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their bouse, as often as he could, at their hours of familyworship, and join with them.
This he not only gladly accepted, but constantly attended, and did it so avowedly, not regarding how it might interfere with his master's hours, and his own conveniences, that his master took offence at his being so often out of the way; and not knowing the least of what occasioned his absence, complained to his father of it, as if it had been some wicked course he had followed ; telling him, that his son did not behave himself so orderly; that he was out of his business unseasonably; that he must have some bad haunts, for that he generally went out every morning very early (being then winter), long before day, and in the evenings was absent often at supper; that on the Lord's day evening he was never to be found, and the like; and therefore desired his father to take some care about him, that if he went on he would be ruined. He farther acquainted his father, that the boy had appeared very melancholy and discontented; that he had often asked him if any thing ailed him, or if he was not well, and he always answered yes ; that he asked him if he did not like his business, and still be answered yes, very well; so that he knew not wbat ailed him, and desired bis father to talk with him, for if he carried it thus he could not bear it, but must send bim home again.
The father, who knew his son to be a sober, religious child, and partly knew the reason of his discontent, was not at all surprised at that part of his master's complaint, which related to his appearing melancholy and dissatisfied. But the other part of his discourse alarmed him a little, about being out of the house at unseasonable hours, and giving no account of himself; and therefore readily promised to talk with his son, and examine him about it, that his conduct might be rectified.
Accordingly he finds an opportunity to talk with the lad, and lets him know all his master had laid to his charge, charging him to tell him the truth of the whole matter.
The boy, not at alt surprised, told his father the whole case very honestly-how that his master had no such thing as family-worship in his house ; but that they lived all like heathens there, pursuing the world as if it was their heaven, without the least regard of their duty to God, or any thing that was religious. “ And you, Sir," says the boy to his father, " having always instructed me in other things, and taught me to live after another manner, it was very uneasy to me, as I have formerly hinted to you: but I have of late made myself a little easy, by getting an acquaintance in Mr.'s family, an honest clothier, who lives over against our house, who are very good people, and who constantly go to prayers every morning at six o'clock, and every evening at eight or nine, and I get up every day to go over there to prayer with their family, and every Lord's-day, I go thither in the evening, where the good man reads to bis family, and examines his children and servants, and then prays with them. While at our house, all the evening is spent in feasting and visiting, or idle discourse, not at all to the business of the day. This is the whole case."
When the lad had ended his discourse, and the father was assured of the truth of it, he took his son in his arms, and kissed and embraced him very affectionately, and said
“ The blessing of God and thy father be upon thee, my dear, that has made so good a use of so unhappy an omission of mine. It was my sin, my dear, and an inexcuseable error in me, to put thee out to a family where the name of God is not called upon, and the worship of God not regarded ; by which I run the venture of thy soul's good, and of having all the pains I had taken in teaching and instructing thee in the ways of God, and in the knowledge of religion, lost and abused; and had it been so, thy ruin had been at my door, having regarded only the trade, and the prospect of worldly advantage, in placing thee there, not the good of thy soul; but, since
God has given thee grace to prevent the evil, which might, through my neglect, have befallen thee, the praise be to his mercy. I am fully satisfied in what you have done ; and if your master speaks of it to you, as I suppose he will, I would have you tell him the whole truth, as you now do to me; and if he dislikes you for it, offer to go back to your father; and, if he consents, I shall as gladly take you from him, as I received you from God when you were born.”
The child encouraged by a father thus to deal plainly with his master, and being a lad very ready of speech, though modest in his behaviour, resolves, the first occasion bis master should give him, to do it effectually ; which his master not failing to do the same evening, produced tho following discourse between them.
The youth, it seems, had been over at the good people's house, as usual during their family-worship, and coming in about nine o'clock at night, his master begins with him thus:
Mast. Thomas, where are you?
Mast. Well, but, Thomas, I must talk with you a little. I have observed it, and others have observed it here in the house, that your conduct is altered very much from what it used to be, and you seem dull and melancholy. I must know what is the matter with you. If you do not like your business, tell me honestly, Thomas, though you are bound, I will not keep you against your will. I have a respect for you, and for your father, and I won't force your inclination; if you are willing to go, Thomas, you shall ;
and therefore I would have you speak plainly what it is you dislike the trade for?
Tom. No, Sir, I don't dislike the trade at all; but if you please to let me go, I shall be very
[Here his master interrupts him.]
Mast. Well, Thomas, but I am willing to know what the reason is too. What do
Tom. No, Sir, not in the least, I assure you; I have no reason for it.
Mast. What then? Has any body in the house ill used you?
Tom. No, indeed, Sir.
Mast. No, Thomas, never without a reason for it; that would be to have some other reasons given afterwards for it; which are not true.
Tom. If you think so, Sir, I am very willing to stay, and do my business.
Mast. Well, Thomas, but whether you go or stay, I must know the cause of
discontent. Tom. I'll be better contented, Sir, than I have been, if I can, rather than displease you.
Mast. No, Thomas, that won't satisfy me, neither; for I have some discontents as well as you, Thomas ; and if you stay with me, you must remove my discontents, as well as your own.
Tom. 'I shall be very willing to remove any discontents you þave, Sir, if I can; I hope I do not neglect your business, Sir.
Mast. I do not say my business is neglected; but you take the liberty to go out, and stay out so very often, which makes me uneasy; I must be a little satisfied, Thomas, about that.
Ton. Sir, you were pleased to tell us, when I was first bound, that if we were in the warehouse at such and such
times, when your business required, you cared not whither we went at any other times; and I never have failed your business, Sir, nor your hours.
Mast. But yoų are out at unseasonable hours, Thomas, and that is not of good reputation to yourself.
Tom. I thought, Sir, you did not regard that, when you left us so entirely to ourselves. If it is offensive to you I will refrain it, though I should be very sorry to be restrained.
Mast. But I must know the occasion of it, as well as of your apparent dissatisfaction also, Thomas. Sure you may be free with me. Come, let me know the truth.
Tom. You will perhaps be displeased with me, Sir, if I tell you the truth, or think I do not.
Mast. If that truth be justifiable, why should I be displeased? If not, why should I not be displeased.
Ton. Thețe may be reason for your displeasure, though the thing be justifiable.
Mast. Let the thing then appear to be justifiable first; and, if I am unreasonable, we shall talk of that afterwards. If you can justify the thing itself, why should you be backward to let me know it?
Tom. Sir, as you are my master, and I am your servant, I was bound to give you an account of my time; but the liberty you gave all your servants to go where they pleased, provided they were at home, at such and such times, has sufficiently, as I conceived, justified my being abroad, even without giving an account.
Mast, But I did not take from myself the liberty of in quiring whither you went, or of altering that licence I had given, if I saw it abused; and since you have taken the liberty, and refuse to give me a reasonable account of it, I now recal it, and expect you to be found always at home, unless I give you leave.
Toin. As I took only the liberty you gave, Sir, I shall exactly obey you in the restraint, however hard I may