November 17, 2017
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Special Corner - Ken Mills THE PARSON'S BOY September 14, 2010
 

THE PARSON'S BOY.

BY

Horace Leaf.

" Pa," said a young hopeful one-day on returning home from Sunday School. " what's a Spiritualist? Pa"

The reverend gentleman gazed with an amused smile over the rim of his spectacles at his son for moment, before attempting to answer the query in as simple language as his dignified demeanor would permit.

"The word Spiritualist. my child has two meanings; a few years ago it only had one. Then it meant any person who believed each person had a spirit, which lives on after they have died. Now however, it also applies to a peculiar body of foolish people, who do not only believe that, but also that they can hold intercourse or talk with those who are dead."

" Talk with their bodies, pa?"

" No. with their spirits."

" Are you a Spiritualist, pa?"

" Of the first kind. yes. but not of the second."

" I wonder why you believe in spirits? Have you seen any"

No. my son, I have not. I believe everybody has a spirit because the Bible says so."

"The Bible say's they can be seen and spoken to as well, doesn't it" rejoined the boy inquisitively. "At least that is what the Scripture lesson to-day said about Ezekiel. He had one enter him and stand him up and talk to him, didn't he, pa?"

"Yes," replied the parson respectfully. "but Ezekiel, you know was a prophet."

" King Saul isn't a prophet. is he, papa? But the Bible says he turned into another man, and prophesied."

"True; but he was only made a prophet for that time. Perhaps he could have become a real prophet like Ezekiel and Samuel and Elijah, had he always been good."

"He was good, pa, long before he prophesied," said the youngster, eager to show his father his knowledge of the Scriptures. "Look," he cried opening the Bible and pointing to the verse which says that Saul was a "choice young man and goodly."

"That does not mean Saul was good in the way you think." explained the vicar, "it merely meant that he was good to look at because he was bigger than any of the people."

"Was Saul a bad man? pa"

"I am afraid he was my son."

"What had he done wrong"

"Nothing up to then, but he did many wicked things later."

" But he must have been a good man when the spirit made him prophesy." protested the child.

"Why!" "Because it was the spirit of God who did it, and God would not do that with a bad man, would he" pa, somewhat perplexed, paused for a reply.

"It's quite true, pa." resumed the youngster eagerly. "I can show you. Look. here it is." and he read aloud: "And the spirit of God came upon him and he prophesied among them .... then the people said one to another, What is this thing that has come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets!'

"Still, Saul was not a real prophet." replied the vicar testily, "and he did many wicked things."

"What makes a real prophet, pa"

"A man selected by God as His chosen instrument because of his inward purity." was the reply, in the parson phraseology.

The child looked puzzled. "What does that mean?" he asked.

A good and noble man."

"Were all prophets like that? pa" asked the child shrewdly, his simple, logical mind working rapidly.

"Yes-no-Yes." The father finished his uncertain reply with a decisive snap. and angrily pursing his lips together, glared irritably at his insistent offspring.

"But 'real' prophets often did bad and things," protested the boy. " Samuel chopped up King Agag, Elisha caused two bears to kill forty children, and---"

" Yes, my child," the vicar spoke wearily, "they seemed to do wicked things, but then you see they lived in different times from ours, and circumstances alter cases. We cannot easily judge these things."

"It would be the same with King Saul then, wouldn't it, "pa?"

"There. that will do," said pa, " now run away and play."

Were there other prophets besides the Jews, papa?" asked the child next day.

"All nations claim to have had them." replied the Vicar. "The Greeks and Romans even had special national ones called Sibyles. Then the Chaldeans and Egyptians and Babylonians, as well as other races. thought they had some too."

"Didn't they have them, pa?."

"No my child, they couldn't, because they believed differently, and didn't worship Jehovah. the God of the Jews."

"Their prophets were always wrong. weren't they" asked the child naively.

"Well. they were not supposed to be, but I suppose they must have been."

"Where the Bible prophets always right, papa?"

"Perhaps not always," replied pa, not quite sure where this question would lead, and already feeling anxious for his reputation. For he remembered how easy it was for a child to ask questions and how difficult it was to answer them. Besides. he was already becoming aware of the insecurity of a position that boldly assumed one set of things to be right and all others wrong.

