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bought her; and said, “ Now do ye get it made against next Sunday, for we shall be proud to see you wear it.” The mother's tears flowed plentifully; she kissed her children again and again; said, God would bless them for their duty, and she should never forget it; it would be the pleasantest gown that ever she wore ; and we believe there are few mothers but would feel this, and there is nothing so hard to bear as coldness and neglect from the child you have cherished, so much does tenderness and affection warm the parental bosom. " Ah !” said the mother to herself, " this is all that good Mr. Kemp's doing ; never was a more dutiful boy than that Charles has been to me. How true it is, that a good master maketh a good servant; they may call him à Methodist if they will, but I am sure his methods are good methods; I have reason to respect him, however.” It is commonly found that persons who are very much prejudiced against religion lose those prejudices, where their interest is concerned. Thus it was with the mother of our little plough-boy; and as he frequently stayed to family worship with Michael, so he had frequently carried home any thing which particularly struck him: and the mother's mind became desirous of instruction, and
her gossipping visits amongst her foolish neighbours were less frequent. The first steps of improvement are often imperceptible; the stream of grace is fine as a silver thread, till it becomes broad as a river, watering and fertilizing as it flows. Many were the opportunities which the extending influence of this good young man gave him of promoting that cause which lay nearest his heart; if he sold his sheep, and the person who bought them thought them not so good as he expected, and complained that they were dear, Michael was ready to return any portion of the money that might be reasonably expected: and when a neighbouring farmer said to him, “ Why, Mr. Kemp, a bargain is a bargain,” Michael would reply, Sir, but my conscience will not let me make a hard bargain.” The result of all this care for the honour of religion was, that though they were still prejudiced, they were convinced that Mr. Kemp's religion was kind-hearted and liberal.
There was something in the natural character of Mr. Lascelles, noble, dignified, and liberal; and when such a character expands with all the tenderness of christian sympathy, it becomes a lovely object for contemplation. It might be said of him, that God had given him a large heart,
and when he was bringing out of his treasures things new and old, he was frequently found dwelling on liberality as one of the most prominent features of Christianity; and Michael found his heart warmed by his friend, cheered and renovated as he was by continual influence of the Scripture on his heart. He was in a state of preparation for the instructions of his minister, and did indeed receive the Word in childlike simplicity, that he might grow thereby. He was never found fancying himself capable of the ministerial character; he thought he might be a good farmer, a good master, a kind parent, and a tender husband, but for the work of the ministry he had sense enough to perceive he was incompetent. A life devoted to that cause without any other employment, he observed to be quite sufficient. There was scarcely a day throughout the year in which his pastor was not called, either to visit the sick or to support the dying, to counsel and instruct the ignorant, and constantly perform those offices and render that assistance which poverty requires. Again, the close study, the deep thought, the frequent tracing of God's providential care in pages of profane and sacred history, with incidental observations which his own experience furnished. Michael had the good sense to per
ceive that for this he was incapable; and when invited to join some well meaning but injudicious person in a neighbouring village, in a meeting for prayer and expounding the Scriptures, he was satisfied with repeating in the week to his family that which he learnt from his pastor on the Sunday; and if any thing struck him in a new light as he read the Scriptures, he would consult Esther in private, and this often furnished very sweet and profitable subjects for intercourse.
There was one man, a butcher, whose life was certainly much changed by the power of religion : he was of an ardent temper, easily kindled into violent emotion, and having been persuaded to accompany a neighbour to one of these religious meetings, his imagination became fired, and he thought he too could preach ; so that, whenever there was a disappointment in the regular preacher, this butcher was sent for to supply. And one day, as he was bargaining with Michael for a cow, sharpening his knife upon the steel as it hung before him mechanically; he said,
Now, Mr. Kemp, we are sorry not to see you yonder; we had a fine meeting on Friday, and I understand we are to have a powerful preacher down next Sunday.” Michael looked a little ironical, when he
asked him of what trade the minister was that was expected, whether a barber or a shoemaker, saying, he really believed, if a person of any trade might be excused for turning preacher, it was these two, whose vacancy of mind, while their fingers were employed, it might naturally be supposed, would sometimes mislead their judgment. “ But as for me, neighbour, I have so much to do, that I have no excuse for forgetting myself; and I really find that I have so much to learn, that I never attempt to teach except my own family, and to them I commonly repeat what the good pastor teaches me on the Sunday.” The butcher, who found every word of this convey some reproof to himself, observed, " that he did not see the good of repeating what they had heard, but thought they might as well remember that themselves.” Michael was ready to say,
- I do not know how you find it, neighbour, but I find my family can bear reminding, they don't get the lessons so very perfect.
In short, Michael was incorrigible; he went once by the advice of his pastor, but that once was enough; he saw so much vanity in the midst of their religious exercises, that he was convinced, for him at least, it would be a scene of danger; " for