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" I CANNOT, SIR.”—A young manwe will call him honest Frank-who loved the truth, was a clerk in the office of some rich merchants. One day a letter came, recalling an order for goods that had been received the day before. One of the merchants handed the note to Frank, and with a persuasive smile said,

Frank, reply to this note. Say the goods were shipped before the receipt of the letter countermanding the order."

Frank looked into his employer's face with a sad but firm glance, and replied, “I cannot, sir.”

Why not, sir?” asked the merchant angrily.

“ Because the goods are now in the yard, and it would be a lie, sir."

I hope you will always be so particular,” replied the merchant, turning upon his heel and going away.

Honest Frank did a bold as well as a right thing. What do you suppose happened to him? Lost his place ? No, quite different. The merchant was too shrewd to turn away one who would not write a lying letter. He knew the value of such a youth, and instead of turning him away made him his confidential clerk.

" The cases

are very different. I must eat to nourish my body, which would otherwise perish.”

“ Not so different as you suppose ; for wbat food is to the body, the exercises of worship are to the soul; and spiritual life will languish if we cease to support it by the means which God has graciously given us.”

“But how happens it,” says the younger,

" that all men have not the same relish for these exercises as they have for their food ? '

“You are mistaken again,” replied his friend ; "all men, it is true, receive their food with pleasure when they are in health ; but when they are sick, food becomes not merely tasteless but disgusting. It is the same with the soal; that is, in health, while it has peace with God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, then it desires the exercises of religion : it enjoys them, and cannot consent to omit them. It is sick when it is hardened in sin; it has then no appetite for spiritual food; it avoids opportunities of receiving it. The sanctification of the Sabbath is a burden, and the conversation of Christians is unpleasant. The resemblance goes farther still ; for as sickness of the body, if not cured by medicine, ends in death, so also the corruption of the soul-that disease with which all men are infected-ends, unless God heals it, in spiritual and eternal death, that is, in the exclusion of the soul from the presence of its God."

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THE BEST CHRISTIANS.—Those are the best Christians who are more careful to reform themselves than to censure others.-Fuller.

SPIRITUAL FOOD.-Two friends, living in the country, met together at the village church a little way from their dwelling.

“ What is the use of going to church so often,” said the younger to his companion, "since we always hear nearly the same thing ?'

“What is the use," replied the other, of taking your meals so regularly every day, since they are composed of nearly the same dishes ?”.

No MAN DIETH TO HIMSELF.-Great interests are involved in his death, beyond his own personal welfare. Now, if we have lived for God, He will make our death the object of His especial care, and will honour it by its being the means of promoting His glory. Instead therefore of gloomy apprehensions as to dying, we should cherish the noble wish and aim that Christ may be magnified in our body, whether it be by life or by death.




The small vestry of the hall, with them a short story from some chilno one to occupy it but ourselves, dren's paper, the subject generally was a great comfort; still it had its some boyish experience, written in disadvantages. There was no super- an effective manner. This closed intendent to appeal to, without send- our lessons for the evening, when ing for him ; and that was formid- we entered the hall, and joined the able. Having joined in the hymn other classes in the closing services. and prayer in the large hall, we at I had now no wish to give up my once proceeded with the few simple class : I felt deeply interested in it'; lessons I had arranged for the while the attendance upon their part evening. I felt rather at a loss was regular, at all events until the about the questions, as so few of long, light days, when the fields them could read, or indeed had any presented irresistible attractions to knowledge of Bible story. I thought some. This was to be expected; and the Shorter Catechism would be quite I was quite thankful to meet with too difficult for them ; so I made those who withstood this very poweruse of the Mother's Catechism, and ful attraction. at our first lesson tried to teach The chief hindrance in this, to them four or five questions upon it me pleasant work, was the difficulty thoroughly. After that I generally of securing the boys' attention. Not made them commit to memory one having been taught the habit of lisshort verse from Scripture; and tening, most of them seemed incapafter that we had a Bible lesson, able of doing so even for a few chosen from the Old and New Testa- minutes at a time ; so that if some ment alternately. When I had suc- young wag amongst them laid himceeded in fixing their attention to self out to distract the attention of the story, I endeavoured to make the others, he too often succeeded. something like a simple application Then the fun became infectious, of it to their own cases. In this I was and for the time my authority was assisted by the boys themselves; for gone : no use attempting to teach their idea seemed to be that they while this small riot was going on. could furnish some incident of equal | I was much vexed when this hapinterest from the neighbourhood ; pened: there were so many of them and, lastly, I tried to reserve ten that it was no easy matter to restore minutes for the purpose of reading order again. I knew they all liked

MARCH, 1868.




