Hannah More.

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« f tbeir plain hearers would not be much the
•etter for them. For this reason he was not
above listening to the plain, humble way in
which this honest man taught his, family ; for
though he knew that he himself had many ad-
vantages over the shepherd ; had more learning,
and could teach him many things, yet ho was
not too proud to learn even of so poor a man, in
any point where he thought the shepherd might
have the advantage of him.

This gentleman was much pleased with the
knowledge and piety which he discovered in the
answers of the children : and desired the shep-
herd to tell him how he contrived to keep up a
sense of divine things in his own mind, and in
that of hid family, with so little leisure, and so
. iittle reading. * Oh ! ajs to that, sir,* said the
shepherd, * we do not read much except in one
book, to be sure ; but with my heart prayer for
God's blessing on the use of that book, what little
knowledge is needful seems to come of course,
OS it were. And my chief study has been to
bring the fruits of the Sunday reading into the
week's business, and to keep up the same sense
of God in the heart, when the Bible is in the
cupboard as when it ia in Uio hand. In short,
to apply what I read in the book to what I meet
with in the field.*

' I don't quite understand^ you,* said Mr. John-
son. *■ Sir, replied the shepherd, * I have but a
poor gift at convoying these things to others,
though I have much comfort from them in my
own mind ; but I am sure that (he mcot igno-
rant and hard-working pcople.who are in -rarre**.
about their salvation, may help to k-iep ny le
vout thought* and good afro^t*:>nf duKnj* lh«
week, though they have hardly v\y vimc *jo lock
at a book; and it wiil help ict Ic k^ep :ul
bad thoughts too; which is nc tmdl ii&t.O£.
But then they must know the Bible • they mus*.
have read the word of God diligently , ^ht; is -
kind of stock in trade for a Cliristiar co «et ^.p
with ; and it is Ibis which makes me sc caioful
in teaching it to my children ; and even .In
storing their memories with psaln .s vrnd chap.
tera. This is a great help to a poor hard-work-
ing man, who will scarcely meet with any thing
in them but what he may turn to some good
account If one livoa in the fear and love of
GJod, almost every thing one sees abroad will
teach one to adore his power and goodness, and
bring; to mind some text of Scripture, which shall
fill his heart with thankfuhiess, and the mouth
with praise. When I look upwards the Heavens
declare Uie glory of God, and shall I be silent
and ungrateful ? if I look round and sec the
valiics standing thick with corn, how can I help
blessing that Power who giwUh me dl things
richly to enjoy? I may learn gratitude from the
beasu of the field, for the ox Jcnoweth his owner,
aad the ass his master'' s crib, and shall a Christian
Qot know, shall a Christian not consider what
great things God h4s done for him ? I, who am
a shepherd, endeavour to fill my soul with a con-
stant remembrance of that good shepherd, who
feedelh me in green pastures, bnd maketh me to
lit down beside the stiU waters, and whose rod
and staj comfort me, A religion, sir, which
has its seat in tlie heart, and its fVuits in the
life, takes up little time in the study. And yet

in another sense, true religion, which fVom sound
principles brings forth right practice, fills up the
whole time, and life too as one may say.*

* You are happy,' said Mr. Johnson, ' in this
retired life, by which you escape the corruptions
of the world.* • Sir,* replied the shepherd, * I do
not escape the corruptions of my own evil na
ture« Even there, on that wild solitary hill, I
can find out that my heart is prone to evil
thoughts. I suppose, sir, that different states
have different temptations. You great folks
that live in the world, perhaps, are exposed to
some, of which such a poor man as I am, knows
nothing. But to one who leads a lonely life like
me, evil thoughts are a chief besetting sin ; and
I can no more withstand theee without the grace
of God, than a rich gentleman can withstand
the snares of evil company, without the same
^race. And I find that I stand in need of God's
help continually, and if he should give me up to
my own evil heart I should be lost'

Mr. Johnson approi^d of the shepherd's sin-
cerity, for he had always observed, that where
there was no humility, and no watchfuhiess
against sin, there was no religion, and he said
that the man who did not fed himself to be a
sinner, in his opinion could not be a Christian.

