The Baldwin Lbrary
^ ^ /^9 ,
THE DAILY LIFE OF CHILDHOOrb.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
56, PATERNOSTER iOW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
THE DAILY LIFE OF CHILDHOOD.
"THEM THAT HONOUR ME I WILL HONOUR."
I Sam. II. 30.
HAT a good sermon we have
had to-day!" said a cheerful
voice just behind a young girl
who was walking slowly and thought-
fully home from the house of God one
pleasant Sunday afternoon. "Do you
not think so ?"
The child had looked up with such
a startled feeling at finding Mrs. Acton
so near her, that for a moment she had
6 SUSIE BELL.
forgotten to answer; and to the closing
question she only said, hurriedly-" Yes,
ma'am; I suppose so."
Suppose, my dear?" said the lady,
kindly. Now that you hope you have
become one of the followers of Jesus
Christ, do you not love to hear how you
may honour your Saviour even in child-
"Oh, yes, ma'am; I would love to
honour Him if I only knew how. It's
what I've been thinking of; and that
was the reason I did not see you till you
spoke to me. I don't know how."
"But, my dear," said the lady, isn't
this the very thing our minister has
been telling us to-day ? and cannot you
study the Bible? and do you not pray
to Jesus to help you ?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am; but the preaching
is almost all to grown-up people, and
men and women can do a great many
things to honour God which children
SUSIE BELL. 7
Susie now felt, for the first time in
her life, a freedom to say all that had
hitherto been locked up in her own
timid breast; and she slowly and softly
added, as if afraid of saying some-
I often wish, ma'am, that the Bible
told us more about Jesus when He was
a child; then perhaps we children would
know better how to follow Him."
Mrs. Acton was silent. And, as Susie
saw her thoughtful look, she began to
fear she had said something that was
"I am not blaming you at all, my
dear child," said her friend. But still
she continued silent. A new thought,
or a new application of an old one, had
entered her mind, and she was too busy
in following it out to say anything more
just then; and in a few minutes they
had reached her own dwelling. She
had even begun to go up the steps, full
of thought; and poor Susie, now more
8 SUSIE BELL.
perplexed and sad than ever, was walk-
ing tearfully on towards her own home,
when Mrs. Acton suddenly called her
I am glad you have said these things
to me, Susie. I want to talk a great
deal more with you; and I will see you
again soon. But now there is only time
to tell you just one thing by which you
can honour the Saviour to-day."
Susie's face brightened; but her friend
kept her only long enough to say-
"When you get home, be promptly
and pleasantly obedient to your parents.
Do what they bid you as if it were
something you loved to do; and be very
patient and loving to your little brothers
and sister. Try to let them see that
something is making you a better and
a happier child than you ever were be-
fore; and very often turn your thoughts
to Jesus, and ask Him to help you thus
to honour Him; for you will need His
SSI r SELL. 9
Susie wanted to ask how this would
honour Christ, and if trying to let them
see it would not be like the Pharisees,-
and if she must not enter her closet "
and shut the door," so as to keep her
religion as secret as possible,-and why
we are told no more about Jesus as
a child; but her friend only kindly
bade her good-bye and entered her own
Why did I never think of this more
seriously before ?" said Mrs. Acton to
herself,-" that the teaching and guid-
ing of children is the work He has given
us to do-to feed His lambs ? He came
to do what we cannot do: He came to
redeem. Among the works which He
has left us to do, and which we can and
must do, one is, 'to feed His lambs.'
The instruction appropriate to the
peculiar feelings and employment of
children, to their little joys and troubles,
their sports, their temptations and dan-
gers-this is the work left by Christ's
10 SUSIE BELL.
last words in charge of those who have
already been taught in His school. He
has opened the way to holiness and
heaven, and, by the influences of His
Spirit, He sets the feet of these little
pilgrims in it, and He leaves it for us
to see that they are so guided as to
walk therein with delight. We have
too long neglected this work.
"And here is this little Susie. She
has a hard place. Her parents are
thoughtless, worldly-minded scoffers at
the faults of Christians. How can she
be expected to know how to honour God
without being taught ? The word and
the Spirit can teach her all things; but
will they perform for us our neglected
duties? Jennie Bond's parents profess
to be Christians; but I fear they leave
religious instruction too much to the
Sunday-school teacher. They cannot
expect to reap where they do not sow,
or that the lambs will grow without
food suitable for their necessities. Here,
SUSIE BELL. II
then, is one way for me to honour God
-by being more intimate with and
watchful over these lambs on earth.
Henceforth I will try more to attract
their love and deserve their confidence."
Thus Mrs. Acton resolved in her mind.
But where is Susie all this time?
We will follow her and see.
She walked thoughtfully on towards
home; but no home religious instruc-
tion awaited her there. She had often
read Bible stories, and had sometimes
attended the Sunday-school. But she
had now entered a new path, where all
was untried. She could not yet know
much about the details of the Christian
life, its every-day duties, its temptations,
its weaknesses, or the sources of its joy
and strength. And who should teach
her? Experience? Left to find their
way and their food alone, those young
disciples will grow slowly, will suffer
many downfalls and discouragements
from which they might and ought to
12 SUSIE BELL.
have been saved by the watchful love of
Susie kept thinking, as she walked on-
" How can I honour God by being kind
to the children, I wonder ?" For some
months past her own feelings had
prompted her to be moze affectionate
towards them than she once was ; but
she had never been told that she ought
to do this for the sake of glorifying God,
as well as because it was wicked to in-
dulge a bad temper. The two ideas had
never been put together in her mind
before; but now she inquired-" Will it
make them think religion is a good
thing if they see it makes me better-
tempered?" And then the thought
came that Mrs. Acton must have heard
of her hasty temper, and had taken this
way to reprove her. Here was a temp-
tation : her pride rose against Mrs.
She knew this was wrong: Mrs. Acton
had been kind; but the same struggle
SUSIE BELL. 13
that "warred" in the heart of St. Paul
was acted over again in the breast of a
little child-the new law and the old-
the law of sin and the law of Christ.
She sat down in the shade of the great
pine-tree, and tried to think. And then
she remembered Mrs. Acton's last
words-" Often look up to Jesus for
help; for you will surely need it." With
a strong effort to overcome that shrink-
ing from prayer which she found stealing
into her heart, she poured forth her
prayers and her tears together, and soon
went on her way with a lighter step and
a more.humble spirit, willing to make
any effort, if by so doing she could honour
the Saviour whom she loved. And she
needed the lesson just then.
WAIT ON THE LORD."-PS. XXVii. 14.
N entering the house, one of the
little ones ran to meet her,
"Oh, Susie! Johnny has torn that
pretty picture right out of your new
book! Mother was reading it, with him
in her lap, and he caught hold of it be-
fore she could stop him."
Once Susie would have been very
angry with the baby for his mischief,
and with her mother for her careless-
ness, and would have poured out a flood
of harsh words upon everything within
hearing, for the book was much prized
by her, as it was given to her by her
But with her whole heart she had just
asked Jesus to help her in every time of
SUSIE BELL. 15
need. The time of need had come; and
He helped her-gave her strength to
control her rising temper, so that she
only said to the baby-
"What a strange little fellow you
are, to tear Susie's nice book! He
won't do it again, I hope. I can sew it
But this hope was cut short by the
"No you can't; for he has quite
This was a hard trial for Susie, but
she only said-"Oh, I am so sorry!"
and went directly to her chamber.
The house was old and out of re-
pair, and it was easy to hear and even
see from one room to another; and
before Susie was half-way up-stairs she
heard Kitty say-
"There, Dick, you said she would be
quite angry about it; and she was not
so a bit!"
Well," said Dick, coldly, "I think
16 SUSIE BELL.
9 she don't care much about the book,
now she has had it so long."
"Yes, she does care, too," replied
Kitty, for I saw the tears in her eyes;
but she is not half so cross as she used
This did poor Susie's heart good.
She needed encouragement, and she
hoped the improvement they saw in her
would be put to the credit of her re-
ligion, and so the Author of that religion
would be honoured. But again her
hopes were damped by hearing her
mother say she really hoped Susie was
outgrowing her violent temper. Must
the honour, then, be given to her, instead
of to her Saviour ? How should she ever
honour Him while she was so entirely
misunderstood? She grew a little dis-
couraged; but, as she sat down to rest,
she opened her Bible, and amongst the
first words she saw,were--" Wait on the
Lord: be of good courage, and he shall
strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on
SUSIE BELL. 17
the Lord." (Psalm xxvii. 14.) Her heart
joyfullyresponded,-" I willwait on Him;
I will do what He tells me, and then
wait patiently till He is ready to answer.
