STORIES FOR THE LITTLE ONES
THE GOLDEN RULE
PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION
NO. 821 CHESTNUT STREET
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
THE TRUSTEES OF THE
PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District
WESCOTT & THOMPSON,
THE GOLDEN RULE
CHARLES AND WILLIE
"Well, children, are you ready for school?" said Mrs. Somers, as she came into the room where Willie and Charles were playing.
"Yes, mother, but I do wish we did not have to go to school," said Charles.
"Wish you did not have to go to school! and why is that, pray? Do you wish to grow up a dunce and not know how to read, or write, or spell?" said his mamma.
"I don't like to study, for one thing," said Charles. "I like to play much better. See what a nice time our kitten has! No one makes her do a thing; but all she does is to eat, and drink, and sleep, and play. What fun it must be to be a kitten!"
" And would you really like to be a kitten, Charles? Think how much you would have to give up. You would not have any soul if you were a kitten, so when you came to die there would be the end of you. You could never go to live in heaven. You could not love Jesus-you could not love your father or me. You would not have any mind, so you could not learn about things, or understand what people around you were talking about."
"Well," said Charles, "I should not like to be a kitten, but I would like to be a boy and be treated just like a kitten."
"I don't want to play all the time," said Willie, "for I want to learn to read in my pretty books for myself, so as to find out what all the pictures mean. But I don't want to go to school, mother. I would like to study my lessons with you at home, always."
"I should think you would find more to please you at school," said his mother. "It is so nice for little children to study together and to learn the same things. I used to love to go to school when I was a little girl." "That is the very thing I don't like -to see the other children, mother," said Willie. "I am afraid of all those strange boys and girls."
"Afraid of them!" said his mother. " And why?"
"Oh, because--I don't know; I always do feel afraid when I am with strange people. And then some of those great boys are real rude and naughty. One big boy, named Dick, knocked down little Sam Smith as he was going home from school only yesterday. I saw him do it myself, for it was right in front of this house, and Sam Smith was not doing anything to him."
"Poh!" said Charles; "I don't care for that Dick a single pin. I'd like to see him touch me. I'd just throw a stone at him, or the first thing I could lay my hands on. I wouldn't be afraid; I wouldn't be a coward for the world."
"Charles, Charles, be careful!" said his mother. "I'm afraid you will get into trouble if you go out among strangers in that spirit."
"No I won't, either," said Charles. "Uncle Ben says, 'If any one hits you, hit him again, and if any. one says hard words to you, give him as good as he sends.' "
"Uncle Ben has not learned to heed the words of Jesus, I fear," said the mother. "At least, his teachings to you do not sound very Christ-like. Now, listen, and I will give you a rule to go by which is much better than his: ' As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.' "
"Oh, I learned that once in the Sunday-school," said Charles. "Our teacher called it 'The Golden Rule.' Why did she call it that, I wonder?"
"Because it is such a good rule," said his mother. " It is as precious, or even much more precious than gold. Try to live by it, and you will find it will. not only make you better and happier, but it will make every one love you more."
Just then Mr. Somers called out from the foot of the stairs:
"Come, boys, it is time you were off to school. I will walk along with you and introduce you to the teacher, if you are ready now."
Charles and Willie went to their mamma to bid her good-bye. "Remember the golden rule," she said, as she pressed a kiss upon each little rosy mouth.
Charles and Willie did not look as if they could ever run, or jump, or make a noise when they walked into school by the side of their father. Two more quiet boys one would never wish to see.
Charles was eight years old, and he held himself very straight, and tried to look as if he had been to that school every day of his life, and so was quite used to it.
Willie was about seven, and was always rather shy. He hung down his head and his cheeks grew very red as he saw all the strange boys and girls looking at him.
"That boy is a great baby. I mean to have some fun with him as soon as I get a chance," said Dick Jones to the boy who sat next him. "Just see how scared he is."
"And the other one struts about just like our rooster at home," said another large boy. "I should like to take the starch out of him."
Mr. Somers talked to the teacher a few moments, telling him what studies he wanted to have given to his boys, and then, after telling them to be good boys, he went away.
"Come this way, boys," said the teacher. "I must find seats for you at the other end of the room."
The teacher went first, Charles next, and then came Willie.
Just as he was about to pass in front of Dick Jones, a great foot was quickly thrust out, and he fell flat on his face upon the floor. The master turned quickly.