"Are there people who can prophesy to-day and who can see and talk with spirits?"

"No." said the clergyman firmly. "No; that ceased to be possible when Christ died, and anyone who says they can is untruthful and wicked."

"Why did the Apostle Paul say they could, after Jesus died? Was Paul wicked, too? pa?"

"Hush" cried the vicar, in horror-stricken tones. "St. Paul was a very holy man. You must not talk like that about him. Run away now, there is a good boy, and ask no more questions."

When the inquiring youngster had withdrawn from the room. the parson took to thinking very seriously. First. upon the peculiar direction in which his child's mind had gone, for it was quite a new thing for the boy to raise such questions. in it the vicar saw what he called the "spirit of the age." and one which he severely condemned when applied to theology. Secondly. about his declaration that with the death of Jesus all prophecy and, as he really meant, spiritual gifts ceased. The fact stood clear, the child was right and he was wrong. The Apostle Paul, the greatest and most popular champion of Christ, definitely taught the existence of both prophecy and what the vicar regarded as miraculous powers.

He reluctantly turned over the leaves of his Bible until he came to the famous passage on this subject in St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians. commencing with the words: "Now, concerning spiritual gifts brethren. I would not have you ignorant;" and thereafter specifying them as, "there are diversities of gifts" and diversities of operations;" for to one is given the word of wisdom, another of knowledge. another the working of miracles, and to others the discerning of spirits, or "divers kinds of tongues."

Then he remembered that St. Paul not only believed the gift of prophecy to exist, but regarded it as superior to all the others.

"Follow after charity," read the reverend gentleman, "and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men. but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself: but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that you all spake with tongues, but rather that you prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth."

* * *

"Pa," said the inquisitive child a few days latter, opening up again the subject of the previous occasion," why can't you see spirits, the same as the disciples Peter, John, and James"

"Because," replied his father, very censoriously, "we live in a different dispensation." " What's a dispensation"

"A dispensation is the method God deals with us in His government of the world at any period. For you must know, God's manner in dealing with man in grace differs at various stages in his work of redemption."

The boy looked perplexed at this theological statement, notwithstanding the vicar's efforts to make his explanation as simple as he could. Then by that inspiration for asking questions common to children of a certain age, the boy glanced brightly at his victim and asked: "Why is that, pa?"

"Because mankind's needs vary from time to time."

"Are your needs different from Job's, papa? He saw a spirit, and it made his hair stand up, didn't? Why did men need to see spirits in Job's time and not now?

"Perhaps," replied pa. evasively. "because in Job's time they wouldn't believe in spirits unless they saw them."

"Neither will Alfie Smith's father, pa. He speaks at big meetings against Christians, because he says he hasn't seen spirits and neither have they, and the Church says they can't be seen. Why doesn't God let Mr. Smith see spirits?"

This extremely pointed question. asked with all the ingenuousness of childhood. put the clergyman in a quandary. He hardly liked not to encourage the boy in his obviously earnest inquiries, which the clergyman fondly hoped the child in his own faith would increase his knowledge and improve his general view of things. How could he answer this poser? Furiously he took to thinking, but was recalled to the urgency of the situation by hearing his son still questioning him on this point. "Lot entertained two angels, Hagar heard one speak to her. and Jacob wrestled with one, Samuel-_"

"Mr. Smith is in the new dispensation, and he ought to believe," said the vicar, abruptly, cutting the youngster short.

"Why doesn't he believe, pa? A man can believe anything he likes, can't he?"

"I don't know about that," responded pa, smiling faintly. "There's some things one can't believe."

"You can believe anything though, can't you, pa," said the boy, swelling with pride at what he deemed in his childish admiration a special virtue of his father's.

"Not anything. Willie." said papa, not altogether flattered at this opinion of himself

"Well you believe the Bible's quite right. and you believe its quite wrong, don't you?"

"Certainly not my child. Wherever did you get that idea from?"

" You believe the Bible when it says people saw spirits before Jesus died, and you don't believe it when it says people may also see them after Jesus was crucified. You believe St. Paul told a 'crammer' when he said people could prophesy in his day, and yet you believe he was a very holy man. don't you. pa? "

The vicar felt beaten, and evaded the matter by reiterating his former remark that a man cannot believe some things, even if he wants to.

