts, we should be in constant fear of such another
flood, if God had not mercifully assured us that it
should not be."
"Pray, sir, what is the rainbow made of "
"It is produced by the sun's rays falling on the
watery cloud: you may sometimes see such colours
when they shine through a glass of water. It is pro-
bable that the rainbow appeared as it does now from
the creation: but it was not till the days of Noah
that God chose it for the token of a covenant between
"Iim and His creatures. It is most mercifully chosen ;
for its extreme beauty, and its situation in the sky,
are fitted to lead the mind up to Him who sits above,
ruling over all. And as the falling of heavy rains
may well remind us how terribly the Lord once
shewed that He can drown this sinful world, it is
66 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
very gracious at that particular time to bid us remem-
ber His promise, that He will not. Those who live
in disobedience to God's holy laws, will hereafter be
tormented in fire, though they are secure from the
great drowning of a terrible flood of waters now."
John looked down, and at last said, I am afraid,
sir, sometimes, that God will punish me in that fire :
for though I am but young, I can say of myself what
the Bible says of the people after the flood: 'The
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.'"
The minister looked very kindly on him, and re-
plied, I am glad that you so well know the sad truth
of your own sinfulness, as I trust it will lead you con-
stantly to pray that the Lord will change that evil
heart, where there is no good thing, into the humble
heart of an obedient child. There would be no hope
for us, after this life, if God had not given us a better
covenant than that with Noah, even the covenant of
everlasting salvation in Jesus Christ. When we look
upon the rainbow stretched over our earth, let us
think of that which is round about the throne of God
in the highest heavens. St John, in the Revelation,
says that he saw one: and blessed indeed is he who
shall appear before that throne to worship and serve
God continually with the holy angels! Those who
do so, are they who have washed their robes, and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb; even
Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of
the world, whose precious blood cleanses us from sin,
and by the gift of whose grace we are enabled to serve
THE BOW IN THE CLOUD. 67
By this time Henry, who had turned back soon
after crossing the gate, was come within a short dis-
tance of them; and the minister kindly waited until
he could overtake them. He looked foolish enough:
his clothes were torn, his face very red, and he was
quite out of breath. Well, my lad," said the minis-
ter, where is your money 2"
"The rainbow was gone, sir, and I could not find
where it stood."
And if you had, do you really believe you should
have found a treasure ?"
"Why, I don't know, sir; but there would be no
harm in looking."
"Believe me, my child, there is more danger than
you suppose in the indulgence of these covetous in-
clinations. The love of money is the root of all
evil;' the Apostle tells us so : and even this foolish
chase of yours has done you some harm, has it not 1"
Henry looked more sheepish, and said nothing.
Your parents, I know, are not rich ; and even the
injury done to your clothes is of some consequence to
them; but your mind is injured too; for you felt
angry and disappointed when you found your labour
was vain; and if the rainbow had continued all
.day in your view, you would gladly have given up
your time, neglected your studies and yourwork, and
risked your health and your limbs, in following after
the object of your wishes."
"But, sir, a pot of money would have made amends
"No, it would have been a snare to you, making
68 SHORT STORIES FOR ChILDREN.
you proud, idle, unhappy, and forgetful of God,
The more you enjoyed of this world's goods, the more
you would set you heart on them, and the less you
would seek after heavenly blessings. Where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.' Riches
certainly make themselves wings : they fly away
and with your riches would fly your comfort. You
would have no relish for better things, after cleaving
long and closely to the dust of the earth. If riches
were good for us, would the blessed Jesus have chosen
life of povertyand humility? Would He have said,
' It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom
of God "
"Are there no good rich men, sir ?"
"Yes; there are many in whom the love of God
has overcome the love of this present evil world: and
who make use of His gifts to promote His glory. But
these men do not run after wealth : they would will-
ingly give up all they possess, if such were the good
pleasure of the Lord. They pray to be kept from
covetousness; and well know that their silver and
gold will witness against them, if they use it for the
gratification of their own worldly desires. We are all
exposed to the temptations of Satan, and to the work-
ings of a nature never free from sin while we remain
in the flesh. How foolish, then, to heap together those
things which are most likely to give the enemy oppor-
tunities of hurting our souls Tell me, Henry, what
did Judas do for thirty pieces of silver ?"
"He betrayed his Master. sir."
THE BOW IN THE CLOUD. 69
"Yes; he committed a sin which it is dreadful to
think of, for a handful of money, because he loved
money: and from the same cause wicked Balaam
would have cursed the people of God, and delivered
them up to a cruel heathen king. Covetousness is
idolatry. The rainbow, I hope, has been the means
of giving you a lesson. I pray God that His works
may always lead you to His Word, and both be bless-
ed to your souls."
Beautiful Bow in mercy given,
A token of love to earth from heaven,
When thou art beaming bright and fair,
May I ever behold the promise there i
Beautiful Bow when the rain drops fall,
And the cloud is dark like a funeral pall;
When the sun has hidden his shining ray,
And the birds seek shelter beneath the spray.
