“So will it be with your conscience. If you don’t heed its voice, you’ll hear it speaking less loudly each day until its voice will at last cause you no discomfort. You’ll then be in a very dangerous moral condition. No one but God can help you out. This is one reason why, Bessie, many people can do things that you can not.
“Satan aimed his first blow at the conscience; for if he can silence it, then he can lead the soul deeper and deeper into sin.”
A DOWNWARD STEP.
“I have good news for you, Bessie,” said Mrs. Worthington as Bessie came skipping into the room from her play. “Your papa and I have decided to leave our little home here in Chicago and buy a home in Michigan.”
“Oh, how nice!” exclaimed Bessie, who was still in her eighth year. “Shall we live with Aunt Emma again?”
“Yes, or rather she will live with us,” said her mother, smiling. “Your auntie’s health is very poor, and she is tired of the responsibility of farming; so we’ll relieve her.”
The following weeks were happy ones for Bessie. The Lord had been good to her in many ways. He had given her a little baby brother to love and care for, and now she was about to have a pleasant home in the country. She had not forgotten the good times she had enjoyed on the farm with her little sister, and she was very eager for the month of August to come, the time when the family was to move. At last the time came to start. With beating heart Bessie counted the hours that must pass before she could run in the orchard and eat the luscious fruit.
It was late in the afternoon when the Worthington family arrived at their new home. The greetings over, Bessie was contemplating a ramble where she had noticed some large red apples hanging; but just then her aunt said, “Bessie, you must not pick any of the fruit on the place this summer, as the farm is rented and the fruit does not belong to us.” This was such a disappointment to the little girl that she could not restrain her tears.
As the days passed by, she often looked longingly toward the tree where hung the beautiful apples, but she never once thought of pulling one, for her mother had carefully taught her the great evil of stealing. “But oh!” thought Bessie, “if only one of the apples would fall upon the ground, I could pick it up, and I wouldn’t be stealing it.” With this wish in her heart, she daily watched the trees in hopes that just one would fall.
At last her hope was realized. Walking through the orchard one day after a hard wind-storm, she spied several large red apples lying in the soft sand. With a fast-beating heart, she hastened to pick them all up; and, placing them carefully in her apron, she hurried to the house, oft repeating to herself, “I didn’t steal them, for the wind blew them off.”