"Then perhaps Mr. Smith can't believe in spirits un-less he sees them?"

"Perhaps he cant" said the clergyman testily, "perhaps he can't."

"Then what's the good of the new dispensation if some people can't believe in spirits with those in the old dispensation? Why shouldn't we be able to see spirits always, papa? It would be very nice to be able to, wouldn't it"

The parson looked very sternly at his prodigy as a new idea passed through his mind. "Where have you been getting these notions from? he asked sharply.

His offspring hung his head as a guilty blush mantled his cheeks. Then hesitatingly he replied: " From Robbie Wallace, Pa."

"Isn't that the son of those Spiritualist?"

"Yes, pa."

"Didn't I tell you not to speak to that boy?"

"Yes. pa,"

"Now listen to me. You must not play with him any more. Do you understand?"

"Yes pa. But why?"

"Because his father is a wicked man and I fear the child is tainted."

" Why is Mr. Wallace wicked, pa?"

" Because he talks with spirits, and they're of the Devil."

"So there are spirits we can talk with," cried the boy eagerly.

"There are but they are imps of the darkness."

"Oh, papa, have you talked with them?"

"No, certainly not." rejoined the clergyman sharply.

"How do you know they are wicked, pa?"

"Because the Bible says they are."

"Were they evil spirits who spoke to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration?" The boy pauses for a moment as a look of grave doubt swept over his healthy young face. And are the gifts of the spirit that St. Paul speaks about gifts of evil spirits? God seems very unkind to us pa," he continued, with tears in his voice.

The father perceived the child's confidence had been severely shaken, and after his bold complaint against the Almighty having arranged things so obviously unfairly and to the disadvantage of the new dispensation, the vicar began to fear seeds of doubt might be sown in his offspring's mind unless he was very careful. The desire to put things right urged him to continue the discussion.

"No, no, my child. they were from heaven, but after Christ's death all the good ones ceased to communicate with earth."

Then they were all bad angels that talked with St. John on the Isle of Patmos. and the Book of Revelations is untrue, for John saw and heard long after Jesus was dead, didn't he, pa?"

"No, my son, they were good angels, too, because John the Divine was a favoured child of God."

"Was he, pa? Why does God favour some people and not others?"

"In the case of John," said pa superiorly, "it was so that he might be an instrument for conveying some yet unspoken truth to mankind."

"Couldn't God make others instruments as well?"

"No doubt He could if He liked."

"Why doesn't He" cannot say. It is impossible," replied the vicar, falling back on a very old argument, "for our small minds to understand the ways of an all-powerful God."

"Is God all-powerful. pa,?"

"Yes he is, my son."

"That means He can do anything, doesn't it, papa?" said Willie, in awe-stricken tones, as an idea of what that meant impressed his young imagination.

"Yes, that means He can do anything He likes."

"I wonder why he doesn't like letting us all know about spirits, pa?"

"Perhaps it wouldn't be good for us," said pa, thoughtfully.

"But it would be good for Mr. Smith, eh? He wouldn't then be so naughty as to speak against religion, would he?"

"I don't know, child; people are very funny."

"You would like to see spirits, too, wouldn't you?"

"I ? Why, no. Dear me. whatever makes you think that?"

"Why, then you could tell the people at the lectures and they would have to believe you really then, wouldn't they?"

The clergyman smiled at this observation, but could not help seeing the reasonableness of it, and already he was beginning to think things might be better for religion if ministers and their congregations knew of the survival of death through personal experience, and not merely an act of faith.

"Why did God let only bad spirits come to us in the dispensation, pa?"

"To test our faith," replied the vicar curtly.

"It does try it a lot, doesn't it; some people can't stand it, can they?" said Willie innocently.

"That'll do now," said pa, sighing wearily. anxious for respite from the troublesome questions of his unsophisticated offspring. "Get on with your lessons like a good lad."

"I told Robbie Wallace the other day that only evil spirits can come back, pa, and he says those his father speaks to are good," said the prodigy one morning when walking out with his father.

"They only appear to be good," replied the clergyman, patting his boy affectionately on the head. " Its one of their tricks to seem good,"

"Why do they do that. papa?"

