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whether you served God or not. I do not wonder that you think it so troublesome that your master goes to prayers, and serves God in his family, I wonder how you, that have been bred so wickedly, came to be put out to so religious a family, as your master's is !
Will. Why, I heard my father say once, before I came to my master, that he was the willinger to put me to him, because he was a good man, and I might learn good things there; for I had never learned any at home.
Tom. So that your father owns then, Will, that these are good things, though he does not practise them himself. That is very strange, Will.
Will. Yes, yes, my father used to say he loved my master, because he was a good man, that he was a man that kept good order in his family; and one day he told me, that if I was a good boy, and followed my master's advice, I should be made a good man, better than ever my father was; and that my master went to prayers, and served God, and such as that: but I knew nothing what he meant. If I had known how it was, I should never have come.
Tom. Why, you own, that though your father did not call you to prayers himself, he liked your master the better because he did. Why should not you too?
Will. Not I, I love to live as I have been bred.
master was a better Christian than bimself; and that the orders he kept in his family was the way to make you a good man, nay, to make you better than your father too. Methinks you should believe your father.
Will. I don't know as to that; but I don't like it, not I.
Tom. You are not then for being made a good man, or else you don't believe your father.
Will. I don't see how he'll make me any better than I am. I tell you, I don't like it at all. I dare say you would not like it neither.
Tom. Would I not. I wish I was to be tried, Will.
Will. I wish you were, I am sure you would be sick of it.
Tom. Why now, brother Will, that cannot be ; for my grievance is just the contrary to your's; for I have been the uneasiest boy alive. I have got a master that lives exactly like your father.
Will. My father! alas, my father is but an ordinary man, your master is an alderman.
Tom. I mean as to religion, Will; 'tis true, my master goes to the meeting-house, and my mistress goes to church, and they serve God there after their own way; and we have nothing of swearing, cursing, or drunkenness in the house, or such as that, I must do them that justice. But as to religion, I never heard a word of it in the house since I came to it.
Will. Well, now, and yet every body says your master is a very good man.
Tom. That may be.
Will. Why then, brother, you see you were mistaken before, when
fancied a man could not be a good man, without making such a pother about his praying and religion, as my master does. I do not see that my master is one jot a better man than your's.
Tom. Nay, Will, it was not I that was mistaken, it was your own father that was mistaken, who, you acknowledge, told you he loved your master, because he was a good man, and that you might learn good things there ; and that if you followed your master's advice, you would be a good man too, and a better man than your father. He must be mistaken in all that, Will.
Will. Well, but I a'nt talking of my father. They may be any of them better than my father, he knows that bimself: but I speak of your master; every body says he is a good man, and a religious man, and he has the best reputation in the town.
Tom. Ay, Will, he is an honest man, a very fair man, he does nobody any wrong; but I have never been bred
that way in my life. I have never heard any such thing as praying to God, or reading the scriptures in the house, since I came thither; and yet, when I came to bim, I was told he was a mighty religious man.
Will. Why, that's what I say, he is counted a religious man, and they say he goes to the meetinghouse too.
Tom. So much the worse for him, if he appear religious only, and his practice makes him appear to be otherwise : however, I will not say what he is privately, but this I am sure of, it does not appear in his family; we that are his servants see nothing of it, nor his children neither.
Will. Why, that is as I would have it to be at our house: he is a very good man, every body says so, and what need he trouble you with it? I don't like this making such a show of religion ; cannot they be religious, but they must trouble all the family with it? I believe your master is a very bonest good man, Tom, though be makes no show of it as mine does.
Tom. You talk profanely again, Will. I am no more for making a show of religion than you; but if there be no religion where there is some show of it, to be sure there is no religion where there is no show at all of it. But what do you call show? Is it not every Christian man's duty to teach his bousehold and family to serve God? Do you call that a show? Every one ought to make such a show of religion; and if he does not, he plainly makes a show of having very little religion himself. I might give you a great many places out of scripture for this ; but it seems you have pot read much of the Bible.
• Will. Wliy, what would you have your master do! You would not have him make such a rout as my master does, would you?
Tom. I would have him serve God in his family, as other religious good people do.
* Will. Well, but you say they all serve God on Sun. days. Tom. What's that to bis family, We may rin abont
where we will all for bim, Sabbath day, or any day or night, be vever takes any thought of us. If we are but in the countmg-house next morning when he wants us, we may serve God or the devil, 'tis all one to him.
Will. That's what I want now, I wonder you should be
uneasy at it.
Tom. I have not been used to such a life, Will, though you have. It terrifies me so, I cannot bear it.
Will. Why, what would you have? What is it to you what your master does?
Tom. A great deal. God has said, “ He will pour out bis fury upon the families that call nut upon his name," Jer. x. 25. and I am one of the family now.
Will. Well, but.can you not say your prayers by yourself.
Tom. Truly I have no manner of convenience for that neither, for we all lie together in a room; and at first used to kneel down and pray by myself, but the rest of the apprentices jcered me out of it, and made such a noise at me, I was forced to leave it off; and now I go to bed and rise like a beast, as they do: but it grieves me so, I nyt tell what to do, for I am sure it is a sin to do so, and I am afraid God should show some judgroent upon me for it.
Will. Why, is there any danger of that, Tom. Why, I never prayed to God in my life.
Tom. Then you are in a sad condition, Will; and so am I too. Sometimes I think it will break my heart. I think iny father has put me in the devil's mouth, and I am going the straight road to bell, I am sure he does not de
Will. And so you bave left off saying your prayers, Tom, now quite, han't you ? and then you live as bad as I do, don't you?
Tom. No, I ban't left off praying neither; for, if my master does but send me an errand, I pray as I go along the streets; and sometimes I get up into the bay-lost
over the stable, or any where I can be private. But this is so seldom, and it grieves me so, that when I come to pray, I can do nothing but cry, I can't speak a word hardly.
Will. I do not understand these things. Sure I am a strange creature. Why, it never troubles me.
1 don't know what it is to pray to God. I never knew there was any harm in not doing it. I wish I could learn, I'd say my prayers too.
[The boy begins to be touched with the discourse.]
Tom. You have a good master to teach you; I have a master will do nothing but teach me to forget all that my good father and mother have been teaching me these fifteen years.
Will. Why, if what you learned is good, what need you forget it?
Tom. Why, I'll tell you, Will, when I was at home, and bad all the encouragement in the world, by the example and instruction of my father, and the exhortation of my mother, telling me my duty, and strictly charging me nover to lie down and rise without praying to God, in the evenivg for protection, and in the morning for direction ; yet I found a wicked inclination within me, of prompting me to omit my duty; and dow, when I want these helps of example and instruction, and instead of them have had so many discouragements, and find it so difficult to get a re. tired place for it, I find that wicked inclination to omit my duty increases, and sometimes I am for persuading my. self I have a sufficient excuse to leave it quite off; and I an afraid some time or other I shall do so, and grow an atheist, and then I shall live without God, like a leathen, as you do, Will.
Will. Indeed, Tom, I have lived like a heathen all my days, I begin to see it now. But what must I do?. How can I help it now!
Tom. Do, Will! you must leave it off, and learn to liye a better life,