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prisoners either. The thought of their condi-
tion mingled with the prayers of the night.
The recollection of their condition mingled
with the earliest prayers of the morning, too;
and Amos wondered what could be done. He
did not wish to avert the punishment from
the heads of the two elder brothers. But he
thought of the lonely, desolate old woman, with
no one to live for, no one to love, no one to
cherish, should they all be condemned ; and he
did long to save her youngest for her. But
how could it be done ? As to Farmer Purton,
in whose house the burglary had been com-
mitted, he was inflexible because he was
stolid. He had acute feelings for all the lower
animal wants and gratifications, but was slow
in following the more divine and holy in-
stincts of our nature. He was a surly, purse-


proud farmer, alive to all the necessity of re-
venge, but not to the sacred blessedness of
forgiveness. Ordinarily he was like iron, cold
and unbending. His passions made him like
iron heated to redness ; and in such a state he
had committed many acts of petty cruelty,
which were not forgotten in the village when
his name was mentioned. It did not seem as
though there was much to be expected from
his sympathy; and yet Amos had the daring
to believe that he could enlist him, in some
measure, in the widow's cause; for, after all,
the farmer was not a bad man. He was a hard
man, one of those men who are to be managed
with a very gentle bit, principally by letting
them have their own way. He had pride, self-
will and vanity too, an awkward mixture to
manage; but, like all strongly animal natures,
he had considerable timidity when brought into
contact with a mind of superior strength.

Well, Amos determined on seeing and laying
his hand on this bar of red-hot iron. So, very
soon after breakfast, he seized his stick, and
started along on his cheerful, thoughtful,
lonely way. He was a privileged person.
He did not presume on this; but no one
ever thought of treating him with less re-


spect than the squire or minister. He was,
indeed, usually called Amos ; but the respect
was a great deal more substantial than in
mere verbal compliments. It was shown in
regard to his opinions and in deference to his
character. He walked into the house at South-
field, and sat down. The farmer little thought
of the purpose of his visit, and received him
very graciously, and the farmer's wife brought
out some gooseberry wine and made him take
a glass, with a slice of bread-and-butter.

" We must come to it at last," thought Amos,
"and the sooner the better."

" This robbery is a bad business," said he.
But Amos had made a false move. The farmer
went off into a violent fit of passion.

" Ay, it is a bad business, the rascals,
the villains ! The only satisfaction I have in
the matter is, that they'll all suffer for it, if
there's any law to make 'em." And the farmer,
his face getting more and more red with the
excitement of passion, moved his fingers to
and fro, as if he would like to officiate in pun-
ishing them.

Amos said they were certainly very bad
fellows, and a number of rather sarcastic pro-
verbs came to his tongue, but he commanded


them back again. "I've seen poor widow Gib-
bons/' said Amos. " She is in a wretched way."

" Poor widow Gibbons, indeed ! I am
afraid, Blake, you've been going there and
coming here with some of your velvet rub-
bish. I hope not; I hope not; for, if so, the
sooner you leave off talking the better."

"Well, farmer," said Amos, "I have come
to see if any thing could be done for the
widow ; and I do think that if any thing is
done you must have a very considerable hand
in doing it."

"It's all a precious heap of rubbish, Amos,
it's all your velvet rubbish. I won't listen
to a word of it, not a word of it ! I'm very
glad to see you here, always glad to see you
and Melly to tea, or any thing, any day, but I
won't hear any thing about this infernal pack
of robbers and burglars. What is law made
for, I should like to know, if they are not to
be punished ? Who's to be safe in their beds ?
As to the old woman, she's as bad as they are.
Will anybody persuade me that this has all
been going on and she know nothing about it ?
Nonsense ! I ought to have had a warrant
out for her too, and give her a taste of prison-
life. Besides, all the things are not found,

Aad the farmer put his hands in his pockets and began to stride to
and fro through the room. p. 7j.


and I don't know whether I shall get them
back. As to my money, that's gone, gone for
good and all ; and I suppose you are coming
here to persuade me not to prosecute. No,
no, Mr. Amos! no, no!" And the farmer,
having worked himself up into a high state
of passion, put his hands in his pocket and
began to stride to and fro through the room.