Obeying and waiting are my work, hear-
ing and answering are His. 0 my
Saviour, help me!"
An hour afterwards, her mother called
her to come and help make ready the
She's reading me a story," shouted
Kitty, "and she's got almost through
it. I want her to finish it."
But by this time the book was laid
aside, and Susie on the way down-stairs,
with Kitty pulling at her dress to keep
"You might have finished your story
if you wished to do so," said her mother.
"No, mother, not if you wanted me;
and besides, it teaches Kitty not to mind
at once if I stay after I am called."
Mrs. Bell made no reply; but it was
impossible for her not to see, even in
T8 SUSIE BELL.
such little things, the change that was
going on in Susie's daily life. Nor
could she doubt what was the true cause
of this change.
Before supper was ready, the baby
had finished his nap, and Susie had to
"Now give him a good smack for
tearing your book," said Dick.
"It is not likely I shall," replied
Susie, laughing. And then she thought
what a good chance it was to try to do
her rude brother a little good by repeat-
ing to him a text which had been in her
lesson that day, for neither of the other
children attended the school with any
degree of punctuality. But how could
she venture to speak to him on this sub-
ject ? None of the family felt as she
did; they never spoke of religion except
to sneer at its professors; and then, too,
she was aware of her ignorance, and she
feared if she began they would ask her
questions which she could not answer, so
SUSIE BELL. 19
she had always been silent. But she had
felt more earnest to-day, and more hopeful
than ever before. She had been inspired
with a new motive; and so, after a short
struggle with her diffidence, she said-
"Dick, you ought to learn one of the
verses in my lesson to-day. It was,
' Not rendering evil for evil, but con-
trariwise blessing.' (I Pet. iii. 9.)
Just then Kitty came near, still feel-
ing fretful and sour; and, seeing one of
her playthings in Dick's hands, she
snatched at it, but, failing to secure it,
she struck him, and of course he re-
turned the blow with interest. Kitty
screamed, and Susie said, sorrowfully-
"Oh, Dick! when you had just heard
that Bible verse."
"Well, do you suppose I am going to
sit still and be struck in that way? "
The uproar brought Mrs. Bell into the
room; but her presence did not lessen
the noise. She scolded Dick for striking
Kitty so hard: It was not fair: he hurt
20 SUSIE BELL.
her a great deal more than such a little
girl as Kitty could have hurt him." The
right or the wrong of the matter, the sin
and evil of quarrelling, had no place in
her mind. "Fair play, and take care of
yourselves, without troubling me with
your disputes," was the easiest way, she
thought, for her. The father usually paid
no attention to the children's bickerings,
or punished all alike, just according to
his mood at the moment.
In the midst of this hubbub, Susie
saw him hastily coming in from his
usual Sunday stroll, and quietly slipped
away into the kitchen with the baby.
"What's all this noise about ?" he cried,
in a passion. "I heard it before I got
to the gate." Without waiting for an
answer he bounced Kitty into a chair,
boxed Dick's ears, and then called out-
"Where is Susie ? You need a good
flogging all round."
"No, no," said the mother; "Susie had
nothing to do with it."
SUSIE BELL. 21
"Yes, she had," growled Dick; "she
tried to make me sit still, and let Kitty
"I say she didn't!" said Kitty. She
tried to teach him a verse from the Bible."
"I wish you'd all learn something
to make you decent." And, saying
this, the father seated himself to read
his newspaper, evidently somewhat en-
lightened by Kitty's speech as to the
true state of the case.
But we need not look any further into
the condition of this coarse, godless
family. This much was needed to show
from what a dark place the Spirit somc-
times takes a child to shine as a light
in the world.
Susie thought, as she heard all this-
"How can I honour God in such a hard
place as this?-but then I don't know
but there is a better chance for me to
show them the difference." And she
felt her whole heart spurred on to make
every effort to live a Christian life, that
22 SUSIE BELL.
her family might see the nature and
effects of true piety, and be led to glorify
her Father in heaven.
When supper was ready, Susie brought
in the baby, neatly dressed in his clean
clothes, his cheeks glowing with the
good washing she had given him, and
his hair combed and curled over to
look as neat as possible.
"There, father," she said, tossing
his fat boy up and down before him,-
" there, father! isn't he happy ? There,
Johnny, kiss father once, and then come
and sit in his high chair close by sister.'
But he tore the picture out of her
nice book to-day," said Kitty.
"And perhaps she pulled his little
ears in revenge."
Oh, father i" said Susie, sadly, "he
is such a little fellow Then, lowering
her voice and stooping closer to him,
she gently added-
I know I used to get very angry at
such things; but now I know it was not
SUSIE BELL. 23
right; and I don't mean to do so any
more." She then whispered in his ear-
"Won't you tell me, father, if you see
me begin to get angry again ? I don't
intend to ; it is so very wrong."
The hard man was moved; and, though
he concealed it as much as he could, it
was evident he felt in his heart that
Susie's religion was a reality, and that
it was worth possessing. We do not
mean by this that he became a religi-
ous -man : but his child's words made him
feel and think; and we wish to show
children, by this, how they may adorn
the doctrine of God their Saviour," in
the little every-day affairs of child-life.
Grown people can be Christian men and
women; children can be Christian chil-
dren,-that is, live a child's life in a
Christian manner. They are babes in
Christ;" they must be taught how to
walk in Him; they are His lambs, and
must be fed with milk before they can
digest strong meat.
"" LOOKING UNTO JESUS."-Heb. xii. 2.
AS it easy for Susie to speak in
this way to her father? By no
means. There are those who
have been trained te familiar conversa-
tion with their parents on the subject
of religion,-on the feelings of their
own hearts and their prospects for
eternity. Happy children! Few, even
in Christian households, enjoy this
privilege. A timid, trembling reserve
is the usual habit in the majority of
families. Susie, of course, had no such
help. And she had also fallen into the
very common mistake of supposing that
if she were a real Christian all such
things would be easy and natural to
her; and she had waited to feel ready
to speak,-waited for the right words
SUSIE BELL 25
to flow out of her mouth, as it were,
without any great struggle of her own
against a feeling of backwardness or
unwillingness, or a shrinking from
speaking. But, as the words did not
come of themselves, nor were forced
out by her feelings, and as the work
seemed to grow harder and harder, she
became discouraged, and often feared
she was not a real Christian. She had
promised to obey her Saviour; she de-
termined she would obey, and trust Him
to help her. And He did help her; for,
as she afterwards said-"As soon as
she left off trying, and began to obey, it
was easy: it seemed like the man
with the withered hand. How could
he stretch it out when he had no power
over it? But as soon as he obeyed
Christ's command in his heart, the
power came, and the hand was re-
From that day Susie could see that
her father treated her with more con-
26 SUSIE BELL.
sideration. He did not, as before, in-
clude her in his sweeping reproaches.
He did not love her religion, but he
was forced to respect her. She was
trying to honour her Saviour, and He
was honouring her.
It might be more for the amusement
of children could we have.told of some
great thing she did in the way, some.
great self-denial which she endured.
But, when you laid down the book,
would you be any better fitted for your
little, every-day duties in your school
or your home? Would you go more
contentedly to the dull task.of washing
the dishes, sweeping the rooms, mend-
ing Tommy's stockings, or Charley's
mittens, or careless Carry's torn apron ?
Would you have more patience to do a
hard sum in long division, or find it any
easier to weed the garden, to go a long
way in the rain upon an errand for
father, or lay down a new story-book to
help mother, or drive the cows to pas-
SUSIE BELL. 27
ture patiently when they stop at every
turn to crop a tuft of greener grass, or
go the wrong road, "just to make you
run after them ? Would such a book
help you to do these things in a more
Christian spirit ?
Far from it. Dark plots and excit-
ing scenes, unknown in common life,
only unfit you for striving against sin
in your hearts, and doing well and cheer-
fully your little every-day duties; for
little they seem to many unthinking
minds, and beneath the need of sym-
pathy and help. But they are your
great battle-fields, on which alone you
can as yet "fight the good fight of
faith;" and they are more than a
match for your unaided strength. Be
faithful in these few things, and you
shall have more and greater things to
do for God when you are older, and
better able to meet them. To be al-
ways talking, or always reading, or
always praying, is not the whole of
28 SUSIE BELL.
religion. In performing one duty, we
are to be careful not to neglect others.
