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Story of the infant school.

The new scholar.

CHAPTER II.

THE FRIEND.

"To whom shall we go?"

THERE is a very excellent infant school in one of the chief towns of Switzerland, where many young children are collected, and placed under the care of a most kind and faithful superintendent and assistant, to receive moral and intellectual instruction. Whenever a new pupil is admitted, she looks with fear and trembling upon the strange scene before her. A large open room is filled with the children, who are seen standing in rows or collected in busy groups—while in the pleasant play-ground, verdant with grass and trees, many others are seen full of activity and happiness.

It is the custom whenever a new scholar enters the school, for the teacher to collect all the children in the great room, extending them in a line around it; then he walks into the midst of them, leading the little stranger by the hand, and something like the following conversation ensues.

Teacher. Here is a little girl who has come to join our school. She is a stranger, and is afraid. Will you all promise to treat her kindly?"

Pupils. (All answering together.) "Yes, sir, we will." Teacher. "She has told me that she will try to be a good girl and to do her duty; but sometimes she will forget, I am afraid, and sometimes she will yield to temptation and do wrong. Now which of the older children will be her little

The protector appointed.

Power and sympathy.

friend, to be with her for a few days till she becomes acquainted with the school, and tell her what she ought to do, and help her to watch herself, that she may avoid doing wrong?"

Several voices at once. “I will, I will, sir.”

The teacher then selects from those who thus volunteer, one of the best and oldest children, and constitutes her the friend and protector of the stranger. The protector and her charge become thenceforth constant companions. They are together wherever they go. A strong mutual attachment springs up between them. If the stranger is injured in any way, the protector feels aggrieved: kindness shown to one touches almost as effectually the other, and thus the trembling stranger is guided and encouraged, and led on to duty and to strength by the influence of her protector, though that protector is only another child.

We all need a protector, especially in our moral interests. The human heart seems to be formed to lean upon something stronger than itself for support. We are so surrounded with difficulties and temptations and dangers here, that we need a refuge in which we can trust. Children find such a protector and such a refuge in their parents. How much safer you feel in sickness if your father or your mother is by your bedside. How often, in a summer evening, when a dark heavy cloud is thundering in the sky, and the window glitters with the brightness of the lightning, do the children of a family sigh for their father's return, and feel relieved and almost safe when he comes among them. But when man is mature he can find no earthly protector. He must go alone unless he has a friend above.

A protector and friend ought to possess two distinct qualifications, which it is very difficult to find united. He ought to be our superior both in knowledge and power, so that we can confide in his protection; and yet he ought to be in the

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A sure protector.

same circumstances with ourselves, that he may understand and appreciate our trials and difficulties.

Now my object in this chapter is to endeavor to show my readers that they need, and that they can have, just such a protector and friend as is above described, one that has power to save to the uttermost, and yet one that knows by his own experience all their trials and cares. It is certain that if any of you go now and confess your sins to God, and begin a life of piety, that you will, without aid from above, wander away into sin, forget your resolutions, displease God more than ever, and more than ever destroy your own peace of mind. I wish, therefore, to persuade all those who desire henceforth to do their duty, to come now and unite themselves in indissoluble bonds with the moral protector and friend, whose character I am about to describe.

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, 2d chapter and 16th verse, there occurs the following remarkable passage :"For verily he," that is, Christ, "took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God." Here you see how the two qualifications named above were united in our Savior. He might have come from heaven and died upon the cross to make atonement for our sins, without suffering, as he did, so long a pilgrimage below, as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." But he came and lived here thirty years, tasting of every bitter cup which we have to drink, in order that he might know by experience all our trials and troubles, and be able more effectually to sympathize with us and help us. He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham, that is, the nature of man. I wish my readers would pause and reflect a moment upon these two elements in the character of a valuable protector,

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Story of the sailor boy.

The captain's want of sympathy.

—namely, power and sympathy, and consider how seldom they are united. I will give one or two examples which may help to illustrate the subject.

A mother with a large family, and with but slender means to provide for their wants, concluded to send her eldest son to sea. She knew that though the toils and labors of a seafaring life were extreme, they could be borne, and that they brought with them many pleasures and many useful results. She agreed, therefore, with a sea captain, a distant relative of hers, to admit her boy on board his ship. The captain became really interested in his new friend-said that he would take good care of him, teach him his duty on shipboard, and help him on in the world, if he was diligent and faithful.

The boy looked with some dread upon the prospect of bidding farewell to his mother, to his brothers and sisters, and his quiet home, to explore unknown and untried scenes, and to encounter the dangers of a stormy ocean. He however bade all farewell, and was soon tossing upon the waters, feeling safe under his new protector. He soon found, however, that the captain, as a protecting friend, had power, but that he had not sympathy. He would sometimes, in a stormy night, when the masts were reeling to and fro, and the bleak wind was whistling through the frozen rigging, compel him to go aloft, though the poor boy, unaccustomed to the giddy height, was in an agony of terror, and in real danger of falling headlong to the deck. The captain had forgotten what were his own feelings when he was himself a boy, or he would probably have taught this necessary part of seamanship in a more gentle and gradual manner. He thought that the boy ought to learn to go aloft, and his want of sympathy with the feelings of one so young, led him to a course which was severe, and in fact cruel, though not intentionally so.

The little ship.

The captain a real friend.

The captain never spoke to his young charge, excepting to command him. He took no interest in his boyish thoughts and feelings. Once the boy spent all his leisure time industriously in rigging out a little ship complete. "This," thought he, "will please the captain. He wants me to learn, and this will show him that I have been learning." As he went on, however, from day to day, the captain took no notice of his work. A word or a look of satisfaction from his protector would have gratified him exceedingly. But no ;the stern, weather-beaten officer could not sympathize with a child or appreciate his feelings at all; and one day when the boy had been sent away from his work on some brief errand, the captain came upon deck, and after looking around a moment, he said to a rough-looking man standing there, "I say, Jack, I wish you would clear away a little here: coil those lines and that boy's bauble there, you may as well throw it overboard; he never will make any thing of it.'

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Commands on board ship must be obeyed; and the poor cabin-boy came up from below just in time to catch the captain's words, and to see his little ship fly from the sailor's hands into the waves. It fell upon its side-its sails were drenched with the water, and it fast receded from view. The boy went to his hammock and wept bitterly. His heart was wounded deeply, but the stern captain did not know it. How could he sympathize with the feelings of a child?

And yet this captain was the real friend of the boy. He protected him in all great dangers, and took good care of him when in foreign ports, that he should not be exposed to sickness or to temptation. When they returned home he recommended him to another ship, where, through the captain's influence, he had a better situation and higher wages,-and he assisted him in various ways for many years. This boy had thus a protector who possessed power, but not sympathy.

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