Just as they were in this part of their dis-
course, Mr. Jenkins, the clergyman, came in.
Ailer the usual salutations, he said, * Well shop-
herd, I wish you jcy ; I know you will be sorry
t") gain any advantage by the death of a noigh>
bour ; but old W'ls?n. my clerk, was so infirm,
'i.A I trist sc wcD prepared, that liiere is no
season Ic be sor.y icr h'.s death. I have been to
I'zy by him, bu^ h3 i'tid while I staid. I have
a- ways intended ycu si oUd succeed U his place;
^*s no ^r^at mat la: cf jur.fit, ^ut v\*jry little is

* Nc great irittcz. i\z ** criod the shepherd ;

* indeed it ir a grei*. iUfi^ tj irc . ^t wi'l more
■i:an pay my reri. Bltsee.i \c Gji fcr uli his
^ jodnesL " — M» ry sa'd rvcth ir jr. but TiW up ivsi
efcs full of teais i ? silent ^latitude

* I un glad of vhJs ^if.*^ c.reuuMdncii,* «*aid
Mr. Jenkins^ * net cnly fcr y«iur ea!;o, but for liio
sake of the ofhco itne^f. I so hviriilv reverence
every religious institut'on. th<t I would never
have even tlit amin adui.d (o ihu excellent pray-
ers of our church, by vain or profane lips, and if
it depended on me, there shculd bo no such tiling
in the land as an idle, drunken, or irreligious
parish clerk. Sorry I am to say that this mat-
ter is not always sufficiently attended to, and
that I know some of a very indifferent cha-

Mr. Johnson now inquired of the clergyman
whether there were many children in the pari.^lu

* More than you would expect,' replied he, * from
the seeming smallncss of it ; but tliere are some
little hamlets which you do not see.' — • I think,'
returned Mr. Johnson, * I recollect that in the
conversation I had with the shepherd on the hill
yonder, ho told me you had no Sunday school.'

* I am sorry to say wc have none,' said the mi-
nister. • I do what I can to remedy this miafor-
tune by public catechising ; but having two oi
three churches to serve, I cannot give so much
time asl wish to private instruction ; and having
a largo family of my own, and no assistance from

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others. I have never been able to establish a

* There is an excellent institution in London/
said Mr. Johnson, * called the Sunday-school
Society, which kindly gives bookp and other
helps, on the application of such pijus clergy,
men as stand in need of their aid, and which I
am sure would have assisted you, but I think
we shall be able to do something ourselves.
* Shepherd,' continued he, * if I were a king, and
had it in my power to make you a rich and a
^reat man, with a word speaking, I would not do
it Those who are raised, by some sudden stroke,
much above the station in which Divine Pro-
vidence had placed them, seldom turn out very
good, or very happy. I have never had any
great things in my power, but as far as I have
been able, 1 have been always glad to assist the
worthy. I have, however, never attempted or
desired to set any poor man much above his na-
tural condition, but it is a pleasure to me to
lend him such assistance as may ma lie that con-
dition moce easy to himself and put him in a
way which shall call him to the performance of
more duties than perhaps he could have per-
formed without my help, and of performing
them in a better manner to others, and with
more comfort to himself* — What rent do you
pay for this cottage V

* Fifty shillings a year, sir,'

* It is in a sad tattered condition ; is there not
a better to be had in the village ?'

* That in which the poor clerk lived,' said the
clergyman, * is not only more tight and whole,
but has two decent chambers, and a very large
light kitchen.' — » That will be very convenient,'
replied Mr. Johnson, * pray what is the rent 7*
— * I think,' said the shepherd, * poor neighbour
Wilson gave somewhat about four pounds a
year, or it might be guineas.' — * Very well,'
said Mr. Johnson, * and what will the clerk's
place be worth, think you ?' About three pounds,
was the answer.

* Now,' continued Mr. Johnson, * my plan is
that the shepherd should take that house im-
mediately ; for as the poor man is dead, there
will be no need of waiting till quarter-day, if
I make up the difference.' 'True, sir,' said
Mr. Jenkins, * and I am sure my wife's father,
whom I expect to-morrow, will willingly assist
a little towards buying some of the clerk's old
^oods. And the sooner they remove the better,
lor poor Mary caught that bad rheumatism by
sleeping under a leaky thatch.' The shepherd
was too much moved to speak, and Mary could
hardly sob out, • Oh, sir ! you are too good ; in-
deed this house will do very well.' * It may do
very well for you and your children, Mary,*
said Mr. Johnson gravely, * but it will not do for
a school ; the kitchen is neither large nor light
enough. Shepherd,' continued he, * with your
good minister's leave, and kind assistance, I
propose to set up in this parish a Sunday School,
and to make you the master. It will not at all
interfere with your weekly calling, and it is
the only lawful way in which you could turn
the Sabbath into a day >f some ittlc profit to