"Because if they showed themselves as they really are nobody would have anything to do with them. and they would fail in their evil designs."

"Mr. Wallace says they pray and preach nice sermons, and say everybody ought to be very good if they want to go to heaven. Is that wicked?"

"Ah!" sighed the reverend gentleman," that is only the awful depth of their perfidiousness. In this way, my child. these angels of darkness hope to lure even the elect to destruction."

"Oh. pa. How can they do that if they make people good? You must be good to go to heaven. mustn't you?"

"The Bible, Willie, says they are wicked, and so they must be. Jesus, you know, drove a lot of devils out of some poor suffering people."

"But there were good angels. too, pa. weren't there? They ministered to Jesus in the wilderness, the Bible says, and they were good ones that stood in the tomb when they told Mary Magdalene and the others that Jesus was not there, weren't they"

"Ah! but these are not good, my child." responded pa, as if in deep distress at the thought of the desperate wickedness of evil spirits doing good. "These poor, damned creatures," he continued miserably, "are all lost, and desire nothing better than that others should share their misfortune. We have been graciously warned against them by the Holy Scriptures."

"St. Paul didn't think them wicked, did he? He tells us to try the spirits to see whether they are good or not. And he believed in ministering angels, too, and ministering angels are good, aren't they? The Bible says we shall judge people by their fruits. Does that mean spirits, too? "

This as another conundrum for poor pa. who began to look anxiously for a way out of this new dilemma? What rational was there for supposing the common laws of conduct broke down in the world of spirits. If returning spirits consistently taught and did good, how could he intelligently conclude they were bad? And with a bold stroke of reason he almost said, "The Bible notwithstanding---" "He checked himself fearfully on the verge of what he regarded as an act of blasphemy.

"The angels who appeared at the tomb were certainly good," he said at last.

" The Bible says that angels were young men, doesn't it pa? And they spoke just like we do. didn't they, because they told them Jesus could meet the disciples in Galilee."

"Yes, yes, my son, but they are different from the other spirits that came back," cried the parson desperately.

"How do you know?"

"Because the Bible says they were."

"Where, pa?"

"Pa thought awhile, but could not remember any passage that supported his statement. or that said only evil spirits could return. He remembered also that even Christ had nowhere spoken against the possibility of spirit communion. To say the least, the Scriptures were contradictory, whilst theology alone seemed to be sure about the evil spirit theory. At this moment the boy reminded him that even the church was confused about the subject.

"What is the Communion of Saints, pa?"

"It means that if we pray to the noble men and women who through their godly lives have been canonised, they will inspire us."

"What is 'inspire,' papa?"

"Inspiration is a special means of communication by which a being conveys a thought or inspiration to us. That is to say," he continued by way of simplification, " the saints hear our prayers and in return give us a desire to be good."

" Can they talk to people?"

" In a way, yes."

"Then did the saints die, pa; in the old dispensation?"

" No. Willie. in the new dispensation."

" All of them?"

" Yes, all of them."

For a moment the boy looked perplexed. then said quietly, but with much meaning, "and the saints are good, and not wicked. Oh, pa," he cried reproachfully, "you said good spirits cannot come to us in the new dispensation."

The vicar offered no reply.

"If the spirits that talk with Mr. Wallace do good, papa. how can he tell they are bad" This was a simple question involving a great deal of logic, and the minister. who had already appealed to the Bible in vain against the queries of the ingenuous boy, began to realise it was on theology and not the Bible he had hitherto unconsciously replied. How could he be sure a being was evil if it did good! A light. however glowed through the darkness. "All that spirits do at Spiritualist séances, for instance, is not good." he said. And for the time being the conversation again dropped as they arrived home.

* * *

After a time it was the father who grew inquisitive,. for the discussion had aroused new interests in his mind.

"Well he said jocularly one day when they were together in his study, any more about the spirits?"

"Yes. papa," replied the boy brightly. "I told Robbie's father what you said about all the spirits not doing good that go to him, and he said it is so sometimes. But he told me to tell you that Spiritualists don't say they are all good."

"Ah." exclaimed pa, somewhat relieved at hearing what he regarded as a confirmation of his views, " Satan is bound to reveal his nature sooner or later."

