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´╗┐Title: The Child at Home - The Principles of Filial Duty, Familiarly Illustrated
Author: Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot), 1805-1877
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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and History (HEARTH). Ithaca, NY: Albert R. Mann Library,
Cornell University. http://hearth.library.cornell.edu







Author Of "The Mother At Home."

Published By The

American Tract Society

150 Nassau-Street New-York.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1833, by CROCKER and
BREWSTER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of

Right of publishing transferred to American Tract Society.


This book is intended for the children of those families to which The
Mother at Home has gone. It is prepared with the hope that it may
exert an influence upon the minds of the children, in exciting
gratitude for their parents' love, and in forming characters which
shall ensure future usefulness and happiness.

The book is intended, not for entertainment, but for solid
instruction. I have endeavored, however, to present instruction in an
attractive form, but with what success, the result alone can tell. The
object of the book will not be accomplished by a careless perusal. It
should be read by the child, in the presence of the parent, that the
parent may seize upon the incidents and remarks introduced, and thus
deepen the impression.

Though the book is particularly intended for children, or rather for
young persons, it is hoped that it will aid parents in their efforts
for moral and religious instruction.

It goes from the author with the most earnest prayer, that it may
save some parents from blighted hopes, and that it may allure many
children to gratitude, and obedience, and heaven.


Worcester December, 1833.


Chapter I.

RESPONSIBILITY.--The Police Court. The widow and her daughter.
Effect of a child's conduct upon the happiness of its parents. The
young sailor. The condemned pirate visited by his parents.
Consequences of disobedience. A mother's grave. The sick child. . .7

Chapter II.

DECEPTION.--George Washington and his hatchet.--Consequences of
deception. Temptations to deceive. Story of the child sent on an
errand. Detection. Anecdote. The dying child. Peace of a dying hour
disturbed by falsehood previously uttered. Various ways of
deceiving. Thoughts on death. Disclosures of the judgment day. . .28

Chapter III.

OBEDIENCE.--Firmness requisite in doing duty. The irresolute boy. The
girl and the green apples. Temptations. Evening party. Important
consequences resulting from slight disobedience. The state prison.
History of a young convict. Ingratitude of disobedience. The soldier's
widow and her son. Story of Casabianca. Cheerful obedience.
Illustration. Parental kindness. . .46

Chapter IV.

OBEDIENCE, continued.--The moonlight game. Reasons why good parents
will not allow their children to play in the streets in the evening.
The evening walk. The terrified girl, Instance of filial affection.
Anecdote. Strength of a mother's love. The child's entire dependence.
A child rescued from danger. Child lost in the prairie.. .71

Chapter V.

RELIGIOUS TRUTH.--Human character. The Northern Voyagers. Imaginary
scene in a court of justice. Love of God. Scene from Shakspeare.
Efforts to save us. The protection of angels. The evening party. The
dissolute son. A child lost in the woods. The sufferings of the
Savior. The Holy Spirit. . .94

Chapter VI.

PIETY.--Penitence. Charles Bullard. His good character in school. In
college. The pious boy. The orchard. The fishing-rod. The forgiving
spirit. How children may do good. The English clergyman and the child
who gave himself to the Savior. The happy sick boy. The Christian
child in heaven. Uncertainty of life. The loaded gun. The boy in the
stage-coach. . .119

Chapter VII.

TRAITS OF CHARACTER.--We cannot be happy without friends. Why scholars
are unpopular in school. The way to gain friends. The warm fire.
Playing ball. Recipe for children who would be loved. A bad temper.
Amiable disposition to be cultivated. The angry man. Humility. The
vain young lady. Vanity always ridiculous. The affected school girl.
The unaffected schoolgirl. Story of the proud girl. Moral courage.
The duellist. The three school-boys. George persuaded to throw the
snow-ball. What would have been real moral courage. The boy leaving
home, His mother's provisions for his comfort. The parting. His
father's counsel. His reflections in the stage-coach. He consecrates
himself to his Maker. . .347




In large cities there are so many persons guilty of crimes, that it
is necessary to have a court sit every day to try those who are
accused of breaking the laws. This court is called the Police Court.
If you should go into the room where it is held, you would see the
constables bringing in one after another of miserable and wicked
creatures, and, after stating and proving their crimes, the judge
would command them to be led away to prison. They would look so
wretched that you would be shocked in seeing them.

One morning a poor woman came into the Police Court in Boston. Her
eyes were red with weeping, and she seemed to be borne down with
sorrow. Behind her followed two men, leading in her daughter.

"Here, sir," said a man to the judge, "is a girl who conducts so
badly that her mother cannot live with her, and she must be sent to
the House of Correction."

"My good woman," said the judge, "what is it that your daughter does
which renders it so uncomfortable to live with her?"

"Oh, sir," she replied, "it is hard for a mother to accuse her own
daughter, and to be the means of sending her to the prison. But she
conducts so as to destroy all the peace of my life. She has such a
temper, that she sometimes threatens to kill me, and does every thing
to make my life wretched."

The unhappy woman could say no more. Her heart seemed bursting with
grief, and she wept aloud. The heart of the judge was moved with pity,
and the bystanders could hardly refrain from weeping with this
afflicted mother. But there stood the hard-hearted girl, unmoved. She
looked upon the sorrows of her parent in sullen silence. She was so
hardened in sin, that she seemed perfectly insensible to pity or
affection. And yet she was miserable. Her countenance showed that
passion and malignity filled her heart, and that the fear of the
prison, to which she knew she must go, filled her with rage.

The judge turned from the afflicted mother, whose sobs filled the
room, and, asking a few questions of the witnesses, who testified to
the daughter's ingratitude and cruelty, ordered her to be led away to
the House of Correction. The officers of justice took her by the arm,
and carried her to her gloomy cell. Her lonely and sorrowing mother
went weeping home to her abode of penury and desolation. Her own
daughter was the viper which had stung her bosom. Her own child was
the wretch who was filling her heart with sorrow.

And while I now write, this guilty daughter is occupying the gloomy
cell of the prison, and this widowed mother is in her silent
dwelling, in loneliness and grief! Oh, could the child who reads
these pages, see that mother and that daughter now, you might form
some feeble idea of the consequences of disobedience; you might see
how unutterable the sorrow a wicked child may bring upon herself and
upon her parents. It is not easy, in this case, to judge which is the
most unhappy, the mother or the child. The mother is broken-hearted
at home. She is alone and friendless. All her hopes are most cruelly
destroyed. She loved her daughter, and hoped that she would live to
be her friend and comfort. But instead of that, she became her curse,
and is bringing her mother's gray hairs in sorrow to the grave. And
then look at the daughter--guilty and abandoned--Oh, who can tell how
miserable she must be!

Such is the grief which children may bring upon themselves and their
parents. You probably have never thought of this very much I write
this book that you may think of it, and that you may, by obedience
and affection, make your parents happy, and be happy yourselves.

This wicked girl was once a playful child, innocent and happy. Her
mother looked upon her with most ardent love, and hoped that her dear
daughter would live to be her companion and friend. At first she
ventured to disobey in some trifling thing. She still loved her
mother, and would have been struck with horror at the thought of
being guilty of crimes which she afterwards committed. But she went
on from bad to worse, every day growing more disobedient, until she
made her poor mother so miserable that she almost wished to die, and
till she became so miserable herself, that life must have been a
burden. You think, perhaps, that you never shall be so unkind and
wicked as she finally became. But if you begin as she began, by
trifling disobedience, and little acts of unkindness, you may soon be
as wicked as she, and make your parents as unhappy as is her poor
broken-hearted mother.

Persons never become so very wicked all at once. They go on from step
to step, in disobedience and ingratitude, till they lose all feeling,
and can see their parents weep, and even die in their grief, without a

Perhaps, one pleasant day, this mother sent her little daughter to
school. She took her books, and walked along, admiring the beautiful
sunshine, and the green and pleasant fields. She stopped one moment
to pick a flower, again to chase a butterfly, and again to listen to
a little robin, pouring out its clear notes upon the bough of some
lofty tree. It seemed so pleasant to be playing in the fields, that
she was unwilling to go promptly to school. She thought it would not
be very wrong to play a little while. Thus she commenced. The next
day she ventured to chase the butterflies farther, and to rove more
extensively through the field in search of flowers. And as she played
by the pebbles in the clear brook of rippling water, she forgot how
fast the time was passing. And when she afterwards hastened to
school, and was asked why she was so late, to conceal her fault she
was guilty of falsehood, and said that her mother wanted her at home.
Thus she advanced, rapidly in crime. Her lessons were neglected. She
loved the fields better than her book, and would often spend the
whole morning idle, under the shade of some tree, when her mother
thought her safe in school. Having thus become a truant and a
deceiver, she was prepared for any crimes. Good children would not
associate with her, and consequently she had to choose the worst for
her companions and her friends. She learned wicked language; she was
rude and vulgar in her manners; she indulged ungovernable passion;
and at last grew so bad, that when her family afterwards removed to
the city, the House of Correction became her ignominious home. And
there she is now, guilty and wretched. And her poor mother, in her
solitary dwelling, is weeping over her daughter's disgrace. Who can
comfort such a mother? Where is there any earthly joy to which she
can look?

Children generally do not think how much the happiness of their
parents depends upon their conduct. But you now see how very unhappy
you can make them. And is there a child who reads this book, who
would be willing to be the cause of sorrow to his father and his
mother? After all they have done for you, in taking care of you when
an infant, in watching over you when sick, in giving you clothes to
wear, and food to eat, can you be so ungrateful as to make them
unhappy? You have all read the story of the kind man, who found a
viper lying upon the ground almost dead with cold. He took it up and
placed it in his bosom to warm it, and to save its life. And what did
that viper do? He killed his benefactor! Vile, vile reptile! Yes! as
soon as he was warm and well, he stung the bosom of his kind
preserver, and killed him.

But that child, is a worse viper, who, by his ingratitude, will
sting the bosoms of his parents; who, by disobedience and unkindness,
will destroy their peace, and thus dreadfully repay them for all
their love and care. God will not forget the sins of such a child.
His eye will follow you to see your sin, and his arm will reach you
to punish. He has said, Honor your father and your mother. And the
child who does not do this, must meet with the displeasure of God,
and must be for ever shut out from heaven. Oh, how miserable must
this wicked girl now be, locked up in the gloomy prison! But how much
more miserable will she be when God calls her to account for all her
sins!--when, in the presence of all the angels, the whole of her
conduct is brought to light, and God says to her, "Depart from me, ye
cursed!" As she goes away from the presence of the Lord, to the
gloomy prisons of eternal despair, she will then feel a degree of
remorse which I cannot describe to you. It is painful to think of it.
Ah, wretched, wretched girl! Little are you aware of the woes you are
preparing for yourself. I hope that no child who reads these pages
will ever feel these woes.

You have just read that it is in your power to make your parents very
unhappy; and you have seen how unhappy one wicked girl made her poor
mother. I might tell you many such melancholy stories, all of which
would be true. A few years ago there was a boy who began to be
disobedient to his parents in little things. But every day he grew
worse, more disobedient and wilful, and troublesome. He would run away
from school, and thus grew up in ignorance. He associated with bad
boys, and learned to swear and to lie, and to steal. He became so bad
that his parents could do nothing with him. Every body who knew him,
said, "That boy is preparing for the gallows." He was the pest of the
neighborhood. At last he ran away from home, without letting his
parents know that he was going. He had heard of the sea, and thought
it would be a very pleasant thing to be a sailor. But nothing is
pleasant to the wicked. When he came to the sea-shore, where there
were a large number of ships, it was some time before any one would
hire him, because he knew nothing about a ship or the sea. There was
no one there who was his friend, or who pitied him, and he sat down
and cried bitterly, wishing he was at home again, but ashamed to go
back. At last a sea captain came along, and hired him to go on a
distant voyage; and as he knew nothing about the rigging of a vessel,
he was ordered to do the most servile work on board. He swept the
decks and the cabin, and helped the cook, and was the servant of all.
He had the poorest food to eat he ever ate in his life. And when
night came, and he was so tired that he could hardly stand, he had no
soft bed upon which to lie, but could only wrap a blanket around him,
and throw himself down any where to get a little sleep. This unhappy
boy had acquired so sour a disposition, and was so disobliging, that
all the sailors disliked him, and would do every thing they could to
teaze him. When there was a storm, and he was pale with fear, and the
vessel was rocking in the wind, and pitching over the waves, they
would make him climb the mast, and laugh to see how terrified he was,
as the mast reeled to and fro, and the wind almost blew him into the
raging ocean. Often did this poor boy get into some obscure part of
the ship, and weep as he thought of the home he had forsaken. He
thought of his father and mother, how kind they had been to him, and
how unkind and ungrateful he had been to them, and how unhappy he had
made them by his misconduct. But these feelings soon wore away.
Familiarity with sea life gave him courage, and he became inured to
its hardships. Constant intercourse with the most profligate and
abandoned, gave strength and inveteracy to his sinful habits; and
before the voyage had terminated, he was reckless of danger, and as
hardened and unfeeling as the most depraved on board the ship. This
boy commenced with disobedience in little things, and grew worse and
worse, till he forsook his father and his mother, and was prepared
for the abandonment of every virtue, and the commission of any crime.
But the eye of God was upon him, following him wherever he went, and
marking all his iniquities. An hour of retribution was approaching.
It is not necessary for me to trace out to you his continued steps of
progress in sin. When on shore, he passed his time in haunts of
dissipation. And several years rolled on in this way, he growing more
hardened, and his aged parents, in their loneliness, weeping over the
ruin of their guilty and wandering son.

One day an armed vessel sailed into one of the principal ports of the
United States, accompanied by another, which had been captured. When
they arrived at the wharf, it was found that the vessel taken was a
pirate. Multitudes flocked down upon the wharf to see the pirates as
they should be led off to the prison, there to await their trial. Soon
they were brought out of the ship, with their hands fastened with
chains, and led through the streets. Ashamed to meet the looks of
honest men, and terrified with the certainty of condemnation and
execution, they walked along with downcast eyes and trembling limbs.
Among the number was seen the unhappy and guilty boy, now grown to
be a young man, whose history we are relating. He was locked up in
the dismal dungeon of a prison. The day of trial came. Pale and
trembling; he was brought before the judge. He was clearly proved
guilty, and sentenced to be hung. Again he was carried back to his
prison, there to remain till the hour for his execution should
arrive. News was sent to his already broken-hearted parents, that
their son had been condemned as a pirate, and was soon to be hung.
The tidings was almost too much for them to endure. In an agony of
feeling which cannot be described, they wept together. They thought
of the hours of their child's infancy, when they watched over him in
sickness, and soothed him to sleep. They thought how happy they felt
when they saw the innocent smile play upon his childish cheek. They
thought of the joy they then anticipated in his opening years, and of
the comfort they hoped he would be to them in their declining days.
And now to think of him, a hardened criminal, in the murderer's
cell!-- Oh, it was too much, too much for them to bear. It seemed as
though their hearts would burst. Little did they think, when, with
so much affection they caressed their infant child, that he would be
the curse of their life, embittering all their days, and bringing
down their gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Little did they
think, that his first trifling acts of disobedience would lead on to
such a career of misery and of crime, But the son was sentenced to
die, and the penalty of the law could not be avoided. His own remorse
and his parents' tears could be of no avail. Agonizing as it would be
to their feelings, they felt that they must go and see their son
before he should die.

One morning, a gray-headed man, and an aged and infirm woman, were
seen walking along, with faltering footsteps, through the street which
led to the prison. It was the heart-broken father and mother of this
unnatural child. When they came in sight of the gloomy granite walls
and iron-grated windows of this dreary abode, they could hardly
proceed, so overwhelming were the feelings which pressed upon their
minds. When arrived at the door of the prison, the aged father,
supporting upon his arm the weeping and almost fainting mother, told
the jailer who they were, and requested permission to see their son.
Even the jailer, accustomed as he was to scenes of suffering, could
not witness this exhibition of parental grief without being moved to
tears. He led the parents through the stone galleries of the prison,
till they came to the iron door of the cell in which their son was
confined. As he turned the key with all his strength, the heavy bolt
flew back, and he opened the door of the cell. Oh, what a sight for a
father and a mother to gaze upon! There was just enough light in this
gloomy abode to show them their son, sitting in the corner on the
stone floor, pale and emaciated, and loaded with chains. The moment
the father beheld the pallid features of his long-absent son, he
raised his hands in the agony of his feelings, and fell fainting at
his feet. The mother burst into loud exclamations of grief, as she
clasped her son, guilty and wretched as he was, to her maternal
bosom. Oh, who can describe this scene! Who can conceive the anguish
which wrung the hearts of these afflicted parents! And it was their
own boy, whom they had loved and cherished, who had brought all this
wo upon them. I cannot describe to you the scene which ensued. Even
the very jailer could not bear it, and he wept aloud. At last he was
compelled to tear the parents away; and it was agonizing indeed to
leave their son in such a situation, soon to be led to an ignominious
death. They would gladly have staid and died with their guilty child.
But it was necessary that they should depart; and, the jailer having
closed the door and turned the massive bolt, they left the unhappy
criminal in his cell. Oh, what would he have given, again to be
innocent and free! The parents returned to their home, to weep by day
and by night, and to have the image of their guilty son disturbing
every moment of peace, and preventing the possibility of joy. The day
of execution soon arrived, and their son was led to the gallows, and
launched into eternity. And, crimsoned with guilt, he went to the
bar of God, there to answer for all the crimes of which he had been
guilty, and for all the woes he had caused.

You see, then, how great are your responsibilities as a child. You
have thought, perhaps, that you have no power over your parents, and
that you are not accountable for the sorrow which your conduct may
cause them. Think you that God will hold this child guiltless for all
the sorrow he caused his father and his mother? And think you God will
hold any child guiltless, who shall, by his misconduct, make his
parents unhappy? No. You must answer to God for every thing you do,
which gives your parents pain. And there is no sin greater in the
sight of God than that of an ungrateful child, I have shown you, in
the two illustrations which you have just read, how much the
happiness of your parents depends upon your conduct. Every day you
are promoting their joy or their sorrow. And every act of
disobedience, or of ingratitude, however trifling it may appear to
you, is, in the eyes of your Maker, a sin which cannot pass
unnoticed. Do you ask, Why does God consider the ingratitude of
children as a sin of peculiar aggravation? I reply, Because you are
under peculiar obligation to love and obey your parents. They have
loved you when you could not love them. They have taken care of you
when you could not reward them. They have passed sleepless nights in
listening to your cries, and weary days in watching over you, when
you could neither express thanks nor feel grateful. And after they
have done all this, is it a small sin for you to disobey them and
make them unhappy?

And indeed you can do nothing to make yourself so unhappy as to
indulge in disobedience, and to cherish a spirit of ingratitude. You
never see such a child happy. Look at him at home, and, instead of
being light-hearted and cheerful, he is sullen and morose. He sits
down by the fireside in a winter evening, but the evening fireside
affords no joy to him. He knows that his parents are grieved at his
conduct. He loves nobody, and feels that nobody loves him. There he
sits silent and sad, making himself miserable by his own misconduct.
The disobedient boy or girl is always unhappy. You know how different
the dispositions of children are. Some are always pleasant and
obliging, and you love their company. They seem happy when they are
with you, and they make you happy. Now you will almost always find,
that such children are obedient to their parents. They are happy at
home, as well as abroad. God has in almost every case connected
enjoyment with duty, and sorrow with sin. But in no case is this
connection more intimate, than in the duty which children owe their
parents. And to every child who reads this book, I would say, If you
wish to be happy, you must be good. Do remember this. Let no
temptation induce you for a moment to disobey. The more ardently you
love your parents, the more ardently will they love you. But if you
are ungrateful and disobedient, childhood will pass away in sorrow;
all the virtuous will dislike you, and you will have no friends worth
possessing. When you arrive at mature age, and enter upon the active
duty of life, you will have acquired those feelings which will
deprive you of the affection of your fellow beings, and you will
probably go through the world unbeloved and unrespected. Can you be
willing so to live?

The following account, written by one who, many years after her
mother's death, visited her grave, forcibly describes the feelings
which the remembrance of the most trifling act of ingratitude will,
under such circumstances, awaken.

"It was thirteen years since my mother's death, when, after a long
absence from my native village, I stood beside the sacred mound,
beneath which I had seen her buried. Since that mournful period, a
great change had come over me. My childish years had passed away, and
with them my youthful character. The world was altered too; and as I
stood at my mother's grave, I could hardly realize, that I was the
same thoughtless, happy creature, whose cheeks she so often kissed in
an excess of tenderness. But the varied events of thirteen years had
not effaced the remembrance of that mother's smile. It seemed as if I
had seen her but yesterday--as the blessed sound of her well-
remembered voice was in my ear. The gay dreams of my infancy and
childhood were brought back so distinctly to my mind, that, had it
not been for one bitter recollection, the tears I shed would have
been gentle and refreshing. The circumstance may seem a trifling one,
but the thought of it now pains my heart, and I relate it, that those
children who have parents to love them may learn to value them as
they ought.

"My mother had been ill a long time, and I became so accustomed to her
pale face and weak voice, that I was not frightened at them, as
children usually are. At first, it is true, I sobbed violently; but
when, day after day, I returned from school, and found her the same, I
began to believe she would always be spared to me. But they told me
she would die.

"One day, when I had lost my place in the class, and had done my work
wrong side outward, I came home discouraged and fretful. I went to my
mother's chamber. She was paler than usual, but she met me with the
same affectionate smile that always welcomed my return. Alas, when I
look back through the lapse of thirteen years, I think my heart must
have been stone not to have melted by it. She requested me to go down
stairs and bring her a glass of water. I pettishly asked why she did
not call a domestic to do it. With a look of mild reproach, which I
shall never forget, if I live to be a hundred years old, she said,
'And will not my daughter bring a glass of water for her poor sick

"I went and brought her the water, but I did not do it kindly. Instead
of smiling and kissing her, as I was wont to do, I set the glass down
very quickly, and left the room. After playing about a short time, I
went to bed without bidding my mother good night. But when alone in
my room, in darkness and in silence, I remembered how pale she
looked, and how her voice trembled when she said, 'Will not my
daughter bring a glass of water for her poor sick mother?' I could
not, sleep. I stole into her chamber to ask forgiveness. She had sunk
into an easy slumber, and they told me I must not waken her. I did
not tell any one what troubled me, but stole back to my bed, resolved
to rise early in the morning, and tell her how sorry I was for my

"The sun was shining brightly when I awoke: and, hurrying on my
clothes, I hastened to my mother's chamber. She was dead! She never
spoke more--never smiled upon me again and when I touched the hand
that used to rest upon my head in blessing, it was so cold that it
made me start. I bowed down by her side, and sobbed in the bitterness
of my heart. I thought then I might wish to die, and be buried with
her, and, old as I now am, I would give worlds, were they mine to
give, could my mother but have lived to tell me that she forgave my
childish ingratitude. But I cannot call her back; and when I stand by
her grave, and whenever I think of her manifold kindness, the memory
of that reproachful look she gave me will bite like a serpent and
sting like an adder."

