14. “I was so unhappy that I called Betsy, and told her how I felt. She told me it was an accident, and no matter at all; that she had taken care of my clothes, and she believed you would never know anything about it.
15. “But all this was no comfort to me; the something within would not be quiet. If it had spoken to me in the same way when I first saw the little ship, I think I should not have gone to the pond.”
16. “Frank,” said his mother, “this something within, which is conscience, did then speak, but you did not listen to its voice. The voice of temptation was louder, and you obeyed it, just as you followed some noisy boys, the other day, though I was calling to you, ’Frank, come back.’
17. “I spoke louder than usual, and at any other time you would have heard my voice; but you were too much attracted by the boys to listen to me.
18. “Temptation makes us deaf to the voice within; and yielding to temptation, as you see, my son, leads us into sin; and this is why we pray, in the Lord’s prayer, ’Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,’ which is sin, for there is no greater evil than sin.
19. “It is to keep us from this great evil that God has given us this voice within, to warn us not to follow temptation, though the sin appear but a trifling one, and though it hold out the promise of pleasure, as the little ship did.”
The same subject, continued.
1. “I will name some of the temptations to which little boys are a good deal exposed, and yield to without thinking, and sometimes without knowing to what they may lead.
2. “Sometimes the temptation to steal comes in the form of some beautiful fruit; perhaps in his father’s garden, which he has been forbidden to touch; or perhaps in an orchard far from the eye of the owner, where he might take it without fear of being seen; and he says to himself, ‘No one will ever know it; I will take only a few.’
3. “But does he forget that the eye of God is upon him, and does he not hear the voice of conscience saying, ‘Thou shalt not steal!’ He would shudder to be called a thief; but taking what does not belong to us, be it ever so small a thing, is stealing.
4. “And when detected, he is tempted to lie, to conceal his fault and avoid punishment; and here again we see how one sin leads to another. The temptations to cruelty are many. Sometimes they appear in the form of a bird’s nest, placed by a fond and loving mother on the high bough of a tree, to secure her young brood from danger.
5. “The boy, in his rambles in the woods, sees the nest, climbs the tree, and, though the little birds are too feeble to fly, and the anxious mother flutters round, as if to entreat the cruel boy to spare her little ones, he is unmindful of her tenderness, and, thinking only of his prize, bears it off to his companions, who enjoy it with him.