"You very much mistake the object of my
visit," said Amos. "You have not allowed
me to say why I have called on you; but I
will say at once, that if I could save the
young men I would not do it."

"I'm glad to hear you say that much/' said
the farmer.

" I don't want to know of their being near
the village again. I believe they want to learn
some severe lessons which a prison only can
teach them, and I hope that they may have an
opportunity of being what they never will be

" I tell you," roared the farmer, "I wish I
could have them hung, sir !"

" Well, I don't believe you would if you had
your will, after thinking about it two or three
days; but, if you could have them hung, it
would not be a nice thing to dream about,


Farmer Purton : it would not be a very plea-
sant thought for your fireside on a winter's
night, and on your death-bed. In your last
prayers it would not be a very happy thing
to be able to say, 'Lord, I come to thee for
mercy : I need it very much. I have done
little good in the world, but I can say that I
got two or three of my fellow-creatures, made
in thine image, hung !' But I know you better,
Farmer Purton ; and I believe you would rather
save them than hang them."

" Hang me if I would !" said the farmer.

" I know better," said Amos.

The farmer walked away from the room.

It was between eleven and twelve in the
day. The farmer's wife, a notable old body,
continued bustling about the room in farm-
house work. She stopped short, and said,
"Amos, I must say, although I don't wish
harm to a creature under the sun, I am not
sorry those vagabonds are caught."

"The way of transgressors is hard," said
Amos. "They deserve their punishment; but
how few of us meet with our deserts !"

" But," said the farmer's wife, " I do not like
the thought of treating the lad severely : he


might mend, there's no knowing ; he might

"Why," said Amos, thankfully, "that is
the very thing I want to talk to the farmer
about. I don't want to say a word for the
young men, but the lad, the lad, now, I should
like to give him one more chance to help his
poor old mother. But when the trial is over,
supposing the lad should escape, who will em-
ploy him. What is to be done?"

"I'll tell you what, Amos: when the farmer
comes back he'll be quite different from what
he was when he went out; and you must stick
up to him, and tell him that he must recom-
mend the lad to mercy and promise judge
and jury to take him into his house and em-
ployment. I've seen the lad, there's some-
thing to be made of him: you work that
screw, and if you don't find me help you now,
I will after you are gone : never fear."

" Why, the Lord of heaven bless you in your
basket and your store," said Amos; "that's
the very thing I wanted to propose myself:
it is the only way to save the lad, but I've
been afraid to speak it."

" Never fear," said the farmer's wife : " it
will be done."


The farmer came back again in a little
while, and sat in the chimney-corner. He took
up his pipe, which was a good sign. He asked
Amos to take a pipe with him, and Amos did
not say nay, though he did not indulge him-
self in that foolish and hurtful habit. " Now,"
said the farmer, "it's no use saying any thing
more about that affair : I'll never recommend
those vagabonds to mercy; it would not be

" I don't think it would," said Amos ; " I
don't want you to do it."

" Then what do you want me to do ?"

"I want you to help to save the boy, the
young fellow!"

" He's as bad as the rest of them. I knew
they could not have got into the house but for
him : they pitched him over the wall like a
kitten; he crept into the house through a
hole in the cheese-loft. He's as bad as the
rest of them: they all deserve hanging to-
gether !"

Amos was afraid to reply, as a single wrong
word might set the whole place in a flame
again. But he said, " He's had a bad train-
ing, farmer ; those wild chaps might frighten
him to any thing. Suppose little Bobby, who


used to sit on my knee, had been born a bro-
ther of their's, they might have made him do
as they made the boy do."

Little Bobby was in heaven ; but he was a
great pet of the farmer, his father ; so that,
although he pretended to be taking something
out of his eye, I don't think there was any
thing in it but a tear that had somehow wan-
dered to that rocky place ; and it is no matter
of surprise that the corner of her apron was
in requisition by the farmer's wife for the
same purpose. But Amos did not see all this,
of course, though he knew that he had touched
a tender chord, and that it had served his
cause. " So, farmer," said Amos, " you will
recommend the lad warmly to mercy; you'll
do it as you can do a thing when you deter-
mine that it shall be done; and, if those re-
probate fellows are away, we will try and do
something with him. I have been anxious
about this, because the trial comes on the
week after next. But there's something else
I want to say. What is to be done with the lad
after ? Who is to take him ?"

