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i

CHILDREN'S BOOK J

COLLECTION ^

* I

LIBRARY OF THE jit

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Jj>
LOS ANGELES



THE



FOUR CLASS MATES,



NARRATIVE OF MY SCHOOL DAYS.



Written for the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, and
Revised by the Committee of Publication.



BOSTON:

MASSACHUSETTS SABBATH SCHOOL SOCIETY,

Depository, No. 13 Comhill.

1845.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845,

BY CHRISTOPHER C. DEAN,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.



ADVERTISEMENT.



THE following- true narrative has been pub-
lished, in editorial articles, in The Well-Spring.
Hoping that it may afford interest and useful
instruction to the young, and especially to that
class of boys and older youth, represented, as to
age and other circumstances, by these four class
mates, it is now sent fonh again in this more
permanent form.

To this class of youth, and to all our young
friends, it is most affectionately dedicated and
commended by their sincere friend,

THE AUTHOR.



i*






THE FOUR CLASS MATES.



CHAPTER I.

BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE MORAL ASPECT THE

SCHOOL-HOUSE FOUR CLASSMATES.

ONE of the most beautiful landscape
views, on a small scale, in Massachu-
setts, is in the western part of S.
There is nothing magnificent or ro-
mantic, but all is lovely and beautiful.
It is almost a perfect panorama. From
near the centre, it rises with a gentle
ascent in almost every direction.
The land is rich and a large portion



8 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

of it in a good state of cultivation. It
is laid out in square and oblong fields,
like patch-work, enclosed with neat
stone fences, and when the various
kinds of grain and grass are ripening,
it presents, with its rich emborder-
ing of distant woods and its several
small sheets of water, a charming
view.

Near the western side, there is a
small village, with its Church and
Academy, and at a short distance, its
School-house ; and there are farm-
houses, with their little clustre of out-
buildings, scattered more or less near-
ly together over the whole landscape.
Most of the buildings in the village,
and many of the dwelling houses out
of it are white, and a stranger, un-
acquainted with the moral character



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 9

of the place, would pronounce it, as
one of our ex-governors has done,
one of the most beautiful scenes in the
State.

But sin seems to mar and deface
even the beauties of nature. And a
knowledge of the moral aspect of this
place, causes the Christian to view it,
with feelings somewhat like those
with which he would contemplate
Eden, after innocence had drawn over
her lovely face the veil of sorrow.
Few portions of the State have been
more perfectly given up to intemper-
ance and every species of immoral-
ity. Very few of the inhabitants for
many years, from the time to which
we refer, were professedly pious, and
some of those few were no great honor
to their profession. Few were the



10 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

altars on which were offered up the
morning and evening sacrifice ; and
for thirty years a conversion was hardly
known, except in one or two of the
families. " Like parents, like chil-
dren/' Drear and desolate indeed is
that neighborhood, however many its
natural beauties and artificial endow-
ments, where God is not acknowl-
edged, and intemperance and its
kindred vices, like demons of night,
rule over the people.

A few rods north-east from the
village, and near by the burial ground
with its white grave stones, and long
row of tombs, stood the large, red,
district School-house. During the
winter months, from seventy-five to
one hundred scholars, from the vil-
lage and the farm-houses for a mile



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 11

around, thither resorted for instruc-
tion. Although the Bible was daily
read in school, yet no master ever
accompanied it with the voice of
prayer, or ever taught his pupils that
"the fear of the Lord is the beginning
of wisdom/'

During the intermission, a large
part of the misses who remained, and
sometimes of the lads also, were oc
cupied in practicing the lessons they
received from an evening school for
the education of the feet instead of the
head. This kind of education was
much the more popular with some,
and they made much better progress
in it, than they did in the education
of their minds. Whether they have
found it, in subsequent life, more ser-
viceable to them, as farmers, mechan-



12 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

ics, housewives, &c., we are not able
to say.

Connected with this school, were
four class mates, whom we shall call
HENRY B., CHARLES W., GEORGE S.,
and JAMES T. A brief sketch of these
four youth, we propose to give in two
or three subsequent chapters.



13



CHAPTER II.

HENRY B. HIS CONVERSION PROFESSION OF

RELIGION RIDICULE FROM THE WICKED FEEL-
INGS IN VIEW OF ATTENDING THE WINTER
SCHOOL THE FIRST DAY.