Beautiful Bow I will look on high,
For thou wilt appear to paint the sky,
And bid earth's mourning children see
The sign of a covenant God in thee.
Beautiful Bow I a brighter one
Is shining round the eternal throne;
And when life's little storm is o'er,
May I gaze on that bow for evermuec I
SIT down, Louisa, under this pleasant shade; and
listen to the story which I am about to tell you.
The honeysuckle, while it defends us from the sun's
rays, is so beautiful to the sight, and so fragrant to
the smell, that we scarcely know whether to ad-
mire it more for its loveliness or prize it for its use.
THE ROSE-BUD. 71
It is thus with most of God's works, if we would
but lay to heart the sweet lessons that they can teach
us. But the history which you are now to hear is
not of a honeysuckle. A rose-bud is the theme.
I don't know how many years it is since I planted
the slip from a very fine tree, growing in a friend's
garden. It was a rich deep red, or rather crimson,
damask rose. The petals were soft as velvet, with
a most delicate gloss : in short, the flower was so ex
ceedingly beautiful, that I could not rest until I had,
as I thought, secured such a tree to myself. I took
off the slip in autumn, and placed it under shelter dur-
ing the winter. Early in spring, I found that it had
become strongly rooted, and then I transplanted it to
the most favourite spot in my garden, taking up
several valuable shrubs to make room for my rose, my
precious rose-bush !
Many and frequent were my visits to the spot;
and the little plant flourished to my satisfaction.
Leaf after leaf came peeping forth and unfolding its
soft green upon the slender shoots. At last to my
very great joy I was able to distinguish amongst
them a little hard knot, which I knew would produce
a bud-there was but one: and if there had been no
other rose-bud in the kingdom, I could scarcely have
treasured it more proudly, or set a higher value on it.
I know what makes my little girl smile : my lec-
ture yesterday, on the folly and danger of giving our
hearts to earthly objects, seems to have been rather
different from my practice in this instance. But I
told you it was many years ago ; and experience has
72 SHORT STORIES FOR CR1UDREN.
since taught me, what I shall be very glad to see you
learning in earlier life, my Louisa.
Well-the bud grew: and what with fine weather
and my tender care of it, there seemed to be every
prospect of its becoming as grand a rose as any in my
friend's garden. My impatience to see it unfold its
beauteous leaves was very great; and I well remem-
ber the joy with which I first discovered a little blush
of red in the centre of its soft green covering. If I
had watched as anxiously for the building of Divine
grace in my own soul, what happiness I might have
enjoyed I but my heart was then set upon earthly
things : and Igrasped at the gifts of God in creation
and providence, without ever asking myself what
fruit He expected in me. Had my rose-bush put forth
neither leaves nor blossoms, I should have flung it
away, and made choice of another: but though I
was myself as a dead plant in the garden of the visi-
ble church, I never reflected how justly the same
sentence might have passed upon me.
It was now the beginning of June; on every side
the sweetest flowers were opening, and their charm-
ing colours invited my eye. Delicate pinks and bright
carnations ; rich double wallflowers, and purple
stocks; tall, fair lilies, and superb convolvulus, with
the star-like jasmine, and honeysuckle as bright as
that over our heads, all put forth their sweets in vain.
The humble mignonette threw its delightful breath
around my path, and the cheerful-looking little heart's-
ease spread out a bordering carpet of blue and gold.
Nay, even a moss blush-rose was in full beauty.
THE ROSE-BUD. 73
close beside; but all were disregarded; while I
waited with fretful anxiety to see my expected damask
flower expand, and reign king over the garden.
Alas, poor foolish, thankless mortals How heed-
lessly we pass by a thousand blessings which our
God scatters about us, on the right hand and on the
left, while our eyes and our hearts, our longings and
our hopes are fixed on some one perishing toy, which
His wisdom sees good to withhold from us.
Still, all eager for the welfare of my damask rose,
I took up and threw away whatever root grew too
near it. Some, which I had planted the year before,
and which would not flower till this their second
summer, I now regarded as quite worthless, compared
with the important rose: and I tore up their tender
fibres, either tossing them quite out of the garden, or
carelessly putting them in some distant bed. Some
magnificent tiger lilies, in particular, were thus de-
stroyed, lest their lofty heads should come between the
sunbeams and myrose-my precious damask rose-bud!
You smile, Louisa; and at this moment so do I,
at the recollection of my childish folly: but if we
considered it rightly, we should find in it rather a
matter for lamentation. The time so lost upon one
trivial object, never can be recalled : the diligence
bestowed upon it was robbery of Him whose we are,
and whom we ought to serve. I do not mean that
we may not, even with profit to ourselves, enjoy the
sweets of His creative bounty, in the lovely works
that surround us here, in a garden; but in all cases
we must use the world as not abusing it; and inor-
74 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
dinate affection is always a sort of idolatry, highly
displeasing in the sight of God. Besides, in thus ex-
travagantly prizing one possession, we are guilty of
despising others : and the destruction of my tiger
ijlies was but a type of that unjust love of novelty
which discards old friends for new, and neglects a
present privilege while looking forward to one still
distant and uncertain.