"I don't know," said the farmer. "That's
your look-out, Mr. Blake." But the farmer
knew what was coming, and when a man like


the farmer does a thing, it is generally not
done by halves. "Forgiveness is sweet wine"
and when a man takes one glass he generally
smacks his lips after a second.

"Farmer Purton," said Amos, "tell the
judge and the jury, next week, that you re-
commend the lad to mercy, because he is the
last child of his widowed mother, and she
must not be left destitute. Say that you be-
lieve as you most truly may that he was
not so much led to do it as compelled by his
elder brothers ; and wind up all by saying that
you will take him upon your farm, and em-
ploy him, if they will liberate him."

Some men who never step out of the way
of life to perform a single good or charitable
office are at times fairly surprised into a good
deed. I. believe it was so with Farmer Purton
that morning. " I'll do it," said he ; " I'll do it,
Amos. I'll give you my word I'll do it; but,
upon my word, you've been cutting out your
yards of velvet, as you call it, this morning !"

The trial came on. The elder prisoners were
convicted. The other lad came to Farmer
Purton's, and Mrs. Purton watched him like
a mother. He grew up a true, honest labourer,
and is now a farmer in a small way. The old



widow Gibbons found happiness in her old
days. Amos begged for some washing for
her, and she did very well with it, and had
the happiest home she had known for years.
And Amos blessed God for the success which
had attended him in the working of his velvet


lmb g^mos font! to % prison, anh

AMOS often went to the jail : it was at some
few mibs' distance from the village where he
lived, but he walked over to it, and all were
glad to know he had come. The keeper and
the turnkeys liked to hear him talk to the
prisoners. The chaplain of the jail always
asked him to speak after prayers to them;
and to the poor prisoners it was always a
pleasant opportunity, for he had something
amusing something new and interesting to
tell. He always gave a number of his stories
and proverbs, and brought a smile over the
dark place and the dark faces in it. When
those poor Gibbons boys were there, Amos
went over to see them, and I was privileged to
go with him ; and the chaplain, as usual, asked
him to talk to the prisoners. So he did; and
of course he began to talk about velvet. Dear


old Amos could not get on long without a
velvet lesson, and he began, " My dear friends,
my dear unhappy friends, (for I do not talk to
you so much as prisoners,) you have not
hurt me, and I am not your keeper, nor a
turnkey. I am a poor friend of your's, who
would do you all good. I cannot see you, but
I know that you are here in different compart-
ments, men and women, confined for your
offences. We are all of one family, and I only
speak to you to soothe you, to comfort you,
to do you good. I should like to produce in
you good thoughts and desires : indeed, /can-
not do it, but God can use me, by his Holy
Spirit, so that I shall not speak to you in vain.
I have often said to you, I love velvet. You
laugh at me, perhaps. I am blind ; I cannot
see ; but I can feel, and I love the touch of it.
But, if I could see, I should love to look at
beautiful velvet, beautiful, soft, shining, crim-
son or purple or black velvet; and if I could
hang before your eyes a large, a very large
crimson velvet curtain, and with great gold
letters upon it, you would all say, How beau-
tiful ! Now, there are some texts in the Bible
so beautiful to me that they look like that.
They are golden letters on crimson velvet.


They are soft, and warm, and bright. I will
tell you one that I should like to print so
for all the whole wide world to see. It is
this : recollect it : ' GOD WAS IN CHRIST RE-

"All the Bible is in that text, and all the
words of it are velvet words. There is the
first, ' GOD.' Most of you have forgotten
God ; but when you think about him, and ask
who he is, then you find that ' GOD is LOVE.'
How beautiful, when the warm sunshine comes
to my face ! I feel how bright it is, although
I cannot see; and I say, 'God is love.' When
I feel the soft wind go by me and blow on my
cheeks, I feel it so pleasant, and I say, l God
is love.' When I sometimes feel very un-
happy because I cannot see to read, or look at
any of the beautiful things about me, I say,
'God is love.' I like to keep constantly run-
ning my memory and my mind over that : I
know there is a God, and that God is love;
and the knowledge that it is quite true enters
into my soul, and it is warm on my heart, and
I cannot see, but I know that God is love, and
that knowledge is worth more to me than
many eyes. By it I see things I could not


see with the eyes, nor with many eyes. Yes,
my dear suffering friends, God made all things,
and 'God is love.'

