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to find her fellow-servant; told her of the manner in which her master and mistress had regarded her, and of the deep displeasure she was certain they felt against her. Finally, at this cruel woman's instigation, she was induced that evening to go secretly away from the house, her pretended friend even gave her some money to help to keep her until she got employment, and Martha making a bundle of her clothes went from her situation alone and privately, not knowing whither she went.
“ I cannot tell you, Fanny, all the trials the poor girl went through ; I do not know all of them myself, but those I do know are very sad. I will only tell you, however, that more than six years afterwards, a young woman in deep distress, and apparently in a dying state, came to the pleasant village where Martha Jones had been born. It was Martha Jones herself. She sent to beg the clergyman who had been the friend of her youth to come to see her. He was greatly surprised when she asked him what he had meant by writing so about her to her former master. He assured her he had never thought anything bad of her, or heard anything bad, until she had run away from her place, when all the valuable articles that had been stolen from her mistress were laid to her charge, and her fellow-servant had owned to having surprised her at the drawers.
But, sir,' said Martha, you spoke of M — Jones in your letter?'
66. How did you know that ?' said the clergyman, after some reflection.
“I had the curiosity, sir, to look at the letter that was in my master's pocket when he gave me his coat to take a spot out which it had got the day before.' Martha looked down, and almost fainted as she said this.
" "How wise are the Scriptures of truth !' said the clergyman after a pause; 'how often do they caution us against meddling with other men's matters! My poor girl your offence has brought its own heavy punishment. You have sadly learned, ere this, the serious dangers and painful embarrassments into which idle curiosity may lead us. You have suffered as a busybody in other men's matters. I need not therefore try to convince you further of your error, except by telling you the fact, that the person whom I mentioned in that letter, and whose surname happened to be the same as your own, had been a friend of your master's and of my own; he had been tempted to use for himself some public
money that passed through his hands; and, led from one extravagance to another, he was at last detected and obliged to flee from his country. Your master suffered both anxiety and grief on his account, and your own conscience led you to apply all this to yourself.' 6 Martha wept much. She saw what sad mistakes
arise from simply looking into a letter concerning the contents of which we can ask no explanation. She told the good minister who thus had patience with her, and forebore from all reproaches, that she could not endure the thought of returning to her native place until the doctor had told her that she was in a consumption; and then, as she knew she must soon die, she wished to declare her innocence of the robbery committed on her mistress's property, and hoped the declaration of a dying woman would be believed.
“. Oh! my poor girl,' he answered, make yourself easy as to that: though hand join in hand, says the Bible, the wicked shall not go unpunished. Your wicked fellow-servant was found out at last, and though it was not known what had become of you, you were not suspected of being guilty of theft.'
“ This intelligence was a great comfort to Martha ; she after this turned her mind to the consideration of the future life which she was so rapidly approaching. Her sorrows had been greatly blessed to her soul; she had lamented the follies of her youth, and seen that the word of God maketh wise the simple. Had she been always guided by its precepts many of her errors might have been avoided; for the Scriptures are profitable for all things; they are full of instruction for this life as well as the life that is to come. 6 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? Even by taking heed thereto according to thy word.' But now that this life was nearly at a close for Martha Jones, it was too late for her to learn and practise in life many of the moral precepts of the Bible; but she blessed God that it was not too late for her to look to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world :' not too late to draw near in penitence and faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be washed, and to be justified, and to be sanctified by the grace of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“ Her soul was in peace, believing in Jesus. But she had to regret that her life was to be taken from earth before much time had been allowed her to adorn the doctrine of Christ her Saviour, and to show to others the example of a Christian
The friend of her orphan youth, the clergyman who had early implanted in her mind religious truth, frequently visited her, and kindly relieved her wants. Her early friends came to her again, and consoled or cheered her wasting days. One of her latest efforts was to assemble some of the young people of her native village around her dying bed, to relate to them her sorrowful story, and to warn them earnestly to beware of the danger of indulging idle curiosity.
“ Martha Jones died in peace, trusting that through the merits of Christ's atoning sacrifice, she was going to a happier home, where she should be safe from the snares and perils that beset the young and ignorant in this present evil world.”
SYMPATHY BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD.
BY REV. JACOB ABBOTT.
The author urges the following considerations which are of great importance, besides those given in the last number of this Magazine.
