LONDON: THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY:
Depositories: 56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD; AND 164, PICCADILLY: AND SOLD BY THE BOOKSELLERS.
Here is a nice new book! It is mine. Papa has just given it to me, for this is my birth-day, and I am five years old. Oh, how pretty it is! Here are boys and girls at play, like Willie and me; and here is nurse, with baby on her knee.
They will call me a dunce if I do not learn to read well, so I will try my very best; for what is the use of a nice book like this, if I cannot read it? It is not of a bit more use than my wax doll would be to puss.
What, Miss Puss, you hear your own name, do you? and think we are going to have a game of play. On no, puss, no such thing. It will not do for me to mind only play, for mamma says that, if I live, I shall be a woman in time, and there are many things that I must learn before then.
Look, puss, here is my new book. Ah, I see you do not care for books. You like to lie on the warm rug before the fire, and there you sleep away half your time. That may do very well for a puss, but it will not do for me. If I am as idle as you, I shall grow up a dunce, and what would papa say then? No, no, pussy, you may do as you like, but for my part I am not going to be a dunce.
Sometimes I sit upon mamma's knee, and she tells me the story about a young king, who lived many years ago, and who loved the Bible better than any other book in the world, and how God took him to wear a crown of gold in heaven. Or else she talks to me about Jesus, who came down from his glory above to die for us upon the cross. I love to hear about him when he was a baby, and his mother laid him in a manger, for there was no room for him in the inn. Oh! how glad I shall be when I can read these things in books.
Mamma says that when I can read, I shall have books that will teach me about many things which are to be seen in places a long way off, far, far over the sea. About lions and tigers, that live in the woods, and about black boys and girls, like the poor man who came to beg at the door. Willie and I ran away from him, but nurse called us back, and said he would not hurt us; and mamma told us to pity him and be kind to him, if we saw him again. I should like to see the little black boys and girls. Some of them go to school, I am told, but others are never taught anything that is good: I am very sorry for them.
Let me look again at my new book. Papa was very kind to buy it for me, and I will take care of it, that not a leaf may be torn. But I shall lend it to Willie if he asks me, for mamma says we must be kind to each other. I will tell him to take care of it when I lend it to him. Now I will go and show it to nurse, and ask her to put on it a white paper cover to keep it clean. Good bye, pussy, I will leave you to finish your nap, and when I come back again I will have some play with you.
THE DOG THAT HAD NO HOME.
One day little James stood upon a chair, and looked out at the window, and he saw a dog lying on a bank on the other side of the road. Then a bad boy came that way and hit it with a stick. James could see the poor dog shiver with cold as he lay on the wet bank. James felt very sorry for him, and he said, "Why does not the dog go home, and lie down by the fire, and get warm?"
Then James's mother said, "I do not think the poor dog has any home to go to. I have seen him out there before; and one day I saw Jane Rose keep a bad boy from hurting the dog."
Now James was very sorry that this poor dog should have no home. He talked a great deal about him, and when it began to grow dark, he got upon the chair again to see if he was still lying there.
The dog was there still, but he was not lying down this time. He stood upon the bank, and looked this way and that way, as if he did not know where to go. He looked more cold and wet than before, for the rain was coming down fast. Then James said to his mother, "May I tell Jane to let that poor dog come in? See how cold and hungry he looks. I should like to give him my bread and butter, for I have had some dinner, but the poor dog has not had a bit."
His mother said, "We cannot have him in the house, but you may ask Jane to let him come into the yard, and there is some straw in one corner of the shed where he may lie and get dry."
James was very glad to hear this, and he ran in a great hurry to tell Jane. So Jane went to the gate to call the dog, and James went back to the window to see him come in. But the dog would not come at first, and James's mother said that he looked afraid of being beat. At last he came very slowly across the road, and when he heard Jane call him, "Poor fellow! poor fellow!" he ran into the yard.
James's mother told Jane to give the dog some water to drink, and something to eat. So James stood by and saw him fed, and then the dog lay down on the straw, and curled himself round. James gave him one little pat on the head, and the dog wagged his tail, which was the only way he had to say, Thank you. Then James and Jane came away from the shed, and the dog went to sleep.
The last thing before James went to bed, he begged of Jane to go and see if the dog was still lying in the shed. Yes, he was snug asleep in the straw. James's mother said she would give him leave to stay there all night if he liked.
The next day, as soon as James awoke, he began to talk about the dog to Jane, who came to dress him. Jane said that he was not gone away, and the rain was over, and he was come out of the shed. So James made haste down stairs, and he went into the yard to see how he was after his good night's rest.