To have the heart right with God,-
do just what He sets before us to do,
at the right time, in the right manner,
and with a right spirit,-this is practi-
cal religion. Can we do all this of
ourselves? No. Where, then, and
how, shall we find the help we need?
In these three words-" Looking unto
Jesus:" then will He give us the help
of His Holy Spirit, through whose grace
we can do all right things.
The Sabbath passed, and Monday
came, which was always a busy day
in the Bell family. Both father and
mother seemed to think they must rise
earlier and work harder on that day, to
make up for time lost by the Lord's-day.
This Monday brought an extra amount
of troubles, which, instead of being im-
proved as a good opportunity for the
exercise of the grace of patience, only
made room for sourlooks and harsh words.
SUSIE BELL. 29
Is it not enough to provoke a stone
that there is such a heavy washing
to do, and not half water enough in the
cistern to do it with? Why couldn't
it rain? And why need the school-
teacher take Monday to stay at home
with her sick mother, so that Dick, and
"Willie, and Kitty must all be at home
and in the way all day long? Why
must those three men come on Monday,
instead of any other day, to mend the
old barn? With all this, little Jemmy
must needs begin to worry with a new
tooth. And what must Susie do but
keep trying to excuse it all, and smile
as though she were glad of it! Oh, it
is hard to be endured !"
Alas! can there be such mothers ?
Yes, there are; and Susie Bell's mother
was one of them. Well it is for their
reputation that their worst moods are
usually hidden in their own families,
and that they have pride enough left to
put on a better face before others. One
30 SUSIE BELL.
sin may hide another from the eye of
man, but they are all alike open to the
eye of Him with whom we have to do."
Susie found her best course was to be
as helpful and useful as she could; to
say but little, and that as cheerfully
and respectfully as possible, to her fret-
ful mother, and to keep the children
from annoying her, by anticipating
their wants herself. And so the day
wore away, as all days must, and at
night Susie contrived to coax the chil-
dren off to bed earlier than usual, so
that mother and the baby might have
a good night's rest." She tried to in-
duce her brothers to repeat a prayer, or
a text of Scripture, or a hymn. It was
the first time she had ever attempted it.
But Dick Bell was a great boy in his
own estimation, ten years old, quite too
far advanced to say his prayers, he
thought. Willie was too lazy and
sleepy. But Kittie was more yielding;
she was only six; she liked to be better
SUSIE BELL. 31
than lazy Willie, and was very willing
to stand opposite to Dick, and she was
becoming very fond of Susie, because,
as she said, "Susie didn't get angry
with her, as the rest did."
Susie saw with pleasure that she was
gaining a new influence over the child,
and she looked forward with hope to
the time when she might perhaps be
made the instrument of leading her
into the fold of the Good Shepherd.
This gave a new impulse to her prayers,
and to her efforts to control her own
conduct, that she might be a safe ex-
ample for Kitty to follow. Nor were
these hopes disappointed, though the
event was beyond the date of our story.
Susie went to bed that night sorrowful,
yet rejoicing, sorrowful for her family,
but "rejoicing in God her Saviour," to
whom she told all, and then lay down
and "slept in peace, for the Lord sus-
"JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING."-PS. XXX. 5.
UESDAY was a brighter day for
Susie Bell with her mother and
all the family. Her mother,
thanks to Susie's Christian patience
and helpfulness, had gone through her
Monday's work with less fatigue than
she expected; the "good night's sleep"
had refreshed her, and she was once
more kind and pleasant to-her family.
In the afternoon, Lucy Merwin-one
of Susie's friends, but a little younger-
came to visit her. They were both
young enough to run out-of-doors, and
laugh and enjoy the usual sports of
Lucy had felt some misgivings about
visiting at Mr. Bell's. She had not
seen Susie since she heard that she had
SUSIE BELL. 33
become pious; and she was curious to
know whether she would be lively and
playful, as she once was, or whether
she would be grave and sober all the
time. A few minutes' chat taught her
that she might be as familiar as ever;
and after they had played awhile with
Jemmy they ran out in the orchard, and
sitting down in the shade of a broad
apple-tree, they talked about the time
when they went to school together, be-
fore they were old enough to be kept at
home to help their mothers.
"Oh, don't you hate to stay at home
and work?" said Lucy.
"Hate! Why, no!" replied Susie.
" Pray, what would have become of us
when we were little if nobody had
worked and taken care of us ? "
"But I mean such dirty, tiresome work
-to wash dishes and pare potatoes, and
to sweep and to black the stoves. Oh, it
is hateful! I don't see why we are not rich
so as to keep a girl to do such things."
34 SUSIE BELL.
Perhaps the girl would hate it as
much as we do," said Susie, laughing.
"What of that?" retorted Lucy.
"But I thought you were so fond of
"So I am. But mother needs me
now, and I can be of some use to her;
and so I try to like that best."
But don't you tease her to let you
go to school ? "
"No, indeed !--never It would be
wicked if I did, Lucy."
Lucy saw that, although Susie was
as ready as ever to laugh and play, she
had a new rule of right and wrong,
which she had never known her to be
governed by before. And Susie saw
that if she went on to speak of this rule
to Lucy she might not be able to say
just what was right and proper. But,
recollecting Mrs. Acton's advice, Look
to Jesus for help," she did so in her
heart; and, as Lucy was silent, she
SUSIE BELL. 35
"Don't you think it is wicked for us
to tease our parents ? "
I don't know, but it is wicked for
you, because they say you are so re-
"That makes no difference, I'm sure,"
answered Susie, in surprise. Honour
thy father and thy mother' is a com-
mandment for everybody; and why isn't
it as wrong for one to disobey it as for
another ? Is it not as wrong to break
the fifth Commandment as to break the
Why, Susie Bell! you don't suppose
it is as wrong for me to disobey my
mother as it would be to kill her, do
"Not as wrong towards her, still it
would be wrong towards God. He gave
all the Commandments, and we must not
break any of them."
I never thought of that before,"
said Lucy, very seriously.
"I wish you would think of it, Lucy;
36 SUSIE BELL.
and then think how loving Jesus was
that He should come into our world,
and suffer and die on the cross that we
might be forgiven i "
"But I do not care to think about
such things," interrupted Lucy; "it
makes me feel uncomfortable; and it
makes you feel so too-I know it does,
for I see the tears in your eyes this very
No, no, Lucy; that is not it. You
do not know how happy it makes me
now to think about Jesus. It did not
use to; but now, when I think that He
is my Saviour and I am His child, it is
the joy that starts the tears."
Lucy did not need to be told that
Susie was changed; she saw it.
Thus Susie found it easy to preach
Christ to her young friend when she
shrank not fiom the duty, but reso-
lutely seized the first opportunity without
waiting one moment for "a more con-
SUSIE BELL. 37
The two girls sat silent for atime,when
Susie suddenly sprang up, saying-
"There is Mrs. Acton coming to the
house. Let's go in and see her."
She will not want us there,"said Lucy.
"Oh, yes, she will; and, any how, I
want to see her."
But I do not, so I had better go
home; it will soon be time."
"No, no," said Susie, eagerly; "it is
not near night, and you must not go
yet. I will come back and stay here
with you, only you will just let me run
and speak with her when we see her
"Yes, and perhaps tell her I would
not let you come before."
Lucy felt ashamed of her own unkind
thought as it stood out in contrast with
Susie's self-denying offer, so she said-
Well, we will go and sit in the
porch, and then you can see her; but
she need not see me."
38 SUSIE BELL.
Susie was glad to see her friend, even
for a moment; but her little brain was
busy in contriving how to prolong that
interview without offending Lucy. At
length she thought of a way. Before
they reached the porch, she said-
"Would you like, Lucy, to help me
draw the baby a little while ? Mother
likes to have him ride; but it is up-hill
each way from here, you see, and that
makes it hard for me to draw him one
way; but coming back we can have
such a good run down the hill. Oh, it
is capital fun "
"Certainly," replied Lucy, thinking in
this way to avoid Mrs. Acton, while Susie
was contriving a meeting between them.
Susie, instead of hiding in the porch,
went quietly in to speak with her mother's
I was afraid I should not see you,"
said Mrs. Acton.
Lucy and I were in the orchard,"
she replied. She could think of no fur-
SUSIE BELL. 39
other apology which would be strictly
true and not bring her friend under
censure. But keeping fast hold of Mrs.