And when your mother dies, do you not think that you will feel remorse
for every unkind word you have uttered, and for every act of
ingratitude? Your beloved parents must soon die. You will probably be
led into their darkened chamber, to see them pale and helpless on
their dying bed. Oh, how will you feel in that solemn hour! All your
past life will come to your mind, and you will think that you would
give worlds, if you could blot out the remembrance of past
ingratitude. You will think that, if your father or mother should
only get well, you would never do any thing to grieve them again. But
the hour for them to die must come. You may weep as though your heart
would break, but it will not recall the past, and it will not delay
their death. They must die; and you will probably gaze upon their
cold and lifeless countenances in the coffin. You will follow them to
the grave, and see them buried for ever from your sight. Oh, how
unhappy you will feel, if you then have to reflect upon your
misconduct! The tears you will shed over their graves will be the
more bitter, because you will feel that, perhaps, your own misconduct
hastened their death.

But perhaps you will die before your parents do. If you go into the
grave-yard, you will see the graves of many children. You know that
the young are liable to die, as well as the old. And what must be
the feelings of the dying child, who knows that he is going to appear
before God in judgment, and yet feels conscious that he has been
unkind to his parents! Oh, such a child must fear to go into the
presence of his Maker. He must know that God will never receive into
heaven children who have been so wicked. I have seen many children
die. And I have seen some, who had been very amiable and pleasant all
their lives, when they came to die, feel grieved that they had not
been more careful to make their parents happy. I knew one
affectionate little girl, who was loved by all who knew her. She
hardly ever did any thing which was displeasing to her parents. But
one day she was taken sick. The doctor was called: but she grew worse
and worse. Her parents watched over her with anxiety and tears, but
still her fever raged, and death drew nearer. At last all hopes of
her recovery were over, and it was known that she must die. Then did
this little girl, when she felt that she must leave her parents for
ever, mourn that she had ever done any thing to give them pain. The
most trifling act of disobedience, and the least unkindness of which
she had ever been guilty, then came fresh into her mind, and she
could not die in peace, till she had called her father and her mother
to her bedside, and implored their forgiveness. If so obliging and
affectionate a little girl as this felt so deeply in view of the
past, when called upon to die, how agonizing must be the feelings
which will crowd upon the heart of the wicked and disobedient child
who has filled her parents' heart with sorrow!

But you must also remember, that there is a day of judgment to come.
You must appear before God to answer for every thing you have done or
thought while in this world. Oh, how will the ungrateful child then
feel! Heaven will be before him, in all its beauty and bliss, but he
cannot enter.

"Those holy gates for ever bar
Pollution, sin and shame."

He has, by his ingratitude, made a home on earth unhappy, and God will
not permit him to destroy the happiness of the homes in heaven.

He will see all the angels in their holiness and their joy, but he
cannot be permitted to join that blessed throng. With his ungrateful
heart he would but destroy their enjoyment. The frown of God must be
upon him, and he must depart to that wretched world where all the
wicked are assembled. There he must live in sorrows which have no end.
Oh, children, how great are your responsibilities! The happiness of
your parents depends upon your conduct. And your ingratitude may fill
your lives with sorrow, and your eternity with wo. Will you not, then,
read this book with care, and pray that God will aid you to obey its
directions, that your homes on earth may be joyful, and that you may
be prepared for happier homes beyond the stars?



Probably nearly all who read this book have heard the story of George
Washington and his hatchet.

George, when a little boy, had received from his father a hatchet, and
he, much pleased with his present, walked around the house trying its
keen edge upon every thing which came within his reach. At last he
came to a favorite pear-tree of his father's, and began, with great
dexterity, to try his skill in felling trees. After hacking upon the
bark until he had completely ruined the tree, he became tired, and
went into the house. Before long, his father, passing by, beheld his
beautiful tree entirely ruined; and, entering the house, he earnestly
asked who had been guilty of the destruction. For a moment George
trembled and hesitated. He was strongly tempted to deny that he knew
any thing about it. But summoning all his courage, he replied,
"Father, I cannot tell a lie. I cut it with my hatchet." His father
clasped him to his arms, and said, "My dear boy, I would rather lose
a thousand trees than have my son a liar."

This little anecdote shows that George Washington, when a boy, was
too brave and noble to tell a lie. He had rather be punished than be
so mean and degraded as to utter a falsehood. He did wrong to cut the
pear-tree, though, perhaps, he did not know the extent of the injury
he was doing. But had he denied that he did it, he would have been a
cowardly and disgraceful liar. His father would have been ashamed of
him, and would never have known when to believe him. If little George
Washington had told a lie then, it is by no means improbable that he
would have gone on from falsehood to falsehood, till every body
would have despised him. And he would thus have become a disgrace to
his parents and friends, instead of a blessing to his country and the
world. No boy, who has one particle of that noble spirit which George
Washington had, will tell a lie. It is one of the most degrading of
sins. There is no one who does not regard a liar with contempt.
Almost always, when a lie is told, two sins are committed. The first
is, the child has done something which he knows to be wrong. And the
second is, that he has not courage enough to admit it, and tells a
lie to hide his fault. And therefore, when a child tells a lie, you
may always know that that child is a coward. George Washington was a
brave man. When duty called him, he feared not to meet danger and
death. He would march to the mouth of the cannon in the hour of
battle; he would ride through the field when bullets were flying in
every direction, and strewing the ground with the dead, and not a
nerve would tremble. Now, we see that George Washington was brave
when a boy, as well as when a man. He scorned to tell a lie, and,
like a noble-hearted boy, as he was, he honestly avowed the truth.
Every body admires courage, and every body despises cowardice. The
liar, whether he be a boy or a man, is looked upon with disgust.

Cases will occur in which you will be strongly tempted to say that
which is false. But if you yield to the temptation, how can you help
despising yourself? A little girl once came into the house and told
her mother something which was very improbable. Those who were
sitting in the room with her mother did not believe her, for they did
not know the character of the little girl. But the mother replied at
once, "I have no doubt that it is true, for I never knew my daughter
to tell a lie." Is there not something noble in having such a
character as this? Must not that little girl have felt happy in the
consciousness of thus possessing her mother's entire confidence? Oh,
how different must have been her feelings from those of the child
whose word cannot be believed, and who is regarded by every one with
suspicion! Shame, shame on the child who has not magnanimity enough
to tell the truth.

God will not allow such sins to go unpunished. Even in this world the
consequences are generally felt. God has given every person a
conscience, which approves that which is right, and condemns that
which is wrong. When we do any thing wrong, our consciences punish
us for it, and we are unhappy. When we do any thing that is right,
the approval of conscience is a reward. Every day you feel the power
of this conscience approving or condemning what you do. Sometimes a
person thinks that if he does wrong, and it is not found out, he
will escape punishment. But it is not so. He will be punished whether
it is found out or not. Conscience will punish him if no one else

There was once a boy whose father sent him to ride a few miles upon
an errand, and told him particularly not to stop by the way. It was
a beautiful and sunny morning in the spring; and as he rode along by
the green fields, and heard the singing of the birds as they flew
from tree to tree, he felt as light-hearted and as happy as they.
After doing his errand, however, as he was returning by the house
where two of his friends and playmates lived, he thought he could not
resist the temptation just to call a moment to see them. He thought
there would be no great harm if he merely stopped a minute or two,
and his parents would never know it. Here commenced his sin. He
stopped, and was led to remain longer and longer, till he found he
had passed two hours in play. Then, with a troubled conscience, he
mounted his horse, and set his face towards home. The fields looked
as green, and the skies as bright and cloudless, as when he rode
along in the morning; but, oh, how different were his feelings! Then
he was innocent and happy; now he was guilty and wretched. He tried
to feel easy, but he could not; conscience reproached him with his
sin. He rode sadly along, thinking what excuse he should make
to his parents for his long absence, when he saw his father, at a
distance, coming to meet him. His father, fearing that some accident
had happened, left home in search of his son. The boy trembled and
turned pale as he saw him approaching, and hesitated whether he had
better confess the truth at once, and ask forgiveness, or endeavor to
hide the crime with a lie. Oh, how much better it would have been for
him if he had acknowledged the truth! How much sooner would he have
been restored to peace! But one sin almost always leads to another.
When this kind father met his son with a smile, the boy said, "Father,
I lost the road, and it took me some time to get back again, and that
is the reason why I have been gone so long."

His father had never known him to be guilty of falsehood before, and
was so happy to find his son safe, that he did not doubt what he said
was true. But, oh, how guilty, and ashamed, and wretched, did that boy
feel, as he rode along! His peace of mind was destroyed. A heavy
weight of conscious guilt pressed upon his heart. The boy went home
and repeated the lie to his mother. It is always thus when we turn
from the path of duty; we know not how widely we shall wander. Having
committed one fault, he told a lie to conceal it, and then added sin
to sin, by repeating and persisting in his falsehood. What a change
had one short half day produced in the character and the happiness of
this child! His parent had not yet detected him in his sin, but he
was not, on that account, free from punishment. Conscience was at
work, telling him that he was degraded and guilty, His look of
innocence and his lightness of heart had left him. He was ashamed to
look his father or mother in the face. He tried to appear easy and
happy, but he was uneasy and miserable. A heavy load of conscious
guilt rested upon him, which destroyed all his peace.

When he retired to bed that night, he feared the dark. It was long
before he could quiet his troubled spirit with sleep. And when he
awoke in the morning, the consciousness of his guilt had not
forsaken him. There it remained fixed deep in his heart, and would
allow him no peace. He was guilty, and of course wretched. The first
thought which occurred to him, on waking, was the lie of the
preceding day. He could not forget it. He was afraid to go into the
room where his parents were, lest they should discover, by his
appearance, that he had been doing something wrong. And though, as
weeks passed away, the acuteness of his feelings in some degree
abated, he was all the time disquieted and unhappy. He was
continually fearing that something would occur which should lead to
his detection.

Thus things went on for several weeks, till, one day, the gentleman at
whose house he stopped called at his father's on business. So soon
as this boy saw him come into the house, his heart beat violently,
and he turned pale with the fear that something would be said that
would bring the whole truth to light. The gentleman, after conversing
a few moments with his father, turned to the little boy, and said,
"Well, how did you get home the other day? My boys had a very
pleasant visit from you." Can you imagine how the boy felt? You could
almost have heard his heart beat. The blood rushed into his face, and
he could not speak; and he dared not raise his eyes from the floor.
The gentleman then turned to his parents, and said, "You must let
your son come up again and see my boys. They were quite disappointed
when he was there a few weeks ago, for he only staid about two hours,
and they hoped he had come to spend the whole day with them." There,
the whole truth was out. And how do you suppose that boy felt? He had
disobeyed his parents; told a lie to conceal it; had for weeks
suffered the pangs of a guilty conscience; and now the whole truth
was discovered. He stood before his parents overwhelmed with shame,
convicted of disobedience, and mean, degraded falsehood.

This boy was all the time suffering the consequences of his sin. For
many days he was enduring the reproaches of conscience, when the
knowledge of his crime was confined to his own bosom. How bitterly
did he suffer for the few moments of forbidden pleasure he had
enjoyed! The way of the transgressor is always hard. Every child who
does wrong must, to a greater or less degree, feel the same sorrows.
This guilty child, overwhelmed with confusion and disgrace, burst
into tears, and implored his parents' forgiveness. But he was told by
his parents that he had sinned, not only against them, but against
God. The humble child went to God in penitence and in prayer. He made
a full confession of all to his parents, and obtained their
forgiveness; and it was not till then that peace of mind was restored.

Will not the child who reads this account take warning from it? If
you have done wrong, you had better confess it at once. Falsehood will
but increase your sin, and aggravate your sorrow. Whenever you are
tempted to say that which is untrue, look forward to the consequences.
Think how much sorrow, and shame, and sin, you will bring upon
yourself. Think of the reproaches of conscience; for you may depend
upon it, that those reproaches are not easily borne.

And is it pleasant to have the reputation of a liar? When persons are
detected in one falsehood, they cannot be believed when they speak the
truth. No person can place any more confidence in them till a long
time of penitence has elapsed, in which they have had an opportunity
to manifest their amendment. The little boy, whose case we have above
alluded to, was sincerely penitent for his sin. He resolved that he
never would tell another lie. But since he had deceived his parents
once, their confidence in him was necessarily for a time destroyed.
They could judge of the reality of his penitence only by his future
conduct. One day he was sent to a store to purchase some small
articles for his mother. In his haste, he forgot to stop for the few
cents of change which he ought to have received. Upon his return
home, his mother inquired for the change. He had not thought a word
about it before, and very frankly told her, that he had forgotten it
entirely. How did his mother know that he was telling the truth? She
had just detected him in one lie, and feared that he was now telling
her another. "I hope, my dear son," she said, "you are not again
deceiving me." The boy was perfectly honest this time, and his
parents had never before distrusted his word. It almost broke his
heart to be thus suspected, but he felt that it was just, and went to
his chamber and wept bitterly. These are the necessary consequences
of falsehood. A liar can never be believed. It matters not whether he
tells truth or falsehood, no one can trust his word. If you are ever
tempted to tell a lie, first ask yourself whether you are willing to
have it said that nobody can trust your word. The liar is always
known to be such. A person may possibly tell a lie which shall not be
detected, but, almost always something happens which brings it to
light. The boy who stopped to play when on an errand two miles from
his father's house, thought that his falsehood would never be
discovered. But he was detected, and overwhelmed with shame.

It is impossible for a person who is in the habit of uttering
untruths to escape detection. Your character for truth or falsehood
will be known. And what can be more humiliating and degrading than to
have the name of a liar? It is so considered in all nations and with
all people. It is considered one of the meanest and most cowardly
vices of which one can be guilty. The liar is always a coward. He
tells lies, because he is afraid to tell the truth.

And how do you suppose the liar must feel when he comes to die? It
is a solemn hour. Perhaps many of the children who read this book
have never seen a person die. I have seen many. I have seen children
of all ages dressed in the shroud and placed in the coffin. I might
write pages in describing to you such scenes. One day, I went to see
a little girl about ten years of age, who was very sick. When I went
into the room, she was lying upon the little cot-bed, her lips
parched with fever, and her face pale and emaciated with suffering.
Her mother was standing by her bed-side, weeping as though her heart
would break. Other friends were standing around, looking in vain for
something to do to relieve the little sufferer. I went and took her
by the hand, and found that she was dying. She raised her languid
eyes to me, but could not speak. Her breathing grew fainter and
fainter. Her arms and limbs grew cold. We could only look mournfully
on and see the advances of death, without being able to do any thing
to stop its progress. At last she ceased to breathe. Her spirit
ascended to God to be judged, and her body remained upon the bed, a
cold and lifeless corpse. All children are exposed to death; and when
you least expect it, you may be called to lie upon a bed of sickness,
and go down to the grave. There is nothing to give one joy in such an
hour, but a belief that our sins are forgiven, and that we are going
to the heavenly home. But how must a child feel in such an hour, when
reflecting upon falsehoods which are recorded in God's book of
remembrance! Death is terrible to the impenitent sinner; but it is a
messenger of love and of mercy to those who are prepared to die. If
you have been guilty of a falsehood, you cannot, die in peace till
you have repented and obtained forgiveness.

There was a little girl eleven years of age, who died a few months
ago. She loved the Savior, and when told that she could not live, was
very happy. She said she was happy to die, and go home and be with
her Savior and the angels in heaven. But there was one thing, which,
for a time, weighed heavily upon her mind. A year or two before she
felt interested in religion she had told a lie to her aunt; and she
could not die in peace, till she had seen that aunt, confessed her
sin, and asked forgiveness. Her aunt was sent for, though she was
many miles distant. When her aunt came, the sick little girl, with
sorrow for her fault, made confession, and asked forgiveness, "Aunt,"
said she, "I have prayed to God, and hope that he has forgiven me;
and I cannot die in peace till I have obtained your forgiveness." If
any child who reads this book is tempted to deceive his parents or
his friends, I hope he will remember that he must soon die, and think
how he will feel in that solemn hour.

But perhaps you think that the falsehood of which this girl was guilty
was one of peculiar aggravation. It was simply this: She was one day
playing in the room with several little children, and was making them
laugh very loud. Her aunt said, "My dear, you must not make them
laugh so loud."

And she replied, "It is not I, aunt, who makes them laugh."

This was the falsehood she uttered. And though her aunt did not know
that it was false, the little girl did, and God in heaven did. And
when she came to die, though it was a year or two after, her soul was
troubled, and the consciousness of her sin destroyed her peace. A lie
is, in the sight of God, a dreadful sin, be it ever so trifling in our
estimation. When we are just ready to leave the world, and to appear
before God in judgment, the convictions of a guilty conscience will
press upon the heart like lead.

There are many ways of being guilty of falsehood without uttering
the lie direct in words. Whenever you try to deceive your parents, in
doing  that which you know they disapprove, you do, in reality, tell
a lie. Conscience reproves you for falsehood. Once, when I was in
company, as the plate of cake was passed round, a little boy, who sat
by the side of his mother, took a much larger piece than he knew she
would allow him to have. She happened, for the moment, to be looking
away, and he broke a small piece off and covered the rest in his lap
with his handkerchief. When his mother looked, she saw the small
piece, and supposed he had taken no more. He intended to deceive her.
His mother has never found out what he did. But God saw him, and
frowned upon him, as he committed this sin. And do you not think that
the boy has already suffered for it? Must he not feel mean and
contemptible whenever he thinks that, merely to get a little bit of
cake, he would deceive his kind mother? If that little boy had one
particle of honorable or generous feeling remaining in his bosom, he
would feel reproached and unhappy whenever he thought of his
meanness. If he was already dead to shame, it would show that he had
by previous deceit acquired this character. And can any one love or
esteem a child who has become so degraded? And can a child, who is
neither beloved nor respected, be happy? No! You may depend upon it,
that when you see a person guilty of such deceit, he does in some way
or other, even in this world, suffer a severe penalty. A frank and
open-hearted child is the only happy child. Deception, however
skilfully it may be practised, is disgraceful, and ensures sorrow and
contempt. If you would have the approbation of your own conscience,
and the approval of friends, never do that which you shall desire to
have concealed. Always be open as the day. Be above deceit, and then
you will have nothing to fear. There is something delightful in the
magnanimity of a perfectly sincere and honest child. No person can
look upon such a one without affection. You are sure of friends, and
your prospects of earthly usefulness and happiness are bright.

But we must not forget that there is a day of most solemn judgment
near at hand. When you die, your body will be wrapped in the shroud,
and placed in the coffin, and buried in the grave; and there it will
remain and moulder to the dust, while the snows of unnumbered
winters, and the tempests of unnumbered summers, shall rest upon the
cold earth which covers you. But your spirit will not be there. Far
away, beyond the cloudless skies, and blazing suns, and twinkling
stars, it will have gone to judgment. How awful must be the scene
which will open before you, as you enter the eternal world! You will
see the throne of God: how bright, how glorious, will it burst upon
your sight! You will see God the Savior seated upon that majestic
throne. Angels, in numbers more than can be counted, will fill the
universe with their glittering wings, and their rapturous songs. Oh,
what a scene to behold! And then you will stand in the presence of
this countless throng to answer for every thing you have done while
you lived. Every action and every thought of your life will then be
fresh in your mind. You know it is written in the Bible, "God will
bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it
be good or whether it be evil." How must the child then feel who has
been guilty of falsehood and deception, and has it then all brought
to light! No liar can enter the kingdom of heaven. Oh, how dreadful
must be the confusion and shame with which the deceitful child will
then be overwhelmed! The angels will all see your sin and your
disgrace. And do you think they will wish to have a liar enter
heaven, to be associated with them? No! They must turn from you with
disgust. The Savior will look upon you in his displeasure. Conscience
will rend your soul. And you must hear the awful sentence, "Depart
from me, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels." Oh, it is a dreadful thing to practice deceit. It will shut
you from heaven. It will confine you in eternal wo. Though you should
escape detection as long as you live; though you should die, and your
falsehood not be discovered, the time will soon come when it will
all be brought to light, and when the whole universe of men and of
angels will be witnesses of your shame. If any child who reads this
feels condemned for past deception, oh, beware, and do not postpone
repentance till the day of judgment shall arrive. Go at once to those
whom you have deceived, and make confession, and implore forgiveness.
Then go to your Savior, fall upon your knees before him; pray that he
will pardon you, and promise to sin no more. If your prayer is
offered in sincerity, and your resolution remains unbroken, the
Savior will forgive you; and when the trump of the archangel shall
summon you to judgment, he will give you a home in heaven. The tear
of sincere penitence our kind Saviour is ever ready to accept.

If you are ever tempted to deceive, O, remember, that your deception
must soon be known. It is utterly impossible that it should long
remain undetected. The moment the day of judgment arrives, your heart
will be open to the view of the universe, and every thought will be
publicly known. How much safer then is it to be sincere and honest!
Strive to preserve your heart free from guile. Then you will have
peace of conscience. You will fear no detection. You can lie down at
night in peace. You can awake in the morning with joy. Trusting in
the Saviour for acceptance, you can die happy. And when the morning
of the resurrection dawns upon you, your heart will be filled with a
joy which earth's sunniest mornings and brightest skies never could
afford. The Saviour will smile upon you. Angels will welcome you to
heaven. You will rove, in inexpressible delight, through the green
pastures of that blissful abode. You will lie down by the still
waters where there is sweet repose for ever. Oh, what an hour of
bliss must that be, when the child, saved from sin and sorrow,

"Has reached the shore
Where tempests never beat nor billows roar!"