But listen to the end of my story. The bud swell-
ed to its full size; and for several evenings I expected
that the following morning would shew it expanded
into a bright round flower. It still remained the
same, excepting that a sickly yellowish cast stole over
the green leaves that enfolded it; and it became con-
tracted a little on one side. The rich crimson of its
head grew pale: it was soft to the touch, and all my
unwillingness to believe it could not hide the truth
that my hopes would be blighted. At last it hung
down so shrivelled and dried up, that I could no
longer doubt its fate. I plucked it from the stem,
and broke it open. The canker was within; and
my damask rose-bud was scattered to the winds.
This lesson, Louisa, was not much heeded at the
time. I thought but of the loss, not of the gain that
it might be to me: but I have since very often
thought of my damask rose-bud, and found much to
The canker is a disease which takes hold of the
flower at a very early period, but does not shew itself
until it has eaten away the principle of life in the bud.
How often does secret discontent, a bad temper, or an
THE ROSE-BUD. 75
evil inclination, prey upon the beauty of the Christian
character, destroy its promise in this life, and perhaps
devour its hope for the life to come I watch you
closely, my dear child, with feelings of far deeper in-
terest than those with which I watched my rose-bud;
for I desire to present you to the Lord, without spot
or blemish, and there are many dangers both without
and within to keep my anxiety awake. Satan as a
raging lion would break in and trample you down, if
not fenced round by Him who is able to keep all that
we commit unto Him. When I see you surrounded
by prosperity, smiling in thoughtless joy, and with no
trouble to cloud your mind, I sometimes tremble lest
suchsummerrays should scorch mybud. Forinseasons
of great ease, the heart is often lifted up, and forgets
its God. When sickness, or the little disappointments
that even childhood must know, make you fretful, I
fear that you should be blown from the safe shelter,
where I would have you always lying still, at the
Saviour's feet. The friendship of the world, and its
pleasures, are like insects that creep over the leaf,
secretly devouring, and defiling where they pass. In-
gratitude is a blight, and pride is a canker that lies
deep-so deep as often not to be seen by the eye of
man-and works at the very life of the soul
There was once a perfect flower on earth ; an unde-
filed one, which, exposed to every enemy that could
possibly rise up against us, conquered them all by
suffering their rage, and then went to bloom for ever
in a glorious place. "The Rose of Sharon," was the
name of this bright flower "awlant of renown." He
76 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
"grew up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry
ground. (Isaiah liii. 2.) For His mortal birth was
obscure, and His dwelling was in the habitations of
poverty. The world smiled not upon Him-it said,
" He hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall
see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire
Him," for in the beauty of holiness, the world sees
nothing desirable; and though praise is comely for
the upright, a crooked and perverse generation call it
weariness. This Rose of Sharon drooped under many
a storm, and was wounded and torn by those whom
He came to enlighten and to bless. The thorns were
about His head, and their points were turned in to
pierce Him, that we might escape torment. Such
little helpless buds as my Louisa, cannot study too of-
ten the history of the Rose, the Lord Jesus Christ,
whom they must be like upon earth, if they would
blossom in the heavenly garden, where all His glories
and beauties are now expanded. We cannot love Him
too much : we cannot rise too early to seek after Him,
nor visit Him too often in prayer and praise. We can-
not be too anxious to root up every thing that would
prevent His spreading in our hearts : nor ought we
to rest till Hie reigns there in every affection, pleasure,
and hope. Many beautiful things surround us, for
which we are bound to return continual thanks to
God; but He is "the chiefest among ten thousand,"
and "altogether lovely." More welcome than the
snow-drop, He appears in the wintry season of sorrow,
to tell us that there is yet life in the world, and
brighter days will come. More sweet than the violet
THE ROSE-bUD. 77
He invites us to search for Him in retirement, and over
pays us a thousandfold by His beauty and fragrance.
More pure than the lily of the valley, He is found
among lowly shrubs ; and if the rich and great.receive
Him, He shews the loveliness of humility, and puts pride
to shame. More fruitful than the vine, He over-
spreads the land that owns Him with rich clusters;
and says to His branches, Herein is my Father glori-
fied, that ye bear much fruit." Nay, He is more pre-
cious than the tree of life in paradise, for to Him no flam-
ing sword forbids the approach : but in the voice of
tenderest invitation, He bids us draw nigh, and pro-
claims, "He that eateth Me, even he shall live by
Childhood, like a budding rose,
In the world's wide garden grows :
But how often hateful sin,
Like a canker dwells within;
All unseen by mortal eyes,
While the Rose-bud droops and dics
Men behold the outward deed,
God the inward thought can read :
From our God we cannot hide
Envy, anger, secret pride;
Clear as in the noon-day sun,
God can read them every one.