Acton's hand, she said-
Mother, may Lucy and I draw the
baby in his perambulator a little while?
"We will go up the hill with Mrs. Acton,
if she is willing, and then have a good
run down again."
Mrs. A. saw by the peculiar look in
Susie's face, what her plan was, and she
wisely helped it on by saying-
"But I was going up the south hill to
call on Mrs. Drake before I return home;
and so, if it will not be too far for the
girls, I would love dearly to have them
for companions both ways."
Oh, that will be delightful!" cried
Susie, as Mrs. Bell gave her consent.
And then by the time we get up the
north hill we shall meet the children
coming home from school; and how
glad they will be to find little Jemmy
there waiting for them and you will
40 SUSIE BELL
have a good resting-time, too, mother."
Then, humming a favourite tune, she
bounded away into the bed-room for her
own and Lucy's bonnets.
"Susie is very fond of the baby,"
said Mrs. Acton.
She is now, since he has got so old
and playful," said Mrs. Bell; "but she
used to think it was a tiresome task to
take care of him."
She saw the expression of pleasure
on Mrs. Acton's face, and the thought
flashed across her mind that she was
giving to the growing attractions of
Johnny the credit which belonged, at
least in part, to Susie's religion. She
knew Susie had always loved the baby
well enough, but she had loved herself and
her own ease better. Now there were
several objects which evidently stood
before self-her God, her parents, her
duty. Mrs. Bell did not care to look fur-
ther; but she saw there was a change for
the better in Susie, as well as inthebaby.
"THEN SHALL WE KNOW, IF WE FOLLOW ON
TO KNOW THE LORD."-Hosea 'i. 3.
USIE was delighted to be by
the side of Mrs. Acton; and
the cheerful, winning manners
of that lady soon made Lucy glad she
had found them. But now came up
the old, familiar temptation :-how
could she speak freely before Lucy ?
Is this backwardness, this shyness, all
wrong? Is it being ashamed of Jesus?
Why does it embarrass almost every
one, young or old? What will remove
it? The grace of God in the heart, and
resolute, persevering practice in the
life-nothing else; nor either of these
without the other.
Oh, I have so wanted to see you,"
she said, "to thank you for what
you told me! I felt so discouraged
42 SUSIE BELL.
before, I did not know how or what
Do you find it very easy now to feel
and do at all times just what is right ? "
"Oh, no, indeed, ma'am. My heart
sometimes seems to hold back as if I
did not-and yet I do want to obey
God; and then I look to Jesus as you
told me, and as soon as I begin to do
whatever thing it is that I ought to do,
then it grows easy."
Susie was going on to tell her friend
some of her efforts to control her tem-
per and be useful to her mother, when
she suddenly stopped. She felt some-
thing within which seemed to say-
" You have .done very well for a little
girl in your circumstances." She knew
this was pride, and she dared not say
another word about her own doings.
"And how did you get on with your
troubles ? inquired her friend.
Instead of a direct answer, Susie
asked in a sad tone-" Mrs. Acton, how
SUSIE BELL. 43
can I do the best I know, and take the
comfort of hoping that I am honouring
Christ even just a little, and yet not
feel one bit proud of it? It seems to me
I am wrong somewhere all the time,
either in my actions or in my heart;
and would it not be safer for me just to
live hid away as much as I can, and so
keep more humble?"
No, Susie, no," she firmly replied.
" Satan is ever ready with his tempta-
tions. See that your heart does not
receive and fall in with them. Can
anything be better calculated to humble
you than this discovery of pride in your
heart ? If you act upon such a plan as
you just mentioned, you will soon be
proud of your harmlessness,-as proud
that you are doing nobody any harm as
you will be of doing a great deal of
good; for in that case you will not seek
or obtain the aid of the Holy Spirit to
overcome your pride. He does not
help idle people. 'He that will not
44 SUSIE BELL.
work, neither shall he eat,' is even more
true in spiritual than in temporal things.
To fight against and conquer all these
sins in our own heart is what is called
the Christian warfare."
"I did not know that before," said
Susie. I thought that was to go about
the world preaching just as St. Paul
did, and to be missionaries, and be
persecuted and die, like the martyrs.
Oh, I am so ignorant; I am afraid I
never shall know enough to be a Chris-
tian that will be good for anything."
"Yes you will, my dear, if you go on
as you have begun, or rather, as God
has begun to work in you. Try always
to do right.; pray for forgiveness and
help; go to your Bible for instruction,
and depend wholly on Jesus for your
salvation, and upon the Holy Spirit for
your sanctification: then you will go
onwara and upward, and arrive safe in
heaven at last.
"But you will find it a great deal
SUSIE BELL. 45
easier to avoid outward than inward
sins, because our good name and the
customs and opinions of the world
around us act as powerful restraints
upon our outward conduct."
"But does not the eye of God look
right into our hearts ?" asked Susie.
"Yes, my dear, certainly; and so
long as you remember this, it will be
your best safeguard. And as to your
ignorance, who would expect a child,
who has been only a few months in the
school of Christ, to know already all
the lessons that are to be learned there ?
This is why He has said to His fol-
lowers, 'Feed my lambs.' 'Teach them
the' lessons that you have. learned of
Me.' This is why I try to teach you."
"Oh, I am so glad!" said Susie.
And by this time they had reached the
top of the hill.
Mrs. Acton had quite done her part
in changing places with Lucy in push-
ing the child in the perambulator; and
46 SUSIE BELL.
she now went into Mr. Drake's to make
her call, while the girls, after resting
awhile under the trees, picked wild-
flowers for the baby, and then had their
run down the hill.
Mrs. Bell gave them some biscuits,
fed the baby, and by the time Mrs.
Acton came out they were ready to
accompany her up the opposite hill.
These ascents were not steep; and, as
Mrs. A. helped her young friends push
their perambulator up the long slope,
she made herself very agreeable as well
as useful; and Lucy Merwin thought
she should like Christian people a great
deal better if they were all like Mrs.
When arrived at the top of the slope,
they sat down to rest on the rock under
a large oak-tree. Here Lucy was to
turn in the road and go to her own
home. Mrs. Acton talked awhile very
pleasantly to her, and arranged that she
should come some day with Susie and
SUSIE BELL. 47
make her a visit. She said she had
many curious things, and many books
with which she could interest and
instruct children; and, what was more,
she was willing to spend time in doing
it, if she could in this way be of use to
them. Lucy picked some more flowers
for the baby; and giving him and Susie
a good-bye kiss, she went on her way
with more thoughts about becoming a
Christian than she ever had before.
The school children were now in
sight; but Susie hastened to ask one
more question, which had quite puzzled
"Did you not tell me, Mrs. Acton,"
she said, that I must try to let others
see that I loved Jesus, or that I was
governed by Him? But does not the
Bible say that we must go into our
closets and shut our doors, so as not to
be seen ?"
People older than you, Susie, often
make a mistake in this matter, and they
48 sUSIE BELL.
keep their religion so secret that nobody
knows they have any, and oftentimes
probably they have not. We are told
that 'when we pray' we are to go alone,
that is, for our personal communion
with God. We are not to stop in the
streets or in the midst of a crowd and
pray aloud, that we may be seen or
heard of men, as the Pharisees did
in our Saviour's day. We could not
feel as we ought to feel, or pray as we
need to pray, under such circumstances.
We have so many wants of our own, so
many sins to confess, that we need to
go where we can feel alone on the earth
with Goa. And when the duty of pri-
vate prayer has been performed, and we
again come out into the world to dis-
charge our other duties, then there is
another direction ready for us:-' Do not
hide your light under a bushel; but let
it so shine before men, that they may
see your good works, and glorify your
Father which is in heaven.' "
SUSIE BELL. 49
"Oh, how plain it all is! said Susie.
"How I wish I could have you all the
while close by me to teach me such
That would do you more harm thar
good, my dear. If I should try to teach
a child to walk alone while I always
carried him in my arms, do you think
he would learn much? And now let
me repea- one thing more. Read your
Bible a great deal. In it God speaks
to you. I do not mean reading a great
many chapters at once: that is not so
good a wav. Nor is it your duty to
spend so much time in this work as it is
for your friend Jennie Bond. You have
many other duties to perform which
require much more of your time ; and
one duty never interferes with another.
