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´╗┐Title: Boys - their Work and Influence
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Transcribed from the Skeffington & Son tenth edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org


_Tenth Edition_.


_By the same Author_, 9_d._, _elegant cloth_,
10_th_ _Edition_.


NEW BOOK by the same Author.  3rd Edition.  Elegant cloth, price 1s. 6d.,
by post 1s. 8d.

HE THAT SERVETH: Counsel and Help for Workers; being Short Readings,
etc., specially, but not solely, adapted for Domestic and other Servants,
etc., Including most of the CHURCH SEASONS; on various DUTIES, FAULTS,
believe this little book will be most useful in meeting a very felt want.


The following papers were written at the request of one who had read the
somewhat similar papers addressed to girls.  The object aimed at in both
books has been to try and help Boys and Girls of the so-called working
classes to recognize their duties to God and their neighbour, and to use
on the side of right the powers and opportunities which God has given

It seems to the author that advice given to the so-called lower orders,
often partakes too much of patronage, and too little of the brotherhood,
that should be a sign of Christians.  "Do as you are told and be
thankful," is too much the tone of the advice, instead of explaining
duties, pointing out opportunities, and recognizing them as
fellow-labourers in the great work.

In God's household everyone has his place assigned to him by the master,
some to govern, and some to serve, but still all are fellow-servants of
that one Master, and brethren in Christ.


What a curious fellow a boy is.  I wonder if boys ever think about
themselves.  A young monkey is full of mischief, a young puppy is full of
play, a young kitten is always ready for fun, but a boy seems to combine
the qualities of all three, and to have a stock of his own to jumble up
with them.  A boy has so many sides, not only an outside and an inside;
he is a many sided being.  See him at one time and you would hardly
suppose him to be the same creature that you had seen a little while
before.  Now he is a bright nice spoken lad, in a few moments he is a
bullying tyrant, now he is courteously answering those who speak to him,
now words come from his lips that shock the hearer.  Now he would scorn
to have his word doubted by a comrade, now he does not hesitate to lie to
escape punishment.  Now fearless, now a coward, now full of spirits, now
in the depths of woe--sunshine or joy, wind and calm, silence and tumult,
all seem to have their place, and to make up that incomprehensible and
yet delightful animal a boy.

Now boys, I want you to think of yourselves--not to think how good or how
bad you are--what fine fellows you are, and what important persons, but
what you are capable of becoming.  You will not remain boys always--you
are now, in the midst of all your oddities, forming your character, and
shaping your future course, drawing out of the midst of all your
contradictions the character that will make you honest God-fearing men,
like in your degree to the perfect pattern of manhood which God has set
before us in Christ--or you are letting yourselves be moulded into the
selfish sensual being, which too often degrades the name of man.

Thinking, I know, is not much in your line at present, but you will
perhaps spare me a few minutes, and give me a little of your attention
while I try to point out to you the way in which you may, if you will,
turn your powers to account, and avoid the dangers which have been the
shipwreck of many a lad's bright prospects.


I shall take it for granted that you care for your parents and home, or
at any rate that you would like to have a comfortable home.  Well, then,
make it so yourself.  You can do a great deal towards it.  Honour and
obedience is your first duty towards your parents.  There is nothing
manly in disobedience.  Honour and obey, readily and cheerfully.  Not
simply obedient to father because he might thrash you; and disobedient to
mother because she cannot compel you.  No, the truest honour in a boy is
when mother can thoroughly trust him--trust him to obey her because she
is mother.

Brothers and sisters are often a trouble.  "How those children do nag?"
"Never can leave those boys together."  "He's sure to teaze her if I
leave them alone."  Don't be a bully either to your brothers or sisters.
Don't be selfish and claim all you can for yourself.  Share and share
alike should be the rule, and gentleness towards the girls and little

School will help to take the nonsense out of you; you cannot have it all
your own way there.  Boys will be boys, is a very common expression, and
it would be very funny indeed if boys did not turn out to be boys, but
that is no reason that boys should be rude or cruel, and in fact "little
cubs."  Quarrels there will be sometimes--very often for no real reason,
sometimes for a good cause.  If you have one fight it out then and there,
and bear no malice afterwards.  I would rather see a fair fight and have
done with it, than keeping up a nasty quarrel, and trying to spite one
another in little mean ways.  There is too often a want of real honour
amongst boys.  Telling tales of one another seems to be the fashion, and
the favourite way of paying off old scores.  There are of course times
when a boy must speak out against wrong, even at the risk of being
counted a sneak, but, as a rule, boys who delight in telling tales, and
who have not the sense of honour to stick by one another are a very poor

Do your school work thoroughly.  Idleness is not only wrong but foolish.
There is a time for work and a time for play.  Learn as much as you can
and learn thoroughly if you want to be of any use in after life.  A boy's
religion is not a thing that shows very much on the surface, or that he
is very likely to talk much about, but it must be in him if he is any

