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known unto the people. A few years since a monument to the memory of Wickliffe was put into his church at Lutterworth, a representation of which precedes this article. We hope our readers will thank God for the blessings of the reformation from Popery.
DARE TO DO RIGHT.
“ Take these papers into your desk, Grainger, and let them all be copied before to-morrow night,” said Secretary Z— to a bright-eyed, ruddy-cheeked youth, who stood at his desk one Saturday evening, in the act of putting it in order, to leave as usual till Monday morning. “ Business has got behindhand here, I find, through the negligence of some of you clerks,” he continued, looking round on some half-dozen young men,
66 and the matter must and shall be looked into. I thought these documents were copied ; they are very important, and must be finished in the best manner by the time I mentioned; they belong to your department, Grainger."
So saying, he placed them on the desk of the individual spoken to, and was turning away when he met the young man's
eyes fixed on him in some surprise; for the order was a very unusual one, and Grainger, though but an under clerk in the office, was known to be one of the most faithful and laborious of them all. The Sabbath had hitherto been his own, to devote to those sacred duties which alone befit the day, in the estimation of every religious heart. Conscientious he was, too, about the employment of time for mere worldly business on that day; and therefore, though the youngest in the office, he ventured, modestly and respectfully, to say, as the Secretary was walking away, in a perplexed and dissatisfied manner
“ To-morrow is Sabbath, sir; perhaps
“ I know that, sir,” sharply retorted that gentleman, turning abruptly round, and gazing angrily at the youth. “ Do you suppose I am not able to keep the day of the week as well as yourself, sir? Let this work be done without fail at the time I have specified, and don't spend any more time in inquiries or remarks, if you please.”
“ I beg your pardon, sir,” said Grainger, “his face suffused with blushes as he spoke, and his manner embarrassed and confused by the uncommon asperity and ill-humour of his master; “ I beg your pardon, sir, but really I would rather not write on the Sabbath. I'll stay to-night and—”
Very well, sir, very well,” interrupted the Secretary, without waiting to hear the conclusion of the sentence; “ do just as you please, by all means, sir; but if your conscience is so very scrupulous, somebody else must undertake the service, and henceforth you must find exercise for yours in some more congenial place and occupation. You will consider
your time at your own disposal from this date." These bitter and hasty words stung the young clerk to the quick, for he was keenly sensitive to disgrace or censure, and he felt in his heart that he deserved neither. But there were his fellow-labourers, listening and wondering, and winking as the conversation proceeded, saying plainly enough by every look how much they thought he was standing in his own light, and expecting every moment to see him yield from necessity or fear, as they were very sure it was prudent to do. And sorely tempted was the young man to comply with the unreasonable requisition, “just for once,” rather than lose his place by resisting the will of his employers; a place, to be sure, not very lucrative, but desirable and desired by many an eager applicant; but he needed the income, moderate as it was, for he was poor, and his mother -oh, his mother's need had wellnigh resolved him to do evil that good might come to her. But a better thought prevailed, through the spontaneous operation of those principles which had been sown in his heart by that mother's care, watchfulness, and wisdom. The spirit of true Christian manliness had been infused into his young heart—that heroism which dares to oppose itself to evil—a heroism which thousands who stand unmoved at the cannon's mouth cannot claim, and dare not assume.
Yes, in the hour of temptation, though, as far as he could foresee them, the consequences would be peculiarly disastrous to his interest, he dared to be a Christian-dared to do right! And this is genuine manliness. How many young people, young lads like him, would, in his situation, think it plainly their part to do the bidding of their employer, especially if there was any risk of their own interest in refusing! And others would reason that if older and wiser people thought there was no harm in doing a little work on Sabbath, particularly if it had very much accumulated during the week, why should they be over-scrupulous? They would not be responsible for doing what they were obliged to do.
Those who would thus satisfy themselves have not Spirittaught principles; have not such as will enable them to triumph over the besetting temptations of their period of life. They are never to violate the commands of God to obey a human master. Better, far better it is, in such a situation, to suffer the wrong than to do it. If your master tells you to take money out of a neighbour's drawer, you would scorn to obey him; and the same God who has said “ Thou shalt not steal,” says also, “ Remember the Sabbathday to keep it holy."
