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and the waters flow.” We may well say, “How wonderful are the works of the Lord ?"


Beloved youth, when I, who am old, look upon your condition, I cannot but pity you. I do not envy your gaiety and pleasure. The cup which you hold in your hand is inebriating—it is poisoned. The pleasures which you are seeking are “the pleasures of sin,” which are short-lived, unsatisfactory, and leave a sting behind. Many are cut down like the flower of the field in the midst of their earthly career. Oh, how many are hurried away in an unprepared state! Many others, when the season of youthful gaiety and thoughtlessness is past, are visited with sore afflictions, in the suffering of which all their former pleasures are forgotten, and often imbittered by the reflection that they were sinful pleasures or were mixed with sin. Remorse for the sins of youth is an unwelcome visitant, but one which cannot easily be shaken off. When afflictions are sanctified, they become real blessings. But many suffer, who, instead of being made better, are made worse by all their sufferings. They become impatient, and murmur at the dispensations of God towards them, as though they were punished more than their sins deserved.

Oh, young man! permit me to call your attention to your soul's salvation. This you cannot but know is your great, your highest interest. And wliy do you neglect it? Why do you put far off the evil day? Your continuance on earth is altogether uncertain. Prepare, I beseech you, to meet your God. “Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” You will lose nothing, but be great gainers, by giving your hearts to God in the days of your youth. “Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”

A good conscience, and a lively hope of everlasting life, are the purest sources of joy upon earth. When' affliction falls on the pious--and they are not exemp—there is a gracious promise that it will be for their good ; yea, that it will work out for them an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Let the summons of death come when it will, they are ready. The day of death to such is far better than the day of their birth.

Young man ! as you have but one short life to live upon earth, have you no desire that it should be occupied in doing good? Are you willing, at the last account, which all must give, to be in the class of those who have lived to no good purpose, who have done nothing for the benefit of their race ?

You say that you intend to be religious hereafter. What a delusion! Evil habits will grow with your age, sinful desires will not be lessoned but increased by indulgence. Old age, if you are permitted to reach it, will find you a hardened sinner, your conscience seared, and all your habits of iniquity confirmed. Oh, could you hear the wailings of a multitude of souls now in hell, methinks their lamentation would be that they procrastinated attention to the salvation of their souls. Why will you run the dangerous risk ? Consider that eternal life and eternal death are now set before you; and God calls on you to choose which you will have.


He that despiseth small things shall fall by little and little.”

“ Edward, my dear,” said mamma,

“ what have you there? I do not remember to have seen that inkstand before; how did you obtain it?

"Oh, it is not mine, mamma; I brought it from school; it is such a convenient one, you can't possibly spill the ink." 6. To

om does it belong ?” “ To nobody, I might say, no one knows of it; it was up

on a shelf, put out of the way as useless, so I thought I might as well bring it into service,"

“And did you ask the doctor if you might so appropriate it?"

"O dear no, he would not care a bit about it; besides, I don't believe he has any more right to give it to me than I have to take it-you know it is a proprietary school-things do not belong to him, he is only master.”

“But, my love, as master, he is entrusted with all the property in the school-he is responsible—he is the fit person to allow a loan or a gift. But be that as it may, how do you establish your right to take any thing from the premises for your own use ?"

“I don't see any harm, mainma; it was of no use to any one. I do not even go against the Scripture rule which you so often remind me of, to do to others as I would they should do to me, for I am sure I should not mind any body's taking any thing of mine in the same way. Besides, after all, it is merely a trifle."

