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How To Make Friends With Mammon
by [?]

But all this while our friend and his little companion have been pattering along the wet streets, in the rain and sleet of a bitter cold evening, till they stopped before a grocery. Here a large cross-handled basket was first bought, and then filled with sundry packages of tea, sugar, candles, soap, starch, and various other matters; a barrel of flour was ordered to be sent after him on a dray. Mr. H. next stopped at a dry goods store and bought a pair of blankets, with which he loaded down the boy, who was happy enough to be so loaded; and then, turning gradually from the more frequented streets, the two were soon lost to view in one of the dimmest alleys of the city.

The cheerful fire was blazing in his parlor, as, returned from his long, wet walk, he was sitting by it with his feet comfortably incased in slippers. The astral was burning brightly on the centre table, and a group of children were around it, studying their lessons.

“Papa,” said a little boy, “what does this verse mean? It’s in my Sunday school lesson. ‘Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.'”

“You ought to have asked your teacher, my son.”

“But he said he didn’t know exactly what it meant. He wanted me to look this week and see if I could find out.”

Mr. H.’s standing resource in all exegetical difficulties was Dr. Scott’s Family Bible. Therefore he now got up, and putting on his spectacles, walked to the glass bookcase, and took down a volume of that worthy commentator, and opening it, read aloud the whole exposition of the passage, together with the practical reflections upon it; and by the time he had done, he found his young auditor fast asleep in his chair.

“Mother,” said he, “this child plays too hard. He can’t keep his eyes open evenings. It’s time he was in bed.”

“I wasn’t asleep, pa,” said Master Henry, starting up with that air of injured innocence with which gentlemen of his age generally treat an imputation of this kind.

“Then can you tell me now what the passage means that I have been reading to you?”

“There’s so much of it,” said Henry, hopelessly, “I wish you’d just tell me in short order, father.”

“O, read it for yourself,” said Mr. H., as he pushed the book towards the boy, for it was to be confessed that he perceived at this moment that he had not himself received any particularly luminous impression, though of course he thought it was owing to his own want of comprehension.

Mr. H. leaned back in his rocking chair, and on his own private account began to speculate a little as to what he really should think the verse might mean, supposing he were at all competent to decide upon it. “‘Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness,'” says he: “that’s money, very clearly. How am I to make friends with it or of it? Receive me into everlasting habitations: that’s a singular kind of expression. I wonder what it means. Dr. Scott makes some very good remarks about it–but somehow I’m not exactly clear.” It must be remarked that this was not an uncommon result of Mr. H.’s critical investigations in this quarter.

Well, thoughts will wander; and as he lay with his head on the back of his rocking chair, and his eyes fixed on the flickering blaze of the coal, visions of his wet tramp in the city, and of the lonely garret he had been visiting, and of the poor woman with the pale, discouraged face, to whom he had carried warmth and comfort, all blended themselves together. He felt, too, a little indefinite creeping chill, and some uneasy sensations in his head like a commencing cold, for he was not a strong man, and it is probable his long, wet walk was likely to cause him some inconvenience in this way. At last he was fast asleep, nodding in his chair.