"Who did that?" he said.
No one spoke.
"Do you know which one of those boys it was who threw you down?" he said, turning to Willie.
Willie did know quite well, and his first thought was to tell the master and get Dick well punished; but then he thought of the golden rule:
" 'As ye would that men should do to you.' I should not like to have Dick tell of me, I am sure of that," he said to himself.
The master repeated his question.
" I do know," said Willie, "for I saw him when he did it, but I do not like to tell."
" Don't like to tell!" said the master. "You need not be afraid of them, for I will see that they do not hurt you."
"I am not afraid to tell," said Willie, "but I would rather not; so please do not make me, sir. I don't want any one to get into trouble, and I guess it was only a joke."
"A joke, indeed!" said the teacher. "I do not allow such jokes in my school-room. If I had the rogue by the arm, I would give him a shaking that he would never forget, and I would strike off the books every one of his good marks for the week. But you are a good-tempered little fellow, and I will not make you tell me his name against your will."
"Good luck for me!" said Dick to the friend who sat next him. "If I had lost my marks, I should have had to give up all hopes of the prize. That little fellow is good for some- thing, after all. He has made a friend of me, at any rate, and he sha'n't be sorry for it. I'll stand by him through thick and thin."
School was over, and Charles and Willie walked toward home together.
"Now, Willie," said Charles, "just tell me the name of that rascal who tripped you up. I mean to pay him for it."
"But, Charles," said Willie, "I don't want you to pay him for it. He did not mean to do me any real harm, only to play a trick. I don't want anything more said about it."
"The more fool you," said Charles. "I was glad you did not tell the teacher, for I hate a tell-tale, but I would never let such a thing pass. How nice you must have felt going flat upon your face before all those scholars, and then standing up to be questioned with all of them looking at you!"
"But, Charles," said Willie, "have you forgotten all that mother said this morning about the golden rule."
"Oh, you are trying that, are you?" said Charles. "It is all very well to talk about, but it will never do to act it out. In the case of this boy, if you just let me pay him off nicely, he won't dare to plague you again, but if you don't, he will tease you whenever he gets a chance."
"But mother said that the golden rule was good to live by," said Willie.
"Mother don't know about boys," said Charles. "Uncle Ben says boys must fight their way in the world if they want to make anything of themselves."
"But, Charles," said Willie. "Do you think Uncle Ben is so very good himself?"
"I think he's just the best uncle a boy ever had," said Charles. "Just think what splendid stories he tells us, and what nice songs he sings, and how he gives us candy and all sorts of nice presents! I am ashamed of you, Bill Somers, to ask such a thing as that about your own uncle!"
"I know he is kind and loves us," said Willie. "Still, somehow I don't think he is so good as our mother and father. He never goes to church, he reads story-hooks on Sunday, and. once I heard him tell mother that he did not love God. I would rather mind mother, I think, than do as he says."
Charles looked sober at hearing this, for he knew it was, all true, and he began to fear that it was not so very safe to be guided by his favorite uncle, after all.
That night Mrs. Somers went to have a chat with the boys before they went to sleep.
Then Willie told his story and asked her if it was not better for him to pass over the offence which had been given to him than to bring the boy to punishment.
"I think in this case it was best," said his mamma; "but sometimes it is a boy's duty to tell of the wrong-doing of others."
"But don't you think Bill might at least have let me punched the fellow's head for him," said Charles. "I would have been only too glad to do it."
"You would not take the Christian's revenge then," said his mother.
"I did not know that a Christian could ever take his revenge for anything," said Charles.
"I read a little story in the paper the other day which is very much to the point," said his mother. "Would you like to hear it?"
"Oh yes, we always like to hear a good story," said both the boys at once.
"Listen, then," said their mother.
"Once there were two heathen men who hated each other so much that each one was glad to do anything to spite the other. One of these men found that the other had injured him in some way, and he vowed that he would have his revenge. The other man had a little daughter who was very dear to his heart. One day his enemy met this child roaming about in her play at some distance from her home. The poor little thing had never harmed him, and she was an innocent and helpless as a little tender lamb; but what do you think the cruel man did? He took the child and cut off three of her fingers. Then, when she was bleeding and in pain, instead of being sorry, he was glad, and said, 'Now I have had my revenge.'
"Many years passed away and the man who had been so cruel was old, and poor, and feeble. Once, in his distress, he went to the door of a house to beg for something to eat.
