JUNO AND GEORGIE.
THE wisdom which is from above, that is the wisdom which the Holy Spirit will diffuse in our hearts if we will but open them to his influences-is first pure; that is, it will lead us first to see to it that we think and feel right, and keep clear from all sin our- selves ; then peaceable, that is, ready to yield, rather than contend for all our rights, so as to live in harmony and peace with those around us, even if they sometimes do us wrong; gentle, full of mercy and good fruits, that is, full of pity for all who suffer, and ready to do all we can to relieve them and make them happy; without partiality, that is, without feeling dislikes and prejudices against particular persons, but willing to do good to all alike; and without hypocrisy, that is, without falsely pretending that we are acting from good feelings towards others, when we are really only contriving an ingenious way to gain some good for ourselves.
This was the verse which Georgie had been studying, and now Juno was going to tell him a story to explain to him exactly what was meant by the last word in it, namely, hypocrisy.
But first I was to explain why Juno decided not to tell Georgie the story of his own management in the affair of the pond lilies, as related in the last chapter. The reason was this:
She made it a point, in all the conversations that she had with Georgie about his Sunday-school lessons, and in all other cases in fact when she undertook to give him any advice or instruction, to avoid as far as possible everything which could make the conversation disagreeable to him in any way. And in order to be the more sure of doing this, she took care never to make use of such occasions for finding fault with him, or reminding him, even indirectly, of any wrong which he had done. Being reproved for one's faults, though often necessary, is I never agreeable, and when parents or Sunday-school teachers, or older children who have for a time the care and instruction of younger ones, mix up fault-finding in any form with their moral and religious instructions, or draw illustrations of the meaning of passages of Scripture from the bad conduct of the children, then the children soon learn to connect disagreeable ideas and associations with the advice and instructions which their teachers give them, and so learn to dislike them, and to dread to have the time come when they are to hear them, considering them to be, what in fact they often are, only reproofs and fault-finding in disguise.
Juno did not understand this, in theory, very well, that is, she had no distinct idea of the principle on which she acted, nor could she have expressed it well in words. She only felt it in her heart, and acted upon it as if it had been a kind of instinct. This kind of instinct is sometimes called tact.
It will be well for the readers of these stories to remember the principle, especially if there are any among them who ever have the charge of their younger brothers or sisters, and so have occasion to advise or instruct them. You .must take care, as much as possible, not to have anything painful or disagreeable connected with such instructions; and above all things not to mix them up with scoldings or fault-findings on account of what the children have done that is wrong.
For example, one day Georgie told Juno a falsehood. He had been out playing in front of the house, and when he came in Juno thought, by the appearance of his shoes, that he had been across the road. He was not allowed, when he played in front of the house, to cross the road, on account of the danger of being run over by some passing cart or carriage, or by some horse galloping swiftly by. He was required to remain on the sidewalk next the house, and on no account to go out into the road.
But on the day of which I am speaking he was enticed out into the road by a butterfly that came flying by, and that he attempted to catch in his cap. The butterfly, after fluttering along before him over the sidewalk a little way, Georgie after him, turned at length and went across the road, and Georgie, almost before he thought of it, was half across the road too. Finding that he had thus half broken the law, he concluded that he should not make the matter much worse by finishing the transgression; and so he went on in pursuit of the butterfly until at length the poor thing made its escape from him by flying over a high wall.
Then Georgie came back, and afterward, when he came into the house, and Juno, judging from the appearance of his shoes, suspected that he had gone out into the road, asked him if he had done so, he, being thus suddenly called upon, said " no," almost without having time to think that by so saying he was telling a lie.
" Let us go and see," said Juno.
So she took Georgie by the hand and led him out to the front of the house, and there, after walking along a little way, she came to a damp place in the road, where Georgie had run over, and there were plainly to be seen the tracks which he had made in chasing the butterfly.
When she found the tracks she did not speak, but looked for a moment sorrowfully, first at the tracks and next at Georgia's shoes; and then at last turned about and led Georgie back again toward the house without saying a word.
Now, a great many persons in Juno's situation would have taken this opportunity to teach Georgie how wicked it was, and how displeasing to God, for such a child to tell a lie. But Juno had a different idea. " I must teach Georgie how wicked it is to tell a lie," she said to herself, " but this is not the proper time for it. If I attempt to talk with him on that subject now, he will stand by sullen and out of humor, feeling guilty and ashamed, and nothing that I can say will reach his heart, or make any real impression upon him. The time for me to teach him how wicked it is to tell a lie, in such a way that he shall love and receive the teaching, will be on some occasion when he has told the truth, in a case in which he was strongly tempted to tell a lie.
Such a case occurred the very next day, and curiously enough this second case was one in which Georgie was led into difficulty by a butterfly. It happened that he was walking along in the garden, near a border which belonged to his mother, where a moss rose-bush, which his mother prized very highly, was growing, when all at once a beautiful mottled butterfly, adorned with black spots upon a golden yellow ground, came flying by. Georgie pulled off his cap and made a dash at the butterfly, but instead of catching him, the cap in its descent fell upon and broke off one of the prettiest buds on the moss rose-bush, one that was just bursting into flower. The bud fell over and hung by the broken stem. Georgie tried to straighten it up again, but he could not make it stand.