In the chapters you have now read, I have endeavored to show you how
much your own happiness, and that of your parents, depend upon your
conduct. And I trust every child who has read thus far, has resolved
to do all in his power to promote the happiness of those who have
been so kind to him. But you will find that it is a very different
thing to resolve to do your duty, from what it is to perform your
resolutions when the hour of temptation comes. It requires courage
and firmness to do right, when you are surrounded by those who urge
you to do wrong. Temptations to do wrong will be continually arising;
and, unless you have resolution to brave ridicule, and to refuse
solicitation, you will be continually led into trouble. I knew a
young man who was ruined entirely, because he had not courage enough
to say no. He was, when a boy, very amiable in his disposition, and
did not wish to make any person unhappy; but he had no mind of his
own, and could be led about by his associates into almost any
difficulties, or any sins. If, in a clear moonlight winter evening,
his father told him he might go out doors, and slide down the hill
for half an hour, he would resolve to be obedient and return home at
the time appointed. But if there were other boys there, who should
tease him to remain longer he had not the courage to refuse. And thus
he would disobey his kind parents because he had not courage to do
his duty. He began in this way, and so he continued. One day, a bad
boy asked him to go into a store, and drink some brandy. He knew it
was wrong, and did not wish to go. But he feared that, if he did not,
he would be laughed at; and so he went. Having thus yielded to this
temptation, he was less prepared for temptation again. He went to the
bottle with one and another, till at last he became intemperate, and
would stagger through the streets. He fell into the company of
gamblers, because he could not refuse their solicitations. He thus
became a gambler himself, and went on from step to step, never having
resolution to say no, till he ruined himself, and planted within him
the seeds of disease, which hurried him to a premature grave. He died
the miserable victim of his own irresolution.

Thousands have been thus ruined. They are amiable in disposition, and
in general mean well, but have not courage to do their duty. They fear
that others will laugh at them. Now, unless you are sufficiently brave
not to care if others do laugh at you; unless you have sufficient
courage to say no, when others tempt you to do wrong, you will be
always in difficulty: such a person never can be happy or respected.
You must not expect it will be always easy to do your duty. At times
it will require a great mental struggle, and call into exercise all
the resolution you possess. It is best that it should be so, that you
may acquire firmness of character and strength of integrity. Near a
school-house in the country, there was an apple-tree. One summer it
was covered with hard, and sour, and green apples, and the little
girls who went to that school could hardly resist the temptation of
eating those apples, though they knew there was danger of its making
them sick. One girl, who went to that school, was expressly forbidden
by her mother from eating them. But when all her playmates were
around her, with the apples in their hands, and urging her to eat,
telling her that her mother never would know it, she wickedly yielded
to their solicitation. She felt guilty, as, in disobedience to her
mother's commands, she ate the forbidden fruit. But she tried to
appease her conscience by thinking that it could do no harm. Having
thus commenced disobedience, she could every day eat more freely, and
with less reluctance. At last she was taken sick. Her mother asked
her if she had been eating any of the green apples at school. Here
came another temptation to sin. When we once commence doing wrong,
it is impossible to tell where we shall stop. She was afraid to
acknowledge to her mother her disobedience; and to hide the fault she
told a lie. She declared that she had not eaten any of the apples.
Unhappy girl! she had first disobeyed her mother, and then told a lie
to conceal her sin. But she continually grew more sick, and it became
necessary to send for the physician. He came, and when he had looked
upon her feverish countenance, and felt her throbbing pulse, he said
there was something upon her stomach which must be removed. As he was
preparing the nauseous emetic, the conscience-smitten girl trembled
for fear that her disobedience and her falsehood should both be
brought to light. As soon as the emetic operated, her mother saw, in
the half-chewed fragments of green apples, the cause of her sickness.
What could the unhappy and guilty girl say? Denial was now, of
course, out of the question. She could only cover her face with her
hands, in the vain attempt to hide her shame. We hope that this
detection and mortification will teach that little girl a lesson
which she will never forget. And we hope that the relation of the
story will induce every child, who reads it, to guard against
temptation, and boldly to resist every allurement to sin. Temptations
will be continually coming, which you will find it hard to resist.
But if you once yield, you have entered that downward path which
leads inevitably to sorrow and shame. How much wiser would it have
been in the little girl, whose story we have just related, if she had
in the first instance resolutely refused to disobey her mother's
command! How much happier would she have been, when retiring to sleep
at night, if she had the joy of an approving conscience, and could,
with a grateful heart, ask the blessing of God! The only path of
safety and happiness is implicit obedience. If you, in the slightest
particular, yield to temptation, and do that which you know to be
wrong, you will not know when or where to stop. To hide one crime,
you will be guilty of another; and thus you will draw down upon
yourself the frown of your Maker, and expose yourself to sorrow for
time and eternity.

And think not that these temptations to do wrong will be few or
feeble. Hardly a day will pass in which you will not be tempted,
either through indolence to neglect your duty, or to do that which
you know your parents will disapprove. A few years ago, two little
boys went to pass the afternoon and evening at the house of one of
their playmates, who had a party, to celebrate his birth-day. Their
parents told them to come home at eight o'clock in the evening. It
was a beautiful afternoon, late in the autumn, as the large party of
boys assembled at the house of their friend. Numerous barns and
sheds were attached to the house, and a beautiful grove of beach and
of oak surrounded it, affording a most delightful place for all kinds
of sport. Never did boys have a more happy time. They climbed the
tree, and swung upon the limbs, And as they jumped upon the new-made
hay in the barns, they made the walls ring with their joyous shouts.
Happiness seemed, for the time, to fill every heart. They continued
their sports till the sun had gone down behind the hills, and the
last ray of twilight had disappeared. When it became too dark for
outdoor play, they went into the house, and commenced new plays in the
brightly-lighted parlor. As they were in the midst of the exciting
game of "blind man's buff," some one entered the room, and requested
them all to take their seats, for apples and nuts were to be brought
in. Just as the door was opened by the servant bringing in the waiter
loaded with apples and nuts, the clock struck eight. The boys, who
had been told to leave at that hour, felt troubled enough. They knew
not what to do. The temptation to stay was almost too strong to be
resisted. The older brother of the two faintly whispered to one at
his side, that he must go. Immediately there was an uproar all over
the room, each one exclaiming against it.

"Why," said one, "my mother told me I might stay till nine."

"My mother," said another, "did not say any thing about my coming
home: she will let me stay as long as I want to."

"I would not be tied to my mother's apron-string," said a rude boy, in
a distant part of the room.

A timid boy, who lived in the next house to the one in which these
two little boys lived, came up, and said, with a very imploring
countenance and voice, "I am going home at half past eight. Now do
stay a little while longer, and then we will go home together. I
would not go alone, it is so dark."

And even the lady of the house where they were visiting, came to
them and said, "I do not think your mother will have any objection to
have you stay a few moments longer, and eat an apple and a few nuts.
I would have sent them in earlier, if I had known that you wanted to

Now, what, could these poor boys do? How could they summon
resolution to resist so much entreaty? For a moment they hesitated,
and almost yielded to the temptation. But virtue wavered only for a
moment. They immediately mustered all their courage, and said, "We
must go." Hastily bidding them all good night, they got their hats as
quick as they could, for fear, if they delayed, they should yield to
the temptation, and left the house. They stopped not a moment to look
back upon the brightly-shining windows, and happy group of boys
within, but, taking hold of each other's hands, ran as fast as they
could on their way home. When they arrived at home, their father and
mother met them with a smile. And when their parents learnt under
what strong temptations they had been to disobey, and that they had
triumphed over these temptations, they looked upon their children
with feelings of gratification, which amply repaid them for all their
trial. And when these boys went to bed that night, they felt that
they had done their duty, and that they had given their parents
pleasure; and these thoughts gave them vastly more happiness than
they could have enjoyed if they had remained with their playmates
beyond the hour which their parents had permitted. This was a noble
proof of their determination to do their duty. And, considering their
youth and inexperience and the circumstances of the temptation, it
was one of the severest trials to which they could be exposed.
Probably, in all their after life, they would not be under stronger
temptations to swerve from duty. Now, every child will often be
exposed to similar temptations. And if your resolution be not strong,
you will yield. And if you once begin to yield, you will never know
where to stop but, in all probability, will go on from step to step
till you are for ever lost to virtue and to happiness.

But perhaps some child, who reads this, thinks I make too serious a
matter of so slight a thing. You say, It cannot make much difference
whether I come home half an hour earlier or later. But you are
mistaken here. It does make a great difference. Think you God can
look upon the disobedience of a child as a trifling sin? Is it a
trifle to refuse to obey parents who have loved you, and watched over
you for months and for years; who have taken care of you in sickness,
and endeavored to relieve you when in pain; who have given you
clothes to wear, and food to eat, and have done all in their power to
make you happy? It is inexcusable ingratitude. It is awful sin. But
perhaps you ask, What positive harm does it do? It teaches your
parents that their child is unwilling to obey them; and is there no
harm in that? It makes your parents unhappy; and is there no harm in
that? It tempts you to disobey in other things; and is there no harm
in that? It is entering upon that career of sin which led the girl,
whom we have, in the first chapter, described to you, to the house of
correction, and the wretched boy to the gallows. Oh, beware how you
think it is a little thing to disobey your parents! Their happiness
is in a great degree in your hands; and every thing which you
knowingly do that disturbs their happiness in the least degree, is
sin in the sight of God; and you must answer for it at his bar.

If you go into any state prison, you will see a large number of men
working in silence and in gloom. They are dressed in clothes of
contrasted colors, that, in case of escape, they may be easily
detected. But the constant presence of vigilant keepers, and the high
walls of stone, guarded by an armed sentry, render escape almost
impossible. There many of these guilty men remain, month after month,
and year after year, in friendlessness, and in silence, and in
sorrow. They are in confinement and disgrace. At night, they are
marched to their solitary cells, there to pass the weary hours, with
no friend to converse with, and no joy to cheer them. They are left,
in darkness and in solitude, to their own gloomy reflections. And,
oh! how many bitter tears must be shed in the midnight darkness of
those cells! How many an unhappy criminal would give worlds, if he
had them to give, that he might again be innocent and free! You will
see in the prison many who are young--almost children. If you go
around from cell to cell, and inquire how these wretched persons
commenced their course of sin, very many will tell you that it was
with disobedience to parents. You will find prisoners there, whose
parents are most affectionate and kind. They have endeavored to make
their children virtuous and happy. But, oh! how cruelly have their
hopes been blasted! A disobedient son has gone from step to step in
crime, till he has brought himself to the gloomy cell of the prison,
and has broken his parents' hearts by his disobedience.

The chaplain of the Massachusetts state prison recently communicated
to the public the following interesting narrative of the progress of

"A few weeks since, I addressed the congregation to which I
minister, on the importance of a strict attention to what are usually
denominated little things; and remarked, that it is the want of
attention to these little things, which not unfrequently throws a
disastrous influence over the whole course of subsequent life. It was
also further remarked, that a large proportion of the events and
transactions, which go to make up the lives of most men, are, as they
are usually estimated, comparatively unimportant and trivial; and
yet, that all these events and transactions contribute, in a greater
or less degree, to the formation of character; and that on moral
character are suspended, essentially, our usefulness and happiness in
time, and our well-being in eternity.

"I then remarked, that I could not doubt, but, on sober reflection,
many of that assembly would find that they owed the complexion of a
great portion of their lives, and their unhappy situation as tenants
of the state prison, to some event or transaction comparatively
trivial, and of which, at the time, they thought very little. I
requested them to make the examination, and see whether the remark I
had made was not correct.

"This was on the Sabbath. The next morning; one of the prisoners, an
interesting young man, came to me, and observed, that he should be
glad to have some conversation with me, whenever I should find it
convenient. Accordingly, in the afternoon of the same day, I sent for
him. On his being seated, and my requesting him to state freely what
he wished to say, he remarked, 'that he wished to let me know how
peculiarly appropriate to his case were the observations I had made,
the previous day, on the influence of little things; and if I would
permit him, he would give me a brief sketch of his history; and,
particularly, of the transaction, which, almost in childhood, had
given a disastrous coloring to the whole period of his youth, and, in
the result, had brought him to be an occupant of his present dreary

"It appears, from the sketch which he gave, that he was about ten
years of age, when his father moved from a distant part of the state
to a town in the vicinity of Boston. In this town was a respectable
boarding-school, not a great distance from the residence of his
father; and to this school he was sent. Having always lived in the
country, he had seen very few of those novelties, and parades, and
shows, which are so common in and near the city; and it is not
wonderful, that, when they occurred, he should, like most children,
feel a strong desire to witness them.

"Before he had been long at school, he heard there was to be a
"Cattle Show" at Brighton. He had never seen a Cattle Show. He
presumed it must be a very interesting spectacle, and felt a very
strong desire to attend. This desire, on the morning of the first day
of the show, he expressed to his father, and was told that it would
be a very improper place for him to go to, unless attended by some
suitable person to watch over and take care of him; and that such was
the business of the father, that he could not accompany him, and, of
course, his desire could not be gratified. He was sorely
disappointed, but resolved not to give up, without further effort, an
object on which his heart was so much set.

"The next morning he beset his father again on the subject. His
father seemed anxious to have his son gratified, but told him that he
could by no means consent to have him go to such a place without
suitable company; and, though his business was urgent, he would try to
go in the afternoon; and, if he did, he would call at the school-
house, and take him with him. This was all he could promise.

"But here was an uncertainty, an if, which very illy accorded with
the eager curiosity of the son. Accordingly, he resolved that he
would go at all hazards. He doubted much whether his father would go,
and if he did not, he concluded he might, without much difficulty,
conceal the matter from him. Having formed his determination and laid
his plan, he went, before leaving home in the morning, to his
father's desk, and took a little money to spend on the occasion; and,
instead of going to school, went to Brighton. Contrary, however, to
his expectations and hopes, his father, for the sake of gratifying
him, concluded to go to the show, and, on his way, called for him.
But no son was to be found, and no son had been there that day. The
father, during the afternoon, saw the son, but took care that the son
should not discover him. After the return of both at evening, the
father inquired of the son whether he had attended school that day.
His reply was that he had. My youthful readers will perceive how
readily and naturally one fault leads to another. But the son was
soon satisfied from further questions, and from the manner of his
father, that he knew where he had been; and he confessed the whole.

"The father told him that he should feel himself bound in duty to
acquaint his teacher with the affair, and to request him to call him
to account for absenting himself thus from the school without
permission, and to inflict such punishment on him as might be thought

"He was, accordingly, sent to school, and, in his view, disgraced in
the estimation of his teacher and of his school-fellows; and he
resolved not to submit to it for any great length of time. A few days
after this, he left home, under pretence of going to school, and ran
away. He travelled on, until he reached the town from which his father
had removed, and had been absent for several weeks before his parents
ascertained what had become of him. He was, however, discovered, and
brought back to his home.

"Some time after this, he was sent to another school, in a
neighboring town; but, not being altogether pleased, he resolved, as
he had run away once, he would try the experiment again; and this he
did. He had been absent six months before his parents ascertained
what had become of him. He had changed his name; but, getting into
some difficulty, in consequence of which he must go to jail, unless
he could find friends, he was constrained to tell his name, and who
were his parents; and in this way his good father, whom he had so
much abused, learning his son's condition, stepped in to his aid, and
saved him from confinement in a prison.

"But I should make this story much too long, were I to detail all
the particulars of his subsequent life until he became a tenant of
the state prison. Suffice it to say, that he went on from one
misstep to another, until he entered upon that career of crime which
terminated as before stated.

"And now, beloved reader, to what do you think this unhappy young man
ascribes his wanderings from home, and virtue, and happiness, and the
forlorn condition in which he now finds himself? Why, simply, to the
trivial circumstance of his leaving school one day, without his
father's consent, for the purpose of going to a cattle show! And what
do you think he says of it now? 'I feel,' said he, 'that all I have
suffered, and still suffer, is the righteous chastisement of heaven. I
deserve it all, for my wicked disobedience both to my earthly and my
heavenly Father; and I wish,' said he, further, 'that you would make
such use of my case as you shall think best calculated to instruct and
benefit the young.'

"And now, beloved reader, I have drawn up this sketch--and I can
assure you it is no fictitious one--for your perusal. You here see
what has been the result of a single act of disobedience to a parent;
what it has already cost this unhappy man to gratify, in an unlawful
way, his youthful curiosity even in a single instance.

"May He, who giveth wisdom to all who ask it, lead and guide you
safely through the journey of life, and cause that even this humble
sketch shall serve to strengthen you in virtue, and to deter you from
the paths of the Destroyer."

Can any child read this narrative without trembling at the thought
of disobedience, even in the most trifling affair? If you once
disobey your parents, it is impossible to tell to what it will lead.
Crime follows in the steps of crime, till the career is closed by
irretrievable disgrace and eternal ruin. The consequences reach far,
far beyond the grave. They affect our interests and our happiness in
that eternal world to which we are all rapidly going. Yes; the child
who utters one falsehood, or is guilty of one act of disobedience,
may, in consequence of that one yielding to temptation, be hurried on
from crime to crime, till his soul is ruined, and he is shut up, by
the command of God, in those awful dungeons of endless despair
prepared for the devil and his angels.

And how ungrateful is disobedience! A noble-hearted boy would deny
himself almost any pleasure; he would meet almost any danger; he
would endure almost any suffering, before he would, in the most
trifling particular, disobey parents who had been so kind, and had
endured so much to make him happy. How different is such a child from
one who is so ungrateful that he will disobey his parents merely that
he may play a few moments longer, or that he may avoid some trifling
work, that he does not wish to perform! There is a magnanimity in a
child who feels so grateful for his parents' love that he will repay
them by all the affection and obedience in his power, which attracts
the respect and affection of all who know him.

Suppose you see a little boy walking before his mother. The boy's
father is dead; he has been killed in battle. You see the orphan boy
carrying upon his shoulder his father's sword and cap. You look at his
poor mother. She is weeping, for her husband is dead. She is returning
in sorrow to her lonely house. She has no friend but her dear boy. How
ardently does she love him! All her hopes of earthly happiness are
depending upon his obedience and affection. She loves her boy so well,
that she would be willing to die, to make him happy. She will work
night and day, while he is young, to supply him with clothes and with
food. And all she asks and hopes is, that her boy will be
affectionate, and obedient, and good.

And, oh! how ungrateful and cruel will he be, if he neglect that
mother, and by his unkindness cause her to weep! But you see that he
looks like a noble-hearted boy. His countenance seems to say, "Dear
mother, do not cry; if ever I grow up to be a man, you shall never
want, if I can help it." Oh, who can help loving the boy who loves his

There was a little boy about thirteen years old, whose name was
Casablanca. His father was the commander of a ship of war called the
Orient. The little boy accompanied his father to the seas. His ship
was once engaged in a terrible battle upon the river Nile. In the
midst of the thunders of the battle, while the shot were flying
thickly around, and strewing the decks with blood, this brave boy
stood by the side of his father, faithfully discharging the duties
which were assigned to him. At last his father placed him in a
particular part of the ship to be performing some service, and told
him to remain in his post till he should call him away. As the father
went to some distant part of the ship to notice the progress of the
battle, a ball from the enemy's vessel laid him dead upon the deck.
But the son, unconscious of his father's death, and faithful to the
trust he posed in him, remained in his post, waiting for his father's
orders. The battle raged dreadfully around him. The blood of the
slain flowed at his feet. The ship took fire, and the threatening
flames drew nearer and nearer. Still this noble-hearted boy would not
disobey his father. In the face of blood, and balls, and fire, he
stood firm and obedient. The sailors began to desert the burning and
sinking ship, and the boy cried out "Father, may I go?" But no voice
of permission could come from the mangled body of his lifeless
father. And the boy, not knowing that he was dead, would rather die
than disobey. And there that boy stood, at his post, till every man
had deserted the ship; and he stood and perished in the flames. O,
what a boy was that! Every body who ever heard of him thinks that he
was one of the noblest boys that ever was born. Rather than disobey
his father, he would die in the flames. This account has been written
in poetry, and, as the children who read this book, may like to see
it, I will present it to them here:


The boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck,
Shone round him, o'er the dead.

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.

The flames rolled on; he would not go,
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud--"Say, father, say
'If yet my task is done.'"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father," once again he cried,
"If I may yet be gone."
And--but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breach,
And in his waving hair;
And looked from that lone post of death,
In still, yet brave despair;

And shouted but once more aloud,
"My father, must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapped the ship in splendor wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.

Then came a burst of thunder sound
The boy--oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea.

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part,
But the noblest thing that perished there,
Was that young, faithful heart.

O, who would not love to have such a child as that! Is not such a boy
more noble than one who will disobey his parents merely that he may
have a little play, or that he may avoid some unpleasant duty? The
brave little Casablanca would rather die than disobey. He loved his
father. He had confidence in him. And even when death was staring him
in the face, when

"The flames rolled on, he would not go,
Without his father's word."

I have seen some bad boys who thought it looked brave to care nothing
for the wishes of their parents. But do you think that Casabianca
was a coward? No; the boy who is truly brave, and has a noble
spirit, will obey his parents. If others tease him to do
differently, he will dare to tell them, that he means to do his duty;
and if they laugh at him, he will let them laugh, and show them, by
his conduct, that he does not care for the sneers of bad boys. The
fact is, that, in almost all cases, disobedient boys are mean, and
cowardly, and contemptible. They have not one particle of the spirit
of the noble little Casabianca. And when these disobedient boys grow
up to be men, they do not command influence or respect.

If you would be useful and happy when you arrive at mature years,
you must be affectionate and obedient as a child. It is invariably
true that the path of duty is the path of peace. The child who has
established principles of firm integrity--who has that undaunted
resolution which can face opposition and brave ridicule--bids fair to
rise to eminence in usefulness and respect. These qualities, which
shed so lovely a charm over childhood, will go with you into maturer
life; they will give stability to your character, and command
respect. And those faults of childhood which render one hesitating,
and weak, and cowardly, will, in all probability, continue through
your whole earthly existence. The man is but the grown-up child,
possessing generally the same traits of character in every period of
life. How important it is then that, in early youth, you should
acquire the habit of triumphing over temptation, and of resolutely
discharging all your duties!

