IN a cozy corner between the barn and the henhouse, two little country boys were playing marbles. After a while, John said to his brother,—" Say, Ruby, I'm tired of this play. Are you?" "Rather," replied Reuben; "but what shall we do next?" 

"Let's play little Samuel." 

"What! A tableau of Samuel praying'?" 

"No," answered John. "Don't you remember what Miss Jones said yesterday in the Sabbath-school class about Samuel's ministering? 

"O yes," replied Reuben, "he did things for Eli, and that was ministering to the Lord; because he was so kind and obedient that it was minding God, and God loved him. But then, he lived in a temple, and took care of the holy vessels. It don't seem just like us." 

"No," said John; "but everybody can't live in a temple, and teacher said God had some work for everybody, even the youngest." 

"O yes," replied Reuben. "She said we could minister to the Lord by doing things at home for mother." 

"And this long vacation, it does seem too bad to play all the time," said the elder brother. 

"That's so!" replied Reuben. "What shall we do first, Johnny?" 

"We'll soon find out," said John. 

They went to the house, and, entering the porch, saw their mother and sister in the kitchen, and heard the mother say,— 

"It would be nice to have some peas for dinner; but we will not have time to gather and shell them." 

"That's a pity, too," said Martha. "They ought to be gathered before they get too ripe." 

"We'll go!" exclaimed the brothers; "and we'll shell them, too." 

"Will you? What nice little boys! That will be helping us ever so much," said their mother. So the little fellows scampered off to the pea vines. When they had gathered enough, they shelled the peas, finishing in time for them to be cooked. 

Everybody laughed, when the meal was finished, to hear little Reuben say, "The dinner was just splendid. I feel good inside and out." 

"So much for working for it, my little lad," said his father. "You've earned your dinner; and nothing gives a better relish for food than this." 

Mamma said, "Somebody else feels good too, for having such nice little helpers." 

How much these boys enjoyed their playtime that afternoon! They thought they never before had so pleasant a day. 

Those words of mamma about her "little helpers" paid them for all their work.




DON'T loiter, boys and girls. When you know what you ought to do, then go about it promptly, work at it diligently, and finish it. Work first and play afterward. Work first and rest afterward. 

Never dawdle. Is there a garden to be weeded, corn to be hoed, hay to be raked, coal to be brought up, an errand to be done, a lesson to be learned;, make that the first thing, and, if possible, the only thing, until it is finished. Your comfort and your success in life depend very much upon the habits you form in this matter.