See to it, however, that you divide your
spare time well. If you begin any
chapter or book, read it through in
course, a little at a time, and stop and
think as you read, whether it applies
50 SUSIE BELL.
to you, and what you can learn from it.
And always, before you begin, humbly
and sincerely ask of God these three
things :-to help you to understand
His truth, to help you to love it, to help
you to obey it. Your mother will allow
you more time than she has done; I
talked with her about you to-day; but
you must be honest and faithful in
improving it. And now good-bye."
By this time the children were run-
ning around the baby's perambulator,
and then they all had their race down
the long slope, Jemmy crowing as loudly
as any of them, and Susie the happiest
of the happy.
Lucy Merwin, long before she reached
her home, had said over and over again
to herself-" I never thought before
that religion was good for children. I
thought it was well enough for old
people, or perhaps for sick children
who are to die young. But Susie Bell
is certainly a pleasanter girl than she
SUSIE BELL. 51
used to be, and a great deal happier,
and of course a great deal better. Yes,
such a religion must be a good thing
for children. I wonder if I can ever
have it ? I will try to ask Susie."
"LEAVE OFF CONTENTION BEFORE IT BE
MEDDLED WITH."-Prov. xvii. 14.
s NE afternoon, near the close of
S the week, Susie saw the children
coming home from school in a
high dispute. Dick and Willie were
angry with each other, and Kitty was
trying to act as a self-constituted judge
between them, and thus made herself
offensive to both. Mrs Bell was gloomy
and out of sorts, and Susie ran to meet
the children at the gate, to try and
settle the quarrel without disturbing her.
Stop stop she playfully said, as
she held down the gate-latch; "no
quarrels here. Tell me about your trou-
bles, and see if I cannot settle them."
Of course all three began to talk at
once; and Dick sprang over the fence,
crying-" I won't have you to settle it;
SUSIE BELL. 53
you always side with Willie. I'll tell
Oh, don't, don't!" cried Susie, hold-
ing him back by the arm and neck.
" Mother does not feel well to-day, and
does not want to hear all this racket."
"So much the better," said the boy;
"I can talk the louder." And he strug-
gled to get loose.
But Johnny is sick," added Susie.
This checkedthem all till she hadtimeto
say-" No, not sick, exactly, but burnt."
"Burnt! How? Where? How much?"
asked every eager voice.
He crept up to the stove and burnt
his fingers, so that two of them were
blistered. Poor little fellow! how he
did cry! But he has gone to sleep now,
and do not let us wake him. Come, now,
we will sit down right here and settle
our difficulty byourselves. You boys can
be witnesses, and Kitty can be judge."
"I won't have Kit for a judge; she
don't know enough," cried both the boys.
54 SUSIE BELL.
"Then I do not see but I must be
both judge and jury myself; so now
each tell what is the matter." The case
proved to be a very common one in the
child-world. Dick was avaricious, and
loved to possess property. Willie was
greedy, and loved good eating. Dick
had a nice apple given him, which he
sold to Willie for an old knife. Willie
ate the apple, and then repented of his
bargain, and wanted the knife again.
Susie tried to show Dick that he ought
not to take advantage of the silly
greediness of his younger brother;
while she tried to show Willie that
he ought to keep his promises. But
neither would yield, and both grew
clamorous again, when Susie inter-
"' Let dogs delight to bark and bite."'
The next line was lost in the din-
"' Let bears and lions growl and fight."'
I tell you I did not stop to hear you
SUSIE BELL. 53
say hymns," cried Dick; so finish your
speech quick, or I'll go to mother."
Susie saw that, although texts and
hymns were always good, they were not
always timely; so she instantly said-
"Well, well, I will." She, however, be-
thought herself of a compromise, which
was soon effected; and the boys went
to the wood-shed to cut sticks, and
Kitty to her play-house under the plum-
tree, while Susie stole softly to the low
window, to see if the baby slept.
What is the matter, mother? Is he
worse ? she whispered, as she leaned in,
and saw tears on her mother's face.
"No; he is well enough. But I have
heard all that you and the children have
been saying; and I could not help think-
ing, Susie, what a help you are to me,
and how much trouble you try to save
me, and what a good example you set
before the other children." And, putting
her arm over her daughter's neck, she
kissed her so affectionately that Susie
56 SUSIE BELL.
was perfectly confounded. Mrs. Bell
was naturally stern and coarse; her
narrow mind was taken up with her
daily cares; and she very seldom ca-
ressed any of her children, except the one
who was the baby for the time being;
and this outburst was so unexpected to
Susie that she could only say-" Oh,
mother, don't talk about it; I do mean
to help you all I can; I know I ought
to, for the Bible says-' Honour thy fa-
ther and thy mother;' and so it is doing
no more than I ought to do, you know."
"Well, you do honour us, and God
too; I know it, and I ought to own it."
Susie could wait to hear no more.
She slipped away, and had a good cry
of joy. Oh, how I do thank God that
He will let children honour Him in such
little things as they have a chance to
do! I wonder if mother will keep on
feeling so, or if I shall."
But was Susie Bell now perfect ? Did
she now never do, or say, or feel wrong ?
SUSIE BELL. 57
If you were to ask her this question, she
would tell you she often sinned and came
short of glorifying God. And for your
benefit she would let me tell you of a
certain time when she was led by little
and little to fall into a great deal of
trouble. It was not by telling a false-
hood, or stealing, or any other such
open sin, which she and everybody knew
to be so wrong that they are not often
tempted to commit it. It was one of those
little, common, every-day affairs which
occur to every child, and which children
are apt to think are very small sins,unless,
indeed, they never think of them as sins
at all. But it is in the very beginning
that we must watch against and over-
come the evil, or it will soon grow to
have giant strength.
But I will tell you about Susie's fault.
It was only a few days after the happy
time described in the last chapter. She
was sitting up rather late one night,
reading a very interesting Sunday-school
58 SUSIE BELL.
book, when her father told her she must
go to bed, for he wanted her to be up and
help get breakfast much earlier than
usual the next morning, as he must go
away by the early train. Susie wanted to
read till she had finished that chapter
only. Well, read that chapter, and
then go," he replied, as he went to his
own room, where he was soon fast asleep.
When Susie reached the end of the
chapter, the story had grown more in-
teresting, and she could not leave it till
she had just looked along a little way
into the next chapter. But the next
chapter did not satisfy, nor the next;
and at length, fearing her father would
hear her where she was, she took her
book and her light to her own room,
taking care to make noise enough on the
way that her mother at least would hear
her and think she had gone to bed.
With this attempt at deception, and
resolving to spring up in the morning
the moment she was called, she read on
SUSIE BELL. 59
till the clock struck twelve, long before
she had finished the last page. Then
she hurried into bed without an attempt
to pray; for, of course, she did not feel
a wish to pray then, and so she ex-
cused herself by thinking that she must
go to bed now because it was so very
late, and she would be called so early.
Alas! how easily do our wicked hearts
deceive themselves, deceitful above all
things! And our hearts are our very
selves. We are too apt to get a sort of
vague idea that our hearts" are some
troublesome things within us which
bring us into difficulty without our con-
sent, and that if it were not for our hearts
we should do much better. This, when
written out, looks like a very foolish
mistake; but do you not sometimes find
it trying to make excuses for you ? The
Bible not only says the heart is deceitful,
but it adds, "Who can know it ? It
will take you a long time, as it did Susie,
to learn all its devices, and realise that
60 SUSIE BELL.
the sins of our hearts are what make us
But where is Susie ? Excited by the
story, she lay a long time building air-
castles, and thinking of the wonderful
things she would have done and said if
she had been in the place of the heroine
of the story, and could have beautiful
presents, and hear the flattering words
that would be spoken about her goodness
and her beauty, till another hour had
passed. And then she slept so soundly
that her mother's voice in the morning
only roused her enough to answer, "Yes,
mother, in a minute." But the minutes
fled apace, until there came another and
a louder call. This time she started up
confused, but dropped back again, just
to get her eyes open ; but they did not
fairly open till her mother stood by her
bedside, saying, angrily-
Susie, why are you not up ? Then
she flew about in earnest. But all the
time she was ashamed of herself, pro-
SUSIE BELL. 6r
yoked with her mother, stung by her
conscience, dissatisfied with that condi-
tion in life which made it necessary for
her to labour while so many others could
lie in bed as long as they pleased; and
she went down-stairs cross, and of course
without asking God's forgiveness for the
past, or His strength to assist her in her
duties through the day. Of course, too,
she was cold to her father, silent and
sour to her mother, and indifferent, if
not unkind, to the little ones. Mr. Bell
was in too much haste, and was off too
early, to notice it much; but Susie saw
the look of wonder on Kitty's face, and
it annoyed her. She grew more and
more unhappy, but not yet penitent.
