The city clock chimed twelve, the watchman called out the last hour of the year 1830, and the interruption was grateful and salutary. With that mysterious quickness of which mind only is capable, he was dwelling on some long-closed pages of the past, painfully but profitably associated with the close of the old year and beginning of the new. Their pleasant cottage at M——; the sad event which, on the last New-Year spent there, had impressed his soul too vividly ever to be forgotten; all that his mother had told him of that pious father, of whom he would have remembered but little, but that his lifeless image was so strongly associated with New-Year’s day; her impressive admonition on the last anniversary of his death, before her own, when she had entreated him to depart not from the God of his father, but to walk so as to be able to claim the promise vouchsafed to the children of the righteous,—now came up before him, and the memory brought both comfort and strength, admonishing, too, where help, in such weakness as he felt his to be, was only surely to be found.
Our little shoemaker well knew where to apply for such strength as he needed. He knew that the Saviour said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full;” and he prayed that he might be able to resist the power of the tempter; and, in the assurance that the prayer would be heard, his soul grew calm, and he at length sunk into a quiet slumber, from which he did not awake until the morning was somewhat advanced.
It was with a feeling of terror that he beheld Jem Taylor standing by his bed. The temptation to retain the spoils of the purse for his own use was again urged; but, spiritually resolute, this time William did not waver. He was not only altogether determinate in declining to use the money for himself, or share it with Jem, in order to secure his silence, but refused to show him the purse, although he offered to advertise it. Finding him strong in his purpose, Jem left him; and as Thomas Burton came in in the course of the day, he gave the purse to him, to do as he thought best with it. Having done this, his heart felt much lightened.
RAYS OF HOPE.
From this time our poor hero began to recover; and, although hope is said to be the best physician in the world, and he had nothing now to hope for, it was surprising how rapidly he improved. The return from a sick-bed to the active duties of life, the change from the close and darkened chamber to the pure air of heaven and the glorious sunlight, has a wonderful effect in restoring health. He was soon able to make his appearance in the shop; and, to aid his entire recovery, he was permitted to be much at Thomas Burton’s, where he was really happy. It was not long before he was able to go to church and to Sabbath school. Greater than