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UR natural instincts and desires teach us that we are not
made to lead solitary lives. No one contains within himself all that is necessary for his happiness and wellbeing. This is true not only of grown-up people, but
also of persons in their youth, of even boys and girls. Hence
few are found without having selected some one as a companion and friend, to whom they can confide more intimately and fully their thoughts and feelings.
But if the forming of companionships is so natural a thing, it is of great importance tbat those we form should be right ones. Companions have great influence over each other. Though we do not perceive it at the time, yet we are sure to become more or less like those we choose to associate with. For a young person to have an evil companion is one of the greatest misfortunes tbat can befall him. Many, very many, who commenced life full of promise, and were the joy and pride of their parents and friends, have been brought by evil associates to misery and ruin. The proverb says, “ He that walketh with the wise shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Will our young readers therefore take counsel from us and be careful to choose right persons for their companions ? It has been said, “ Always choose for your companion one that is wiser and better than yourself.” We do not lay down such a rule, for if literally acted upon there could be no companionship formed, as the less wise and good would always be rejeoted by the superior person. But we do say most earnestly, never take a person for your companion whose intimacy and conversation will not tend to your good. You may bave a companion with faults, but if he have vice at once discard him. A youth with bad habits and bad principles will inevitably corrupt every other youth with whom he associates. If you have a companion who goes wrong through weakness you may be a means of good to him, but if he go wrong through badness the case is quite different ; you will not be able to lift him up, but he will certainly drag you down. You may put sound and unsound fruit together, but how are they affected by the contact ? The rotien injures the sound, but the sound never communicates its soundness to the decayed.
Let every one of our readers then resolve that his companion shall be a helpmate, one that will help him to keep from pasty bad habits, from drinking and smoking, from a love of low and debasing amuse
ments, from using obscene or even slang language, from being a fop as well as a knave or a sensualist; and who will help him in a direct manner to be intelligent, truthful, honest, industrious, kind, and courteous, indeed everything in character and life that a man and a Christian ought to be.
A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
By C. LEACH.
Y the time you get the INSTRUCTOR containing this paper
it will probably be the year 1877. The bells in the old church steeple will have rung the death-knell of the old, and the merry birth-peal of the new year, Eighteen hundred and seventy-six, with all its joys and
sorrows, will have fled to the Eternity from which came; eighteen hundred and seventy-seven, with all its bright promises, will be before you. I very heartily wish that it may be a
Happy New Year" to all of you. I am sure it will be if you try to make it so.
Do not forget that the year will be very much what you make it. If at the beginning you determine to be better boys and girls than you have been in the past, I feel sure that you will have a happy year.
The New Year is the time when men of business usually take stock, straighten their accounts as far as possible, and turn on to a new leaf.
Now, boys and girls, suppose we take stock and just see how matters stand.
All through the year 1876 God has given us our health, homes, parents, good olothing, schooling, books, teachers, and everything we have had. We could make the bill larger, but perhaps that is more than
many of us will be able to settle well.
Now let us see what we have given God, or what we have done for Him. I am afraid we have not given or done much. When we have thought of all we can think of there is a great balance against us. I really don't like to take you over the year's accounts, page by page. Some of them are like the copy-books we have done at school, so badly blotted that we are ashamed of them. Suppose that instead of writing all about it in the JUVENILE, we go and tell Jesus, and ask Him to forgive us the debt, make our hearts clean, and help us to turn on to a new leaf.
And when we turn on to the new leaf, let us try to keep it free from blots. There are two or three blots I would specially name that you should try not to make. Dae is disobedience to parents. This is a dark blot on any one's page, but especially for Sundayschool boys who read the JUVENILE. “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
Another blot is profaning the Lord's-day. If we had space we might tell you of many that have made this blot, and lived to be very sorry for it. A young man condemned to die said to some one who paid him a visit, “My first step to crime was breaking the Sabbath."
Another blot is neglecting prayer. Every one of us, however young or however old, ought to do without making this dark spot on our new leaf.
