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pleasures, innocent amusements, and artificial inventions of human society, designed to relieve the gloom and occupy the time of the dreary season of winter. On a cold and gloomy night in dark December, when the whistling of the boisterous winds, and the peltings of the falling rain are heard without, how comfortable it is for the members of a family to sit around the warm and homely hearth, with the winter candle burning, to furnish them with light to pursue their varied and pleasant employments. In these circumstances, however, it not unfrequently happens, that the busy and quiet circle suddenly hears a voice exclaiming, “A Thief in the Candle.” Every eye is immediately turned to the candle; and one of the number instantly proceeds to remove the thief from the candle, in order that the little luminary may not be wasted. This anxiety to allow no " thief in the candle” may be the means of teaching us a lesson.
Human life may be very fitly compared to a candle that is exposed to many thieves, against which every one should be on his guard. In the time of the sprightliness of boyhood, the bloom of youth, and the vigour of manhood, we are most in danger of permitting the “ thief” to waste the means of obtaining the light of knowledge, and unless we are then vigilant and cautious, in the decline of life, we will have to lament the "thief in the candle."
The lightsome and playful dispositions of boys often lead them to neglect the advantages of education which are placed within their reach. This is done either by absenting themselves from school, being trifling and inattentive while there, or disobedient to the teacher, in regard to the duties he enjoins upon them. School duties are frequently felt to be irksome, and its tasks difficult and weari
To impress upon the mind of a school-boy, the great importance of his engagements, is often very difficult; right apprehensions on this subject are rarely possessed before the season of youth has taken its flight. The time for school duties and privileges is very short; it hastens rapidly away, and the employments of the boy are soon converted into the responsible occupations of the man; 118 and if the boy has been characterised by indifference and negligence, the man will have occasion to acknowledge, with deep emotion, that there has been a thief in the candle.”
The associations and habits of youth are often profitless and injurious. Reading the Word of God; studying of the sciences ; cultivation of the fine and useful arts; and the obtainment of general useful knowledge, are much neglected by many who have more or less opportunity to engage in those duties. But youth is full of life and activity, and it will be employed about something; if, therefore, the things which are beneficial are neglected, those of an opposite character will be attended to; and those youths who spend their time in profitless society or evil company-in visiting taverns, singing-saloons, race-courses, or in reading novels, or in idleness—will probably acknowledge, with grief, in mature life, that there has been "a thief in the candle.”
Young men are, not unfrequently, so much taken up with the pleasures, enjoyments, fashions, and pursuits of this world as to neglect the "one thing needful”-" the pearl of great price." Their time and talents for usefulness in the cause of God are wasted, which might be employed in teaching in the Sabbath-school, distributing religious tracts, visiting the sick and distressed, or in some other honourable and useful manner, in connexion with the cause of God. Religion is the great business of human life, and to encourage us to possess it, the Scriptures declare that “ godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” God has placed the means of salvation within the reach of every youth in our land; and God calls every one to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The nature of the work to be done may be learned from the language of the Saviour, who, as our great pattern, said, “ I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work. If this great employment of life be neglected, while health, and strength, and opportunity remain, the truth will rush into
the mind with woful force, that there has been" a thief in the candle."
The candle of human life will soon enough burn out; a few more flickers, and shoots, and starts, and it will sink into its socket; a few more intermittent rays of light may be emitted, and then the tallow will be melted, the wick consumed, the light extinguished; death will come, and after death the judgment. How carefully, then, should you guard against every thing which would waste time, and against every practice, habit, or sin, which will be regarded in the hour of death-the final struggle, the closing scene a thief in the candle."
THE NAUGHTY BOYS OF THE BIBLE. We hope all the readers of the “ Juvenile Companion read the Bible; every one should read that Sacred Book. The Bible is a book for the world. It was not written for any particular class of people, but for mankind.
Although every part of that blessed book is important, some parts of it, which have an especial reference to young people, are to them most interesting. Some of the promises and precepts are more particularly given to the young. We will name two or three, and no doubt some of you are able to point out others. God says, “ I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” - Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” There are also in the Bible instructive accounts, of some young persons who lived at the time the accounts were written; and no doubt our young friends have been delighted in reading the narratives. We will now remind
you of some of them. We are now about to tell you of some naughty boys mentioned in the Bible. The first naughty boy we wish to tell you about is Ishmael. You know Ishmael was the son of Hagar. Now, he was a naughty boy; at least, on one occasion. We will tell you what it was he did. When Isaac
was a child, Ishmael mocked Isaac, in a very rude manner. When Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac her son, she was so much displeased, that she persuaded Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar his mother away; and they "went and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba." There they suffered great privations. At one time they could not find any water anywhere, and they were parched with thirst. In that part of the world water is not 'so plentiful as in this country. There are extensive deserts, and as the sun is very hot, and if their supply of water happens to fall short, they are reduced to great distress and suffering. Thus it was with Hagar and Ishmael; and Ishmael became so faint and ill, that Hagar thought he would die. Poor Hagar! she was very much distressed. She could not bear to see him die; so she sat down and wept. Now, dear young friends, see what came of Ishmael's rudeness! He certainly would have died if God had not had mercy on him; but
God heard the voice of the lad ; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven ;—and God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” Thus he was providentially saved from a premature death. We hope none of you will be naughty, like Ishmael.
In the next place, we wish to tell you about those wicked children who insulted Elisha, The Bible does not tell us whether they were boys or girls; but we suppose they were boys, at least the greater number of them, for surely girls were not so rude. You know that Elijah was taken up to heaven without dying; and Elisha was with him when that remarkable occurrence took place. " And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder ; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” After Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha tarried some time at Jericho; then “he went up from thence unto Bethel : and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head!" How very rude and wicked! Scarcely anything is ruder than for young people to follow any one and insult him, as these young Bethelites did Elisha. We sometimes see a number of children following some poor creature, insulting him, and then diverting themselves at seeing him teased and in a passion. But, surely, none of our young friends who attend Sunday-school, and read the “ Juvenile Companion,” ever do so! No! we hope not.
But perhaps the young Bethelites intended to ridicule the miracle of Elijah's ascension to heaven, as well as to insult Elisha; hence they said, “Go up, thou bald head.” Perhaps they were young idolators ; for you know there were two kingdoms, that of Judah and that of Israel; and when Jeroboam became king of Israel, he wished to prevent the people from going to Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, to worship God, as the law required them to do, lest they should return again to their allegiance to the family of David; and he established among his people, idolatry. He made two golden calves, and put one in Bethel and the other in Dan, and told the people, that they were their gods. ~ And the people were so foolish and wicked as to worship them. As then, one of the calves was placed in Bethel, it is very likely these young Bethelites were taught to worship it; and when they said, “ Go up, thou bald head,” they did not believe Elijah was gone up to heaven.
Then consider what happened to these young sinners. Elisha “ turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two shebears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” Now this was a judgment of God upon them. God directed the prophet to curse them, and God sent the bears, which tore them in pieces. Thus, dear readers, you see what was the consequence of their wickedness to these children.
There is one more naughty boy we wish to tell you about. His name was Manasseh. He was king of Judah, and he began to reign when he was only twelve years old. Perhaps some of you think, you would like to be king; but Solomon, you know, says, “ Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be ad