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Let brighter themes our souls employ:
Redemption's wondrous story!
And everlasting glory !
A CALL ON ONE EASILY LED ASTRAY,
Richard, since I last called on you I have thought many times of your words, “I take but little pleasure.” Now that word " little” has led thousands into a great deal of mischief. What one calls little, another may call much ; and it is by little and little that the soul of a sinner is led the whole length of temptation, sin, and sorrow.
A man may take a little holiday, a little gin, and a little pleasure; he may lose a little time, and spend a little money; till he becomes, almost unknown to himself, a great drunkard, a great spendthrift, and a great libertine.
If you will think for a moment, you must be convinced that what I say is true. The greatest rogue that ever robbed another, the most notorious highwayman that ever robbed a traveller, became so by little and little. If a little leak will sink a great ship, and a little fire destroy a great city; so, in like manner, a little sin may be the means of ruining the soul. When, therefore, you are asked to do what is wrong, never
deceive yourself by thinking that you may go a little way out of the path of rectitude. He who keeps in the broad turnpike road of duty is not likely to lose himself; but he who quits it for the thorny by-paths of his own inclinations and passions may wander where he never intended.
You are too easily persuaded, Richard; too a unstable in your thoughts. A man should not be blown about like a weathercock with every breath, but should hold fast that which is good. What is the use of your good intentions, if every one can tempt you to abandon them? What is the use of reading your Bible, if every thoughtless companion can laugh you out of the convictions it produces on your mind ? To be one thing to-day and another to-morrow; to be in the house of God on the Sunday, and to sit muddling in a public-house on the Monday, is not the way to do good to others, or to profit your own soul. Be a Christian indeed, Richard, for your half-and-half measures will never answer. “A Christian, when he is beaten out of all other comforts, yet hath a God to turn unto: a wicked man, beaten out of worldly comforts, is as a naked man in a storm, and an unarmed man in the field; or as a ship tossed in the sea without an anchor, which presently dashes upon rocks, or falleth upon quicksands.'
Once more then, I say, seek to be a Christian
indeed, and live a life of faith in God's mercy, and in dependence on the unchangeable word of his promise. Give up the husks of worldly enjoyments; seek the presence of your heavenly Father, implore his forgiveness, and seek for the good things which he has provided for them that love him. Be no more a changeling, but “ stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” 1 Cor. xv. 58.
A CALL ON A SERVANT FOND OF CHANGING
Visitor. So, Sally, you are making a call on your poor mother, and I am glad to see that you pay her attention. Do you still live with Mrs. Simmonds ?
Sally. Yes, sir; but I have some thoughts of going up to London. A fellow-servant of mine went there last August, and she sends word that she receives great wages; so I think London will suit me best. · Visitor. London! Why it is the very worst place you can go to, unless you have a good place ready to receive you when you get there. “A rolling stone,” Sally, “gathers no moss;” better by half stay where you are than go to London, for great wages are in many cases the cause of great troubles. Nothing like being contented in that state of life in which it has pleased God to call us. Did you ever hear the fable of the discontented spider, Sally?
Sally. No, sir, I do not know that I ever did.
Visitor. Well then, you shall hear it now. A spider, says the fable, once lived a peaceable and undisturbed life in the roof of a barn, where he contrived to catch as many flies as satisfied his hunger. It is true, that he saw but little to amuse him; but then he was perfectly safe from danger, and perhaps he would have remained contented with his condition had not a travelled spider crawled up the barn door, and paid him a visit in the roof. His new friend expressed his surprise that he could live such a humdrum life, while he had the opportunity of seeing so much of the world. “If,” said he,“ you would only spin a web on the ceiling of the farm-house kitchen, you would not only catch more flies than you could eat, but see a little of life into the bargain.” This conversation had so great an effect on the foolish spider, that he became quite discontented, and left his quiet home in the roof of the barn, to set out on his travels to the farm-house kitchen, which he reached without a single accident, and soon spun a web between two Aitches of bacon, which were hanging near each other from the ceiling.
For some time he was quite delighted with
his new habitation, for he snared more flies in a few hours than he could catch in the barn during a week, and saw more of the affairs of the world than he had seen before in all his days. In an unlooked-for moment, however, Betty, the cook, mounted suddenly upon the dresser to cut a piece of bacon from one of the flitches on which the thoughtless spider had woven his web, when with one stroke of her knife she knocked the insect, bruised and dying, to the ground. “Silly creature that I am,” said the dying spider, “had I been contented in my station, I might now have been living in-peace; but, instead of that, my discontent has brought me to destruction.”
Sally, a little thought on this fable may save you from a great deal of trouble; I will therefore leave you, that you may reflect upon it.
A CALL ON A QUARRELSOME NEIGHBOUR.
I am very glad to find you at home, Hannah; and now do not speak one word to me, but listen to what I have to say. It is more pleasant to praise than to blame, but we must be faithful one to another. Your quarrel with your neighbour Sanders is a reproach to both of you, though I believe that you are more in fault than she is. A mad dog is not so dangerous in a