" But, you will say to me, how is it, if God
is love, that there is so much misery in the
world? Why, because man has left God,
because he has chosen his own way rather
than God's way. Why are you here? what
makes the difference between you and me,
between the people outside the prison and the
people in it? Why, is it not that you have
done wrong? You have done wrong to your
fellow-men; but we have all, all done wrong
to God, for we have all left him and ' turned
every one to his own way;' and as 'God is
love,' and to be near him is love, we have,
by forsaking him, become hateful to ourselves,
and so we are 'hating one another.'

" In a very distant country there lived once
a great man. He was a very rich person in-
deed, and had a magnificent house, and large
possessions, gardens and parks and fields,
'and all sorts of beautiful animals, and lovely
birds, and kind and dear and good compa-
nions. And he had a son, to whom he said,
'All this is thine, my dear son; all mine is
thine : go where you will, and do what you


will, you are always safe so long as you are in
my grounds. Pluck my fruit, enjoy my fields :
they are very wide and very large ; there is
no fear of your being too confined. But, re-
member, you must not go out of my gates : if
you go out of my gates, there are robbers and
wild beasts ; there is a dark, wild country ;
and, my son, those robbers will make you one
of themselves, and be very glad to injure me,
as they will believe they can do, by making
you their prisoner and trying to make you
like themselves.'

"And the young man wandered about the
grounds, but he longed to see the walls and
the gates; he longed to know how large his
father's garden was. Many days he went to
the gates ; and once, as he stood by the walls,
he saw one of the robbers climbing up. ' Come
to us,' said he, ' come to us : we are very merry
out here; come and be merry too.' So the
young man left his father's house and park
and gardens, and went to live among the rob-
bers. Ah, he soon repented his choice; but
then he had lost sight of the gates, the way
was so dark, the country so terrible, so full of
beasts and rocks. 'Oh, I am miserable,' said
he, 'I am miserable! Oh that I had never


left my father's house!' "Was the father to
blame because the son was miserable and un-
happy? Whose fault was it that he was so?
My dear friends, we are all the children of the
son who left his Father's house. God was our
Father. He made man upright, and then he
was happy. But he left his Father's house,
he broke through his Father's gate, he picked
his Father's lock, and ever since he has been
miserable. The whole world is now like the
country full of robbers and wild creatures out-
side the rich man's palace.

"And when the son left his home, whom did
he offend? Did he offend the robbers? He
offended his father. You are here because you
have offended your country's laws. But I want
to call your attention away from that. When
David did evil, once, he looked up to God, and
said, ' Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight.' He had
offended, and grievously offended, man, as
many of you have done, and deserved to be
punished ; but it was his sin before God
that afflicted him: 'Against thee have I
sinned.' Thus, the misery of the world comes
from man's being ' filled with his own way/
and not from God's way being one of harsh-

88 B L I N D A M S.

ness and severity. The misery of the world
arises from men's having 'left their Father's
house' and having 'gone into the far country.'
"'But/ you will say, 'is there any hope for
us at all? May we ever get back to our
Father's house again ?' Yes. What do the gold
letters on the crimson velvet say ? ' GOD WAS
IN CHRIST.' When you were little children,
you, all of you, used to read about Christ,
some of you by your father's or your mother's
knee, some of you to your teachers at school.
But some of you do not know much about him ;
you never read his life. Well, it's like this:
when the good, kind, loving, powerful Father
found that his son could not and would not
come back to him again, he went outside the
great gates of his house to find and to bring
back his son. This is what is meant by it.
'God was in Christ.' I heard, a great many
years ago, of a little child that was stolen from
a rich nobleman by some kidnappers : they
stole the child for its beautiful and valuable
clothes, and they stole it to bring it up in sin
and make it just like themselves, a thief.
Well, the nobleman advertised, and searched,
and sent messengers about the country, but he
could not find his child. At last he thought