When the noisy little ones were ready
for school, she gave them their dinner-
basket, saying, snappishly, as she pushed
them through the door-" Here take it,
and be off with you, so that we can have
some peace in the house."
WHATSOEVER YE DO, DO ALL TO THE
GLORY OF GOD."-I Cor. 31.
LAS for poor Susie! In this
state of mind there was no peace
for her. She had let the old
traitor-ill-temper-into her heart, in
addition to her disobedience; and they
were mixing up a bitter cup for her.
As she turned from the door she had so
rudely closed upon the children, she
caught a look from her mother which
said, as plainly as words could say it-
"Ha! ha! poor child, I thought your
religion would be short-lived."
Susie gazed at her for a moment,
and then dropped into a chair, feeling
too guilty to look up. But the tempter
saw she began to be alarmed at her-
self, and he was ready to furnish
her with excuses: and the old spirit
SUSIE BELL. 63
of self-justification rose up in her
"I was so sleepy, mother," she began,
" and I am sleepy yet: it is too hard to
have to get up so early."
Yes, very hard for folks that do not
go to bed till after midnight."
But that book was so interesting,
I could not bear to stop till I had read
it through. I don't believe I could have
gone to sleep any sooner if I had left it
without knowing how it would end."
Oh, very well I suppose it is all
right for you now; but I have no great
opinion of schools or books that teach
children to disobey their parents, or get
up cross in the morning."
This was enough. Susie saw where
she stood, and what she had been doing.
She burst into tears, exclaiming-" Oh
mother! it is not the school or the
book; it is me! I am all wrong. I did
wrong last night, and I have grown
worse and worse ever since. Oh! will
64 SUSIE BELL.
you please to forgive me? I will try
not to be so wicked again." And then,
wrapping her whole head in her pinafore,
she sobbed to herself-" I wonder if God
can ever forgive me again! "
Mrs. Bell was a good deal softened
by Susie's evident penitence. She knew
well enough that oncc she would have
behaved much worse without being sorry
at all; and she now saw a greater change
in the child than ever before. So she
quite kindly replied-"Yes, I forgive you
now that you are sorry; but I think you
had better go to your work."
Each was glad to be rid of the pre-
sence of the other; and when Susie
reached her room, she went upon her
knees, fully and humbly confessed her
sin, and implored forgiveness through the
merits and for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Oh, how precious He now seemed to
her as the "way" through which she
might once more come to her Heavenly
Father, and ask for His pardoning love !
SUSIE BELL. 65
Now, perhaps my young readers may
say we are making a great ado about a
very little thing. But be assured that
the smaller the fault the better it is for
Satan's purpose, for the less likely you
are to see the evil into which he is try-
ing to lead you. People do not always
know what are the difficulties which are
in the way of Christian children, and
which keep them from "growing in
grace," and becoming as perfect in
Christ" as they should seek to be.
Susie knew she had done wrong, too,
and had set the children a bad example.
It cost her a struggle to humble herself
before them, when they were so often
surly to her. But their faults, she knew,
were no excuse for her own. She must act
as well as profess the Christian spirit; and
she determined to make amends so far as
she could for her ill-temper towards them.
Accordingly, when they returned from
school she was sitting with the baby on
the door-step, looking very cheerful.
66 SUSIE BELL.
"Ha!" said Dick, as he came up,
"rather better-natured than you were
in the morning, I fancy."
"Oh, Dick," she answered, seizing
his hand, I am very sorry that I was
so cross this morning. I did wrong.
Will you not all forgive me ?"
"Oh, do not cry, Susie," said little
Kitty; and she kissed away the tears.
Dick whistled to drown his thoughts,
and Willie clamoured for his supper.
The summer passed; and, when win-
ter came, Susie could again be spared to
attend school. This brought her into
daily intercourse with her old playmates,
and gave her a wider opportunity to
honour her Saviour by letting them
see how much religion had improved
her character. Yet it was a time of
trial to this young disciple. She felt all
the aversion natural to a diffident girl in
the prospect of being made the subject
of remark; for, with all her former faults
SUSIE BELL. 67
of character, she had none of that silly
vanity which leads many girls to love to
have people talk about them-a fault
which they never succeed in hiding from
anybody but themselves.
There were some who she knew would
watch her conduct, and be readyto ascribe
all her faults to her religion, forgetful
how full of failings they had always
thought her to be before her change.
And among those of them who had been
lately brought to love the Saviour she
found a very great difference. Some
appeared open and decided; while others
were silent and desponding, as if they
did not know on whose side they stood.
How can you always be so happy,
Susie ?" said Jennie Bond, when they
had been in school a few weeks.
How can I help it ? replied Susie,
with a smile. "It seems to me as if
Christians ought to feel happy, or else
they cannot feel grateful."
But I feel so doubtful all the time
68 SUSIE BELL.
whether I am a Christian at all. It
seems to me if I was, I should be hap-
pier then I am now".
"Oh, Jennie! you would not turn
back and leave the Saviour, would
No, not that; but I do not find so
much, happiness in religion as I did at
Perhaps," said Susie, it is selfish
in us to be thinking so much about our
own enjoyment. It seems to me we
ought to be thinking how we can honour
and obey God, and let Him send the
enjoyment when He pleases. I do not
believe He will make us wait long. But
I do not know enough yet to teach you
half as well as your parents can."
They never say anything to me about
it," said Jennie; "and I cannot begin
Susie was astonished. She didn't sup-
oose that parents who professed to be
Christians ever lived in that way; and
SUSIE BELL. 69
she began to think that, after all, she
was no worse off than other children,
and even perhaps not so bad, for she
had nobody to look to for help at home,
and so she looked directly to God.
But, when school closed at night,
she thought she saw another reason for
Jennie's despondency,-though this was
probably a consequence of the other.
Two of the boys were talking together,
and among their jokes and gibes, they
used a great deal of profane language.
Jennie was standing very near, and
laughed heartily at their fun, without
taking any notice of their profane words.
Susie was too far from them to be heard
without speaking at the top of her voice;
and the next minute the boys had passed
out of the school-house. As soon as
she could .see Jennie alone, on their way
home, she asked her why she did not
reprove those boys, instead of laughing
with them, as if she was pleased with
their bad language.
70 SUSIE BELL.
"Oh," replied Jennie, "they would
only laugh at me, and say I set myself
up for a saint."
"And what if they did? I'm sure
that would not make you feel as much,
as to hear the Saviour's name used in
the way they used it."
I cannot bear to be laughed at, I
never could; and, besides, it would do
no good. They always talk just so: I
cannot stop their fun, and neither can
"And what if we cannot? It is not
our duty to stop them, but only to try,
and keep trying, and wait patiently for
God to stop them. It is not our duty
to do anything but what we can do; and
we certainly can try."
I cannot talk to other people about
religion as you can, Susan-I never
know what to say; and then, too, I am
always afraid they will ask me questions
which I cannot answer; and so it is of
no use to try."
SUSIE BELL. 71
But, Jennie," said Susie, sadly, "if
you go on in this way you will always
be doubting and unhappy; Mrs. Acton
Oh, you are always quoting Mrs.
Acton! But you know she is one of
those perfect women that are not afraid
to speak to anybody. And then she is
forty years old, and has a great deal of
influence. When I am as old as she is,
I shall not be afraid to speak."
"Yes, she is a great deal more than
forty; but she told me that till she was
forty she went on just as you do now,
and was always in darkness, and never
knew what happiness was till she learned
to overcome all her backwardness, and
'speak for God' whenever anything
seemed to call for it; and she has warned
me so many times not to neglect this or
any other duty. She says, if we begin
to do what is right just as soon as we
have a chance to begin, God will cer-
tainly help us."
72 SUSIE BELL.
But I tell you, Susie, I do not know
how. If I try ever so hard, I shall not
say anything that I ought. Besides, for
my part, I do not believe religion all
depends upon talking to people."
"Oh, no, indeed! But it seems to
me that if we keep from speaking
against sin when it comes before us, and
sin in our schoolmates, too, we shall not
take much comfort in praying at night,
we shall feel too guilty of neglect; and, if
we keep on neglecting it, we shall not
dare, by-and-bye, to ask Him to forgive
us. Do you not think so ? "
I do not know. Father always has
family prayers at night; and, as I have
to sleep in the same room with Aunt
Sarah and the two children, I have no
chance to pray by myself."
