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“ FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, FORGIVE ME!” 275 Buy the book, or get your parents to do so. I would strongly recommend it for the Sunday School library. My next letter will be about the Sabbath. Good bye.
I am yours,
“ FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, FORGIVE ME!” It was a very stormy day on the twenty-fifth of last June. The rain poured down in torrents: the wind was howling and driving very roughly: the sky was like one sheet of blackness. The sea was tossing mountain high, and the white foam lay thick and widely scattered along the beach. I was pushing my way along the coast, to an evening appointment, to preach about "the common salvation," to a few fishermen and villagers. About half-way there, my attention was arrested by a cry of anguish and distress, proceeding from the midst of a grove of trees, and I hastened to the place as fast as I could. Turning round the corner of the woody lane in which I was walking, I saw a yonth kneeling down beside a garden gate, and a powerful man having hold of him. I went up to the party, and inquired the reason of the strange and unexpected scene before me ; and I received from the man the following reply
“I am, sir,” said he, “ a poor man, obtaining a livelihood li by the sweat of my brow. I rent this garden (pointing
with his finger towards it,) and have to pay a very heavy rent for its tenancy; and this, together with the cost of managing and cultivating it, renders it absolutely necessary that I should make a penny of everything the garden can grow. Amongst other things that I anticipated would make me a good return for the labour and expense I had besiowed upon it, was a strawberry-bed; but I have been sadly disappointed. For sometime past I observed that a breakage had been made in the garden hedge, and that my strawberries, not qnite ripe, were every day becoming less. I resolved, if possible, to find out the depredator, but have not been able until this evening. As I was standing at my cottage door about twenty minutes ago, watchiog the weather, this wicked boy came by, and turned his steps towards my garden. All at once it struck me he was intending to rob my strawberry-bed, and that he was the thief who had so often visited it; and although the rain was descending in torrents, I buttoned on my large coat, resolved to follow him, and sure enough it has turned out as I expected. I unlocked gently the garden gate, and proceeded quietly towards the strawberry-bed, and there I saw him very intently engaged in plucking the fruit; nor was he aware of my approaching footsteps until I laid my hand on his shoulders; and very great was his surprise to find that he was at last caught in his sinful and dishonest pilferings.” The man then turning
to the boy who was kneeling at his feet, said—“ Come, get | up, and go along with me!” The guilty boy lifted up his
clasped hands, in imploring earnestness, and whilst floods of tears streamed down his agonized countenance, he exclaimed -"For heaven's sake, forgive me! This is the first and only time I have trespassed in your garden; and I will never do it again. Forgive ine, for my dear mother's sake! What will she say to me when she is told of what I have done ? Forgive me, O forgive me, this once ! ”
I then asked him, as he made no mention of either father, or brothers, or sisters, if he had any. He told me bis father was dead, and that he had only one sister, younger than himself. I set before him the exceeding sinfulness of the iniquitous act of which he had been guilty, and in which he had at last been detected, and reminded him that his duty to God and to his mother, whose heart would be well-nigh broken when she was made acquainted with the sad fact of her only son's disgrace, ought to have deterred him from committing such a dishonest act, however strong the temptation might have been to possess himself of that poor man's strawberries. And after assuring him that God's eye had been upon him, and that sin would always be found out and exposed, I urged him to go with the man; and he did so. What became of him afterwards I know not: whether he was taken to the police-office to suffer the penalties of the law, or whether he was forgiven, I cannot tell. A tear of “ FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, FORGIVE ME!” 277 sympathy and pity instinctively started to my eye ; and as I pursued my journey onward along the sea-coast, I prayed earnestly that God would, in his love and mercy, prevent by His grace that erring boy from ever again being detected in stealing; and that hereafter he might be led to live a life of virtue, honesty, and holiness.
I have thought that the publication of the above unhappy incident, may prove of sanctified use to the juvenile readers of this very valuable and interesting miscellany. Permit me, therefore, my dear children, in closing up this sad detail of this wicked boy's sin to remind you, that to steal is a very sinful practice; and that, like all other sins, it will not only make you unhappy and miserable whilst you practise it, but it will ultimately be found out and exposed, and will sooner or later bring disgrace upon your character, and be a source of great and lasting grief to your dear parents. It is very possible to commit this sin for some time without being found out; but then it does not follow, that, because wicked and sinful practices have again and again been perpetrated, and no human being has known of them, they will always be hid from human observation and knowledge. God will expose them, as he did in the case of the covetous Achan who secretly stole the wedge of gold, the two hundred shekels of silver, and a goodly Babylonish garment. There is another day rapidly advancing-a day in which the secrets of all hearts shall be made known, and the doings of every human being shall be published before an assembled world, for they will be chronicled upon the page of the book of God's remembrance; and, if unrepented of and unforgiven, will be visited with the punishment of an unalterable and eternal destiny. I conclude with the following excellent yerses, written by Dr. Watts
“Why should we deprive our neighbour
Of his goods against his will ?
Not to plunder or to steal.
'Tis a foolish self-deceiving,
By such tricks to hope for gain ;
All that's ever got by thieving
Turns to sorrow, shame, and sin.
Their sad profit to compute?
Oft we see the young beginner
Practice little pilfering ways,
Then the gallows ends his days.
Tho' we fancy none can spy :
God beholds it with his eye.
Guard my heart, O God of Heaven !
Lest I covet what's not mine;
Guard my heart and hand from sin.”
JEHOVAH'S RICHES. The blessings which the Lord of glory has to bestow upon men, are frequently called riches in the Holy Scriptures, especially by the apostle Paul. It is a figure under which he delights in describing them. “ The Lord,” he says, “is rich in mercy,” he is “rich unto all that call upon him." He tells us of “the riches of his goodness," “ the exceeding riches of his grace,” “the unsearchable riches of Christ." The Gospel that proclaims his mercy, he calls “ a treasure,” and says that in it, or rather, in that Saviour of whom it testifies, " are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” And where is the want for which his Gospel does not offer you a remedy? Where is the blessing he is not able to bestow ? He is so rich, that multitudes of sinners may go to him, and come away laden with blessings: and yet they who come after them, see in him no diminution; yes, a whole starving world might go to him for bread and find it, and his abundance be overflowing as ever. Millions on millions could no more exhaust it, than you or I, with the hollow of our hand, could exhaust a river, or empty the sea. “He is able to do,” says the apostle Paul, “ all that we ask,” and “ abundantly above all that we ask," and more still “ exceeding abundantly above all that we think.” And again we read, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” The eye of man has seen much, he has heard of more than he has seen, and his heart has conceived of yet more than he has heard of; but neither his eye, ear, or heart, let them see, and hear, and conceive as they may, can reach to the extent of Jehovah's riches." —Bradley.
DYING WORDS OF W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ.
“ Come and sit near me; let me lean on you,” said Wilberforce to a friend a few minutes before his death. Afterward putting his arms round that friend, he said, “ God bless you, my dear.” He became agitated somewhat, and then ceased speaking. Presently, however, he said, “I must leave you, my fond friend; we shall walk no further through this world together; but I hope we shall meet in heaven. Let us talk of heaven. Do not weep for me, dear F., do not weep, for I am very happy; but think of me, and let the thought make you press forward. I never knew happiness, till I found Christ as a Saviour. Read the Bible-read the Bible! Let no religious book take its place. Through all my perplexities and distresses I never read any other book, and I never felt the want of any other. It has been my hourly study; and all my knowledge of the doctrines, and all my acquaintance with the experience and realities of religion, have been derived from the Bible only. I think religi
ous people do not read the Bible enough. Books about reli| gion may be useful enough, but they will not do instead of