To the Saviour let us pray-
Lord, these cankers take away;
Let Thy Spirit dwell within,
Guarding us from every sin,
Till gathered by Thy tender Land,
All Thy buds in heaven expand.
I KNEW a little girl, and a very little girl she was
then, who used to take great notice of every thing
about her; but because she did not like to ask ques-
tions, she often made strange mistakes, and puzzled
herself to no purpose, when she might have learned a
great many useful things, which from her ignorance
it was not possible she should find out of herself.
This is very silly: when children have kind parents
or friends willing to instruct them, they ought to be
thankful, and to ask for all the information that they
This little girl, Eliza, among other matters, was
THE WILLOW TREE. 79
greatly distressed about a willow tree, which grew be-
fore her papa's house, in the little garden. It was a
pretty weeping willow, but not very large. Eliza had
taken notice, that, when she sat in the parlour below
stairs, and looked across the street, the willow was so
tall as to hide from her sight the house of a neighbour
over the way : but if she went to an upper window,
the tree hardly reached the knocker of the neighbour's
door, and she looked over the top of it with great
ease; and the silly child thought that the willow
stretched itself up, or drew itself down, as if to teaze
her; and she was teazed, and used to lia awake at
night thinking what could be the reason of it.
At last, one morning, at breakfast, Eliza's papa see-
ing her constantly looking out of the window, asked
what she saw there to amuse her so much. Eliza
would not tell an untruth ; so she said, "I am thinking,
papa, how odd it is that the willow tree should grow
higher than Mr Davis's house." :
It is not nearly so high, my dear."
"No, papa, not always," said Eliza, "it was little
enough when I looked at it half an hour ago, out at
the study window, above: but now it is so tall that
I can't see Mr Davis's chimney."
Her papa smiled, and explained to her that all the
difference was owing to her looking at the tree from
above or from below. And he stood up, and bade her
observe that his head seemed to her higher than the
opposite window, when he stood near her. Then
Eliza wondered how she could have been so silly; and
was ashamed to have puzzled her little head so long,
80 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDRElN.
when her kind papa would have set her right in a
minute if she had asked him.
When Eliza grew up, she often thought of the wil-
low; and I will tell you some reflections that it
brought to her mind.
There are many things of no great consequence that
we keep close before our eyes, and look up to them
till we fancy them very grand; and they hide from us
other things much better than themselves, as the small
willow tree hid the large house from Eliza. Some
children think so much of their toys that they neglect
their books : others are so fond of looking into silly
story-books, which they call amusing, that they have
hardly any time or wish to study the blessed Bible,
or listen to instruction. Some take great pride in fine
clothes, and will not see how wicked and ugly, in
God's sight, are the hearts which they try to hide be-
hind these gay dresses. Many care for nothing but
play, and are always about some foolish amusement or
another, thinking it of more importance than know-
ledge and piety, because they allow it to keep these
better things out of their minds. Some desire to be
rich, or beautiful, or famous, when they grow up ; and
never spare a look towards death and judgment, which
are behind all those worldly enjoyments.
In these cases, and many more, we may suppose
that we see little Eliza, with her eyes fixed on the wil-
low, thinking howtall and grand it is ; while indeed the
reason is only that she keeps so near to it, and looks
up. But when, by God's mercy, children are able to
look down upon what the world loves, they are like
THE WILLOW TREE. 81
Eliza at the study window, above stairs, able to see
all the better prospects beyond, and not finding the
willow at all in her way.
Solomon was a very wise king; but he became
much wiser by considering these matters. He had
great riches, and learning, and all the good things of
this world ; but he found that they were all "vanity
and vexation of spirit." They stood in his way, and
hindered him from looking to the glories of heaven.
Like Eliza's willow tree, they shut out the best part
of the sky, and he got weary of them. Then he sought
the wisdom which God gives to those who ask it;
and found himself far happier in looking down upon
the world, than ever he had beer in looking up to it.
Eliza lost a great deal of time in thinking about
the willow, and in running up and down stairs, while
her little companions were busily employed at their
task: and afterwards she was sorry to find how far
they had got before her. She was quite right in wish-
ing to understand what she saw; but quite wrong in
not applying to those older and wiser than herself.
So it is in too many cases where we choose to trust to
our own wisdom, and do not like to seek that which
cometh from above. We often hear children say, I
don't think there is any harm in it," or, I dare say
it will not be wrong;" when they wish to do a thing
which they are afraid is hot right. Now, at such
times, instead of guessing about it, they should try to
remember, whether the Bible does not speak of such
actions as sinful-whether they are such as the holy
and pure Son of God would have done, when He was
82 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
upon earth; for we are commanded, "Let this mind be
in you which was also in Christ Jesus ;" and we are
told to follow His example.