B L I N D A M S. 89

he found some trace of him ; and what do you
think he did ? He disguised himself like one of
those very thieves; he learned their language;
he used their slang; he let his beard grow,
and his hair became matted, and he dressed
himself in ragged and wretched garments,
and fed on their coarse and poor food ; for he
was determined to save his son. He followed
them, he adopted their low-life ways, he saw
their sins. He did not go among them to
inform against them, or to seek their punish-
ment; he did not go among them to partake
of their sins : he went among them to seek
and to save his son, and the story tells us
that he found him and saved him. ' God was in
Christ.' He was seeking to save his children
who had fallen into the hands of robbers.

" Christ was in the form of man; he took on
himself the form of a servant, he lived among
the robbers, but 'he did no sin, neither was
guile found in his mouth.' 'Herein was love,
not that we loved God, but that God loved
us, and sent his Son to die for us.' The
Jews used to say that there were three kinds
of people in the world. Righteous men, just
men, that is, persons who paid their debts
and acted honourably, and no more. Then


there were good men, persons who not only
acted honourably, but lovingly; who not
merely paid their debts, but who gave to the
world tenderness, kindness and love. For
such a man some, said Paul, would even dare
to die; but God commended his love towards
us, in that when we were neither just, nor
righteous, nor good, nor loving, Christ died
for us. He died for the ungodly. Now, then,
for the third of the velvet words : ' God was
in Christ RECONCILING.' That is to some of
you rather a hard word : it means bringing
two people together who were enemies; and it
is such a beautiful word, making friends
again, and it is so wonderful, when you try
to find out what it means. There is one word
you would all like to hear pronounced in
your ears. What is the word ? Why, Pardon.
Well, ' God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven us/
There was no other way by which pardon could
come. Don't you see that when once a man
has done wrong no doing right can ever mend
the wrong ? When I was a child, my mother
had a very peculiar china tea-cup, which she
valued very much, and I was so unfortunate as
to break it. Well, it was put together again.
It was mended with some cement; but still


there was always the place where it had been
broken ; and I often saw my mother looking at
this place, and I saw it too, and it made me
very uncomfortable. So it is with us: some
of you have stolen money, and some of you
have stolen other property, clothes, perhaps.
Suppose you could go to those whom you have
robbed, and say, ' Here is ten times the value
of what I took from you :' would that mend it?
No. It might put together the pieces of broken
china, but it could not take away the recol-
lection that you had committed the robbery.
Some time ago, I went with your chaplain into
one of the cells to see one of your number, who
was very ill, and he seemed to be very con-
trite and sorry, and said, 'Oh, sir, I have
robbed such a good master, I shall never be
able to make it up to him.' 'When you get
out of prison,' said I, 'you must try what you
can do/ 'Oh/ said he, 'I never can do it; I
shall never forgive myself; I shall never be
able to forget that I have done it.' 'Ah,' said
I, ' God only has medicine for that sore ; God
has the balm for the wounded conscience : he
can not only reconcile us to himself, but he
can reconcile us to ourselves.' I want you to
see that all the punishment you undergo here



won't make you a whit less guilty. One of
you has been guilty of assault, another has
been guilty of robbery, another has been guilty
of forgery. All that you suffer here cannot
make you forget that you have done these
things. Guilt cannot atone for guilt; a crimi-
nal cannot make peace for a criminal. There
was a boy once who was very wicked ; and his
father told him that for every fault he com-
mitted he would drive a nail in a post; and
the post became full of nails. At last the boy
turned over a new leaf, he became better,
and the father proposed that for every act
.of excellence a nail should be taken out of
the post; and this continued some time, till
one day the father said, ' Jim, my lad, nearly
all the nails are gone.' 'Ah/ said the boy,
' they are ; but I can see the place where they
were: we cannot get rid of the scars.' No,
my friends, the scars of sin remain. No being
in prison, no punishment, no time, can take the
scars out, the scars of sin in the soul. But
Christ can do that. He can take the memory
of sin from us. He destroys sin. This is his
reconciliation; and you will find it so when

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