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very properly abhorred a falsehood, and thought that those young people must be wicked and depraved indeed, who could be tempted under any circumstances to tell one.

Whenever this happy and favoured girl felt inclined to have or to do anything that was new, she referred the question to her parents, who were so accustomed to say directly whether they thought it right or wrong, and, if right, to gratify her to the full extent of her wishes, that she had little difficulty in submitting to their decision, when her ideas would otherwise have differed from their own; and if on any occasion she had deviated from the plan of conduct approved by them, her confession of her fault was received with such cordial kindness, and rewarded by such quick and willing forgiveness, that as she grew up from childhood, she learned to wonder more and more how any one could be so wicked as to tell a falsehood. Idleness she thought might be forgiven, for she had some leanings to that particular fault herself; and carelessness, for even she found it more easy to forget than to remember what she ought; but to tell an untruth! she could not believe that anything except real badness of heart would induce any one to do that.

It happened one day, that as Mary Lesley sat in her father's garden, reading a very interesting book, she heard the sound of children's voices behind the hedge, and presently a stealthy step came along the bank beside the arbour where she was seated, and she saw the branches

of a plum-tree that hung over the hedge, and drooped down with the weight of its fine purple fruit, stirred very quickly, as if one after another of the tempting plums had been pulled off.

Indignant, as she always was at everything which she considered wicked and worthy of punishment, especially in children, she ran to the garden-gate; and a dog that had probably heard the rustling in the hedge as well as herself, ran along with her, barking furiously. Hastening with all speed to the spot, she found two little frightened children, who, feeling that they had done wrong, and drea ding that judgment was coming upon them in the shape of that angry dog, had retreated from the garden hedge, and now stood trembling and holding fast by each other for help, on the side of the public road.

Their terror of the dog was so great, that they had scarcely time to gain confidence, when Mary asked them if they had not, like very wicked children, been stealing plums!

“No," said the oldest with great embarrassment; and the younger, accustomed to follow her sister's example, answered in the same way, but with more boldness, as if she thought herself quite safe in doing as her sister did.

“Oh, naughty children !” said Mary, “ you are telling stories, and adding one sin to another. I will take you to my father and mother, and we shall hear what they will say ; for I see you belong to the Sunday-school, and that makes your case a great deal worse.”

So saying, the young lady bade them follow her to the house, which they did very reluctantly, wishing, no doubt, all the way, as many have done under similar circumstances, that they had told the truth at first.

Mary Lesley was a good deal surprised to find that her mother, who was the chief manager of the Sunday-school where they attended, did not treat these children with the same kind of feeling she had expected her to exhibit, for she sat down and talked to them in a manner so kind and gentle, that they soon were induced to tell her the whole truth; but she did not send them away without having taken a great deal of pains to make them understand how one sin persisted in, will inevitably lead to another; after which, she opened the Bible, read to them the history of Ananias and Sapphira, and desired them to repeat the whole to her on the following Sunday.

This was all the punishment she inflicted upon them ; and glad and grateful were their little hearts, as they turned away from the house, and strong were their resolutions, often repeated as they went home, never to take that good lady's plums, or to tell a story again as long as they lived.

“You have been very kind to those naughty children,” said Mary Lesley to her mother, as soon as they were gone. "I am sure if I had done such horrible things,

as first to steal, and then to tell a falsehood, I should think I deserved punishment a great deal more severe.”

"And so you unquestionably would,” replied her mother. “At least, I should consider your fault as bearing no comparison with theirs, in its degree of culpability. These poor children have no mother, their father is a man of bad character, and they have been accustomed almost all their lives to hear him call evil good, and good evil. How then can you expect of them that they should be so quick to distinguish what is really right or wrong, as you, who have been carefully instructed from your cradle ?”

“But, mother," observed Mary, “I cannot tell why any one should be so greedy as to take without leave what belongs to another; or why, if they had done so, they should not openly and freely confess it.”

“Oh, Mary; you have a great deal to learn yet, of the nature and power of temptation. You, who can eat your father's peaches every day, can have little desire to steal your neighbour's plums; nor, happily for you, have you ever felt the terror to which these poor children are exposed. I have heard that their father beats them most cruelly whenever they displease him ; and as they do know just enough to be aware that it is wrong to steal, they, no doubt, expected a beating, or, perhaps, a double beating from us, for having taken our plums. While, therefore, you shrink with horror from the sin itself, you must remember there are excuses, which it sometimes behoves

us to make, on the part of those who commit them; and in trying to do them good, allowance must be made accordingly."

Yes, mother, and if we ever told stories ourselves, it would indeed become us to be lenient to others; but when we live in the same world, and find that we can do without saying what is not true, I think we surely are entitled to be very severe with them.”

“You do not understand me, Mary, for I can scarcely say that you

do live in the same world as those poor children. The same sun shines above you, and the same verdure blooms beneath ; but how different are the feelings awakened in their minds and in yours !-how many things are subjects of dread to them, of which you have scarcely thought! and how much are they constantly desiring, which you perpetually enjoy. Think of these things, Mary, and while you study to avoid all that is evil, as hateful in the sight of God, remember that there is such an evil as spiritual pride, and that although you are not tempted to steal plums, and tell falsehoods, you may be strongly tempted to boast of your correctness of conduct, and to trust in your own strength.”

It will readily be perceived that the goodness upon which Mary Lesley was beginning to pride herself, was not the right kind of goodness, because it was not meek and lowly, nor founded upon that charity which vaunteth not itself. Years, however, passed on, and she still bore

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