Boys and girls alike should learn from their mother to say their prayers
night and morning, and when they become too old, or mother too busy for
them to say them at her knee, they should never omit to say them by
themselves.  I heard the other day of a rough labouring man, who on his
death bed sent for the priest of his parish.  He said he had never been
inside a Church since he had been a man.  He had done his work honestly,
and lived steadily, but had altogether got out of the way of going to
Church.  There was one thing, however, that he had always done.  Long
years ago, as a lad, he had promised his mother never to get up in the
morning or go to bed at night without saying his prayers.  This promise
he had kept faithfully.  Night and morning that rough strong man had
knelt and said the same prayers which he had first learnt at his mother's
knees.  Those prayers had been heard and had brought their blessing to
him.  Church going on Sunday is as important as daily prayers.  A Sunday
morning should never be allowed to pass without seeing you at Church.  Lie
a bed on Sunday morning is the devil's version of the fourth commandment.
There is plenty of time on Sunday for Church as well as for walks and
talks.  Sunday is not to be a miserable day, or all Church and prayers,
but God first and then ourselves.  Sunday school you will most likely be
sent to as long as you go to day school, and you will be wise not to give
it up as soon as you are what you would call your own master.

Both home and school ought to have their pleasures as well as their work.
Do your work thoroughly, and do your pleasures thoroughly also.  Share
your pleasures with the others, and with father and mother.  You can give
much pleasure to father and mother, as well as to yourselves, if you try.

Love God and love your home--be obedient, truthful, and plucky--standing
up for the right, and not ashamed to refuse to join in the wrong; and
your home and school days will train you well for your work in life.


What are you going to be? is a question that has to be settled very early
in life--earlier amongst the so-called working classes than any other.  It
must be settled at about thirteen years old.  Fortunately for you it is
not whether you shall do anything for your living or not, but in what way
you shall earn your living.  Some people seem to look upon work as if it
were a degrading thing, and only to be used until they can afford to live
without it.  Life is not worth calling life that is not downright honest
work, and a man is hardly a man at all who is not a working man--working
either with his hands or his brain, or both.

In determining what your calling in life shall be you must consider two
things, 1st.  Whether the calling you wish to follow is an honest and
lawful one. 2nd.  Whether you are fitted for it.

If you can say yes to both these questions, then, provided your parents
approve, follow out your natural inclination.  A lad is far more likely
to succeed in life if his heart is in his work, than if he has to work
against the grain.  On the other hand, you will never deserve success if
you go against your parents' wishes.  If they see reasons against the
particular calling you wish for, (and perhaps are really fitted for),
your duty is to follow their wishes, and bide your time.  If your
inclinations really point to that to which God calls you, He will show
you the right way to it in His time, and your obedience to your parents
will not have been wasted time.

There are certain occupations which are not honourable, but by which men
gain a living, which are not to be considered for a moment, as _e.g._,
gambling and betting.  There are certain for which you would not be
fitted by education or ability.  Whatever calling you choose seek God and
His righteousness first, _i.e._, choose that which will make you fit for
the next world as well as that which will make you comfortable here.
Honest work thoroughly done here will be no bad passport for another
world.  When you have once chosen your calling stick to it, carry it out
thoroughly, and with a determination to get on.  Never be in a hurry to
change, and never do so without a good reason.  Never rest satisfied that
you have done enough, or think that you cannot do better.  It is told of
a celebrated sculptor, that he said, "I shall fail in my next effort, for
I am satisfied with this."

Aim high and do your best.  Every shop-boy may not become a Lord Mayor,
but every one who aims at getting to the top of the tree, and goes
steadily at it, will find himself at last a good way from the ground.

Now supposing you have made your choice and started in work you will find
a great difference between this and school life.  You will mix with elder
people and a different set; you will have more freedom, and possibly a
little more money.

Don't think you are a man all at once, because you are nothing of the
sort, and nothing makes a lad look more ridiculous than to see him trying
to be a man before his time.  You know the story of the toad and the ox.

You have much to learn yet.  Stick to classes and learn all that you can.
Sunday classes as well as night classes.  There is nothing manly in
giving up religious duties; quite the contrary, it is cowardly.  Do your
work honestly and thoroughly, even though it be the custom to do
otherwise.  Boys are pretty sure to have some hobby of their own, and a
very good thing too.  A boy is all the better for a hobby, even if he
takes it up and drops it again.  It is a good thing for a lad to have
some private interest of his own.  If therefore your hobby is not
anything harmful follow it out with a will.


I had some doubts about the heading of this chapter: Religion ought not
to be a separate thing from daily life, and, therefore, all remarks on
the subject ought to come under one or other of the chapters which treat
of the different duties of life.  There are, however, certain definite
religious duties which may perhaps be spoken of more clearly in a
separate chapter.  I would ask you always to bear in mind that no
religious duties are of much value that are not a regular part of our
daily life, and that there is no line to be drawn between natural and
religious duties.  "Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye
do, do all to the Glory of God."