OXE of the four class mates, men-
tioned at the close of the preced-
ing chapter, was HENRY B. For a
sketch of HENRY'S awakening and
conversion, we would refer the reader
to a little volume published by the
MASS. S. S. SOCIETY, entitled, Narra-
tive for Youthful Inquirers. This book
is divided into three chapters. The
first contains an account of HENRY'S
awakening, and of his grieving the
Holy Spirit ; the second describes
him after the Spirit had departed a
most solemn warning to every child



14 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

and youth with whom the Spirit is
striving ; and the third contains an
account of the return of the heavenly
Messenger, and of HENRY'S hopeful
conversion at the age of seventeen.

This important change in the feel-
ings and hopes of HENRY, occurred in
the early part of the spring of 182 .
His evidence of an interest in the
Saviour increased from month to
month, till, at length, he felt it to be
his duty and privilege publicly to pro-
fess his faith in Christ. Accordingly,
in August, he presented himself before
the great congregation, and there, in
the presence of God, angels, and men,
entered into a solemn covenant to be
the Lord's. What scene can be more
interesting than that of a youth thus
publicly renouncing the vanities and
the friendship of the world, and



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 15

choosing God and heaven for his por-
tion ! That was an event in the life
of HENRY, that no change and no
lapse of ages will ever efface from his
memory. And its remembrance, if
he was sincere in his dedication of
himself to God, will, through all time
and through eternity, add new emo-
tions, of joy to his heart.

HENRY, and ah older brother and
sister, who became pious a year or
two before, were the only young
persons in that section of the town,
who professed to be interested in re-
ligion. And his "joining the church "
was the subject of much conversation,
wonder, and even ridicule, among all
classes in the neighborhood. Al-
though his father's house was not im-
mediately in the village described in
the first chapter, yet there was neces-
sarily more or less of intercourse,



16 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

so that much that was trying to his
feelings he was obliged to hear and
witness.

The villagers, to amuse themselves
and to ridicule religion, had invented
the story, that HENRY'S parents, who
were professedly pious, had " hired
their children to join the church.' 9
With this the young and old would
often taunt him. But instead of ex-
citing his anger, as they wished, the
influence of such ridicule, was to drive
him more frequently to his closet,
where he obtained grace to endure it
all, with a meek, uncomplaining and
forgiving spirit. And we doubt not,
he now counts it all joy that he fell
into those divers trials of his faith,
which worked in him patience.

The time was now approaching for
the commencement of the public win-
ter school. This was to be HENRY'S



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 17

last season at that school. And no
one who has not been similarly situ-
ated, can understand the deep and
painful solicitude with which he looked
forward to his attendence.^ He was
probably the first pious youth that had
ever entered that school-house ! And
there he was to be brought into close
intercourse with nearly a hundred
children and youth, most of whom had
been educated to sneer at religion and
every thing serious. What a place
for a Christian youth to stand up
alone ! He must become a spectacle
to the whole school a mark at which
every one would aim the arrows of
ridicule. All this HENRY foresaw ;
and many were his seasons of earnest
prayer to God, for strength equal to
his day, and grace that should be
sufficient for him ; and that he might,

2*

,t



18 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

by his consistent conduct by his
meekness and patience under opposi-
tion and ridicule, constrain some to
glorify his Heavenly Father. To his
excellent mother, too, he often resort-
ed to unbosom his sorrows, and to
seek her sympathy, counsels and
prayers.

At length the day for the school to
commence, arrived. With a mother's
blessing, and, as he felt, a Saviour's
smile, HENRY went, cast down yet
rejoicing, to the place where he ex-
pected afflictions and trials awaited
him. His expectations were indeed
realized, but the Lord was on his
side and he was not moved. At
night his heart was full of joy on ac-
count of the grace that enabled him
to pray for his opposers, " Father,
forgive them, for they know not what
they do."



19

CHAPTER III.

CHARLES W. AND HIS FATHER OPPOSITION TO

HENRY HENRY'S PATIENCE AND MEEKNESS

LEARNS THAT CHARLES IS SERIOUS HENRY'S

FEELINGS AFFECTING INTERVIEW.

CHARLES W., it will be remem-
bered, was the second of the four class
mates mentioned in chapter first.

" Father/' said CHARLES, one day
just before the commencement of the
winter school, " father, HENRY B., is
going to school this winter."

" Well, my son, what of it ? "

" Why, you know he's joined the
church, and I mean to do all I can to
vex him."