The dog was lying in the sun, and when he saw James he jumped up and ran to him; for a dog always knows those who are kind to him, and treat him well. If James had not been kind to this dog the night before, he would not have been so glad to see him come into the yard.
Then James patted him, and said, "Doggy, what is your name?" But the dog only looked in James's face. He was a very pretty dog, but he was very thin, like a dog that has no home. And James said, "Oh, I wish I might keep you for my own! I would feed you, and take care of you, and you should never lie out in the rain and the cold any more."
Then James's father came out of the house, and he said, "If I were to let you keep this dog, are you sure that you would be always kind to him, and use him well?" And James said, "Yes, father, indeed I would," Then his father said, "We must try to find out his proper master, if he has one, and send him to his own home; but if he has not a proper master, nor a home, he shall be your dog, my boy, and we will have a kennel made for him; and as he has been such a roving dog, Rover shall be his name."
So James's father asked a great many people about the dog, to try to find out his master and his home. But no one knew anything about him, and no one could tell where he came from. And some kind people said they were glad that he had found a good home, and he was a wise dog not to go away from it.
So James kept him for his own, and there was a kennel made for him, and it was set up in a corner of the yard. And he was called by the name of Rover, as he had been such a roving dog all the time that he had no home.
ANNIE GROVE'S SHOE.
One warm summer day, when little Annie Grove was coming home from school, some of her school-fellows said, "Let us go into the fields and get some flowers to take home." So they got over the stile into the field by the side of the road. Annie could not get over the stile at first, for it was a high one; but her brother John and Jane Gray told her to put her foot upon the step, and then they lifted her over into the field. Her brother was older than the rest, so he was tall and strong. It is right that the older boys and girls should be kind to the little ones, but they should not help them to do wrong; and John knew that they were both doing wrong when he helped to lift Annie over into the field.
They all ran about the fields a long time, for it was a fine sun-shiny day. When they grew hot and tired, they sat down under some trees beside a narrow brook. After a while, Jane Gray said, "How nice it would be to wade over the brook this warm day!" And one said, "I will do it," and some one else said, "I will do it," and so they all jumped up and got ready to wade over the brook. Little Annie Grove jumped up too, and took off her shoes and her little white socks, and she held up her frock round her, and put the shoes and socks into her frock to keep them safe. Then she put her little bare feet into the water to wade across the brook. She would not have done it if any grown-up person had been by, for she knew that it was wrong.
There were some sharp stones lying at the bottom of the brook, and when Annie was about half-way over, she trod upon one of them, and hurt her foot. Poor Annie stood still, and began to cry, for she was afraid to go on, and afraid to turn back, and the sharp stone had hurt her foot very much. She held up her frock with one hand, and a school-fellow who was close by took pity on her, and led her by the other hand back again to the grassy bank under the trees.
Then Jane Gray wiped Annie's foot dry with some of the long grass, and then they began to put on her socks and shoes. But only one shoe could be found. They looked among the grass, and they looked on the bank, but there was only one shoe to be seen. She had let the other slip away when she hurt her foot, and all the time since it had been going down the brook; and the brook was deeper and wider at the other end of the field, so there was little hope that poor Annie's shoe would ever be seen again.
What Annie was to do not even Jane Gray could tell. How was she to walk home with only one shoe? It was now very late, and there was not much time to talk about it, for every one of the girls ought to have been at home at least an hour before. So she had to go along with them as well as she could, the little white sock coming to the ground at every other step, so that people turned to look after her, and smiled, as she walked down the street. Poor Annie will not soon forget that day of sorrow and shame.
Her mother was angry when she got home, for though Annie was a little girl, she was quite old enough to have known better; and if other people do wrong that is no good reason why we should do the same.
THE LITTLE BOY'S BEDTIME.
One night little Albert sat at play with his box of bricks till bedtime. He sat at the foot of his mamma's work-table, and he built a house with walls round it, and steps up to the door, and a well in the middle of the yard. His mamma said it was very nicely done. Then Albert began to take the house to pieces, and put away the bricks; and before he had put all the bricks into the box, the clock struck eight.
When the clock struck, Susan came to the door and said, "Come, master Albert, it is time to go to bed." His mamma said, "Please to come again by and by, for the little boy is not quite ready. He has not said his prayer. He will be ready soon." But Albert cried out, "Go away, Susan. I do not want to go to bed. I want to sit up a little longer."
Mamma. My dear, it is bedtime, and you must go.
Albert. It is not your bedtime, mamma. I do not think any one goes to sleep so soon but baby and me.
