Happy For One Night

There was once an attractive and charming girl, who, however, had been greatly flattered because of and affected by her charm and beauty. She was a child of many prayers, but she longed to escape from the quietness and sobriety ofher home into the bright lights and exciting bustle of worldly pleasure. As this desire become stronger, she was first restrained from joining worldly companions in their gaiety by her mother’s tears and pleadings. Eventually it was only her father’s command that prevented her. Her loving parents made home as agreeable as possible, but her heart still ached for the dance, the theatre, and the gay party. More than once she cried out in impatience and vexation, "I wish I could be happy for one night!"

Her father became ill. One night while he lay only half-conscious, moaning in pain, with his anxious wife watching constantly by his bedside to supply his needs, the daughter stole away to a dance - her first. All night long she made the most of her freedom, and it went on nearly till dawn. By this time she had been missed. The mother, whom she ought to have relieved at the sickbed, alternately prayed and wept through the weary hours of that night. Indifferent to her mother’s grief and concern, the wayward daughter laughed, and sang, and danced her way through the same hours. She mingled with those whose character shut them out from her father’s home; she listened to talk that she had never heard before and was polluted in mind and conscious by it. She tasted to the full the sort of happiness she had long desired.

But with the first light of day it fled. The moment she turned away from the crowd to hurry homewards, fear gripped her heart. Ill clad for the chill damp of the morning, she was shivering violently before she reached her door. Entering quietly, she sought her bed, and died there two weeks later. She had often been reproved, had as often hardened her heart, and now sudden destruction came upon her. "If I had only known," she moaned day and night. As she felt death approaching, she wailed, "Must I really die? Mother, mother, pray for me." She cried for her minister at all hours in the hope that he might be able to help her in her remorse and fear. Often enough in the past she had avoided him lest he might speak to her about her soul.

Thus she died, fearful and hopeless. Nothing said to her about divine mercy and the merits of Christ’s death was believed. To every remark and prayer she had but one answer, "Oh! if I had only known this." Her lovely face and form, the subject of the flattery of worldlings, and her own delight and admiration as she viewed them in the mirror, had proved a snare. Caught in a frenzy of desire to enjoy the pleasures of sin in the company of trifling worldly friends, she had broken loose from the restraints that she needed, and chose vanity as her portion. How true that -"she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

What we have just told took place long ago but similar things have happened many a time since. May young readers be preserved from such actions, and led rather to seek Christ and the unfailing pleasures which He gives.

(The Young People ’s Magazine).