"A young woman came to the door. It was the very little girl whom he had treated so badly, and who was now grown up. She knew him in a moment. What do you think she did?
" She brought him food and drink, and cared for him kindly, and then, when he was stronger and better, and ready to go on his way, she held out the hand from which the three fingers had been cut off. so that he could see it.
" 'I, too, have had my revenge!' she said. Then the man knew her, and he was filled with shame and sorrow. Was not that a noble revenge-to return good. for evil? That is what Jesus teaches us to do. This young woman had become a Christian, and so she knew how to practise the golden rule."
Charles and Willie started for school bright and early the next morning. They had tried to learn their lessons well, and so did not dread to go as much as they had the day before.
Several boys were out on the green in front of the school-house, having a game of ball, as they came up. As Charles was walking up to the door the ball struck him on the back with some force. In an instant his ready anger burst forth.
"Some one did that on purpose!" he said in a loud tone and getting very red in the face. "Some one did that on purpose. I only wish I could find out the boy that threw this ball." And he caught up the ball in a perfect fury, looking as if he meant to throw it at the first boy who came in his way.
"And if you could find out, what would you do to him, little rooster?" said the large boy, who had been seated next to Dick Jones the day before.
The words were hardly out of his mouth when the ball came flying at him with great force, and hit him in the nose. It hurt him pretty badly, for the ball was hard and Charles had thrown it with all his strength. Now he was angry too. With one bound he was by the side of Charles and had taken him by the shoulder.
"You little rascal, you!" he said. " I'll teach you to turn fun into earnest in this fashion. I'll give you a lesson that you will never forget."
So easily does one act of anger provoke another. Charles struggled to get away from him, but he soon found that the large boy was twice as strong as he was. He was thrown to the ground, and was about to get as sound a whipping as he had ever had in his life, when Willie caught the large boy's arm in both hands, and cried out for help.
At this moment Dick Jones came running up, and said to Willie:
"Here, little chap, what's the matter? I'll stand by you for the sake of the good turn you did me yesterday."
"That boy is going to beat my brother," said Willie. "And it is a shame, when he is so much bigger and stronger."
"He shall not touch him," said Dick. "Here, Ned Hastings, you just stand back and let that boy get up, or I'll join in the quarrel myself."
Ned drew back as Dick went up to him, for he did not want to quarrel with Dick.
"He deserves a beating if ever a boy did," he said, sulkily. "Just look at my nose, will you?"
"It is quite swollen," said Dick. "Did he do that? I have half a mind to let you take it out with him; and I would, too, if it were not for the other one."
Charles, finding that he was free to get up, now did so, and walked into school, feeling pretty well humbled by his downfall. Willie took Dick a little apart from the other boys and thanked him as well as he knew how.
"Now, Will Somers," said Dick, "you may understand from this time that I am your friend, and if you get into trouble at any time you have only to call on me. You did more for me yesterday than you think. All this term I have been trying for a prize."
"Trying for a prize! What is that?" said Willie.
"Don't you know?" said Dick. " Why the teacher gives us marks for our lessons, and to the boy who gets the most marks he gives a nice present at the end of the term. If I had lost my marks for all the week, I should have lost my chance of the prize. Now I think I am sure to get it."
"I am glad I did not tell, then," said Willie, "though I was not thinking about pleasing you when I told the teacher I did not want to tell. I was trying the golden rule."
"The golden rule!" said Dick. "What sort of a rule is that?"
"Oh," said Willie, "it is a rule to do to other people just as you would like to have them do to you. Jesus gives us this rule, so I know it must be a good one."
"I don't like it at all," said Dick. "If people are kind to me, I am kind to them; and if people don't treat me well, I always try to be even with. them."
"You talk just as Charles does," said Willie; "but my mother says it is not the right way to talk, for all that."
"Does she think we ought always do to others just exactly as we would like to have them do to us?" said Dick.
"Yes, for that is the rule in the Bible, and the Bible rule is the only safe rule to go by," said Willie.
"I should not like to think that," said Dick; "for if I should try to go by it, I don't see but I shall have to give up the prize, after all."
"Why?" said Willie. "I don't see how"
"Why there is Ned Hastings who wants to get the prize as much as I do," said Dick; " and he ought to have it too, for if I had lost my marks, as the master said I deserved, Ned would have more than 1. But then I can't give it up, for Uncle John said he would give me five dollars if I took the prize, and I am really the best scholar."
