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them, for they know not what they do." On bended knees let us offer this prayer for those who surely in blindness and ignorance thus sin.
I said that words have a double life; they live in that great record kept on high. And then think how the spoken word finds a resting-place in those that hear it. Think how that one wicked word you spoke in the hearing of a child fell into his then innocent heart, and was the first beginning of sin and shame and evil. Often, often, have words spoken thus, and heard by the little child who does not then understand the full meaning, dwelt and rankled in his heart till the meaning came, and the spirit of evil, ever ready, made that one word the foundation-stone of myriads of wicked thoughts, and then the fruit—evil deeds.
Oh! turn now from this deadly, soul-consuming sin—cast it from you; it can do you no good, it is positively certain, if continued in, to cast you, body and soul, into hell. Once more, make your resolution now, and God help you.
"I gla unto %e to jpbe gte."
Psalm cxliii. 9.
h, Saviour of the lost, where should I flee?
I have no other refuge; so, I plead
I have no hope, save that which Thou hast cast
When doubts assail me, I can only hide—
When Satan plies me with insidious dart,
When Conscience brings her charge, I have no plea
From every stormy wave and foaming sea,
My load is heavy, and my wound is sore,
To Thee I fly when overwhelmed with woe.
To Thee from calumny, if such betide,
To Thee for help, and not to scheme nor plan;
To Thee, if human sophistry or gloss
Should tempt me from the shelter of Thy cross.
To Thee, from every righteousness of mine!
Oh peaceful Heaven! calm, serene, and fair—
O blessed covert from the storms of life,
O resting-place of Faith! O Love's abode I
Our human lips are powerless to express
We have no words to thank Thee; lo, we flee,
To hide in Thee, till every storm is past,
To hide in Thee—till, earthly peril o'er,
But learn the fairer joy Thy love hath stored—
V. E. T.
Lease to remember the grotto!" cried a little boy,
addressing himself to the foot passengers who
passed the structure of oyster-shells that he had
been busily building as artistically as he was able.
The cry had to be repeated a great many times before
it brought any gain to the young showman. Most of the passers-by were too much engaged about their own concerns to take any notice of him; and the majority of those who did cast an eye upon the pile of shells, failed to respond to the appeal to encourage the builder. Some few there were who slipped a small coin into the boy's outstretched hand, and brought from him a smiling " Thank you."
The boy who built the grotto was quite young, not more than nine or ten years of age, but he appeared sharp and intelligent; any one who saw his bright smile and beaming face when a copper was given to him could hardly have imagined that he had been pronounced by his schoolmaster vicious and unruly to such extent that nothing could be done with him. This, however, was the case, and the kindhearted gentleman, Mr. Whitley, who visited the school, and took an interest in the welfare of each of the pupils, had often been grieved by the reports the master had given of him.
Mr. Whitley was a man of large mind and kindly disposition, and he sometimes thought that too much sternness, and even harshness, was employed in the school in which he so deeply interested himself. He had said, more than once, that if greater kindness and sympathy were shown to the pupils he thought those in authority would gain more power and influence over them.
This view did not suit the schoolmaster, and he continued to treat the children as though they were mere machines from which a certain amount of work must be obtained, no matter how. Nor was he alone in this. The pedagogues of that day, or at any rate many of them, had themselves much to learn, especially as regarded the training of those placed under their charge.
Had it been otherwise, it is probable that the grotto would never have been erected, and that the builder would have been at his place in school; as it was, he was a truant that morning. He had built the grotto near the school, in bold defiance of his master, for whom he had little regard.
After a time the street, which was a narrow thoroughfare, affording a short cut to the city, became less thronged; it was eleven o'clock, and the business men who made use of it were by this time hard at work in their offices or warehouses. Now only a few persons, principally inhabitants of the neighbourhood, passed along. None of them noticed the grotto or the grotto builder; they had need enough of the few pence they possessed, and could afford to give none away.
Up and down the street looked the grotto boy, and for a time saw no one worthy his attention; but, after waiting a little, he spied a gentleman turn the corner. Here was a chance, and away ran the little fellow to make the most of it. "Please to remember the grotto, sir!" he cried, holding out his hand for a donation. The next moment he sadly repented his haste. Had he known who it was he was about to acccst, the words would never have been spoken; but it was too late now; Mr. Whitley stood before him.
"Why, James, how is this?" he exclaimed. "How is it you are not at school?"
Poor James blushed deeply, and seemed inclined to run away; but he managed to stammer out: "Please, sir, I wasn't well this morning."
"Not well! and yet you were well enough to come out grotto-building," said Mr. Whitley, with a smile. "Come, come, James, speak the truth, my boy, and never fear the consequences."
The boy hung his head in silence, and Mr. Whitley continued: "I suppose you played truant for the sake of making a grotto and getting money by it. Is it not so?"
"Yes, sir," answered the boy, looking straight into Mr. Whitley's face.
"Then why did you not say so at once? It would have been better than telling a story. You know it was wrong of you to stay away from school without leave, don't you?"
"Yes, sir," the boy again assented.