a &torg of
BENJAMIN THE CARELESS BOY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
BE WISE," "BE GOOD," Brc.
edited by daniel p. kidder
published by lane & scott,
fSk w lUBDlY-HCHOOI. UNION Of THE HCTHODDT STIMOfM
CBUBca, In MVLBIUIT-RmT. If
joiirR lonokino, histii. ^i,
Entered, according I11 Act of Congress, in the year I860, by 1. A HI SCO T T,
in the Clerk's Office of lite District Court of the Southern District of New-York.
Benjamin, the careless boy, was not unlike many little boys with whom we meet every day. It has been our misfortune to meet with but very few remarkably good children, and yet we are very far from feeling out of patience in this respect. We can say one thing for little children, and that is, they are more easily persuaded to be good than grown people are, so there is more hope for them; that is why they are exhorted to remember their Creator in the days
of their youth, and why the promise is given them, that if they seek the Lord early they shall find him. Little children who really want to become good, may be encouraged by reading the story of careless Benjamin. They will see that God is willing to help even a very bad child, when he tries to do right.
disobedience wrong punishment threatenedTBI
sri'cicil. inattentive HOY what johnny HEEDFUL
CHAPTER II. i mi.Mil .n's so i.s and bodies- me just [k> what we caj 18
the narrow escapetalk with the teacher ... 25
rainy nightsad feelingsthe long ACCOUNTWHO paid our debt.............*0
the well-spent sabbathgood children are frayino childrentalk with uncle davidlittle verses 48
disobedience-wrong punishment threatened-the schoolinattentive bov
-what johnny heedful thought.
Benjamin was a careless boy. He climbed upon the table, and knocked off what children called the shiny pitcher." It was a great pity, for this pitcher had outlived two generations, and was still good as new. You careless blockhead!" said uncle David, "you deserve to have your ears cropped; you have broken my grandmother's old pitcher."
"It aia't brake, neither;"and Benjamin picked it from the floor, and held it close to his eyes. It is only cracked."
" Cracked!" said aunt Beckey, coming into the room, "it is just as bad, you fried you ; and now, if I won't crack your head, will you promise not to climb upon the table in that way again ?"
" O, yes."
Careless Benjamin was always ready to promise ; for it was true of him, as of many such, that his carelessness did not end in smashing everything that came in his way. Well for him if it had. This is not always an obstinate disease; but
when children are careless of their word, careless whether their promises are broken or kept, good people feel anxious about them ; they know of only one remedy for a disease like that. We will tell you by and by what that remedy is. In this case Benjamin escaped with a sound head, (we wish that we could say the same of his heart,) and wore his own ears, uncropped, to school.
Now, it so happened that the teacher of that school boarded at uncle David's, and knew all about the accident; and as the children always read a chapter from the Bible at the commencement of the school, she selected for this morning's lesson the
twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes, which you know begins with the very reasonable command, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." Benjamin paid but little attention to the reading of God's word, or indeed to the reading of anything that was good. The boy had a Bible, and, like the other scholars, had it open before him; but it was generally upside down, and if he fixed his eyes upon the book, his thoughts were not there. Without minding what he was about, this careless boy would often do very awkward tricks,such as screwing his fingers into the tops of inkstands, and snapping them with a great noise, and a shower of ink.
THE CRACKED PITCHER. 18
The "teacher talked much to Benjamin, and sometimes thought best to punish him for his carelessness; but it seemed of no use. He grew worse and worse, and this was no wonder. Everybody grows worse and worse, who does not try to grow better and better; and those who would grow better must begin by thinking ; not thinking all manner of foolish thoughts, that do not in anywise concern us; but thinking wisely of the present time, how we can best improve it; how much we can learn moment by moment: for it is a truth, my little reader, that God sends a lesson with every moment of your life; and the child who allowM-
his mind to wander in idle thought loses many a lesson which he needs to learn. Thus was it with careless Benjamin.
" Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." Thus read Johnny Heedful, and thought, as he read, "How sad a thing it would be to forget God until the time of old age." .. Susan read," While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain."
" That is the tiaiA" thought Johnny. "While I ana m my life's morn-
the cracked pitcher. 15
ing, while I am well and strong, while I can hear the voice of instruction, that is the time to remember my Creator ; remember that I was made for something; something good and noble : made to bless the world by being useful; and made to live when this world has passed away, and tIk; light of the sun. and the moon, and the stars, shall go out." Thus thought Johnny Heedful.
