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"But it was far worse to try to hide your fault with a fib. You have grieved me deeply, James; very deeply indeed." While Mr. Whitley spoke he looked kindly upon the child, and, though sorrowful, his voice had nothing of anger in it.
The boy hung his head again, and tears started to his eyes—tears that all the severity of his master could never have caused to fall, however he might have tried.
What was it that so touched the little grotto builder? It was the gentle tone and manner of the speaker.
"Well, well," continued Mr. Whitley, noticing the child's emotion, "since you are here, I suppose I shall do no harm by giving you something for a sight of your grotto f and drawing his purse from his pocket he put a sixpence in the boy's hand. "But you must promise not to do it again, James, and never to tell a lie; will you promise me that?"
"Yes, sir, I will," was the quick answer.
That evening Mr. Whitley called to see the young truant at his home, and there spoke to him of the sin of lying and the value of truthfulness in even the smallest matters; but all that he said was kindly spoken, and every word went
home to the listener's heart .
James is now fifty years old, or thereabouts. He has, in common with others, seen ups and downs in life; he has met with difficulties, and has been enabled to overcome them; and now the once little grotto builder is a prosperous man of business, respected by his fellow townsmen, and trusted as a man of probity and truthfulness; and he acknowledges that the wise advice of Mr. Whitley has held possession of his mind, and has in no slight measure helped him to become what he is.
Whenever he speaks of Mr. Whitley, and repeats the
story of the grotto and the sixpence so kindly given, he
adds something to this effect: "It was the loving way in
which he spoke that broke me down, and that made me
mind what he said. If he had been angry and severe, I should have rebelled and been obstinate, and probably have left the school altogether."
This is no fancy sketch. It is true to the letter, and it ought to teach us a lesson, if we have not already learned it; that love and kindness go a great deal farther than mere teaching. James's schoolmaster might have tried to impress upon his scholars the value of truth and honesty, but it is doubtful whether he would have made any impression on their minds. Why? Because they had no love for him. To them he was their master while they were in school, but nothing more. Once out of his power, they thought no more of what he had said than if they had never heard it.
We have no wish to be hard upon those who think it their duty to bring up their children, or the children of others who may be under their charge, in a stern and dogmatical manner; but we may be permitted to say that we think a better way is to win the love of the little ones, and make them understand that by doing wrong they grieve tis.
This is the way that God deals with His children. "God is Love," and all that He does is done in love. The psalmist felt this when he wrote:
"If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope."
God never drives His children; He always leads them. If He knows they have done wrong, He may punish them for it; but the very punishment is tempered with mercy; He is more willing to forgive than to condemn.
Is it not this love that draws us to Him ?" There is
forgiveness with Thee;" yes, it is the knowledge that there
is forgiveness that makes the child of God unwilling to
offend. If we knew that God were only waiting to mark
our iniquities, to notice every slip, and to punish us for
every shortcoming, we should grow either stubborn and
rebellious, or callous and indifferent; but it is the knowledge
of His love for us that makes us unwilling to offend.
We can imagine with what anger and indignation the schoolmaster would have been filled, had he come across the grotto and its builder; but we cannot imagine that all his anger would have done any good to the little truant: whereas the loving tone and the judicious sympathy of a better man have been remembered by him, and have influenced his life for more than forty years; nor will their influence cease until life itself has ended.
So, it is the " love of God" that " constraineth us;" and the more we dwell upon His love, the more we consider His great kindness and goodness to us, the less shall we be liable to fall into sin and displease Him.
Let us, then, take our Bibles and search for the messages of love and tenderness that it contains. Let us think of our shortcomings, and look upon God's mercies, and we shall be constrained to love and serve Him more and more, until at last we shal'. be able to serve Him without ceasing in the world above. G. H. S.
3 foill arise, anb 50 ta inn Jfa%r."
When burdened is my breast,
When conscience thunders loud,
When sins in dread array
Upon my memory crowd,
And fill me with dismay,
When I have wandered far
Along the downward road,
And mountains seem to bar
My turning back to God,
And if I am a child,
With broken heart and sad
I will retrace my way;
And though my case is bad,
Thy mercy is my stay.
And Thou in love wilt turn
And when my cheek turns pale,
Jfust in Cime.
"Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."—
Was travelling on the Great Western Railway, and
when the train arrived at station, a great
number of passengers were waiting. Some, evidently prepared for the journey, had taken care to be soon enough, and leisurely entered the carriages; others seemed very anxious about their luggage, and at the last had some trouble to secure places. When the train was on the point of leaving, a young man rushed on the platform, opened the door of the carriage in which I was seated, jumped in, the door was shut with a loud bang, and, nearly out of breath, he exclaimed: "Just in time."
At the next station all the passengers in the carriage, except myself and the young man, left, as it was marketday at the small town at which we had arrived. After we had again started, I remarked: "You had a narrow escape of being left behind."
"Yes," said he; "and it would have been a very serious matter had such been the case. I am going to the great city on business of the utmost importance to me. I may say my whole happiness depends on it."
"Then why were you so late, my friend?"
"Well," said he; "there were a great many matters requiring attention just at the last."
"Would not a little forethought," I replied, " have rendered this haste unnecessary?"
"I do believe procrastination is my besetting sin. I think it must be an hereditary failing, for I am scarcely ever in time."
My fellow-passenger was sitting opposite to me, and though roughly dressed, presented an appearance of intelligence, and as he expressed himself in courteous terms, seeming rather to solicit conversation than otherwise, I felt a desire to turn to profitable account the incident which had taken place, and the remarks to which it had led. I will continue the conversation under the initials A. and B.
A. "My friend, you appear to be used to travelling; have you ever thought seriously of the journey of life, and the terminus to which it leads?"
B. "I understand your meaning; yes, I do think sometimes, but not perhaps so often as I ought."
A. "And yet it is a subject of the highest importance. You spoke of your whole happiness depending on your journey to London; what is that as compared with our onward progress toward ' the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,' not a mere refuge for
time, but an abiding-place for eternity? And recollect that