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God, he would find, by dreadful experience, that unrepented and unpardoned sin, as a heavy weight of debt, sinks the soul lower than the grave, and for ever shuts it out from happiness and heaven. It was proper that Albert should be warned against putting himself again in the power of one who had certainly been unkind and ungenerous towards him; but he should have been reminded of the lovely example and the holy precept of the Lord Jesus, who said, “ Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you,” Matt. v. 44. This might have checked his angry feelings against Sam Brown; and would thus have done more good, every way, than calling the money-lending boy, greedy though he was, in Albert's hearing, a "young rascal.”
Albert, however, had no opportunity for showing either unlovely contempt or kind forgiveness towards his old persecutor, for Sam Brown did not return to school after the holidays. Thus he lost his pledgesflute, fiddle, and all; and could only console himself by retaining the dearly purchased money.
We believe that Albert never borrowed money again while he remained at school ; perhaps he had no occasion to do so. Whether he obeyed the injunction to keep good accounts, is a matter that rested between his father and himself. If he did, they must have been strange ones, for his squandering habits were not lost; nor did his bitter experience of the miseries of borrowing money produce any permanently good effects in his future life.
Twenty-two years after Albert left school, and while he was yet a young man, an old schoolfellow accidentally met him in the streets of London, and was recognised by him. He was a ruined man hopeless, helpless, and near to starvation. His father and mother were dead ; his friends, or those who remained of them, had either steeled their hearts against him, or had been too greatly injured by his extravagance and imprudence, to be able to assist him. He had been in business, had speculated, had borrowed money, had been arrested and thrown into prison by a vindictive creditor; and that creditor was—Sam Brown.
Without tracing Albert's history any further, let us earnestly request the young reader to learn a practical lesson or two from it.
1. Never borrow money, or get in debt. Schoolboys have neither occasion nor right to do either. There is a plain and
simple direction in the Bible, which it would be well for every schoolboy to commit to memory, and always practise. “ Owe no man anything, but to love one another,” Rom. xiii. 8.
2. Beware of covetousness, which is a great sin against God, and brings unhappiness to man. Sam Brown was a covetous boy ; and he was neither happy himself, nor the cause of happiness.in others. And “this we know, that no covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God," Eph. v. 5.
3. Learn to moderate your wishes, and not think it necessary to your happiness to have money to spend, or to be always spending it on luxuries. Even school. boys may make a far better use of what little money they have than this. Contentment and self-denial cannot be too
early learned and practised. “He that wasteth his father is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach ;” and, “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man : he that loveth oil and wine shall not be rich,” Prov. xix. 26; xxi, 17.
4. Above all things, let the young reader remember, that though prudence and frugality are necessary to worldly success, and are also enjoined upon us in the Bible, they will never secure the possession of heavenly riches-never open the way of life to a sinner. All are, by nature, in a state of sin and condemnation; all have need of the salvation which the great Redeemer, in wonderful mercy and condescension, offers to those who believe in his name; and to all it is said, whether wise for this world, or foolish“Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” Luke xiii. 5.