yoar family, by doing, as I hope, a great detL
of good to the souls of others. The rest of the
week you will work as U8ua>. The difference
of rent between this house and the clerk's 1
shall pay myself, for to put you in a better
hcuse at your own expense would be no greM
act of kindness.— As for honest Mary, who is
not fit for hard labour, or any other out-of-door,
work, I propose to endow a small weekly school,
of which she shall be the mistress, and employ
her notable turn to ^ood account, by teaching
ten or a dozen girls to Knit, sew, spin, card, or any
other useful way of getting tlieir bread ; for all
this I shall only pay her the usual price, for
I am not going to make you rich, but useful.'.

*Not rich, sir?' cried the shepherd; *^How
can I ever be thankful enough for such bless-
ings 7 And will my poor Mary have a dry thatch
over her head 7 and shall I be able to send for
the doctor when I am like to lose her 7 Indeed
my cup runs over with blessings, I hope Grod
w&l give me humility.' — Here he and Mary
looked at each other and burst into tears. The
gentleman* saw their distress, and kindly walk-
ed out upon the little sfreen before the door,
that these honest peopfe might give vent to
their feelings. As soon as they were alone
they crept into one corner of the room, where
they thought they could not be seen, and fell on
their knees, devoutly blessing and praising God
for his mercies. Never were more l^arty
prayers presented, than this grateful couple
offered up for their benefactors. The warmth
of their gratitude could only be equalled by the
earnestness with which the^ besought the bless-
ing of God on the work m whidi they were
going to engage.

The two gentlemen now left this happy fa-
mily, and walked to the parsonage, where the
evenin&r was spent in a manner very edifying to
Mr. Johnson, who the next day took all proper
measures for puttincr the shepherd in imme-
diate possession of his now comfortable habita-
tion. Mr. Jenkins's father-in-law, the worthy
gentleman who gave the shepherd's wife the
blankets, in the first part of this history, arrived
at the parsonage before Mr. Johnson left it, and
assisted in fitting up the clerk's cottage.

Mr. Johnson took his leave, promising to call
on the worthy minister and his new clerk once
a year, in his summer's journey over the plain,,
as long as it should please God to spare his life.
He had every reason to be satisfied with the
objects of his bountv. The shepherd's zeal and
piety made him a Messing to the rising genera-
tion. The old resorted to his school for the
benefit of hearing the young instructed ; and
the clergyman hi^ the pleasure of seeing that
he was rewarded for the protection he gave the
school by the great increase in his congrega-
tion. The shepherd not only exhorted both pa-
rents and children to the indispensable duty o
a regular attendance at church, but by his pious
counsels he drew them thither, and by his plain
and prudent instructions enabled them to un.
derstand, and of course to delight in the public
worship of God.

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Jack Brown and James Stock, were two lads
apprenticed at nearly the game time, to Mr.
Williams, a shoemaker, in a small town in Ox.
fbrdshire : they were pretty near the same age,
but of very different characters and dispositions.

Brown was eldest son to a farmer in good cir-
cumstances, who gave the usual apprentice fee
«ith him. Being a wild giddy boy, whom his
father could not well manage or instruct in far-
ming, he thought it better to send him out to
leiun a trade at a distance, than to let him idle
about at home ; for Jack always preferred bird*s-
nesting and marbles to any other employment ;
he would trifle away the day, when his father
thought he was at school, with any boys he
could meet with, who were as idle as himself;
and he could never be prevailed upon to do, or
to learn any thing, while a game at taw could
be had for love or money. All this time his
little brothers, much younger than himself, were
beginning to follow the plough, or to carry the
com to the mill as soon as they were able to
mount a cart-horse.