Mamma. Oh yes, I can tell you of many more. The little birds' bedtime comes before yours. It comes when the sun goes down, so they went to sleep long ago.
Albert. Where do the birds sleep, mamma?
Mamma. Some are hid in the long grass in the fields, and some are among the leaves on the tall trees. There they are, if you could see them now, each with its little head under its wing.
Albert. I dare say they are tired with flying about all day.
Mamma. Yes, they were tired, and glad to go to rest. Then there are the doves in the dove-cot. If you were to go out and listen now, you would not hear their soft coo, for they are all asleep. And the white hen is asleep, with her seven little chicks safe under her wings.
Albert. But Keeper is not asleep. I heard him bark just now.
Mamma. No, for it is Keeper's duty to keep watch, and take care of the house.
Albert. Mamma, do you think that poor old woman and little girl are asleep, whom papa met to-day, and who begged for a bit of bread?
Mamma. I cannot tell, my dear boy. Only think, if they are now out in the dark, with cold and tired feet, what thanks they would give to any one for a soft warm bed like yours!
Albert. Must I thank Susan for my nice warm bed?
Mamma. Susan is very kind to you, my love, and you must thank her for all she does for you, and speak kindly to her in return. But it is God who gives you a home, and food to eat, and a bed to rest in. You must thank God for all the good things you have.
Albert. I do thank him, mamma, when I say my little verse. May I say it now?
Mamma. Yes, let me hear it before you kneel down to say your prayer.
Albert. I thank God for the soft warm bed On which I lay my little head; I thank him for the sweet repose When my weary eyelids close; But more then all I praise his name Who once for me a child became, And left his glory in the sky, For me to suffer and to die.
Mamma. Now come and kneel down by me to say your prayer.
Then little Albert knelt down, and when he had ended his prayer, his mamma took him upon her knee for some more talk, as Susan did not come. She told him that he was a sinful child, and had done many bad things. But she also told him that God was full of love, and had sent his only Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for our sins. And God will hear our prayers for the sake of his dear Son; and if we ask him, he will pardon our sins, and give us his Holy Spirit to make us holy.
When their talk was nearly over, Susan came again, and Albert kissed his mamma, and jumped off her knee, and bade her good night. And as he went up-stairs he said,
"I thank God for the soft warm bed On which I lay my little head; I thank him for the sweet repose When my weary eyelids close."
THE THIEF IN THE DOLLS' HOUSE.
Lucy and Kate had a kind aunt; and one very cold day, when the snow was on the ground, she sent them a New Year's Gift. It was a little house for dolls to live in, and there were four rooms in it, and tables and chairs. Two of the rooms were below, and two of them were above. In each of the two rooms that were above, there was a little wooden frame for a bed to lie on, but there was no bed on it, and no pillow, and there were no sheets, nor anything else of the kind. Their aunt sent word that Lucy and Kate must make the things that were wanted, and it would help them to learn to sew.
Their aunt also sent two little wax dolls to be in the house. One of the dolls had on a pink silk frock, and the other had on a blue frock.
So their mother gave them some linen to make the sheets, and to make a case for each of the beds, and for the pillows. Lucy and Kate said to each other, "What shall we put into the beds, to make them soft, like the bed in baby's cot?" And Lucy said, "Nurse has got some bran in a bag; I will ask her to give us some to put into the beds." Then Kate said that bran would do very well.
They went to ask nurse, and she was very kind, and she said, "I think it would be better to stuff the beds with wool." The little girls said, "Yes, give us some bran, if you please, nurse. We have not any wool, and we do not want to wait till we can get some, for we do not like our dolls to sit up all night."
For a long time after this, Lucy and Kate played with their dolls, and the pretty house, and every night they took off the silk frocks, and put on the white caps and the night-gowns, and laid each doll in its own little bed. And then they shut the door of the house. But one night they were in a hurry, for their aunt was come to see them, and they did not shut the door quite fast.
The next day, when play-time came, the little girls went into the room where all their toys were kept. Kate went up to the corner where the dolls' house stood, for they had a place for everything, and tried to keep everything in its place. But the door of the house stood open, and as soon as Kate looked in, she called for Lucy in great haste. "O Lucy! come, quick! quick! There has been a thief in our dolls' house, and here are our poor dolls lying on the floor!"