" no, CHARLES, I would'nt go to
troubling him, if he lets you alone,"
replied Mr. W., who, though not then
a professor, was a respecter of relig-
ion.



20 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

"Well," said CHARLES, "I mean
to watch him, and he's got to walk
pretty straight, or I shall appear
against him."

In all this CHARLES was as good as
his promise. Many were his endeav-
ors, by unkind words, actions and
looks, to tease and, if possible, to
anger his pious class mate. Noth-
ing would have delighted him more,
than to see HENRY out of temper.
" There," he would have tauntingly
said, " there's your Christian, getting
angry!' 1 He well understood, as the
wicked generally do, just how Christ-
ians ought to act. He knew that the
indulgence of such a temper, even
under ridicule and unprovoked insult,
is inconsistent with the meek, forgiv-
ing spirit of the gospel. At one time
CHARLES would send his class mate a
note, in school time, addressing him



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 21

as Priest, or Deacon, or in some way
deriding him about " his religion. "
At another, by means of some grim-
ace, or gesture, or ludicrous drawing,
he would excite among the scholars
near him, a smile of derision at
HENRY'S expense. All this, how-
ever, HENRY seemed to have grace
to bear with a Christian temper.
When reviled, he reviled not again,
but bore it meekly. Now and then a
tear of grief and pity would appear in
his eye, but no flush of passion was
seen upon his cheek.

Supposing there was no hope of
doing his school mates any spiritual
good, by direct efforts, till he had in
a measure softened their prejudices by
the influence of his silent example, he
carefully avoided all intercourse with
them. He never mingled with them
at recess or intermission, so that they



22 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

seldom had the opportunity, except
for a few moments as the school closed
at noon and- night, openly to assail
him with their ridicule.

One day, in a neighborhood about a
mile from the village, there was held
a religious meeting. "Among the at-
tendants, was a young c6usin of
CHARLES W., who was brought up
with him as a sister. At the close of
the service, HENRY addressed her on
the subject of religion, and found that
she was -anxious about her salvation.
" I wish," said she, as they were
about to close their conversation, "I
wish you would talk with CHARLES."

" Talk with CHARLES ! " said
HEXRY to himself : " how he would
scoff and deride ! It would be cast-
ing pearls before swine." And he
then informed her of the manner in



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 23

which CHARLES had been treating
him. She was greatly surprised and
grieved to learn this, but said, "Well,
I think he has, for a few days, seemed
to be serious ; and I wish you would
converse with him."

No one can imagine how HENRY'S
heart burned with joy, at the very
thought that such a thing could be
true. He recalled the past for a mo-
ment, and he could then remember
that the conduct of CHARLES towards
him, had for a short time been
changed. He had made no attempts
to ridicule or in any way to molest
him. " I now recollect/' said he,
" that several times, of late, CHARLES
has seemed to be trying to get near
me ; but supposing it was for no
good purpose, I have avoided him.
CHARLES W., serious!" he exclaimed



24 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

with emotion, " I hope it is so. I
will surely seek an interview with him
at the earliest opportunity/'

What a subject was this for HENRY,
that night, to carry to his closet !
Earnest were his petitions that God
would give him one friend in school,
who might sympathize and rejoice
with him in all that he was called to
suffer for Jesus and his cause.

The next morning he sought divine
guidance, and anew commended his
class mate to the mercy of God.
During the forenoon session, CHARLES
appeared sedate and thoughtful.
With deep and anxious emotions did
HENRY observe him, and many were
the silent prayers he offered in his
behalf. Several times they caught
each other's eye, and exchanged kind
looks ; and those looks, so unlike



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 25

those of scorn and derision that
HENRY had been accustomed to re-
ceive, went to his very heart. Al-
ready had he forgiven all his unkind-
ness, and he longed to meet him as a
friend. As the school closed at noon,
CHARLES immediately began to make
his way, among the scholars, towards
the one he had so often and unkindly
injured. Unobserved by others, they
met and took each other cordially by
the hand.