Jack, however, who was a lively boy, and did
Dot naturally want either sense or good-nature,
might have turned out weU enough, if he had
not had the misfortune to be his mother's fa-
vourite. She concealed and forgave all his faults.
To be sure he was a little wild, she would say,
but he would not make the worse man for that,
for Jack had a ^ood spirit of his own, and she
would not have it broke, and so make a mope of
the boy. The farmer, for a quiet life, as it is
called, gave up all these points to his wife, and,
with them, gave up the future virtue and hap.
piness of his child. He was a laborious and in-
dustrious man, but had no religion ; he thought
only of the gains and advantages of the present
day, and never took the future into the account
His wife managed him entirely, and as she was
really notable, he did not trouble his head about
any thing farther. If she had been careless in
her dairy, he would have stormed and swcrn ;
bat as she only ruined one child by indulgence,
and almost broke the hearts of the rest by un-
kindness, he gave himself little concern about
the matter. The cheese, certainly . was good,
■nd that indeed is a great pomt ; but she was
neglectful of her children, and a tyrant to her
servants. Her husband's substance, indeed,
was not wasted, but his happiness was not con-
nlted. Ilia house, it is true, was not dirty,
but it was the abode of fury, ill-temper, and cove-
toufne«is. And the farmer, though he did not
care for liquor, was too often driven to the public-
honm ill the evening, because his own was
neither quiet nor comfortable. The mother was
always scolding, and tho children were always

Jack, however, notwithstanding his idleness,
picked up a little reading and writing, but never
would Icarn to cast an account * that was too
much labour. His motlier was desirous he
cbould continue at school, not so much for the
nkc of Ilia learning, which she had not sense

Vol. I.

enough to value, but to save her darliijp, l/nn
the fatigue of labour : for if he had not {^^unc to
school, she knew he must have gone to wok,
and she thought tlio former was the least tire-
some of the two. Indeed this foolish woman
had such an opinion of his genius, that she used
from a child, to think he was too wise for any
thing but a parson, and hoped she should live
to see him one. She did not wish to see her son a
minister, because she loved either learning or
piety, but because she thought it would make •
Jack a gentleman, and set him above his brotiiers.

Farmer Brown still hoped, that though Jack
was likely to make but an idle and ignorant
farmer, yet he might make no bad frodeBmon,
when he should be removed from the indul-
gences of a father's house, and from a silly
mother, whose fondness kept him back in every
thing. This woman was enraged when she
found that so fine a scholar, as she took Jack
to be, was to be put apprentice to a shoemaker.
The farmer, however, for the first time in his
life, would have his own way. But being a
worldly man, and too apt to mind only what is
falsely called the main chance ; instead of being
careful to look out for a sober, prudent, and re-
ligious master for his son, he lofl all that to ac-
cident, as if it had been a thing of little or no
consequence. This is a very common fault;
and fathers who are guilty of it, are in a great
measure answerable for the future sins and
errors of their children, when they come out
into the world, and set up for themselves. If a
man gives his son a good education. » good ex-
ample, and a good master^ it is indeed pos&iile
that the son may not turn ou* wei.. L^ it does
not often happen ; and when ii does th& fath'>r
has no Uame lasting vU him, anc u is d ^i^dt
_ point towards a man's com fun u. h«.\e bjs con-
science quiet in ihat respect, hcwb-'cr c»od mcy
think fit to cvcirule svents

The farmer, howcfei, Utck cd.e to iosire his
friends tc inquire for a shocmukci who had
good business, and was a good worknr.an ; and
the mothei aid r ot forget to put iii nei word,
and dcs.red that it mi^ht be one who was not
Uo atrui , for .'ack had been brought up lender^
ly, was a meek boy» and jould not bear to be
contiadictid in any thing. And tliis is the
ccnr.m.n nation of meekness among peoplo who
do not take up their notions on rational and
Christian grounds.

Mr, Williams was recommended to tlic far
mer as being the best shoemaker in the town in
which he lived, and far from a strict master ,
and, without fartlicr inquiries, to Mr. Wiliiama
he went

James Stock, who was tho son of an' honest
labourer in the next village, was bound out by
the parish in consideration of h\^ fallicr having
so numerous a family, that he was not abl(' to
put him out himself. James v.-as in every «- i 'tij
the very reverse of his new companion. He \s as
a modest, industrious, pious youth ; and ihoujh
so poor, and the child of a labourer, was a niuJi

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Detter scholar than Jack, who was a wealthy
fiiriner's son. — His father had, it is true, bten
ahle to ^ve him. but very little schooling, for he
was obhged to be put to work when quite a child.
When very young he used to rua of errands for
Mr. Thomas, the curate of the parish ; a very
kind-hearted joung gentleman, who boarded
next door to his father*s cottasre. He used also
to rub down and saddle his horse, and do any
other little job for him, in the most civil oblig-
ing manner. All this so recommended him to
the clergyman, that he would oflen send for him
of an evening, after he had done his day*s work
in the field, and condescended to teach him him-
self to write and cast accounts, as well as to in-
struct him in the principles of hb religion. It
was not merely out of kindness for the little
good-natured services James did him, that he
showed him this favour, but also for his readi-
ness in the catechism, and his devout behaviour
at church.

