Short Stories

Bible Calendar (The)

 

The Bible Calendar

 

"I do not know what is the reason," said Harriet, just after she had returned home from a walk with her mother, "but I am not so happy as I expected to be at my new school. Yet our governess is very kind; and as for my schoolfellows, there is not a nicer set of girls anywhere, I am sure."

"Since that is the case," replied her mother, "I should be inclined, if I were you, to suspect that the fault must be in myself."

"I suppose so; and I have tried sometimes to find out what it could be. Will you help me to consider about it, dear mother; and then, if there is anything wrong, I will try to be more watchful over my conduct, that I may be happier next half-year."

"I will gladly give you all the assistance in my power," her mother replied; "and if you are sincere in your self-examination, I doubt not that we shall soon discover the true cause of your dissatisfaction. Tell me, then, in the first instance, if you have experienced any return of your unhappiness since you have been at home."

"Yes, mother; that is the strangest part of it. When first I came back, I was so glad to see you again, that I forgot everything else; but very soon I began to feel restless and discontented in my own mind, though I have everything to please me, and my father and you are satisfied with my improvement. It was just the same at school. When I gained the prize for good conduct, and all the girls said how happy I must be, I felt all the time as if I had not deserved it; and at night I was so sorrowful, that I could not help crying after I was in bed."

"You felt as if you had not deserved the prize. Were you then conscious of faults that were unknown to your governess?"

"Yes, mother, I was indeed; for you will be grieved to hear that I have many bad feelings in my heart, which I had not at my other school-such as selfishness, and envy of my schoolfellows, particularly if they are praised more than I am; and, what is worse than all, I do not like to think about holy things, nor about trying to please God, so well as I used to do."

"Oh! my dear child," said Harriet's mother, sorrowfully, "since you have told me this, we need not inquire any further respecting the cause of your unhappiness. It arises from a guilty and troubled conscience, which cannot let you be at peace. This also accounts for a change which I have remarked with much uneasiness, though I have refrained from naming it till now. When you were at home last holidays, I used to see your Bible and your little Calendar for daily reading lying upon your table, as if they were often used; but this time I have never seen you with the Bible in your hand, and I found your little Calendar among some old, worn-out school-books, in a corner of your trunk, as if it were no longer of use or value."

Harriet looked much ashamed, and shed tears as she replied, "It is true, mother; I do not read my chapters now: for, soon after I went to school, when the girls found out what I was doing, they made such game of me that I could not go on."

"No doubt their ridicule would be very painful to you," said her mother; "but did you pray, my dear, that you might be enabled to do your duty under every trial; and did you remember that awful declaration of our Savior, ‘Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels.' Mark 8:38."

"No, mother, I did not," said Harriet; "but at school we have so little time, and so few opportunities of being alone, that, though I do not wish to excuse my fault,  yet it is very difficult to do always as I ought; and I do not find that these things are made of so much importance as at my other school."

"I am very sorry that this should be the case," replied her mother; "but your way of duty is plain. You must endeavor to do the will of God under all circumstances, and he will give you strength for it, if you ask him with all your heart, and for the sake of his dear Son. I will myself speak to your governess upon the subject, and request that you may have time and opportunity for reading and retirement; but do not forget, my dear, that even amidst the engagements of the school-room you may secretly lift up your thoughts to your Savior, and implore his blessing. Words are not necessary to make known to him the desire of the heart. I am thankful to perceive that you have an awakened conscience. Do not resist its warnings, nor try to silence its reproaches; but humbly seek for pardon through the atoning blood that was shed for you, and thus you will regain the peace with God, and that happy state of mind which sin and the neglect of duty have for the present interrupted and destroyed."

Harriet went back to school with good resolutions, which, it is hoped, were not made in dependence on her own strength; and I must not omit to add, that she procured a new Biblical Calendar, which she packed carefully with her Bible, having made a firm determination to consult it every day.