_Prayer_, private and public.  What I have said in a former paper holds
good now.  No boy can safely neglect his morning and evening prayers and
his public worship on Sundays.  Prayer should include daily
self-examination: no one can get on in the world unless he looks after
his own affairs, and reckons from time to time how he stands.  So with
our daily life--we should try it day by day, and see if we are keeping
straight.  Each night we should look back over the day, see what has been
wrong, what imperfect--seek pardon for the wrong, and determine, by God's
help, to amend it.

_Public Worship_ once a Sunday, _i.e._ in the morning, is the duty of
every Christian: whether we go oftener is a matter of choice, but less we
cannot do without failing in our duty.  Attendance at the full morning
service, _i.e._ the celebration of the Holy Communion, is the prayer-book
rule, whether we observe it or not.

_Regular Communion_ is absolutely necessary.  How frequently it is
advisable to come must depend upon circumstances, but speaking generally
I should say, in the words of one whose opinion carries great weight,
that "monthly Communions are the very fewest which anyone seeking to
serve God devoutly can make."

I have taken it for granted that you have been confirmed, which will
probably have taken place about the time of leaving school.  Confirmation
ought to make a marked change in your life.  Firstly, because you are
more directly responsible for yourself, and, secondly, because it brings
you into closer relation, for a time at least, with your clergyman.
Before your first communion the prayer book speaks to you very distinctly
about personal advice and intercourse with your parish priest.  Neither
your first or any subsequent communions are to be made unless you are
satisfied as to your own fitness to come to it.  If you are in doubt you
are advised to go to God's minister, lay before him those sins that make
you afraid or doubtful of coming, and seek his advice.  This is not
pleasant, but it is useful.  Many people speak against it, but it is
Christ's appointed way.  If you feel that this will help you, go as often
as you need, and do not be stopped by any foolish remarks of people who
do not understand it, or by any thought of its being a weak and unmanly
thing to do.  It requires courage, perseverance, and a true estimate of
oneself to do it, and these are not generally considered unmanly
qualities.  Some of the best men, some of the bravest soldiers, have not
been ashamed of using this means of grace.  Knights of old were
accustomed to confess before they went into battle.  Read the life of
Henry V. of England.  He was no milksop, or, as people would say now-a-
days, priest-ridden king, but he did not look upon it as an unmanly
thing.  You are free to choose, or free to refuse it; only pray to be
guided aright by God's Holy Spirit to do that which shall be most to His
glory and your soul's good.

_Almsgiving_.  Whatever money you have of your own some portion--a tenth,
if possible,--should be given to God in some way or other.

_Bringing others to God_.  We must not be selfish in our religion--if God
has made known the truth to us we must do our best that others may share
it also.  You can do much in a quiet way, not only by example: you can
get a word in where others have not a chance.  Many a youngster would
gladly keep from wrong, and go on steadily, if he had only someone to
stand by him.  It is not enough to be good, we must do good, and never
laugh at another for his religion.  Many years ago a thorough change was
worked in a school by the courage of one little boy.  He came fresh from
home, where he had been accustomed to say his prayers.  He knelt down in
a school dormitory, as he had been used to do at home, by his bedside.
There was a sudden silence, the boys were astonished.  Then some began to
bully and try and stop him; others stood up for him.  But the battle was
won.  The better minded boys saw what cowards they had been to give up
what they knew was right for fear of chaff--one by one they gradually
followed his example, and before that lad left school it was the rule and
not the exception for the boys to say their prayers.

_Fasting_.  People understand feasts and are ready enough to keep them,
but fasting is quite another matter.  Feasts should be kept, and the more
the great festivals are recognized the better.  Fasting, however, is
quite as necessary.  Appointed times in which to remember more
particularly Christ's suffering for us, to deny ourselves lawful
pleasures, and to make us think more of our sins and how to conquer them.
They keep us from getting careless, and letting our religion become a
sort of Sunday clothes, to be put on at certain times, but to have no
real effect upon our daily life.

One thing more.  God has given you brains and the power to use them.  You
are bound then to try and learn about God, and the duty you owe to Him.
Every year you ought to advance in knowledge, and not be content with the
little you were taught as a child.  Read your Bible--think it out for
yourself--pray for understanding, and study such books as will help you
to a better knowledge of it.


Boys and men are great cowards.  There is hardly any accusation that an
Englishman or boy resents so much as to be called a coward.  Still I
venture to make the accusation, and will try and make good my words.  I
do not mean that you are cowards in the sense of being afraid to attempt
any act of daring.  You have pluck enough to tackle a fellow half as big
again as yourself, pluck enough to endure pain without a word, pluck
enough to risk your life to save another, but too often you have not
pluck enough to say no, or to brave a laugh.  That is what I mean by
saying that men and boys are cowards.  You will let the worst fellow of
the lot be the leader and give the tone to conversation because you have
not the pluck to say boldly that it is wrong, and that you will not join
in it.  This want of moral courage makes a lad give up little by little
his hold on what is right.  Sunday school, Church-going, prayers given up
because Jem chaffs so about them.  If he chooses to neglect them that is
his look out.  You have as much right to your opinion as he has to his.
Why should you let him show more courage in doing wrong than you in doing
right.  Are you afraid of him?  No.  Well then, stick to your duty.