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the class ; so, to put a stop to this Thinking them two unfortunate behaviour, I felt I would require to lads, who were probably entirely make occasional examples. The neglected at home, I felt most unfirst was the church officer's son, willing to send them from perhaps and the only well-dressed boy the only Sabbath night school they amongst them. For a night or two might ever attend ; so I exhausted he led in the species of annoyance I all my efforts to control them ; but have named, when I told him that if in vain. I tried being strict, and I he continued to do so I must put tried being kind; it was all useless. him out of the class. He did not Whether they felt I was anxious to attend to what I said ; so, after retain them, I do not know. At last giving him a fair trial, I had to expel I told Mr.

He said it would him. The other boys now never do, and that the first time they that I had entered with firmness annoyed me I was to send for him, upon my duties ; this, too, in spite of and he would put them out of the the warning to mind what I was class. Still I put up for a night or about—that the lad discharged was two; but their bad example was renthe beadle's son, doubtless an awful dering the others quite unmanagedignitary to them. For a time there able; so, at last, in the middle of was more quietness, and consequently our lessons one evening, I put them

Ι greater encouragement for me in out of the class myself. The rest the quick manner they learned, and were struck dumb, and, for a time, also retained a knowledge of the I secured their undivided attention. truths I strove to convey.

When that is the case, very poor Of course, with

some of my teaching will bear fruit : sharp charges little improvement appeared young wits, with nothing to distract, for a time; and I am sorry to say supply all deficiencies. that two more disturbers of the There one little incident peace arose.

I was always fighting which pleased me, connected with the against an unusual degree of heed-expulsion of the two young incorrilessness; but, of my many young gibles just mentioned.

One of my Arabs, Sandy P- and Charlie favourite scholars, s, who had S- were really bad and incorri- scarcely given me any trouble, was gible. Of the two, Charlie was the led by them into a fit of inattention leader; he seemed a hard-hearted, and giggling ; I was sorry at this

, sulky boy ; no appeals seemed to and spoke a little sharply to him. The have any effect upon him: while culprits being ejected, I forgot all Sandy was an ill-featured, disobe- about S- who was sitting a little dient, stupid, troublesome fellow, behind me ; but, just when we rose ready to second his companion in to join the other classes in the hall, talking and teasing and tormenting I noticed him crying silently, but their quieter neighbours. When I evidently desirous to stifle his emoreproved them, Charlie would listen

tion and escape notice. The idea with an unmoved down-look, and passed through my mind that some immediately go on perhaps worse boy had struck him; and I wondered

1 than before ; while Sandy, with his that so big a boy was not ashamed mouth half open and his hopelessly to cry for that. However, when the stupid stare, showed that, if he un- hymn was singing, he was all but derstood what was said, it was not sobbing, and appeared perfectly unhis pleasure to attend to it.

able to restrain his feelings. When


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it was over, I went to him and asked since. It is to be hoped, when the who had hurt him. He could not short days come, they will all be speak. Nobody had touched him. gathered together for instruction Poor fellow, he had taken my mo

again. mentary displeasure so much to I would only particularize one heart that I was greatly touched ; I other boy. He was thin, and dark, therefore assured him it was because and had very little of the beauty of of his general good conduct that I youth or health about him. Perhaps was vexed he should follow the ex- it was not the case, but he appeared ample of such bad boys. The cry- as if insufficiently fed. I would ing now became hysterical, and then have taken him to be about eleven it exhausted itself. Next Sabbath years of age, but he turned out to evening, his eyes were almost pain- be fourteen; and he was so reservedfully fixed upon me, as if to read looking, that he invariably sat sidewhether he had fallen in my good ways, as if to avoid looking me in opinion. I may add that he has the face; but he was never absentnever troubled me since.