" But spirits aren't the devil. are they. pa!" asked little Willie in surprised tones.

"No, my son, but they are his servants, and it amounts to the same thing. They are wicked. and can't help showing it sooner or later, no matter how they try not to."

" Mr. Wallace said that they were not altogether good because they are men and women who once live on this earth, and just as some are bad here, they are bad there. Does that seem right, pa?"

"It seems right, my child," said the clergyman, with emphasis. " That is, alas the danger."

"Mr. Wallace says you prove too much when you say spirits that do good are evil. What does he mean.

" He means the argument is unsound because when applied to something I believe or know to be right it shows that it is wrong."

" Perhaps that was why Mr. Wallace asked me to tell you that if he is to believe that spirits who do good are evil he might just as well believe that you are 'Old Nick' disguised as a clergyman.

" Mr. Wallace," cried the vicar, flushing angrily, " is a very rude man to dare to insinuate such a thing of me."

" That's just what Mr. Wallace said about you when I told him you said he talked with devils, pa," replied the inquisitive one, evidently surprised at so strange a coincidence; " but he laughed when he said it."

" Run of with you. I wish to be alone," said the clergyman suddenly as he snatched up a book to read.

" Good-bye, pa," cried little Willie, as he disappeared through the study door. "I'll tell Mr. Wallace what a rude man he is when I see him."

* * *

"Say, pa, why don't you try and see some spirits?" asked the prodigy one day.

" Because," said pa severely, " the Bible says we mustn't, "

" Where, pa?"

" In several places. Among the Laws and ordinances of the Book of Exodus, for instance, witches are so strongly condemned that it says they should not be allowed to live."

" What is a witch, pa?"

" A witch," replied the parson slowly, pressing his tips of his fingers carefully together, and gazing solemnly at his son. " A witch, my child, is a woman in agreement or compact with the devil, and who practices sorcery. "A very wicked thing to do," he added by way of emphasis.

" Oh. pa," cried the child, shocked at the through of so dreadful a creature " have you ever met a which?"

" No, Willie, of course not."

" Then how do you know they exist?"

" Because the Bible says they do!" replied pa, falling back on his infallible guide. "It even mentions one by name."

"Who was she asked the child in awe-struck tones.

"The Witch of Endor."

"Yes, I remember. Was she in agreement with the devil?"

" I fear she was."

" Oh pa. I thought it was with Samuel. It was the spirit of Samuel she 'called up,' wasn't it. Was Samuel the devil?"

" No. no, my child. Samuel was a man of God."

"Why did he go to such a wicked woman as the Witch of Endor? He did appear to her, didn't he, pa"

"Yes-es," replied pa miserably realising that once more he was in a predicament out of which he could see no way of escape. He could not help wondering himself why so good a man as Samuel should reveal himself to Saul through the instrumentality of a witch, if a witch be merely a creature of Satan. At last he said, " I think you had better run away and ----"

"Where did Samuel go when he died" continued the prodigy. ignoring, in his anxiety for knowledge, the obvious desire of his troubled parent to get rid of him. "Did he go to heaven, pa" " Of course," replied pa, yielding to his questioner once again, good people go there, and so will my little boy if he is good and kind." " Yes. pa. But why did Samuel leave heaven to go to that naughty witch?"

Poor pa did not attempt to answer this conundrum, but carefully wiped the perspiration off his troubled brow, mentally asking himself, "Why?"

Do witches tell the truth pa?" " No, my son."

"Why"

Because the devil misleads them. He is the ' father of lies.' "said the vicar, somewhat viciously.

"Did Samuel tell untruths to the Witch of Endor?" No," returned the clergyman slowly, 'he did not."

He remembered it is stated in the Bible that on that memorable occasion the spirit of Samuel foretold a whole series of events, which came to pass within a few hours.

"What did he say, papa" enquired the urchin eagerly.

"He said God had decided to take the kingdom of Israel away from King Saul and give it to David, that the Israelites would be defeated in a battle by the Philistines, and that Saul and his sons would all die the next day."

" And did it all happen?" asked the child breathless with wonder.

" Yes."

" Well, pa, that witch told the truth, didn't she"

" Yes," admitted pa reluctantly.