I said just now that going to work throws you in with a different set of
companions.  Here, specially, comes the test of your courage.  Are you
going to follow bad leaders, or have you the courage of your own
opinions.  There is one particular subject where courage is most needed,
and where it most often fails.  A young lad naturally wants to seem to be
manly--has a sort of feeling that he would like to show that he is not
just a little boy and bound to do as he is told.  He is tempted to show
his manliness by neglect of home commands, rough and rude manners, bad
language and bad talk.  I have remarked before how home obedience and
true manliness go together; here I want to speak more particularly about
bad language and bad talking, and the evil it leads to.  S. Paul speaks
about it very plainly when he says, speaking of the things that should
not be named amongst Christians, "neither filthiness nor foolish talking
nor jesting, which are not convenient."  Now, boys, all indecent words
and conversations are wrong--they are sinful, unmanly, degrading.  I know
you cannot help hearing much that is wrong.  Shame, be it said, to the
men of England--yes, men who talk of advancement and freedom, men who are
fathers of families, that they too often make or allow the talk of the
workshop to be such that no boy can work there without hearing words and
jokes which are not fit, I do not say for Christians to hear, but not fit
to be spoken.  Hearing words of evil you often cannot help.  To join in
them you can and must refuse, and unless you do so refuse you are a
coward and false to your profession.  I do not speak here of actual deeds
of sin--no one can do or join in an impure deed without knowing that he
is sinning, but many think that there is no great harm in listening to
and laughing at what others say.  Be warned in time, it is but a very
little step from laughing at to joining in bad conversation, and a very
small step from words to action.  The same want of courage that joins in
the laugh will make it difficult to say no when tempted further.  Never,
with companions of your own sex, and still more with those of the
opposite sex, let any corrupt communications proceed out of your mouth.
If it is necessary for you to speak upon such subjects ask advice of
those older than yourself, and not of companions of your own age.  You
know lads that you love your mother and care for your sisters.  You would
be furious if anyone spoke to or of them as you sometimes hear women
spoken of.  What would be an insult to them is an insult to any woman.
Stand up for the honour and respect due to others as you would for your
own mother or sister.  You would not talk like that before your mother.
Make it a rule never to do or say anything that you would be ashamed to
say in her presence, or in the presence of anyone you respect.  Courage
is what you want here and plenty of it, but if you will only make a stand
for the right, strength, not your own, will be given you.  I can tell you
of one who did so try and do the same.  Bishop Pattison, who died some
years ago, when he was fearlessly doing his duty in the islands of the
Pacific, was, once a boy, face to face with this difficulty.  He was in
the cricket eleven of his school--a good player and very fond of the
game.  It had become the custom at cricket suppers for bad talk to be
indulged in.  Pattison one evening rose up at the table and said, "If
this conversation is to be allowed I must leave the eleven.  I cannot
share in this conversation--if you determine to continue it I shall have
no choice but to go."  They did not want to lose him, and the foul
conversation was stopped.


The love of money is the root of all evil.  Nevertheless, money in a
civilized country is a necessity.  How to make it is one of the great
questions, and how to spend it aright is one of the great difficulties.

Money is power.  It is power, if we use it aright, it overpowers us if we
use it badly or even carelessly.  It is a great mistake to want to make
your money too quickly, and a still greater mistake to think that you are
likely to do so.  Money that is the result of honest labour will, if
rightly used, be a blessing to you and yours.

1st.  How to make it.  By honest labour, honestly done.  You have chosen
your trade or occupation--let your money be honestly earned therein, and
look more to the quality of your work than to the quantity of your money.
You have a right when you have learnt your trade to a fair day's wage for
a fair day's work, but be sure that the word fair governs both the work
and the wage--the fair work must be done before the fair wage can be
rightly claimed.  There is far too much scamping work in the present day,
working simply for money and not for any interest in the work itself.
Money should not be a man's test of success, but the perfectness of his
work.  Men used once to work for love of their art, and so long as the
picture was painted or the sculpture wrought, they cared little for the
money they were to gain by it, or the hardship of their lives, but now
men paint for what the public will pay for, and write and work not from
their hearts but for their pockets.  And with high and low, not success
but money is the moving power--not how can I can make it more perfect,
but what can I get for it.  A man who will leave a piece of work, or a
clerk who will leave a few minutes writing only because the clock has
struck the hour, is little better than a money-making machine.  Work done
in such a spirit did not give us men like Wren or Stephenson.  Read their
lives and you will see what I mean.  If your work is thoroughly and
honestly done, you have a right to your own price for it, if you can find
a purchaser.  You have a right to sell your labour at your own price, but
the master has an equal right to buy or to refuse.  Combinations and
unions of working men are perfectly right, if they unite for their own
advantage, and for protection against oppression, and strikes may, though
in very rare cases, be a painful necessity.  It must be borne in mind
that there can be no fixed standard of wages.  Wages must vary with the
state of the markets.  Men must be ready to accept lower wages when trade
is dull, they must bear their share of the depression as well as the
masters, and the true principle is for men and masters, or if you like
the expression better, capital and labour to go hand in hand.  The
success or ruin of the one is the success or ruin of the other.  There
are of course cases of grasping masters who will endeavour to grind their
workmen, and there are cases of worthless and obstinate workmen, who look
only to themselves and the present moment, but both ought to be and might
be very rare exceptions, if the good and true men on both sides would
come to the front.

