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evening, and about ten o'clock they separated, all of them having some distance to go to their respective homes.
A little wearied with her hospitable cares, Mrs. Carwood retired early to rest, leaving her husband and Edward by the fireside.
As was natural, the talk was first about the happy evening they had spent, and Edward had many inquiries to make respecting one and another of the party. There had been no obtrusion of anybody's religion, but Edward made up his mind, long before they separated, that they were nearly all of them decided Christians. His impression was confirmed by what Mr. Carwood said about them after their departure. Indeed, they consisted mainly of teachers belonging to the Sunday-school of which Mr. Carwood was the superintendent. It struck Edward very forcibly that there was an air of true content and happiness about them such as he had never seen about the companions with whom he had associated of late.
"Well, Edward," said Mr. Carwood, after they had talked together for a little time, "how is Mr. Morris? and have you seen the Burdons and the Charsleys lately?"
Mr. Morris was the minister whose ministry Edward had
attended when he first settled in B , and the Burdons
and the Charsleys were Christian friends to whom Mr. Carwood had given him letters of introduction, and whom, at first, he had frequently visited, but whom, of late, he had, as Mr. Carwood had reason to know, almost entirely forsaken.
Edward was a good deal embarrassed, but at length he said frankly that he had not been in Mr. Morris's church for months, and that it was even a longer time since he had seen the friends whom Mr. Carwood had named.
Little by little Mr. Carwood elicited from Edward the whole truth about his life. His Sundays had been spent in indolence and pleasure, and the house of God had been forsaken; he kept late hours; he had attended the theatre and the billiard-table; he had lost money by gambling. No one will be surprised to hear that he had begun to listen willingly to the scoffs of his companions, and to persuade himself that religion was a lie, and that religious people were either hypocrites or fools.
"Does your mother know of all this, Edward?" asked Mr. Carwood.
"I don't think she does," was the reply; "you know Helmsley is a long way from B ."
"It is perhaps as well she does not," said Mr. Carwood. "I am afraid if she did it would break her heart. You are her only son, and she is a widow. I am sure it would have grieved your father sadly. He taught you better than this, Edward."
Edward made no reply, but his downcast look, and the quick, nervous movement of his drooped eyelids told that he felt the appeal.
"Let me ask again, Edward," continued Mr. Carwood, "are you happy in all this? If I have read your countenance aright since you came—and I think I have—I am certain you are not."
Still Edward did not reply. He could have told, however, if he had confessed the truth, of many a sleepless night, and of many a device to banish thought, which had hitherto proved but partially successful.
"You were nearly lost last night, Edward," resumed Mr. Carwood; "a few moments more, unless we had reached you with the light, and you would have been dashed to pieces. It seems to me that, morally and religiously, you are in greater peril. You are forming habits which, indulged only a little longer, will grow so strong that it will be almost impossible to break them. I have known, too, many a young man who has been tempted, by a debt far less than that of yours, to do something for which he has been put into the felons' dock. My dear fellow, you have sadly lost ''ur way. You are on the brink of a precipice more terrible *ar than that where I found you. There is only one \\ which can lead you back again from your wanderings lart le you into the way of peace. You have told me how welcome the light was with which I met you last night. Here," laying Ms hand on the Bible, which had remained on the table after family worship, "is the light. If you knowhow much. you need it, and how precious it is, you would welcome it even more gladly. For your dear mother and sisters' sake, and for your own soul's sake, do it."
"I have been a great sinner, and a great fool," said Edward, after a few moments' silence. "Oh, Mr. Carwood, what must I do? I have many a time resolved to do better, and still I have gone on in just the same way."
"You have resolved in your own strength, and hence your failure," said Mr. Carwood. "First of all, say, like the prodigal in the parable, 'I will arise and go to my Father.' Confess to God how weak and foolish and wicked you have been. Repent of all your sins, and resolve by His help to forsake them. The blood of Jesus can cleanse you, if you believe in Him, from all your guilt; and the Holy Spirit can so renew your heart that the love of sin will be overcome."
"I will try, sir," said Edward.
"Let us pray to God," said Mr. Carwood, "that He will give you grace henceforward to love and serve Him." So saying he knelt down and implored most earnestly for his young friend that God would save and bless him.
That was the turning-point of Edward Bowmer's life. Without even asking for a promissory-note in acknowledgment, Mr. Carwood advanced what money was needful to release him from debt, exacting only a verbal promise to repay the amount in instalments—a promise which was
punctually fulfilled. On returning to B , Edward broke
off from all his old associates, and began an entirely new course. He has spent many happy New Year's days since then; but he always looks back on the New Year's day he spent with Mr. Canvood at Bamgill as the most eventful of all his life.
He that has no bridle on his tongue, has no grace in his heart.
God often denies His children what He gives to others; but He denies them in love.
Hate sin, but pity and pray for sinners: "Such were some of you."
Apostacy begins with littles: it is called drawing back, not running back: beware of " an evil heart of unbelief."
The Lord's day is time separated with a view to eternity: always give God His own; if He claim but one day in seven, let Him have a whole day.
An uncomfortable death is not always a prelude to eternal woe: God sometimes undresses his children in the dark.
Get what you get, honestly, peaceably, and prayerfully ; then you will
enjoy it gratefully. We only ask of God what we think will be best, but He gives us what
He knows is best.
Never rest satisfied with another man's light, but follow Jesus, and you shall have the light of life.
If God gave his Son to redeem you from hell, he will now give all that is necessary to lead you to heaven.
If you see anything your duty, the sooner you attend to it the better. David says, "I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments." Follow his example.
If Christians meet on the Rock Christ as Christians, they will be happy with each other; but if on the sands of disputation, they raise a troublesome dust.
Siell, there's fuss enough about the business; and she was only a common tramp after all, I'll warrant."
The speaker was the blacksmith, and great oracle of the village next to the schoolmaster. "The business" under discussion by the group of villagers was the sudden death of a young woman who, with a little boy, had arrived there the day before, and taken a lodging for the night at one of the cottages.
"She didn't look like a common tramp," politely put in one of the men; and the child hasn't the look of it either. But here comes old Watkins. I wonder what he'll have to say about it."
A general laugh followed this remark.
"I don't suppose the old fellow has heard about it; or if he has he wouldn't trouble to have a thought upon it," said the blacksmith. "Old Watkins and the world have parted company long ago; except for an occasional snarl the old man growls out at his neighbours."
The old man thus spoken of drew near the group, but showed no signs of recognising any of the men. His figure was worn and bent, and he kept his eyes fixed upon the ground as he came shuffling along with his bundle of yarn under his arm. He was a weaver by trade, using one of the old hand-looms so rarely seen now except in remote villages. Some thought he must have saved a good deal of money, for his loom was always going, except when he was out on the necessary business connected with his work. Another thing that made them suspicious of this was, that no one was allowed to enter his cottage upon any pretence whatever. Unlike his neighbours, who merely contented themselves with a very primitive latch to their doors, he was careful to keep his always securely bolted, so that it was commonly believed " old Watkins" was a miser.
But whatever charges were brought against the old man,