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16 and I
"I never heard James Black tell a lie since I have known him," said Thomas Jones; "and I would sooner trust his plain yes or no than all the oaths in the world from many other boys; for he always tells the truth.”
“I never trust the word of a boy who swears,” said' George Evans ; " for any one who swears will be quite ready to tell a lie when it suits him."
Yes,” said Edward West; always doubt a boy who uses any words to make what he says seem more strong. We can't make 'YES' mean more than
YES,' or 'No' more than 'No,' by adding other words to them; and they are quite enough for me, when they come from a boy whom I can trust.” *
“ That is just what I think,” said James.
But I am not as good as John took me to be; for I have not always been clear of the sin of falsehood. I was quite young then, and was afraid that God
would strike me dead, as he did the wicked man and his wife whom we read of in the Bible, who told a lie to Peter about the price he got for the land he had sold.”
“I have often heard that story,” said Hiram;
but God does not strike people dead now when they tell lies.”
“He has the power to do it,” said James ; " and he is just as angry at liars now as he was then. When I told a lie, my mother talked to me a great deal about the sin of lying. She said that Satan was called the father of lies; and that, though God does not punish them at the time they sin, he has said, “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone;' and he will surely keep his word.”
“ Yes, that is an awful fate, which we all ought to try to avoid," said Thomas. “But see,” he added, “I have wiped off all the ink I can with this piece of sponge; and as that is all we can do to repair the harm, I think we had better shut
the school-room, and go
home.” “I am sure you are very kind,” said James, as he looked into the desk; “for you have done it much more nicely than I could.”
Thomas locked the desk, and put away the key where Mr. Wise had told him. Then, when all was ready, the boys put on their caps and overcoats, and started for home.
James was very sorry indeed for having injured Mr. Wise's papers and letters, for he knew how much he valued some of them ; and he felt real regret at having been so remiss in doing his duty. The words of Mr. Wise, “I think I can rely upon James to do what is right,” were all the time in his mind; and his heart blamed him for not having proved worthy of the trust. “I ought not to have minded when they called me to try if I could jump over that stool.
I have paid very dear
for doing so, and much more than the game was worth, I am sure. It was not the
proper way to behave in school either, for I would not have done so if the master had been there; and when he is absent, I should not act in a way that I know he would not like if he could see
Every kind word that the master had ever spoken to him, seemed to rise up before him, to chide his breach of trust. He sighed deeply, as he said, “Mr. Wise has indeed been very kind to me; and all I can do now to repair the wrong I have done him, is fully and freely to tell him the whole story, and ask him to pardon
Father in heaven has been more kind to me than any friend I have on earth could be; and, first of all, I will humbly ask his pardon of my
sin.” Then he kneeled down, and prayed that God would pardon the wrong he had done, and help him to be more on
his guard in the future, and to tell the whole truth to Mr. Wise.
The next day, James went to school with a heavy heart. Mr. Wise was at his desk when he went in, and was about calling the boys to order to begin the school-duties. Then, as was his custom, he read some verses from the Bible, and offered a short prayer.
When this was done, James waited a while for him to ask about his desk; but he said nothing, though he looked grave and sad. Then James left his seat, and went up to the desk, with a firm tread. The eyes of all the boys in the room were fixed upon him; but he did not seem to notice it; for his own were bent toward the ground. He hardly raised them, to look at Mr. Wise, as he said, in a low tone
“ It was I, sir, who upset the inkstand over your papers; and I am very
sorry for it.”
Well, never mind,” said Mr. Wise,