It is important for you to remember that obedience requires of you,
not only to do as you are bidden, but to do it with cheerfulness and
alacrity. Suppose, as you are sitting at the table in a pleasant
evening, the customary hour for you to retire to rest arrives. You
are, perhaps, engaged in reading some very interesting book, and do
not feel at all sleepy. You ask permission to sit up a little longer.
But your mother tells you that the time for you to go to bed has
come, and she prefers that you should be regular in your habits. You
think it is rather hard that you cannot be indulged in your wishes,
and, with sullen looks, shut your book, and, taking a light, in ill
humor go to your chamber. Now, this is not obedience. As you retire
to your chamber, the displeasure of God follows you. Your sin of
disobedience is so great, that you cannot even pray before you fall
asleep. It is impossible for a person to pray when out of humor. You
may repeat the words of prayer, but you cannot offer acceptable
prayer to the Lord. And as you lie down upon your bed, and the
darkness of night is around you, your offended Maker regards you as
an ungrateful and disobedient child. And all the night long his eye
is upon your heart, and the knowledge of your sin is in his mind.
Obedience belongs to the heart, as well as to the outward conduct. It
is necessary that you should, with affection and cheerfulness,
fulfill the wishes of your parents. You should feel that they know
what is best, and, instead of being sullen and displeased because
they do not think fit to indulge you in all your wishes, you should,
with a pleasant countenance and a willing heart, yield to their

You do not know how much pleasure it affords your parents to see you
happy. They are willing to make almost any sacrifice for your good.
And they never have more heartfelt enjoyment themselves than when
they see their children virtuous, contented, and happy. When they
refuse to gratify any of your desires, it is not because they do not
wish to see you happy, but because they see that your happiness will
be best promoted by refusing your request. They have lived longer in
the world than you, and know better than you the dangers by which you
are surrounded. Deeply interested in your book, you desire to sit up
later than usual, and think it would make you happy. But your mother,
who is older and wiser, knows that the way to make children healthy
and happy, is to have them in the regular habit of retiring early at
night. And when you ask to sit up later than usual, she loves you too
well to permit it. You think she is cruel, when, in fact, she is as
kind as she can be. If she were an unkind mother, and cared nothing
about your happiness, she would say, "O yes; you may sit up as long
as you please. I do not care any thing about it."

Now, is it obedience, when your kind mother is doing all in her power
to make you happy, for you to look sullen and morose? Is it honoring
your father and your mother, for you to look offended and speak
unkindly, because they wish you to do that which they know to be for
your welfare? The truly grateful child will endeavor, always, with a
pleasant countenance, and a peaceful heart, to yield ready obedience
to his parents' wishes. He will never murmur or complain. Such a child
can retire to bed at night contented and happy. He can sincerely
thank God for all his goodness and pray for that protection which
God is ever ready to grant those who love him.


OBEDIENCE, (continued)

There is hardly any subject upon which children in well-regulated
families feel more like complaining-, than of the unwillingness of
their parents to indulge them, in evening plays and evening visits.
An active boy, whose heart is full of fun and frolic, is sitting
quietly by the fireside, in a pleasant winter evening. Every now and
then he hears the loud shouts and joyful laugh of some twenty of his
companions, who are making the moonlight air ring with their
merriment. Occasionally, a troop of them will go rushing by the
windows, in the impetuosity of their sports. The ardent little fellow
by the fireside can hardly contain himself. He longs to unite his
voice in the shout, and try his feet in the chase. He nestles upon
his chair, and walks across the room, and peeps through the curtains.
As he sees the dark forms of the boys clustered together in merry
groups, or scattered in their plays, he feels as though, he were a
prisoner. And even though he be a good boy, and obedient to his
parents, he can hardly understand why it is that they deprive him of
this pleasure. I used to feel so when I was a boy, and I suppose
other boys feel so. But now I see the reason. Those night plays led
the boys into bad habits. All kinds of boys met together, and some
would use indecent and profane language, which depraved the hearts
and corrupted the morals of the rest. The boys who were thus spending
their evenings, were misimproving their time, and acquiring a
disrelish for the purifying and peaceful enjoyments of home. You
sometimes see men who appear to care nothing about their families.
They spend their evenings away from home with the idle and the
dissolute. Such men are miserable and despised. Their families are
forsaken and unhappy. Why do these men do so? Because, when they were
boys, they spent their evenings away from home, playing in the
streets. Thus home lost all its charms, virtue was banished from,
their bosoms, and life was robbed of its joy. I wish every boy who
reads this would think of these reasons, and see if they are not
sufficient. Your kind parents do not allow you to go out in the
evenings and play in the streets--

I. Because you will acquire bad habits. You will grow rude and
vulgar in manners, and acquire a relish for pleasures which will
destroy your usefulness and your happiness.

II. You will always find in such scenes bad boys, and must hear much
indecent and profane language, which will corrupt your heart.

III. You will lose all fondness for the enjoyment of home, and will be
in great danger of growing up a dissipated and a worthless man.

Now, are not these reasons sufficient to induce your parents to guard
you against such temptations? But perhaps you say, Other parents let
their children go out and play as much as they please every evening.
How grateful, then, ought you to be, that you have parents who are so
kind and faithful that they will preserve you from these occasions of
sin and sorrow! They love you too well to be willing to see you
preparing for an unhappy and profitless life.

It not unfrequently is the case that a girl has young associates,
who are in the habit of walking without protectors in the evening
twilight. On the evening of some lovely summer's day, as the whole
western sky is blazing with the golden hue of sunset, her companions
call at her door, to invite her to accompany them upon an excursion of
pleasure. She runs to her parents with her heart bounding with joy,
in anticipation of the walk. They inquire into the plans of the
party, and find that it will be impossible for them to return from
their contemplated expedition before the darkness of the evening
shall come. As affectionate and faithful parents, they feel that it
is not proper or safe for them to trust their little daughter in such
a situation. They, consequently, cannot consent that she should go.
She is disappointed in the extreme, and as she sees her friends
departing, social and happy, she retires to her chamber and weeps.
The momentary disappointment to her is one of the severest she can
experience, and she can hardly help feeling that her parents are
cruel, to deprive her of so much anticipated pleasure. Her companions
go away with the same feelings. They make many severe remarks, and
really think that this little girl's parents are unkind. Perhaps they
have a pleasant walk, and all return home in safety; and for many
days they talk together at school of the delightful enjoyments of
that evening. And this increases the impression on the mind of the
little girl, that it was unkind in her parents not to let her go.

But, perhaps, as they were returning, they met a drunken man, who
staggered in amongst them. Terrified, they scatter and run. One, in
endeavoring to jump over a fence, spoils her gown. Another, fleeing in
the dark, falls, and sadly bruises her face. Another, with loss of
bonnet, and with dishevelled hair, gains the door of her home. And
thus is this party, commenced with high expectations of joy,
terminated with fright and tears. The parents of the little girl who
remained at home, knew that they were exposed to all this; and they
loved their daughter too well to allow her to be placed in such a
situation. Was it not kind in them?

Perhaps, as they were returning, they met some twenty or more of the
rudest boys of the village, in the midst of their most exciting
sports. Here are Emma, Maria, and Susan, with their party of timid
girls, who must force their way through this crowd of turbulent and
noisy boys. It is already dark. Some of the most unmannerly and
wicked boys of the village are there assembled. They are highly
excited with their sports. And the moment they catch a view of the
party of girls, they raise a shout, and rush in among them reckless
and thoughtless. The parents of the little girl who staid at home,
knew that she would be exposed to such scenes; and as they loved
their daughter, they could not consent that she should go. Was it not

A few young girls once went on such an evening walk, intending to
return before it was dark. But in the height of their enjoyment they
forgot how rapidly the time was passing, and twilight leaving them.
But, at last, when they found how far they were from home, and how
dark it was growing, they became quite alarmed, and hastened
homeward. They, however, got along very well while they were all
together. But when it became necessary for them to separate, to go to
their respective homes, and several of them had to go alone in the
darkness, they felt quite terrified. It was necessary for one of
these little girls, after she had left all her companions, to go
nearly a quarter of a mile. She set out upon the run, her heart
beating with fear. She had not proceeded far, however, before she
heard the loud shouts of a mob of young men and boys, directly in the
street through which she must pass. As she drew nearer, the shouts
and laughter grew louder and more appalling. She hesitated. But what
could she do? She must go on. Trembling, she endeavored to glide
through the crowd, when a great brutal boy, with a horrid mask on his
face and a "jack-o'lantern" in his hand, came up before her. He threw
the glare of the light upon her countenance, and stared her full in
the face. "Here is my wife," said he, and tried to draw her arm into
his. A loud shout from the multitude of boys echoed through the
darkened air. Hardly knowing what she did, she pressed through the
crowd, and, breathless with fright, arrived at her home. And I will
assure you she did not wish to take any more evening walks without a
protector. From that time afterwards she was careful to be under her
father's roof before it was dark.

Now can you think that your father or mother are unkind, because
they are unwilling to have you placed in such a situation? And when
they are doing all that they can to make you happy, ought you not to
be grateful, and by a cheerful countenance, and ready obedience, to
try to reward them for their love?

It is the duty of all children to keep in mind that their parents know
what is best. And when they refuse to gratify your wishes, you should
remember that their object is to do you good. That obedience which is
prompt and cheerful, is the only obedience which is acceptable to
them, or well-pleasing to God. A great many cases will occur in which
you will wish to do that which your parents will not approve. If you
do not, in such cases, pleasantly and readily yield to their wishes,
you are ungrateful and disobedient.

Neither is it enough that you should obey their expressed commands.
You ought to try to do every thing which you think will give them
pleasure, whether they tell you to do it or not. A good child will
seek for opportunities to make his parents happy. A little girl, for
instance, has some work to do. She knows that if she does it well and
quick, it will gratify her mother. Now, if she be a good girl; she
will not wait for her mother's orders, but will, of her own accord,
improve her time, that she may exhibit the work to her mother sooner
and more nicely done than she expected.

Perhaps her mother is sick. Her affectionate daughter will not wait
for her mother to express her wishes. She will try to anticipate
them. She will walk softly around the chamber, arranging every thing
in cheerful order. She will adjust the clothes of the bed, that her
mother may lie as comfortably as possible. And she will watch all her
mother's movements, that she may learn what things she needs before
she asks for them. Such will be the conduct of an affectionate and
obedient child. I was once called to see a poor woman who was very
sick. She was a widow, and in poverty. Her only companion and only
earthly reliance was her daughter. As I entered the humble dwelling
of this poor woman, I saw her bolstered up in the bed, with her pale
countenance emaciated with pain, and every thing about the room
proclaiming the most abject poverty. Her daughter sat sewing at the
head of the bed, watching every want of her mother, and active with
her needle. The perfect neatness of the room, told how faithful was
the daughter in the discharge of her painful and arduous duties. But
her own slender form and consumptive countenance showed that by toil
and watching she was almost worn out herself. This noble girl, by
night and by day, with unwearied attention, endeavored to alleviate
the excruciating pains of her afflicted parent. I could not look upon
her but with admiration, in seeing the devotedness with which she
watched every movement of her mother. How many wealthy parents would
give all they possess, to be blessed with such a child! For months
this devoted girl had watched around her mother by night and by day,
with a care which seemed never to be weary. You could see by the
movement of her eye, and by the expression of her countenance, how
full her heart was of sympathy. She did not wait for her mother to
tell her what to do, but was upon the watch all the time to find out
what would be a comfort to her. This is what I call obedience. It is
that obedience which God in heaven approves and loves.

I called often upon this poor widow, and always with increasing
admiration of this devoted child, One morning, as I entered the room,
I saw the mother lying upon the bed on the floor, with her head in
the lap of her daughter. She was breathing short and heavy in the
struggles of death. The tears were rolling down the pale cheeks of
her daughter, as she pressed her hand upon the brow of her dying
mother. The hour of death had just arrived, and the poor mother, in
the triumphs of Christian faith, with faint and faltering accents,
was imploring God's blessing upon her dear daughter. It was a most
affecting farewell. The mother, while thus expressing her gratitude
to God for the kindness of her beloved child, breathed her last. And
angels must have looked upon that humble abode, and upon that
affecting scene, with emotions of pleasure, which could hardly be
exceeded by any thing else which the world could present. O that all
children would feel the gratitude which this girl felt for a mother's
early love! Then would the world be divested of half its sorrows, and
of half its sins. This is the kind of obedience which every child
should cultivate. You should not only do whatever your parents tell
you to do, with cheerfulness and alacrity, but you should be obedient
to their wishes. You should be watching for opportunities to give
them pleasure. You should, at all times, and under all circumstances,
do every thing in your power to relieve them from anxiety and to make
them happy. Then can you hope for the approbation of your God, and
your heart will be filled with a joy which the ungrateful child can
never feel. You can reflect with pleasure upon your conduct. When
your parents are in the grave, you will feel no remorse of conscience
harrowing your soul for your past unkindness. And when you die
yourselves, you can anticipate a happy meeting with your parents, in
that heavenly home, where sin and sorrow, and sickness and death, can
never come.

God has, in almost every case, connected suffering with sin. And
there are related many cases in which he has, in this world, most
signally punished ungrateful children. I read, a short time since, an
account of an old man, who had a drunken and brutal son. He would
abuse his aged father without mercy. One day, he, in a passion,
knocked him flat upon the floor, and, seizing him by his gray hairs,
dragged him across the room to the threshold of the door, to cast him
out. The old man, with his tremulous voice, cried out to his
unnatural son, "It is enough--it is enough. God is just. When I was
young, I dragged my own father in the same way; and now God is giving
me the punishment I deserve."

Sometimes you will see a son who will not be obedient to his mother.
He will have his own way, regardless of his mother's feelings. He has
grown up to be a stout and stubborn boy, and now the ungrateful
wretch will, by his misconduct, break the heart of that very mother,
who, for months and years, watched over him with a care which knew no
weariness. I call him a wretch, for I can hardly conceive of more
enormous iniquity. That boy, or that young man, who does not treat
his affectionate mother with kindness and respect, is worse than I
can find language to describe. Perhaps you say, your mother is at
times unreasonable. Perhaps she is. But what of that? You have been
unreasonable ten thousand times, and she has borne with you and loved
you. And even if your mother be at times unreasonable in her
requirements, I want to know with what propriety you find fault with
it. Is she to bear with all your cries in infancy, and all your
fretfulness in childhood, and all your ingratitude and wants till you
arrive at years of discretion, and then, because she wishes you to do
some little thing which does not exactly meet your views, are you to
turn upon her like a viper and sting her to the heart? The time was,
when you was a little infant, your mother brought paleness to her own
cheek, and weakness to her own frame, that she might give you
support. You were sick, and in the cold winter night she would sit
lonely by the fire, denying herself rest that she might lull her babe
to sleep. You would cry with pain, and hour after hour she would walk
the floor, carrying you in her arms, till her arms seemed ready to
drop, and her limbs would hardly support her, through excess of
weariness. The bright sun and the cloudless sky would invite her to
go out for health and enjoyment, but she would deny herself the
pleasure, and stay at home to take care of you, her helpless babe.
Her friends would solicit her to indulge in the pleasures of the
social evening party, but she would refuse for your sake, and, in the
solitude of her chamber, she would pass weeks and months watching all
your wants. Thus have years passed away in which you have received
nothing but kindness from her hands; and can you be so hard-hearted,
so ungrateful, as now to give her one moment of unnecessary pain? If
she have faults, can you not bear with them, when she has so long
borne with you? Oh, if you knew but the hundredth part of what she
has suffered and endured for your sake, you could not, could not be
such a wretch as to requite her with ingratitude. A boy who has one
particle of generosity glowing in his bosom, will cling to his mother
with an affection which life alone can extinguish. He will never let
her have a single want which he can prevent. And when he grows to be
a man, he will give her the warmest seat by his fire-side, and the
choicest food upon his table. If necessary, he will deprive himself
of comforts, that he may cheer her declining years. He will prove, by
actions which cannot be misunderstood, that he feels a gratitude for
a mother's love, which shall never, never leave him. And when she
goes down to the grave in death, he will bedew her grave with the
honorable tears of manly feeling. The son who does not feel thus, is
unworthy of a mother's love; the frown of his offended Maker must be
upon him, and he must render to Him an awful account for his
ungrateful conduct.

It is, if possible, stranger still, that any daughter can forget a
mother's care. You are always at home. You see your mother's
solicitude. You are familiar with her heart. If you ever treat your
mother with unkindness, remember that the time may come when your own
heart will be broken by the misconduct of those who will be as dear to
you as your mother's children are to her. And you may ask yourself
whether you would be pleased with an exhibition of ungrateful feeling
from a child whom you had loved and cherished with the tenderest care.
God may reward you, even in this world, according to your deeds. And
if he does not, he certainly will in the world to come. A day of
judgment is at hand, and the ungrateful child has as fearful an
account to render as any one who will stand at that bar.

I have just spoken to you of the grateful girl who took such good care
of her poor sick mother. When that good girl, dies, and meets her
mother in heaven, what a happy meeting it will be! With how much joy
will she reflect upon her dutifulness as a child! And as they dwell
together again in the celestial mansions, sorrow and sighing will for
ever flee away. If you wish to be happy here or hereafter, honor your
father and your mother. Let love's pure flame burn in your heart and
animate your life. Be brave, and fear not to do your duty. Be
magnanimous, and do more for your parents than they require or expect.
Resolve that you will do every thing in your power to make them happy,
and you will be blest as a child, and useful and respected in your
maturer years. Oh, how lovely is that son or daughter who has a
grateful heart, and who will rather die than give a mother sorrow!
Such a one is not only loved by all upon earth, but by the angels
above, and by our Father in heaven.

It may assist you a little to estimate your obligations to your
parents, to inquire what would become of you if your parents should
refuse to take care of you any longer. You, at times, perhaps, feel
unwilling to obey them: suppose they should say,

"Very well, my child, if you are unwilling to obey us, you may go
away from home, and take care of yourself. We cannot be at the
trouble and expense of taking care of you unless you feel some

"Well," perhaps you would say, "let me have my cloak and bonnet, and
I will go immediately."

"YOUR CLOAK AND BONNET!" your mother would reply. "The cloak and
bonnet are not yours, but your father's. He bought them and paid for
them. Why do you call them yours?"

You might possibly reply, after thinking a moment, "They are mine
because you gave them to me."

"No, my child," your mother would say, "we have only let you have
them to wear. You never have paid a cent for them. You have not even
paid us for the use of them. We wish to keep them for those of our
children who are grateful for our kindness. Even the clothes you now
have on are not yours. We will, however, give them to you; and now
suppose you should go, and see how you can get along in taking care of

You rise to leave the house without any bonnet or cloak. But your
mother says, "Stop one moment. Is there not an account to be settled
before you leave? We have now clothed and boarded you for ten years.
The trouble and expense, at the least calculation, amount to two
dollars a week. Indeed I do not suppose that you could have got any
one else to have taken you so cheap. Your board, for ten years, at
two dollars a week, amounts to one thousand and forty dollars. Are
you under no obligation to us for all this trouble and expense?"

You hang down your head and do not know what to say. What can you
say? You have no money. You cannot pay them.

Your mother, after waiting a moment for an answer, continues, "In
many cases, when a person does not pay what is justly due, he is sent
to jail. We, however, will be particularly kind to you, and wait
awhile. Perhaps you can, by working for fifteen or twenty years, and
by being very economical, earn enough to pay us. But let me see; the
interest of the money will be over sixty dollars a year. Oh, no! it
is out of the question. You probably could not earn enough to pay us
in your whole life. We never shall be paid for the time, expense, and
care, we have devoted to our ungrateful daughter. We hoped she would
love us, and obey us, and thus repay. But it seems she prefers to be
ungrateful and disobedient. Good by."

You open the door and go out. It is cold and windy. Shivering with
the cold, and without money, you are at once a beggar, and must
perish in the streets, unless some one takes pity on you.

You go, perhaps, to the house of a friend, and ask if they will allow
you to live with them.

They at once reply, "We have so many children of our own, that we
cannot afford to take you, unless you will pay for your board and

You go again out into the street, cold, hungry, and friendless. The
darkness of the night is coming on; you have no money to purchase a
supper, or night's lodging. Unless you can get some employment, or
find some one who will pity you, you must lie down upon the hard
ground, and perish with hunger and with cold.

Perhaps some benevolent man sees you as he is going home in the
evening, and takes you to the overseers of the poor, and says, "Here
is a little vagrant girl I found in the streets. We must send the poor
little thing to the poor house, or she will starve to death."

You are carried to the poor house. There you had a very different home
from your father's. You are dressed in the coarsest garments. You have
the meanest food, and are compelled to be obedient, and to do the most
servile work.

Now, suppose, while you are in the poor house, some kind gentleman and
lady should come and say, "We will take this little girl, and give
her food and clothes for nothing. We will take her into our own
parlor, and give her a chair by our own pleasant fireside. We will
buy every thing for her that she needs. We will hire persons to teach
her. We will do every thing in our power to make her happy, and will
not ask for one cent of pay in return."

What should you think of such kindness? And what should you think of
yourself, if you could go to their parlor, and receive their bounty,
and yet be ungrateful and disobedient? Would not a child who could
thus requite such love, be deserving of universal detestation? But
all this your parents are doing, and for years have been doing for
you. They pay for the fire that warms you; for the house that shelters
you; for the clothes that cover you; for the food that supports you!
They watch over your bed in sickness, and provide for your
instruction and enjoyment when in health! Your parents do all this
without money and without price. Now, whenever you feel ill humored,
or disposed to murmur at any of their requirements, just look a
moment and see how the account stands. Inquire what would be the
consequence, if they should refuse to take care of you.

The child who does not feel grateful for all this kindness, must be
more unfeeling than the brutes. How can you refrain from, doing every
thing in your power to make those happy who have loved you so long,
and have conferred upon you so many favors! If you have any thing
noble or generous in your nature, it must be excited by a parent's
love. You sometimes see a child who receives all these favors as
though they were her due. She appears to have no consciousness of
obligation; no heart of gratitude. Such a child is a disgrace to
human nature. Even the very fowls of the air, and cattle of the
fields, love their parents. They put to shame the ungrateful child.

