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tures, who seemed even more frightened and shy than sheep usually do. Dash looked at them very hard ; and his mistress guessing his thoughts, told him to walk quietly beside her. He quite well knew what she meant, and for a little walked on pretty steadily; but like a foolish dog, he kept looking at them, and probably said to himself, “ How I should like to make these foolish sheep run off!—I should not hurt them; I do think my mistress might as well let me go; what harm should I do them? At any rate, I suppose
may look a little nearer at their stupid old faces.” And so he sidled away from his mistress, and went nearer and nearer to the poor sheep.
My children, do you guess what he did next? I dare say you think that in a moment he was rushing after the sheep, and making them run away in a terrible fright. Yes, so he did. Now, think a little: have you never behaved something like Dash? Have you never thought it “ very hard' that your father or mother, or teacher, forbade you to do something or other on which you had set your hearts— have you never gone as near as you could to disobedience, and at last, almost without knowing it, found yourselves actually disobeying? For instance, I have seen children who were forbidden to go on the hearth, stand as near it as they possibly could, sometimes just putting one foot on it, and then, when called to, hardly drawing back. Such children might take warning from little Dash, and remember that they are putting themselves into temptation, as he did when he went near the sheep.
Away scampered the sheep, and away scampered naughty Dash after them. His mistress called and called; but, I am sorry to say, Dash paid no attention to her voice, till at last he was quite out of breath, and forced to stop. He then heard his mistress; and as he turned to go back to her very slowly, he began to feel very much ashamed of himself
, as could be clearly seen by the drooping of his tail and
He walked slower and slower; and when he came near his mistress, he did not go up to her, but kept a good way behind her. So she walked across the park without noticing her dog; and he never dared to come to ask her to caress him as usual. At last, as the lady had turned back on her way home, they again passed close to some other sheep. Dash this time never turned his head ; but walked on very gravely, only coming a little closer to his mistress, as if to get more out of the way of the temptation. The sheep were safely passed, and then poor Dash felt that he had now shewn he was really sorry for his fault; and he came up to his mistress, and jumped before her again, licking her hand, and playing all his old tricks, when he found she was willing to pat and caress him.
It seems to me, that if Dash may serve as a warning in his disobedience, he may serve as an example in his repentance. It is a very common thing with children, after indulging in a fit of ill-humour, or sulkiness, during which they have made all those about them very uncomfortable, to feel at last that they have done wrong, and when the inclination to be cross or obstinate has passed away, they go up to their mother or schoolmistress, and say they are sorry, and won't be so naughty again. So far they are right; but then, they expect to be taken into favour again immediately, and they themselves forget their fault entirely, and go to play with as light hearts as if they had not done wrong, or were sure that they would never do so again. The consequence is, that the next temptation finds them unprepared, and they fall into the very same fault that they were guilty of perhaps only a few hours before. Now, of course, as soon as ever we feel that we have been to blame, we must go at once to ask to be forgiven, and express our sorrow—we must not put that off for a moment; but when we have done this, we must, in the first place, not expect that at once our offence will be forgotten by those whom we have offended, though we may be readily forgiven ; and, in the next place, we must be most careful not to
forget it ourselves, but feel humbled and grieved, remembering that past sins can never be undone; and be very watchful over ourselves, lest we should fall again at the time of temptation. When, indeed, we have felt and resisted temptation, we may perhaps allow ourselves to feel more comfortable and hopeful, and less unworthy of the kindness and caresses of our friends. Do you think the story of Dash, which is quite true, will help you to remember this?
THE COURSE OF YEARS.
It is now 5842 years since God created the world. During all that time, seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night, bave never failed. They continue according to His ordinance; for all things serve Him. Once only was the order of the world disturbed, and that was when the great flood was sent upon it for the wickedness of men: when the earth was restored after the flood, God promised that He would never again send such a punishment. But the flood should be to us as a warning of that great day when the earth will be destroyed by fire: we know not when that day will come; but we should ever be watching, that, like righteous Noah, we may believe and obey, and so we may be kept safe in the ark of Christ's Church, and that no destruction may reach us.
for our improvement, let us look back to the course of years which have already passed since the world was made,-how many are yet to come we cannot know. The lights in the heavens have been for signs and seasons, and days and years, ever since the creation, and now appear as they were first created. The sun has marked out the course of 5842 years to the inhabitants of the earth. We write and talk about hundreds and thousands ; but they are almost too many to fancy.
