THEY attended the same school, sat side by side on the same seats, vied with each other in the same classes, played the school-games together, and were to each other as brothers. They were ambitious, and often spoke of the future "when they would be men of distinction," and even in boyhood began to plan about the best way of obtaining a classical education, which they considered indispensable to success. Their fathers were men of limited means, having to work hard for the support of their children, and never dreamed of giving their boys an education higher than that furnished by the common school. In the village school, however, these boys had an excellent teacher, who taught them more than how to read and write and do sums. 

He inspired them with the idea of working for themselves, and fostered their ambition to rise in the world without the help of others, by using for that purpose all honorable means with perseverance and a will. 

Already each had got hold of a Latin grammar, and they were conning over "bonus, boni, bonum," to the utter astonishment of their fellow-pupils, while the still more puzzling mystery was declared that the angle A, B, C is equal to the angle D, E, F, and that x is equal to anything in this world. 

While quite young, the boys left school, taking charge of schools of their own as teachers, but still pursuing the path which to each seemed to point out the way to the object of their ambition. John had the credit of being just a little brighter than his fellow, but James had the reputation of being a young man of excellent character; and it was a matter of some amusement to his rival to learn that when he became a teacher, wishing to mold the characters of his scholars, he had openly espoused the cause of temperance and refused, to touch, taste, or handle that which could hurt the body or the mind of others. John claimed to be as temperate as James, but said he would not run to such foolish extremes by taking pledges, joining Rechabites, and all that sort of nonsense. 

And so these two young men struck out in different directions. John taught his school and read his Virgil and Homer, and, when fatigued with close study and late hours, sometimes he refreshed himself with a glass of wine. 

"Pugh!" said he to the expostulations of his friend James, when they happened to meet after two or three years' separation, "if I never do worse than to take a glass of wine, I do not think much harm can come to me." 

"That may be, " said James, "but so many do come to harm that I would not run the risk for all the good it does." 

"Nothing refreshes me so much after a hard night's study as a glass of sherry," responded John, with earnestness; "and I think if you but knew the value of it, you would try it. Young men like us have so much study to do that we must have something to keep up our strength; and I hope we are not foolish enough to hurt ourselves." 

"I think my strength will hold out as long as yours," said James; " besides, when I do not feel the need, I do not care to risk the danger. I can get along well enough without such helps." 

Years passed away, and I sought the two young men. I knew where to find one of them, but was not certain about the other. After many inquiries, I knocked at the door of an obscure house in an obscure street, and in response there came to the door a man, 'John, who had the reputation of being a fine scholar, knowing Latin and Greek, Hebrew and Arabic, French and German; but I noticed that he had hard work to stand steadily on his feet for the few moments I spoke to him, and his tongue was evidently too large for distinct communication He seemed an utter wreck at thirty-five years of age. 

I sought the lodgings of James. He was a college graduate, and was busy preparing to stand a special examination for a high academic degree. He showed me a "call" which he had recently received from an important church, urging him to become its pastor, and he told Me that he probably would accept it. He was still a temperance man—a man of sterling principle and splendid mind; and he still lives to prove that, to become great, a man must rule his own spirit and shun the very appearance of evil. • 

"But what became of the other young man?" you ask. The question can be answered in a very few words. About six months after I last saw him, he died suddenly in a fit of delirium tremens, and was laid in a drunkard's grave. 

And so the history of these two boys comes out in perfect harmony with the principles of character which each planted for himself. There is little difficulty in predicting results: "For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting." 

  R. H. Craig,

 in N. Y. Observer.