3. Parents who wish to secure the confidence and sympathy of their children, should never dispute with them. It is almost impossible to get engaged in a dispute without being unfair. How often do we find that the most confirmed and experienced Christians, when fairly warm, even in a theological combat, lose their good-nature and candour, twist and turn the positions and arguments of their antagonists in the most unjust distortion, and struggle to crowd down and trample upon one another in the most heartless and tyrannical manner. Now this spirit is very prone to show itself in all cases of disputation. And the consequences are peculiarly disastrous when the parties are a teacher and his pupil, or a mother and her child. In such cases, the stronger party is hardly ever candid and fair. The feebly and imperfectly expressed arguments of the weaker one are but half heard, and half considered. That which is perhaps deserving of but little weight, is allowed not half the weight that it really deserves. The feebler party is overpowered and silenced, half by argument, half by authority. He feels that he has suffered injustice though he has not the skill to show why,-and if he make the attempt, his opponent does not wish to hear another word said about it, and ends the discussion. It requires no explanation to show how powerful the influence of such a contest is in destroying all sympathy and fellow-feeling, -and implanting, in their stead, a deep and lasting alienation.
If, therefore, you ever enter into any discussion whatever with a child, be his friend and helper in it, and not merely his antagonist. Aid him in expressing what he attempts to say. Encourage him. Give full force to his arguments, even if they are weak arguments. Perhaps I ought to say, especially if they are weak arguments. If he says anything in a captious spirit, or from feelings of vanity, or a froward disposition to be on a contrary side, which children often manifest, do not be in haste to reproach him. Do not satirize him or ridicule him. Take what he says in a good sense, if it is capable of such an interpretation. Whatever there is that is specious or plausible in it, be willing to see and acknowledge, and express it even more fully and strongly than he does. If you reply at all, do it deliberately and mildly, after hearing all that he has to say, and let your remarks be in the form not of a reply to what he has said, but of general instruction on the subject of the discussion.
We must always remember that it is very unsafe to retort upon our children in cases like this, in such a manner as to give them a mortifying repulse and deter them from coming to us again., They must be encouraged to come freely to us, at all times, right or wrong---by all means when wrong. If they cherish erroneous or dangerous sentiments, how much better is it that they should express them freely to us, rather than keep them concealed! Thus we may know the danger, and take deliberate and wise measures to remedy the evil.
And this leads me to say,
4. That parents, in the treatment of their children, should be careful to keep, as it were, always upon their side. Even in cases where they do wrong and become the subjects of your moral discipline, never, if it can possibly be avoided, come into an attitude of opposition to them ; but keep upon their side, assuming the attitude of the friend and counsellor who endeavours to extricate them from the difficulties in which they have involved themselves. Let them not in such cases be led to regard themselves as upon one side and you upon the other. Let them rather see that it is law and duty with which they have come into collision, and that you are the friend who seeks a reconciliation. Say to them, not, You have done very wrong; and I am much displeased with you,—but, You have done wrong, displeased God, and destroyed your happiness ---come now, I will help you to seek his forgiveness and recover your peace of mind. Taking part with them in this sense is by no means justifying their conduct, or
blunting their sense of guilt. It is the reverse.
They will be touched the more sensibly by your kindness and consideration. And you can exert a far more powerful influence upon their minds, than if you assume the attitude and tone of reproach and invective. Just as the counsel for a prisoner, if virtuous and humane, can exert a far higher influence upon the mind of the unhappy criminal, and that without compromising at all the sacred and eternal principles of right and wrong, by means of the influence which he acquires over his mind, by his very position of counsellor and defender. So we can almost always, even in the saddest cases of sin into which our children fall, and in the most decided measures of discipline to which we have occasion to resort, keep upon their side, and act in such a manner as to awaken no animosity or hostile feeling on their part towards us. It is true that in such cases we have to act as their judge as well as their counsellor, but this will not alter the result. The condemned criminal seldom feels any animosity towards the judge or the jailor, or even the executioner of his sentence. He them, if they perform their sad function in a proper spirit, officers of justice who reluctantly and painfully perform a duty which law enjoins upon them. As individuals, they pity and befriend the prisoner. As magistrates, they destroy him ; and the sufferer regards the instruments of his suffering with none but friendly feelings to the last.
Just so with the discipline of children. They understand whether you administer that discipline from the influence of impatience, or vexation, or vengeance,- or whether you are urged to it by a conscientious sense of duty, while in heart you pity them for their sorrows, and do all in your power to lighten and alleviate them. This view of the subject throws light on one sacred injunction, which parents, I apprehend, violate very frequently, and often, I believe, without any idea that they are transgressing the Divine command ;-an injunction which we seldom or never hear quoted in connexion with the subject of parental duty, but on which a great many very profitable sermons might be preached. It is the injunction, “Parents, provoke not your children to wrath.” Parents, provoke not your children to wrath.
It would seem from this that whenever we vex or irritate our children, we are sinning against the Divine command. Is it so? Or how is this passage to be understood ? I am satisfied that, rightly understood, it would condemn us for a great deal of the anger and irritation to which our children