2nd.  How to spend the money.  Remember that you are God's steward, and
will have to account for the use of this bounty.  Give your tithe to God
first.  The tenth part of your profits, whether reckoned weekly or
yearly, should be given to God in some way or other, and those who do it
will find themselves blessed in earthly things, whilst they are laying up
a treasure in heaven.  God's tithe paid, how is the rest of your income
to be spent? 1st.  Necessary expenses, _i.e._, food, clothing, &c. 2nd.
Useful expenditure, _i.e._, learning, books, &c. 3rd.  Recreation and
minor luxuries.

Pay your way as you go, and never run into debt.  Debt is next door
neighbour to theft.  Two things I would impress upon you, first, that
where the need is you should repay your parents care by helping them.
England is disgraced by the number of old people who are left to the care
of the parish by children who ought to be thankful to be allowed to
support them.  Secondly, that it is your duty to make provision for the
future, so that the workhouse may not even enter into your calculations,
as a possible refuge in old age for you and yours.  This can be done by
regular savings, even though very small, and by insuring your life.  Post
office and other savings' banks, will help you in the former, and various
insurance offices offer special facilities by weekly and monthly payments
for the latter.


Recreation is as necessary as work.  What kind is to be sought after, and
what avoided?  For health's sake, if for nothing else, boys should have
some kind of out-door amusements.  A boy has an easy choice of good and
healthy recreation, and therefore has no excuse for taking up with bad
objects.  Cricket, Rowing, Volunteering, and such-like, are healthy, and
easily obtainable recreations.  Gambling, drinking, loitering, are not to
be thought of for a moment, they are the curse of the lazy and
weak-minded.  Theatres are very good if you keep out of the cheap and
nasty ones.  Music halls are much better avoided.  I do not say that it
is necessarily wrong to go there, or that you are certain to come to harm
if you frequent them, but there is more chance of temptation, and an
inferior entertainment for your money.  Well acted plays may open out
your mind, but the silliness of the music hall entertainment will only
react upon you.  You can tell a music hall frequenter, not by the words
of his mouth so much as by the shuffle of his feet: his highest ambition
seems to be to dance the double shuffle, and perhaps sing a few verses of
some jingling rhyme.  Out-door recreation is not so easily attainable, in
the winter, as the time at your disposal is so short.  In-door amusements
must, to a great extent, take their place.  The gymnasium is a good
institution; chess is a game worth learning, and very fascinating to some
minds; cards are good as long as gambling is avoided, and many other
games readily suggest themselves to one's mind.

Reading will be more to the liking of many.  Read books which are worth
reading, not the penny trash which shops offer to the boys of England.  I
should hope that the boys of England have sufficient brains to care for
something a little above the penny dreadfuls, otherwise it is a bad look
out for the future men of England.  Independently of libraries you can
now get books, by good writers, as cheap as sixpence--Walter Scott,
Fennimore Cooper, Maryatt, Dickens, &c.  A word about books.  Of course,
in books by writers such as I have mentioned you will find many things
spoken of which are wrong and ought not to be.  They must write so if
stories are to be written of life as we find it, and mere goody-goody
books, which avoid all mention of such things, are unnatural, and do not
give true pictures of life.  The harm of too many cheap publications, and
not only the cheap ones, is, that in speaking of these things they make
them appear unavoidable, and even worthy of praise.  Good writers show
how revolting crime and evil is, how they can be overcome and resisted,
and how truth and honesty must prevail in the end.  The difference
between good books and plays and bad ones is not so much the subjects
they write about as the way in which they speak of them.  Some of the
cheap literature is only foolish, some is distinctly wicked, but both are
better avoided, and your time and money spent on worthier objects.  Avoid
bad company, and take care that your recreations are manly and honest.


As soon as you begin to bear your share in the expenses of home, you will
naturally look to have your word in the arrangements thereof.  From the
time that you begin to earn your own living, until the time that you make
a home for yourself, there will be certain home duties which you have no
right to neglect.

First of all, you must be ready to bear your fair share in the expenses
of the home.  When first you go to work, you will probably be expected to
bring home all your money, and have a certain sum given to you for pocket
money.  As you grow older, you will agree to pay a certain sum for your
board and lodging, and keep the rest for yourself.  Let your payments be
such as will do a little more than actually cover the expense of what you
have.  Give a thought to the general comfort of the home, and in time of
need when perhaps your father's work is slack, be ready to increase your
help, even though it may decrease your own personal comfort.

Secondly, you must acknowledge the authority of the head of the house,
and respect his wishes as to home arrangements, time for being in at
night, &c.