"I don't think it would be right to keep it, though," said Willie. "Do you?"
"It's nothing to you, at any rate," said Dick. " Oh, yes, I dare say now that you will think it right to go and tell."
"No, I shall not tell," said Willie; "but it seems to me that you ought to tell yourself." And then he walked into the school-room. Dick kept thinking about that little talk with Willie all through the day. The more he thought about it, the more clearly he saw that he had. no right to the prize, and he at last made up his mind to give it up. This was owing to Willie's good works and good example.
"Mother," said Charles, that night when his mother came to talk with him, "I see that you were right, after all, about, the golden rule. We have only been to school two days. Willie has tried the golden rule, and I have not,. He has made a friend of the largest and strongest boy in the school, while no one likes me at all. I mean to try it, too, after this."
"I am glad to hear you say that," said his mother, "but I hope you choose this course from a better motive than the one you speak of. Do you not care more to do right and to have Jesus for your friend than to win the good-will of any boy or girl?"
"I shall want to have Jesus for my friend when I come to die," said Charles, "but I don't seem to care so much about it now."
" If you do not love him while you live in this world," said his mother, "he will not be your friend when you come to die."
"Well, I do love him well enough," said Charles.
"No," said his mother, "you do not love him well enough unless you love him with your whole heart."
"But how can any one be sure that he loves Jesus as much as that?" said Charles.
"If you love him in the right way," said his mother, "you will wish to please him. The only way to please him is to do as he has told you in the Bible. So if every day you are trying to keep all his rules of living, you may be pretty sure that you love him."
"Mother," said Willie, "don't you think if any one should just hold on to the golden rule he would go to heaven?"
"Perhaps so," said his mother, "for I do not think any one could possibly keep even this one rule without the grace of God; and no one who really has the grace of God in the heart can ever lose it. And the more we can get into the practice of love and charity, the more we shall have of the spirit of heaven, and the more fit we shall be to live there."
GRACE AND EMMA.
ONE dull, dark day a lady was sitting in her warm room, with a large table in front of her and a pen in her hand. She had just begun to write, when her door opened without any noise, and a little head was thrust into the room.
It was a dear little head, with brown hair as soft as silk. The lady knew quite well whose head it was.
"Robbie," she said, "is that you? What do you want, my little pet?"
"Mamma," said the little one, "I so tired. There isn't no one out here to play with me."
"Come in here, then, and talk to me, darling," said his mamma.
The child came in and talked to the lady a little while. Then he grew tired of that and went to the window, where he stood and looked out with a sad, longing gaze.
After he had been there a little while, a bright smile came upon his round, rosy face, and he clapped his hands for joy.
"Oh, mamma," he cried. "I see Grace and Emma right out here. Can't I go too? I want to play with those girls."
Grace was Robbie's only sister, and he loved her dearly. She was several years older than he, and a pretty large girl. His mamma went to the window and saw that it was as Robbie had said.
There was a nice park in front of the house, and in it were the two little girls, very merry over a game of ball.
Now Robbie had seen a group of- large boys playing ball in this very park a great many times, and the little fellow liked the game so much that he had begged his papa to make a ball for him.
"May I take my new ball and go out? May I, mamma?" said Robbie.
"Yes, darling, I think I will let you go out for a short time," said his mamma. "You must be lonely here without any children to play with."
So she smoothed the silky hair, and put on his hat, and put on his little warm coat, and said,
"Now you may go, Robbie. Be a good boy, and come in as soon as I call you."
"Yes, mamma, I will be very good," said Robbie; and off he marched as happy as a king. He opened the gate, and went out to the two girls with a pleasant smile upon his face. Emma was in the act of throwing the ball at her little friend. She just turned her head when she heard foot- steps, and said in a careless tone,
"Oh, there comes Rob!"
Grace did not stop in her play, or take even one look at her little brother. Rob stopped short in the middle of the green. He was too shy to go nearer unless the girls spoke to him, and they were so taken up with their own pleasure that they never even thought of him again. He threw up his ball once or twice, in the hope that they would ask him to play with them, but they did not even see him. Then he sat down at the foot of a tree, and a sad look came over his dear little face as he watched the merry girls.
They were very happy. They threw their balls at each other; then they threw them up in the air and caught them as they came down ; then they chased each other across the green, laughing all the time. Then they threw themselves down a moment to rest, and had a lively, cheerful talk.