" CHARLES/' asked his friend affec-
tionately, " would'nt you like to take
a walk ? " And together they left
the noisy, thoughtless throng, and
directed their way to the calm, quiet
retreat of a beautiful grove near by.
For a few moments they walked on in
silence. At length, encouraged by
the whole appearance of his friend,



26 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

HENRY broke the silence, by the in-
quiry, " CHARLES, I want to ask how
you feel in regard to the subject of
religion 1" This inquiry was answered
by a burst of emotion and a flood of
tears ! They entered the grove and
seated themselves under a large oak,
and there leaning upon each other,
they wept together. After their emo-
tions became a little calmed, CHARLES
made a full and most heart-felt dis-
closure of his feelings. He mentioned
his conversation with his father, be-
fore the school commenced, and con-
fessed all the unkind efforts he had
been making to tease and vex his
friend ; and he earnestly sought for-
giveness. This was most cheerfully
granted, and again their emotions
found relief in tears.

" For some time," said CHARLES,



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 27

" I have been very unhappy, although
I have continued my opposition to you.
0, HENRY, the patience and meekness
with which you have received all my
unkind treatment, often touched my
heart, and sometimes almost caused
me to sink. Many a time have I
longed to feel as you seemed to feel,
and to enjoy the peace of mind and
happiness that you appeared to enjoy.
0, pray for me, that I may be forgiven,
and be happy with you/' After a full
and free interchange of feelings, to-
gether they knelt under that majestic
oak, and HENRY poured out his soul
in tears and strong cryings in behalf
of his once thoughtless and ridiculing,
but now broken-hearted class mate.
In that solemn place with God, we
will, for the present, leave them.



28



CHAPTER IV.

HENRY'S SOLICITUDE FOR HIS FRIEND CHARLES'
CONVERSION JOY OF BOTH GEORGE S. WON-
DER AT THE CHANGE IN CHARLES THOUGHT-
FULNESS AND CONVICTIONS OF SIN.

AT the close of the last chapter, we
left HENRY and CHARLES beneath the
majestic oak, kneeling together in
prayer. For several days CHARLES
was borne down under very deep con-
victions of sin ; and HENRY was as
deeply burdened with anxiety on his
account. He knew, by the most
painful experience, as may be seen
in "A Narrative for Youthful Inquirers,
that the Holy Spirit, now so evident-
ly striving with his friend, might be
easily grieved away, and that friend
be left to renew, with seven-fold vio-
lence, all his opposition and ridicule.



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 29

They often repaired together to the
grove, there to converse on heavenly
themes and seek for pardoning mercy.
With all the solicitude that pious pa-
rents feel for an anxious child, did
HEXRY labor to point out the way of
eternal life, and exhort and entreat
his friend to repent and believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ, that he might be
saved. Many were the letters, full of
instruction, exhortation and warning,
all breathing the most heart-felt inter-
est and lively concern for his spiritual
welfare, that he daily wrote him.

At length, while seeking God in
their favorite resort in the grove,
prayer was heard, and light and peace
broke in upon the mind of CHARLES,
and <joy and gladness filled the heart
of HENRY. The new song of praise
for pardoning love, was put into the



3*



30 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

lips of the one, and of thanksgiving for
the gift of a companion of his joys and
sorrows, into those of the other. The
raptures of HENRY were not unlike
those of the lone traveler, when, " a
stranger in a strange land," surround-
ed by those whose language he knows
not and with whom he feels connected
by no tie of interest or sympathy, he
suddenly meets one from his native
country, with interests, sympathies,
and associations common with himself.
Who, that has not been a solitary Christ-
ian youth in such a school, and seen,
in connection with his own labors, a
class mate converted from a persecu-
ting SAUL into a meek and praying
PAUL, can rightly estimate the happi-
ness and joy that HENRY now experi-
enced ! Strong and endearing, and
daily increasing was the attachment



-

THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 31

that now existed between them.
Their friendship was like that of DAVID
and JONATHAN.

The third of the four class mates,
was GEORGE S. Heretofore he had
participated with CHARLES in much of
his opposition to HENRY. He had
marked his change of conduct. He
often narrowly observed him when the
cloud of sorrow was on his countenance
and the burden of sin was upon his
soul. He saw the change when the
clouds passed away and the sunshine
of peace and joy appeared. He gazed
and admired, though, in heart he hated
the change. He witnessed the grow-
ing attachment between his two class
mates, and their apparent happiness,
CHARLES, only a little while before
wondering how HENRY could so pa-
tiently and meekly bear all his ridicule,



32 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

is now bearing ridicule with the same
meekness and patience himself! This
was indeed marvelous to GEORGE.
The more he thought of it, and the
more he observed the conduct of these
two friends, the more his wonder in-
creased. All was a perfect mystery.
" There must be something/' no
doubt he often thought with himself,
" in this religion to which I am a stran-
ger." As he pondered this subject,
he wished he understood more about
it, and about the secret of CHARLES'
and HENRY'S enjoyment. The Spirit
of God, though he knew it not, was
awakening in his mind these thoughts
and desires, and leading him by a way
that he knew not of. A slight shade
of thoughtfulness and anxiety began to
overspread his countenance. This
was quickly seen by HENRY and com-



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 33

municated to his pious friend ; and it
became a matter of anxious joy, con-
sultation and prayer.

