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THE THUNDER STORM.
"FATHER," said Charles, "I don't like thunder. When the lightning comes in the dark so suddenly, I am always afraid. There, it is coming again! How the thunder rolls! Let me stop my ears. Just listen how the rain beats against the windows. I am glad I am not out of doors like those I now see on the heath. I can't tell of what use thunder can be."
"Why, my child, do you not like thunder ?" inquired his father.
"Because it does so much harm," replied Charles. "I heard that a man was lately killed by it—and then look at the rain! why, it will lay everything under water. Oh, it lightens again! I am almost blinded: it may kill me also. Why does God send thunder ?"
"Do you believe, Charles, that fire is good ?"
"To be sure, father; for when it is so cold in winter and freezes everything, how could we live if we had no fire in the grate ?"
"But do you not know that fire sometimes burns whole cities, and destroys the property of thousands, and in a single night brings them to poverty? And have you not heard also that men themselves are sometimes burned to death in the flames? Yet you do not object to fire as a useless thing, but on the contrary regard it as a blessing for which we ought to be sincerely thankful. So it is with thunder, though sometimes men are killed by the lightning which accompanies it, and damage is done by the heavy showers; these are only now and then, when God in his wisdom sees fit, and it does not become us to blame
him. Thunder and lightning purify the atmosphere, and the heavy rain loosens the soil, sinks deeply into it, and makes it fruitful. Only think how fresh and beautiful the trees, and shrubs, and grass appear after a thunderstorm.
“My son, when it thunders and lightens do not be afraid, but commit yourself to the care of God. Nothing can happen to you but what he sees to be for your good. When you hear the thunder roll, and see the lightning flash, and the rain descend in torrents, think of the greatness and power of your heavenly Father, and pray to him that you may always be his child."
Charles felt ashamed of his thoughtless and hasty words, and promised his father that he would remember what he had told him. The rainbow soon appeared in the sky, and the dark thunder clouds passed quickly
JUST IN TIME.
GILBERT GRICE, who lives in the country, often moves about from one place to another. Having property enough to maintain him, and not keeping a farm, he has a good deal of time on his hands.
If there be one thing more than another in which Gilbert prides himself, it is in the habit of being, what he calls, just in time. To pop in to an assembled company, or to arrive at a place of meeting, just as he is given up, is his delight. As, however, there are different opinions about the exact meaning of being
"just in time," we will let the conduct of Gilbert Grice speak for itself.
Gilbert set off, some time ago, to visit a cousin who is very particular in retiring to rest at ten o'clock, and of course he should have been there, at latest, a full hour before bed-time. His cousin's house was as much as thirty miles from his own. Instead of leav ing his dwelling in proper time, he delayed his departure till seven o'clock at night, and then mounted his bay mare to ride to his cousin's at the highest speed. Not having a moment to lose, he spared neither whip nor spur, and did not so much as give his bay mare a feed of corn, nor a ten minutes' rest all the way. He arrived, as he said, "just in time," that was, just as his cousin had taken up his chamber candlestick to retire for the night.
"Just in time!" We say he was just too late; for had he been in time, there would have been no necessity to have called up the servant-man, who was in bed, to attend to his jaded, overridden beast; nor to have kept up the servant-girl to put supper before him; nor to have soured the temper of his cousin by preventing him from retiring at his usual hour.
Not long after this visit he set off by coach to see an uncle; and as he had with him two heavy boxes, he ought to have been at the coach-office a little beforehand, that they might have been properly fastened on the coach; but he arrived at the moment the guard was blowing his horn, and the coachman mounting the box. "That is right," said he, "I am just in time." "Just in time!" He was in time, certainly, to get into the coach, but he was not in time to have his
luggage fastened, nor to pay his fare in the office, nor to prevent himself riding backwards, which he hated. Again we say that he was not "just in time,” but just too late.
About a month ago he had to attend a dinner party, and sadly late he was; for though he had two or three miles to walk across the fields, he did not set out till the time when he ought to have been there. As he passed by the dining-room window, he saw the company taking their seats. "That is lucky," said he, "for I see that I am just in time."
"Just in time!" Why, he had kept them waiting a full hour. When he entered the room, he made great disturbance, for they had given him up; and the lady of the house did not recover her good temper for an hour, for part of her dinner had been spoiled. Gilbert may call this what he likes, but if it is not being just too late, we do not know what is.
A fortnight ago, as Gilbert Grice entered the parish church on the morning of the sabbath, the service was just beginning. "I am glad that we are just in time," said he, in a whisper to a friend who was with him, "for I cannot bear being too late."
"Just in time!" He was in the church, to be sure, when the service began, but he was not in time to take his seat without disturbing others, nor to get his books without making an unseemly noise, nor to compose his mind by a moment's reflection on the place in which he was, and the object that had brought him there. We cannot help once more giving it as our opinion that he was just too late.
It was but last week that he had to attend a funeral.
On so solemn an occasion it might have been expected that he would have run no risk of being too late; but bad habits are not soon broken through. The mourners came, the bearers came, the minister came, but Gilbert Grice did not come at the time appointed. At last, however, he did come. "I see," said he to the undertaker, "that I am but just in time."
We may call things by strange names. The mournful procession had been sadly delayed; the minister had another funeral at a distance to attend, and some of the party had expressed themselves angrily. We cannot but think that in this, as well as in all the other instances we have mentioned, Gilbert was "just too late."
Whether travelling on foot, or horseback, or by coach; whether paying a visit, attending a dinner party, divine worship, or a funeral, Gilbert Grice is equally careless: how much he annoys others, in following out his customary habit. He will have it that he is "just in time," when every one else is fully convinced that he is just too late.
"If we have neither spoilt our tale
Our youthful readers cannot fail
To get a lesson good;
For this plain truth, in prose or rhyme,
Is clear beyond debate,
That he who is but just in time,
THEY who are not saints on earth will never be saints in heaven.