For a while, things seemed to promise well, under the new arrangement. By and by, when the day for hunting venison came round, Jowler was sick, and told his master he couldn’t hunt that day. So his master very considerately excused him, according to the terms of their agreement.
It was not long, however, before Jowler refused to hunt for another reason. He said, he had followed his own game with such constancy and alacrity for the five days, that he was too much exhausted to hunt venison on the sixth day. He must rest from any farther fatigue; and claimed the continued indulgence of his master, by virtue of their contract.
The hunter urged in vain that Jowler had virtually violated the contract; for although it was stipulated that he should not be compelled to the chase to his personal detriment, yet it was implied, of course, that he should use the same precaution to be in hunting trim on the sixth day, as he did to be so on the other five. While the fact was, he purposely deprived himself of rest during the five days, that he might be compelled to employ the sixth as a day of rest, thus virtually appropriating the whole time to his own service.
Jowler, however, pretended not to be convinced of his wrong. Nor did his dishonesty stop here. His master soon discovered that, while he was pretending to be unable from his excessive fatigue to hunt venison, he was really continuing to hunt his own game, as on the other five days.
Thus did he go on, his old loves gaining strength day by day, and impelling him to a total disregard of his contract in order to indulge them, until his master would bear with him no longer, but drove him from his door.
Having deprived himself of the care of so good a master, he soon fell into still greater irregularities; and a neighboring shepherd, suspecting him of committing depredations upon his flock, killed him, thus terminating his vicious career.
Moral.—Excessive engagedness in worldly labors six days in the week, is no sufficient excuse for the neglect of public worship on the seventh; and a vicious love, continually indulged, is quite sure to root out even our good resolutions.
Suppose you loan a book to a friend, would you not consider it his imperative duty to take the best of care of it, as though it were his own, and return it in as good condition as it was when taken? Certainly you would. Then the same duty devolves upon you, as a member of the Sunday school. The school lends you books, and expects you to take good care of them, and return them early. This is no trifling duty. If you have a right to be negligent, every other scholar must have the same right, and the Library would be speedily ruined. Thus your negligence greatly wrongs others. Therefore, children, take care of your books.