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dence of the reality of his faith, by a holy obedience to the precepts of the Gospel ;-in a word, in telling him with a firm tone the truths that in a firmer hour he had told himself. I paused, and the good man, unable to express his thoughts, clasped his hands, and cast his eyes towards heaven, beaming with the anticipation of future happiness. For nearly a quarter of an hour he lay in a state of motionless tranquillity, and then slightly raising his hand, as if engaged in mental prayer, expired with an enviable composure-a peace infinitely desirable. Ye men of the world! see in what peace a Christian can die. He was a man whose death might well inspire the wish, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."
"EVIL communication," says an inspired writer, "corrupts good manners." The truth of this saying the experience of all ages has confirmed. Bad company leads the unwary youth to neglect both the principles and the institutions of religion; this neglect at once weakens the encouragements of virtue and the restraints of vice, and thus a way is paved for the commission of evil. A young man begins with some smaller sin: he hesitates and feels compunction; but enticed by bad associates, he becomes bolder in iniquity, and at last commits those crimes which overwhelm him in ruin. "A youth," says a celebrated writer, "educated in the principles of Christianity, cannot at first think of a breach of the divine laws without trembling and inward convulsions; but he meets with bad companions, and by their fair speeches slides into trivial commissions. At first a damp arises over his mind, and he doubts there is some error in his way; he becomes un
easy for a while, yet urged on by example continues his course: at length conscience begins to slumber, its reproaches are faint, and its stings scarce felt. Custom, too, blunts the edge of reflection, and when once arrived at this state of insensibility, he hesitates not at any impieties, which before were abhorrent to his nature." The following story proves the truth of these observations.
William Armstrong was a farmer on the borders of Scotland. His farm rented at about 801. a year. He was not rich, neither was he poor. By his honest industry he was able to pay his rent at the term, and to bring up his family in a decent manner. His family consisted of three sons and two daughters. He was a man of strong natural sense, and had received an education suited to his circumstances. He could read and write English very well, and keep accounts. He was a man, too, of piety and sound morals, strongly attached to our holy religion. He had long known its doctrines and felt their power. He resolved to give his sons an education similar to his own, and then place them in some useful employment in the world. For this purpose, he sent them to the parish school, where the necessary branches were taught by a worthy master. But to this
master, however worthy, he did not altogether trust; he used frequently, at his spare hours, to take his children by themselves, converse with them, and encourage them to excel in their learning. He had one custom which deserves our notice ;—every Sunday afternoon, he used to collect his little family around him, and make them read the Sacred Scriptures, and repeat the catechism approved of by the church. At such times, he used, in the most familiar but affectionate manner, to talk with them concerning the principles of religion, and "pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind." In this manner, year after year passed away. He was contented and cheerful, and used to say of himself, that he was more happy than any prince who The time at length came when the three sons were to be settled in some business. It was deemed more expedient, that William, the oldest, should remain with his father, now rather infirm, and assist him in managing the farm. Henry, the second son, was sent to a friend, in a distant town, to learn the mercantile business. Charles, the youngest, and the principal actor in this story, was bound an apprentice to a joiner, or house-carpenter, in a neighbouring village.
wore a crown.
Charles, in his new occupation, behaved re
markably well for some time, being attentive to his master's commands and exceedingly anxious to acquire a knowledge of the business; and, as he possessed a very lively turn of mind, and much good nature, he was a great favourite in the whole neighbourhood. But here end his happiest days. Unfortunately for Charles there lived in the same village several young men, who spent in gambling and dissipation, the money which they earned. They had long courted his company, and by their fair and plausible speeches began at last to gain upon him. One fine Sunday morning in summer, as they chanced to meet him, they proposed a walk into the country. Charles, in an evil hour, consented, and promised to meet them in a certain field after breakfast. Accordingly they all met at the hour and place appointed, and were planning the amusements of the day, when the bell of the church tolled to assemble the people to public worship. It sent a knell to Charles's heart (for he had been accustomed to attend the church punctually), and he felt that he was not in his proper place. He started and looked round with a wild stare. One of his companions guessing the reason, immediately addressed him, "What's the matter, Charles? These scruples which you feel be