"Oh, Jennie! and can you live so ? I
do not wonder you have no enjoyment.
Why cannot you go to your own room
alone a little while in the evening? Do not
live so another day. Do begin to night."
SUSIE BELL. 73
"But they will all find out very soon
what I go there for."
"That is no matter; and, indeed, it
will be so much the better. Mrs. Acton
says, one reason why the world think
Christians are no better than other
people is, because we are so afraid some-
body will see us acting, and hear us
speaking, like Christians. We keep
our light hid for fear it will be seen."
Here the roads parted; and here, too
the path of these two girls parted: the
one went forward and up, the other
backward and down.
"KEEP THY HEART WITH ALL DILIGENCE."
Prov. iv. 23.
E left Jennie Bond at the corner;
and truly she seemed at that
time tohave turned a corner and
taken the wrong path. Susie's efforts
seemed to be lost upon her. She grew
more and more remiss in the Christian
life. Little excuses kept her from the
sanctuary and the Sunday-school, and
she often omitted secret prayer for days
together; at times her conscience would
not let her rest; and then she would
try and begin over again, and think she
would perform some duties, if she did not
all; but in a few months she was back
in the old place. She avoided Susie, and
no one else knew much about her. But
she had no real enjoyment, either in the
world or in religion, and was of no use
SUSIE BELL. 75
to any one. God alone knows the heart;
and He alone could bring her out of this
dark pit-this destroying snare.
There were others of Susie's school-
mates from whose heart-history we may
learn many useful lessons; and, before
we go home with her, we will speak of
one of them.
Julia Dale's besetting sin was not a
hasty temper, like Susie Bell's, nor a
cold, slothful spirit, like Jennie Bond's.
It was a wild thoughtlessness, which
made her an attractive companion, but
an inconstant friend. All warmth for a
time in whatever she undertook, she was
of course thoroughly in earnest and ex-
cited about religion at particular seasons;
but she soon grewproud of what she con-
sidered her superior Christian attain-
ments; and, instead of seeing that, from
her natural temper, she needed more
watchfulness over her own heart than
many other girls did, she grew careless,
-depended upon her outward conduct,
76 SUSIE BELL.
that would make more show before the
world, and neglected to keep her heart
with all diligence." The consequence
was, that she was thoughtless and vain,
and was taking very little care to live
or appear in any way different from her
former self. Indeed, she tried to per-
suade herself that it would look like
hypocrisy to do so.
Julia was also very much flattered,
and equally injured, by the partiality of
the two reckless boys whom we have
mentioned, and often, unconsciously to
herself, but veryvisibly to others, showed
a decidedfondnessfortheirsociety. They
were noted in the school for their good
scholarship, their (so called) wit, and
their powers of mimicry; and, priding
themselves upon these qualities, they
felt at liberty to say and do very much
what they pleased. These boys often
said they liked Julia Dale because she
kept her religion to herself, and did not
trouble them with it ; but if they used
SUSIE BELL. 77
the Bible to help out a joke when Susie
Bell was near, she would always begin
with her-" Oh, boys, don't; it is so
wrong !" If she would only speak cross,
they said, or look sour or melancholy,
they could get on with it. But she
always seemed so grieved about it, and
was so kind to everybody and everything,
that they really had no heart to hurt
her feelings; and they owned that they
respected her, and really thought ten
times more highly of her than of Julia.
Julia saw how her example was work-
ing ill to others in the school, and the
contrast between herself and Susie rose
up to reproach her with her own guilty
departure from the Christian path. She
had a hard struggle to break the chains,
but she became deeply penitent for her
folly and sin, and once more returned to
her first love. But the bitterness of the
cup she had tasted always remained with
her as a warning never to think more
highly of herself than she ought to think,
78 SUSIE BELL.
and never to trust to her own strength,
or neglect to keep a close watch over
her wandering heart.
"Oh," said she to Susie one day, to
think of the bad example I set before
those boys, and before all the school,
makes me ashamed to look them in the
face And then the battle I had to break
away from them, and be a Christian be-
fore them: oh, I would not have to fight
it over again for all the world. If God
had not helped me, I never should have
Did Susie Bell find no kindred spirits in
the school withwhom she could take sweet
counsel? Yes, there were several such,-
some with more, and others with less of
Christian knowledge and constant devo-
tion to the service of Christ. They had
faults like other young people, but they
watched against them, and they tried to
avoid all the wrong, and do all the right
which they knew how to do. Though
there was some danger of thinking them-
SUSIE BELL. 79
selves better than others, and of having
a self-righteous spirit, yet even in this
respect they were kept in a humble and
meek temper of mind through the grace
of the Spirit.
Mrs. Acton's advice was of very great
service to them at this time, and also
the advice of their parents,-for some of
these girls had parents who were wise
and kind guides.
Many were the pleasant talks these
young persons enjoyed together that win-
ter. In these conferences Susie was glad
to sit as a learner. Father read us such
or such a good story last night: would
you not like to hear it ? or, explained
this or that chapter in the Bible to us;
and I can tell you now what it means;"
or, "Mother told us a pleasant tale this
morning," was the preface to many a
useful lesson imparted from the blessed
storehouse of home instruction to those
of the little circle who possessed no such
80 SUSIE BELL.
Among these was little Lucy Merwin,
whom we left long ago going home, and
thinking seriously about becoming a
Christian, like Susie Bell. She and
Susie had been much together, for their
path to the school-house was the samefor
a part of the way,-that is, from the
four corners at the top of the hill; and
here they often met in the morning and
parted at night. Susie and Lucy had
many gossips on their road, while the
two boys played at snowball. Kitty was
too young to go so far in winter, and
therefore it was her business to play
with Johnny at home; and this arrange-
ment left Susie more at leisure to enjoy
the walk with Lucy; and, by the bless-
ing of God on the example and efforts
of her little friends, the half-winter term
had not passed away before Lucy too
was found among the happy numberwho
had given their young hearts to Jesus.
Nor was the quiet, consistent exam-
ple of these Christian children lost upon
SUSIE BELL. 81
the boys of the school. Some of them
laughed at and derided them, but the
girls usually bore all their taunts with
silent patience. They made no display
of their piety, but quietly kept on their
way as if they heard none of their re-
vilings. It was only when they became
angry and quarrelsome that they sought
to reprove them. This was a source of
wonder to the rude boys, and it. had a
good effect. And thus, without doing
a single thing which could not be done
by any child, these little girls were
honouring their Saviour, and enjoying
the constant assurance of His love to
* IN YOUR PATIENCE POSSESS YE YOUR SOULS."
Luke xxi. 19.
N order to finish without inter-
ruption the story of the school-
days, we left Susie Bell, a long
time ago, parting sadly with Jennie
Bond on their way home from school.
Jennie lived so near the school-house
that she usually went home at noon;
and thus, except in very stormy days,
she joined in none of the little chats in
which the other girls took so much
pleasure; and at night she often hurried
home: so that, after that parting, Susie
saw less of her than ever before. That
night, after leaving her, Susie also hur-
ried on; for she had lingered much
longer than usual, and the boys had
reached home some time before her.
This, we must recollect, was in the
SUSIE BELL. 83
early part of winter. Here a new trial
of her fortitude awaited her.
Why did you not come on when we
did ?" shouted Dick, as she entered the
door. The baby worries all the time;
we cannot keep him still a minute; and
mother has scolded ever so much about
your being so late, and she has had so
much to do she has not begun to get
supper yet, and we are half starved."
The fire had nearly gone out in the
stove, the room was very cold, and little
Johnny was sitting on the floor, sur-
rounded by playthings of all sizes and
descriptions, from a stick of wood with
a hat on, down to a string of horn but-
tons. As soon as he saw Susie, he
burst into a new cry.