Thirdly.  Recognise your responsibilities to your brothers and sisters.
If you are the eldest son you are bound to be the example, and if need be
the protector of the others, and whether elder or not you have still your
duties and responsibilities.  A good brother is a great help to a sister,
and her brother's good opinion will be something which she will be very
sorry to forfeit through any fault of hers.  For your sisters' sake
specially you are bound to be careful that your companions whom you may
bring home with you should not be such as would not be fit company for
them.  Your duties to your parents I have already mentioned, and the
older you grow the more thoroughly you should carry them out, so that, as
you grow out of mere boyhood, you may become more and more the companion
and friend of your father, and more and more the comfort and support of
your mother.  It is a great thing in time of trouble to have one son to
whom they can look without fear of his help failing them.  It is far too
common to see young fellows, so soon as they can earn enough to support
themselves, leaving home and going into lodgings because they are freer
and more comfortable, and leaving their parents to struggle on with the
youngsters.  It is a selfish and ungrateful course, and therefore sure to
be without a blessing from God.  I am talking now of those whose work
keeps them near home, and who only leave their home to escape its duties,
or as they would miscall them, its burdens.  Many, of course, must leave
home.  If work calls you elsewhere it is another matter.  It would be a
very good thing in many instances if young fellows would have the pluck
to emigrate and make their way in a new country.  Englishmen are getting
too fond of stopping at home where the labour markets are overstocked.
Emigration is one of the best openings for a young fellow if he makes up
his mind to work, and does not expect a fortune to fall into his lap
because he has gone to a new country to seek it.


Boys generally leave school at about thirteen years of age, but they make
a very great mistake if they leave off learning at that age.  Time might
be roughly divided off into four parts--necessary work, work for others,
self-improvement, and recreation.  A man's education is never completed.
A man is never too old to learn.  Whilst you are a boy and lad you need
to be taught; afterwards you can to a great extent learn for yourself.
You should never be content to remain just where you are, you should
endeavour to make the most of your opportunities, and to advance in
knowledge and capability.  You are taught in your catechism to "do your
duty in that state of life unto which it shall please God to call you."
This does not mean that you are not to try and better your position.
Quite the contrary; it means that while you are to go on contentedly in
the station and work which God has allotted to you, you are also to try
and use to the utmost all the opportunities and powers which he has
given.  He has called you to your present position, He may be calling you
to something more.  If he has given you the power and opportunity of
raising yourself, he meant you to use them.  It is a false humility and a
false view of religion that encourages sloth under the pretence of being
contented with one's humble lot.  There is God's work--real every day
work to be done in worldly as well as in what seems to be more directly
spiritual work.  One's whole interest is not to be centred on earthly
things, neither are we to be so heavenly minded as to neglect earthly
duties, and the talents which God has committed to our trust.  It is your
duty then to do your utmost to improve your stock of knowledge.  School
has laid the foundation, and you must work at the building.  Your own
particular tastes or your work will suggest the subjects to which you
should first turn your attention.  Develop the natural powers you have,
and advance steadily from one subject to another.  Set apart a certain
portion of your spare time for study and self-improvement.  Remember also
that you have certain duties to your neighbours and your country, and
that in order to fulfil them you must understand your position as a man
and a citizen.  Read the history both of your own country and of other
lands.  Read your paper.  Study the questions of the day, both at home
and abroad, and learn to form your own opinion concerning them.  Learn to
think for yourself, and not take as gospel all that you read in your
favourite paper.  Look at both sides of a question and make up your own
mind.  Comparatively few people think for themselves, and for that reason
men are so often carried away by popular leaders, and obstinately follow
opinions, the truth of which they have never tested, and the consequences
of which they have never considered.  There are many opportunities in
classes and lectures for men to gain information, but they will be of
little real use unless men will think for themselves, and work out the
subjects instead of taking their opinions ready made.  Study, not simply
listen.  Study both secular and religious subjects.  You may be sure that
there can be no advance in real self-improvement unless it is well
balanced.  Religious knowledge should go hand in hand with secular
knowledge.  Christ should be our great example in this as in all else,
and He "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men."