You can form no conception of that devotedness of love which your
mother cherishes for you. She is willing to suffer almost every thing
to save you from pain. She will, to protect you, face death in its
most terrific form. An English gentleman tells the following affecting
story, to show how ardently a mother loves her child.

"I was once going, in my gig, up the hill in the village of Frankford,
near Philadelphia when a little girl about two years old, who had
toddled away from a small house, was lying basking in the sun, in the
middle of the road. About two hundred yards before I got to the child,
the teams of three wagons, five big horses in each, the drivers of
which had stopped to drink at a tavern at the brow of the hill,
started off, and came nearly abreast, galloping down the road. I got
my gig off the road as speedily as I could, but expected to see the
poor child crushed to pieces. A young man, a journeyman carpenter,
who was shingling a shed by the road side, seeing the child, and
seeing the danger, though a stranger to the parents, jumped from the
top of the shed, ran into the road, and snatched up the child from
scarcely an inch before the hoof of the leading horse. The horse's
leg knocked him down; but he, catching the child by its clothes,
flung it back out of the way of the other horses, and saved himself
by rolling back with surprising agility. The mother of the child, who
had apparently been washing, seeing the teams coming, and seeing the
situation of the child, rushed out, and, catching up the child, just
as the carpenter had flung it back, and hugging it in her arms,
uttered a shriek, such as I never heard before, never heard since,
and, I hope, shall never hear again; and then she dropped down as if
perfectly dead. By the application of the usual means, she was
restored, however, in a little while, and I, being about to depart,
asked the carpenter if he were a married man, and whether he were a
relation of the parents of the child. He said he was neither. 'Well,
then,' said I, you merit the gratitude of every father and mother in
the world, and I will show you mine by giving you what I have,--
pulling out the nine or ten dollars which I had in my pocket. 'No, I
thank you, sir,' said he, 'I have only done what it was my duty to

"Bravery, disinterestedness, and maternal affection surpassing these
it is impossible to imagine. The mother was going right in amongst the
feet of these powerful and wild horses, and amongst the wheels of
the wagons. She had no thought for herself; no feeling of fear for
her own life; her shriek was the sound of inexpressible joy, joy too
great for her to support herself under."

Now, can you conceive a more ungrateful wretch, than that boy would
be, if he should grow up, not to love or obey his mother? She was
willing to die for him. She was willing to run directly under the feet
of those ferocious horses, that she might save his life. And if he has
one particle of generosity in his bosom, he will do every thing in his
power to make her happy.

But your mother loves you as well as did that mother love her child.
She is as willing to expose herself to danger and to death. And can
you ever bear the thought of causing grief to her whose love is so
strong; whose kindness is so great? It does appear to me that the
generous-hearted boy, who thinks of these things, will resolve to be
his mother's joy and blessing.

A few years ago a child was lost in one of those vast plains in the
west, called prairies. A gentleman who was engaged in the search for
the child, thus describes the scene. It forcibly shows the strength of
a mother's love.

"In the year 1821 I was stationed on the Mad River circuit. You know
there are extensive prairies in that part of the state. In places,
there are no dwellings within miles of each other; and animals of
prey are often seen there. One evening, late in autumn, a few of the
neighbors were assembled around me, in one of those solitary
dwellings, and we had got well engaged in the worship of God, when it
was announced that the child of a widow was lost in the prairie. It
was cold; the wind blew; and some rain was falling. The poor woman
was in agony, and our meeting was broken up. All prepared to go in
search of the lost child. The company understood the business better
than I did, for they had been bred in those extensive barrens; and
occurrences like the present are, probably, not unfrequent among
them. They equipped themselves with lanterns and torches, for it was
quite dark; and tin horns, to give signals to different parts of the
company, when they should become widely separated. For my part, I
thought duty required that I should take charge of the unhappy
mother. She was nearly frantic; and as time permitted her to view her
widowed and childless condition, and the circumstances of the
probable death of her child, her misery seemed to double upon her.
She took my arm; the company divided into parties; and, taking
different directions, we commenced the search. The understanding was,
that, when the child should be found, a certain wind of the horn
should be made, and that all who should hear it should repeat the
signal. In this way all the company would receive the information.

"The prospect of finding a lost child in those extensive prairies,
would, at any time, be sufficiently discouraging. The difficulty must
be greatly increased by a dark, rainy night. We travelled many miles,
and to a late hour. At length we became satisfied that further search
would be unavailing; and all but the mother determined to return home.
It was an idea she could not, for a moment, endure. She would hear of
nothing but further search. Her strength, at last, began to fail her,
and I prevailed on her to return to her abode. As she turned her face
from further search, and gave up her child as lost, her misery was
almost too great for endurance. 'My child,' said she, 'has been
devoured by a wild beast; his little limbs have been torn asunder; and
his blood been drunk by the hideous monster,'--and the idea was
agony. As she clung to my arm, it seemed as if her heart-strings
would break. At times I had almost to support her in my arms, to
prevent her falling to the earth.

"As we proceeded on our way back, I thought I heard, at a great
distance, the sound of a horn. We stopped, and listened: it was
repeated. It was the concerted signal. The child was found. And what
were the feelings of the mother!" Language cannot describe them. Such
is the strength of maternal affection. And can a child be so hard-
hearted as not to love a mother? Is there any thing which can be more
ungrateful than to grieve one who loves you so ardently, and who has
done so much for you? If there be any crime which in the sight of God
is greater than all others, it appears to me it must be the abuse of
parents. If the spirit of a demon dwells in any human breast, it must
be in that breast which is thankless for parental favors, and which
can requite that love, which watched over our infancy and protected
our helpless years, with ingratitude and disrespect.



In this chapter I shall take up the subject of religion. That you
may understand your duties, it is important that you should first
understand your own character in the sight of God. I can, perhaps,
make this plain to you by the following illustration:

A few years since a ship sailed from England to explore the Northern
Ocean. As it was a voyage of no common danger to face the storms and
the tempests of those icy seas, a crew of experienced seamen was
obtained, and placed under the guidance of a commander of long-tried
skill. As the ship sailed from an English port, in pleasant weather
and with favorable breezes, all was harmony on board, and every man
was obedient to the lawful commander. As weeks passed away, and they
pressed forward on the wide waste of waters, there were occasional
acts of neglect of duty. Still the commander retained his authority.
No one ventured to refuse to be in subjection to him, But as the ship
advanced farther and farther into those unexplored regions, new toils
and dangers stared them in the face. The cold blasts of those wintry
regions chilled their limbs. Mountains of ice, dashed about by the
tempests, threatened destruction to the ship and to the crew. As far
as the eye could reach, a dreary view of chilling waves and of
floating ice warned them of dangers, from which no earthly power
could extricate them. The ship was far away from home, and in regions
which had been seldom, if ever, seen by mortal eyes. The boldest were
at times appalled by the dangers, both seen and unseen, which were
clustering around them. Under these circumstances the spirit of
revolt broke out among that ship's crew. They resolved that they
would no longer be in subjection to their commander. They rose
together in rebellion: deprived him of his authority, and took the
control of the ship into their own hands. They then placed their
captain in an open boat, and throwing in to him a few articles of
provision, they turned him adrift upon that wide and cheerless ocean,
and he never was heard of more. Appointing one of their number as
commander, they turned the ship in a different direction, and
regulated all their movements by their own pleasure. After this
revolt, things went on pretty much as before. They had deprived their
lawful commander of his authority and elevated another to occupy his
place. A stranger would, perhaps, have perceived no material
difference, after this change, in the conduct of the crew. The
preservation of their own lives rendered it necessary that the
established rules of naval discipline should be observed. By night
the watches were regularly set and relieved as before. The helmsman
performed his accustomed duty, and the sails were spread to the
winds, or furled in the tempest, as occasion required. But still they
were all guilty of mutiny. They had refused to submit to their lawful
commander. Consequently, by the laws of their country, they were all
condemned to be hung. The faithful discharge of the necessary duties
of each day after their revolt, did not in the least free them from
blame. The crime of which they were guilty, and for which they
deserved the severest punishment, was the refusal to submit to

Now, our situation is very similar to that of this rebellious crew.
The Bible tells us that we have said in our hearts that "we will not
have God to reign over us." Instead of living in entire obedience to
him, we have chosen to serve ourselves. The accusation which God has
against us, is not that we occasionally transgress his laws, but that
we refuse to regard him, at all times and under all circumstances, as
our ruler. Sometimes children think that if they do not tell lies,
and if they obey their parents, it is all that God requires of them.
This, however, is by no means the case. God requires of us not only
to do our duty to our parents, and to those around us, but also to
love him with our most ardent affection, and to endeavor at all times
to do that which will be pleasing to him. While the mutinous seamen
had command of the ship, they might have been kind to one another;
they might, with unwearied care and attention, have watched over the
sick. They might, with the utmost fidelity, have conformed to the
rules of naval discipline, seeing that every rope was properly
adjusted, and that cleanliness and order should pervade every
department. But notwithstanding all this, their guilt was
undiminished. They had refused obedience to their commander, and for
this they were exposed to the penalty of that law which doomed them
to death.

It is the same with us. We may be kind to one another; we may be
free from guile; we may be faithful in the discharge of the ordinary
duties of life; yet, if we are not in subjection to God, we are
justly exposed to the penalty of his law. What would have been
thought of one of those mutinous seamen, if, when brought before the
bar of his country, he had pleaded in his defence, that, after the
revolt, he had been faithful to his new commander? Would any person
have regarded that as an extenuation of his sin? No! He would at once
have been led to the scaffold. And the voice of an indignant public
would have said that he suffered justly for his crime.

Let us imagine one of the mutineers in a court of justice, and urging
the following excuses to the judge.

Judge.--You have been accused of mutiny, and are found guilty; and now
what have you to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced
against you?

Criminal.--To be sure I did help place the captain in the boat and
turn him adrift; but then I was no worse than the others. I did only
as the rest did.

Judge.--The fact that others were equally guilty, is no excuse for
you. You are to be judged by your own conduct.

Criminal.--Well, it is very unjust that I should be punished, for I
was one of the hardest-working men on board the ship. No one can say
that they ever saw me idle, or that I ever refused to perform any
duty, however dangerous.

Judge.--You are not on trial for idleness, but for refusing
obedience to your commander.

Criminal.--I was a very moral man. No one ever heard me use a profane
word; and in my conduct and actions, I was civil to all my shipmates.

Judge.--You are not accused of profanity, or of impoliteness. The
charge for which you are arraigned, is that you have rebelled
against lawful authority. Of this you have been proved to be guilty;
and for this I must now proceed to pass the penalty of the law.

Criminal.--But, may it please your honor, I was a very benevolent man.
One night one of my shipmates was sick, and I watched all the night
long at his hammock. And after we placed the captain in the boat, and
cut him adrift, I threw in a bag of biscuit, that he might have some

Judge.--If your benevolence had shown itself in defending your
commander, and in obedience to his authority, you might now be
rewarded; but you are guilty of mutiny, and must be hung.

Criminal.--There was no man on board the ship more useful than I was.
And after we had turned the captain adrift, we must all have perished
if it had not been for me, for no one else understood navigation. I
have a good education, and did everything I could to instruct my
shipmates, and to make them skilful seamen.

Judge.--You are then the most guilty of the whole rebellious crew. You
knew your duty better than the rest, and are more inexcusable in not
being faithful. It appears by your own confession, that your
education was good; that your influence was extensive; and that you
had been taught those duties which man owes his fellow man. This does
not extenuate, but increases your guilt. Many of your shipmates were
ignorant, and were confirmed in their rebellion by your example. They
had never been taught those moral and social duties which had been
impressed upon your mind. That you could have been so ungrateful, so
treacherous, so cruel as to engage in this revolt, justly exposes you
to the severest penalty of the law. I therefore proceed to pronounce
upon you the sentence which your crimes deserve. You will be led from
this place to the deepest and strongest dungeon of the prison; there
to be confined till you are led to the gallows, and there to be hung
by the neck till you are dead; and may God have mercy upon your soul.

Now, who would not declare that this sentence is just? And who does
not see the absurdity of the excuses which the guilty man offered?

So it is with you, my young reader. It is your duty, at all times, to
be obedient to God. The charge which God brings against us, is, that
we have refused to obey him. For this we deserve that penalty which
God has threatened against rebellion. If we love our parents ever so
ardently, it will not save us, unless we also love God. If we are
ever so kind to those around us, it will not secure God's
approbation, unless we are also obedient to him. If our conduct is so
correct that no one can accuse us of what is called an immoral act,
it will be of no avail, unless we are also living with faith in the
promises of God, and with persevering efforts to do his will. And we
shall be as foolish as was the guilty mutineer, if we expect that any
such excuses will save us from the penalty of his law.

We cannot, by any fidelity in the discharge of the common duties of
life, atone for the neglect to love and serve our Maker. We have
broken away from his authority. We follow our own inclinations, and
are obedient to the directions of others, rather than to those of
our Maker. The fact is, that the duties we owe God and our fellow men
are not to be separated. God expects the child in the morning to
acknowledge his dependence upon his Maker, and to pray for assistance
to do that which is right, during all the hours of the day. And he
expects you, when the evening comes, to thank him for all his
goodness, and solemnly to promise, all your days, to be obedient to
his authority. You must not only love your parents, but you must also
love your God. You must try to have your words and your thoughts
pure, and all your conduct holy. Now, when you look back upon your
past lives, and when you examine your present feelings, do you not
see that you have not obeyed God in all your ways? Not only have you
had wicked thoughts, and at times been disobedient to your parents,
but you have not made it the great object of your life to serve your

God now desires to have you obedient to him. He loves you, and wishes
to see you happy. He has for this purpose sent his Son into the world
to die for your sins, and to lead you to piety and peace. The Savior
now asks you to repent of sin and love him, that, when you die, you
may be received to heaven, and be happy for ever. You perhaps
remember the passage of Scripture found in Rev. 3:2, "Behold, I
stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the
door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." By
this he expresses his desire that we should receive him to our

One of the most affecting scenes described by the pen of the most
eloquent of writers, is, that of an aged father driven from his home
by ungrateful and hard-hearted children. The broken-hearted man is
represented as standing by the door of his own house, in a dark and
tempestuous night, with his gray locks streaming in the wind, and his
head unprotected to the fury of the storm. There he stands, drenched
with the rain, and shivering with the cold. But the door is barred,
and the shutters are closed. His daughters hear the trembling voice of
their aged parent, but refuse him admission. Their flinty hearts
remain unmoved. The darkness increases; the tempest rages; the rain
falls in torrents, and the wind howls most fearfully. The voice of
their father grows feebler and feebler, as the storm spends its fury
upon him. But nothing can touch the sympathies of his unnatural
children. They will not open the door to him. At last, grief, and the
pangs of disappointed hope, break the father's heart. He looks at the
black and lowering clouds above him, and, in the phrensy of his
distracted mind, invites the increasing fury of the storm. And still
those wretched children refuse to receive him to their fireside, but
leave him to wander in the darkness and the cold.

The representation of this scene, as described by the pen of
Shakspeare, has brought tears into millions of eyes. The tragedy of
King Lear and his wretched daughters is known throughout the civilized
world. What heart is not indignant at such treatment? Who does not
abhor the conduct of these unnatural children?

Our blessed Savior represents himself as taking a similar attitude
before the hearts of his children. He has presented himself at the
door of your heart, and can you refuse him admission? "Behold," says
he, "I stand at the door and knock." But we, with a hardness of heart
which has triumphed over greater blessings, and is consequently more
inexcusable than that of the daughters of King Lear, refuse to love
him, and to receive him as our friend. He entreats admission. He asks
to enter and be with you and you with him, that you may be happy. And
there he has stood for days, and months, and years, and you receive
him not. Could we see our own conduct in the light in which we behold
the conduct of others, we should be confounded with the sense of our

Is there a child who reads this book, who has not at times felt the
importance of loving the Savior? When you felt these serious
impressions, Christ was pleading for admission to your heart. You
have, perhaps, been sick, and feared that you were about to die.
And, oh, how ardently did you then wish that the Savior were your
friend! Perhaps you have seen a brother or a sister die: you wept
over your companion, as her cheek daily grew more pale, and she drew
nearer and nearer to death. And when she ceased to breathe, and her
limbs were cold and lifeless, you wept as though your heart would
break. And when you saw her placed in the coffin and carried to the
grave, how earnestly did you desire to be prepared to die yourself!
Oh, how did the world seem then to you! This was the way the Savior
took to reach your heart. When on earth, he said, "Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not." And now he endeavors,
in many ways, to induce you to turn to him. Sometimes he makes you
happy, that his goodness may excite your love. When he sees that in
happiness you are most prone to forget him, he sends sorrow and
trouble, under which your spirits sink, and this world appears
gloomy, and you are led to look forward to a happier one to come. And
does it not seem very ungrateful that you should resist all this
kindness and care, and continue to refuse to submit yourself to him?
You think the daughters of King Lear were very cruel. Indeed they
were; but not so cruel as you. Their father had been kind to them,
but not so kind as your Savior has been to you. He stood long at the
door and knocked, but not so long as the Savior has stood at the door
of your heart. It is in vain that we look to find an instance of
ingratitude equal to that manifested by the sinner who rejects the
Savior. And it is, indeed, melancholy to think, that any child could
be so hard-hearted.

It is strange that any person can resist the love which God has
manifested for us. He has sent angels with messages of mercy, and
invitations to his home in heaven. He sent his Son to die that we
might be saved from everlasting sorrow. He has provided a world of
beauty and of glory, far surpassing any thing we can conceive, to
which he invites us, and where he will make us happy for ever. And we
are informed that all the angels in heaven are so much interested in
our welfare, that "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner that repenteth." It is indeed wonderful that the holy
and happy angels above should feel so deep an interest in our
concerns. But, oh, how surpassingly strange it is, that we feel so
little for ourselves!

It is kind in God that he will not let the wicked enter heaven. He
loves his holy children there too well, to allow the wicked to enter
and trouble them, and destroy their peace. There was a little girl
once, who had a party of her companions to spend the evening with
her. They were all playing very happily in the parlor, when a drunken
man happened to go by. As he heard their voices, he came staggering
up to the door, and tried to get in. All the girls were very much
frightened, for fear the degraded wretch would get into the parlor.
But the gentleman of the house told them not to be frightened. He
assured them that the man should not come in, and though it was a
cold winter's night, he went out and drove him away. Now, was not
this gentleman kind thus to protect these children?

Suppose a wicked man, or a lost spirit, should go to the gates of
heaven and try to enter there. Do you suppose that God would let him
in? Would not God be as kind to the angels as an earthly father to
his earthly children? Every angel in heaven would cry to God for
protection, if they should see the wicked approaching that happy
world. And God shows his love, by declaring that the wicked shall
never enter there.

"Those holy gates for ever bar
Pollution, sin and shame;
None shall obtain admittance there,
But followers of the Lamb."

It is not because God is unkind and cruel that he shuts up the wicked
in the world of wo. He does this because he loves his children, and,
like a kind father, determines to protect them from oppression and
sorrow. The bright wings of the angel glitter in the heavenly world.
Pure joy glows in the bosoms of the blest. Love unites them all, as
they swell their songs, and take their flight. In their home, the
wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are for ever at rest.

A few years since, there was a certain family which was united and
happy. The father and mother looked upon the children who surrounded
their fireside, and beheld them all virtuous in their conduct, and
affectionate towards one another. Their evening sports went on
harmoniously, and those children were preparing, in their beloved
home, for future virtues and usefulness. But, at last, one of the
sons became dissipated. He went on from step to step in vice, till he
became a degraded wretch. His father and mother wept over his sins,
and did everything in their power to reclaim him. All was in vain.
Every day he grew worse. His brothers and sisters found all the
happiness-of their home destroyed by his wickedness. The family was
disgraced by him, and they were all in sorrow and tears. One evening
he was brought home so intoxicated that he was apparently lifeless.
His poor broken-hearted mother saw him conveyed in this disgraceful
condition to his bed. At another time, when his parents were absent,
he came home, in the evening, in a state of intoxication bordering on
phrensy. He raved about the house like a madman. He swore the most
shocking oaths. Enraged with one of his sisters, he seized a chair,
and would have struck her, perhaps, a fatal blow, if she had not
escaped by flight. The parents of this child felt that such things
could no longer be permitted, and told him that, if there was not an
immediate reformation in his conduct, they should forbid him to enter
their house. But entreaties and warnings were alike in vain. He
continued his disgraceful career. His father, perceiving that
amendment was hopeless, and that he was, by remaining at home,
imbittering every moment of the family, and loading them with
disgrace, sent his son to sea, and told him never to return till he
could come back improved in character. To protect his remaining
children, it was necessary for him to send the dissolute one away.

Now, was this father cruel, in thus endeavoring to promote the peace
and the happiness of his family? Was it unkind in him to resolve to
make his virtuous children happy, by excluding the vicious and the
degraded? No! Every one sees that this is the dictate of paternal
love. If he had been a cruel father--if he had had no regard for his
children, he would have allowed this abandoned son to have remained,
and conducted as he pleased. He would have made no effort to protect
his children, and to promote their joy.

And is it not kind in our heavenly Father to resolve that those who
will not obey his laws shall be for ever excluded from heaven? He
loves his virtuous and obedient children, and will make them perfectly
happy. He never will permit the wicked to mar their joys and degrade
their home. If God were an unkind being, he would let the wicked go
to heaven. He would have no prison to detain them. He would leave the
good unprotected and exposed to abase from the bad. But God is love.
He never thus will abandon his children. He has provided a strong
prison, with dungeons deep and dark, where he will hold the wicked,
so that they cannot escape. The angels in heaven have nothing to fear
from wicked men, or wicked angels. God will protect his children from
all harm.

Our Father in heaven is now inviting all of us to repent of our sins,
and to cultivate a taste for the joys of heaven. He wishes to take us
to his own happy home, and make us loved members of his own
affectionate family. And every angel in heaven rejoices, when he sees
the humblest child repent of sin and turn to God. But if we will not
be obedient to his laws; if we will not cultivate in our hearts those
feelings of fervent love which glow and burn in the angel's bosom; if
we will not here on earth learn the language of prayer and praise, God
assures us that we never can be admitted to mingle with his happy
family above. Would not God be very unkind to allow the wicked and
impenitent to enter in and mar their joys? The angels are happy to
welcome a returning wanderer. But if they should see an unsubdued
spirit directing his flight towards heaven, they all would pray to
God that he might not be permitted to enter, to throw discord into
their songs, and sorrow into their hearts. God is love. He will keep
heaven pure and happy. All who will be obedient to him, he will
gladly elevate to walk the streets of the New Jerusalem, and to
inhabit the mansions which he has built.

