Let me tell you about a young man, whose name was Harold Thompson. He went from his home in the country to enter into business in New York. He was soon tempted to commit sin; but you will see how he conquered.
“Harold, what are you going to do with yourself tomorrow?” said one of his companions to him, as he was brushing his shoes, one Saturday evening.
Harold had been admitted, only a few days before, as a clerk in a large store; and the older clerks looked upon him as “very green,” as they called it. Looking from his shining boot, he said, very modestly, “I shall go to church, Frank.”
The young man burst out into a laugh, and said, “Well, I declare, you are green. Why, none of our fellows think of going to church. We are going to the fishing-ground, down the bay, in a splendid steamer. You’d better go along. It won’t cost much.”
“It will cost more than I can afford to spend,” said Harold, brushing away pretty smartly at his boot.
“You are on the poor list, then?” asked another of the clerks, in a sneering tone.
“Out of cash, eh?”
“I’m not rich, certainly,” said Harold, quietly. “Still, I have a few dollars of my own; and I expect to have a monthly allowance from home till I begin to receive wages.”
“You’re stingy, then,” said Clement.
“Not exactly,” replied Harold.
“But you said you couldn’t afford to go fishing with us, tomorrow,” said Frank, “when the trip needn’t cost you more than a dollar, dinner and all.”
“It wasn’t the cost in money, that I meant to say I couldn’t afford,” replied Harold.
“What did you mean, then? It wouldn’t cost you anything else,” said Frank.
“Yes, it would,” said Harold, very seriously; “it would cost me a guilty conscience.”
Frank looked surprised at this bold speech; but, Clement laughed, and said, in a sneering way, “Take care, Frank; you’ve caught a saint.”
“No, I don’t profess to be much of a saint,” said Harold; “but I believe it wrong to break the Sabbath, and I won’t do it.”
“But, Harold,” said Frank, pleadingly, “it can’t be very wrong to take a trip on the water on Sunday, after being shut up in a store all the week. Come, go with us tomorrow, just for once.”
“No, not for once,” said Harold. “My father has often told me that sin is like the camel, which asked the cobbler to let him put his nose into his stall. The cobbler gave him leave; and then the camel, after putting in his nose, pushed in his head, and then his foot, and finally walked in and turned the cobbler out. I mean, if I can, to keep out the camel’s nose. I won’t begin to do wrong.”
“Well, you are a saint, and no mistake,” said Clement. “I guess you won’t do for our set.”
“I suppose not,” said Harold, quietly, as the others left the room.