But of what was careless Benjamin thinking? There he sat, his Bible open, and his eyes resting upon the holy page. But where were his thoughts? He was thinking whether it would be best to go after school down to Cave Hill, and play
16 THE CRACKED PITCHER.
in the sand, or over to the saw-mill pond" after lilies, or down to Saco river, and see the stringers of the new bridge.
"It is true," thought Benjamin, "that uncle David told me not to go near the river again, and if I did that he would break every bone in my skin, but then he won't; and if he did, why he'd be hung, so I should get my pay back again." In this way the careless boy lost verse after verse of the morning lesson; and when Charley, who sat next him, read, Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain," he was near calling out, that it was not broken, only cracked. He had forgotten where he was, and
only came back in his thoughts to school long enough to ask Charley to find his place for him, and to read rapidly, and without attention, the solemn words, Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.-'
Children who are determined to act foolishly are objects of pity, and Benjamin's teacher really pitied him. "He might be a good boy," she would say to herself; he knows better than to do wrong; but what can be done? he won't try." This was very discouraging.
There are many persons in the world who do not mind taking a
18 the cracked titciikr.
great deal of trouble with children, if they will only trytry to learn and to understand, and to do right; but little boys and girls who won't try, will find themselves, at the last, in a sad case; for the great (Jod himself does not promise to help people without they try.
children's otjl8 and bodies we must do what we can.
Perhaps my little readers would like to know more about Benjamin, who he was, and where he lived. The careless boy was an orphan, and lived with two old people, who were known as uncle David and aunt Beckey. They had no children of
their own, so they took Benjamin for their boy, and most people thought it a very good chance for him. It is true, that the little boy was sometimes threatened with having his ears cropped, and his head cracked, and his bones broken ; but then he had no idea that such a thing ever would happen to him. He generally managed to do as he pleased; and some little boys and girls, who had careful parents, who insisted on being obeyed, thought that Benjamin was a lucky fellow, and that it could be no great misfortune to lose a father and mother, provided they could find such a home as Benjamin had.
What does the little reader think about it? Was the orphan boy to be envied ?
The old people took care that he had plenty of food; he was even allowed to select what he pleased from the table; and often, in doing this, throw down tlx1 dishes, and overturned the salt-cellar, and the eollee-pot, and dipped his sleeves into the gravy, and put his elbow into somebody's cup, and performed many other curious antics, equally edifying.
The old people took care that Benjamin had plenty of good clothes; but he was never a tidy-looking boy. In spite of all aunt Beckey's care he
THE CRACKED PITCnER. 21
would be ragged and dirty. But still the old people kept him, and took great pains to make him comfortable. That was kind, certainly; and if little boys and girls had no souls, this would be doing enough for them. But then my little readers know that children lun-r souls, and they, above everything else, should be cared tor. We are grieved to see any poor body cold, and hungry, and ragged; but this is not so sad a thing as to know that the soul is poor and neglected, vile and sinful; because you know that the soul is to live forever. When a few more days are gone, our bodies will be laid in the grave, and there they will molder
away, and mingle with the dust.
But the soul will live while God
lives; and the Bible says that He is
without beginning or end of days.
So we see that Benjamin needed a
care which be bad not.
It is kind to give poor children a comfortable home, and food and clothing suited to their wants; but it is not kind to allow them to do wrong, nor is it kind to threaten them with punishments which it would be cruel to inflict. But, above all, it is not kind to set a little boy or girl the dreadful example of lying, by saying what they know we don't mean.
So thought Benjamin's teacher; but she did not think it best to make
PAGE NOT AVAILABLE FOR SCANNING
PAGE NOT AVAILABLE FOR SCANNING
PAGE NOT AVAILABLE FOR SCANNING
only threatened him with a
ping for the next time, that he would
not get over to the day of his death.
