In consequence of this subdued spirit and a greater readiness to obey, his harsh guardians relaxed so far as to yield to the persuasions of the good watchman, and suffered him to go on Sunday afternoons to church and Sabbath school, as well as sometimes to spend the evening with himself.
And this, dear reader, proved like a fountain of sweet water in the wilderness; and, as an oasis in the desert, furnished rest and refreshing, which strengthened him to bear up against the hardships and trials of the week. And as, in hearing the Scriptures expounded and learning their soul-comforting lessons, the word, as the Psalmist says, became “hidden in his heart,” it proved more precious to him than the “gold of Ophir.” It taught him to guard against the deceitfulness of his own heart; to discern temptation, however speciously veiled; pointed out the way to escape when sorely beset; and showed him where, when “weary and heavy laden,” to seek for rest. Duty was made plain; and, taught to understand his own errors, he also understood by what means to guard against them. He now walked according to the scriptural rule, and found his reward in the peace promised unto those “whose mind is stayed on God, and trust him.”
SUNSHINE AND SHADOW.
Mrs. Bradley, the wife of the market gardener, was a kind-hearted woman, and William having often been sent to her house with shoes, an acquaintanceship grew up between them, which, our hero found, turned out most unexpectedly to his advantage.
As she stood or sat in her place at the corner, surrounded by her fresh vegetables, for which she had always plenty of customers, she often found herself in want of some one whom she could trust to carry a bunch of asparagus or a basket of spinach to some purchaser’s house. From what she had seen of William, she was assured he would do an errand faithfully; and although he could not come regularly, she often waited for his appearing rather than trust another. For these little services she always paid him liberally, and had he been less conscientious than he was, he might have turned this kindness to considerable advantage; but his conscience told him he must not neglect his master’s business.
He mentioned this to the good woman, who, seeing its propriety, was careful only to give him such commissions as he could fulfil without wasting the time belonging to his employer; her good opinion being only increased by his scrupulous fear of doing wrong.
Very happy indeed he was to have some money of his own. Mr. Walters, being somewhat ashamed of his conduct as exhibited before Jem Taylor and the watchman, had never since asked him what he got from the customers; but Mrs. Walters often borrowed our hero’s change, as she said,—but which loans were never repaid. William, however, true to his resolution of adhering to the truth, never denied having money