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“ No; you have left out some,” his father said, “you must take the book and study it a little longer.”
« Oh ! dear,” said he, as if he thought his case was a very hard one. Lazy boys and girls always find it hard work to study. They must be determined not to feel indolent, or to give their parents and teachers any trouble about their lessons, if they would have it seem pleasant to study.
Dick used sometimes to steal away from home and go to play in a little wood at the foot of his father's garden. He contrived to do this secretly, and he never was gone long, for fear that his father might enquire into it. At last he began sometimes to play truant from his Sabbath school, and spend the time in play, and he continued this occasionally until once in crossing over a brook upon a narrow log, he fell in, and was carried down into deep water, so that he narrowly escaped being drowned. caught hold of some branches on the bank, and screamed, and presently some one came to his assistance. Of course his truancy was now discovered, for when he went home terrified and miserable, his parents easily found out the whole truth.
A great many boys have been killed or drowned when playing on the Sabbath, and some persons think they are more in danger of accidents on that day. Perhaps they are, for a consciousness that they are doing wrong must deprive them of that composure and presence of mind which might otherwise have saved them. I think that Dick for instance would be likely to go over that small log much more firmly and steadily when he was going on an errand for his father, than when running away from school. For in this latter case he must have been uneasy and anxious, afraid that somebody might see
him, or agitated by thinking how certainly he must be discovered if he should fall in. Then again any calamity which befals a boy when he is doing wrong causes him much greater suffering than if he was in the way of duty. He feels guilty and condemned, and it generally leads to his exposure ; and then if he should be drowned, or lose his life in any way, and we are always in danger of this, he is cut off in the very midst of his sins. Boys ought therefore to be afraid to break the Sabbath. They had better go into the midst of a pestilence, when duty calls them there, than go out in the safest boat in the world, on the Sabbath day.
THE ALLEGORIES. 1. The Servant Man turned Soldier. 2. The Grand Trial. 3.
The Valley of Tears. 4. The Strait Gate and Broad Way. 5. The Captive.
Allegory I.— The Servant Man turned Soldier; or the
Fair Weather Christian. By Hannah More. William was a lively young servant who lived in a great but very irregular family. His place was, on the whole, agreeable to him, and suited to his gay, thoughtless temper. He found a plentiful table and a good cellar. There was indeed a good deal of work to be done, though it was performed with much disorder and confusion. The family in the main were not unkind to him, though they often contradicted and crossed him, especially when things went ill with themselves. This, William never much liked, for he was always fond of having his own way. There was a merry, or rather a noisy and riotous servant's hall ; for disorder and quarrels are indeed the usual effects of plenty and unrestrained indulgence. The men were smart, but idle i the maids were showy, but licentious; and all did pretty inuch as they liked for a time, but the time was commonly short. The wages were reckoned high, but they were seldom paid, and it was even said by sober people, that the master was insolvent, and never fulfilled any of his flattering engagements, or his most positive promises ; but still, notwithstanding his real poverty, things went on with just the same thoughtlessness and splendor, and neither master or servants looked beyond the jollity of the present hour.
In this unruly family there was little church going, and still less praying at home. They pretended, indeed, in a general way, to believe in the Bible, but it was only an outward profession; few of them read it at all, and even of those who did read it, still fewer were governed by it. There was indeed a Bible lying on the table in the great hall, which was kept for the purpose of administering an oath, but was seldom used on any other occasion, and some of the heads of the family were of opinion that this was its only real use, as it might serve to keep the lower parts of it in order.
William, who was fond of novelty and pleasure, was apt to be negligent of the duties of the house. He used to stay out on his errands, and one of his favorite amusements was going to the parade to see the soldiers exercise.* He saw with envy how smartly they were dressed, listened with rapture to the music, and fancied that a soldier had nothing to do but walk to and fro in certain regular order, to go through a little easy exercise, in short, to live without fighting, fatigue, or danger.
" Oh !” said he, whenever he was affronted at home, "what a fine thing it must be to be a soldier ! to be so well dressed, to have nothing to do but to move to the pleasant sound of fife and drum, and to have so many people to come to look at one, and admire one. O it must be a fine thing to be a soldier !"
Yet when the vexation of the moment was over, he found so much ease and diversion in his master's house, so suited to his low taste and sensual appetites,
* In England where this story was written, the soldiers are a distinct class of men, hired by the government, and employed all the time in doing military duty.
that he thought no more of the matter. He forgot the glories of a soldier, and eagerly returned to all the mean gratifications of the kitchen. His evil habits were but little attended to by those with whom he lived; his faults, among which were lying and swearing, were not often corrected by the family, who had little objection to those sins which only offended God, and did not much affect their own interest or property. And except that William was obliged to work rather more than he liked, he found little, while he was young and healthy, that was very disagreeable in this service. So he went on, still thinking, however, when things went a little cross, “ what a fine thing it was to be a soldier !” and at last, one day as he was waiting at dinner, he had the misfortune to let fall a china dish, and broke it all to pieces. It was a curious dish, much valued by the family, as they pretended; this family were indeed apt to set a false fantastic value on things, and not to estimate them by their real worth. The heads of the family, who had generally been rather patient and good humoured with Willian, as I said before, for these vices, which, though offensive to God, did not touch their own pocket, now flew out into a violent passion with him, called him a thousand hard names, and even threatened to horsewhip him for his shameful negligence.
William, in a great fright, for he was a sad coward at bottom, ran directly out of the house, to avoid the threatened punishment, and happening just at that very time to pass by the parade where the soldiers chanced to be then exercising, his resolution was taken in a moment. He instantly determined to be no more a slave, as he called it; he would return no more to be subject to the humours of a tyrannical