Juno, who was sitting at her work not far off, seeing that Georgie suddenly stopped playing, and seemed very intent upon doing something near the rose-bush, called out to him to know what was the matter. Georgie immediately went to her and told her honestly what he had done.
" Now," said Juno to Georgie, as soon as he had told her about the broken rose-bud, " now is my chance."
"Your chance?" repeated Georgie, as if not knowing what Juno meant.
" Yes," said Juno, "it is a most excellent chance for me. I'll tell you what for by and by. But first go and tell your mother that you have broken her rose-bud, and how you did it; and ask her if you shall cut it off entirely and carry it in to her."
So Georgie went into the house and did as Juno had recommended. His mother did not seem so much disturbed by the accident as Georgie had feared. She gave him a pair of scissors to cut off the stem with, and when he brought in the rose-bud to her she put it in water.
When Georgie returned to Juno in the garden again, and asked her what she meant by " her chance," she told him that it was a chance to tell him something. She had been waiting, she said, for a time when he should he honest enough to tell the truth, in a case where he was tempted to tell a lie, and now the time had come. She would tell him what it was that she wished to explain to him, she said, that night after he went to bed.
Accordingly, that night, after Georgie had said his prayers, Juno took her seat by his bed-side, as she was often accustomed to do, and began by telling him how fortunate it was for him that he told the truth about the rose-bud, instead of telling a lie; and then went on to say how God loved the truth and hated lies, and she read several passages in the Bible that related to that subject, and explained them. Georgie listened to what she said with great satisfaction and pleasure. His conscience being undisturbed and his mind at peace, he was prepared to receive all that Juno taught him and to enjoy and love it, and he went to sleep determined that he would never tell another lie as long as he lived, whatever the temptation might be.
Thus it is generally best to take, as an occasion for teaching children the hatefulness of any particular sin, not a time when they have committed the sin, but rather a time when, by divine grace, they have resisted the temptation and avoided the sin. For then they will listen to you with pleasure, and love to hear what you have to say, and the truth, being welcomed to their hearts, will make a strong and permanent impression.
It is the same in respect to all the faults of children. The way to cure these faults is not to scold the children when they commit them, and tell them how bad it is in them to do so, but to praise them when they do not commit the fault, and tell them how bad it would have been if they had done so.
I do not mean that it is never well to reprove children for their faults, for it some times is necessary to do so. And it is sometimes necessary to show them the guilt of sin when they have fallen into it. But these cases are exceptions. The other mode of proceeding is in all ordinary cases much the most effectual.
Juno did not understand this very well in theory, but she had a sort of feeling in her heart that this was the best way. Accordingly, in explaining to Georgie the meaning of the word hypocrisy, she would not take for an illustration an example of hypocrisy from Georgie himself, but made up some stories of her own, so as not even to seem to be finding fault with Georgie, while giving him religious instructions.
Juno had a great deal of tact.
What the stories were which she made up, to show the nature of hypocrisy, will be related in the next chapter.
Juno's Story of the Little Hypocrite.
IN thinking of a mode of explaining to Georgie the nature of hypocrisy, Juno determined, as has already been said, that she would not make use, for an illustration, of any example of hypocrisy which she might have observed in Georgie's own conduct, because she did not wish to awaken any feelings in his mind which should interfere with his receiving kindly and adopting cordially the principle which she wished to impress upon him.
It is very true that it is sometimes necessary to reprove children for their faults, and to awaken in their minds feelings of compunction and distress at the thought of having committed them. But the time when we have to do this is not a favorable time for explaining to them something that they do not understand, or for recommending to them a moral principle which we wish them to receive and adopt as their own future rule of duty. For in order that they may readily receive and love what we teach them, they must be, at the time, in a calm, quiet and happy state of mind.
The first story which Juno told to Georgie, to enable him to understand the nature of hypocrisy, was this. She told it to him one day when they were taking a long walk together in the wood. There was no road where they were going, but only a cowpath. Georgie had a small tin pail in his hand, in which he was going to bring home some polliwogs out of a pond in the woods, to put in his aquarium. I will tell you about his aquarium some time or other.
" Once there was a boy," said Juno, commencing her story, " and his name was Jeremiah."
" Jeremiah what ?" asked Georgie.
" Jeremiah Whipstock," answered Juno. Juno gave Jeremiah the name of Whipstock on the spur of the moment, for the whole story was one which she had made up, and she had not thought of any surname for Jeremiah until Georgie asked for it. She always gave odd and queer names to the boys and girls that she told stories about, having observed that the more whimsical the names were, the more Georgie was amused.
" Jeremiah used very often to take rides with his father and mother," continued Juno. " Sometimes he went with them, and sometimes his sister Isabella went. Only one of them could go at a time, because there was not room for both in their father's chaise.
