THIS boy is in prison, as you see. The moon and stars are pouring their soft, clear light upon his bed, beside which he is kneeling. His sad face shows that his heart is wretched.

Perhaps some of you are saying," But how came he in prison? What has he done?"

The poor fellow has been stealing. He was caught in the act, and sent to jail. He does not like being in a cell alone. The wicked never like to be alone, because they are afraid of themselves and afraid of God.

This poor boy cannot sleep, so he has thrown himself by his bed, and if you will put your ear to the keyhole of his cell, you may hear what he is saying. Listen.

" This is a mean place for a fellow to be in. I don't like it one bit. What a fool I was to let that policeman see me take that knife. My! But didn't he grab me quick! Well, if I ever get out of this place, I'll take care to keep a sharp eye on the police. They won't catch me again, I guess."

There, that will do. You need not listen any longer to that boy's bad talk. Now, just step out on to yonder dock. Softly! There is a boy kneeling there in the gray light of the early dawn. He too is poor, but his face is far more pleasant to look upon than that of the other boy. Listen to him as he offers his heart-felt prayer:

"O Lord, pity and forgive a poor sinful boy. I have been wicked. I have told lies. I have used bad words. I have often been angry. I have not loved thee nor thy Son, Jesus Christ. O Lord, I am sorry. I am very sorry. Please forgive me, for Jesus died for me, and I don't want to sin against thee any more."  I am sure that boy's prayer will be heard. His face shows that the peace of God is filling his heart, and that he will rise from his knees a happier boy. How good God is to listen to his prayer!  Now I want you to read the words of these two boys over carefully, look at their faces, and then decide which of them is the penitent.

"The boy on the dock," I think I hear you say. Yes; but why? You can't exactly tell. Well, I will tell you. The boy in the cell is not sorry for his sin, but only that he was caught stealing, and is suffering for his sin. The boy on the dock is sorry for having sinned. The boy in the cell does not hate his sins, but only their effects; while the boy on the dock dislikes his sins and is resolved to overcome them. Do you understand? Yes? Very good.

Now, readers, keep this explanation in mind, and the next time you hear the minister or your teacher read God's command to repent, remember that to repent is to be so sorry for having sinned as to be anxious to have God forgive you, and to help you not to sin any more. 

F. F., in S. S. Advocate.


A GENTLEMAN once asked a deaf and dumb boy the question, "What is truth?" 

The boy replied by taking a piece of chalk, and drawing a straight line. The man then wrote, "What is a lie?" The boy answered by drawing a crooked line.

Lies are always crooked. One lie opens the way for another, for often a dozen lies must be told to conceal one. Telling an untruth is like leaving the highway and going into a tangled forest; you know not how long it will take you to get back, or how much you will suffer from the thorns and briers in the wild-wood.

"A lie is an intention to deceive," and may be told without speaking a word. A gentleman once asked a boy if a certain road led to the city. The boy nodded his head, and then laughed as the man took the wrong road. That boy lied with his head. Lies may be told with the fingers, and in many other ways.

Young people often amuse themselves by seeing who can tell the biggest lie. This is a bad habit, and leads one to vary from the truth at other times.

The only safe plan is to form the habit of always telling the truth. This will give a feeling of self-respect that will scorn whatever is low and mean. It will also give a purity to the character that will tend to elevate and ennoble the life.

A noble, upright man is he

Who always speaks the truth; 

This priceless habit seek to form 

In sunny days of youth.

A lie will stain the tablets white

Of human souls with sin, 

And open wide the doors of hearts

For wee to enter in.

Your word should be a sacred thing,

And every promise made, 

Should be fulfilled with greatest care

As debt that must be paid.