" Then they don't tell 'fibs,' do they" continued the boy, unconscious of the mercilessness of his persistent enquiry. " How did Samuel know these things would happen, pa?"

" Because God permitted him to. I suppose."

" God's good, isn't he"

" God," replied the parson reverently. "is the All-Good."

" Why did he tell Samuel such wonderful things, pa?"

" I expect it was because Samuel was a very righteous man."

" And why did Samuel tell the witch if she was so wicked, pa?"

The Vicar again mentally asked himself. " Why " More than ever he realised that the foolish things of this world often confound the mighty. All this learning in theology seemed only to have removed him far from the simplest logic, so that a mere child by innocently asking questions on the very subject that he, as a clergyman. should know most about, constantly reduced his belief to ruins. Yes. the child was right; if witches are in league with the powers of darkness, why did Samuel the great prophet of God communicate with Saul through one?

Was he justified in pinning his faith so rigidly to such statements as that about witches in the book of Exodus? Might he not by so doing injure the great cause for which he fondly believed he stood, namely, Truth? Were the ordinances of Exodus altogether reliable guides to belief and conduct in the twentieth century? They were not.

Suitable as they may have been for the race generation for whom they were formulated, perhaps more than three thousand years ago, they were not necessarily so for the people of to day. Besides if he accepted the ordinances " Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live " as divinely inspired, on what ground could he reject that which enjoined: "'And if any mischief followed, then thou shalt give life for life.

" Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. hand for hand. foot for foot,

" Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

Or, that which commanded:

" If an ox gore a man or woman that they die: then the ox shall surely he stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten."

These are teachings contrary to those of Jesus, and repugnant to any civilised person. yet they are in the same book as the ordinance he had so long prepared to embrace in spirit, if not literally.

" What is sorcery. pa!" The voice of the inquisitive recalled the parson to the discussion. for he realised it could properly be regarded as nothing else.

"Sorcery, Willie" replied pa sadly. "Why sorcery is supposed to be the telling of things before they happen, and the discovery of things hidden from us, through the assistance of evil spirits."

" All witches don't do that, eh, pa? The Witch of Endor didn't. did she?"

"No," replied the vicar thoughtfully. "I suppose she didn't."

"There's something wrong about the matter, isn't there, pa" he asked sympathetically, seeing his father looked worried.

"Yes Willie, there's something wrong I fear. Leave me now, child, I've much to think about."

" Say, pa. is it easier to believe what you see than what you are told" asked the parson's son a few days later.

"Of course it is child," said the vicar in surprised tone. "You aught to know that."

" Mr. Wallace says he knows there are spirits because he has seen them; but you haven't seen them, have you!" they are wicked because you are told they are wicked, eh, pa? Then does Mr. Wallace know best?"

"Well, ah--," commenced poor pa, overwhelmed by this surprise attack. "Well, ah--you see it's like this, you know, Mr. Wallace may think he knows best."

"So do you, pa, don't you? because he has seen the spirits and you have not."

"I pin my faith on the Bible," said the parson, somewhat wildly, "and I want my little boy to do the same."

"But, pa, you don't believe the Bible," cried Willie triumphantly, thinking his papa would be pleased to know the truth, "for you to believe the spirits of the new dispensation are all evil, but the Bible says some of them are good, see."

Poor father did see, and wondered how on earth he could save his reputation before this veritable little Socrates.

"Why don't you try to talk to the spirits, Mr. Wallace says you may know all about them if you will only try to, and then you can tell Mr. Wallace properly they are evil, can't you?"

" But supposing they deceived your poor father the same as they have Mr, Wallace, what would Willie say then?" he replied, appealing in a very real sense to the sympathies of the child.

"They could not deceive my papa," said the youngster with genuine filial pride, "because you would soon know whether they are wicked, wouldn't you. You have been ordained, haven't you, pa: but Mr. Wallace has not."

Pa had been ordained right enough, but he couldn't see that that would help him much, as after years of study in his capacity of a clergyman he had not learned sufficient to safeguard himself against the attacks of a simple child.

" If they are good," continued the proud son, "my papa will love them and meet them often: but if they are bad he will have nothing to do with them, eh?"

"Yes," said pa meekly. " yes, Willie I think you're right. I ought to 'try' the spirits, as St. Paul says, and perhaps I will after all."

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