When Eliza was about ten years old, her papa went
to live in another place; and after she grew up to be
a woman, she visited again the house where her child-
hood was spent. The willow tree was gone: it bore
no fruit, and therefore was only for show; and the
people, who wanted something useful in their little
garden, had thrown it away. Then Eliza recollected
what our Lord says, in the parable of the barren fig
tree : and how, because He found no fruit on it, He
said, Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground i"
Eliza reflected how many of her dear little friends,
who used to play with her under the willow tree, were
laid in the cold grave already, and she was very sad
when she thought that some of them had been like
the unfruitful tree, for she knew the terrible doom of
such, "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer
darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of
Dear children, can you bear to think that the
righteous Judge may one day say this of you ? If
He does, it must be your own fault; for Jesus Christ
has told us how willing He is to receive little children,
and to bless them. Some people go on in sin for a
long life, and do not hear of the love of Christ in
saving poor sinners till-they are quite old ; and then
they look back on the years that they have so wick-
edly misspent, and are afraid to come in their old
age to Him whom they did not serve in their youth :
THE WILLOW TREE. 83
but they should not be afraid to come to Him, because
He will not cast them out, but will receive them, and
wash away their sins in His precious blood, and give
them a new heart, and enable them to pass their few
remaining days in His faith and fear.
Some young people, when they hear the aged in-
vited to repent, and to believe in Jesus Christ, that
their sins may be blotted out, are so very foolish and
wicked as to say to themselves, "When I am old I
will do so too : there is time enough yet. I will live
in pleasure, and not trouble myself now about religion;
but before I die, I will repent and believe in Jesus
Christ." What! do not children die, and middle-
aged people ilso ? There are graves of all sizes in
the church-yard. I have often seen a little coffin,
that the nurse could carry under her arm, with a
small baby in it that died on the lap; and I have seen
one or two men, bearing a larger child to the grave;
and I have seen six men stooping beneath the weight
of a heavy coffin, containing the body of a strong,
stout man in it, who seemed as flourishing a little
while before as the green willow tree; and like it
was suddenly cut down: And while God is shewing us
thus how frail we are, can we talk of putting off to an-
other year the work of Him of whomthePsalmist says,
" To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your
heart," and who said to the ungodly rich man, Thou
fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee ?"
No; you must obey Him now, because He calls you
now. You are not like those poor creatures who do
not know the danger their souls are in. You have
84 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
Bibles to read, and the Bible tells you that you are
sinners before God, and that He knows the things
that come into your mind, every one of them, and
will judge you for your wicked words and thoughts,
as well as for your wicked ways. It tells you too
that Jesus Christ died on the cross to make satisfac-
tion for sins ; and' that if you will believe in Him,
they shall be remembered no more against you.
And while telling you this, the Bible also tells you
that "now is the accepted time; behold now is the
day of salvation." Jesus Christ must save you from
the power of sin in this life, if you are saved from
the punishment of sin hereafter. He even asks you
to be saved. He says, Behold, I stand at the door
and knock." He stands at the door of your hearts
and desires you to let Him in, that He may cast out
all the evil things which are in it, and come and make
it a place fit for Him to dwell in. And do you think
the Son of God is to stand knocking and calling to
you all the morning of your youth, and the day of
middle life, and till the night of old age comes on,
even if you were sure of living to be old and then
when you find you must die at last, you will let Him
in, not because you love Him, but because you would
rather be happy among the blessed spirits, than be
tormented for ever with the devil and his angels.
Oh, do not expect that God will be so mocked. All
those things which now keep you from Him will per-
ish like the willow tree, and leave no fruit; and you,
too, like the tree, must be cut down and cast into the
fire, unless you listen to His merciful call, Come, ye
THE WILLOW TREE. 85
children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear
of the Lord." If you were a little lamb, would you
not rather be taken care of by a kind shepherd, in a
safe pasture, than run about the streets to be worried
by dogs, and destroyed by cruel people ? Behold,
Jesus is the good Shepherd, who giveth His life for
the sheep, and He is willing to gather you with His
arm, and to carry you in His bosom, and to give unto
you eternal life ; so that you shall never perish,
neither shall any pluck you out of His hand.
Bent downward, like the willow leaf,
We fix our eyes below,
Where crawl the forms of sin and grief,
And weeds of folly grow.
Look up, ye simple ones, and view
True wisdom stored in heave ;
Ye need but ask, and unto you
The precious gift is given.
Serve God in fear ; His hand shall lead
Your wandering hearts aright :
Serve Him in love; your soul shall feel
In pastures of delight.
Serve Him in faithfulness below,
Through scenes of doubt and strife;
In heaven He'll bless you, and bestow
A radiant crown of life.
