Only A Boy - Youth's Companion
More than half a century ago a faithful minister coming early to the kirk,
met one of his deacons, whose face wore a very resolute expression.
"I came early to meet you," he said. "I have something on my conscience to
say to you. Pastor, there must be something radically wrong in your
preaching and work; there has been only one person added to the church in a
whole year, and he is only a boy."
The old minister listened. His eyes moistened, and his thin hand trembled
on his broad-headed cane.
"I feel it all," he said; "I feel it, but God knows that I have tried to do
my duty, and I can trust him for the results."
"Yes, yes," said the deacon, "but 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' and
one new member, and he, too, only a boy, seems to me rather a slight
evidence of true faith and zeal. I don't want to be hard, but I have this
matter on my conscience, and I have done but my duty in speaking plainly."
"True," said the old man; "but 'charity suffereth long and is kind; beareth
all things, hopeth all things.' Ay, there you have it; 'hopeth all things'!
I have great hopes of that one boy, Robert. Some seed that we sow bears
fruit late, but that fruit is generally the most precious of all."
The old minister went to the pulpit that day with a grieved and heavy
heart. He closed his discourse with dim and tearful eyes. He wished that
his work was done forever, and that he was at rest among the graves under
the blossoming trees in the old kirkyard. He lingered in the dear old kirk
after the rest were gone. He wished to be alone. The place was sacred and
inexpressibly dear to him. It had been his spiritual home from his youth.
Before this altar he had prayed over the dead forms of a bygone generation,
and had welcomed the children of a new generation; and here, yes, here, he
had been told at last that his work was no longer owned and blessed!
No one remained—no one?—"Only a boy."
The boy was Robert Moffat. He watched the trembling old man. His soul was
filled with loving sympathy. He went to him, and laid his hand on his black
"Well, Robert?" said the minister.
"Do you think if I were willing to work hard for an education, I could ever
become a preacher?"
"Perhaps a missionary."
There was a long pause. Tears filled the eyes of the old minister. At
length he said: "This heals the ache in my heart, Robert. I see the divine
hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a
Some few years ago there returned to London from Africa an aged missionary.
His name was spoken with reverence. When he went into an assembly, the
people rose. When he spoke in public, there was a deep silence. Priests
stood uncovered before him; nobles invited him to their homes.
He had added a province to the church of Christ on earth; had brought under
the gospel influence the most savage of African chiefs; had given the
translated Bible to strange tribes; had enriched with valuable knowledge
the Royal Geographical Society; and had honored the humble place of his
birth, the Scottish kirk, the United Kingdom, and the universal missionary
It is hard to trust when no evidence of fruit appears. But the harvests of
right intentions are sure. The old minister sleeps beneath the trees in the
humble place of his labors, but men remember his work because of what he
was to one boy, and what that one boy was to the world.
"Do thou thy work: it shall succeed
In thine or in another's day;
And if denied the victor's meed,
Thou shalt not miss the toiler's pay."
When Some One's Late
Some one is late,
And so I wait
A minute, two, or ten;
To me the cost
Is good time lost
That never comes again.
He does not care
How I shall fare,
Or what my loss shall be;
And basely rude to me.
My boys, be spry,
The moments fly;
Meet every date you make.
Be weather fair
Or foul, be there
In time your place to take.
And girls, take heed,
And work with speed;
Each task on time begin;
On time begun,
And work well done,
The highest praise will win.