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Volume 6852

Little Lessons for Little Learners - 1:
Jonathan's Patience, or How Fortune Came Through Faith
A Sunday School story - Probable Date: 1904

By Edgar Rice Burroughs
From the Danton Burroughs Tarzana Family Archive
Jonathan was a good little boy. He attended divine service each Sabbath morn. Sunday School, Afternoon Service, The Evening Session, Wednesday evening prayer meeting, and the rest of the stunts were pie for Jonathan. He had so many regular attendance cards stuck around his mirror that he had to go in his sister's room to brush his hair.

Jonathan was a brave lad. Once a rude boy truck Jonathan. Did Jonathan act the part of the coward and uppercut his assailant? No, sir, not on your crayon enlargement. With the heart of a lion Jonathan repaired to the domicile of the miscreant and told his mamma on him. Thus were Jonathan's boyhood days in the quiet village of his birth made memorable. The gang had it in for Jonathan, but he recked not.

Early in life the financial instinct was inculcated in Jonathan by his dear old Grandmother who  daily sent him to the village store for a spool of thread, a paper of pins, or some such little what-not.

Did Jonathan go South on the change? Yes, sir; his Christian reading had taught him even then what a great power for good lay with the moneyed man -- and Grandma's memory was failing her.

Jonathan grew apace The dear old pastor who had watched with loving eyes the development of Jonathan's Christian spirit and who had mapped out all Jonathan's reading since his early childhood now obtained for  a clerkship in the village store.

Jonathan looked forward now to greater things; this was but a stepping stone as very few were the cash purchases made and the proprietor was nearly always in the store; but with Christian patience he bided his time knowing that some day his reward would come. His prayers were answered in a measure when the proprietor was summoned to the county seat on jury service. While the good man disliked leaving his business in the hands of others, his young clerk's Christian life and training made it easy for him; it also made it easy for him, it also made it easy for Jonathan.

Jonathan had now amassed nearly two hundred dollars, but still his ambition soared. It might be mentioned that he had passed the contribution box in church for two years. This had helped some.

When Jonathan was thirty years of age he was elected Treasurer of the Church Board. Most young men would have considered this the acme of opportunity, but not so with our hero; his Christian training had taught him that great watch-word of the faithful -- patience.

While Jonathan had been growing apace the town had been getting busy itself and some of the high guys got together in the church parlors one Tuesday eve and decided that Peaville must have a bank instead of driving ten miles to the county seat to deposit its beans.

After the bank was started they must needs have a cashier and in casting about for someone the consensus of opinion pointed out as a glowing ideal some Christian young man whom they had all seen grow up amongst them. This cut the eligibles down to Jonathan. So our hero became the bank cashier. This was the fruition of all his hopes. He had won by his own sterling efforts the confidence of all the townspeople, the church and the moneyed mokes. In after years, maybe in a larger community -- but that was in the future, he could achieve no more here. One more effort and the reward of patience and a little of self denial would be his.

One Thursday evening at the regular monthly meeting of the church board, attended by the entire congregation, Jonathan arose and read his report. It seems that when the position of Treasurer  had been forced upon him the church's liabilities had amounted to three hundred and fifty-seven dollars and ninety-four cents with assets of thirty-seven cents, now after two years dotted with concerts, church fairs and rummage sales there were no liabilities and the Treasurer's report showed a balance of one dollar and seventeen cents to the good -- all velvet.

When the congregation had absorbed this happy news and the bank directors present had patted themselves on the back at the thought of the star cashier they had drawn, Jonathan arose once more and inserting his left beneath his coat tails and his right above the third button of his cutaway gazed sadly upon them for a time, clearing his throat for action. Then he spake; his face was twenty-seven inches long and opened like a head-gate:

"My dear Brethren and Sisters, rolling as we are in wealth and luxury, individually as well as in the congregation sense, are we not too prone to forget our duties toward our less fortunate brothers and sisters in foreign climes? Again I ask you," shouted Jonathan, rising on his tip toes, "are we not too prone? Recently in scanning the columns of that helpful little paper. The Sheep's Wrist, I culled the information that, far,  far away on an islet somewhere in some old sea there are hundreds of our poor benighted brothers and sisters without the pale of our refining civilization -- lost, lost, but, thank God, not irretrievably -- while we wallow in the lap of luxury and assets! What can we do for them? This was the first question that arose in my pulsing breast. What more noble and praiseworthy in the sight of a beneficent Providence than supplying these benighted heathen with that great means of soul thought -- Song."

This eloquent appeal had reduced most of the sisters to a state of sniveling.

"Then the thought came to me," continued Jonathan, balancing on his heels, "that in our happiness and wealth we might spare a tithe for these poor sinners and a greater thought came to me from Heaven that we should send them each a hymn book." He paused, "I start the subscriptions with my little all, three hundred and seven dollars and ten cents."

He drew a bag from his coattail pocket and placing it in the contribution box started out into the audience.

"Those who wish, " he said, "may write down the amounts they desire to donate to this noble cause on a slip of paper with their names. These will be read aloud after the collection."

The high guys tried to crawl under the pews but Jonathan had them where hair tonic comes in handiest and when he had time to draw breath and count up he found eleven dollars and seventy-one cents in cash and nine hundred dollars even in pledges.

It took Jonathan only a week to collect the pledges but he had to say some real unkind and threatening things to some of the brethren before they would ante. Jonathan now had twelve hundred and nineteen dollars and eighty-eight cents where with to carry on his noble cause and this was Thursday again.

The farmers and merchants brought their deposits to the bank on the following Saturday. Sunday morning a new hand passed the contribution box and a new mouth told a cute story to the Sunday School.

Our dear Superintendent is ill," said the pastor, "let us pray for the speedy recovery of the noble Christian worker, our beloved Superintendent."

When the President arrived at the bank Monday morning he found a note on his desk which read:

"You will find $71.28 in the safe. It covers Bud Mixer's balance. As a Christian Worker I could not stoop to touch money in such a vocation."

Bud was the saloon-keeper.

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