|DILIGENCE AND NEGLIGENCE.|
A babe slept in its cradle, and its name was Diligence. It was joyful in the hands of those who nursed it. It was healthful, and ever playful, waiting for the fond caress of its parents. It bid fair promise to become a man.
The babe grew to be a boy. Among the thoughts which visit children, came one whose name was Negligence. It came to him with pretended diligence, and tried to enforce upon him the name of Negligence. The parents said to Diligence, "remove this Negligence far from you." But Negligence said, "trust in me, and I will tell thee of what thou hast not seen."
"And of what canst thou tell me," replied Diligence. Then answered Negligence, "Diligence is an unknown path, and o'er scattered by many thorns. Where none that are wise do ever travel, and which, in the end, will cause you much trouble."
"I will not listen to thy idle tale," said he, "depart from me, I know you not, or from whence you are. I have often heard said that you depart from the right course, merely for making your way easier. But I will have naught to do, or say to you; I will try to walk in the path which my fathers have walked in before me."
The boy became a youth. Once, as he lay in his bed, Diligence and Negligence came to his pillow.
But Diligence said, "youth, be mine altogether; for Diligence and Negligence cannot remain together. Diligence is not slow to perseverence, is active in duty, and will be a friend to him all his life long."
When he awoke, Negligence had left him, but Diligence staid to bless him. He became a man, but Diligence was constant with him. And he drank deep at the fountains of Intelligence.
At length, age found the man, and turned the hairs of his head white. His eye grew dim, and the world seemed to him an altered place. But, Alas! he had changed, and the blood was now cold in his veins.
Diligence looked on him and spoke to him in graver tones than in former times, and was to him a long tried friend. He sat down beside him, and the aged man said, "Diligence, thou hast been with me. Thou hast staid me, and improved my intellect, which might have been lost."
Then answered Diligence meekly, "It may be so. I trust that all who follow this principle, may never disown their name. I have borne it for years, and am not yet tired. I have lost none of the precepts which its gems afforded, they are as brilliant as when they first came into my hands."
Negligence looked mournful, and ceased to ask to be forgiven of her error. She stopped in her career, and was no more to go forth, singing naught but merry songs all the days of her life.
The old man laid down to die. "His spirit ascended to God who gave it." Diligence tarried with him till the last; but Negligence fled before the time.
A glorious form bent o'er the dying man, whose name was Religion. It wept over him, and his friend, commended them to future happiness. For said Religion, "Thou has been faithful over a few things, Christ will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."