All this time the little lonely child sat apart. He spoke to no one, and no one spoke to him. The disappointment in his heart was so strong that it came up and looked out at his eyes. His mamma saw all this from the window, and she felt sorry for her baby boy. She was just about to call him in, for she was afraid that he would take cold sitting still so long upon the damp ground, when she saw his papa coming down the street. Robbie spied him at the same moment, and called out in a little, plaintive voice,
"Papa! papa! May I go with you?"
His papa smiled upon him kindly in answer, and held out his hand. Robbie took hold of it, and walked off with him, but as he went away he turned and looked steadily at the girls with a sad face. He loved his papa dearly. He knew he was always kind to him and he liked to go with him in his walks. He loved his mamma too, and he liked to sit with her in her pleasant room and listen to the pretty stories she so often told him. But what he wanted just then was a merry play with other little children, and this he could not have, because his sister was too happy in pleasing herself to care about him.
He took a short walk with his papa, and then light flakes of snow began to fall pretty fast. It was the beginning of a snow-storm, and Robbie and his papa hurried home. The same storm had driven Grace and Emma into the house: another little friend, named Mary, came in with them. The three girls did not care much for the storm, for they knew that they could have as good fun in doors as out.
Grace had a room of her own where her mamma allowed her to do pretty much as she chose. In that room she had a doll with dresses and bonnets all complete; she had much nice doll furniture, a bed, a sofa and some chairs. She had nice games that three or four children could play together, and she had a great many nice little books with gay covers and coloured pictures.
To this room Grace took her friends, and it was not long before shouts of laughter were heard from that corner of the house.
Robbie heard them and started to go to his sister's room to see what all the fun was about. He never thought that they might not want to see him there, and he went straight in with a smile upon his face.
"Oh my! there comes Robbie!" said Emma, with a cross look. "We don't want him in here. He will only trouble us. Don't let him come in, Grace."
"I wish there wasn't any Robbie," said Mary. "He is always coming around and getting in our way when we want to play. We could have a great deal more fun without him."
"That is just the same as wishing my little brother to be dead, Miss Mary," said Grace. "I'd thank you not to speak so. My mother would be very angry if she should hear you."
"I don't care for your mother one bit," said Mary. "She has nothing to do with me. And I never can bear to have little boys to take care of . when I want to play. I never did like Robbie."
Robbie opened his great eyes at hearing this, and the tears began to come into them, while there was a quiver about his rosy mouth. For Robbie was not used to unkind words, and he could not bear them.
"I like Robbie," said Grace, "but I don't want him to come in here now. Go away, Robbie, that is a good boy."
Again Robbie was disappointed. The poor little fellow went quietly back to his mamma.
"What is the matter, Robbie?" said his mamma. "Why didn't you stay with Grace?"
Then little Rob tried to speak, but began to cry and sob.
"Those girls don't want me," 'he said, "and Mary says she don't love me. I love Mary; why don't Mary love me?"
"Poor, little wounded heart!" said his mamma. "It is early for you to learn such lessons as that."
She took her boy in her arms and tried to amuse him, and he soon forgot his trouble in her care and love.
It was not long after this when Mary and Emma went away to their own home. Then Grace came running to her mamma.
"Oh, mamma," she said, "you cannot think what splendid times we girls have been having this afternoon. I never knew that ball was such a nice play till I tried it myself. It is the best of fun."
"I am glad you were happy, Grace," said her mamma. "But I am afraid you forgot something that I have often told you to remember."
"Why, mamma," said Grace, "what can you mean? I learned every one of my lessons before I went out, and I was not at all rude to either of the girls. I took good care about that."
"I was not speaking of your lessons, Grace," said her mamma; "you are not apt to neglect them, and I have noticed that you are not often rude in your play."
"What did I forget then, mamma?" said Grace. "You cannot be blaming me about my room, for I left that in nice order."
"You forgot the lesson which you and I went over only last Sunday," said her mamma.
"Oh no, mamma, I have not for- gotten that," said Grace. "I could not forget so soon. It was about the golden rule, and you told me always to try to do to others just as I would like to have them do to me. I think I shall remember it always."
"But what good will it do you to remember the rule, if you do not practice it?" said her mamma. "It was the practice of it which you forgot this afternoon."
"Why, how, mamma?" said Grace.
"Grace," said her mamma, "do you think you were quite kind to your little brother this afternoon?"