Lucy ran to look, and she saw the two dolls, each lying on the floor in its own room, and the rooms in a litter with bits of bran. Lucy and Kate lifted up the dolls with great care, but they were not hurt, for the beds were not far from the floor, and so they had not had a very bad fall. It was plain that some thief had been in the house, for the chairs and tables were not in their right places, and nearly all the bran that had been in the beds was gone away. As for the bed-rooms, they were in such a litter that they were not fit to be seen. Then Lucy and Kate said, "Who could the thief have been? And how did he get in?"
Now nurse had begun to dress the baby in the nest room, but when she heard Lucy and Kate call to each other, she laid the baby in his cot, and came to see what was the matter. The little girls each laid hold of her hand, and cried out, "O nurse! there has been a thief in our dolls' house!" So nurse looked in, and when she saw the rooms in a litter, and the bran lying about on the floor, she began to laugh. And she said, "Yes, there has been a thief. I can see that some poor little hungry mouse has been in your house, and has ate up the bran that was in the beds."
The little girls then began to laugh too, and Lucy said, "How could the mouse get in?" And nurse told them that the door could not have been shut close the night before, and so the mouse pushed it quite open, and went in.
Then Lucy and Kate ran to tell their mother, and she came to look at the dolls' house, and to see the litter that the thief had made with the bran upon the floor. So she gave them some more linen to make new cases for the beds, and they set to work again that same day. But they took care this time to stuff the beds and the pillows with nice soft wool, that the hungry mouse might not eat them up when next he wanted a supper.
Harry was a little boy who lived in a town, and went to school. He went with some boys who were older than he was, and they took care of him in the street. Little boys should not run about the street alone, or they may be hurt.
Harry was a good boy at school. He tried to learn; and one day he got to the top of his class. This was good news to carry home to his mamma, and it made Harry feel proud, which was very wrong. Pride is a sin; and when we give way to sin, it is sure to end in sorrow.
Harry said to his mamma, "I like you to praise me, mamma, and to call me a good boy. I mean to be always good. I will keep at the top of my class as long as I can, and I will never do any thing wrong."
His mamma said, "You must not say that you will never do wrong, but you must ask God to help you to be good, for the sake of Jesus Christ his Son; for that is the way to be kept from sin."
But Harry did not know that he had a sinful heart.
Now his mamma had told him that when he came from school, he must not stop to play by the way. The very day after he had this talk with her about being good, as he was coming home, with his book-bag on his arm, some of the boys began to play in the street. And Harry put down his book-bag, to play with them, and they played so long that at last it grew dusk, and then Harry set off home as fast as he could run. But he forgot that he had left his book-bag lying in the street.
When he got to the door, he rang the bell, and Susan, the maid, let him in. So Susan said, "Why, master Harry, where have you been till now?" But Harry looked down, and rubbed his shoes very hard upon the mat, as if he did not hear her.
His mamma had put away her work, and the tea-things were ready, and the urn was on the table, and toast, and bread and butter, and cake. It was very late indeed. His mamma said, "How is it you are so late, my dear? I hope you did not stop to play in the street."
Then Harry told a lie; for he said that he had not stopped to play.
His mamma saw that he did not speak the truth, for his face was very red, and he looked like a boy that was telling a lie. I cannot tell you how sad she felt to think that her little Harry should be such a wicked child.
But before she had time to say a word, all at once Harry missed his book-bag off his arm, and he knew that he had left it lying in the street. He could no longer hide his fault from his mamma, so he began to cry, and said, "May I go back and look for my book-bag? I have left it on a step at some one's door."
Then his mamma asked, "How came you to put your book-bag on the step?" And Harry cried more than before, and told her that he had stayed to play with the other boys.
His mamma said, "You have been a very wicked boy, and there are two things that I must punish you for. I must punish you for not coming home as you were bid, and then for trying to hide your fault by telling a lie."
So she called Susan, and asked her to go up the street with Harry to look for his book-bag. By this time it was nearly dark, and Harry took hold of Susan's hand, and went crying along the street. One or two people who passed him said, "I wonder what is the matter with that little boy." When they came to the corner of the street where he had stayed to play, he said, "This is the place, and I laid my book-bag on that step." Then Susan looked, and Harry looked; but the book-bag was not there. Susan said that some one must have stolen it.
Harry was afraid that his mamma would be very angry when she knew that his bag and all his school-books were quite gone. But no, that which gave her most pain and grief was to know that her little boy had not spoken the truth. It is a sad thing to tell a lie. God has said that all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire that burns for ever and ever.
So Harry's mamma had to punish him, very soon after he had told her that he would be always good. He had now found out that he had a sinful heart. You also are a sinner, young reader. You often do what is wrong. Do not forget this story about Harry; and if ever you feel proud when you have tried to do well, go and say this little prayer to your Father who is in heaven: "O Lord, I am a poor sinful child. I cannot do right of myself. Pardon my sins, and give me a meek and humble heart, for the sake of Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen."
