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that the breach of that day was one of the reasons assigned by the three Edinburgh lads as the cause of their ruin! “But did nothing strike yon farther, David,” said 1, "as to the heinousness of the offence of stealing your neighbour's property, which was unlawful on any day, even although it had not been the Sahbath?” “O no," said he, “it was only a few beans; I didna mind that, after what Bragwell had said.” “ Alas! David,” I replied; “your ideas on this point are still very imperfect; you cannot think of breaking the Sabbath, but you forget to pay proper attention to one of the weighty matters of the law-JUSTICE. Mind, my boy, the words of a Rale, which justly merits the appellation it has obtained, and deserves indeed to be recorded in letters of gold, • THEREFORE, ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO TO YOU, DO YE EVEN SO TO THEM : FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.'
“ How would you have been pleased if this field had been yours, and a parcel of boys (at the time you were at home reading your book) had come out to it, and, not content with filling their pockets, had trodden down and injared a considerable part of the corn besides?.
" Who knows but these unfortunate lads were among the bean-stealers of last autumn! The approaches to vice are easy and almost imperceptible. A boy begins by stealing a marble from his play-fellow--his plea is the same as yours-it was only a marble ; this passes without detec tion, and be next proceeds to carry off trifles from his, parents, and divides them with his school-fellows; they, in their turn do the same, and they have a joint stock of juvenile plunder; with his little associates he next sallies
out into the open fields, where they fill their pockets with turnips or beans ;-one degree farther, and doors and walls are not proof against their depredations ; for they find means to rob gardens and orchards ;-a little more advanced, a sense of shame forsakes them, and they do not scruple, in the confusion of mobs and fairs, to catch and carry off what they can lay hold of. By this time they advance in years, grow up and get entangled with dissolute company, who, for more regular supplies, encourage them to advance still farther in the ways of iniquity ; they now proceed to rub their masters or mistresses, and break into shops and houses ; till, at last, grown hardened in wickedness, they throw off all restraint, bid defiance to the laws, betake themselves to the highway, and being fortunate, as they call it, in escaping so long, at last finish their career on a gibbet!
“Now, young men, although you have fairly ventured on this course, you must not calculate on getting through the whole of it. Many a one is cut off in the midst, yea, at the beginning of their career, and at a time they do not expect it. It is very probable that this time twelvemonth, Sutherland, Macdonald, and Macintosh, had no more thought of the awful fate which has since overtaken them than you have now of the death you are to die. I think you had, therefore, better stop in time, and think seriously how far you have already advanced ; never forget. ting, that every deviation from bonesty is one step towards the gallows; and, according to my scale, you have got forward three degrees, and within a very little of where these three young men were stopped short.
“Don't shudder at this comparison! for I must plainly tell you, that it is not unlikely that these youths would have been as ready to startle at the crimes of murder and
robbery ! robbery bad they been mentioned to them a year ago, as you are now. But one crime leads to another; and when once a youth turns aside from the right path, there is no saying where he may stop; and when he joins in a mob, it is impossible to calculate the consequences.Poor Macintosh said in the prison, that he saw many in the mob that day be never saw before ;' and as the most depraved characters often take the advantage of such occasions to be guilty of the most flagrant crimes, knowing the difficulty of distinguishing the real perpetrators in a multitude, young people cannot be too much on their guard against being drawn into such a vortex of mischief as a mob.
"But this is not all, you have other causes of alarm, observe how you approximate them in other respects.. ; Idleness,' said Sutherland, was my ruin,' and that
South-Bridge,' Macintosh observed, was his; now, what was your employment, and where were you found this afternoon, when Bragwell came up to you? But here the parallel does not drop.--What said Sutherland, in bis address to his fellow prisoners, on the day of bis execution ?--Now, my dear friends, hear the last dying testimony of a great sinner, who tasted the fruits of sin ; --beware of bad company, and breaking the Sabbath, and disobedience to parents; for this is the first thing that led to evil, and has been my ruin! I did not need to make the application--the tears in their eyes, and the manner in which they were affected, shewed full well
they understood my meaning, and felt the import of my „Words.” .
After a few sobs, Candid broke silence by saying, “ I'm suré l-may say the bead o' the Western-Lane has been my rain, for in a' the miscbiefs I've engaged, it was aye there I met wi' my companions : but I think I've heard eneugh now to keep me frae standin' in the streets again. I ne'er before thought stanin at the head o' the WesternLane in owre town, was as ill as at the South Brig o' Edinburgh—but I see now the taen's o'er like the tither, and besides I ken a likeness in ither things ye hinna noticed, sir. And am sure I may be thankfu' that I've fa’en in wi' you this night, tho' I may be ashamed o' the reason ; and am determined to stay at hame in future, an' read my Bible, or ither good books I may get a len o', rather than stand about the streets i’ the Sunday.”
Doubtful wished, for his part, that he had taken bis father's advice, and staid at home, and read Hervey's Meditations as he wished him to do; “but,” said he, “ I mean to be mair obedient in future, and shanna soon forget what I've heard the night ; besides, my father's puttin' down his name for a book that's comin' out, to be ca'd The CAEAP MAGAZINE, because he thinks it may be usefu' for me án' my brithers ; I'se apply mysel weel to this, an' ither gude books, and shanna easily suffer mysel to be led away again bie sic blackguards as Bragwell; who for a' his braggin has shown himsel the greatest coward amang us. An' am sure, before he cam to us, we were nae thinkin' o' gaan to the beans.”
“And as for me,” said Careless, “I shall tak' care that company I keep after this again, especially on Sundays; an’ let Bragwell try to bring me into sic a scrape again if he can.--My mither wanted me to tak' that book Doubtfu' speaks about too, and said if I wou'd pit down my name, (for she canna write hersel,) she wad pay for't, for she thought it just sic a book as I needed, but I told her I cared neither for her nor her books, that John Cleap, Lothian Tam, an' Wise Willie, were the
books for me; and as she wadna gie me them, an' Peter Langhead had tauld me stories o' that kind wadna be printed in the Cheap Magazine, I said, I'd hae naething to do wi' sic dry stuff; but now I think I'll take it, ay, and read it too ; and as poor Wull has naebody to buy bim books, I'll maybe gie him a readin' o't; and gin its about ony thing like what we've heard frae you, Sir, I think we salna rue it.”
I again resumed—“ It gives me great pleasure, my young friends, to observe my words have such an effect; for your tears show you feel conviction, and your promises of amendment give me reason to hope that I have done something towards reclaiming you from the paths of vice; and let me tell you for your comfort, that the very being sensible of your error, and putting on good resolutions, already prove that you have advanced two steps on the ladder of repentance. Follow this up by an earnest prayer to God that he will perfect what he has begun, and there is no fear of you; for your Saviour not only says, 'Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden;' but he also declares, that Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in nowise cast out.' Engage in prayer, then, with the most heartfelt conviction that you will he heard; and watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation ; avoid carefully the least appearance of evil ; for, as I said be. fore, the approaches to vice are almost imperceptible.
“ Idleness, my young man,” addressing myself to Candid, “is justly defined the parent of want and misery,'. and ill habits are more easily conquered to-day than tomorrow;' endeavour, therefore, to persist in the good resolutions you have formed. Fly idleness, and the haunts of idleness, as places of the greatest danger; and should