Ere long these three class mates
were on their way to that bethel spot
in the beautiful grove. For a while
pride and shame prevented GEORGE
from acknowledging any special inter-
est on the subject of religion : but at
length the heaving sigh and the unbid-
den tear revealed what, in words, he
was unwilling to admit. For several
days they continued to spend a season
together in the grove. Every possible
effort was made to lead GEORGE to the
foot of the cross. His convictions be-
came deep and his distress almost
overpowering. Never will his two
friends forget how his agonizing inqui-
ry, " What shall I do? what shall I
do?" went to their hearts, and with



34 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

what importunity they pleaded with
God in his behalf. In the same sacred
spot under the majestic oak, made
sacred by prayer, where we found
HENRY and CHARLES at the beginning
of this chapter, we will again leave
them with their anxious class mate.






CHAPTER V.

GEORGE'S CONTINUED SERIOUSNESS READS A BOOK

ON UNIVERSALISM ITS SAD EFFECTS FEELINGS

OF CHARLES THEIR FRUITLESS EFFORTS IN HIS

BEHALF JAMES T.

AT the close of our last, we left
GEORGE S. in the grove, with his two
pious friends, deeply anxious about his
soul.

His anxiety continued from day to
day unabated. He seemed to feel that
he was a lost and ruined sinner; but,
with all the instructions that HEXHY
and CHARLES could give him, their
explanations of the way to the Saviour,
of repentance and faith, and all their
earnest exhortations and prayers,
there he remained. Their kind efforts
in his behalf, and their sympathy for
him he tenderly felt, and always met



36 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

with a gush of tears and many testi-
monials of gratitude.

During the exercises of the school
one forenoon, GEORGE was seen very
deeply engrossed with a book. This
was soon observed by his two friends.
Alive as they were to his dearest in-
terest, they watched every change in
his appearance with the solicitude that
an anxious mother watches the chang-
ing symptoms of a sick child. The
perusal of that book was evidently pro-
ducing a disastrous effect on the mind
of GEORGE. That deep, settled anx-
iety that had appeared in his counte-
nance, for several days, was giving
place to a sort of uneasy recklessness,
and desperation of feeling.

What could be the character of the
book that was working such a change
in his appearance and evidently in his



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 73

feelings? HENRY and CHARLES soon
ascertained that it was a work on that
system of error Universalism which
is Satan's mightiest instrument of quiet-
ing a troubled conscience, hushing the
secret whisperings of the Spirit, and
lulling the soul into the slumbers of
the second death! Their anxiety for
his spiritual welfare was now wrought
almost into agony. Had GEORGE, as
they were gazing upon him, been sud-
denly smitten down a lifeless corpse,
their alarm and distress could scarcely
have been greater.

In every possible way, by the un-
utterable anxiety of their countenances
and by their notes, in which they ex-
postulated, warned and entreated,
they besought him to desist from this
deliberate act of self-destruction on
his soul. But all in vain. He persist-



38 THE FOUR CLASS MATES.

ed, thus deliberately closing his ears
to the entreaties of his friends, the
warnings of a conscience enlightened
by the instructions of his pious parents,
and above all the most tender strivings
of the Holy Spirit. From this sad day
all his seriousness disappeared, and he
could even jest with his former feel-
ings, and with the prayers and entreat-
ies of his pious class mates ; the Spirit
was grieved away, we fear never
again to return, and the voice of con-
science was hushed into a slumber so
deep, so death-like, that, there is also
reason to fear, nothing but the trump
of the last Great Day will awake it.
Then, if not before, it will awake and
speak in awful wrath.

But on whom rests the fearful re-
sponsibility of having placed that con-
science-silencing, Spirit-grieving, and



THE FOUR CLASS MATES. 39

soul-ruining volume in the hands of


1 3

Online LibraryBritish Museum (Natural History). Dept. of ZoologyThe Four class mates; a narrative of my school days → online text (page 1 of 3)