THE POND IN THE FIELD.
Mary lived with her mother in a little house. She often sat by the door on a long seat, and then would run about the field on the other side of the road. There was a narrow path in the field, and people used to walk along it when they came that way from the town. Down at the corner of the field, near the stile, there were some tall trees, and under the trees there was a pond. The water in the pond was not very deep, but it was deep enough to drown a little girl like Mary, so her mother told her she must never play near the pond, for fear she should slip in.
While Mary was at play, her mother was at work in the house. For her mother was poor, and had to work to find them food, and things to wear to keep them warm. So she could not spare time to look after her little girl when she was at play.
Mary's mother came home from market one day, and in her basket she had a little tin can, with a handle, and she gave it to Mary for her own. So she always drank her milk and her tea out of this can. Now Mary had seen her mother go down to the pond to fetch a pail of water, and it came into her head that she would fetch the water in her own little can, to fill the kettle for tea. So when her mother was busy at work, she got on a chair, and took her can off the shelf, and away she ran down to the pond, not saying a word.
Mary went close to the pond with her little can in her hand, to stoop down and dip it into the water. But the can fell into the water. The grass at the edge of the pond was muddy and wet, and so, just as she was going to stoop down, Mary's foot went slip—slip, and she fell into the water. Poor Mary! she gave one loud scream, and that was all that she could do.
Now not far from the spot where Mary fell into the pond, a kind girl named Jane, who lived close by, was reading a book as she sat under a tree. She heard a splash in the water, and saw Mary fall into the pond. She soon threw down her book on the grass, and ran to help the poor little girl out of the water. She took hold of Mary's frock, and pulled her out of the pond. Then she took her up in her arms, and ran with her along the narrow path to the house, for she well knew that the house by the side of the field was little Mary's home.
Mary's mother met them at the door, and when she saw her little girl, she began to cry. But kind Jane said, "Do not cry. Your little girl is not hurt." So they took off Mary's wet frock, and put on her a nice dry nightgown, and laid her in bed. And her mother made her some warm tea, and then she went to sleep. When she woke up again, she was quite well.
Jane went back to the field to pick up her book, but Mary's little can was nowhere to be seen. It was never heard of again; and Mary had to drink her milk and her tea out of a tea cup, for the little tin can was quite gone. I do not think she went near the pond again. It was a lesson to her ever after, to mind and do as her mother told her.
Ellen. Oh! mamma, I am so sorry! Look at my poor doll. I let baby play with it, and she has thrown it upon the floor, and broken its nose.
Mamma. Poor doll! You do look a sad figure, indeed.
Ellen. I did not like to be unkind to baby, you know, mamma, and so I gave it to her for a little while, when she held out her hands to take it. But I did not think she would throw it upon the floor.
Mamma. Do not cry, my dear. Come and sit upon my knee, and I will tell you a story. I hope you were not very angry with baby. She is too young to know that a doll is not to be thrown upon the floor.
Ellen. No, mamma, I was not angry. Baby did not know any better. But I cannot help crying for my pretty doll.
Mamma. Let me wipe away that tear. Now hear my story. I am going to tell you about my doll, when I was a little girl.
Ellen. Oh! mamma, had you a doll, once? And was it as large as mine? Was it a wax doll, mamma?
Mamma. It was a large wax doll much larger than yours; and it had blue eyes and dark brown hair. When I was a little older than you are, I went with my mamma and my aunt to spend some weeks in a fine old city; and one day while we were there, my mamma took me into a shop, and bought this doll for me. She said I must dress it myself, and my aunt showed me the proper way to make its frocks. With this help I was able to dress it very nicely. And my mamma said to me, "This is the last doll that I intend to buy for you; for, if you take care of it, it will not spoil like your other dolls."
Ellen. And did you take care of it, mamma?
Mamma. Yes, for my mamma taught me to be neat, and to keep everything in order, as I try to teach you. So at the end of a year, my doll looked just as good as new. I used to play with it very often, and I called it by the name of Jessie. I had a little sister, as you have, whom I loved very much, and when she was a baby I used to nurse her, and kiss her little soft cheeks. But when she was two or three years old, she was taken very ill, and could no longer play about the nursery. She grew pale and thin, and used to lie all day in the nurse's arms, or in her little cot. She was too ill to play with any of the toys that she had been fond of before. But one day I took my doll to the side of her little cot, where she was lying, and then she gave a very faint smile; so I laid it by her side, and that seemed to please her. After that, when she was lying in her cot, the doll always lay there too, for it was the only thing which seemed to please her, all the time that she was ill.
