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have heard a poor little boy beg hard of his stern father not to beat him so much ; but you never heard any entreaties so piteous and urgent as were poor
Martin's. When the prayer was over, he said that he felt more easy in his mind; for he had a hope that God would for Christ's sake pardon his guilty soul. But he exclaimed, “ If I must go to hell, I will go there crying for merey all the way."
And he kept his word; for he never ceased begging for forgiveness while consciousness lasted. It was literally his one occupation. He listened meekly to the instructions of any Christian friend who called in.
He freely and solemnly confessed how wicked he had been, and he joined fervently in any prayers which were offered up on his behalf. When one said, “Do you suffer much pain ?" He answered, “Oh, very much. But I should not mind that a bit, could I but have my sins forgiven.”
I come now to the saddest part of this altogether sad story. Some of you may not be aware that there are wretches who call themselves men (but I really think they cannot be men), who will sit down and deliberately write vile books, that they may pollute and ruin young minds. And there are monsters who will furnish type and paper in order to multiply these abominable productions. And there are fathers and mothers who will set up in their windows this detestable poison to catch the unwary, and destroy their souls. Do they destroy souls? Do they not, with every soul they defile, destroy anew their own souls ? Oh, what punishments await such miscreants as these ! Oh, who shall pity them in the day of their merited calamity!
Alas! Martin had frequented one of these infernal shops, and had drunk in greedily the defilement which was dispensed there. How sad an influence it had exerted over his thoughts became at this period but too evident; for now delirium came on, and imagination being no longer controlled by reason, forced his young lips to babble the foulest things. It is not necessary to say more, than that everybody kept away from his room, excepting
just the one or two who must needs wait upon him. But, thank God, Martin did not die in the midst of this terrible scene. As life was slowly ebbing out, reason came back; and now he lay for a while perfectly still. But soon he began to speak with a feeble voice; and the attendant coming to listen, found that he was repeating the Lord's Prayer. It was very slowly, and with long pauses. When he reached the concluding sentences, his articulation became very indistinct. For a moment he was quiet again. And then the young head drooped gently on one side, and Martin was dead.
Poor Martin ! shall I meet thee in heaven? Methinks if I do, that I shall cry for joy ; but surely I shall be ashamed to look thee in the face. I shall dread the tender reproaches which those speaking eyes cannot fail to express. But if I never find thee there !--Sunday-school Teachers' Union Magazine.
DUTY OF OBEYING ORDERS. “COME, what shall we do this afternoon, John ?” said two boys, stopping before the front yard of a neighbour's house, where one of their schoolmates was standing.
It was Wednesday afternoon. To go a-fishing, or raspberrying, or up to the mills, or over to Back Cove-they could not decide which of all these would be, on the whole, the pleasantest. At last it was agreed to go over to Back Cove, which was a strip of land running out into the sea, where there were trees, rocks, and water, cake-and-ale houses, and one or two low taverns.
Off the boys started, with no clear notions of what they meant to do; only it was Wednesday afternoon, and they meant to make the most of it. After reaching the Cove, they amused themselves with skipping stones on the water, carving their names upon the trees, looking about here and there, until they came in sight of the bowling-alley, a noted gambling-house, where a great deal of wickedness had been carried on. There were several carriages here, many boys
and men around, smoking and lounging, while the alley was full of customers.
“Come, let's go to the alley,” cried one of the boys, “it will be fun. Father would not like me to go; but I suppose he never need know it. Let's go, I say. Come John;
“No," answered John, “I am not going, I'll have nothing to do with any such places.”
“ That's great!” cried the boy who proposed going; why, you are not so easily hurt as all that comes to, are you? That's all nonsense. Come, boys; come, Frank,
Frank went forward.
“It will be no harm to be only a looker-on, and father will never find it out.”
John stopped. The others looked behind, and saw he was not following.
“ Come!” they both shouted ; "come, don't be sowomanish!
“ Can't !” shouted John back again, can't break orders."
“ What special orders have you got ?" they asked, looking round.
“ I'm sure your aunt never told you not to go."
“ I've got orders, positive orders, not to go there; orders that I dare not disobey."
“ It's all nonsense,” said the boys ; “ you need not try to make us believe that anybody has been giving you orders not to go to the alley. Come, show 'em to us if you can, show us your orders ?”
John took a red book from his pocket, which he opened, and pulled out a neatly-folded paper.
“ It's here,” he said, unfolding the paper, and showing it to the boys. They took it, and Frank read aloud :
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
Yes,” said John, “it is nothing more nor less than the
Word of God ; it is His order. This was alınost the first verse I ever learned ; and I do not know how
times my mother used to repeat it to me before she died; and when I have a pen in my hand, and am going to write without thinking, this verse always comes uppermost ; so I always keep it with me, and I've always minded it. I minded it when I was a little boy, and I mean to now I am older. And so, boys, when any body asks me to go to bad or doubtful places, as I expect this is, I've got an answer for them-my orders forbid it. 'Go not in the way of evil men; avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it.' There's no mistake, you see ; so, if you go to the alley, I go home.”
This is, indeed, a manly stand. Would that every boy that knows the right—and few are ignorant of it in these days—could stedfastly maintain it; for it is not so much ignorance, as indecision that ruins so many. Take John's motto; learn its full meaning; impress it upon your mind ; carry it about with you; make it the man of your counsel ; for it is the warning and demand of the Holy Scripture, “ Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."-Prov. iv. 14, 15.-Amer. P.
THE DEFORMED BODY AND DISTORTED
MIND. “Father; see that poor man who is going by. How frightful he looks !” said Richard to his father, as they were seated on the front piazza, on a pleasant summer evening
“ Hush, not so loud, my son,” said Mr. Lord, “ do not let him hear your remarks. Though no unkindness is intended, they may give him pain. He is indeed an object of pity, the more so as it is evident his deformity is not his own fault.
The subject of this conversation was an old man whose spine was painfully distorted, and his lower limbs appa
rently scarce strong enough to bear the weight imposed upon them. It was with difficulty that he made a slow progress along the highway. He passed near enough to enable them to get a full view of his features.
“ He looks quite cheerful,” said Richard, when the poor man was out of hearing.
'It is possible that he may be more happy than many who are proud of the symmetry of their forms, and rejoice in their strength.”
“I should not think he could have any comfort.”
“He cannot, probably, have much bodily comfort, but he may have within him the peace that passeth understanding. Poor as he appears to be, he may have a title to exhaustless riches, and a crown of glory in heaven."
“I hope he is a good man, I am sure. How do you suppose he became so deformed ?"
It is impossible for me to know; probably he has been so from his birth. It is a sad thing to have such a body, but as Leighton says, “It is a more deformed thing to have a distorted, crooked mind, or to have a froward spirit, than any crookedness of the body.' A man may have a distorted body, and not be to blame for it; but not so with a distorted mind. That can happen only through one's own fault."
“What is a distorted mind, father ?”
“ The mind is distorted when it does not act as it was designed to act. When we apply the words distorted and crooked to the mind, we use them figuratively. What was the mind made for ?”
“ It was made to think, and to think holily."
“ Very well. When a mind won't think or can't think holily, it is distorted. There are then a great many distorted and crooked minds in the world.”
“ Yes, sir, there are a great many that are somewhat crooked, for there are a great many that can't think very well or very rightly.”
“Let us consider some illustrations. The mind was made to love truth.”