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“I do not mean to give you any more of it; but it sets you
well to call me a coward! I'm sure ye canna say ye had a sair fit this time, Tam?”—This hint seemed to take immediate effect; for all on a sudden Tom's volubility forsook him, and the young controvertists separated for their respective homes.
Next time WILL CANDID -saw BRAGWELL, he seemed more thoughtful than he had ever observed him on any occasion, and for some time the station of indolence at the head of the Western-lane, seem'd to be forsaken by its fre. quenters, so that although DOUBTFUL and CANDID kept aloof from Tom BRAGWELL's company they had great hopes that he would one day be restored to their society: especially as CARELESS, who was not over nice in his selection, having more than once fallen in with Tom, informed these lads one day, that BRAGWELL had said to him that “he wished he had fallen too, and heard what the stranger had said from his own lips, as, do what be liked he could not get his words out of his head.” But what gave them still better hopes of Tom's amendment, was, that having on new-years's day fallen in with old THOMAS in their walk, he told them of the wonderful alteration that had taken place of late in the conduct of his son, and that instead of now fearing, as he had long done, that his unrighteous deeds would bring down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, he had every reason to hope that be would yet be a comfort to him in the decline of life. Adding, this is indeed the happiest new year I ever experienced; for TOMMY last night instead of going about working mischief with his riotous companions, could not be moved from his book; and although he has not yet entered to an apprenticeship, he says he will soon make up his mind on the subject ;-exerts himself to the utmost in rendering me every assistance in his power in the way of my profession ;-goes regularly to church, and within these few weeks seems to listen very attentively to the discourses of the minister."
These were, indeed, happy prognostics that the good seed was already sown, and bade fair one day to spring up into a luxuriant crop and yield an abundant harvest. How lamentable then that the cruel destroyer should have come, and, in the form of an angel of light, disappointed the bopes of the husbandman, and expectations of this young man's father, by sowing his tares among the wheat.
TOM's father as I have just observed, had noticed his re. gular appearance and exemplary demeanour at church for a short time previous to the new year, and the old man, who, with all his foibles, certainly felt a most anxious concern for the spiritual welfare of his son, beheld with a complacency, which can only be conceived by those who have experienced similar emotions, the more than ordinary degree of attention with which the young man listened to the voice of the preacher on the two first Sabbaths of the year.
On the Saturday following, Tom's uncle, who resided a few miles in the country, according to custom came into the town for the purpose of purchasing a few articles to help him to keep his Hansel-monday* with, and being informed of the happy change that had taken place on the mind of his nephew, proposed to his brother to let him go home and take his Hansel-monday dinner with him, since he bad become so good a lad, and he would take him to the meeting on the morrow, where he was certain he would hear a very good sermon. To this proposal, backed by the solicitations of his father, Tom assented, and when PETER BRAGWELL was ready to depart, his nephew set out with him in good spirits.
Next day Tom accompanied bis uncle to the meeting, where, indeed, he heard a very good sermon, (and so far all was well ;) but unfortunately for the poor lad, old PETER, though a well-meaning, was certainly a very weak man, and seldom went home satisfied with what he heard from the pulpit, without first having the opinion of some of those village wise-acres, who make it more their business in going to the house of prayer to cavil and find fault with the expressions of the preacher, than to give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name, and, in the spirit of bumility, worship before him in the beauty of holiness : Who
* The name given among the country people in Scotland to the first monday in the year, old style. In 1813 it happened on the 18th of the month.
in the true spirit of Pharisaical pride, set up their own self-sufficient and conceited opinions above those of their minister, and seeking to be wise above what is written, vainly attempt to worship God by teaching for doctrine the traditions of men and their own absurdities, in opposition to the pure, benign, and peaceable precepts of the gospel ; so that, in the expressive language of Scripture, they neither go into heaven themselves, nor suffer those that are entering to go in.
Before a person of this description our ill-fated youth was now about to appear; for no sooner had he set kis foot beyond the threshold of the place of worship, than liis uncle whispered into his ear, that before he went home, he wished to introduce him to a man of singular zeal and abilities, and of much experience in the religious instruction of youth, who was indeed not a learned man, but neither were the apostles ; nor a great man, but neither were the apostles; for he was but a servant. And yet, without neglecting his master's work, nor allowing his interest to be lost sight of, such was his zeal for the rising generation that he found means to catechise the children in the field, who were employed, under his superintendance, in what is called in the country out-door's work.