IT was a very fine evening in August; Mr Bruce
and his little boy and girl were walking through a
beautiful shady green lane; where the lofty trees
meeting far above their heads, only afforded, here and
there, an opening, through which they could see the
dark blue sky, with small stars faintly twinkling upon
it. Daylight had not been gone long enough to al-
low their brightness to appear : there was still a strong
mellow tint of the twilight that is so lovely at that
season: and those stars seemed few, and small, and
pale, and distant, because the glorious sunshine had
left so much of its power around. Thus the Chris-
THE GLOW-WORM. 87
tian, who has been in fervent prayer, and felt the pre-
sence of Jesus Christ, that Sun of Righteousness,"
shedding light on his soul, when he looks again on
the poor comforts and delights that worldly people
love, sees them hardly worth his notice. God gives
us many mercies and we must not despise the least
of them, as they come from Him ; but the great mer-
cy, with which no other can compare, is His love to
our souls, in giving His only Son to redeem them from
sin and everlasting death.
Something like this Mr Bruce was saying to his
children as they walked along. The usual time for
the children to go to rest was past; and their father
had permitted them to stay up longer, because he
wanted to shew them a pretty sight. He had brought
them through the shrubbery, and over a field of new-
mown hay, the sweet smell of which was delicious.
He now led them along this pretty lane, where the
hedges were gay with honeysuckle, and the grass that
bordered them was spotted with little wild-flowers.
Ellen and Fred were delighted ; it was a place where
they had often walked by day, but never before in
the evening: and they found it as new as if they
never had seen the green lane till then.
After a while they came to a spot where the trees
and shrubs grew thicker; and a great many large
bramble bushes threw their branches from the top ol
the hedge down to the grass below; united with
spreading plants of dock and mallow, and tall thistles.
Now," said Mr Bruce, "look about, children; and
observe the hedges."
88 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
All on a sudden, little Ellen called out, Oh, papa,
papa, there are stars in the hedge !"
Fred ran to look, and said, I don't think stars are
apt to tumble down ; nor if they did, to look so small;
but certainly there are some very little lights in the
"Oh, very pretty, indeed, brother," said Ellen,
" prettier than beads or spangles, or any thing else in
the world-they must be little stars."
"Let us gather some, sister, for mamma. Look,
there is a cluster of them under that great leaf: I
shall soon catch them. Oh I have burned my fing-
ers they are all fire."
"I rather think," said his papa, smiling, "that
your fingers have been scratched by the prickly points
of that thistle leaf under which you were thrusting
them. The glow-worms will not hurt you; and I
would rather you left them alone in their snug corner;
for your rough grasp might give the poor insects
"Are they glow-worms, papa V"
Yes; and very pretty creatures too, are they not ?
See with what a soft, yet brilliant light they shine
among the leaves, slowly moving up and down. Walk
on, and you will find them more numerous. Under
that broad bramble there is a cluster of them ; and
a little way off, you may see them scattered singly
about the grass. Was not this worth coming to look
Oh yes, papa, thank you for bringing us," said
both children, "but may we not take some home ?"
THE GLOW-WORM. 89
"For what purpose V"
To shew mamma," said Ellen.
To see them in the house," said Fred.
"Your mamma often walks here to admire them
without disturbing their comfort. However, if you
wish it, I will take one back with us; and when you
have examined it, how shall it be disposed of ?"
"I will keep it in a box," said Fred.
"No, brother, that would be cruel," said Ellen.
You would deprive it of its liberty," observed his
Then I will put it in the garden, papa."
"That is a better thought; but why separate it
from its companions and home ?"
"If you would not mind the trouble of bringing it
Indeed, Fred, I should feel myself most unfaith-
ful to the charge which God has given to man-the
task of ruling His inferior creatures-if I considered
that a trouble which would save a poor helpless insect
from a lingering death. Never, my dear children,
suffer yourselves to be made ashamed of what too many
call the weakness of such feelings. This poor worm,"
continued Mr Bruce, as he carefully placed one of
them in his handkerchief, "is as sensible of pain and
of hunger as you are. Its present existence is its all:
and at this moment it depends on us whether it shall
end in torture, "or be left to the lot assigned its
harmless race. I dare not hurt this insect, Fred. I
dare not, because cruelty is a distinguishing mark of
the wicked. I dare not, because 'we must all ap.
90 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
pear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every
one may receive the things done in his body, accord-
ing to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.'
If I now commit cruelty, can I then expect mercy ?
If I wantonly injure the creatures of God, can I
think that He will acknowledge me His faithful ser-
vant ? No; He has said, 'Blessed are the merciful,
and in that He threatens a curse to the cruel."
The children loved their papa's instructions; and
when he had done speaking, they thanked him, and
said they hoped that they should never be cruel Then
they talked again of the glow-worm.
"How beautiful it will look by candle-light," said
They hastened home; and the children went jump-
ing into the parlour, crying out, "Mamma, we have
brought you the prettiest thing in the world."
Mamma smiled, and asked what it was.
