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Is this, dear Lord, the thorny road
STORY ON THE ABSENCE OF GOD. ABOUT this time Mr. Fairchild thought it proper to begin to teach Henry Latin Latin is a very difficult language, and requires many hours of hard labour before any little boy can master it: but it is necessary for every boy to learn who is to become a clergyman, such knowledge being required of a young man before he is ordained. Mr. Fairchild wished to bring up Henry to be a clergyman, and it was Henry's own wish also. When Henry got his new grammar, and dictionary, and Latin exercise-book, he was much pleased, particularly as his papa at the same time gave him a nice deal box to keep his books in, with a lock and key; but he was not so well pleased when he found that he could not learn his Latin grammar and play with the hare too half the morning, as he used to do when he had only spelling and a verse from the Bible to learn every day.
When Mr. Fairchild set him his first grammar lesson, which was a very short and easy one, he said to him, “ I shall endeavour, my dear boy, to help you as much with Latin as possible ; but at the same time I must tell you plainly, that you must labour yourself to learn it, or all I can do for you will do you no good. First of all, read your lessons over to me,” continued Mr. Fairchild, “ till you
are sure that you speak every word right, and then sit down and repeat them so many times looking at the book, and so many times without.” Accord ingly, Henry read his lessons over several times to his papa, and then went to his place at the corner of the study. Mr. Fairchild looked at him soon afterwards, and saw that he had laid his book down, and was holding something in his hand, making signs to the hare to come to him. Miss Puss stood with her head out at the door of her house, mumping her parsley, after the manner of hares, and looking at Henry. Henry, what are you about?” said Mr. Fairchild, rather sharply : upon which Puss ran into her house, and Henry began to repeat his grammar lesson, half aloud and half in a whisper ; but before he had repeated the les son once over his voice ceased ; and Mr. Fairchild looked at him again, and he was spinning a button on the lid of his new box. Mr. Fairchild spoke again, and Henry looked at his book. Mr. Fairchild then went on writing for some time, for hé was writing to his brother in London: then, looking at Henry, he saw that he was twisting a piece of packthread round his finger, and the new grammar lay at his feet. Mr. Fairchill then spoke angrily ; “ This won't do, Henry. You shall say that lesson before dinner-time, or have only bread and water for
your dinner.” Henry made no answer, neither did he offer to pick up his grammar. Mr. Fair. child finished his letter, and, looking at his watch, “ It is now walking-time, Henry," he said: “I shall go out and leave you here. If I find that you can say your lesson before I return, you shall have your dinner; if not, you shall have only bread and water.” So saying, Mr. Fairchild took his hat and stick, and, going out of the study, locked Henry in.
When Mr. Fairchild came in, he called Henry
to say his lesson, but Henry could not repeat half a line of it; and Mr. Fairchild thought that he looked as if he were determined imot to learn it. However, to try him, he bade John give him some bread and water, and sent bim back to the study till tea-time. At tea-time he called him again, but be could not repeat one word more than he had before. Mr. Fairchild then took a small horsewbip, and, making John hold him, he fogged hiin well, and sent bim to bed, telling him he must say the lesson before breakfast. Accordingly, before breakfast, he called him again, but not one word more than the half line would Henry say. Ma Fairchild, fearing that he might be faint with hunger, ordered John to take some dry bread and milk-and-water to him, in the study, and to tell him that his papa expected the lesson to be ready by the time breakfast and family prayers were over. Jobn-delivered his message, and then said,
“ Master Henry, why won't you learn your lesson? Is it so hard that you cannot ?”
“Oh no! John," answered Henry; “I could learn this first lesson, if that were all, because papa has taught me how to pronounce the words; but if I learn this, I shall be made to try to learn the next, and so on through the book; and I am sure I cannot learn all the hard words in this book, and so I won't begin."
“Oh 'fie! Master Henry," said John; “ you would not have been able to learn this first lesson without your papa's help, you say; and with his help you could do it, if you would. Have you no trust in your papa ? Don't you think that he who has brought you iso far could help you on farther in your learning ?”
“ I don't want any body's help,” said Henry, sulkily.
Johin made no answer, but shook his head, and
came back into the parlour to tell Mr. Fairchild that he had delivered his message.
“ And what did Henry say?" asked Mr. Fairchild.
John then told Mr. Fairchild all that Henry had said. John did not do it out of ill will to Henry, but because he thought it proper that his papa should know how naughty he was, that he might correct him properly.
As soon as breakfast and prayers were over, Mr. Fairchild went into the study, and, calling Henry to him, asked him to repeat his lesson ; but Henry would not say even one word. Mr. Fairchild shut the grammar, and, laying it down, said, “ Henry, I know that you could have learned this lesson with ease yesterday morning before eleven o'clok. - Tell me now wherefore you would not ?."
" I don't want to learn Latin,” said Henry. “But it is my pleasure that you should,” said Mr. Fairchild," and I expect to be obeyed. Tell me now at once, will you learn this lesson or not?”
Henry made no answer.
Mr. Fairchild got up, and walked up and down the room in great trouble ; then, turning to Henry, he said, “ Henry, listen to me : When wicked men obstinately defy and oppose the power of God, he gives them up to their own hard hearts: he suffers them to live, perhaps, and partake of the light of the sun and of the fruits of the earth, but he shews them no marks of his fatherly love or favour; they have no sweet thoughts, no cheerful hours, no delightful hopes. I stand in the place of God to you, whilst you are a child ; and as long as I do not ask you to do any thing wrong, you must obey me: therefore, if you cast aside my authority, and will not obey my con ds, I shall not treat you as I do
my other children. From this time forward, Henry, I have nothing to do with you: I shall speak to you no more, neither will your mamma, or sisters, or John, or Betty. Betty will be allowed to give you bread to eat, and water to drink; and I shall not hinder you from going to your own bed to sleep at night; but I will have nothing more to do with you: so go out of my study immediately."
Henry looked surprised and frightened : but he had no time to answer, for Mr. Fairchild walked away with a terrible look, and went out of the house. Henry stood at the study door, to which he had followed his father, for some minutes, not knowing what to do, and wishing he had not been obstinate. Whilst he was thinking what he should do, Lucy came out of the parlour, and passed to go up stairs.
Lucy, Lucy,” said Henry; but, instead of answering him, she ran away as fast as possible. In a few minutes Emily came out of the garden with the hare's parsley, and was bringing it into the study; but, seeing Henry, she turned back in haste. He caught hold of her frock, and said,
Emily! dear Emily! will you too run away from me!” She pulled her frock out of his hands and made him no answer, because her father had forbidden her to speak to liim'; but he saw the tears running down her cheeks, although her curling hair, as she stooped down, almost bid her face.
Henry was grieved to the heart when he saw that Emily was crying for him. He let go her frock ; and, going to his place in the study, he learnt the lesson; and found it so easy, that in less than half an hour he could say it quite perfectly. He then took it to his mamna, who was sitting in the parlour : she was reading, and did not see him come in. He walked softly up to ber, and in a humble voice said, " Mamma, i can say my lesson ; please to hear me."-“ No, Henry," she answered, in a grave and sorrowful voice, you have rebelled