no fields, nothing out of doors, had Charlie S-- stayed away for attraction sufficient to keep him from weeks, and when he returned I am the Sabbath-school. I could never sorry to say he was not penitent; but get him to answer me unless I adhe was quiet. I again tried to in- dressed him by his full name, which terest him in the lessons, but saw was William

and then it was from his cold, hard expression that

manifest from his answers that no he was receiving no good ; that, in instruction was lost upon him. His being there at all, he was obeying clothing was of the poorest; but I orders. For it is a curious fact that could not help noticing that of his the most reckless and thoughtless own accord he began to comb his parents will, if visited, make a point hair and wash his face carefully. of sending their children to the Also, if I omitted to send round the Sabbath-school. Perhaps they fancy missionary box, or passed the usual it is some expiation for themselves. time for doing so, he would ask me As for Sandy P-, he appeared in

for it, as he had a penny. Surely the class, as usual, the night after this was the widow's mite. his expulsion ; but I could not en- The work of the Sabbath teacher is counter his bad behaviour so soon : eminently one of faith. The cases so I requested Mr. — to place him are exceptional where fruits of the in another class, hoping that a new Spirit appear immediately amongst teacher might succeed where I had our scholars; and yet who can doubt failed. Accordingly, he was led to that the seed sown in faith will, by a class of boys of his own age, near the blessing of God, bring forth fruit, the door ; but this had greatly dis- sooner or later, abundantly? Youth pleased Sandy; and, to my surprise, is the precious seedtime; and, as when we adjourned to our small in the natural world, the seed sown room, I found him seated in a cor- is not quickened except it die, so is ner awaiting us.

Mr. desired it often in the heart of man. How him to return to the class in the hall numerous the cases upon record of where he had placed him ; but those, who, although taught in early Sandy, because thus ejected from youth the old lesson of the lost conhis own class, rushed out into the dition of man and the redemption street, and I have not seen him that is in Christ, appear to forget

all they have learned ; and yet in man was bowed down now, but not the day of their power, it may be in penitent. His taste for pleasure was the autumn or winter of life, seed gone: he would inquire what had sown so long before shall spring up, he done to be thus afflicted. He and prove the means of their ever- would shun society, and suffer like a lasting salvation. Could Sabbath- stoic. He had still one frail tie to school teachers at all times trace life—his youngest born, delicate, their scholars' path in life, doubt- nay, deformed from infancy. The less their hearts would often be stoic was scarcely aware how the cheered by their walk and conversa- patient suffering child had grown tion; while oftener still it would into his heart, till a little turn of appear as if they had laboured in

illness removed her to her heavenly vain. But who can tell how often home above ; and then, when he was the lessons and incidents of the at the dreariest part of the wilderSabbath-school-ay, and the hymns ness journey, the flood-gates of his sung there—start into life again, and heart were opened, faithful memory ring in the ear as of old ? It may gave back the simple lessons of his be that the soldier, after a thought- youth with all the force of the less career in a foreign land, re- Spirit's power. What he had learned members, upon the eve of that battle by rote now became pregnant with which is to be his last, that the meaning : he was the hard-hearted blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from Pharaoh that would take no warning. all sin, and that the Captain of This must be the wilderness journey; our salvation is alone able to lead he had drunk of the bitter waters by to eternal glory. Or it may be the way ; his loved one had crossed that the Sabbath-school days have the Jordan ; his latest born was been followed by years of struggle singing, "Glory, glory, glory." This with adverse circumstances, per- was not his rest. He was the chief chance to be crowned at length of sinners ; but did not the Saviour with the long wished-for prosperity. - his Saviour—die for the thief upon The lessons of youth were like a the cross ? Would he add to his dream ; and, in the distant colony other sins that of rejecting Christ ? where success had been attained, the No; and from the heart he now Sabbath was esteemed little different blessed God that he had been afflicted; from other days. But first one be- for before he was afflicted he went loved child dropped into the grave ; astray. that was felt keenly : still the heart Who can tell where the seed will of the parent remained indifferent spring up? It may be in the heart as before.

Next the eldest son left of some poor magdalene, or of the his home in the early morn, in all rough sailor, whose kindly nature has the pride of youth and health : an been almost quenched with rude accident, as it is called, deprived companionship, and whose mouth him of life ; and in the evening his has learned but to curse and blas. lifeless remains were brought home pheme. An orphan from his infancy, to his heart-broken parent. Upon no pious mother had ever prayed the part of the father this affliction with or for him. His chest is being was received with downright re- carelessly turned over to search for bellion : the poor mother sank into some trifle ; and at the bottom of it her grave within a year from the lies his long unused Bible. "The predate of her son's death. The strong sent is forgotten, and he is back in

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