Birds of a feather flock together.  A man is known by his friends.  It is
of great importance therefore that your friends should be such as will
show that you yourself are of the right sort.  A boy, unless he is a
particularly disagreeable one, will probably have a fair number of
friends, that is to say, of fellows that he knows and associates with,
but above and beyond these he will probably have some one particular
chum, one who shares in all his plans, one with whom to talk over all his
schemes, one often with whom to join in some piece of mischief.  Chums to
do one another much good should be about the same age.  There may be a
friendship between an elder and a younger boy, or between a boy and a
man, but they will not be exactly chums.  A friendship of this sort is
very useful if the elder is one who will lead aright, but if the elder is
the weaker of the two, or still more if the elder is viciously inclined,
such an acquaintance is one of the worst possible things for a lad.  A
young boy, hanging on to an elder one, learning all his bad habits, is
only too likely to prove an apt pupil, and come utterly to grief.
Remember no one is worthy of the name of friend who would ever counsel
you to do anything wrong, or who would not give you a word in season when
he found you were going on a wrong tack.  A chum of one's own age is
quite a different article.  Very often they are not lads of the same
dispositions and tastes, and are drawn to one another by these very
differences.  It not unfrequently happens that a bright active lad will
chum with a very quiet meditative one.  The one doing the thinking and
the other the acting.  Such friendships will last on sometimes through
life, but generally well through boyhood.  Very often the last act of
chumship is the acting as best man at the friend's wedding.  Such
friendships will work great good so long as they are on the give and take
principle, and that nothing is given or taken of the bad qualities which
may be in each.  A boy without a chum is very likely to grow either
conceited or selfish, or both.  A good-natured chum is a very useful
check.  He does not mind chaffing him out of any little absurdities, and
rubbing against one another they manage to knock off many odd corners and
polish up one another.  Any chumship in evil is to be avoided.  If a
chum, however much he may be liked, wants you to go in for a partnership
in evil he must be given up.  I don't say that you can give up caring for
him, but he must be made to see clearly that he must make his choice
between the evil doing and you--that he cannot be chums with both.  Chums
should have strict honour between themselves, and always be ready to
stand up for one another.  A good chum prevents one becoming a prig, and
there is nothing short of actual vice which is so hateful in a boy as
priggishness.  There is as much difference between a prig and a right-
minded boy as between chalk and cheese.  A right-minded boy goes on his
way trying to do right and live honestly and purely, because it is right
and honourable, and because deep in his own heart he knows he has
promised Jesus Christ that he will live a godly life.  A prig is also
doing right and living purely and honestly, but is all the time trying to
make other people see it, and not doing it simply because it is right.
Hence he has not half the strength when real temptation comes, because he
has always been looking at the outside effect of his life, instead of
looking inward, to see if he is true to his promise.  Avoid priggishness,
but do not be afraid of being called a prig when it is only the taunt by
which someone hopes to shame you into doing that which you know in your
heart is wrong.


There comes a time when a young man begins seriously to look forward to
settling in life and having a home of his own.  As a boy he may have had
his likings among the girl companions with whom he was acquainted, but
now it becomes a totally different question, and his intercourse with
young women assumes the position of courtship.

It is only natural and right that man should look where God intended him
to look for a help-meet and companion, but all depends upon the way in
which he does it.  There is no need to be in a hurry.  Better to wait and
make quite sure.  As a general rule I should say that twenty-five was
quite young enough for a man to marry, but still that must entirely
depend upon circumstances.

Before I venture to suggest a few thoughts concerning courtship and the
choice of a wife, I should like to make a few remarks upon the manner in
which women ought to be treated by men.  It is too much the custom for
men to look upon women as beings the object of whose creation was to be
pleasant companions for them before marriage and useful servants after
marriage.  Hence there is a very great want of respect and honourable
treatment.  A young fellow, before he steadies down as the expression is,
does not think there is anything mean or dishonourable in his leading a
girl on, and without any intention of ruining her, allowing her to lower
herself by her conversation and manners.  He does not consider the harm
that he is doing to the girl, how it may be the first step to ruin.  He
means no harm, only just amusing himself with her.  Is it not mean,
however, simply for his own pleasure to treat a woman as if she were
merely a plaything, instead of a being as valuable in God's sight as
himself, and equally with him an object of God's love and care.  No words
suffice to denounce the wickedness and meanness of the coward, who,
taking advantage of a girl's real though misguided love for him, will
seduce her into sin and then leave her to bear the punishment and
disgrace.  No words can describe the heartless wickedness which will rob
a woman of that which is her greatest treasure and ornament, and bring
upon her a sorrow which the grave alone can end.  He may escape
punishment here.  He may even gain a sort of reputation as one who can
always gain the attention of women, but he will only receive the greater
punishment from the judge and avenger of all.  One word more before I
close these remarks, which I would have gladly omitted from these papers,
but truth demands them.

Some men seem to think that the sin and responsibility is very slight if
it be committed with a woman who trades upon her sin.  Undoubtedly it is
not so cowardly as the ruin of a pure and innocent woman, but who can
tell that you may not have met with that woman at the turning point in
her life, when but for you she might have repented? and at the very least
you have added to the weight of her sin.  Once she had been pure, God
alone knows her history, but who of the many who have taken advantage of
her misery and helped to chain her to her life of sin will be held
guiltless by Him?  Great, fearful is her guilt, but God alone knows how
she may long to be free.  Far greater is their guilt who for their own
selfish enjoyment do not hesitate to plunge deeper into ruin a soul for
whom Christ died.  If men treated all women honourably--all, not simply
their relations and friends,--there would not be those who make their
living by sin.  Such a state of things it may be hopeless to expect, so
long as cowards are to be found amongst men, but it is not too much to
expect from honourable men and Christians that they should treat all
women with such respect, that, as far as lies in their power, the stigma
of meanness and cowardice should not rest upon the men of this land.
Treat them with respect, not only in your intercourse with them, but in
your conversation about them, and your thoughts concerning them.

