Sabbath Scholar Drowned” reinforces a theme common in Youth’s Companion: that the reader should be prepared for death. The piece may have been reprinted from the Christian newspaper The Young Reaper.

Samuel Anthony Morrill (b. about 1842; d. 22 June 1849) was the son of Samuel G. and Sarah Morrill. [“Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915.”]
[Sabbath School] “Sabbath Scholar Drowned” (from Youth’s Companion, 13 September 1849; p. 79)

In Newburyport, on Friday, June 22, a number of boys were in the river Merrimac, bathing. After being in some time, they came out and dressed themselves, and seeing some clothes remain there, they began to inquire whose they were, when it was found that one of their number was missing, having got into deep water without their knowledge, and drowned. He was a little boy, nearly eight years of age, whose name was Samuel Morrill. He was a member of the Green Street Baptist School of this town, and the last Sabbath he spent on earth, he was with his class. He came with a perfect lesson, as usual, for he loved the Sabbath school, and loved to talk of the truths of the Bible, and ask a great many questions about them. His questions were generally about heaven, and how to become good. His teacher told me, that he was as much interested as any scholar he ever had. Bright, cheerful, intelligent, but little did Samuel think when he then met the class, that it would be the last time he would sit with them, and talk of that Saviour who came into the world to seek and save sinners. Little did he think that when they met again, his little body would be engulfed in the deep water, away from mortal eyes, for it remained in the water four days before it was found. How uncertain is life! We see even little children suddenly and unexpectedly removed from our midst. How important that all the children connected with Sabbath Schools should ask themselves when they meet with their classes, will this be the last time that I shall be here?

My dear children, if it had been you instead of little Samuel, what account would you give to God for all the instructions you have received? Have you improved or misimproved these precious privileges? If you have misimproved them thus far, now be wise, and “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” Treasure up the instructions imparted by your faithful teachers, and be guided by them. Then if you should be suddenly called away from earth and all your friends here, you will be prepared to meet a better friend in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, and go where we trust little Samuel has gone. I have said he loved the Sabbath School; he also loved the Bible, and to say his prayers morning and evening. He would raise his voice to God, and place his hands together as though he realized that he was addressing God.

How little do teachers realize that they may be instructing some of their number for the last time; that when they next meet, it may be at the bar of God, there to give account for the way and manner in which they have discharged their duties. O, teachers, be wise, and faithfully discharge your duties, and the children committed to your care may be given you as stars in the crown of rejoicing.


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