Well, now which of you will try, along with me, to keep the new leaf clean ? Hands up that will! I cannot see whether you hold your hands up, but God can. I
and give you all a very Happy New Year."
that He may
BEN BARLOW'S BUDGET.
By Tom BROWN, Author of "A Year at School," &c., &c.
EN BARLOW was the son of Dr. Barlow, who, as
everyone knows, was the only medical man in the pretty agricultural village of Woodbourne, a hamlet which lay like a half-way house between Hammerthorpe and Tinbury-two manufacturing towns in the
midlands. A very important man was Dr. Barlow-at least he was in Woodbourne. No public movement was taken up without first consulting him, and few meetings were held without his occupying the chair, though oftener than not professional calls compelled him to leave before the business was completed. He was a man of very decided opinions, and had a very decided way of expressing them. He had never known what it was to have a rival doctor in the village, and, as he had so long spoken his mind on professional matters without question or contradiction, he had at length come to think that his opinion on any subject was always the correct one.
Now, some of the doctor's most decided utterances referred to the vexed question of education, and among other peculiar notions he was never tired of asserting the immense advantages of life at a boarding-school. The fact was, he had himself been educated away from home, the school suited him, and he greatly enjoyed himself there. And therefore, according to his argument, it would suit and please any other boy.
“It's all very well,” he would say, when he and quiet Mr. Bland, the rector, were discussing the subject in the surgery parlour ; “it's
very well to talk about home restraints, parental watchfulness, and that sort of thing, but it's possible to have too much of itquite possible. A lad may be watched and coddled and taken care of till he's afraid to cast his own shadow without asking leave. I've no patience with it none at all."
* But," the rector would ask, mildly, “ though the rough-andtumble life of a large school may suit a robust boy, don't you think it would make a shy, nervous boy more timid and
“There you are quite wrong," the doctor would break in, warmly. “Now, take a case. Take my own case.
Till I was thirteen I was the most timid, shy, helpless little mortal you ever saw. But I went to a school where I had to hold my own, and it made a man of me. Why, bless my life! I should like to know what would have become of me-a man naturally of a retiring disposition" (the good doctor really believed he was not half self-assertive enough), “if I hadn't had a bit of my shyness rubbed off at a boarding-school."
“ l've no fault to find with your church schools, mind you,” he would burst off again, after a slight pause ; " they are admirably conducted. Mr. Jones is a master of more than ordinary ability. I have no doubt whatever my son might get a fair education under him. But it's impossible under such circumstances to give lads the moral training they want. They can't learn sufficient self-reliance and independence. No, as I've always promised him, as soon as Ben reaches his thirteenth year I shall pack him off to Dr. Tasker's, at Worcester, where I went when I was a boy. That's the sort of school now! The doctor allows them plenty of liberty out of school hours, believes in out-door exercise, encourages manly sports, and never coddles. Ben will soon learn to take care of himself there, l':l be bound."
The idea of Ben Barlow leaving home to learn how to take care of himself brought an amused smile to Mr. Bland's face, and its humour would not have gone unnoticed by the doctor if he hadn't been so full of his admiration for his favourite academy. Most folks in Woodbourne would have said that a little more shyness would not hurt Master Ben's prospects in life.
Ben was a short, sturdy, rather thick-set lad, with untidy curly hair and light grey eyes, always on the alert and brimful of fun. As in most villages, the grades of social life in Woodbourne were nut marked with so much distinctness as in towns. The only " aristocrats” of the village—the doctor, the parson, and Mr. Suter, the solicitor—were by their professional duties brought into familiar intercourse with their neighbours, and of course the young folks were still more intimate, especially as they nearly all went to one school. Ben was therefore the playfellow of all the village boys, and by his courage, strength, and venturesomeness he had become the leader of the village sports, and the promoter of most of the mischief of the place.
Like many other long-looked-for events, Ben Barlow's thirteenth birthday came at last, and when the village school broke up for the