"Kind! Why, yes, mamma!" said Grace. "I am sure I did not do a single thing to him. I did not even speak to him that I remember."
"No, I know you did not," said her mamma. "Well, is that the way in which you like to have others treat you? If you go out among the girls when they are at play, don't you like to have them speak to you or notice you?"
"Of course I do, mamma," said Grace. "I should not have any fun at all if they did not."
"Still you can treat your dear little brother in this way," said her mamma.
"Oh, but he is too little to play with us, mamma. He cannot understand the games at all," said Grace.
"Is he too little to like to be amused?" said her mamma. "Do you think he is too little to be lonely or to feel neglect? You would not think so if you had noticed- his sad little face to-day, when his sister did not even speak to him. I have often observed how older children slight the little ones, and run away from them, and turn them out of their plays. Yet how small a thing it would be to notice them by a kind word now and then!"
"But that is just it, mamma," said Grace; "if we speak a word to Robbie, he tags right after us, and wants to do the very things that we do. It was only the other day that he came to us when we were going into school and. said, 'Now, Grace, you just ask your teacher if she don't want me in her school; and if she says, "yes," you come and tell me, and I will come right in with my books.' And the little goose went into the house and. got a great pile of books, and. came and stood there just as if he really thought I would do it."
"Well, I want to learn my lessons, too," said. Robbie. "I getting to be a big man, and. I want to read the papers just like my papa."
"Oh my! what a great man you are!" said his mamma. "And you'd like to read the papers, would you?"
" Oh yes," said Robbie. " There are real nice things in papers. It says in one paper that a man in New York is going to build a beautiful new house for poor people to live in, and that if you give hens too much to eat they won't lay no eggs."
"Why, mamma," said Grace, "how well he remembers! Papa did. read. that aloud from the newspaper only the other evening. Who would have thought that Robbie was listening?"
"I did," said Robbie, laughing as though it were a great joke. "I wanted to hear. Mr. Stewart is the man what is going to build the house. He is the store-keeper."
"You see, Grace," said his mamma, "that Robbie sees and hears, though he is such a very small boy, and he has a tender, feeling heart too. So if you will just try to remember the golden rule, and treat him just as you would wish others to treat you, he will soon both know and feel it."
"Well, mamma, I will try, "said Grace; " but it really is very hard sometimes."
That very evening a little circumstance happened which put her resolution to the test. Grace had many nice games which she was very glad to bring out and amuse herself with after she had taken her tea. Her father and mother would often play with her, if they were not busy with other things; and on this evening when she asked them to do so, they answered, "Yes."
The game was just laid out on the round-table, the gas was lighted, and Grace was about to begin, when Robbie came into the room.
"Me, too, Grace," he said; "let me play, too."
"No, Robbie, you do not know how to play this game," said Grace, in a very firm tone.
"I do know," said Rob. "I want to play."
His papa made room for him by the table at once, and took him. on his knee.
"I think he can play if I show him a little," he said. " The game is a very simple one, and quite easy to be understood."
Grace began to look rather cross.
" It is against the rule of the game," she said, "for one person to help another."
"I know it is, Grace," said her papa. "But surely we may set aside the rule in this instance, rather than leave this little darling out."
" I don't think it is fair to break the rule," said Grace, pouting. "Besides, Robbie is such a little stupid, he will spoil it all. He does not even know his letters."
"I do know my letters," said Robbie. "I can spell H, and A, and W, and round 0, and crooked S, and P with a hump on his back."
Even Grace laughed at this show of learning from little Rob, and his father said,
"Well done, my boy! You have clearly proved your right to a share in the game."
This did not suit Grace.
"He does not know all the letters," she said; "and he is always doing things to make people laugh, and he moves about so he makes me nervous. I don't want him to play."
"Grace," said her papa, "do you suppose that I play such a game as this for my own pleasure?"
"No," said Grace; "you play because you know I like it so much, and I have no one else to play with."
"Then don't you think the same reasons ought to make you willing to please your little brother?"
Grace did not answer, and her mamma said,
"Grace, since you care so much about keeping the rules of this simple game, why do you heed so little the rule which Jesus gives you to live by? It is fitly called the golden rule, for those who keep it are lovely in life, they carry love with them wherever they go, and they are growing day by day more into the spirit of Christ."
Grace blushed. She was ashamed to find that it was so much easier for her to say she would be good, than to really be good, kind and unselfish.