Oh, papa has got it in his handkerchief; come
lose to the candle, if you please, papa, that it may
Mr Bruce laid his handkerchief on the table, and
unfolded it, while the children put their heads to-
gether, expecting to be quite dazzled, when the glow-
worm should appear. How great was their disappoint-
ment on beholding a little ugly dark worm, or grub,
of a dirty brown colour, and no brighter than a piece
ff old leather.
"Oh," cried Ellen, "it is not a glow-worm."
"Indeed it is," replied her father.
"That a glow-worm, papa! oh, I think that you
THE GLOW-WOtM. 91
have made a mistake. You picked up in the dark
that ugly old grub, instead of one of the sweet, beauti-
ful, shining glow-worms, that made the hedge look as
if it were full of stars. What a pity !"
"The glow-worms;' said Fred, "are round like little
balls of glass; they are yellowish and greenish, and
quite different from that old grub."
"Well," said Mr Bruce, laughing, "the old grub
seems to have displeased you greatly by his inelegant
appearance. I must try to raise him a little in your
opinion." So saying, he placed the insect on the
crown of his hat; and desiring Ellen and Fred to keep
their eyes fixed on it, he carried it into a dark corner
of the room accompanied by the children.
"Aha," cried Fred, in great glee, "papa has played
us a trick; for there's the glow-worm instead of the
"The glow-worm and the grub are the same thing,"
said his mamma : and she brought the candle to shew
them it was so.
Fred looked at his sister, and his sister looked at
him. Their little heads were quite puzzled-so their
papa led them back to the table, and began to explain
"The glow-worm," said he, "is, as you see, a very
ugly-looking insect : dark, dull, and hardly to be dis-
tinguished from the earth on which it moves. It
possesses, however, a bright luminous substance, which
in the absence of other light shines out beautifully.
By day a thousand glow-worms might creep in your
path, and be no more regarded than so many ants-
93 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
indeed they have rather a disgusting appearance, to
those who admire beauty alone. But at night, when
the butterflies have folded their gay wings, and the
flowers have closed their cups, and even those objects
which undergo no change, cannot afford us pleasure
by their loveliness, because the darkness hides them;
then the poor little glow-worm throws around him
his tiny, but beautiful light; you forget his ugliness,
if you have seen it and if you have not, you cannot
believe that he is anything but a spark of brightness."
The children were delighted : and their mamma
said, If the glow-worm were as brilliant by day as
he is by night, don't you think the little hungry birds
would soon catch and swallow him up ? lie remains
safe in the shape of an ugly old grub, as you call it,
till the birds are all gone to rest; and then his beauty
appears to gratify us without endangering himself.
Will not this be a lesson to my children, teaching
them not to judge hastily, from outward appear-
Yes, mamma," answered Ellen, "the glow-worm
is like an ugly good man."
"Exactly so, my love. There are many of God's
most honouredservants, whofrom plainness of person,
or awkwardness of manner, from poverty or want of
learning, from natural defect, or some other outward
disadvantage, are apt, like their blessed Master, to
be despised and rejected of men.' Such people,
when all is bright about us, and the gay forms and
pleasant things of the world court our eyes, may
move before us in native lowliness-not seeking our
THE GLOW-WORM. 93
notice, nor sought out by us-spoken of, too, con-
temptuously, as you spoke of the old grub; and
considered almost as a blemish in society. But let
the night of sorrow come-let sickness, pain, or any
affliction cover the gay scenes of earth with a dark
cloud, so that we look around in vain for something
to delight us amongst all that we prized before-then
the humble Christian shines alone in the gloom. iHe
has light in his soul, the light of God's love, and the
knowledge of His glory, and the sure hope of eternal
life. Oh, it is sweet to behold such an one fully
staid upon his God, and therefore kept in perfect peace,
seeking not the praise of men, but letting his light
so shine before them, that they may glorify the hand
which kindled it. I often think, when walking
abroad at night, where these little creatures abound,
that they are scattered there to keep up the sweet
lesson which we are told to learn from the birds of
the air, and the lilies of the field. While the heavens
reflect the glory of God, and the firmament displays
His handiwork-while, above our heads, 'day unto
day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth
knowledge,' the earth beneath our feet is never with-
out some witness to His power, His wisdom, and His
love. The glow-worm, reposing under its little ca-
nopy of humble leaves, or glittering in the dewy grass,
is no less the work of God's creative hand, and the
object of His providential care, than those mighty
orbs which we call stars and planets, and which at
such immense distances are sparkling in the sky, aud
rolling along in their appointed course. All speak
94 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
the praise of Him by whom the worlds were made,
even Jesus the Son of God, who died for us, and of
whose compassionate love to poor sinners we ought
to be reminded by every object that we look upon.
lie who gives the sun its brightness, lights up also
the little spark of the glow-worm. He who humbleth
lHimself to behold the things that are done in heaven,
taketh thought for the meanest insect upon earth."
