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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.

Two years have now passed away, since the beginning of the happy change in the life of the orphan boy.  We now find him a fine, tall youth of sixteen, as much respected as he had formerly been shunned and pitied.  His personal appearance was still as attractive as in his childhood.  He was called by many the finest looking youth in all the village of Walden.  He had attended closely to his studies, and had obtained a good English education.  During the mid-summer vacation Mr. Humphrey asked if he had turned his mind towards any particular calling in life which he wished to follow,—­

“For,” said he, “it is my intention to assist you in fitting yourself for any profession you may feel inclined to pursue.”

Ernest blushed deeply as he replied,—­

“You know, sir, the wish which my mother expressed in regard to my calling in life, and I feel a desire to fulfill her wish in the matter.  I deeply feel my unworthiness for a calling so sacred, yet I hope my unworthy services may be accepted, should I be spared to enter upon the Ministry.”

When Mr. Humphrey learned the wishes of Ernest he gladly defrayed his expenses while pursuing the studies necessary to fit him for the Ministry.

He passed through his college course with much credit to himself, and then devoted the necessary time to the study of divinity in the seminary.

CHAPTER IX.

In conclusion I would ask the reader to accompany me to what is now one of the oldest churches in the city of Boston.

It is a beautiful Sabbath morning in the balmy month of June.

Let us enter the church.  Something of more than usual interest seems to pervade the large congregation there assembled.  As we enter the church we observe in one of the front pews an aged couple, whom we at once recognize as Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey.  They are now quite aged and feeble, yet the countenance of each is cheerful and placid.  Notwithstanding their age they have made the journey of two hundred miles to be present upon this occasion.  For their beloved Earnest is this day to be set apart to the Work of the Holy Ministry by the solemn service of ordination.

When the services were closed, and Earnest came forward to accompany his aged foster parents from the church, they felt themselves more than rewarded for all the care they had bestowed upon the orphan boy; and they might have said, as did Simeon of old,—­

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servants depart in peace according to thy word, for our eyes have seen thy salvation.”

To the boys who may read this story I would say:  As you value your own well-being in time and eternity, avoid evil companions—­for these have worked the ruin of many a promising youth.

Should this little story be read by any who are mothers of families, it is my hope that it may afford them encouragement to persevere in their prayerful efforts, for the good of the immortal beings committed to their care.  The letter penned by the feeble hand of his dying mother, under the divine blessing, saved Earnest Harwood from ruin.  Let this circumstance encourage you, never to grow weary nor discouraged in your labours for the good of your children, and “ye shall in no wise lose your reward.”

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