“Perhaps you are not a judge of that unless you were tried. I am quite sure you would prefer being asked for any thing desired by another, and having the pleasure to give it, rather than to find he had taken it You remember, in the same book from which you have quoted, it is written, · He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.' If you allow yourself to deviate from a right principle in what you call a small matter, you may get to justify such conduct on a large scale ; and the habit of compromise in little things will lower the tone of your principles. The simple compliance with one questionable solicitation is beginning to break down the hedge, and you know that, close on the other side of the hedge which forms the boundary of right, the serpent lies concealed, and his is a venomed tooth. But supposing there was no such grave objection to our laying our hand on any thing of our neighbour's, it is most impolitic of you to expose yourself to the possible charge of dishonesty. Suppose some one saw you take it, who owed you a little grudge, and would be glad of the opportunity to get you into disgrace, do you not think you would be somewhat embarrassed if the doctor inquired

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who had taken the inkstand, and you were obliged to acknowledge yourself the delinquent? and is the inkstand worth the hazard of a suspicion, or the breath of slander resting on you? We are commanded to avoid even the appearance of evil; now I think this decidedly looks wrong. I do not charge you with the slightest intention to be dishonest, but the act is at least most questionable, and ought to have been avoided."

“Oh, mamma, I wish you did not think so seriously about it; I did not mean to keep the inkstand; I shall probably take it back some day.”

“Unless it should be broken,” said mamma. “What would you do in that case ?"

" Why, then, I suppose I must buy another.”

"I think it is just possible that, as you have convinced yourself you might take it into use because it was not wanted at school, you would find some excuse for not replacing it; and I believe it would be more than probable that this little indiscretion, if we do not call it by so sad a name as dishonesty, would, if allowed to pass uncorrected, be an occasion of serious injury to your mind, although you might be but little conscious of it. Now, my boy, I wish you to take it back at once.”

“ I have made up my mind to do so, mamma.”

"Well, then, the moment of decision should be the moment of action. When you come back I will tell you a fact which has lately come to my knowledge, which has madle me pecaliarly sensitive about this inkstand.”

An hour or two after this conversation, Edward resumed his seat in the parlour, and mamma related to him the particulars of a visit she had paid to a young man who was in a bad state of health, having recently returned from prison, where he had been confined for three months for some act of dishonesty. He was in a distressing state of mind from the reproaches of his conscience. For several years he had been following a downward course, and every step he took, he said, led him further out of the reach of happiness, yet with less desire to return to it. He had “fallen by little and little,” and he traced his sad fall to his mother. When quite a lad he


had been sent to purchase some article, the price of which was plainly marked on it, and had been named by the shop

On counting the change he found he hadreceived too much; he was about to take it back at once, when his mother objected, saying there could be no harm in his keeping ithe had nott aken it--it had been given ; if the shopman was careless, it was his own fault if he lost in his business ; besides, it would never be known; whereas, if he took it back, perhaps it would get the shopman into disgrace; and so the boy was readily induced to pocket the change. It did not seem quite right, but he had his mother's authority, together with something like a reason for her advice, and often in after life did he frame excuses from his mother's counsel to palliate his doubtful conduct. He would borrow from his schoolfellows, and ifany of them forgot their claim, he would never remind them by discharging it. From being careless, he became cunning; from neglecting to culiivate his conscience, his conscience neglected to reprove him, till at length he found the iron hand of justice leading him to prison.

“Do you wonder, then, that your mother tremble at the thought that her son had taken such a wrong step? I do not wish you to suppose I think this a perfectly parallel case ; there was real fraud in the one, and in the other there may be, perhaps, only want of discretion; still I wish you to feel that you cannot be guilty of indiscretion without injury to yourself. We are in great danger when we relax the strictness of right. Make it a daily prayer, my dear boy, that integrity and uprightness may preserve you."

And turning from this domestic scene, we would say to the reader, “ Think on these things; awake to a jealous care over yourself, and a vigilant watchfulness over those who may be committed to your care. Remember that conscientiousness must be cultivated—that it will not spring up spontaneously. The first step in wrong is of consequence; for that once taken, be it ever so short a one, is almost sure to be followed by far longer strides. Nor let us ever forget that these faint footmarks in the track of time are, in reality, nothing less than the ineffaceable vestiges of the moral man, by which he may throughout eternity be traced. It has been said of

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