"No, it's of no use; I've tried and tried, and I can't help it. I mean to be a good boy, and I want to please Jesus when I'm praying or reading the Bible or in Sabbath-school; but the moment I get among the boys, and one of them is saucy to me, my temper gets up, and I can't help knocking him down; and then I get punished, and all the other boys think, if they don't say so,' That's the good of being a Christian.'

"And it's just the same at home. Father tells me to go of an errand, or mother wants me to mind baby when I want to play. I mean to do everything they tell me, but somehow, before I know it, I have said something impertinent, and father scolds me, and mother just looks sadly out of her large eyes, and says, ' I thought Ernest was trying to be a better boy.' 

And so I am trying, ever so hard; but the harder I try, the more I don't succeed, till, really, I get so discouraged I am almost inclined to give up trying. I didn't think I ever should tell another lie after I found Jesus; but, O dear!  I can hardly sleep for thinking how I told Mr. Ponsonby the other day that I didn't hear Jim Ford prompt me in the geography class, when I heard him say 'Skager Rack' quite distinctly; and then I was afraid to confess, and it has made me wretched ever since. I don't seem to get one bit better, and yet I do try. This must be what the people at prayer meeting mean by talking about their being such 'miserable sinners,' and always 'doing the things they ought not to do,' and 'leaving undone the things they ought to do'; and if all the grown-up people feel so, I suppose it must be so, though I wish it could be different. The Lord Jesus has promised to forgive me, anyhow, and that is a great comfort." 

Yes, it is always a great comfort; and Ernest was quite right in his long soliloquy, except in thinking that it must be so. He had given his heart to Jesus about a year before, and though he still loved him very much, he was beginning to realize something of what St. Paul meant when he said," O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?"

But just before he went to bed, Ernest opened the little Bible, which was becoming so dear to him, and read, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." And as he fell asleep, the sweet words kept floating through his mind, till thoughts and feelings took possession of him such as he had never known before.

When he awoke, the first thing he did was to kneel down, and say: 

"Dear Lord Jesus, I am all weakness; I do everything bad and I yield to every temptation, but thou knowest that I desire above all things to be holy, and live according to thy will; and thou art strong, and thou hast promised that thy grace shall be sufficient for me: give me faith to believe it, since thou sayest so, and may I find it sufficient all this day."

"Ernest," said his father, "step round to Lawson's on your way to school, and tell him to send up a load of wood."

"Yes, sir," said Ernest, promptly, with his mind still full of his morning prayer.

Lawson's was full half a mile out of his way and in quite a different direction. The morning was very cold, and as Ernest trudged briskly along, he met a companion, who shouted: 

"Hulloa, truant, so you're going off over Cedar Hill to try the coasting! 

You know this isn't the way to school. But that's always the way with you pious chaps always sneaking off and getting a little fun on the sly, if you can. But I'll stop and tell your father on the way, that's what I'll do."

How poor Ernest's face flushed, and how he felt his hands clench inside of his mittens! Yesterday he would have knocked Sam down, or at least tried to; but now he said in his heart, 

"Thy grace is sufficient; I believe it; let me find it so," and after a moment said aloud: "Don't keep me, Sam, or I shall be late for school. Here's an apple for lunch if you'd like it; I've got two."

Flushed and breathless with running, Ernest took his place in school only just in time, and soon after the geography class was called.  "Number one, take your place," 

said Mr. Ponsonby; but number one, who was Ernest, did not stir. "Make haste, or the next boy will be head, and you will lose the prize you have been trying for so long."

"Let him," said Ernest, and quietly walked to the foot.

The boys all stared, and the teacher said nothing till the recitation was over, and then he called Ernest up and demanded an explanation of this strange conduct.

"I had no right to the place, sir. 

I should have lost it last week only I heard Jim Ford say 'Skager Rack.'"

"I remember; but why did you tell a lie when I asked you?"

"Because the temptation came suddenly, and I just said the first thing that came into my head. I hope God has forgiven me."

"I hope he has," said Mr. Ponsonby; "but how is it that after keeping this to yourself a whole week, you tell me about it now."

"I tried to tell you before, and somehow I couldn't; but today I asked God to help me. I believed he would, and he has. Please, may I go to my seat, sir?" said Ernest, who saw that all the boys were looking at him, though no one could hear what was said. The teacher dismissed him with a smile, instead of the reprimand which he expected, and said, "I wish we had more boys like you."

Ernest went home to dinner very happy, and thinking that he really would try some of that coasting in the hour that intervened; but his mother met him at the door with his little sister all cloaked and hooded in her arms."

 “I am so glad you have come," she said; "baby has been so fretful, and I promised her you would take her on your sled. There will be just time for a nice ride before dinner."

"O mother," said Ernest, and he was just going to tell her that he couldn't, for all the boys were going to slide down Cedar Hill, and he wanted to go ever so much, when he remembered, accidentally it seemed to him (really the Spirit of God reminded him), and said, almost aloud, 

"His grace is sufficient." God gave him the victory, and he seated baby comfortably on the sled and dragged her quietly up and down the sunny village street, taking no notice of another of the tormentors who followed him, shouting, " There goes the little saint; before I would be made a nursery maid of like that."

We have no time to follow the rest of Ernest's day, but his prayers that night were very different from those of the night before. It did not seem to him that he had "tried" as hard as usual, and yet God's word had proved itself true, and his grace had been sufficient in every time of temptation and danger. Why? Just because he had for the first time believed that it could and would.

Do you see what I mean, children? It is not true when you say that you can't help it. It is not necessary that Christians, old or young, should go on committing the same sins, yielding to the same temptations, and mourning over the same failures that they did when they first came to Jesus. Just give yourselves fully into his hands, with a mean to do and be everything he wants you to do or be; and believe his promise when he says, "My grace is sufficient for thee."  Did you ever know him to break his word? Look to him just when the temptation comes, and according to your faith it will be unto you. Not that I expect you to be perfect at once, or ever in yourself. You will forget to be watchful sometimes, sometimes you will be willful, and sometimes you won't know; but whenever you look to Jesus in full faith, you will always find his grace sufficient for you. 


FOREVER from the Hand that takes 

Our blessings from us, others fall;

And soon or late, our Father makes 

His perfect recompense to all.