The name of this man was SIMON FRISK, and he was soon found at the fireside of one RICHARD ALLTRUTH, where he had gone, according to custom, to smoke a pipe. PETER BRAGWELL introduced his nephew to this import. ant personage as a young lad who' seemed to bid fair to be a good man; having evinced a great desire for hearing sermons and reading good books of late, particularly a a book coming out in numbers, called the Cheap Magazine. “ As for sermons,” said Frisk,“ he had much need to take care what he hears, for if he becomes an admirer of some of those cauld-rife moral discourses delivered in the churches, they may do him more harm than good; and as for books, if he has a taste for no better than the Cheap Magazine, he had better run wild about the streets like a goat.'
Tom's uncle, who had formed a very different opinion of the Magazine from the encomiums bestowed upon it by his Brother and reformed nephew, was rather surprised at such
& testimony from a man to whose judgement he had been accustomed to look up with deference, made bold to ask what part of it he found fault with ? “ Altogether!" without hesitation, SIMON replied. “Altogether, from beginning to end ; there is not one word of sense in it!_all alike cold morality. There is neither soul nor body in it; it is just like fish without sauce. And when inportuned bg his lost, who begged leave to differ from him as to the merits of the performance, to say what sauce he considered it deficient in : “ The seasoning of grace," he cried out indignantly. “I defy you to shew me a single particle of it, in its whole forty-eight pages.”
"I do not know," said RICHARD, coolly, “what idea you wish to attach to the word grace on the present occa
casion; but the apostle Paul, in his epistle to Titus, clearly says : that “the grace of God, which bringeth saltalion, teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this présent world. Now, according to this definition, the Cheap Magazine, in as far as it has a tendency to prevent the commission of crimes, instead of deserving such an epithet as you are pleased to bestow upon it, ought, in my opinion, to be reckoned among the means of grace. In every effort, however humble, to prevent men from being drawn into the snares of temptation, or to turn them from the evil of their ways unto God, and towards exciting and keeping alive religious impressions in the youthful breast,
be said to be co-workers in the vineyard of God; and every publication calculated in its consequences to check the first approaches to vice, must be peculiarly pleasing in the sight of Him, who has declared, that " it
not the will of your Father which is in heaven that ONE of these little ones should perish; and, with the most gracious condescension, says: “Suffer little children to come unto me." O SIMON, SIMON, take care that you resist not the will of God, and the invitation of the Saviour, by forbidding, by your discourse, one of these little ones to come unto JESUS. Consider, here is a young man in company, whose mind seems to have undergone a very favourable and promising change of late, but whose prin ciples may not yet be sufficiently established to enable Y
him to resist such doctrine ; beware that you check not bis good resolutions ere they are fully formed, and by so doing qnench the smoking flax before it has broke out into a vigorous flame. As for those coldrife moral discourses, as you call them, delivered in our churches ; being reared upon the true foundation of that inimit. able pattern, the beautiful sermon of our Lord on the mount, they cannot but be acceptible to him, who according to the epistle already quoted, “ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and sanctify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Whose very name JESUS, as was announced by the angel to JoSEPH, was given him because he came to save his people not in, but from, their sins-Who lamented over Jerusalem in consequence of the misery brought upon the inhabitants by their inflexible stubborness, and who must ever delight in seeing men bringing forth fruits unto holiness, because 56 without holiness no man can see the Lord,"
One would have thought that these observations of Mr ALLTRUTH would at least have silenced Simon, if they had not the effect of muking him think and speak more favourably of your little publication ; but it was quite the reverse; for provoked by an opposition to which he had never been accustomed, the enraged fanatic threw down bis pipe, exclaiming with vehemence: “I see you are all alike! What bas the checking of the first approaches to vice, as you call it, or the prevention of crimes, to do with the means of grace? Are not little and great sins all one in the eye of the gospel? And notwithstanding he was repeatedly cautioned to take care what he said before his young auditor, and several attempts on the part of RICHARD to turn the discourse into another channel, he went such lengths in bis onwarranted, extravagant, and dangerous expressions, that for the sake of your juvepile readers, I must suppress his sentiments. Suffice it to say, that when Tom BRAGWELL returned on the morrow to his father he was a very different person indeed frori what he was when he left him.
Although the unhappy youth took considerable pains to conceal his relapse from bis father, the old man soon discovered, with grief, the striking alteration in the behaviour