One day, when I wanted to go into her room as I had been used to do, they told me she was dead. I saw her when she was laid in her little coffin. She was pale, and so very cold. There were some flowers lying on her pillow, and a rose-bud in each little hand. The soul of the dear baby was gone to God; and her body was laid in a grave, under the yew tree in the churchyard.
Ellen. Oh! dear mamma, how sad you must have felt! What should I do if our dear baby were to die?
Mamma. I did indeed feel sad, and after that time I could never bear to play with my pretty doll, for the sight of it seemed to bring back my grief again. So my mamma put it by with great care, and all the frocks and other things that I had made. But only think, Ellen, what pain I should have felt, if I had been unkind to my little sister when she wished to have my doll. Should not all little girls try to be kind to each other?
Ellen. I will try, mamma; and I am glad that I was not cross with baby when she threw my doll upon the floor.
Mamma. I have not yet done with the story about my doll. It was put by safe in a drawer, and lay there a great many years, and when I was grown up, I used to look at it now and then. My mamma never gave it away. Can you guess where it is now? And should you not like to see my pretty Jessie?
Ellen. Yes, mamma, I should like to see her, indeed.
Mamma. Then after dinner we will take a walk, and pay a visit to grandmamma, and we will ask her to show us the doll that came from the fine old city so many long years ago.
Ellen. Thank you, mamma, that will be very nice. And may I play with Jessie a little while, and walk with her round grandmamma's garden?
Mamma. You may, my love. And since baby, who did not know any better, has broken your doll's face, it shall be put among her toys for her to play with. And we will ask grandmamma to let Jessie come home with us. You have been a kind little girl; and so, as I like to see you happy, you shall have her for your own.
THE SHORT TEXT.
Have you ever seen a book of Short Texts in Short Words? It is a book for a little child, and there is in it a very short and easy text for every day in the year. A text means some words taken from the Bible, which is God's own book, that he has given to teach us the way to heaven. The Bible tells us about our sins, and about the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save us. And it also tells us how we may become holy, by the help of the Holy Spirit.
But I was going to tell you about the book of texts. Little Arthur had one of these books, and he used to learn the text for every day, and repeat it to his mamma before he began school. Arthur did not go to school to any one but his mamma. She taught him his lesson each day, and heard him say it.
One day, the text was very short indeed. It was only four words. It was, "Thou GOD seest me." When Arthur had said it to his mamma, she began to talk to him; and Arthur stood quietly at the work-table, and looked in her face.
She said to him, "My little boy, when you are left in the room alone, you may think that no one can see you; but God can see you at all times. When you think you are quite alone, God is near you. When you wake up in the dark night, God is with you. He loves you, and is your best Friend. You have other friends who are good and kind, but God is better to you than all. Then try to please him by doing what is right. When you are alone, and a bad wish comes into your heart, think of this text, 'Thou GOD seest me,' and put away the bad wish from your heart."
Soon after this, Arthur's mamma told him that he might put on his cap and gloves, and go with her to call at the house of a friend who was ill. So they had a nice walk; and when they got to the house, Arthur was shown into a large room, where he was told to sit down and wait, while his mamma went up-stairs to see her friend. The little boy was left alone in the room; and at first he sat quite still, and only looked at the pretty things that were lying on the table just before him. But after a while, he got up from the stool, and began to walk softly about the room. There were many pretty things that he liked to look at. There were some birds under a large glass, and Arthur had never in all his life seen any birds so gay and bright in colour. But he saw they were not alive, for not one of them moved when he put his finger upon the glass. He was very sorry to think that the birds were not alive.
But the thing that Arthur liked best of all, better even than the birds, was a very small china dog which he found on a low table in one corner of the room. It was a white dog, with a curly tail and long ears; and it sat up on its hind legs, just as their live dog Carlo did at home. Arthur took it up and looked at it again and again, and he said in his own mind, "Oh, how I wish I might keep this little dog for my own!"
Now this was a bad wish that came into his mind. But he did not think of his text, as his mamma had told him, and he did not try to put it away. No; he looked all round the room and out at the window, and then he came back to the table in the corner; and he felt quite sure that no one could see him, and so he took up the china dog and put it into the little pocket at the side of his coat.
Arthur then went and sat down again upon the stool. He did not feel happy, though the little china dog was safe in his pocket and no one knew. He felt afraid—afraid to hear his mamma's footsteps coming down the stairs, and yet afraid to stay in the room alone. How was this, when he had felt so happy, and not in the least afraid, only a little time before?