The next morning Benjamin got up with a sore throat, and a pain in his head, and the kind old people were near to givyig up their journey, because they feared that the boy was going to bo sick ; but the teacher promised to look after him while they were gone, and not allow him to go out when it was cold and damp. It is quite a task to look after a careless child, and thus the teacher found it. Benjamin was not a boy to be trusted, and so it was necessary to watch him continually, just as you would watch a dishonest dog, v ,
"Rie Saturday afternoon was cold and rainy, just such an afternoon as would be likely to seem very long t6 a restless, unthinking boy, like Benjamin. The teacher tried many ways to amuse him, but it was of no use. He wandered about from room to room, went down cellar, and then up garret ; at last ihe teacher beard him at aunt Beckey's china closet. Benjamin Benjamin !" said she, come away directly; you are climbing upon the shelves, and will break something."
" No I ain't," said Benjamin. But he was; one foot was on the lower shelf, and the other upon the back of a chair; presently the chair slipped
the cracked pitcher. 29
and down came the boy, who, in falling, knocked the same shiny pitcher from the shelf, and broke it into many pieces. Now," said the teacher, "don't you think that you are a very wicked, troublesome boy?"
" Why," replied Benjamin, crawling out from the closet upon his hands and knees, 1 don't know as I am; I've only broke that old cracked pitcher."
Teacher. And pray, who cracked the pitcher ?
Benjamin. Why I, to be sure; but that was not much: it looked just as well after it was cracked as it did before.
T. And how does it look now ?
30 the cracked pitcher.
B. Why it looks at its own nose. But there's no use in crying about it; it was cracked, you know.
T. That is true. And now, if you will come and sit down quietly by the fire, I will tell you in what respect you are like that unfortunate pitcher.
H. Well. I will ; but I don't see bow you are a-going to make it out.
T. You thought it but a small thing, Benjamin, to merely crarlc the pitcher: you said that it looked as well as before; and yet, after it is broken, you say it is no matter, it is only an old cracked pitcher.
B. Certainly, ma'am; it isn't so bad to crack a thing as to break it; and it
the cracked pitcher. 31
ain't so bad to break a cracked thing as a whole one : so the whole concern isn't so bad as it might have been.
T. J don't know, Benjamin, how the thing could be any worse. The simple act of breaking a pitcher, if that were all. would not be accounted a sin in tin' sight of (led.
H. Guess not; guess he don't mind such little things as that ere.
T. Yes he does, Benjamin; he not only minds things little as that, but he notices what IN do not always notice. A little boy climbs upon the table, and, in so doing, destroys something valuable. He is blamed severely, and according to the value
of the article destroyed. His friends are displeased with him; so is the great God. Not because a useful article is destroyed, but because the little boy is disobedient. He has commanded children to obey their parents, and all others who have the care of them; and when a child breaks that command it is a sin ; and it is written down in God's book, and remains there until it is repented of and forgiven.
B. Do you think that they wrote anything against me when I cracked the pitcher?
T. Yes, Benjamin, I have no doubt of it. You disobeyed the kind friends who have taken good care of you
ever since your mother died. You knew that it was wrong to do so; but I'm afraid that you did not think that God's eye was upon you.
B. No, I didn't; but if they thought it worth while to set that down in the book, guess they've got more; for that wa'nt the first time I wouldn't mind, not by a long chalk. But do you suppose anything was wrote down when I broke the pitcher ?
T. Yes, Benjamin, something more dreadful than disobedience.
B. What was it ? I only smashed the pitcher.
T. Was that all? What did you say when I asked you if you were climbing upon the shelves ?
B. I said I wasn't; so I 'spose a lie was wrote down against me ?
T. Yes; and what is to become of liars 1
B. I know wbat you said about it in school t'other day.
T. T told the children what the Bible said about it. Benjamin ; and the Bible is tin1 word of (!od. Now, my little boy. what do you think would become of you, if you were to die to-night ?
B. Well, I don't know, ma'am; I hope I shan't.
T. I hope so too. It is an awful thing for a careless boy to fall suddenly into eternity. You say that chmbing upon the table was not your
THE CRACKED PITCHER. 85
first disobedience, by a long chalk; you said that carelessly, my little boy, but it gave me a very serious thought. If your long chalk means anything, it means a long account; and now think of a long account written down in God's book against a little boy like youdisobedience, lying, carelessness in everything and then think of being called to meet that account. What could you say, Benjamin ?
