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I pursued! The ground, for a considerable distance, in the rear of the barn, was covered, to a greater or less depth, with dry buckwheat straw. The spot which I chose for my fire-a little fire it was to be, you know, a very little fire--was on the extreme edge of this straw, several rods, I think it might have been, from the barn. I gave myself credit for a great deal of smartness, in selecting a spot so far from the barn as not to endanger it in the least, though, but for this caution, I might have had a much larger fire. I collected a small heap of the straw, and set fire to it.
It burned very readily. There was no difficulty on that score. The bonfire did not need any coaxing; the straw was dry as tinder, and the wind was very accommodating. I put on a little more straw, a very little-it was only a little bonfire that I wished for. It burned finely. My brightest hopes were realized. Byand-by, it began to spread over more ground. Aha! I thought, I must put a stop to that. I was a cunning boy-I had not the least doubt of that. I went to work, trying to stop the progress of the fire. But the harder I labored, the faster the flames spread. The wind was blowing toward the barn, too. There was danger! When that truth flashed upon my mind, I burst into a flood of tears. What could I do? It took but a moment to make up my mind ; and I ran with all my might to the house, and told my mother the whole story. She was greatly frightened, but she went coolly enough to work.
We had two horns in the house, each of which was used, at different times, in calling my father and his men to dinner, when they were at work in the field. One of these was a tin horn, made on purpose for such a use, and the other was a large seashell. My mother took one of these horns, and gave the other to Mary, the hired girl, when these two individuals blew a blast, which, according to the best of my recollection, must have been a great deal more noisy than musical.
These horns, blown both at once, and at an hour when it was not possible that dinner could be ready, sounded odd enough to my father and his men. They listened a moment, and made up their minds that there was something the matter at home. As soon as
they looked toward the house, they saw plainly enough what the matter was, and you may be sure they did not lose much time in running to the scene of danger. One of them, I recollect, was in such haste, that he swarn across a large pond, situated between the field where they were at work, and the homestead. Other men, too, besides those at work for my father, alarmed by the sound of the horns, and the sight of the flames, rushed to the spot, and all together made a most vigorous effort to prevent the destruction of the barn, which, by the way, was at the time full of hay and grain, and would inevitably have been consumed, if it had taken fire.
Well, the barn was saved. The men had to work very hard to save it, however. Some of them got badly burned, too; they were obliged to rush into the flames, in order to place wet blankets on the side of the building which was most exposed. The barn was saved; but, oh! what pain I suffered while the result was doubtful. I cried nearly all the time. I would have given everything I had in the world, if I could have gone back a few paces in the stream of time, or could have undone what I had so foolishly done.
After the fire was put out, the men all came into the house,
take some refreshments ; and, as they occasionally looked to ward me, I felt as if it would have been a very pleasant thing indeed, could I but have sunk into some potato-hole or other, where I could have covered myself up, and where no mortal eye could see me. Oh, what mortification, and shame, and remorse, had my
disobedience occasioned me! Neither my father nor my mother punished me for my fault. They did not, indeed, speak one word of reprimand. They thought I had had sufficient panishment. They were right. So I thought then, and so I think now. Nothing they could have said or done to me would at all have deepened the conviction in my mind, of the folly and sin of disobedience to parents, or have tended to strengthen my resolution to obey in future. I inwardly felt the truth of that senti
I ment of Scripture, that “the way of transgressors is hard."
Dear reader, I have here given you a sort of looking-glass, in which you can see your face. You can see exactly where the
danger lies, when you are tempted to disobey your parents. It is in allowing the tempter, as it were, not only to come into your mind, but to stay there, and to repeat his wicked suggestions a hundred times over., How easy I could at first have resisted the temptation to make my bonfire, contrary to the command of my mother! But I did not resist it. I cherished it. I turned it over and over in my thoughts, until my soul was full of it. After that, I could no more control my wicked inclinations than I could control the fire, after I had lighted it, and fed it bountifully with fuel.
SPARED, BUT NOT SAVED.
BY REV. S. I. PRIME
A CHILD was sinking into the arms of death ; at least, those thought so who had watched it through days and nights of conyulsive throes.
