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and that one so much younger as not to have influenced their manners and spirit. It is a one-sided development of character, and is surely produced by one-sided influences."
This leads us farther to remark, that on the same principle it is regarded fortunate when the ages of brothers alternate. If all the sisters are quite young, while the brothers are all in advance of them in age, their influence upon each other is comparatively lost. When young brothers are trained in the midst of a number of grown sisters they are apt to become too effeminate and womanly; and if a sister grows up in the midst of a company of large brothers she is apt to partake too much of the roughness and coarseness of the man-the gentle, the feminine, the delicate shadings of the female spirit, will be wanting. We are able, in our own mind, to refer to instances confirmatory of the truth of these remarks. We doubt not many of our readers can do the same.
We have referred to these facts by way of illustration of our assetrion that the influence of sisters in a family, though silently, gradually and unconsciously exerted, is very great and solemn. We see thus, that even by circumstances which seem incidental, and over which they have not free control, brothers and sisters do influence one another, favorably or unfavorably. If spontaneously, and without effort or attention, they hold over each other so important a power, how much greater the influence when the secret of exerting it for good is carefully studied and religiously tuned to so holy an advantage.
Is not, therefore, the influence of sisters in a family a subject worthy of serious attention? Ought it not to be the holy ambition of sisters to fill this important sphere with a spirit and character worthy of so high and interesting a station, and such a solemn trust? Ought not the the education of daughters to have constant reference to the sacred functions and influence of a sister in the family? While a proper qualification for other relations in social life ought not to be overlooked, this ought to receive prominent and special attention.
ARE YOU KIND TO YOUR MOTHER?
Who guarded you in health, and comforted you when ill? Who hung over your little bed when you were fretful, and put the cooling drink to your parched lips? Who taught you how to read? Who has borne with your faults, and been kind and patient in your childish ways? Who loves you still, and who contrives and works and prays for you every day you live? Is it not your mother, your own dear mother? Now let me ask you, "Are you kind to your mother?"
FIRST LEAVING HOME.
TURNING-POINTS in life occur here and there with almost every one, and serve as hand-boards along the traveler's way to indicate his course and mark the several stages of the journey. One of these turning-points, where the course of life changes one way or another, is our first leaving home. This, if not the first, is one of the most note-worthy of those dotted places along life's pathway.
Each one's own experience will serve to illustrate the fact here noted. We Te may all sing the same tune if the notes be put down, and each one may enter into its spirit, having the heart chords moved within, as truly as if it had first been struck in that heart alone. The old man's experience is here the same as that of the youth. The mother remembers, as if but yesterday, when she, on her bridal day perhaps, first left home. Ah! there is a sympathetic nerve here that communicates with the heart-strings, and these somehow awaken slumbering memory, which, in its turn, stirs up the fountain of emotions, and the trickling tear spontaneously gushing from the overflowing eye bedews the cheek long hardened with care. No one thinks this strange, for that is not a wonder which is familiar to all. How much others value a good home I know not. If they yet have one, oh! let them cherish it as a heavenly boon. The little I remember of mine only makes me regret the more that it was not longer given me to enjoy. Before attaining my ninth year I was compelled by sad reverse of circumstances to leave that home. It has never been mine since-nay, for twenty years I have not had a home-have none now. If friends have been met, they are not such as in the home circle are found. If pleasant places are sometimes alloted us, they are only comparatively so when we think of home. A world of loss is theirs who lose a home-a3 glorious good is theirs who have one to enjoy.
A single passage in my own life's experience may be given, and if it awakens a response in the breasts of others in such way as to beget happy thoughts of early home, or prepare in the smallest degree the inexperienced for that trial that may not be far before them, it will not be altogether without profit. Experience makes history, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant; and history in this shape is the best teacher under which we can put ourselves.
It is now years ago since the trial came to me. We had lived pleasantly at home. But changes came. Our father was taken from us. The farm and mill and all had passed into strangers' hands. Trusting in the consolations of her religion and its Divine
Author, my mother despaired not at the sight of six fatherless children. At the same time, however, she knew full well that much depended on personal effort. Accordingly, it was determined that all but the two younger children should go out to work. Strong and ready hands and good bodies now stood us good service. We rebelled not at the necessity of work, but that it required a breaking up of the family circle. Some obtained places near home, but I had to go to the next town some miles away.
Early on an April day, the few necessary arrangements were completed, and I was compelled to leave home. The sun shone brightly, the little birds, full of new spring-life, sang cheerily, the tender grass-blades were silently growing in the yard, now already in living green, and our favorite pet-dog, Lilly, frisked about as lively as ever. But our hearts were sad. Mother's face, I well remember, was lined with shades of ill-concealed sorrow. The rest said little, while she spoke encouragingly of the future. At last the little bundle of clothes was completed and nicely tied up in a cotton handkerchief. Still I lingered-and all grew silent.
My stubborn will, until now restrained, broke bounds and, as a last resort to keep back the tears that threatened to overflood my eyes, I said determinedly, "Mother, I won't leave you and go away from home to live with them people. When I was there last summer, they did not use me well, and I don't like to live away from you and home."