The first thing that drew the minister's at-
tention to this boy, was the following ; he had
fVequently given him half-pence and pence for
holding his horse and carrying him to water
before he was big enough to be further useful
to him. On Christmas day he was surprised to
■ee James at church, reading out of a handsome
new prayer-book ; ho wondered how he came
by it, for he knew tliere was nobody in the pa-
rish likely to have given it to him, for at that
time there were no Sunday schools ; and the fa-
ther could not afford it he was sure.

* Well James,* said ho, as he saw him when
they came out, *you mado a good figure at
church to-day : it made you look Tike a man and
a Christian, not only to have so handsome a
book, but to be so ready in all parts of the ser-
vice, flow came you by that book V James
owned modestly, that he had been a whole year
saving up the money by single halfpence, all
of which had been of the minister's own giving,
and that in all that time he had not spent a sin-
gle farthing on his own diversions. — * My dear
boy,* said the good Mr. Thomas, * I am much
mistaken if thou dost not turn out well in the
world, Ibr two reasons : — first, from thy saving
turn and self-denying temper; and next, be-
cause thou didst devote the first eighteen-pence
thou wast ever- worth in the world to so good a

James bowed and blushed, and from that time
Mr. Thomas began to take more notice of him,
and to instruct him as I said above. As James
soon grew able to do him more considerable
service, he would now and then give him a six-
pence. This he constantly saved till it became
a little sum, with which he bought shoes and
stockings ; well knowing that his poor father,
with a large family and low wages, could not
buy them for him. As to what little money
ho earned himself by his daily Jabour in the
field, hfi constantly carried it to his mother every
Saturday nijht, to buy bread for the family,
which was a pretty help to them.

As James was not ovcrstout in his make, his
father thankfully accepted the offer of the pa-
rish ofRccrs to bind out his son to a trade. This
good man, howovor, had not, like farmer Brown,
the liberty of choosing a master for his son; or

he would carefully have inquired if he was •
proper man to have the care of youth ; but Wil
liaros the shoemaker was already fixed on, by
those who were to put the boy out, w!)o told him
if he wanted a master it must be him or none ;
for the overseers had a better opinion of Wil-
liams than he deserved, and thought it would
be the makuig of the boy to go to him. The
father knew that beggars must not be choosers,
sc he fitted out James for his new place, having
indeed little to give him besides his blessing.

The worthy Mr. Thomas, however, kindly
gave him an old coat and waistcoat, which hit
mother, who was a neat and notable woman,
contrived to make up for him herself without a
farthing expense, and when it was turned and
mado fit for his sixe, it made hirfi a very hand-
some suit for Sundays, and lasted him a couple
of years.

And here let roe stop to remark what a pity
it is, that poor women so seldom are able or wil-
ling to do these sort of little handy jobs them-
selves ; and that they do not oflener bring up
their daughters to be more useful in family
work. They are great losers by it every way ,
not only as they are disqualifying iheir girls
from making good wives hereafter, but they are
losers in point of present advantage ; for gentry
could much oftener afford to give a poor boy a
jacket or a waistcoat, if it was not for the ex-
pense of making it, which adds very much to
the cost. To my certain knowledge, many poor
women would oflen get an old coat, or a bit of
coarse new cloth given to them to fit out a boy,
if the mothers or sisters were known to be abie
to cut out to advantage, and to make it up de-
cently themselves. But half a crown for the
making a bit of kersey, which costs but a few
shillings, is more than many very charitable
gentry can afford to give— so they often give
nothing at all, when they see the mothers so
little able to turn it to advantage. It is hoped
they will tajie this hint kindly, as it is meant
for their good.

But to return to our two young shoe-makers
They were both now settled at Mr. Williams*!
who, as he was known to be a good workman
had plenty of business — He had sometimes two
or three journeymen, but no apprentices but
Jack and James.

Jack, who, with all his faults, was a keen,
smart boy, took to learn the trade quick enough,
but the difficulty was to make him stick two
hours together to his work. At every noise he

Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 44 of 135)