But those who will not submit to his authority must be shut out for
ever. If we do not yield to the warnings and entreaties which now come
to us from God, we must hear the sentence, "Depart from me,"--"I know
you not." God uses all the means which he deems proper to reclaim us;
and when he finds that we are incorrigible, then does he close upon us
the doors of our prison, that we never may escape.

If God cared not for the happiness of his children, he would break
these laws; he would tear down this prison; he would turn all its
guilty inmates loose upon the universe, to rove and to desolate at
their pleasure. But, blessed be God, he is love; and the brightness
and glory of heaven never can be marred by the entrance of sin. In
hell's dreary abyss, the wretched outcasts from heaven will find
their secure and eternal abiding place. Where do you wish to have
your home? with the virtuous and happy in heaven, or with the vicious
and miserable in the world of wo? Now is the time to decide. But life
will soon be gone. As we die, we shall continue for ever.

"There are no acts of pardon passed
In the cold grave to which we haste."

God, in this world, makes use of all those means which he thinks
calculated to affect your feelings and to incline you to his service.
You now hear of the love of Jesus, and feel the strivings of the Holy
Spirit. You are surrounded by many who love the Savior, and enjoy all
the precious privileges of the Bible and the Sabbath. God speaks to
you in afflictions and enjoyments, and tries ways without number to
reclaim you to himself. If you can resist all this, your case is
hopeless. In the world of wo there will be no one to plead with you
the wonders of a Savior's love. You will feel no strivings of the
Spirit. No Christian friends will surround you with their sympathies
and their prayers. The Sabbath will no longer dawn upon you, and the
Bible will no longer entreat you to turn to the Lord. If you can
resist all the motives to repentance which this life affords, you are
proof against all the means which God sees fit to adopt. If you die
impenitent, you will for ever remain impenitent, and go on
unrestrained in passion and wo. The word of God has declared that, at
the day of judgment our doom will be fixed for ever. The wicked shall
then go into everlasting punishment, and the righteous to life
eternal. The bars of the sinner's prison will never be broken. The
glories of the saint's abode will never be sullied.

A few years since, a child was lost in the woods. He was out, with his
brothers and sisters, gathering berries, and accidentally was
separated from them and lost. The children, after looking in vain
for some time in search of the little wanderer, returned just in the
dusk of the evening, to inform their parents that their brother was
lost, and could not be found. The woods at that time were infested
with bears. The darkness of a cloudy night was rapidly coming on, and
the alarmed father, gathering a few of his neighbors, hastened in
search of the lost child. The mother remained at home, almost
distracted with suspense. As the clouds gathered and the darkness
increased, the father and the neighbors, with highly-excited fears,
traversed the woods in all directions, and raised loud shouts to
attract the attention of the child. But their search was in vain.
They could find no traces of the wanderer; and as they stood under
the boughs of the lofty trees, and listened, that if possible they
might hear his feeble voice, no sound was borne to their ears but the
melancholy moaning of the wind as it swept through the thick branches
of the forest. The gathering clouds threatened an approaching storm,
and the deep darkness of the night had already enveloped them. It is
difficult to conceive what were the feelings of that father. And who
could imagine how deep the agony which filled the bosom of that
mother as she heard the wind, and beheld the darkness in which her
child was wandering! The search continued in vain till nine o'clock
in the evening. Then one of the party was sent back to the village to
collect the inhabitants for a more extensive search. The bell rung
the alarm, and the cry of fire resounded through the streets. It was,
however, ascertained that it was not fire which caused the alarm, but
that the bell tolled the more solemn tidings of a lost child. Every
heart sympathized in the sorrows of the distracted parents. Soon the
multitudes of the people were seen ascending the hill upon the
declivity of which the village was situated, to aid in the search.
Ere long the rain began to fall, but no tidings came back to the
village of the lost child. Hardly an eye was that night closed in
sleep, and there was not a mother who did not feel for the agonized
parents. The night passed away, and the morning dawned, and yet no
tidings came. At last those engaged in the search met together and
held a cousultation. They made arrangements for a more minute and
extended search, and agreed that in case the child was found, a gun
should be fired to give a signal to the rest of the party. As the sun
arose, the clouds were dispelled, and the whole landscape glittered
in the rays of the bright morning. But that village was deserted and
still. The stores were closed, and business was hushed. Mothers were
walking the streets with sympathising countenances and anxious
hearts. There was but one thought there--What has become of the lost
child? All the affections and interest of the community were flowing
in one deep and broad channel towards the little wanderer. About nine
in the morning the signal gun was fired, which announced that the
child was found; and for a moment how dreadful was the suspense! Was
it found a mangled corpse, or was it alive and well? Soon a joyful
shout proclaimed the safety of the child. The  shout was borne from
tongue to tongue, till the whole forest rung again with the joyful
acclamations of the multitude. A commissioned messenger rapidly bore
the tidings to the distracted mother. A procession was immediately
formed by those engaged in the search. The child was placed upon a
platform, hastily constructed from the boughs of trees, and borne in
triumph at the head of the procession. When they arrived at the brow
of the hill, they rested for a moment, and proclaimed their success
with three loud and animated cheers. The procession then moved on,
till they arrived in front of the dwelling where the parents of the
child resided. The mother, who stood at the door, with streaming eyes
and throbbing heart, could no longer restrain herself or her
feelings. She rushed into the street, clasped her child to her bosom,
and wept aloud. Every eye was suffused with tears, and for a moment
all were silent. But suddenly some one gave a signal for a shout. One
loud, and long, and happy note of joy rose from the assembled
multitude, and they then dispersed to their business and their homes.

There was more joy over the one child that was found than over the
ninety and nine that went not astray. Likewise there is joy in the
presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. But
still this is a feeble representation of the love of our Father in
heaven for us, and of the joy with which the angels welcome the
returning wanderer. The mother cannot feel for her child that is lost
as God feels for the unhappy wanderers in the paths of sin. The child
was exposed to a few hours of suffering; the sinner to eternal
despair. The child was in danger of being torn by the claws and the
teeth of the bear--a pang which would be but for a moment; but the
sinner must feel the ravages of the never-dying worm, must be exposed
to the fury of the inextinguishable flame. Oh, if a mother can feel
so much, what must be the feelings of our Father in heaven! If man
can feel so deep a sympathy, what must be the emotions which glow in
the bosoms of angels! Such is the nature of the feelings with which
we are regarded by our heavenly Father and the holy angels.

Many parables are introduced in the Bible to illustrate this feeling
on the part of God. He compares himself with the kind shepherd, who,
finding that one little lamb had strayed from the flock, left the
ninety and nine and went in search of the lost one. He illustrates
this feeling by that of the woman who had lost a piece of silver, and
immediately lit a candle and swept the house diligently, till she
found it. In like manner, we are informed, that it is not the will of
our Father who is in heaven, that one of his little ones should
perish. He has manifested the most astonishing love and kindness that
he might make us happy.

But what greater proof of love can we have than that which God has
given in the gift of his Son! That you might be saved from sin and
ceaseless wo, Jesus came and died. He came to the world, and placed
himself in poverty, and was overwhelmed with sorrow, that he might
induce you to accept salvation, and to be happy for ever in heaven.
The Savior was born in a stable. When an infant, his life was
sought. His parents were compelled to flee out of the country, that
they might save him from a violent death. As he grew up, he was
friendless and forsaken. He went about from town to town, and from
village to village, doing good to all. He visited the sick, and
healed them. He went to the poor and the afflicted, and comforted
them. He took little children in his arms, and blessed them. He
injured no one, and endeavored to do good to all. And yet he was
persecuted, and insulted, and abused. Again and again he was
compelled to flee for his life. They took up stones to stone him.
They hired false witnesses to accuse him. At last they took him by
night, as he was in a garden praying. A cruel multitude came and took
him by force, and carried him into a large hall. They then surrounded
our blessed Savior, and heaped upon him all manner of insult and
abuse. They mocked him. They collected some thorns, and made a crown,
which they forced upon his head, pressing the sharp thorns into his
flesh, till the blood flowed down upon his hair and his cheeks. And
after thus passing the whole night, he was led out to the hill of
Calvary, tottering beneath the heavy burden of the cross, which he
was compelled to bear upon his own shoulders, and to which he was to
be nailed. When they arrived at the place of crucifixion, they drove
the nails through his hands and his feet. The cross was then fixed in
the ground, and the Savior, thus cruelly suspended, was exposed to
the loud and contemptuous shouts of an insulting mob. The morning air
was filled with their loud execrations. A soldier came and thrust a
spear deep into his side. To quench his burning thirst, they gave him
vinegar, mixed with gall. Thus did our Savior die. He endured all
this, from the cradle to the grave, that he might save sinners. And
when he, while enduring the agony of the cross, cried out, "My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" he was then suffering those
sorrows which you must otherwise have suffered. If it had not been
for our Savior's sorrows and death, there would have been no help for
any sinner. You never could have entered heaven. You must for ever
have endured the penalty of that law which saith, "The soul that
sinneth, it shall die." Was there ever such love as this? And, oh,
must not that child's heart be hard, who will not love such a Savior,
and who will not do all in his power to prove his gratitude by a holy
and an obedient life? Christ so loves you, that he was willing to die
the most cruel of deaths, that he might make you happy. He is now in
heaven, preparing mansions of glory for all those who will accept him
as their Savior, and obey his law. And where is the child who does
not wish to have this Savior for his friend, and to have a home in

The Holy Spirit is promised to aid you in all your efforts to resist
sin. If, when the power of temptation is strong, you will look to him
for aid, he will give you strength to resist. Thus is duty made easy,
God loves you. Angels desire that you should come to heaven. Jesus has
died to save you. The Holy Spirit is ready to aid you in every
Christian effort, and to lead you on, victorious over sin. How
unreasonable, then, and how ungrateful it is, for any child to refuse
to love God, and to prepare to enter the angels' home! There you can
be happy. No night is there. No sickness or sorrow can ever reach you
there. Glory will fill your eye. Joy will fill your heart. You will
be an angel yourself, and shine in all the purity and in all the
bliss of the angels' happy home.



In the last chapter I have endeavored to show you in what your sin
principally consists; and also the interest which God feels in your
happiness, and the sacrifice he has made to lead you to penitence and
to heaven. But you desire more particular information respecting the
duties which God requires of you. I shall in this chapter explain the
requirements of God; and show you why you should immediately
commence a life of piety.

Probably no child reads this book who is not conscious of sin. You
feel not only that you do not love God as you ought, but that
sometimes you are ungrateful or disobedient to your parents; you are
irritated with your brother or your sister, or you indulge in other
feelings, which you know to be wrong. New, the first thing which God
requires of you is, that you should be penitent for all your sins. At
the close of the day, you go to your chamber for sleep. Perhaps your
mother goes with you, and hears you repeat a prayer of gratitude to
God for his kindness. But after she has left the chamber, and you are
alone in the darkness, you recall to mind the events of the day,
asking yourself what you have done that is wrong. Perhaps you were
idle at school, or unkind to a playmate, or disobedient to your
parents. Now, if you go to sleep without sincere repentance, and a
firm resolution to try for the future to avoid such sin, the frown of
your Maker will be upon you during all the hours of the night. You
ought, every evening, before you go to sleep, to think of your
conduct during the day, and to express to God your sincere sorrow for
every thing you have done which is displeasing to him, and humbly
implore the pardon of your sins through Jesus Christ. Such a child
God loves. Such a one he will readily forgive. And if it is his will
that you should die before the morning, he will take you to heaven,
to be happy there. But remember that it is not enough simply to say
that you are penitent. You must really feel penitent. And you must
resolve to be more watchful in future, and to guard against the sin
over which you mourn. You have, for instance, spoken unkindly, during
the day, to your brother. At night, you feel that you have done
wrong, and that God is displeased. Now, if you are sincerely
penitent, and ask God's forgiveness, you will pray that you may not
again be guilty of the same fault. And when you awake in the morning,
you will be watchful over yourself, that you may be pleasant and
obliging. You will perhaps go to your brother, and say, "I did wrong
in speaking unkindly to you yesterday, and I am sorry for it. I will
endeavor never again to do so." At any rate, if you are really
penitent, you will pray to God for forgiveness, and most sincerely
resolve never willingly to be guilty of the same sin again.

But you must also remember that, by the law of God, sin can never pass
unpunished. God has said, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." And
when you do any thing that is wrong, and afterwards repent of it, God
forgives you, because the Savior has borne the punishment which you
deserve. This is what is meant by that passage of Scripture, "he was
wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities." Our
Father in heaven loved us so much that he gave his own Son to die in
our stead. And now he says that he is ready to forgive, if we will
repent, and believe in his Son who has suffered and died to save us.
And ought we not to love so kind a Savior?

You cannot expect at present precisely and fully to understand every
thing connected with the sufferings and death of Christ, and the moral
effect they produce. In fact, it is intimated in the Bible, that even
the angels in heaven find this subject one capable of tasking all
their powers. You can understand, however, that he suffered and
died, that you might be forgiven. It would not be safe in any
government to forgive sin merely on the penitence of the sinner.
Civil government cannot do this safely; a family government cannot do
it safely. It is often the case, when a man is condemned to death for
a crime he has committed, that his dearest friends, sometimes his
wife and children, make the most affecting appeals to the chief
magistrate of the state, to grant him pardon. But it will not do. The
governor, if he knows his duty, will be firm, however painful it may
be, in allowing the law to take its course; for he has to consider
not merely the wishes of the unhappy criminal and his friends, but
the safety and happiness of the whole community.

And so the governor of the universe must consider, not merely his own
benevolent feelings towards the sinner, but the safety and the
holiness of all his creatures; and he could not have forgiven our
sins, unless he had planned a way by which we might safely be
forgiven. This way he did devise, to sustain law and protect
holiness, and yet to let us go free from the punishment due to our
sins. Jesus died for us. He bore our sins. By his stripes we are
healed. And shall we not be grateful?

It is thus that God has provided a way for our escape from the penalty
of his law. You have read, "God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." Was it not kind in God to give his Son to
suffer, that we might be saved from punishment? God has plainly given
his law. And he has said, the soul that sinneth, it shall die. And he
has said, that his word is so sacred, that, though heaven and earth
should pass away, his word shall not pass away. We have all broken
God's law, and deserve the punishment it threatens. But our indulgent
Father in heaven is looking upon us in loving kindness and in tender
mercy. He pities us, and he has given his own Son to bear the
punishment which we deserve. Oh, was there ever proof of greater love?

And how ardently should we love that Savior, who is nearer and dearer
than a brother, who has left heaven and all its joys, and come to the
world, and suffered and died, that we might be happy! God expects that
we shall love him; that we shall receive him as our Savior, and
whenever we do wrong, that we shall ask forgiveness for his sake. And
when a child thinks of the sorrows which his sins have caused the
Savior, it does appear to me that he must love that Savior with the
most ardent affection.

It was the law of a certain town that the boys should not slide down
hill in the streets.  [FOOTNOTE: To those children who live where it
seldom or never snows, I ought to say in this note, that, in New
England, it is a very common amusement to slide down the hills on
sleds or boards, in the winter evenings, when the roads are icy and
smooth. In some places this is dangerous to passengers, and then it
is forbidden by law.]   If any were found doing so, they were to be
fined, and it the money was not paid, they were to be sent to jail.
Now, a certain boy, the son of a poor man, broke the law, and was
taken up by an officer. They carried him into court, the fact was
fully proved against him, and he was sentenced to pay the fine. He
had no money, and his father, who stood by, was poor, and found it
hard work to supply the wants of the family. The money must be paid,
however, or the poor boy must go to jail. The father thought that he
could earn it in the evenings, and he promised, accordingly, to pay
the money if they would let his son go.

Evening after evening, then, he went out to his work, while the boy
was allowed to remain by the comfortable fire, at home. After a while
the money was earned and paid, and then the boy felt relieved and

Now, suppose this boy, instead of being grateful to the father, who
had suffered for him, should treat him with coldness and unkindness.
Suppose he should continually do things to give him pain, and always
be reluctant to do the slightest thing to oblige him. Who would not
despise so ungrateful a boy?

And do you think that that child who will grieve the Savior with
continued sin, who will not love him, who will not try to obey him,
can have one spark of noble, of generous feeling in his bosom? Would
any person, of real magnanimity, disregard a friend who had done so
much as the Savior has done for us? God requires of us, that while we
feel penitent for our sins, we should feel grateful to that Savior
who has redeemed us by his blood. And when Jesus Christ says, "Come
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you
rest," this is what he means. We must love Christ, We must regard him
as the friend who has, by his own sufferings, saved us from the
penalty of God's law. And it is dishonorable and base to refuse to
love him, and to do every thing in your power to please him.

This kind Savior is now looking upon you with affection. He has gone
to heaven to prepare a place for you, and there he wishes to receive
you, and to make you happy for ever. His eye is upon your heart every
day, and every hour. He never forgets you. Wherever you go, he follows
you. He shields you from harm. He supplies all your wants. He
surrounds you with blessings. And now, all that he asks for all these
favors is your love; not that you may do good to him, but that he may
do still more good to you. He wishes to take you, holy and happy, to
the green pastures and the still waters of heaven. Can any child
refuse to love this Savior? Oh, go to him at once, and pray that he
will receive you, and write your name among the number of his
friends. Then will he soon receive you to his own blissful abode.

"Fair distant land; could mortal eyes
But half its charms explore,
How would our spirits long to rise,
And dwell on earth no more!

No cloud those distant regions know,
Realms ever bright and fair!
For sin, the source of mortal wo,
Can never enter there."

Every child who reads this book probably knows, that, unless he is
penitent for sin, and trusts in the Savior, he must for ever be
banished from the presence of God. But a person cannot be penitent and
grateful who does not endeavor in all things to be obedient. You must
try at all times of the day, and in all the duties of the day, to be
faithful, that you may please God. It is not a little thing to be a
Christian. It is not enough that you at times pray earnestly and feel
deeply. You must be mild, and forbearing, and affectionate, and
obedient. Do you think that child can be a Christian, who will, by
ingratitude, make his parents unhappy? There is, perhaps, nothing
which is more pleasing to God than to see a child who is affectionate
and obedient to his parents. This is one of the most important
Christian duties. And if ever you see a child who professes to be a
Christian child, and who yet is guilty of ingratitude and of
disobedience, you may be assured that those professions are insincere.
If you would have a home in heaven, you must be obedient while in your
home on earth. If you would have the favor and the affection of your
heavenly Father, you must merit the affection and the gratitude of
your earthly parents. God has most explicitly commanded that you
should honor your father and your mother. If you sin in this respect,
it is positive proof that the displeasure of God rests upon you.

Sincere love to God will make a child not only more amiable in general
character, but also more industrious. You are, perhaps, at school,
and, not feeling very much like study, idle away the afternoon. Now,
God's eye is upon you all the time. He sees every moment which is
wasted. And the sin of that idle afternoon you must render an account
for, at his bar. Do you suppose that a person can be a Christian, and
yet be neglecting time, and living in idleness? Even for every idle
word that men shall speak they must give an account in the day of
judgment. If you do not improve your time when young, you can neither
be useful, nor respected, nor happy. The consequences of this
idleness will follow you through life. With all sin God has connected
sorrow. The following account of George Jones will show how
intimately God has connected with indolence sorrow and disgrace.


Many young persons seem to think it is not of much consequence if they
do not improve their time well when in youth, for they can make it up
by diligence when they are older. They think it is disgraceful for men
and women to be idle, but that there can be no harm for persons who
are young to spend their time in any manner they please.

George Jones thought so. He was twelve years old. He went to an
academy to prepare to enter college. His father was at great expense
in obtaining books for him, clothing him, and paying his tuition.
But George was idle. The preceptor of the academy would often tell
him that if he did not study diligently when young, he would never
succeed well. But George thought of nothing but present pleasure.
Often would he go to school without having made any preparation for
his morning lesson; and, when called to recite with his class, he
would stammer and make such blunders, that the rest of his class
could not help laughing at him. He was one of the poorest scholars in
school, because he was one of the most idle.

When recess came, and all the boys ran out of the academy, upon the
play-ground, idle George would come moping along. Instead of studying
diligently while in school, he was indolent and half asleep. When the
proper time for play came, he had no relish for it. I recollect very
well that, when tossing up for a game of ball, we used to choose every
body on the play-ground before we chose George. And if there were
enough to play without him, we used to leave him out. Thus was he
unhappy in school and out of school. There is nothing which makes a
person enjoy play so well as to study hard. When recess was over, and
the rest of the boys returned fresh and vigorous to their studies,
George might be seen lagging and moping along to his seat. Sometimes
he would be asleep in school, sometimes he would pass his time in
catching flies and penning them up in little holes, which he cut in
his seat. And sometimes, when the preceptor's back was turned, he
would throw a paper ball across the room. When the class was called
up to recite, George would come drowsily along, looking as mean and
ashamed as though he were going to be whipped. The rest of the class
stepped up to the recitation with alacrity, and appeared happy and
contented. When it came George's turn to recite, he would be so long,
and make such blunders, that all most heartily wished him out of the

At last George went with his class to enter college. Though he passed
a very poor examination, he was admitted with the rest, for those who
examined him thought it was possible, that the reason why he did not
answer the questions better was that he was frightened. Now came hard
times for poor George. In college there is not much mercy shown to bad
scholars; and George had neglected his studies so long that he could
not now keep up with his class, let him try ever so hard.

He could without much difficulty get along in the academy, where there
were only two or three boys of his own class to laugh at him. But now
he had to go into a large recitation room, filled with students from
all parts of the country. In the presence of all these he must rise
and recite to the professor. Poor fellow! He paid dear for his
idleness. You would have pitied him, if you could have seen him
trembling in his seat, every moment expecting to be called upon to
recite. And when he was called upon, he would stand up and take what
the class called a dead set; that is, he could not recite at all.
Sometimes he would make such ludicrous blunders that the whole class
would burst into a laugh. Such are the applauses idleness gets. He
was wretched, of course. He had been idle so long, that he hardly
knew how to apply his mind to study. All the good scholars avoided
him; they were ashamed to be seen in his company. He became
discouraged, and gradually grew dissipated.

