« السابقةمتابعة »
Do you know Uncle William? He bears that name not only amidst a large group of nephews and nieces, but amongst many who cherish the affection which he has inspired, without such relationship. His title becomes him as well as does that of many an Aunt Catherine, or aunts in similar circumstances; whom to know is to love.
If, then, you know Uncle William, how many pleasant thoughts will arise in your mind at the mention of his name! You will at once recall his happy looks; think, perhaps, of the time when he first placed his hand on your head; seem to hear the tones of gentleness and kindness in which he always speaks; and dwell, it may be, on some of the valuable things he has said to you. I am not surprised at all this; it would indeed be strange-very strange, were it otherwise.
If you do not know Uncle William, it is desirable that I should tell you something about him. He cannot describe himself, and therefore I ask you to accept the present sketch from the hand of a friend. I want you to be interested in him, though you cannot look up in his cheerful face, stand by his side, or put your arm round his neck. Could this be done, what a treat you would have! You would hear much that you have not heard before; and if anything was not quite new, it would have a freshness from the pleasing manner in which it was told. If he laughed, you would laugh as heartily as ever you did; if he were grave, your countenance would become so too; and, perhaps, as he told some touching tale, or gave some kind rebuke, the tears would gush into your eyes, and fall rapidly down your cheeks. But, however this might be, if you were not wiser and better for what you heard, whose fault would it be? Certainly not Uncle William's.
Could the years be rolled back-but they cannot-you would like him for a playfellow. When a child, he was not demure and sly, or noisy and violent, or meddling and mis
chievous, he was not one who must have it all his own way, or else prevent others from playing; or, if he could not do this, one who would leave them crying or sulking. Nor if any one touched him with a finger or a straw, did he cry out as if his arm were broken. No, he knew better than the children who do all this, and he acted as if he did. The chief quality that marked him then, as it has done ever since, was kindness. This prevented many evils, and was the spring of many benefits; not to himself alone, but to all his companions.
When a child, too, he was fond of reading; not that he hurried through many books, as people now go along a railroad, without gathering knowledge by the way. He could, when asked, tell much about what he read; and it was his custom always to finish one book before he began another. There was one book, however, which he early learned to prize above all others; it was his Bible, the holy book of God. He read it with the feelings with which he would have listened, if the voice of the Most High had addressed him. At such times he was like Samuel, when he said, " Speak, Lord; for thy servant
heareth." He obeyed the charge, "My son, give me thine heart." He trusted in the only Saviour; and taught by that Holy Spirit, who is promised to all who ask his influence in sincerity and truth, he became truly wise.
With true piety, moreover, he united constant activity. It was observed, that William, from his childhood, loved to notice things. Unless something required him to hasten, and then he never tarried, he would stop to look at a strange plant, or insect, or bird, that he met with in his path, and try to learn something about it on his return. He owed much of his knowledge to his kind parents; but they would not have told him many things they did, had it not been for his own inquiries. He imitated the eminent man, who being asked how he came to know so much, replied, "By never being ashamed to show my ignorance by asking questions of those who could teach me."
As William knew that his spade was to dig, his pen to write, and his knife to cut, so he was aware that he had a mind to think, and he used it, therefore, for its proper purpose. He would just as soon have reckoned on digging without his spade, or writing