She spoke kindly to her little brother, and tried her best to make him enjoy the game which followed. He was delighted at the change, and said,
"Oh, mamma, Grace is good now! I love Grace when she is good, don't you?"
"Mamma," said Grace, when her papa had left the room and Robbie had been taken off to bed by his nurse-"mamma, I want to ask you one thing. Why is it that when I really want to be good and mean to be good, I keep forgetting."
"I can tell you, my dear," said her mamma. "It is because you have a sinful heart, and love sin so much that it is hard for you to do right."
"Mamma," said Grace, "it does not seem to me that I love sin very much. It always makes me very unhappy when I do naughty things."
"What is it that makes you unhappy?" said her mamma.
"Oh, I always know you will not love me so well," said Grace; "and I am afraid papa will punish me, or that some one will find out about it, and think I am an ugly, bad child."
"Then you do not feel sorry about the sin that is in your heart, Grace," said her mamma. "You do not grieve that you have broken God's law. It is only the punishment for sin that troubles you."
Grace thought a moment, and then said:
"I don't know but it is so, mamma; still I am sure of one thing-I do want very much to go to heaven when I die."
"If that is your real wish, my dear child," said her mamma, "the first thing you have to do is to try to get rid of this heart of sin. That which you really love to do it is always easy and pleasant to do. When I told you that you might work a pretty pin- cushion for your aunt Fanny, as a Christmas present last year, how glad you were! And, though you say you don't like to stay in the house, how eager you were to take every spare moment for that work!"
"That was because I did want to . see how it would look when it was done, so much that I could hardly wait, and then I knew Aunt Fanny would be so surprised," said Grace.
"Yes, and so your heart was in it, and so you did not get tired," said her mamma. "Now what you want is a heart that loves God, so that you will not be happy unless you are always trying to do his will."
"But how can I get to feel so?" said Grace.
"Jesus can give you this love in your heart," said her mamma, "and he is the only one who can do it. So you must pray to him to do it for you, and try to obey him in all things.
When this love comes, it is called a change of heart. The Bible often speaks of the need we all have of a new heart. Don't you remember the . verse, 'Create in me a clean heart, 0 God?' That should be your daily prayer."
When Grace had gone away to her own little bed that night and was left all alone in the darkness, she said that little prayer over and over again, and God in heaven heard her, and he was pleased to hear such a prayer as that from a little child.
The next day Grace made up her mind to begin again to try to keep the golden rule.
"Mamma says that Jesus gave us this rule," she said; "so I if really want to please him, I cannot do better than to begin with this. I mean, first of all, to try to begin with Robbie, because it will be the hardest. Mamma does not know how he plagues me sometimes, and how angry he gets when I will not play just in the way he likes. But then I often tease him, I know, and get him angry by taking away his things, and holding him still when I know he wants to run about."
As Grace said the last word she heard the patter of little feet upon the hall floor. She opened her door, and there stood Robbie.
He gave a merry laugh.
"Grace, Grace," he said, "nurse went away off down stairs and left me all alone. So I comed right to your room. Let's play horse."
Grace was just about to begin to study her lessons, and she did not care to see Robbie just then, but she did not tell him to go away, as she would have done the day before. She kissed him, and said,
"Come in, little darling. You look cold, and I will let you get warm by my stove."
"Yes," said Robbie, "and then we will play horse."
"I cannot play horse now, Robbie," said Grace, "for I must study my lessons. I will tell you what I will do, though: I will let you look at the pictures in one of my books."
Robbie liked this plan just as well. He was quiet all the time that Grace studied, and they had a happy hour together. He found much to amuse and interest him, and Grace was willing to answer any questions he asked about the pictures.
There was one that pleased him more than all the others: it was a picture of a Newfoundland dog rescuing a little girl from the water. When Robbie saw this, he thought he should love his own dog Fido better than ever.
Robbie was very fond of playing ball, and he asked Grace if she would not play with him after she got through her studies.
"You wouldn't let me play with you the other day," he said, "but you are kinder to me now than you was then."
And that afternoon, when Grace was playing with Robbie, and the girls came to see her, she took care that Robbie had his share of the fun.
From that time Grace really tried to practise the golden rule.
If you would like to be happy, and to have every one love you, and to please Jesus, begin from this time to do the same.
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Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her 19th-Century Girls' Series website; please do not use on other sites without permission