Stories Worth Re-Reading

Read and Listen

46. The Sin Of Extravagance' // ' 47. A Little Child's Work''

"It may be a folly, but you would not think of calling extravagance a sin?" asked a young man of his minister.''

"I do not care to offend you by harsh terms, but if we agree that it is a folly, that is reason enough for wishing to be wiser."''

"But it is very easy to spend money when one is with others, and one does not like to be called 'tight.'"''

"John," said the minister, "I do not propose to argue with you, but I want to tell you two stories, both of them true, recent, and out of my own experience. They will illustrate the reason why, knowing you as well as I do, having baptized you and received you into the church, I cannot view without concern your growing extravagance, and the company into which it leads you, and the interests from which it tends to separate you.''

"A few months ago a young man came to this city, and spent his first days here under my own roof. I have known his father for many years, an earnest, faithful man, who has denied himself for that boy, and prayed for him, and done everything that a father ought.''

"I chance to remember a word which his father spoke to me a number of years ago, when the boy was a young lad, and was recovering from a sickness that made it seem possible he would need a change of climate. I happen to remember meeting his father, who told me of this, and how he was arranging in his own mind to change his business, to make any sacrifice, to move to the ends of the earth, if necessary, for that boy's sake.''

"The boy is not a bad boy. But he had not been in my home an hour before he asked me for the address of a tailor, and when his new suit came,—a suit which I thought he might very well have waited to earn,—it was silk-lined throughout. I do not believe the suit which his father wears as he passes the plate in church every Sunday is silk-lined.''

"I knew what the boy was to earn, and could estimate what he could afford, and I knew that he could not buy that suit out of his own earnings.''

"I had a letter from his father a few days ago. Shall I read it to you? It is very short. It reads as follows:—''

"'MY DEAR FRIEND: I hope you will never know how hard it is for me to write to you to say that you must not under any circumstances lend money to my dear boy.'''

"And those last three words make it the more pathetic.''

"The second story, too, is recent. Another boy, from another State, came to this city, and for the first few Sundays attended our church. We tried to interest him in good things; we liked him, and did our best for him. I saw little in him to disturb me, except that he was spending more money than I could think he earned. Recently I received a letter from his father. It is longer, and I will not read it, but will tell you the substance of it. He wrote saying that his son was employed in a business where, with economy, he ought to be able to make a living from the start, and with hope for advancement, but that from the first week he had written home for money. Not only so, but the father had all too good reason to believe that the boy was still leaving bills unpaid. The father wrote to ask me whether he could not arrange with some one connected with the church to receive the boy's money from home week by week, and see that it was applied to the uses for which it was sent. He added that he would be glad to consider himself a contributor to the church during the period of this arrangement.''

"I had little hope that any arrangement of this kind would help matters, but I took it as indicating that the boy needed looking after, and I sent at once to look him up. Where do you think we found him?—In jail.''

"These are not imaginary stories, nor are they of a remote past. And I see other young men for whom I am anxious. Wear the coat a little longer, but pay for it out of your own money. Be considered 'tight' if necessary, but live within your means. It is good sense; more than that, it is good religion.''

"And now I will answer your question, or rather, you may answer it: Is extravagance merely a folly, or is it also a sin? What do you think?"—Youth's Companion.''

47. A Little Child's Work''

Near one of the tiny schoolhouses of the West is a carefully tended mound, the object of the tenderest interest on the part of a man known far and wide as "Preacher Jim," a rough, unministerial-looking person, who yet has reached the hearts and lives of many of the men and women in that region, and has led them to know the Master whom he serves in his humble fashion.''

Twenty years ago Preacher Jim was a different man. Rough and untaught, his only skill was shown by the dexterity with which he manipulated the cards that secured to him his livelihood. Then, as now, he was widely known, but in those days his title was "Gambler Jim."''

It was during a long, tiresome trip across the Rockies that a clergyman and his wife, having undressed their little boy and tucked him snugly into his berth, repaired to the observation-car in order to watch the November heavens.''

An hour passed swiftly; then suddenly a rough-looking fellow made his way toward the group of which the clergyman was one.''

"Anybody here got a kid what's dressed in a red nightgown and sings like a bird?" he demanded, awkwardly.''

The father and mother sprang excitedly to their feet, gasping in fear. The man nodded reassuringly.''

"The' ain't nothing the matter of him," he said, with yet deeper embarrassment. "The matter's with—us. You're a parson, ain't you? The kid, he's been singin' to us—an' talkin'. If you don't mind, we'd take it mighty good of you to come with me. Not you, ma'am. The kid's all safe, an' the parson'll bring him back in a little while."''

With a word to his wife, the minister followed his guide toward the front of the train, and on through car after car until thirteen of them had been traversed. As the two men opened the door of the smoking compartment, they stopped to look and listen.''

Up on one of the tables stood the tiny boy, his face flushed, his voice shrill and sweet.''

"Is you ready?" he cried, insistently. "My papa says the Bridegroom is Jesus, an' he wants everybody to be ready when he comes, just 'cause he loves you." Then, with a childish sweetness, came the song which had evidently made the deepest impression upon the child's mind: "Are you ready for the Bridegroom when he comes?"''

"He's sung it over 'n' over," whispered the clergyman's companion, "'nd I couldn't stan' no more. He said you'd pray, parson."''

As the two approached, the boy lifted his sweet, serious eyes to his father's.''

"They want to get ready," he said, simply. And, his boy snuggled childishly in his arms, the minister prayed, as he never had prayed before, for the men gathered about the child.''

It was only a few moments before the clergyman bore the child back to the sleeping-car, where the mother anxiously awaited his coming. Then he returned to talk with the men, four of whom that night decided to "get ready," and among them was, of course, the man who sought out the father of the child, Gambler Jim.''

To this day it remains a mystery how the child succeeded in reaching the smoking-car unnoticed and unhindered.''

As for the little fellow himself, his work was early done, for a few weeks later, upon the return trip through the mountains, he was suddenly stricken with a swift and terrible disease, and the parents tenderly laid the little form under the sod near the schoolhouse where Preacher Jim now tells so often the story, which never grows old.—Youth's Companion.''

Christ Is Coming''

  Little children, Christ is coming,
    Coming through the flaming sky,
  To convey his trusting children
    To their glorious home on high''

  Do you love the Lord's appearing?
    Are you waiting for the day
  When with all his shining angels
    He will come in grand array?''

  All who keep the ten commandments
    Will rejoice his face to see;
  But the wicked, filled with anguish,
    From his presence then will flee''

  Now while yet probation lingers,
    Now while mercy's voice is heard,
  Haste to give your heart to Jesus,
    Seek to understand his Word''

  Quickly help to spread the message,
    You to Christ some soul may turn.
  Though the multitudes his goodness
    And his tender love may spurn.''

  Little children, Christ is coming,
    Even God's beloved Son;
  When in glory he descendeth,
    Will he say to you, "Well done"?''

Dora Brorsen

 Index of Stories // Return