Precepts in Practice; or, Stories Illustrating the Proverbs
The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.
PRECEPTS IN PRACTICE;
STORIES ILLUSTRATING THE PROVERBS.
Dear young friends (perhaps I may ratherwelcome some amongst you as old friends),I would once more gather you around me tolisten to my simple stories. I have in eachone endeavoured to exemplify some truthtaught by the wise King Solomon, in the Book of Proverbs.Perhaps the holy words, which I trust thatmany of you have already learned to love, may be moreforcibly imprinted on your minds, and you may applythem more to your own conduct, when you see themillustrated by tales describing such events as may happento yourselves.
May the Giver of all good gifts make the choice ofSolomon also yours; may you, each and all, be endowedwith that wisdom from on high which is more preciousthan rubies; and may you find, as you proceed onwardto that better home to which Heavenly Wisdom wouldguide you, that her ways are ways of pleasantness, andall her paths are peace.
|I.||THE TWO SONS,||9|
|II.||THE PRISONER RELEASED,||21|
|III.||THE MOTHER’S RETURN,||34|
|IV.||THE FRIEND IN NEED,||43|
|VI.||CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE,||76|
|VII.||THE GREAT PLAGUE,||89|
|VIII.||THE GREEN VELVET DRESS,||99|
|X.||COURAGE AND CANDOUR,||129|
|XI.||THE SAILOR’S RESOLVE,||146|
|XIII.||FRIENDS IN NEED,||173|
|XIV.||THE OLD PAUPER,||190|
|XV.||THE BEAUTIFUL VILLA,||203|
List of Illustrations.
|THE DISOBEDIENT BOY,||Frontispiece|
|THE FROZEN LAKE,||10|
|HARRY TENDING HIS MOTHER,||13|
|DR. MERTON AND PAUL,||16|
|MARIA AND MARY,||35|
|WATCHING FOR MOTHER,||38|
|GOING TO CHURCH,||44|
|ON A VISIT,||45|
|OLD WILL AYLMER,||46|
|SEEKING THE LORD,||57|
|THE STREET STALL,||65|
|MRS. GRAHAM AND JOSEPH,||73|
|LUCY AND PRISCILLA,||78|
|THE TEACHER’S STORY,||92|
|THE PLAGUE IN LONDON,||94|
|JENNY IN THE STORM,||101|
|ALIE WATCHING THE CAT,||135|
|ALIE AND THE GIPSY GIRL,||161|
|THE GIPSY’S APPROACH,||169|
|THE GREEN LANE,||174|
|THE OLD PAUPER,||191|
|MRS. WARNER AND JESSY,||206|
THE TWO SONS.
It was a clear, cold morning in December. Not acloud was in the sky, and the sun shone brightly,gilding the long icicles that hung from the eaves,and gleaming on the frozen surface of the lake,as though he would have melted them by hiskindly smile. But the cold was too intense for that;there was no softening of the ice; no drop hung like atear from the glittering icicles. Alas! that we shouldever find in life hearts colder and harder still, that evenkindness fails to melt!
Many persons were skating over the lake—sometimes10darting forward with the swiftness of the wind, thenmaking graceful curves to the right or the left, andforming strange figures on the ice. And there weremany boys also enjoying themselves as much, althoughin a different way—sliding along the slippery surface,and making the air ring with their merry laughter.
THE FROZEN LAKE.
One of the gayest of these last was a rosy-cheekedboy, who looked as though care or sorrow had nevertraced a line on his face. He had just made a verylong slide, and stood flushed with the exercise to watch11his companions follow him on the glistening line, whenDr. Merton, a medical man, who was taking his morningwalk, and had come to the lake to see the skating, lightlytouched the boy on the shoulder.
“Paul Fane, is your mother better to-day?”
“Oh, she’s well enough—that’s to say, she’s alwaysailing,” replied the boy carelessly, still keeping his eyeupon the sliders.
“Did she sleep better last night?”
“Oh, really, why I don’t exactly know. I’ve notseen her yet this morning.”
“Not seen her!” repeated Dr. Merton in surprise.
“Oh, sir, I knew that she’d be worrying me aboutmy coming here upon the ice. She’s so fidgety andfrightened—she treats one like a child, and is alwaysfancying that there is danger when there is none;” andthe boy turned down his lip with a contemptuous expression.
“I should say that you are in danger now,” said Dr.Merton, very gravely.
“How so? the ice is thick enough to roast an oxupon,” replied Paul, striking it with his heel.
“In danger of the anger of that great Being who hathsaid, Honour thy father and thy mother—in danger ofmuch future pain and regret, when the time for obeyingthat command shall be lost to you for ever.”
Paul’s cheek grew redder at these words. He felt half12inclined to make an insolent reply; but there was somethingin the doctor’s manner which awed even his proudand unruly spirit.
“Where is your brother Harry?” inquired Dr. Merton.
“Oh, I suppose at home,” replied Paul bluffly, glad ofany change in the conversation; and still more glad washe when the gentleman turned away, and left him topursue his amusement.
And where was Harry on that bright, cheerful morning,while his brother was enjoying himself upon theice? In a little, dull, close room, with a peevish invalid,the sunshine mostly shut out by the dark blinds,while the sound of merry voices from without contrastedwith the gloomy stillness within. Harry glided aboutwith a quiet step, trimmed the fire, set on the kettle,prepared the gruel for his mother, and carried it gentlyto the side of her bed. He arranged the pillows comfortablyfor the sufferer, and tended her even as she hadtended him in the days of his helpless infancy. Thefretfulness of the sick woman never moved his patience.He remembered how often, when he was a babe, his cryhad broken her rest and disturbed her comfort. Howcould he do enough for her who had given him life, andwatched over him and loved him long, long before hehad been able even to make the small return of a gratefullook? Oh! what a holy thing is filial obedience!God commands it, God has blessed it, and He will bless13it for ever. He that disobeys or neglects a parent isplanting thorns for his own pillow, and they are thornsthat shall one day pierce him even to the soul.