The Way of the Transgressor is Hard
A young man was once sent to prison for stealing $20,000 from the merchant whose clerk he had been. As he sat in the loneliness of his miserable cell, the first evening of his confinement, he could not help thinking over what he had done. And as he was doing this,—the question that pressed itself upon his mindwas— “How came I here? People will say, it was cheating my employer of that large sum of money. But that is a mistake. It was something before that. I look back twenty years. I remember, one bright summer day, when my good old uncle John, sent me to the country store, to pay a bill for him. I got the bill receipted, and seventy-two cents were given me as change. On my way home I said to myself, ‘If uncle asks me for the change, of course I’ll give it to him; but if he doesn’t ask me, I guess I’ll keep it.’ I kept thinking about this all the way back. My conscience told me what was the right thing for me to do. But the tempter said to me, ‘Well, what’s the use of giving them back? If your uncle doesn’t ask for them, you might as well keep them.’ I made up my mind to do this. My uncle did not ask for the pennies, and I never gave them back to him. That was my first step in the transgressor’s ways. It was cheating my uncle out of those seventy-two cents, which ruined my character; and now here, in this gloomy prison, I must find out how hard the way of transgressors is!