She had sent him a suit of clothes which her own little boy had outgrown, and Charlie took a much longer time to put on these clean, neat garments than he usually did in donning the ragged pants and jacket that were his everyday attire.
He went down to the sink and dashed the clear, cold water over his face until it fairly shone and brushed his brown curls vigorously; then his grooming was completed and he looked admiringly at his altered appearance in the three-cornered bit of mirror which stood on the shelf.
Charlie expected to have such a happy time at Sabbath school, and he was at Mrs. Lee’s door fully ten minutes before the time when she had told him to come.
When at last they reached the church and Mrs. Lee ushered him into a class where five boys of his own age were seated, Charlie smiled brightly at them, expecting that they would welcome him to their number; but his happy face clouded over when he found that they drew themselves away and refused to have anything to do with him.
Charlie had a slight acquaintance with Walter Foster, and when he saw him whispering to the boys as he came up the aisle, he guessed at once that it was something he had said which made the class treat him so unkindly. Mrs. Lee was sorry when she saw the reason for Charlie’s clouded face, and she tried to atone for his classmates’ unkindness by sharing her own book with him and trying to interest him in the lesson as much as possible.
When school was dismissed she said good-bye to Charlie but asked the others to wait a moment.
“Boys, I want to know why you were so unkind to the little boy I brought with me today,” she said gravely when Charlie had gone.
Some of the boys fidgeted about uneasily with red faces, but as their teacher was waiting for an answer, one of them stammered,
“Walter told us he was an awful wicked boy, and we oughtn’t to speak to him.”
Now it was Walter’s turn to blush, but as Mrs. Lee looked toward him, he answered her inquiring glance by saying,
“Hurrying through one’s morning devotions . . . is another way of dishonoring God,”
“Well, he is wicked; indeed he is. One day some boys took some marbles away from him, and he said awful bad words. I wouldn’t speak to such a wicked boy, and I wouldn’t say swear words for anything,” and Walter drew himself up virtuously.
Mrs. Lee’s face wore a sorrowful expression as she listened to the little boys’ self-righteous speech.
“I am glad you do not say wicked words, Walter,” she said gravely, “but you must remember that you have been carefully taught, and know how wrong it is to do so. I am afraid, however, that you do not hallow God’s name in every way, even though you may not dishonor it by using it as Charlie does.”
“Me?” and Walter opened his eyes in amazement.
“Why, how, Mrs. Lee?”
“A little boy who whispers when the superintendent is praying, is now hallowing God’s name, for he is taking the time that is set apart for us to speak to God, to talk about his own affairs,” answered the teacher, and an added tinge of color crept into Walter’s rosy cheeks, for he remembered that only last Sabbath he had been so restless and whispered so much that he had disturbed the whole class.
“Hurrying through one’s morning devotions, and reading a verse in the Bible hastily, so that more time may be given to play or homework is another way of dishonoring God,” continued Mrs. Lee, gravely. “Before you treat a little classmate as unkindly as you treated Charlie today, I want you to stop and consider whether you have not been guilty of the same sin of which you condemn him so severely.”
Five faces were rosy with blushes now, and the boys were ashamed as they remembered how they had refused to have anything to do with Charlie in spite of his wistful looks and evident disappointment. And after all, they had not been so much better than the little boy they looked down upon, for each one of them had been carefully taught all their lives, both at home and in Sabbath school.
There was silence for a moment, then Walter looked up bravely.
“It was all my fault we acted so, and we’ll be good to him next Sabbath, Mrs. Lee. I didn’t think about my doing the same thing in a different way, and I just thought how wicked he was, without thinking about myself too.”
“Try to help each other instead of condemning each other’s faults,” said Mrs. Lee, smiling kindly at the flushed, boyish face. “Remember too, that there are more ways of dishonoring God than by taking His holy name in vain, and try to pay reverent attention whenever His word is read, or petitions are uttered, that we may always hallow His name, and not take lightly and unthinkingly upon our lips the words in the Lord’s prayer which we repeat so often, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’ ”—Youth’s Evangelist.