With evident pain she said: "Do not talk so, my son. It must be so now. You can often come to see us. You may come in four weeks." Then, with a look I always loved, she continued: “I shall expect to hear a good report from you-which will certainly be the case so long as you remember what you were taught at home. Only be a brave, good boy, and you will do well.”
Strengthened by her confident yet half reproving tone, and ashamed that I had said what I did, I turned towards the door. The only good-bye was a hasty look of regret to all, and then my eyes grew dim with big tears, which it was my intention they should not see; and hurrying to the end of the long porch, at the south-side of the old stone house on the hill, my feet were soon tripping through the little gate that led into the orchard-and I was on my way from home. Hastening along through the rows of apple-trees, now thick with blossoms, which made the air redolent with fragrance, down near the turn of the hill I stopped to 'cast another look behind. With my sleeve I brushed away the tears to see more clearly. There stood the whole family except myself and father. Two links were now taken from the once circling chain. Three others that day also fell out. Little sister, the baby I had often fondly caressed, and my youngest brother, three years younger than myself, were farthest down the yard towards the orchard-gate. My two elder sisters and elder brother were stand
ing about the stone steps, looking down after me into the orchard. While mother was leaning with one arm upon the railing of the 'porch, and with the other hand held the corner of her apron near her eyes. There, too, was a freshet.
"Don't cry," said my little brother, as loud as his voice would allow him. In an instant I turned and was off at a run, thinking on the last words of my mother. She shall hear a good report of me, thought I, as turning the hill the scene of my home was hid from me for ever. I have never enjoyed it as my home since. Many tears followed those then shed-my pillow often has become moistened when my night-dreams renew that scene-or when the day-dream of former memory awakes the long slumbering sympathies not yet dead. Even at this distant day, a few spare tears are freely shed in memory of my early home, too early lost. Our family now can only be united in our heavenly home!
The days and nights succeeding were not the longest days in the calendar, but they certainly were long days and nights to me. Cut off from all I held dear in the world, in deep loneliness of soul, without sympathy or encouragement, my boy-spirit began the battle of life. It was a hard school, and sometimes my hopes gave way to desponding fear. But enlisted for the whole war, I knew there was no release. Since my ninth year many victories have been won-some defeats have been met-but I had half a life-time's experience before others commenced.
How well do I remember the home-sickness, in which my soul yearned for what was now lost, no more to return. When the four weeks were over, at which time my mother promised me I should come home, the privilege, valued more than gold, was ruthlessly denied. They wondered what the boy meant by wishing to go home already. Who has left home early for a hard place may not thus wonder if memory is faithful.
The last words of my mother, when I left home, have been of service to me more than once. There are many roads leading in the wrong direction. I was often tempted to walk in them; but the expectation of my mother to hear a good report of me, and her admonition to be a brave, good boy, often recalled me and gave me strength. She has not been disappointed. Her prayers, and sovereign grace, have done more than my own strength.
When we see others leaving home for the first time we can appreciate their claim for sympathy. Let all speak a kind word, encourage their hearts, and give them the benefit of intercessory prayers, that they turn not from the right path. Home thoughts often stop the straying soul.
Thus we are reminded that the sinner has left home, and is now away from home. We may remember the first time sin drove us away. Since then, many have never gone back to their heavenly
Father in true repentance. Some continue boldly in sin, "unmindful, alas! that it leads them from home." To such God's grace calls, "Return, O wanderer, return!'
WAIT A MINUTE.
Such was the exclamation of one man to another in the street yesterday.
"Wait a minute." For what he was desired to wait-whether to listen to a dainty bit of scandal, or to transact some item of business we know not, we only heard the words, "Wait a minute,' and we passed on our way, thinking the while, however, that we had picked a real pearl of a text for future use.
"Wait a minute." The world is much given to waiting. All of us are apt to loiter in the path of Effort. The least obstruction dampens our ardor, and we will sit down to "wait a moment," hoping that shortly some angel will beat down the impediment, and lead us safely forward. It matters not how important may be the work we have to do, the moment an idling brother calls upon us to "wait a minute," we pause from our labor, and leaving our weapons let the precious moments slip away unimproved, unsanctified. "Wait a minute.' Not a man of us does not some time or other put up this cry. Duty calls, but we bid it wait. Pleasure beckons, but we are not quite ready to embrace her. Virtue summons us, but we stand upon the order of going, asking her to bear yet a little while with our delay. And so we go through life, squandering our time and opportunities, making all things that can, wait upon our indolence.
"Wait a minute." Brother heed not the cry. It is that siren, sweet it may be, but luring to death and ruin. Pause not in your march towards the Last Rest. Do what you have to do, instantly and earnestly; lift your banner boldly upon the air, and push straight on towards the goal. Do otherwise-pause whenever a neighbor bids you "wait a moment," and you will prove but a cumberer of our Master's ground, passing away at last unhonored and unsung. Let no one who has a good work to perform waste a single minute of the time alloted him.
To feel oppressed by obligation, is only to prove that we are incapable of a proper sentiment of gratitude. To receive favors from the unworthy, is simply to admit that our selfishness is superior to our pride. Most men remember obligations, but not often to be grateful for them. The proud are made sour by the remembrance, and the vain silent.