Page images


“My son," said Alfred's father, as he was accompanying his son to school for the first time, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. I have been to school before you, and I know that many temptations will beset you, of which you have hitherto had little experience. This has led me to hesitate long before I could bring my mind to trusting you so far away, and for so long a time, from your home. Nor should I venture to do so now, but for my confidence in the gentleman who will take charge of you. But, after all, much will depend on yourself. Your conscience will be your monitor, if you will but regard it; and the word of God will be your sure guide, if you will

but consult it. " Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.'

“I will tell you," he continued, " a few of the trials and temptations I had to endure when I was a schoolboy. Perhaps my experience may be useful to you.

“I had been taught from a child, as you have been, to reverence the Bible, to read it daily, and to kneel, morning and evening, by my bedside, to pray; and I never once thought of forsaking at school the good practices which I had followed at home. But I found it a hard matter to keep them up. I was laughed at by my bed-room companions, and was soon known through the school as the little Methodist.' Mischievous tricks were played upon me; and I was so often interrupted that I thought I must give up praying to God, and reading his word. But, happily, I remembered

these words, My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother; bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; and when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee;' and I was thus encouraged to persevere. It was not long before I was left alone ; some of my schoolfellows took courage to follow my example, and those who did not, respected the practice which they would not imitate.

“ Another of my temptations was to join in forbidden sports, or mischievous tricks. I was frequently, at first, invited to do so; but when these invitations were found to be unavailing, I was no longer troubled with them; and all the harm that came to me from my refusals was a nick.


name or two, which happily, did not disturb my peace.

" But there was one trial to which I was exposed, to which I too much yielded. By copying the example of other boys, I became less guarded against the employment of foolish words and phrases ; and occasionally found myself using even very improper language. I did not duly reflect upon that Scripture, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.' Many times, when I first began to acquire this habit, I checked myself, and was very unhappy to think how nearly I had offended; but still the habit gained upon me, and I no longer felt so troubled at the recollection of what I had said. It was many years after I left school that I was quite enabled to leave off the use of

words that, at best, were unmeaning; and too many

of which were sinful. s I do not think,” continued Alfred's father, “ that you will have so much in the way of bad example and ridicule to tempt and try you as I had; but I believe that boys have still wicked natures and inclinations, just as they ever had you, Alfred, as well as others; and that no care, nor the best instruction, can prevent much evil where many meet together. My earnest and last advice to you, therefore, is, to seek the help of your heavenly Father, who is always near you ; to read his word, though you may be taunted for it; to do what you know to be right, and avoid what

heart tells



wrong, just as though your parents were present; to form no friendships with boys who make light of serious things; and especially to watch over your thoughts and

« PreviousContinue »