Josiah Martin was a young man of whom any mother might have been

proud. He was an only child, and had been the support of his widowed

mother for five years; though at the time when we first knew him he

was not twenty.

And this was not all. He was so frugal, and industrious, that he was

able, besides providing for himself and mother, to contribute largely

toward the support of his aunt Eleanor and her daug
ter, who were very

poor, and without his help, might have suffered oftentimes for want of

the necessaries of life.

In return for his care, he had a wealth of love bestowed upon him by

mother, aunt and cousin, who often said, and often felt in their

hearts, that Josiah was as good a boy as ever lived. He enjoyed

perfect health, and had naturally a merry heart, so that every day of

his life, he was as happy as the birds. He expected to continue so,

through many long years: and never thought of dying until he got to be

an old man.

One pleasant summer morning, he rose early and prepared to leave home

to be absent a week. He had agreed to go and help Mr. Brown about

harvesting, and the farm being five miles from where his mother lived,

he could not come home before Saturday night. He bade his mother an

affectionate good morning, and started cheerily on his way. The road

ran by aunt Eleanor's door, so he thought he would just peep in, and

see how she was and tell her that he should not see her again for

several days.

The old lady did not seem as well as usual, and "wished heartily," she

said, that Josiah wasn't going away.

"Why, I shall be back," said he "in six days, and can come sooner, if

any of you need me."

"You should not speak so positive about it," said aunt Eleanor, "you

may never come back again."

"Oh fye, auntie, you've got the blues this morning! I shall be back

just as sure as Saturday night comes."

"Don't be too certain my boy; life and death are not in our hands; you

may be called any hour."


"Now auntie, don't get gloomy about such a hale stout boy as I am;

who never saw a sick day in his life, and don't know what pain is. Why

see how strong I am," and laughingly he bent down, and lifting his

cousin with one arm and his great dog with the other, he tripped

lightly over the threshold. "There, auntie," he cried, "I could carry

off your whole establishment, almost as easy as Samson did the gates

of Gaza."

Though the old lady smiled at the moment the cloud came back again to

her face, and through the open door she watched him as long as her

misty eyes could distinguish him in the distance.

As merry, as strong, and as full of life as ever, the young man went

to his work that morning. Arrived at the harvest field, he took off

his coat and went in among the laborers, saying that he thought he

could outwork them all that day, he felt so vigorous. The sun was

exceeding hot, the air sultry and close, and the laborers, in spite of

their determination and strength, grew very weary when the sun was

high in the heavens. About eleven o'clock, a boy came from the house

and brought them a jug of cold water. Josiah took it first, and drank

of it until they all called to him to stop. He did not heed them, but

being very thirsty, drank until he was satisfied; then stooped to set

the jug on the ground, and fell down beside it a corpse.

Thus suddenly, in the prime of his young life, was he called into

eternity. In a moment from perfect health, he passed to death.

I seem to hear you saying, little reader, "This was very sudden; but

surely such unexpected deaths are rare, I shall not die in that way."

That you cannot tell, you must go in the time that God appoints, it

may be before another sunset. But whether it be sooner or later that

you are called home to heaven, would you not love to leave with your

friends the memory of as good a life as this of which you have been

reading. On the neat white slab that shows where Josiah sleeps it

says, "Here lies a good boy, who blessed the world while he lived in

it." Go ye little readers and do likewise.

'Tis well to walk with a cheerful heart

Wherever our fortunes call,

With a friendly glance, an open hand,

And a gentle word for all.

Since life is a thorny and difficult path

Where toil is the portion of man,

We all should endeavor, while passing along,

To make it us smooth as we can.