" It was a four-wheeled chaise that Mr Whipstock rode in, and besides the great seat for Jeremiah's father and mother, there was also a small and lower one in front and between, which could be turned up and let down at pleasure. This small seat was for Jeremiah or Isabella.
" Jeremiah had a pair of reins, made of a kind of braid, and when he rode with his father and mother he sometimes took them with him in order to drive, as he called it. The forward ends of his reins were fastened to the brass eyes upon the collar, which the real reins passed through to go to the bits. The other ends of the reins were brought into the chaise, and Jeremiah would hold them. Then when they came to a smooth and level place in the road, Jeremiah's father would hang up the ends of the real reins upon a hook over his head, and Jeremiah would imagine that he was driving. He had a little whip, too, that he used to whip at the horse with, though the lash did not reach any farther than to whip the fender."
Was Jeremiah really driving ? " asked Georgie.
" No," replied Juno. " He would pull his reins now and then, and flap them and whip, but as the reins only reached the harness, and the whip only to the fender, the horse did not take any notice of either, but went on in his own way along the smooth and level road."
" But he thought he was driving," said Georgie.
" Yes," replied Juno, " he thought he was driving."
" Then they deceived him," said Georgie.
"Yes," said Juno, "they deceived him."
To be strictly accurate, it would have been better if Juno had said that they allowed him to deceive himself.
" Then I don't think that they did right," said Georgie.
" Perhaps not," replied Juno. " I only tell you what they did, I don't say whether they did right or wrong. You can think just as you like about that."
" One day," continued Juno, going on with her story, " when Jeremiah was taking a ride with his father and mother, the horse came to a place where a brook crossed the road under a bridge, and the horse seemed to want to go down to the water to get a drink. But Mr. Whipstock did not like to drive through the brook, and so he told the horse that he would let him stop at the next farmer's and have a drink out of a tub.
" So when they came to the farmer's they turned aside and stopped at the tub. The tub was always kept full of water by means of a spout which poured out a continual stream into it from a post. There was an aqueduct which came into this post from under ground.
" While the horse was drinking, the farmer himself came out from a barn close by, and began talking with Mr. Whipstock about a cow that he had to sell. After a time he spoke to Jeremiah, and said,--
" ' Well, my little sonny, how are you ? You are the driver, it seems.'
" Then he turned round and called to a boy named Tom, who was standing in the barn-door.
" ' Tom,' says he, ' go into the house and get an apple, one of .the rosy honey-dews, and bring it here. The biggest that you can find.'
" So Tom ran into the house, and soon returned with a very large, rosy-checked apple, and the farmer put it into Jeremiah's hands. Jeremiah dropped his reins to take it.
" ' Have you got a brother or sister at home ?' says the farmer,
" ' I've got a sister,' says Jeremiah.
" ' Then, Tom,' says the farmer, ' go in and get another apple.'
" So Tom brought another apple, and the farmer, gave it to Jeremiah, telling him that he might give one of the apples to his sister and keep one himself. Jeremiah put the apples away upon the seat behind his mother, to keep them safe until he got home, and then took up his reins again.
But before he put the apples away, in fact, before Tom brought the second apple, his eye fell accidentally upon a small wormhole in the end of the first apple, at the place where the blossom had been. The hole was partially concealed by the withered remains of the blossom. Still Jeremiah could see it, and he knew by it that the apple was wormy. The second apple was somewhat smaller than the first, but Jeremiah, after examining it carefully, convinced himself that it was sound. So he determined to give the first apple to Isabella, and keep the second one for himself. He also determined, very cunningly, that while he thus gratified his own selfishness he would do it in such a way as to get credit for generosity. *
" So after riding on a little way, in silence, he said,--
" ' Mother, I am going to give Isabella the biggest apple.'
" 'Are you ?' says his mother. ' That will be generous in you, and I am very glad. It is much more noble to deal generously by your sister than it is to be selfish and look out only for yourself.'
" ' Yes, mother,' said Jeremiah, ' I thought you would like to have me give her the biggest, and so I am going to do it.'
"Accordingly, when Jeremiah reached home, he showed the two, apples to Isabella, and said that he was going to give the biggest of them to her. In giving it to her he was careful to hold it so that she should not see the worm-hole. He then put his own apple away in his chest, intending to "eat it all by himself some day.
" What do you think of that?" asked Juno, when she had finished the story.
" I think he was a very bad boy," replied Georgie.
" Yes," said Juno, " I call him a little hypocrite. His wishing to get the sound apple for himself, and to put off the wormy one upon his sister, was selfishness; and his pretending that it was out of generosity toward Isabella, and a desire to please his mother, that he did it, was hypocrisy."
Juno had another story to tell Georgie in illustration of the nature of hypocrisy, but she did not have time to tell it to him now, for soon after the first story was finished the pond came into view, and Georgie ran forward to find the polliwogs.
Georgie had excellent luck in collecting that day, for he got ten polliwogs, two shining bugs, a skipper and three minnows. All these he secured in his tin-pail, which he had previously filled about half full of water, so that he might carry them home to put into his aquarium.
On to chapter 5
Juno and Georgie material appears courtesy of Dr. John T. Dizer.
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