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money to buy it with. You look a little conscious that you know what I say to be true, and true it is, sure enough; for who would employ a mason who could not get to his work before breakfast? Bates, the builder, has been at work these three hours and more; his men were whistling as they mounted the ladders to the scaffolding by six o'clock. You inust take to a different course, Walters; for every one will not bear with you as I have done. You used to be a different sort of man; but, somehow or other, you have got into bad habits latterly, which I am sadly afraid will do you a deal of mischief.
Only read the description of the condition of a slothful man, as given in the Proverbs of Solomon: “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well : I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth ; and thy want as an armed man,” Prov. xxiv. 30–34.
This description is given, as I said before, in the Bible, a book that we cannot read too frequently. It would be well, Walters, if you would give your mind to it much more than you do. It is full of instruction, well fitted for masters and workmen ; but, until you rise a little earlier, it is not likely that you will find much time for your Bible.
“Sleeping foxes catch no poultry,” is an old saying; and a sleepy mason will make little money. He who sees the sun rise will do a good day's work before it sets; and one clink of the trowel, or sweep of the white-wash brush before breakfast, is worth two after dinner. Come, you are ready now: let it be the last morning that you set off to work at nine o'clock. Solomon says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise,” Prov. vi. 6. Solomon was a wise man, Walters; but you will be a very unwise one, if you do not profit by his instruction. You must now work hard to make up the time you have lost: cheerfully goes the time with a diligent man; but the way of the slothful man is an hedge of thorns.
á CALL ON ONE OF A KIND DISPOSITION.
Though you are a stranger, I could not help running in to thank you for your kindness to that poor woman who has just left you. She appeared very ill, and you have sent her on her way comforted. May His blessing, who has said that a cup of cold water given in his name shall not be without its reward, rest upon you, and remain with you. I know not whether you are a follower of Christ, but I know that kindness is a Christian grace; and in a world wherein we are dependent one upon another, it ought to be practised by all. Oh, how the crooked paths of our pilgrimage are made straight, and the rough places plain, by the spirit of kindness! The commonest act of attention done from a principle of love is doubled in its value.
The rose is not without its power,
When churlishness in anger throws it;
When kindness, with a smile, bestows it !
It was once said of a great traveller who had visited barbarous countries, that, in his wanderings about the world, he had frequently met with kindness from man; but that in no single instance did he ever, in distress, apply to woman without meeting with pity and kindness.
Whenever I see or hear of a woman giving way to a bitter, a churlish, or an unkind spirit, I think how different she is to what she ought to be. An unkind and hardhearted woman is a reproach to her sex, and ought to be shunned as one not creditable to be acquainted with. But though kindness is of so much value, Christian
kindness is more valuable than all. “Be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you,” Eph. iv. 32. We cannot, like Mary of old, wash the Redeemer's feet with our tears, and wipe them with our hair ; but we may show kindness to his disciples, and indeed to all who stand in need of our assistance. You have done me good as well as that poor woman, by your attention to her; and again I thank you; but while you are kind to others, be not unkind to yourself. Neglect not your own soul. Fall at the footstool of your heavenly Father. Cling to the cross of the Redeemer, and plead the merits of the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. Then shall all things work together for your good ; then shall earth prove to you the highway to heaven, and grace be succeeded by eternal glory.
A CALL ON A MILKWOMAN. Visitor. You are about to set off with your milk-cans, I see, Mrs. Collet. No doubt you sometimes think that your business is a hard one; but we all have our burdens to bear: some carry them on their shoulders, and others on their hearts.
Milkwoman. Taking out milk is all very well, sir, in fine weather; but nobody knows the sloppy walks that I have had through the winter, in the dirt and rain: for let what will come, hail, rain, or shine, I must go out with my milkcans all the same. For a matter of three weeks, I had hardly a dry thread on my back from morning to night; and that's trying work, sir.
Visitor. True, true; but we cannot always have fine weather, Mrs. Collet. If the sun were always shining, how little should we feel the pleasure of a fine day. There will be something or another for us to put up with as long as we live. One thing, however, we may take for granted, and that is,—the more cheerfully we go about our duties, the more pleasant they will become to us. Now take my advice, Mrs. Collet. Keep as good an account, from this time forward, of your sun-shiny days as you have hitherto done of your wet ones; and you will find yourself, perhaps, less disposed to complain than to be thankful. The more we love God, the more shall we be satisfied with his dealings with us. He who gave us his only Son to die for sinners, will also give grace and glory; and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.