A thief is always afraid of being found out, and Arthur was now a thief. He could not be happy, for God has put something in our hearts which will not let us be happy when we have given way to sin. So there Arthur sat, quite still; and the clock on the mantel-piece, which he had not heard before, went tick—tick; and Arthur grew more and more afraid, but still his mamma did not come.
He put his hand into his pocket to feel if the little china dog was there quite safe. Yes, it was there, but Arthur did not want to take it out and look at it. He did not seem to care about it now. All at once, while his hand was in his pocket, the short text came into his mind. He said it out, but with a very low voice, "Thou GOD seest me." Then he began to think about God, who could see him at all times, even when he was quite alone; and he felt sorry for the wicked thing that he had done. His hand was still in his pocket, when he heard his mamma's voice as she came down-stairs; but he ran across the room, and took the little dog out of his pocket, and put it back upon the table before she came in. Oh, how glad was Arthur when this was done! His heart felt light, and all his fear went away.
He told his mamma about the little china dog as they went home, and how the short text came into his mind. His mamma shed tears of joy to think that God had caused her little boy to be sorry for his sin, and to put back what he had stolen. And when they were at home, she made him kneel down to thank God, and to ask him to pardon the wicked wish that he had felt, and the wicked thing that he had done, for the sake of Jesus Christ his Son.
THE GREY RABBIT.
"Look at papa," said Frank to little George, one day, as he stood at the window of their play-room up stairs. "I cannot think what he is going to do with that wooden box. I saw John lift it out of the stable just now, and put it into that corner. What have they got in the box? See, papa stoops down to look inside. What can it be, I wonder?"
George came when he was called, and looked out of the window as well as he could; but, being rather short, he had to go back for a stool to mount upon before he could see into the yard. When this was done, he saw all three quite plain,—his papa, and old John, and the large wooden box, with a black handle on the lid.
"I know, Frank," said George, with a wise look. "They are going to put away some flower-seeds in the box. I heard John tell papa that he had saved a great many seeds this year; and papa said they must be put away in a dry place till spring."
"Oh! you silly child," said Frank, who was six years old, and of course knew a great deal more than little George, who was only four. "Do you think they would want such a large box, just to hold a few flower-seeds? No, no; it is something that papa wants to hide. I saw him look round, as much as to say, I do not wish to be seen. Should not you like to know what it is?"
"Yes, I should like to know," said little George; "but I cannot see, the box is so far off."
"Wait a little while, and we will have a peep, when papa and John are gone away." So said Frank, who always liked to pry into every thing. "We will creep softly down stairs, and into the yard, and then lift up the lid of the box. Papa will be in the house, and John will be in the stable; so nobody will know."
The little boys stayed to watch at the window; and very soon, as Frank had said, their papa came into the house, and John went to his work in the stable, and so the box was left alone. Puss, indeed, walked slowly across the yard, and gave a sniff at the key-hole, as if she too wanted to see what there was inside; and then she lay down in the sunshine close by, with her head on her fore-paws: but Frank and George both knew that puss could tell no tales, and so they did not mind her at all. Hand in hand they crept down stairs. All was quiet in the house. Their papa was in his study, and their mamma was in the nursery, and the maids were busy about their work.
Both of these little boys knew that they were doing wrong. They had been told, often and often, not to meddle with things that did not belong to them. As Frank was so much older than George, he was the more to blame; but George was old enough to know better, or why did he put his little foot so gently on the stairs, and go out on tiptoe into the yard?
The two boys went up close to the box, and then looked round to make sure that there was no one to see them. Not a step was to be heard, and only puss lay there, with her eyes fixed upon the box. It was long and low, and the lid was held down by a hasp. Frank and George had both to stoop down, and then Frank took hold of the hasp and lifted up the lid. Oh! sad to tell! out popped a little grey rabbit. Puss darted upon it in a moment; she caught it in her mouth, and, not caring in the least for the cries of Frank and George, away she went over the wall, and the rabbit was seen no more.
Old John ran out of the stable, with his fork in his hand, and at sight of him both Frank and George were still. But both papa and mamma had heard their cries, and came out of the house; and the maids ran down stairs in a fright, to see what was the matter. There was no need for any one to speak a word. The empty box, with its open lid, and the red faces of Frank and George, with their look of shame, told what they had been about.
