The Way-Side Hearers
Three girls were sitting together at public worship one Sunday afternoon, listening to a very solemn and impressive sermon, in which the minister spoke much of the sufferings that Christ endured in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross for our salvation. They were Sunday scholars, so that the minister knew them all by name; and, as they sat near the pulpit, his eyes rested upon them occasionally; perhaps with a hope that, through God's blessing upon his words, their hearts might be touched with a sense of the Redeemer's exceeding love in thus dying for us, and of the gratitude and obedience which we owe to him in return; for this is the design and end of all the sermons that we hear. If they do not awaken in us sorrow for our sins, a feeling of thankfulness for God's pardoning mercy through Christ, and an earnest desire to live to his glory, it were better for us that we had never heard the glad tidings of the gospel, since for all these slighted invitations and neglected warnings we must hereafter give account to God.
When service was over, the girls arose, and slowly left the church with the rest of the congregation. There was nothing unbecoming in their behavior as they passed along the aisle; not a word nor a look was amiss. One of them, Mary Thornton, seemed more serious than usual; and turned to say goodbye when they reached the porch; for her home lay in a different direction from that of her companions.