The minister of the parish came in to pray with him. He found him ignorant of spiritual things. He talked to him on the subject of religion,—urged him to prepare to meet God. He offered prayer by his bed-side. He left him, however, showing very little evidence of penitence, and entertaining for him very little hope.
Charles lingered along till early in March. The day of his departure came. The father and mother bent over his bed: they saw that the hopes which they entertained at his birth were now to perish. Instead of his closing their eyes in death, they were now to perform that office for him. He spoke not. Oppressive stillness reigned in the room. Not a sound was heard, save the rattling in the throat of the dying youth. The last breath was drawn; life, for a moment, quivered upon his lip. The spirit took its flight; and the poor mother, in anguish of soul, exclaimed, "He is dead!"
The way of transgressors is hard. Early did Charles Duran indulge in habits of disobedience,—early was he forgetful of God,—early did he run into the paths of vice and intemperance, and early did he go down to his grave.
Disobedience to parents is a fearful sin! Children think they know what is best for themselves. Parental restraint sometimes seems irksome to them; but God has wisely ordained that in our youth we should be under the instruction and control of our parents. Children, instead of feeling that parental control is oppressive to them, should learn to be thankful for it. It is enough for well-instructed and well-disposed children, generally, to know what the wishes of their parents are. Much of their happiness is derived from compliance with those wishes. The approbation of their parents will afford such children far more pleasure than all their forbidden indulgences.
The school history of Charles Duran will not fail, I trust, to make a suitable impression upon the minds of my youthful readers. Scholars sometimes think that it is not a great offense for them to violate the rules of their school, neglect their books, or be unkind even to some of their school-associates. So this boy thought. The result of his course is before us. All such children should know that by such a course of conduct they are laying the foundation for a bad character. They may, for awhile, escape punishment; they may not be expelled from school; they may possibly retain their places in their class; but they are acquiring those habits which, if not corrected, will bring ruin upon them by and by.
This boy’s sporting habits ought not to be lightly passed over. He was exceedingly fond of a gun. The indulgence of this passion led him into habits of idleness and cruelty. Boys should rarely, if ever, be allowed the use of fire-arms: they are always dangerous. The habits and associations to which their use leads are generally objectionable. Boys that are constantly around the brooks after little fishes, and in the woods in pursuit of little birds, had better be at their books. We always fear that idle boys will make idle men.