Yes, darling," said Susie, as she
threw off her cloak and hood and
eagerly snatched him from the floor,-
"yes, Susie will take poor Johnny: she
won't stop to warm her own fingers one
84 SUSIE BELL.
But, before she could possibly reach
the child, Willie was clamouring for
this thing, and Dick for the other; and,
to crown all, in came poor Kitty with a
bleeding finger, which must be washed
and done up, and complaining that
Susie ought to have been at home long
"Well, well," said Susie, in a plea-
sant tone, we must make the best of
it." And with a kind word to Kitty,
and despatching Dick for a rag and
Willie for a string, and telling a little
story to Kitty while she tied up the
wounded finger, quiet was soon restored,
and Susie started with the child in her
arms to go to the kitchen and receive,
as she supposed, a severe reproof. For-
tunately for her, however, the. door be-
tween the two rooms had been partly
open, and her father and mother, who
were both there, had heard all that
"Wife,"'aid the husband, "what a
SUSIE BELL. 85
girl our Susie is I don't believe there
is another such in town. How she has
changed from what she used to be !"
Therewas room enough for change,"
muttered the mother, who, though she
could not now find it even in her hard
heart to reproach Susie, was yet
too obstinate to give up all her ill-
"There is plenty of room for that in all
of us, I reckon," drily answered the
father, just as Susie entered the room,
saying, earnestly-" Oh, mother, I am
so sorry I stopped so long to talk with
Jennie Bond She almost always gets
away from the school-house before I get
Dickey's and Willie's caps and wraps
tied on, and I do not see her scarcely
a minute now-a-days; and I was care-
less, and did not think how late it was.
I will try not to trouble you so again.
I can finish doing that job for you now,
while you are getting supper, if you will
please to give it me."
86 SUSIE BELL.
But my top I tell you I want my
top now!" shouted Willie.
"Oh, yes-your top. That will not
take me a minute." And by the time
Mrs. Bell had arranged the fire, good
temper and Christian forbearance had
cured a host of troubles.
Susie," said her father to her as she
was passing him on her way to supper
(and he drew her, baby and all, into his
lap-a new place of late years for Susie),
" Susie, what has become of your old
She was fairly startled at the abrupt-
ness of the question; but she soon
answered, meekly,-" I hope, father,
that God is taking it away."
But what makes you take so much
pains now to cure it ?"
Why, father, you know it is sinful
to get angry: it offends God, and it
would grieve the Saviour, who has done
so much for me."
And it used to offend me, too ; but
SUSIE BELL. 87
you did not care for that: so it would
seem you love something else better
than you do your parents."
I do love Jesus; but, dear father, I
love you and mother also a great deal
better than I used to do."
Mr. Bell was silent. There yet re-
mained a hard heart in that sturdy
bosom which no child's loving words-
nothing but the power and grace of
God-could ever subdue. But he went
to the table, and soon after to his bed,
with thoughts in that heart which had
never found a lodgment there before.
"EVIL COMMUNICATIONS CORRUPT GOOD
MANNERS."-I Cor. xv. 33.
UT what of Susie's influence
upon the children ? and what
were their thoughts of her, and
what the benefit of her example ? Dick's
opinion of Susie's efforts for his good
may be gathered from a little incident
which occurred a few days before the
close of the winter school. As she came
to the school-house one morning early,
she found two little boys on the steps
fighting each other. Two larger boys
were looking on, one of whom was her
brother Dick, and the other a rough lad
belonging to a family which had lately
come into the village, and who was
cheering on the angry combatants to
a more desperate battle.
"Why, Dick what is all this
SUSIE BELL. 89
about ?" she cried. Dick was ashamed
to be caught thus by his peace-loving
sister, and he stole into the house, say-
ing, carelessly-" Oh, nothing but fun."
By this time Susie had separated the
two children, while John, the larger
boy, was ordering her to "let them
alone, and let them fight it out."
No," she said, firmly, and looking
him steadily in the eye; "no: it is
against the rules of the school; and it
is wrong, too; and still more wrong for
large boys to make little ones fight."
And she led the naughty boys who had
been fighting into the house, and talked
them into good nature.
At noon John said, sneeringly, to
Dick-" How I do pity you !"
"Pity me What for, pray ?"
"Because you have got one of those
hypocrites for a sister !"
Our Susie is no hypocrite !" retorted
"Yes, she is," said John; "they all
O9 SUSIE BELL.
are; and she torments the life out of
you. I know how it goes."
She does not do any such thing,"
"Then what does she do with her
religion, if she does not bother you
"Why, the truth is," said Dick, at-
tempting to parry John's sneers with
his own wit, she keeps it pretty much
all to doctor herself with, and only
gives me a pill or two when I am down-
right angry and need it awfully; and
then she sugars it over till it isn't bad
Well," said John, laughing, "I wish
old Uncle Peter that lives at our house
had some of her sort of medicine, then ;
for he is always pretending to be won-
derfully good himself, and then frets at
us children for everything, and goes
groaning about all the while as if he
was in misery; and if we play or make
a noise, he keeps telling us that we are
SUSIE BELL. g9
wasting our precious time, and that
when we are as old as he is we shall
wish we had spent it better. And I
thought they were all alike."
Oh, there are not many of them like
him : I think he is partly crazy. Susie
is not a bit like that: she plays with
us, and does not care for the noise, if it
is a good-natured noise."
What is her religion then?" inquired
Dick thought a minute, and then re-
plied-" I believe it is doing just right,
and so being happy herself, and trying
to help other people to do right and be
I declare, I believe I should like
Yes, yes; you would like it for other
folks well enough; but when you come
to try to live so yourself you will find
it quite another thing, I tell you. It is
not so easy as you think; for a fellow
likes to have his own way, and not have
92 SUSIE BELL.
to be always trying to please others.
For my part, I take care of number
one; and I guess you do too."
Then what do you suppose makes
her behave as she does ?"
"She says it is because she loves
God, and loves to please Him. And I
reckon it is that, for I do not see what
else it can be; she used to be so cross
and quarrelsome, but she does not act
like the same girl now."
The school-bell rang, and the boys
went to their places.
That day Susie had to go home from
school before night, because her parents
wished to be away on a visit. When
the boys came home she and Kitty had
the supper all ready for them, and had
done all they could to help forward the
little things they would have to do in
the absence of their father. After the
supper-dishes were washed and put in
their places, they all had a good time in
quiet play. And then Susie put Kitty
SUSIE BELL. 93
and Willie into their beds, and said an
evening hymn to them; and afterwards
she sat down with Dick to read.
By-and-bye she said-" Dick, I would
not go with that John much; I am
afraid he will make you think and act
as he does."
Then she thought she very seldom
had so good a time to talk seriously
with her brother, and that she ought to
improve it. At first the old feeling of
shame began to come over her; she
found herself trying to introduce the
subject by degrees; but this, she saw,
was only losing time, and so she came
resolutely to the point at once, saying
-" Now, Dick, let me ask you if do you
not think it is quite time for you to
become a Christian ?"
Dick seemed rather glad to have the
way opened, and said at once-" Yes, I
suppose so-if I could. But I do not
see that I can ever get to heaven; for
I cannot be good half a day at a time.
94 SUSIE BELL.
I have tried it ever so many times, and
it does not last long enough for anybody
to see it."
But, Dick, you are beginning at the
wrong end. It is not your good works
that can take you to heaven."
"What!" said Dick, in amazement;
"not be good, and go to heaven ? Can
anybody go there without being good ?"
"Not that either, exactly," replied
Susie; but I will try to tell you as well
as I can. You know Jesus Christ died
for our sins. He died that we might be
forgiven for His sake. And therefore it
is that a way is made for us to get to
heaven, for it is not by our own works we
can get there. We must be sorry that
we have sinned against Him; we must
give ourselves to Him, trust entirely in
Him, and love Him so much that we
shall do right because we love Him, and
love to do those things that please Him,
whether they are pleasant to ourselves
SUSIE BELL. 95
"But how can I make myself love
"You will never of yourself make
your heart love Him, or make your life
good; but you can ask Him to give you
His Holy Spirit, to renew your heart,
and to lead you into a life of piety. You
can pray to Him to make you one of
His dear children."
Dick grew very serious. Susie saw
he was thinking, and she said nothing
After a while the tramp of the
horse was heard. There was a warm,
clean room all ready for the cold
and weary travellers. Dick was up,
and, for once, was willing to help his
father unharness the horse in the
cold and dark; and Susie took little
Jemmy out of his wrappings, and had
him undressed and laid in his place in
the bed without waking him.
That night her prayers were more
than ever fervent and hopeful for her
96 SUSIE BELL.
brother; and all the other members of
the family went to sleep, thinking in
their hearts that there never was so
good a girl as our Susie," and that such
a religion as hers was worth all it cost
to obtain it.
LPWIN BROTHER PRINTERS, CHIL.VORTir A*D LONDON,
5 T3 L Z.