Its mother could not give it up. She had prayed for strength. She had tried to submit, but her heart stood out against God, and she refused to say " thy will be done.” When the man of God came to her, and reasoned of the wisdom and righteousness of Him in whose hands are the issues of life and death, she assented to all he said, and then added, " But I cannot give him up." I pray with you?" asked the venerable man. “O yes, sir, do pray.”
And for what shall I pray ?” he inquired. “Pray that my darling may be restored.” He did. He prayed with earnestness that God would spare
the life of that dear child, and raise it up, to comfort its mother's heart. And then he prayed, that she might bow in meekness to her heavenly Father's will, and say “it is well,” even if her darling was taken from her sight. The prayer was ended, and the man of God, in faithfulness, then assured the mother, that God might answer their prayers in judgment. “He may spare the life of this child, to be a living curse to you and to himself: you
may weep bitterly over his career on earth, and more bitterly when you lay him at last in the grave.” • But she was not moved. She longed for his life. How could she live without him? If he should live, she would watch him with ceaseless care; she would pray with and for him; and thus she would train him up to love and serve the Lord, who was 80 good to spare him.
And he did live. God appeared for his deliverance from the malady that threatened to be his death, and the child recovered. o, how rejoiced was that mother's heart! She was all but frantic with delight, as she had been with grief before. Her boy lived. He grew up to be a young man. He became a handsome youth; fond of society; gay, frolicksome, wild, dissipated, corrupt, abandoned, ruined! He lived to despise his mother ; to mock and insult her; to trample on her heart-strings; to laugh at her tears and scorn her prayers ; and at last he died a wretched outcast, a a hardened profligate. He must have gone down to a miserable hell. He had it in his bosom for years before he died, and then he entered on its miseries with no mitigation of everlasting woe.
And his mother knew it. She felt it all the time, when he was running his course of profligacy and crime. She felt that he was spared in judgment. She had wept tears when hanging over his little cot, in infancy, as then she thought he would die. But now her heart is bleeding, breaking. If he had died in childhood, it would have been so sweet to think of him in the arms of Him who said,
6 Suffer them to come unto me." But now he is lost, lost, lost. Alas, for her boy! He is spared, not saved.
This is a fact, and there are those living who can testify to. much of it. There is a lesson of power in it, that mothers, that parents would do well to heed. Our prayers are not always answered in mercy. God may grant our desires, and send learness
. into our souls. So he may give us what we ask, and make that very gift the sorcst, saddest curse, the world has for us. Children are a blessing, when they are not ours only, but the Lord's. Yet, when we claim them as our own, and cling to them as if we would not let the Lord have them, to set them as gems in his
crown, he may give them to us, and let us try our best to bring them up without him! If they are ours, and not his, they will perish. We may watch, and teach, and pray, but if God be not
, their keeper, guardian, and guide, their Redeemer, Sanctifier, and Saviour, they may live to be a hundred years old, and then die accursed.
If our children sicken, and we fear they are to die, let us bow to the will of Him who gave and has a right to take away. It is doubtless right and best that he should do what seemeth to him good. It may be very hard for us to part with them. They have wound themselves so thoroughly into our affections, that we feel ás if we must die with them. But we know not the future of their lives, if they live! Yet, if they die in childhood, we know their future—they will be forever with the Lord. It is better, then, to leave them with him, who knows so much better than we, what is for our good and theirs. “He doeth all things well."
THE FAMILY ALTAR AND ITS INFLUENCES.
At no time does the family below present to my mind so faithful and striking a type of the family above, as when with one accord they have met in one place, to offer united praise to the Father of mercies. True it is with this, as every other illustration of life in that better country, much imperfection is mingled. A large share of our devotional exercises consists of confession of sin, and súpplication for strength, against the time of temptation, besides which wandering thoughts and the fatigue of jaded spirits too often mar our worship, and render our solemn service vain. Yet, nevertheless, the family has been repeatedly used by God himself, as an emblem of his triumphant Church; and scarcely could one have
; been selected which would appeal so forcibly, because so sweetly, to the hearts of all men, in all ages.
I have been led to these remarks, by reviewing some of the occurrences of a varied life, and contemplating the vast power the