Young Grainger waited but a moment, while the colour went and came in his boyish cheeks, indicative of a painful conflict within, and then he said, in a low and respectful tone, but very firm and decided withal
“ I cannot write on the Sabbath, sir; I will occupy all the hours that do not belong to that day between now and the time the office is opened on Monday morning, and have the work done in the best manner and shortest time I can possibly do it. I should be very sorry, sir, to disoblige you or to lose my place, but indeed I cannot write on the Sabbath-day."
Very well, sir; then, as I said just now, you and your conscience must seek occupation elsewhere,” said the Secretary contemptuously. “Your bill, sir, if you please; we will relieve you of such responsibilities as you have hitherto sustained among us, with as little delay as possible. You are resolved ?"
Yes, sir," said Grainger, deeply wounded by the taunting
tone and manner of his master, but conscious that he was in the right, and determined bravely to abide the issue. The Secretary fidgeted about while the money was counted, for he was unwilling to lose so upright, regular, and conscientious a hand from his office, and he had not supposed it possible that he would sacrifice his place to his principles. But seeing matters had taken such a turn, he could not compromise his ill-humour and re-instate him for his integrity; oh no, it would be a shocking precedent, and all the other clerks would be taking advantage of it; he must carry out his threatenings, though unwise and undeserved. So, with cold civility, he wished a good evening to Grainger, and turned to arrange the business with some one out of several who had already volunteered to do it without a scruple. Alas, for an indurated conscience; well may its possessor tremble, for it is the armour with which the archenemy delights to invest his votary, while he lures him into danger and laughs to see him fall. Our
young hero felt sad enough as he walked homeward revolving the affair in which he had just been an actor. What would his mother say, when she had been able to obtain the situation for him only by repeated efforts, negotiations, and delays! Say! Why, he well knew that she would lay her hand on his head and bless him, rejoicing over temptation, more than if he had won a casket of diamonds. But then she is feeble, old, infirm, and poor ; and his young sister ought to be kept at school, in order to fit her to take care of herself. How sorely they would need the avail of his labour! it was their main, and many times their only dependence; and now which way should he turn? Perhaps they would think he had been rash and hasty; perhaps others would; and it might be very difficult to get employment in consequence. All these things passed rapidly through his mind, sometimes alarming him by their sombre colouring, and then again presenting a hue of satisfaction and hope. One thing he was sure of, he had acted right, and there he would rest the matter.
Full of these thoughts, he lifted the latch of his mother's lowly dwelling, and presented himself before her with as cheerful an aspect as he could possibly assume, albeit not the most joyous he had ever exhibited.
“ What's the matter, William?” inquired his sister, as she busied herself in preparing the simple viands which were to constitute their frugal supper. “ You look gloomy and miserable to-night; worked harder than common, haven't you, to get things all square for Saturday night?"
“ Not much; but I'll tell you about it by-and-by, Sarah Jane," replied the brother; “ get us some supper now,
for I'm tired and hungry.”
Sarah Jane quickened her preparations, and in a short time the widow and her son and daughter were seated at their wholesome board. William ate in silence, for he could not talk as usual, and recount the occurrences, conversations, and duties of the day. His mother looked anxious, and his sister perplexed, but both forbore to question or remark, believing he would make them acquainted in the proper time with anything that occasioned him disquietude. The poor boy was not unwilling to tell them all but he hardly knew how to begin. He feared his clearsighted mother would conclude he had been rash or disrespectful, and thus brought upon himself and her the disappointment of their hopes ; for they had flattered themselves that, by diligent and faithful attention to the duties of the place, he might gradually rise to a more responsible and lucrative post in the office, and perhaps to the very highest. This had been his own ambition, his mother's hope, and his sister's confident expectation. How could he cut them all off at one stroke ?
“ Mother," at length he said, when the supper-things were cleared away, and they were gathered round the single candle on the small work-table. “ Mother, I know you wonder what ails me to-night, and I may just as well relieve your anxiety first as last. I've lost my place at the office!"
Mrs. Grainger looked in his face with great surprise, and waited for something further. But William leaned his head on his hand, and the tears he could not repress gushed through his fingers ; so he found it impossible to proceed.