The government of the college soon were compelled to suspend him. He
returned in a few months, but did no better; and his father was then
advised to take him from college. He left college, despised by every
one. A few months ago I met him in New-York, a poor wanderer, without
money or friends. Such are the wages of idleness. I hope every reader
will from this history take warning, and "stamp improvement on the
wings of time."

This story of George Jones, which is a true one, shows how sinful and
ruinous it is to be idle. Every child who would be a Christian, and
have a home in heaven, must guard against this sin. But as I have
given you one story, which shows the sad effects of indolence, I will
now present you with another, more pleasing, which shows the rewards
of industry.


I gave you the history of George Jones, an idle boy, and showed you
the consequences of his idleness. I shall now give you the history of
Charles Bullard, a class-mate of George. Charles was about of the same
age with George, and did not possess naturally superior talents.
Indeed, I doubt whether he was equal to him, in natural powers of
mind. But Charles was a hard student. When quite young, he was
always careful to be diligent in school. Sometimes, when there was a
very hard lesson, instead of going out in the recess to play, he
would stay in to study. He had resolved that his first object should
be to get his lesson well, and then he could play with a good
conscience. He loved play as well as any body, and was one of the
best players on the ground; I hardly ever saw any body catch a ball
better than he could. When playing any game every one was glad to get
Charles on his side. I have said that Charles would sometimes stay in
at recess. This, however, was very seldom; it was only when the
lesson was very hard indeed. Generally he was among the first upon
the play-ground, and he was also among the first to go into school,
when called in. Hard study gave him a relish for play, and play
again gave him a relish for hard study; so he was happy both in
school and out. The preceptor could not help liking him, for he
always had his lessons well committed, and never gave him any trouble.

When he went to enter college, the preceptor gave him a good
recommendation. He was able to answer all the questions which were put
to him when he was examined. He had studied so well when he was in the
academy, and was so thoroughly prepared for college, that he found it
very easy to keep up with his class, and had much time for reading
interesting books. But he would always first get his lesson well,
before he did any thing else, and would review it just before
recitation. When called upon to recite, he rose tranquil and happy,
and very seldom made any mistake. The government of the college had
a high opinion of him, and he was respected by all the students.

There was in the college a society made up of all of the best
scholars. Charles was chosen a member of that society. It was the
custom to choose some one of the society to deliver a public address
every year. This honor was conferred on Charles; and he had studied so
diligently, and read so much, that he delivered an address, which was
very interesting to all who heard it. At last he graduated, as it is
called; that is, he finished his collegiate course, and received his
degree. It was known by all that he was a good scholar, and by all he
was respected. His father and mother, brothers and sisters, came,
commencement day, to hear him speak. They all felt gratified, and
loved Charles more than ever. Many situations of usefulness and
profit were opened to him, for Charles was now a man, intelligent,
and universally respected. He is now a useful and a happy man. He has
a cheerful home, and is esteemed by all who know him.

Such are the rewards of industry. How strange is it, that any persons
should be willing to live in idleness, when it will certainly make
them, unhappy! The idle boy is almost invariably poor and miserable;
the industrious boy is happy and prospered.

But perhaps some child who reads this, asks, "Does God notice little
children in school?" He certainly does. And if you are not diligent
in the improvement of your time, it is one of the surest of evidences
that your heart is not right with God. You are placed in this world
to improve your time. In youth you must be preparing for future
usefulness. And if you do not improve the advantages you enjoy, you
sin against your Maker.

"With books, or work, or healthful play,
Let your first years be past,
That you may give, for every day,
Some good account at last."

One of the petitions in the Lord's prayer is, "forgive us our debts as
we forgive our debtors." We do thus pray that God will exercise the
same kind of forgiveness towards us, which we exercise towards
others. Consequently, if we are unforgiving or revengeful, we pray
that God will treat us in the same way when we appear before him in
judgment. Thus God teaches the necessity of cultivating a forbearing
and a forgiving spirit. We must do this or we cannot be Christians.
When I was a boy, there was another little boy who went to the same
school with me, who was a professed Christian. He seemed to love the
Savior, and to try in all things to abstain from sin. Some of the bad
boys were in the habit of ridiculing him, and of doing every thing
they could to tease him, because he would not join with them in
mischief. Near the school-house there was a small orchard; and the
scholars would, without the leave of the owner, take the apples. One
day a party of boys were going into the orchard for fruit, and called
upon this pious boy to accompany them.

"Come, Henry," said one of them to him, "let us go and get some

"The apples are not ours," he fearlessly replied, "and I do not think
it right to steal."

"You are a coward, and afraid to go," the other replied.

"I am afraid," said Henry, "to do wrong, and you ought to be; but I
am not afraid to do right."

This wicked boy was exceedingly irritated at this rebuke, and called
Henry all manner of names, and endeavored to hold him up to the
ridicule of the whole school.

Henry bore it very patiently, though it was hard to be endured, for
the boy who ridiculed him had a great deal of influence and talent.

Some days after this the boys were going a fishing. Henry had a
beautiful fishing-rod, which his father had bought for him.

George--for by that name I shall call the boy who abused Henry--was
very desirous of borrowing this fishing-rod, and yet was ashamed to
ask for it. At last, however, he summoned courage, and called out to
Henry upon the play-ground--

"Henry, will you lend me your rod to go a fishing?"

"O yes," said Henry; "if you will go home with me, I will get it for
you now."

Poor George felt ashamed enough for what he had done. But he went home
with Henry to get the rod.

They went up into the barn together, and when Henry had taken his
fishing-tackle from the place in which he kept it, he said to
George, "I have a new line in the house, which father bought me the
other day; you may have that too, if you want it." George could
hardly hold up his head, he felt so ashamed. However, Henry went and
got the new line, and placed it upon the rod, and gave them into
George's hand.

A few days after this, George told me about it. "Why," said he, "I
never felt so ashamed in my life. And one thing is certain, I will
never call Henry names again."

Now, who does not admire the conduct of Henry in this affair? This
forgiving spirit is what God requires. The child who would be the
friend of God, must possess this spirit. You must always be ready to
forgive. You must never indulge in the feelings of revenge. You must
never desire to injure another, how much soever you may feel that
others have injured you. The spirit of the Christian is a forgiving

God also requires of his friends, that they shall ever be doing good,
as they have opportunity. The Christian child will do all in his power
to make those happy who are about him. He will disregard himself that
he may promote the happiness of others. He will be obliging to all.

This world is not your home. You are to remain here but a few years,
and then go to that home of joy or wo, which you never, never will
leave. God expects you to be useful here. "How can I do any good?"
do you say? Why, in many ways. You can make your parents happy; that
is doing good. You can make your brothers and sisters happy; that is
doing good. You can try to make your brothers and sisters more
obedient to their parents; that is doing good. You can set a good
example at school; that is doing good. If you see your companions
doing any thing that is wrong, you can try to dissuade them. You can
speak to your bosom friend, upon the Savior's goodness, and endeavor
to excite in his heart the feelings which are in yours. Thus you may
be exerting a good influence upon all around you. Your life will not
be spent in vain. God will smile upon you, and give joy in a dying

Some children appear to think that if they are Christians, they cannot
be so happy as they may be if they are not Christians. They think that
to love God, and to pray, and to do their duty, is gloomy work. But
God tells us that none can be happy but those who love him. And
every one who has repented of sin, and loves the Savior, says that
there is more happiness in this mode of life than in any other. We
may indeed be happy a little while without piety. But misfortunes and
sorrows will come. Your hopes of pleasure will be disappointed. You
will be called to weep; to suffer pain; to die. And there is nothing
but religion which can give you a happy life and a peaceful death. It
is that you may be happy, not unhappy, that God wishes you to be a

It is true that at times it requires a very great struggle to take a
decided stand as a Christian. The proud heart is reluctant to yield.
The worldly spirit clings to worldly pleasure. It requires bravery
and resolution to meet the obstacles which will be thrown in your
way. You may be opposed. You may be ridiculed. But, notwithstanding
all this, the only way to ensure happiness is to love and serve your
Maker. Many children know that they ought to love God, and wish that
they had resolution to do their duty. But they are afraid of the
ridicule of their companions. Henry, who would not rob the orchard,
was a brave boy. He knew that they would laugh at him. But what did
he care? He meant to do his duty without being frightened if others
did laugh. And the consciousness of doing his duty afforded him much
greater enjoyment than he could possibly have received from eating
the stolen fruit. Others of the boys went and robbed the orchard,
because they had not courage to refuse to do as their companions did.
They knew it was wrong, but they were afraid of being laughed at. But
which is the most easy to be borne, the ridicule of the wicked, or a
condemning conscience, and the displeasure of God? It is so with all
the duties of the Christian. If you will conscientiously do that
which God approves, he will give you peace of mind, and prepare you
for eternal joy.

One of the most eminent and useful of the English clergymen was led,
when a child, by the following interesting circumstance, to surrender
himself to the Savior. When a little boy, he was, like other
children, playful and thoughtless. He thought, perhaps, that he would
wait until he was old, before he became a Christian. His father was a
pious man, and frequently conversed with him about heaven, and urged
him to prepare to die.

On the evening of his birth-day, when he was ten years of age, his
father took him affectionately by the hand, and reminding him of the
scenes through which he had already passed, urged him to commence that
evening a life of piety. He told him of the love of Jesus. He told him
of the danger of delay. And he showed him that he must perish for ever
unless he speedily trusted in the Savior, and gave his life to his
service. As this child thought of a dying hour, and of a Savior's
love, his heart was full of feeling, and the tears gushed into his
eyes. He felt that it was time for him to choose whether he would
live for God or for the world. He resolved that he would no longer

His father and mother then retired to their chamber to pray for
their child, and this child also went to his chamber to pray for
himself. Sincerely he gave himself to the Savior. Earnestly he
implored forgiveness, and most fervently entreated God to aid him to
keep his resolutions and to refrain from sin. And do you think that
child was not happy, as, in the silence of his chamber, he
surrendered himself to God? It was undoubtedly the hour of the purest
enjoyment he ever had experienced, Angels looked with joy upon that
evening scene, and hovered with delight and love around that penitent
child. The prayers of the parent and the child ascended as grateful
incense to the throne, and were accepted. And from that affecting
hour, this little boy went on in the path which leads to usefulness,
and peace, and heaven. He spent his life in doing good. A short time
since, he died a veteran soldier of the cross, and is now undoubtedly
amid the glories of heaven, surrounded by hundreds, who have been, by
his instrumentality, led to those green fields and loved mansions.
Oh, what a rapturous meeting must that have been, when the parents of
this child pressed forward from the angel throng, to welcome him, as,
with triumphant wing, he entered heaven! And, oh, how happy must they
now be, in that home of songs and everlasting joy!

It is thus that piety promotes our enjoyment. It promotes our
happiness at all times. It takes away the fear of death, and deprives
every sorrow of half its bitterness. Death is the most gloomy thought
that can enter the minds of those who are not Christians. But the
pious child can be happy even when dying. I was once called to see a
boy who was very dangerously sick, and expected soon to die. I
expected to have found him sorrowful. But, instead of that, a happy
smile was on his countenance, which showed that joy was in his heart.
He sat in bed, leaning upon his pillow, with a hymn book in his hand,
which he was reading. His cheeks were thin and pale, from his long
sickness, while, at the same time, he appeared contented and happy.
After conversing with him a little while, I said,

"Do you think you shall ever get well again?"

"No, sir," he cheerfully replied, "the doctor says I may perhaps
live a few weeks, but that he should not be surprised if I should die
at any time."

"Are you willing to die?" I said.

"O yes, sir," he answered; "sometimes I feel sad about leaving
father and mother. But then I think I shall be free from sin in
heaven, and shall be with the Savior. And I hope that father and
mother will soon come to heaven, and I shall be with them then. I am
sometimes afraid that I am too impatient to go."

"What makes you think," I asked, "that you are prepared to die?"

He hesitated for a moment, and then said, "Because Jesus Christ has
said, Whosoever cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. I do think
that I love the Savior, and I wish to go to him, and to be made holy."

While talking with him, I heard some boys laughing and playing under
the window. But this sick boy looked up to me, and said, "Oh, how much
more happy am I now, than I used to be when well and out at play, not
thinking of God or heaven! There is not a boy in the street so happy
as I."

This little boy had for some time been endeavoring to do his duty as a
Christian. His conduct showed that he loved the Savior. And when
sickness came, and death was near, he was happy. But, oh, how sad
must that child feel, who is dying in unrepented sin! We all must
certainly soon die, and there is nothing to make us happy in death
but piety.

But when the Christian child goes to heaven, how happy must he be! He
rises above the clouds, and the blue sky, and the twinkling stars,
till he enters the home of God and the angels. There he becomes an
angel himself. God gives him a body of perfect beauty, and furnishes
him with wings, with which he can fly from world to world. God is his
approving Father. Angels are his beloved friends. You often, in a
clear evening, look up upon the distant stars, and wonder who
inhabits them. You think, if you had the wings of an eagle, you would
love to fly up there, and make a visit. Now, it is not improbable
that the Christian, in heaven, can pass from star to star, as you can
go from house to house in your own neighborhood. The very thought is
enrapturing. If every hour of our lives were spent in sorrow, it
would be nothing, compared with the joys which God has promised his
friends at his right hand. When we think of the green pastures of
heaven; of the still waters of that happy world; when we think of
mingling with the angels in their flight; of uniting our voices with
theirs in songs of praise; of gazing upon all the glories and sharing
all the rapture of the heavenly world--O, how tame do the joys of
earth appear!

Some children, however, think that they can put off becoming
Christians till a dying hour, and then repent and be saved. Even if
you could do this, it would be at the loss of much usefulness and much
happiness. But the fact is, you are never curtain of a moment of life.
You are little aware of the dangers to which you are continually

"The rising morning can't assure,
That we shall spend the day;
For death stands ready at the door,
To snatch our lives away."

We are reminded of the uncertainty of life, by the accidents which are
every day occurring. Often, when we least suspect it, we are in the
most imminent hazard of our lives. When I was a boy, I one day went a
gunning. I was to call for another boy, who lived at a little distance
from my father's. Having loaded my gun with a heavy charge of pigeon-
shot, and put in a new flint, which would strike out a brilliant
shower of sparks, I carefully primed the gun, and set out upon my
expedition. When arrived at the house of the boy who was to go with
me, I leaned the gun against the side of the house, and waited a few
moments for him to get ready. About a rod from the door, where I was
waiting, there was another house. A little girl stood upon the window-
seat, looking out of the window. Another boy came along, and, taking
up the gun, not knowing that it was loaded and primed, took
deliberate aim at the face of the girl, and pulled the trigger. But
God, in mercy, caused the gun to miss fire. Had it gone off, the
girl's face would have been blown all to pieces, I never can think of
the danger she was in, even now, without trembling. The girl did not
see the boy take aim at her, and does not now know how narrow was her
escape from death. She little supposed that, when standing in perfect
health by the window in her own father's house, she was in danger of
dropping down dead upon the floor. We are all continually exposed to
such dangers, and when we least suspect it, may be in the greatest
peril. Is it not, then, folly to delay preparation for death? You may
die within one hour. You may not have one moment of warning allowed

A few years ago, a little boy was riding in the stage. It was a
pleasant summer's day. The horses were trotting rapidly along by
fields, and bridges, and orchards, and houses. The little boy stood at
the coach window with a happy heart, and looked upon the green fields
and pleasant dwellings; upon the poultry in the farm-yards, and the
cattle upon the hills. He had not the least idea that he should die
that day. But while he was looking out of the window, the iron rim
of the wheel broke, and struck him upon the forehead. The poor boy
lay senseless for a few days, and then died. There are a thousand
ways by which life may be suddenly extinguished, and yet how seldom
are they thought of by children! They almost always entirely forget
the danger of early death, and postpone to a future day making their
peace with God. And how little do those who read this book think that
they may die suddenly! Many children, when they go to bed at night,
say the prayer,

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take."

I used to say this prayer, when a child, every night before I went to
sleep. But I did not know then, as well as I do now, that I might die
before the morning. Almost every night some children go to bed well,
and before morning are dead. It is, therefore, very dangerous to delay
repentance. Love the Savior immediately, and prepare to die, and it
will be of but little consequence when you die, for you will go to
heaven and be happy for ever.

But we must not forget that a most terrible doom awaits those who will
not serve their Maker. It matters not how much we may be beloved by
our friends; how amiable may be our feelings. This alone will not
save us. We must repent of sin, and love the Savior, who has suffered
for us. We must pass our lives in usefulness and prayer, or, when the
day of judgment comes, we shall hear the sentence, "Depart from me,
for I know you not." It is indeed a fearful thing to refuse affection
and obedience to our Father in heaven. He will receive none into his
happy family above, but those who love him. He will have no angry,
disagreeable spirits there. He will receive none but the penitent,
and the humble, and the grateful, to that pure and peaceful home. Who
does not wish to go to heaven? O, then, now begin to do your duty,
and earnestly pray that God will forgive your sins, and give you a
heart to love and obey him.



Every child must observe how much more happy and beloved some
children appear to be than others. There are some children you always
love to be with. They are happy themselves, and they make you happy.
There are others whose society you always avoid. The very expression
of their countenances produces unpleasant feelings. They seem to have
no friends.

No person can be happy without friends. The heart is formed for love,
and cannot be happy without the opportunity of giving and receiving

"It's not in titles, nor in rank,
It's not in wealth like London bank,
To make us truly blest.
If happiness have not her seat
And centre in the breast,
We may be wise, or rich, or great,
But never can be blest."

But you cannot receive affection, unless you will also give. You
cannot find others to love you, unless you will also love them. Love
is only to be obtained by giving love in return. Hence the importance
of cultivating a cheerful and obliging disposition. You cannot be
happy without it. I have sometimes heard a girl say,

"I know that I am very unpopular at school."

Now, this is simply saying that she is very disobliging and
unamiable in her disposition. If your companions do not love you, it
is your own fault. They cannot help loving you if you will be kind
and friendly. If you are not loved, it is good evidence that you do
not deserve to be loved. It is true that a sense of duty may at times
render it necessary for you to do that which is displeasing to your
companions. But if it is seen that you have a noble spirit; that you
are above selfishness; that you are willing to make sacrifices of
your own personal convenience to promote the happiness of your
associates, you will never be in want of friends. You must not regard
it as your misfortune that others do not love you, but your fault. It
is not beauty, it is not wealth, that will give you friends. Your
heart must glow with kindness if you would attract to yourself the
esteem and affection of those by whom you are surrounded.

You are little aware how much the happiness of your whole life depends
upon your cultivating an affectionate and obliging disposition. If you
will adopt the resolution that you will confer favors whenever you
have an opportunity, you will certainly be surrounded by ardent
friends. Begin upon this principle in childhood, and act upon it
through life, and you will make yourself happy, and promote the
happiness of all within your influence.

You go to school in a cold winter morning. A bright fire is blazing
upon the hearth, surrounded with boys struggling to get near it to
warm themselves. After you get slightly warmed, another schoolmate
comes in suffering with the cold.

"Here, James," you pleasantly call out to him, "I am 'most warm; you
may have my place."

As you slip one side to allow him to take your place at the fire,
will he not feel that you are kind? The worst dispositioned boy in
the world cannot help admiring such generosity. And even though he be
so ungrateful as to be unwilling to return the favor, you may depend
upon it that he will be your friend, as far as he is capable of
friendship. If you will habitually act upon this principle, you will
never want for friends.

Suppose some day you are out with your companions playing ball. After
you have been playing for some time, another boy comes along. He
cannot be chosen upon either side; for there is no one to match him.

"Henry," you say, "you may take my place a little while, and I will

You throw yourself down upon the grass, while Henry, fresh and
vigorous, takes your bat, and engages in the game. He knows that you
gave up to accommodate him. And how can he help liking you for it? The
fact is, that neither man nor child can cultivate such a spirit of
generosity and kindness, without attracting affection and esteem.
Look and see who of your companions have the most friends, and you
will find that they are those who have this noble spirit; who are
willing to deny themselves, that they may make their associates
happy. This is not peculiar to childhood, but is the same in all
periods of life. There is but one way to make friends, and that is by
being friendly to others.

Perhaps some child who reads this, feels conscious of being
disliked, and yet desires to have the affection of companions. You
ask me what you shall do. I will tell you what. I will give you an
infallible recipe. Do all in your power to make others happy. Be
willing to make sacrifices of your own convenience that you may
promote the happiness of others. This is the way to make friends, and
the only way. When you are playing with your brothers and sisters at
home, be always ready to give them more than their share of
privileges. Manifest an obliging disposition, and they cannot but
regard you with affection. In all your intercourse with others, at
home or abroad, let these feelings influence you, and you will
receive the rich reward of devoted friends.

The very exercise of these feelings brings enjoyment. The benevolent
man is a cheerful man. His family is happy. His home is the abode of
the purest earthly joy. These feelings are worth cultivating, for they
bring with them their own reward. Benevolence is the spirit of heaven.
Selfishness is the spirit of the fiend.

The heart benevolent and kind
The most resembles God.

But persons of ardent dispositions often find it exceedingly
difficult to deny themselves. Some little occurrence irritates them,
and they speak hastily and angrily. Offended with a companion, they
will do things to give pain, instead of pleasure. You must have your
temper under control if you would exercise a friendly disposition, A
bad temper is an infirmity, which, if not restrained, will be
continually growing worse and worse. There was a man, a few years
since, tried for murder. When a boy, he gave loose to his passions.
The least opposition would rouse his anger, and he made no efforts to
subdue himself. He had no one who could love him. If he was playing
with others, he would every moment be getting irritated. As he grew
older, his passions increased, and he became so ill-natured that
every one avoided him. One day, as he was talking with another man,
he became so enraged at some little provocation, that he seized a
club, and with one blow laid the man lifeless at his feet. He was
seized and imprisoned. But, while in prison, the fury of a malignant
and ungoverned spirit increased to such a degree that he became a
maniac. The very fires of the world of wo were burning in his heart.
Loaded with chains, and immured in a dark dungeon, he was doomed to
pass the miserable remnant of his guilty life, the victim of his
ungovernable passion.