But to turn to a pleasanter subject, the honourable courtship of man and
maiden.  Certain things should be taken into consideration in making your
choice.  First, that the object of your choice should be one whom you can
thoroughly love and entirely trust.  Secondly, that she should be one
whom you feel would be a real help in life.  Thirdly, that she should be
of the same religion as yourself (otherwise difficulties in after life
are sure to arise) and a really religious woman.  And Fourthly, that she
should be not merely, or even necessarily, a bright and pretty companion,
but should have such qualities as are necessary for a good wife and
mother--one who can manage a home as well as help to pass an hour or so

Your courtship should be thoroughly open and above-board.  The parents
consent should first be obtained, and remember that you are bound to
respect their wishes.  Be careful also that she shall never in any way be
compromised by your conduct.  I say no more because I have assumed at the
beginning that your courtship is honourable, that you love the girl of
your choice, and that as you would shield her from all injury from
others, so she will be safe under your protection.  Take no ordinary
standard as the rule of your courtship, but determine from the very
beginning that it shall be so conducted, that when as man and wife you
look back upon it, it may be with feelings free from any taint of sorrow
or shame; that when you stand before God to be married it may be as
honest man and maiden, seeking for God's full blessing upon your married
life, as it has rested upon your unmarried days.  One thing I would say
in conclusion, and I mention it last as being the most important, let
your choice of a wife be a subject of earnest prayer to God, and when
your choice has been made, and your love pledged one to another, let it
be a subject of mutual prayer that each may help the other to live to the
glory of God, in the station of life in which he sees fit to place you.


The headship of a family carries with it heavy responsibilities.  We may
shrink from them and avoid them, but still they remain.  A good husband
and a good father makes a happy home and honest children.  Drunkenness is
too often the destruction of home.  If the head of the family can rule
himself in this as in other matters then he may reasonably hope for a
happy and comfortable home, but if drink is allowed to take the place of
wife or children, drink will rule the household and swallow up its peace
and prosperity.  Nevertheless, drunkenness is not by any means the only
fault or indeed the beginning of the break up of a home.  It is very
often the result of a home made miserable by other and easily avoided
faults.  Many I suppose start their married life with the full intention
of realising their ideas of a happy home.  The picture is very pleasant,
the reality is too often quite the reverse.  Why?  Very often because of
a want of mutual forbearance.  It takes some little time really to know
one another, and unless there is a spirit of mutual forbearance the
little differences will become great quarrels.  The husband is to rule,
but he is not to be a tyrant.  The wife is not bound to give a blind
obedience to all his commands, and the husband is bound to respect his
wife's wishes.  It ought to be a rule that in matters of importance,
where either feels it to be a question of duty, that if they cannot agree
neither should endeavour to force the other to act against their

My first piece of practical advice to husbands would be to have a proper
understanding about money matters, and to be liberal therein.  Give your
wife a regular sum per week, and let it be clearly arranged what expenses
she is responsible for.

Secondly, do not have any friends that you cannot or do not care to bring
to your home, and let no one come between you and your wife, or draw you
away to enjoy yourself apart from her.

Thirdly, do your church-going together as far as you can, and when that
is impossible arrange one with the other, so that each may be able to go
at some time every Sunday.  Above all keep one another up to your regular
Communions, for there is little blessing on the married union that is not
blessed with a higher communion.

Fourthly.  When you have children train them yourself, specially the
boys, who will gain far more good from father than from anyone else.  It
is too much the custom to leave all the religious training to mother or
to school.  Take your children to Church with you instead of seeing that
they are sent.  Come is a much better word of instruction than go.

A few words in conclusion as to the general duties of a man, be he
married or single.  You have no right to shirk your duties as a man to
your home, as a Christian to your Church, or as a citizen to your
country.  The support and training of your family is your first duty, and
nothing may rightly come in the way of that, but the fulfilling of that
need not prevent your carrying out your other duties.  You are a
Christian, you receive spiritual benefits from your connection with the
Church, you are bound then to make some return.  Your prayers, your alms,
and your active work, according to your means and opportunities, ought to
be available for the work of the Church.  There ought not to be any
drones in the Church's hive, but each member should bear his share of the
burdens, as well as partake of the blessings.  There is work for everyone
that is ready to help.

You have still your duty to your country.  Your own personal influence
may not be great, but you are nevertheless bound to use it on the side
which you believe to be right.  Public opinion is made up by the
agreement of many, and the course of the nation is guided eventually by
the votes of the people.  You have your share in the responsibility of
all that is done, and are therefore bound to endeavour to understand the
questions of the day, and to act upon the conclusions you may form.  No
man has a right to shirk any of the responsibilities of his position, and
a true man will endeavour to serve God and his fellow-men to the best of
his ability--to do as much good as he can in the little time allotted to
him, and to leave the reward of his labours in the hands of Him for whose
sake and after whose example he has endeavoured to spend his life.

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