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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, mamma; it was of no use to any
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
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.
66 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 male me peculiarly 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, lie 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 cultivate 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 trembli 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 Modesty, " That when she once turns her foot aside, she is changed in all her features :" and we may say of Integrity, when once she parleys with temptation, she linbars the door to a thousand traitors; for “he that despiseth small things shall fall by little and little.”—Tract Magazine.
MEMOIRS OF JOHN AND ANN GAUNT,
OF LEEDS. JOHN GAUNT was born in July 1835. He possessed a winning and affectionate disposition, which caused him to be greatly esteemed. During his illness, which was long and tedious, he was visited by many friends. J. Mallinson had many conversations with him, and Mallinson had no doubt of John's acceptance with God:
When one of the school superintendents visited him, he found John Gaunt in a very pleasing state of mind. Although at the commencement of his illness he seemed to cling to life, as is frequently the case with young people, he gradually gave up all desire to live. He was very happy, resting on Christ for divine acceptance, rejoicing and praising God for His mercy, but especially for Sabbath-school instruction ; and that God had given him grace to listen and attend to his teachers' advice. A short time before his death, he earnestly requested that the Sunday-schoul scholars might come to the house and sing one hymn, on the Whit Monday, adding, “it will be the last I shall hear in this world.” So it was ; for they came and sung, and he died the day following.
On the night of Whit-Monday, his mother seeing him very restless, asked him how he felt ; his reply was, “ Very nicely mother, very nicely! but I shall be in heaven before morning. But if I should live until morning, let me see my sister Ann." Adding (as if fully aware of his approaching end), “ I shall be in heaven before morning.” Towards morning his mother deeming it neerful to make his bed, got him into a chair. But the pangs of death had already begun; he suddenly sprung up from his seat, and walked firmly to the bed-side of his sick father, and taking him by the hand, said, “God bless you father! God bless you!” The father full of wonder and apprehension at this unexpected conduct of his son, inquired how he felt. John's reply again was, “ Very nicely, and very happy ; but I believe I shall be in heaven before morning." He then returned to his seat, and as soon as his bed was ready, he was again placed there, and immediately he expired without a struggle, aged seventeen years.
Ann Gaunt, John's sister, was born in March 1837. Immediately after her birth, her grandfather took her in his arms, and prayed that the blessing of God, in an especial manner, might rest upon her. His prayer appears to have received a gracious answer, for from very early life she was thoughtful and serious, and was much beloved. She was admitted a scholar into the Tabernacle Sabbath-school, when a little under the age of seven years. Throughout the remainder of her life she was willingly absent, but embraced every opportunity of being there. When she was unwell, and her kind mother, out of affection, allowed her to sleep so long on the Sunday as to render it impossible to be at School in time, she was much grieved at the loss which she had thus sustained. However, the time rapidly approached when she was obliged to be a prisoner and a sufferer, confined to her