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A YOUNG man was starting for New Orleans to enter upon a clerkship in a shop. His father died when he was quite young, so that his entire training had devolved upon
his widowed mother. She was a Christian woman, but had sadly neglected his moral culture. But now that he was about to leave her, to dwell in a distant city, her mind was aroused to perceive his moral danger. With a sad heart she accompanied him to the steamer, and went on board. As she was about to take her leave of him, she drew from her pocket a Bible, and placed it in his hand. Turning upon his mother, with indignant look, he exclaimed: “What have I to do with the Bible ?” The mother stood appalled at his words, and grew pale as death. “Give me my Shakspearethat suits my taste better,” he continued, and back he tossed the book. With sadder heart than
she turned the sacred volume to her pocket, bade him farewell, and wended her way homeward. The steamer sailed, and bright prospects gladdened the young man's heart. But ere three weeks had passed away, a raging fever prostrated him, and he saw that he must die. “Where is my mother's Bible ?” he inquired, with an earnestness that seemed bordering on delirium. The attendants knew not the meaning of this agonising question, and while they gazed silently upon each other,
again he cried out : “Where is my mother's Bible ? " Before the listeners could solve the mystery of these thrilling words, he expired.
Had an employer overheard the young man's exclamation : “ What have I to do with the Bible ?” think you that he would have sought his services ? That single circumstance would have been sufficient to shake his confidence in his moral character. Rejection of the Bible is an unenviable reputation for a young man to have among employers.
6 What have I to do with the Bible ?" some other youth may ask; and we answer : “Much every way." All that is valuable to us in the present relations of life we owe to this volume. Cast your eye over lands unblest with this precious book, and how dark they are ! Is a home in such countries desirable ? Take away the Sabbath even here, and we have seen that society would be corrupt and heathenish. But we owe the Sabbath to the Scriptures. In these we are informed of God's arrangement to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” There is no Sabbath where there is no Bible. But you wish to know the value of this book to yourself in performing the errand of life.
“ Will it have any influence upon my success ?" you ask. The life of Amos Lawrence affords a good reply.
His pious father and mother conducted the affairs of the family after the old Puritan manner, and the Bible, of course, was their daily counsellor. No other book was allowed to usurp its place as guide in all matters of right and wrong. The parents reverenced the Word of God, and, as was natural, the children followed their example. It was daily read in the family. It was held up as “the only perfect rule of faith and practice." It was particularly studied on the Sabbath. In short, it was associated in the minds of all in the family with the highest and most sacred duties and relations of life.
Do you now ask of what benefit was this to Amos Lawrence ? Let us see. He left home, and toiled in the midst of temptations. His first employer, and every one of the apprentices but himself, went down to the drunkard's
's grave. He avoided the snares of sin in spite of ridicule. He left the country for the city, and fell not. He was as pure in Boston as he was in Groton. Indeed, he grew stronger and stronger in moral might. He was married, and the Bible was honoured above all books in his dwelling. It was read there. It was taught to his children as they advanced to maturity. The principles that controlled him in his secular business were derived from it. He engaged in nothing which the Bible condemns; but made its code of morals his standard. He recommended it to others. He gave hundreds to circulate it. In his last years, it was especially his companion and comforter. He went to it for precious promises to strengthen his hope in suffering. It was worth more to him than all his wealth.
“ What have I to do with the Bible ?” do you ask. Look at Amos Lawrence. Was not his character formed in early life under the direction of its teachings? Did he not make it his rule of life thereafter ? Even in his traffic, was he not directed by its lofty principles ? Did he not always view it as the Book of books ? We have quoted enough from his “Diary and Correspondence" to shew that scriptural principles pervaded his whole conduct. It was these which gave him his spot.
less character, and won for him universal respect and esteem. The Bible was his guide ; his character was formed after its model ; and his whole career was a living embodiment of its instructions.
Had Mr Lawrence heard such an exclamation from a clerk in his shop : 66 What have I to do with the Bible ?" he could have had no confidence in his principles, for if we take away the Bible there is nothing fixed on which man can base a principle. Infidelity has no principles, and if the practice of infidels does shew something good in them, it is simply because they have not shaken off all they have learned from the Bible in early youtlı. On the other hand, a young man could have had no better recommendation to Mr Lawrence than strong attachment to this book.
Let the reader try his own heart with reference to this point. A few years since, a sailor's chest was cast ashore after a severe storm, close by a town on Cape Cod. It was discovered and conveyed to the village, and preparations made to open it. The minister and several of the citizens were called in as wit
It was opened, and garment after garment was removed to discover, if possible, the name of the
At length they came to a Bible, carefully deposited, with a daguerreotype, in one corner of the chest, and now, they thought, we shall find the name. They opened the book_but no name was there. But on a fly-leaf was written : “A Mother's Gift.” They opened the daguerreotype, and found it to be the likeness of a female evidently about forty years of age, probably the mother of the shipwrecked sailor. They concluded that she was the giver of the Bible, and that her poor
boy was no more. It was a touching scene. The minister examined the Bible, and found that its leaves bore the marks of frequent use. All concluded that a faithful son, who had listened to the parting counsels of his mother, was buried in the deep. That Bible, soiled by use, gave the lost sailor a good name in that village. Reader, does not this circumstance exalt his character in your eyes ? Just so far as you can believe that he read and studied that volume, do you not feel that he must have been correct in his habits ? It is impossible not to connect such views and feelings with the known faithful use of the Word of God. Hence, if any of the good principles discussed in these pages are necessary to success, than you perceive that the Bible must have a place among those elements of prosperity, according to your own conviction.
“ Please, sir, don't you want a cabin-boy ?” inquired a lad of a shipmaster.
“ I do want a cabin-boy, my lad, but what's that to you? A little chap like you ain't fit for the berth.”
“Oh, sir, I'm real strong. I can do a great deal of work, if I ain't so very old.”
“But what are you here for ? You don't look like a city boy. Run away from home, eh ?”.
“Oh, no, indeed, sir; my father died, and my mother is very poor, and I want to do something to help her. She let me come.”
“Well, my boy, where are your letters of recommendation? Can't take any boy without those.”
This was unexpected. The lad had not thought that recommendations would be required. He might have taken letters from his minister, teacher, or some other