It would take a long while to count a thousand, - much more to count up to five thousand. It quite confuses us to think of such numbers. There are several ways of reckoning years :- the first way is to reckon from the beginning of the world, downwards; and this way of reckoning is marked by two
letters, A. M., which are the first letters of two Latin words, meaning “ In the year of the world.” The number of years before the coming of our Lord are commonly marked
And as to events which happened since our Lord's coming, all Christian people count them from thence, and mark the date thus, A. D., which two letters stand for two Latin words, and mean, “ In the year of our Lord.” The date of any thing is the time when it happened,—the number of years from some other fixed time.
Here is a list of a few of the principal events that are told us in the history of the Old Testament:From the Creation to the food was about 1754 years; so the flood is said to have happened
1754 The call of Abraham
2100 The deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt
2510 The entrance into Canaan
2550 The making Saul king
2910 The building of Solomon's Temple
2995 The division of Israel and Judah The captivity of Israel
3300 The captivity of Judah
3400 Their restoration to their own country
3470 The birth of our Saviour
4000 Events during the first four centuries after the birth of our Lord.
(A century is a hundred years.) St. Paul carried captive to Rome
56 Martyrdom of St. Paul and St. Peter Destruction of Jerusalem St. John at Patmos Polycarp appointed Bishop of Smyrna by St. John St. John's death
100 St. Ignatius suffered martrydom
107 St. Polycarp suffered martyrdom
167 St. Cyprian suffered martyrdom
258 Beginning of the last persecution Christianity acknowleged by the Emperor Constantine 323 Council of Nice
325 Now these dates, which are but a few, give us a great deal to think about; and what a wonderful thought it is, that all the persons mentioned here, the patriarchs, and kings, and prophets, the apostles and saints, and all the persons who were concerned with them,-each of these souls is still alive, and awaiting the judgment-day! All the events are past; but they remain in the knowledge of God, and all will be brought to light at the great day of revealing of all things; and then each soul which has been
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concerned in these events will have to give account of the things which have been done, and will be happy for ever, or miserable for ever, according to the things they have done, whether they were good or bad. This is a most solemn thought to end with. We began by thinking of time, we end by thinking of eternity; but eternity for each one of us depends upon the spending of our time.
The Story of Nicephorus and Sapricius. About two hundred and fifty years after the birth of our Lord, there lived in Antioch two friends, named Nicephorus and Sapricius, who had loved each other for many years with brotherly affection. But for some cause that is not now known, these friends quarrelled; and their former love changed into such dislike, that they even avoided meeting in the streets. At length, however, Nicephorus repented of his anger and hatred, and entreated some of his friends to go to Sapricius, and ask him to forgive his former friend, and be reconciled at once. Sapricius was a priest, and ought therefore to have been the more ready to receive this proposal with joy; but, unhappily, he still kept his wicked feelings of enmity, and refused to listen to the entreaties of Nicephorus. Three times Nicephorus sent his friends to try to move Sapricius; but all in vain : he then went himself, and asked forgiveness in the name of our blessed Lord; still the priest turned away from him.
About this time there arose one of those great persecutions of the Christians which you have read of; and Sapricius was taken before the governor of Antioch to give an account of himself. When asked whether he was a Christian, he at once acknowledged that he was one, and also a priest. The governor then said, that the emperors had commanded that all people should sacrifice to their gods (the false gods), under pain of death.
Sapricius answered, “We Christians can worship only the one God, who has made heaven and earth: woe to the idols, who can neither hurt nor profit a man.”
He was thrown into prison, and cruelly tortured; and as he remained firm in his refusal to sacrifice to the idols, he was condemned to death.
Nicephorus was informed of all this; and the next