B. I don't know, ma'am. I don't want to talk or think about it; so please tell me how I am like the cracked pitcher.
" You thought it a small thing," said the teacher, "merely to crack
36 THE CItACKED PITCHER.
the pitcher. The injury was not seen, so it looked as well as before; yet you soon saw how the value of the article was lessened, and with how little regret you could destroy a thing already injured. Thus, my poor boy, will it be with your immortal mind, unless you speedily stop and think. in the eyes of (!od we cannot lessen the value of the soul; to him it is worth more than the universe. Hut in our own eyes, Benjamin, and in the eyes of the world, we may make the soul an almost worthless thing. It was only yesterday, you know, that poor Boyington was drowned. He was drunk, and ran his raft of bricks over the Falls.
the cracked pitcher. 87
What did the men say who drew the poor creature from the water, and. laid him cold and stiff into the boat?"
B. They said it was time for him to die ; that he was a worthless fellow, and of no use in the /world. I suppose be was like the old cracked pitcher.
T. Yes; he had made himself like a useless vessel. Yet the time has been when he might have been a vessel unto honor, fitted for his Master's use: that means, Benjamin, that he might have made himself what God meant him to be, a good man, useful to the world, and fit to live in heaven.
B. And how do you suppose he
went to work to make himself such a miserable fellow?
T. I don't suppose that be went to work at all. It is most probable that he was careless about his precious soul, which was made to live forever. You know, Benjamin, that the farmer is obliged to take great pains with his land, if he would have it fruitful ; but supposing he were to do nothing, what would come of themselves ?
B. Weeds, and nettles, and all manner of bramble-bushes.
T. Yes; and so it is with the mind. All good in us must be carefully guarded, or it will not grow. Children must try hard; they must
take hold of all good things in earnest, and remember, for their encouragement, that every good principle planted in the heart, and growing there, will root out many evil weeds.
B. I suppose that God helps the little boys that try, don't he \
V. Certainly he dors. None of us can ilo anything without him-15nt if we don't try. Benjamin, if we are careless, and learn nothing, as our days pass away, the mind, all uncultivated, will at last be overrun with evil weeds. The little boy is disobedient, or tells lies, or in some other way injures his soul; he may think it a small thing: he may look as well as before, and for a time
40 the cracked pitcher.
people will see no change for the worse; but still it is true that he is ruining his soul: and, by and by, when he is cut off in his sins, people will say, It is no great matter, he was a worthless fellow."
RAINY NIGHT SA1> FELLINGS THE LONG ACCOUNT-WHO PAID OUR DEBT '
It was now Benjamin's bed-time, so he bade the teacher good night, and went to his own room. It was a dark, gloomy night; the rain pattered against his window, and the wind made sad music, as it whistled about the house. The little boy had never felt so sad before. "Heigh-ho!"
said he, as he undressed himself, if this comes of thinking I shall stop that business. Uncle David hasn't broken my bones yet; but the teacher thinks, that if I don't look out I shall be worse oft' than the cracked pitcher. What shall I do? I remember now, how they read this morning about tlx' pitcher being broken at the fountain, and then the spirit should return to God who gave it; that means dying. What if I should die to-night ? I am sick, and may! But what about that long account ?"
Benjamin tried to think of something else, but it was of no use; he rolled from side to side of his bed, and his head ached worse and worse.
42 the cracked pitcher.
At last he thought that he would try to reckon the account himself. First, he would call to mind the lies that he had told; he remembered a great many, but something whispered to his heart, and told him that he bad not reckoned half that were registered against him in God's book. I won't try,'thought Benjamin; "Iain sure that there is not another boy in town who has run up such an account as that." Then he felt so uncomfortable that he began to cry.
Just then the teacher came to his room with some herb tea, and a flannel to put around his sore throat. She saw that the poor boy was crying, and felt afraid that he was much
worse. I will make a cot for you, Benjamin," said she, kindly, close beside my bed. Don't cry ; I will do what I can to make you feel better, poor boy."
Benjamin did not tell her why he cried, but he was very glad that he was not to sleep in that gloomy room alone; and as she went to prepare his bed. he thought how kind she was, and how much trouble he had caused her. Then he thought of the old people," who for so long a time had taken care of a little boy not their own, and what a naughty boy he had been. They are good," thought Benjamin, or they would have turned me out of doors long
ago;" and then Benjamin thought of God, and almost wondered why he had allowed him to live so long. God is good," said the little boy; and be began to feel really sorry that he bad ever olfcnded him.