Their kind papa had bought the little rabbit for Frank and George; and John was going that very day to make a rabbit hutch, and fix it up in the yard, for he was very clever in making such things. Before night, if they had been wise enough to wait, they would have seen the little grey rabbit in its hutch, and might have given it green leaves and clover to nibble. But this was all over now; and it was owing to their fault that they had lost the young rabbit.
But when Frank and George grew to be a little older, their papa gave them a hutch and four young rabbits. They had learned not to meddle with things that did not belong to them, and so they had a reward for their better conduct.
THE LOST BOY.
I will tell you of a boy who did not mind what was said to him. He used to do what he was told must not be done, and that was very sad. I hope you are not like him.
The boy's name was John. He had a dog that he used to play with; and he had a kite, and he used to fly it in a field by the side of the house. He had many other toys, more than I can tell you of. But he was too fond of play, and did not love his book; and when he was more than five, he did not know how to read the most easy lesson. Was he not an idle boy?
One day, John was by the gate at the end of the lawn. No one was with him, for Ann the maid was just gone away, and she had told him to wait till she came back. The gate was half open, so he went to peep into the lane. He saw a bird hop on the path, and its wing hung down on one side as if it had been hurt. John did not mind what Ann had said, that he must wait for her at the gate, and he ran to take hold of the bird. Then it flew away, but not far, and John ran after it down the road. He put out his hand to catch it; but the bird rose again, and at last it flew to a bank high up the lane, and John did not see it any more.
Then he said, "I will go back to Ann at the gate." But he did not know that he had run so far, and a turn was in the lane, so that he could not see the gate. Then John was in great fear, for he did not know which way to go to get home. He cried out for Ann as loud as he could; but Ann was far off, and he was not able to make her hear. Oh! what fear he was in!
John ran very fast down the lane, but he did not see any one to show him the way home. When he was too much tired to ran any more, he sat down on the bank and cried. A bird sang in a tree over his head, and the sun was up high in the blue sky. It was a fine day, and if John had done as he was bid, he would have had a nice long walk with Ann. But now he was very sad, and he sat on the bank and cried. Boys are sure to be made sad, if they will not mind, and do as they are told.
When Ann came back to the gate, and saw that John was not there, she ran into the lane to look for him, and to call him. But John could not hear her call him, for you know he was a long way off. Then Ann ran back into the house, and told John's papa and mamma that he was lost. As soon as his papa heard this, he laid down his book, and put on his hat to go and seek him. The man also went to seek him. And his mamma said, "Pray make haste and bring my dear boy home again." As for Ann, she took the dog with her down the lane to help to find him, for he was very fond of John. Dash was the dog's name, and a good dog he was.
It was not long till Ann and Dash came to the turn of the lane, and then they both saw John, who sat upon the bank, very sad. The dog gave a bark, as if he had said, "There he is! I am glad we have found him!" Then Dash ran up to him as fast as he could, and John was very glad to see him come along the lane; and he said, "Good Dash! dear Dash! you are come to take me home."
So John and Dash went to meet Ann, for she did not run as fast as the dog had done. John told her that he had been a bad boy and was very sorry. When Ann saw that he was sorry, she gave him a kiss, and said that he must not do so any more. Then they went back home, and John soon saw his papa in the lane. But he did not run to him, and look glad, as he did at other times. Why did not John run to his papa? Can you guess? Yes, it was that he had not done as he was bid, and he knew his papa did not like to hear that he had been a bad boy.
His papa stood still; and when John, and Ann, and Dash came up to him, John said, "Papa, I have not been good. I am very sorry, I will try to be good next time." So his papa said, "I hope you will;" and he took hold of his hand, and led him back to the house. And his mamma was very glad to see him, safe and well.
John said that it was his wish to be good, and his papa told him that he must pray to God to help him. I hope you will pray to God. No one can make you good but God. I cannot make you good. Your papa cannot make you good. No one can do this for you, but God. Then pray to him. Say, "Lord, help me to be good, for the sake of Jesus, thy dear Son, who died upon the cross to take away my sins." God can see you now; and if you pray to him, he will hear you.
THE LOVE OF JESUS.
What a strange and wondrous story, From the Book of God is read, How the Lord of life and glory Had not where to lay his head;
How he left his throne in heaven, Here to suffer, bleed, and die, That my soul might be forgiven, And ascend to God on high.
Father, let thy Holy Spirit Still reveal a Saviour's love, And prepare me to inherit Glory, where he reigns above.
There, with saints and angels dwelling, May I that great love proclaim, And with them be ever telling All the wonders of his name.
LONDON: BENJAMIN PARDON, PRINTER, PATERNOSTER ROW.