“WELL, Susie," said Uncle Joseph, as he came into the parlor in the evening, "how did you pass your examination? But I hardly think I need ask, for your face tells me you were successful and received your certificate." 

"Yes indeed, uncle, and I suppose I do feel happy, though I am very sorry for some who failed."

"Were there many to be examined?" 

"Oh, yes; a large number, and several of them my school-mates. I was most sorry of all for Lizzie Brown. She was very anxious to teach, and needed the employment, and her friends had obtained the promise of a situation for her. I own I was afraid for her, for she has been somewhat careless about her studies some of the time; and in examination she failed to pass, just by a fraction."

"By a fraction! What do you mean? "

"Why, the examiner marks the degree of proficiency in each study, and then adds all together and divides by the number of studies. One hundred is perfect, and seventy-five is required to get a certificate. 

When Lizzie's average was made out, it was seventy-four and a fraction, and she failed."

"That was unfortunate, indeed. And how did "your record stand? "

"Eighty-six, on the average."

"Then you had eleven credit marks beyond what you needed to get your certificate?"

"Why, yes, if that is the way you put it. I should have barely passed if I had had eleven less."

"But you could not tell beforehand just how the examiner would rank you? "

"Certainly not."

"What a pity you could not! You might have saved so much unnecessary study, which you have spent in gaining the eleven points you did not need."

"Why, Uncle f Joseph! What do you mean? I believe I am not afraid of study. 

You know it has long been my ambition to be a teacher, and I want to be one of the best. I would have been glad to stand one hundred in every study if it had been possible, and I was willing to work for it, too. What made you speak in that way?"

"I must have been thinking of the question you asked me a few days ago. You remember you were very anxious to know whether dancing and cardplaying were positively wicked, so that a person who practiced them could not be a Christian.

What could I think but that you wanted to guard against self-denial and separation from the world just as far as you possibly could, and barely pass? And how could I know but the same principle would apply to your ambition for teaching? Why should it not?"

"O uncle, how strangely you do talk! I never thought of it in that way; but you know some of my young friends practice those things."

"And they ask you to join them?"

"Yes, sometimes."

"And you would like to do so if you could quiet your conscience so far as to believe that you could and still be a Christian. Are any of your friends better Christians because of their indulgence in these things?"

"I cannot say that they are."

"Do you know of any who would rank one hundred as followers of Christ, if only they did not lack these particular Christian graces?"

"No, I do not think anything of the kind."

"Then where is the occasion for such a question as I have spoken of, if your ambition for the Christian life is like your ambition for teaching, and you aspire to be one of the best?"

"Are the cases, then; so much alike?"

"There is a difference, certainly. If you had failed in this examination, you might have gone back to your studies, and at another time you might have succeeded. 

But a time is coming when those who are ready will go in, and the door will be shut. 

Yes, there is a difference. Also for those who are trying to walk as close as possible to the line which separates the church from the world! God save my dear niece from coming to the great examination, only to rank seventy-four and a fraction!"