This is a very unusual case. But nothing is more common than for a
child to destroy his own peace, and to make his brothers and sisters
continually unhappy by indulging in a peevish and irritable spirit.
Nothing is more common than for a child to cherish this disposition
until he becomes a man, and then, by his peevishness and fault-
finding, he destroys the happiness of all who are near him. His home
is the scene of discord. His family are made wretched.

An amiable disposition makes its possessor happy. And if you would
have such a disposition, you must learn to control yourself. If others
injure you, they the gospel rule, and do them good in return, If they
revile you, speak kindly to them. It is far better to suffer injury
than to inflict injury. If you will endeavor in childhood in this way
to control your passions, to be always mild, and forbearing, and
forgiving, you will disarm opposition, and, in many cases, convert
enemies to friends. You will be beloved by those around you, and when
you have a home of your own, your cheerful and obliging spirit will
make it a happy home.

One thing you may be sure of. There can be no real happiness when
there is not an amiable disposition. You cannot more surely make
yourself wretched, than by indulging in an irritable spirit. Love is
the feeling which fills every angel's bosom; and it is the feeling
which should fill every human heart. It is love which will raise us to
the angel's throne. It is malice which will sink us to the demon's
dungeon. I hope that every child who reads this, will be persuaded,
by these remarks, immediately to commence the government of his
temper, Resolve that you never will be angry. If your brother or your
sister does any thing which has a tendency to provoke you, restrain
your feelings, and speak mildly and softly. Let no provocation draw
from you an angry or an unkind word. If you will commence in this
way, and persevere, you will soon get that control over yourself that
will contribute greatly to your happiness. Your friends will
increase, and you will be prepared for far more extensive usefulness
in the world.

And is there not something noble in being able to be always calm and
pleasant? I once saw two men conversing in the streets. One became
very unreasonably enraged with the other. In the fury of his anger, he
appeared like a madman. He addressed the other in language the most
abusive and insulting. The gentleman whom he thus abused, with a
pleasant countenance and a calm voice, said to him, "Now, my friend,
you will be sorry for all this when your passion is over. This
language does me no harm, and can do you no good."

Now is it not really magnanimous to have such a spirit? Every person
who witnessed this interview despised the angry man, and respected the
one who was so calm and self-possessed.

Humility is another very important trait of character, which should
be cultivated in early life. What can be more disgusting than the
ridiculous airs of a vain child? Sometimes you will see a foolish
girl tossing her head about, and walking with a mincing step, which
shows you at once that she is excessively vain. She thinks that
others are admiring her ridiculous airs, when the fact is, they are
laughing at her, and despising her. Every one speaks of her as a very
simple, vain girl. Vanity is a sure sign of weakness of mind; and if
you indulge in so contemptible a passion, you will surely be the
subject of ridicule and contempt. A young lady was once passing an
afternoon at the house of a friend. As she, with one or two gentlemen
and ladies, was walking in the garden, she began to make a display of
her fancied learning. She would look at a flower, and with great self-
sufficiency talk of its botanical characteristics. She thought that
the company were all wondering at the extent of her knowledge, when
they were all laughing at her, as a self-conceited girl who had not
sense enough to keep herself from appearing ridiculous. The gentlemen
were winking at one another, and slyly laughing as she uttered one
learned word after another, with an affected air of familiarity with
scientific terms. During the walk, she took occasion to lug in all
the little she knew, and at one time ventured to quote a little Latin
for their edification. Poor simpleton! She thought she had produced
quite an impression upon their minds. And, in truth, she had. She had
fixed indelibly the impression that she was an insufferably weak and
self-conceited girl. She made herself the laughing-stock of the whole
company. The moment she was gone, there was one general burst of
laughter. And not one of those gentlemen or ladies could ever think
of that vain girl afterwards, without emotions of contempt.

This is the invariable effect of vanity. You cannot so disguise it,
but that it will be detected, and cover you with disgrace. There is no
foible more common than this, and there is none more supremely

One boy happens to have rich parents, and he acts as though he
supposed that there was some virtue in his father's money which
pertained to him. He goes to school and struts about, as though he
were lord of the play-ground. Now, every body who sees this, says, it
is a proof that the boy has not much mind. He is a simple boy. If he
had good sense he would perceive that others of his playmates, in
many qualities, surpassed him, and that it became him to be humble
and unostentatious, The mind that is truly great is humble.

We are all disgusted with vanity wherever it appears. Go into a
school-room, and look around upon the appearance of the various pupils
assembled there. You will perhaps see one girl, with head tossed upon
one shoulder, and with a simpering countenance, trying to look pretty.
You speak to her. Instead of receiving a plain, kind, honest answer,
she replies with voice and language and attitude full of affectation.
She thinks she is exciting your admiration. But, on the contrary,
she is exciting disgust and loathing.

You see another girl, whose frank and open countenance proclaims a
sincere and honest heart. All her movements are natural. She manifests
no desire to attract attention. The idea of her own superiority seems
not to enter her mind. As, in the recess, she walks about the
schoolroom, you can detect no airs of self-conceit. She is pleasant
to all her associates. You ask her some question. She answers you
with modesty and unostentation. Now, this girl, without any effort to
attract admiration, is beloved and admired. Every one sees at once
that she is a girl of good sense. She knows too much to be vain. She
will never want for friends. This is the kind of character which
insures usefulness and happiness.

A little girl who had rich parents, and was handsome in personal
appearance, was very vain of her beauty and of her father's wealth.
She disgusted all her school-mates by her conceit. And though she
seemed to think that every one ought to admire her, she was beloved
by none. She at last left school, a vain, disgusting girl. A young
man, who was so simple as to fall in love with this piece of pride
and affectation, at length married her. For a few years the property
which she received of her father supported them. But soon her father
died, and her husband grew dissipated, and before long their property
was all squandered. She had no friends to whom she could look for
assistance, and they were every month sinking deeper and deeper in
poverty. Her husband at last became a perfect sot, and staggered
through the streets in the lowest state of degradation. She was left
with one or two small children, and without any means of support. In
a most miserable hovel, this poor woman was compelled to take up her
residence. By this time, her pride had experienced a fall. She no
longer exhibited the airs of a vain girl, but was an afflicted and
helpless woman. The sorrow and disgrace into which she was plunged by
the intemperance of her husband, preyed so deeply upon her feelings
as to destroy her health, and in this condition she was carried to
the poor-house. There she lingered out the few last years of her sad
earthly existence. What a termination of life for a vain and haughty
girl! And what a lesson is this to all, to be humble and unassuming!
You may be in health to-day, and in sickness to-morrow. This year you
may be rich, and have need of nothing, and the next year you may be
in the most abject poverty, Your early home may be one of luxury and
elegance, and in your dying hour you may be in the poor-house,
without a friend to watch at your bedside. Is it not, then, the
height of folly to indulge in vanity?

If any child will look around upon his own companions, he will see
that those are most beloved and respected, who have no disposition
to claim superiority over their associates. How pleasant is it to be
in company with those who are conciliating and unassuming! But how
much is every one disgusted with the presence of those who assume
airs of importance, and are continually saying, by their conduct,
that they think themselves deserving particular attention! No one
regrets to see such self-conceit humbled. When such persons meet with
misfortune, no one appears to regret it, no one sympathizes with them.

You must guard against this contemptible vice, you would be useful, or
respected, or happy. If you would avoid exciting disgust, avoid
vanity. If you do not wish to be the laughing-stock of all your
acquaintance, do not let them detect in you consequential airs. If
you would not be an object of hatred and disgust, beware how you
indulge feelings of fancied superiority. Be plain, and sincere, and
honest-hearted. Disgrace not yourself by affectation and pride. Let
all your words and all your actions show that you think no more
highly of yourself than you ought to think. Then will others love
you. They will rejoice at your prosperity. And they will be glad to
see you rising in the world, in usefulness and esteem.

Moral courage is a trait of character of the utmost importance to be
possessed. A man was once challenged to fight a duel. As he thought of
his own condition, if he should kill his adversary, and of his
widowed wife and orphan children, if he should be shot himself as he
thought of his appearance before the bar of God to answer for the
atrocious sin, he shrunk from accepting the challenge. But when he
thought of the ridicule to which he would be exposed if he declined;
that others would call him a coward, and point at him the finger of
scorn, he was afraid to refuse. He was such a coward that he did not
dare to meet the ridicule of contemptible men. He had so little moral
courage, that he had rather become a murderer, or expose himself to be
shot, than boldly to disregard the opinions and the sneers of the
unprincipled and base. It is this want of moral courage which very
frequently leads persons to the commission of crimes.

There is nothing so hard to be borne as ridicule. It requires a bold
heart to be ready to do one's duty, unmoved by the sneers of others.
How often does a child do that which he knows to be wrong, because he
is afraid that others will call him a coward if he does right! One
cold winter's day, three boys were passing by a school-house. The
oldest was a mischievous fellow, always in trouble himself, and
trying to get others into trouble. The youngest, whose name was
George, was a very amiable boy, who wished to do right, but was very
deficient in moral courage. We will call the oldest Henry, and the
other of the three James. The following dialogue passed between them.

Henry.--What fun it would be to throw a snowball against the
schoolroom door, and make the instructer and scholars all jump!

James.--You would jump if you should. If the instructer did not catch
you and whip you, he would tell your father, and you would get a
whipping then, that would make you jump higher than the scholars, I

Henry.--Why, we could get so far off, before the instructer could come
to the door, that he could not tell who we are. Here is a snow-ball
just as hard as ice, and George had as lief throw it against that door
as not.

James.--Give it to him and see. He would not dare to throw it against
the door.

Henry.--Do you think George is a coward? You don't know him as well
as I do. Here, George, take this snow-ball, and show James that you
are not such a coward as he thinks you to be.

George.--I am not afraid to throw it. But I do not want to. I do not
see that it will do any good or that there will be any fun in it.

James.--There, I told you he would not dare to throw it.

Henry.--Why, George, are you turning coward? I thought you did not
fear any thing. We shall have to call you chicken-hearted. Come,
save your credit, and throw it. I know you are not afraid to.

George.--Well, I am not afraid to, said George. Give me the
snowball. I had as lief throw it as not.

Whack went the snow-ball against the door; and the boys took to their
heels. Henry was laughing as heartily as he could to think what a fool
he had made of George. George afterwards got a whipping for his folly,
as he richly deserved. He was such a coward that he was afraid of
being called a coward. He did not dare to refuse to do as Henry told
him do, for fear that he would be laughed at. If he had been really a
brave boy, he would have said,

"Henry, do you suppose that I am such a fool as to throw that
snowball just because you want to have me? You may throw your own
snowballs, if you please."

Henry would perhaps have tried to laugh at him. He would have called
him a coward, hoping in this way to induce him to obey his wishes. But
George would have replied,

"Do you think that I care for your laughing? I do not think it is
right to throw a snow-ball against the school-room door. And I will
not do that which I think to be wrong, if the whole town join with
you in laughing."

This would have been real moral courage. Henry would have seen at
once, that it would do no good to laugh at a boy who had so bold a
heart. And you must have this fearlessness of spirit, or you will be
continually involved in trouble, and will deserve and receive

I once knew a man who had so little independence, that he hardly dared
express an opinion different from that of those he was with. When he
was talking upon politics, he would agree with the persons with whom
he happened to be conversing, no matter what their views, or what
their party. He was equally fickle and undecided upon the subject of
religion, differing from none, and agreeing with all. The consequence
was, that he had the confidence of none, and the contempt of all. He
sunk into merited disgrace in the estimation of the whole community.

You must have an opinion of your own. And you must be ready, frankly
and modestly, to express it, when occasion requires, without being
intimidated by fear of censure. You can neither command respect nor be
useful without it.

In things which concern your own personal convenience merely, you
should be as yielding us the air. But where duty is concerned, you
should be as firm and as unyielding as the rock. Be ever ready to
sacrifice your own comfort to promote the comfort of others. Be
conciliating and obliging in all your feelings and actions. Show that
you are ready to do every thing in your power to make those around you
happy. Let no one have occasion to say that you are stubborn and
unaccommodating. But, on the other hand, where duty is involved, let
nothing tempt you to do wrong. Be bold enough to dare to do right,
whatever may be the consequences. If others laugh at your scruples,
let them laugh as long as they please. And let them see that you are
not to be frightened by their sneers. Your courage will often be
tried. There will be occasions in which it will require a severe
struggle to preserve your integrity. But ever remember that if you
would do any good in the world, you must possess this moral courage.
It is the want of this that leaves thousands to live in a way which
their consciences reprove, and to die in despair. Unless you possess
this trait of character, to some considerable degree, it can hardly
be expected that you will ever become a Christian. You must learn to
act for yourself, unintimidated by the censure, and unmoved by the
flattery of others.

I now bring this book to a close. If you will diligently endeavor to
be influenced by its directions your usefulness and happiness will
surely be promoted. Soon you will leave home, no more to return but
as a visitor. The character you have acquired and the habits you
have formed while at home, in all probability, will accompany you
through life. You are now surrounded by ah the joys of home.
Affectionate parents watch over you, supplying all your wants. You
have but few solicitudes and but few sorrows. Soon, however, you must
leave parents, brothers, and sisters, and enter upon the duties and
cares of life almost alone. How affecting will be the hour, when your
foot steps from your father's dwelling, from your mother's care, to
seek a new home among strangers! You now cannot conceive the feelings
which will press upon you as your father takes your hand to bid you
the parting farewell, and your mother endeavors to hide her tears, as
you depart from her watchful eye, to meet the temptations and sorrows
of life. Your heart will then be full. Tears will fill your eyes.
Emotion will choke your voice.

You will then reflect upon all the scenes of your childhood with
feelings you never had before. Every unkind word you have uttered to
your parents--every unkind look you have given them, will cause you
the sincerest sorrow. If you have one particle of generous feeling
remaining in your bosom, you will long to fall upon your knees and
ask your parents' forgiveness for every pang you may have caused
their hearts. The hour when you leave your home, and all its joys,
will be such an hour as you never have passed before. The feelings
which will then oppress your heart, will remain with you for weeks
and months. You will often, in the pensive hour of evening, sit down
and weep, as you think of parents and home far away. Oh, how cold
will seem the love of others, compared with a mother's love! How
often will your thoughts fondly return to joys which have for ever
fled! Again and again will you think over the years that are past.
Every recollection of affection and obedience will awaken joy in your
heart. Every remembrance of ingratitude will awaken repentance and

O, then, think of the time when you must bid father and mother,
brothers and sisters, farewell. Think of the time when you must leave
the fireside around which you have spent so many pleasant evenings,
and go out into the wide world, with no other dependence than the
character you have formed at home. If this character be good, if you
possess amiable and obliging and generous feelings, you may soon
possess a home of your own, when the joys of your childhood will in
some degree be renewed. And if you will pass your days in the service
of God, imitating the character of the Savior, and cherishing the
feelings of penitence and love, which the Bible requires, you will
soon be in that happy home which is never to be forsaken. There, are
joys from which you never will be separated, There, are friends,
angels in dignity and spotless in purity, in whose loved society you
will find joys such as you never experienced while on earth.

When a son was leaving the roof of a pious father, to go out into the
wide world to meet its temptations, and to battle with its storms, his
heart was oppressed with the many emotions which were struggling
there. The day had come in which he was to leave the fireside of so
many enjoyments; the friends endeared to him by so many associations--
so many acts of kindness. He was to bid adieu to his mother, that
loved, loved benefactor, who had protected him in sickness, and
rejoiced with him in health. He was to leave a father's protection,
to go forth and act without an adviser, and rely upon his own unaided
judgment. He was to bid farewell to brothers and sisters, no more to
see them but as an occasional visitor at his paternal home. Oh, how
cold and desolate did the wide world appear! How did he hesitate from
launching forth to meet its tempests and its storms! But the hour had
come for him to go; and he must suppress his emotions, and triumph
over his reluctance. He went from room to room, looking, as for the
last time, upon those scenes, to which imagination would so often
recur, and where it would love to linger. The well-packed trunk was
in the entry, waiting the arrival of the stage. Brothers and sisters
were moving about, hardly knowing whether to smile or to cry. The
father sat at the window, humming a mournful air, as he was watching
the approach of the stage which was to bear his son away to take his
place far from home, in the busy crowd of a bustling world. The
mother, with all the indescribable emotions of a mother's heart, was
placing in a small bundle a few little comforts such as none but a
mother could think of, and, with most generous resolution,
endeavoring to preserve a cheerful countenance, that, as far as
possible, she might preserve her son from unnecessary pain in the
hour of departure.

"Here, my son," said she, "is a nice pair of stockings, which will
be soft and warm for your feet. I have run the heels for you, for I am
afraid you will not find any one who will quite fill a mother's

The poor boy was overflowing with emotion, and did not dare to trust
his voice with an attempt to reply.

"I have put a little piece of cake here, for you may be hungry on the
road, and I will put it in the top of the bundle, so that you can get
it without any difficulty. And in this needle-book I have put up a few
needles and some thread, for you may at times want some little stitch
taken, and you will have no mother or sister to go to."

The departing son could make no reply. He could retain his emotion
only by silence. At last the rumbling of the wheels of the stage was
heard, and the four horses were reined up at the door. The boy
endeavored, by activity, in seeing his trunk and other baggage
properly placed, to gain sufficient fortitude to enable him to
articulate his farewell. He, however, strove in vain. He took his
mother's hand. The tear glistened for a moment in her eye, and then
silently rolled down her cheek. He struggled with all his energy to
say good by, but he could not. In unbroken silence he shook her hand,
and then in silence received the adieus of brothers and sisters, as
one after another took the hand of their departing companion. He then
took the warm hand of his warm-hearted father. His father tried to
smile, but it was the struggling smile of feelings which would rather
have vented themselves in tears. For a moment he said not a word, but
retained the hand of his son, as he accompanied him out of the door
to the stage. After a moment's silence, pressing his hand, he said,
"My son, you are now leaving us; you may forget your father and your
mother, your brothers and your sisters, but, oh, do not forget your

The stage door closed upon the boy, The crack of the driver's whip was
heard, and the rumbling wheels bore him rapidly away from all the
privileges and all the happiness of his early home. His feelings, so
long restrained, now burst out, and, sinking back upon his seat, he
enveloped himself in his cloak, and burst into tears.

Hour after hour the stage rolled on. Passengers entered and left; but
the boy (perhaps I ought rather to call him the young man) was almost
insensible to every thing that passed. He sat, in sadness and in
silence, in the corner of the stage, thinking of the loved home he had
left. Memory ran back through all the years of his childhood,
lingering here and there, with pain, upon an act of disobedience, and
recalling an occasional word of unkindness. All his life seemed to be
passing in review before him, from the first years of his conscious
existence, to the hour of his departure from his home. Then would the
parting words of his father ring in his ears. He had always heard the
morning and evening prayer. He had always witnessed the power of
religion exemplified in all the duties of life. And the undoubted
sincerity of a father's language, confirmed as it had been by years
of corresponding practice, produced an impression upon his mind too
powerful ever to be effaced--"My son, you may forget father and
mother, you may forget brothers and sisters, but, oh, do not forget
your God." The words rung in his ears. They entered his heart. Again
and again his thoughts ran back through the years he had already
passed, and the reviving recollections brought fresh floods of tears.
But still his thoughts ran on to his father's parting words, "forget
not your God."

It was midnight before the stage stopped, to give him a little rest.
He was then more than a hundred miles from home. But still his
father's words were ringing in his ears. He was conducted up several
flights of stairs to a chamber in a crowded hotel. After a short
prayer, he threw himself upon the bed, and endeavored to obtain a
little sleep. But his excited imagination ran back to the home he had
left. Again he was seated by the fireside. Again he heard the
soothing tones of his kind mother's voice, and sat by his father's
side. In the vagaries of his dream, he again went through the scene
of parting, and wept in his sleep as he bade adieu to brothers and
sisters, and heard a father's parting advice, "Oh, my son, forget not
your God."

But little refreshment could be derived from such sleep. And indeed he
had been less than an hour upon his bed, before some one knocked at
the door, and placed a lamp in his room, saying, "It is time to get
up, sir: the stage is almost ready to go." He hastily rose from his
bed, and after imploring a blessing upon himself, and fervently
commending to God his far-distant friends, now quietly sleeping in
that happy home which he had left for ever, he hastened down stairs,
and soon again was rapidly borne away by the fleet horses of the

It was a clear autumnal morning. The stars shone brightly in the sky,
and the thoughts of the lonely wanderer were irresistibly carried to
that home beyond the stars, and to that God whom his father had so
affectingly entreated him not to forget. He succeeded, however, in
getting a few moments of troubled sleep, as the stage rolled on; but
his thoughts were still reverting, whether asleep or awake, to the
home left far behind. Just as the sun was going down the western
hills, at the close of the day, he alighted from the stage, in the
village of strangers, in which he was to find his new home. Not an
individual there had he ever seen before. Many a pensive evening did
he pass, thinking of absent friends. Many a lonely walk did he take,
while his thoughts were far away among the scenes of his childhood.
And when the winter evenings came, with the cheerful blaze of the
fireside, often did he think, with a sigh, of the loved and happy
group encircling his father's fireside, and sharing those joys he had
left for ever. But a father's parting words did not leave his mind.
There they remained. And they, in connection with other events,
rendered effectual by the Spirit of God, induced him to endeavor to
consecrate his life to his Maker's service. In the hopes of again
meeting beloved parents and friends in that home, which gilds the
paradise above, he found that solace which could no where else be
obtained, and was enabled to go on in the discharge of the duties of
life, with serenity and peace. Reader, you must soon leave your home,
and leave it for ever. The privileges and the joys you are now
partaking, will soon pass away. And when you have gone forth into the
wide world, and feel the want of a father's care, and of a mother's
love, then will all the scenes you have passed through, return
freshly to your mind, and the remembrance of every unkind word, or
look, or thought, will give you pain. Try, then, to be an
affectionate and obedient child. Cultivate those virtues which will
prepare you for usefulness and happiness in your maturer years, and
above all, make it your object to prepare for that happy home above,
where sickness can never enter, and sorrow can never come.



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