The Lord hath writ His glorious name
Where'er we cast our eye ;
It shines where, bright in distant flame,
The stars Lestud the sky.
It sparkles in the morning dew;
'Tis painted on the flower ;
It glows upon the lovely hue
That gilds the sunset-hour.
The cricket's chirp, the lion's roar,
Alike His praise declare;
'Tis thunder on the sea-beat shore,
Whisper'd in summer air.
But all we see around, above
No lesson can impart,
Unless the story of His love
Be written on our heart.
And while earth's many tribes combine
Their thankful song to raise,
Os, may He ope our lips to join
That chorus of His praise I
"IT is very provoking!" said Harriet to herself, as
she slowly unfolded her work, and prepared to begin
a long piece of hemming; while her mamma was en-
gaged in executing some needful work at another
Harriet began her task still talking to herself, "Yes,
it is provoking, and out of all reason, that I must sit
here so long, doing what any poor child in the parish-
school would gladly do for me, and even three times
as much to earn a halfpenny; and all the while the
sun is shining, and the air so pleasant; most of the
ragged children in the village are out at play now, I
96 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
dare say; and I, a young lady, must be kept slaving
here, only because I am a young lady, and can afford
to pass my time as I like best. It is very provok-
"When people feel ill-tempered and discontented,
they generally look sulky. Harriet's mamma soon
saw that something was wrong with her little girl, who
sat very awkwardly upon her seat, with her feet turned
in, and her head poked out, and her shoulders a great
deal higher than they needed to be. Her mamma
found fault with her, and desired that she would sit up-
right; but though Harriet dared not to disobey, she
looked more sulky than before, and worked so very
slowly, that at length her mamma told her she must
not leave off until she had hemmed a whole side of
the muslin handkerchief, and hemmed it neatly too.
Harriet, who intended to do only half that quantity
in the time allotted to her, felt still more provoked-
the tears rose in her eyes, but they were tears of anger;
and still repeating to herself, "Was there ever any
thing so provoking!" she went on twitching out her
needle with such peevish haste that she presently snap-
Ded the thread.
Her mamma observed all this, but said nothing.
She finished her own employment, and then began to
cut out some work, while Harriet went on as fast as
she could; and just as she brought the handkerchief
for her mamma to look at, a smart shower began to
"There, there," exclaimed Harriet, "I knew it would
be so 1"
THE HATED TASK. 97
"How did you know it said her mamma.
"Oh, I knew the sun would shine as long as I was
cooped up here at my task, and that it would rain
when I was ready to go out."
"Harriet, I am ashamed of you."
"But it is so provoking, mamma."
"I fear it is," said her mamma; "I fear you are
provoking the Lord."
"I mean, mamma, that it provokes me."
"Does it provoke you to see this refreshing shower
fall on the dry and thirsty ground?"
"Why no, mamma, not that exactly; but every
"I am sorry to hear you speak so, Harriet; and
very sorry too I was to see with what sullen looks, and
improper manner you went through your whole task of
sewing. I have given you time to recollect yourself ,
and now expect to know what was the cause of such
"Well, certainly, mamma, I did feel vexed at being
obliged to sit at work, while the sun was shining, and
I might have been enjoying a nice run in the garden."
"Then you would never study but in bad weather,
I suppose?" said her mamma.
"Yes, I would study, but not often work. You
know, mamma, one must be able to read, and to write,
and know something of what other people know, or
one would be laughed at. But as for hemming and
sewing, so'long as I have learned it, I cannot see the
use of sitting for an hour at a time over a handkerchief,
which anybody else could hem as well as I: and it is
98 SHORT STORIES FOR CHILDREN.
such a charity to send all the work we can to the
Harriet's mamma had been much grieved by her
little girl's looks and manner that morning; and to
hear her talk in such a way made her yet more uncom-
fortable. She looked very grave, and said, "I am
much surprised and distressed at what you say, Har-
riet; but I hope to convince you how very wrong you
are. It seems that you would be quite satisfied to
give up your time and thoughts to whatever is esteem-
ed by the world-the most vain and giddy part of it;
and this, too, to avoid being laughed at, and, if you
spoke truly, for the sake of being admired. Is it not
"To be sure, mamma, I should not like to be
thought a dunce."
"But you would have no dislike to being idle and
useless. You would be like a tree that bears fine
leaves and blossoms, but never produces any fruit-
a tree that cumbers the ground, Harriet; and what is
to be done with such a tree?"
Harriet knew very well, for she had read the para-
ble of the fig-tree, in the 13th chapter of St Luke's
Gospel; but she did not answer.
"I see you understand me," said her mamma, "and
I hope the Lord will make you understand too how
great is the evil, the sin of idleness. The unfruitful
tree will be cut down : the unprofitable servant will
be cast into outer darkness."
"But, mamma, I am such a child! When I am a
woman I shall find plenty to do, and be very useful,