When the teacher had placed him in his comfortable little cot beside her bed, and sat down with her work by the lire, Benjamin thought that he could go to sleep, but he could not; he soon became as restless as before.
" Don't you feel any better ?" said the teacher.
Benjamin felt that his head was a little better; but somehow he felt bad, very bad, about that long account.
The teacher was not sorry that this was the cause of his bad feelings.
My little readers who understand how necessary it is for us to be sorry for our sins, will not wonder at this. The good, kind angels, rejoice when we repent, though they know that we sutler pain ; and all good people upon earth, though they pity the sinner, arc glad to see him sorry for his sins. Perhaps they would not be, if they were not sure that God would forgive them; but they are sure of this: and so the teacher told Benjamin that perhaps his long account might be settled then.
" O, no," the little boy was sure that she had no idea of its length,
"I must be good a great while," said Benjamin, "before that can be paid."
The teacher then told him that nobody could pay such debts by being good, or in any other way. That Jesus Christ paid the sinner's dreadful debt, when he suffered for us upon the cross; and when we were sorry for our sins, and willing to forsake them, then the long account against us is blotted out for Jesus' sake.
This was glad news to the poor boy. He didn't really understand how it was to be done, but he felt sure that she would not deceive him.
The teacher was somewhat afraid
that Benjamin was only frightend and not penitent; so she tried to help him in looking over that long account. This was no very pleasant work. The little boy had no idea that he had been so bad; but when the teacher told him that God sees the heart more wicked and defiled than we can possibly see it, he felt discouraged, and began to cry again. The teacher felt very sure that tears would not pay his debt, so she told him to be quiet, and while she should kneel beside his bed, and pray for him, he must try to give his heart to God. Benjamin did try, and felt a little better. He was not quite sure that the long account was settled, but
.(. CRACKED riTCriER.
((T ~ noped that something was done towards it, and after a time he went to sleep.
the well-spent saiibatiigood children auk praying children-talk with uncle david little verses.
Tin: next day was the holy Sabbath. The sun arose bright and beautiful, as though there had never been cjpuds and storms. Benjamin felt pretty well on this lovely morning. He sat down to the table, and ate his breakfast quietly, as any boy will do who remembers that he has a soul; and after breakfast read a chapter from the Bible, and joined his teach-
the cracked titciieb. 49
er iii prayer. This bright, pleasant Sabbath, was the beginning of better days with Benjamin. For the first time in his life, the little boy listened attentively to the preaching of the gospel; and wri^n that blessed day was gone, he could have said that be had made a Sabbath-day's journey towards Mount Zion.
" how sweet n siimmmb thus to spend, in hope of one that ne'er shall end."
Some of my little readers may like to know if Benjamin became all at once a careful, conscientious boy. No, my dears; bad habits are not broken in a day. If they were, we might feel less regret that they should be formed. Benjamin often did
wrong, even after that night of sorrow, and that bright, sweet Sabbath, so wisely spent; but as he had begun to remember his Creator," and was desirous of becoming a good boy, and doing right, \ve belfSve that the Holy Spirit renewed his heart, and at last made the right way easy tor him. I should nut feel myself at liberty to tell all that Benjamin told me about it; but I judged, from what he said, that after having been careless so long, he found it very hard to think and act rightly. I felt very sure that Benjamin never could have over-come these sinful habits without help; and the very feet that he had at last become a good boy, showed
The old people, uncle David and aunt Beckey, thought a great deal of the shiny pitcher, even after it was broken ; for they said that it was the first careless trick that Benjamin was sorry for. But it was not the last. The little boy talked with the old man about the kind of punishments that he had threatened, and at last convinced him, that if it were wrong to crop a boy's ears, and crack his head, and break his bones, it was equally wrong to threaten so.
Good children are a great blessing to the world; and we are happy to tell you that careless Benjamin became
a blessing^y becoming good. And this, my dear little reader, is by the grace of God coming even to children, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
" Wand'rers from the fold of God
From our childhood wc have hecn ; Choosing first the downward road,
Loving l>r-t the path- of -in.
Willi a LT'inl winning voire.
j. -il- i all- u- while we stray, And to little girls and hoys
Shows the Christian's narrow way.
" Help us, LopI, to walk therein; Save us in our evil day : Leave as not to paths of sin ;
Help us, guide us, Lord, we pray."