THE SORCERER'S STONE!

CHAPTER THREE - SOMETHING NEW

 

Len Grant was a good man and a good father. But he was not a Christian.

One day, Larry asked why that was.

“I was raised in a church-going family, Son; but I got away from religion when I went to college and on through my university training,” said his father. “Some of my teachers were evolutionists and the others thought best to keep quiet about their religion. So I guess the evolutionists won out with me. There’s a surprising amount of scientific evidence against evolutionary theory, but I wasn’t interested at the time in digging it out.”

Mr. Grant was a mathematician, with undergraduate work in biology. Later post-graduate work in chemical engineering had rounded him out.

A careful researcher, Len Grant was in demand whenever the government had certain types of scientific contracts that needed filling.

Unfortunately, while working on those contracts, Larry’s father was generally quite busy and he did not have a lot of time to spend with Larry, who was their only child. But Len Grant was a good father who loved his family and wanted the best for them.

Larry had just turned sixteen in June, when his father called the family together to tell them the news.

Excitedly, they gathered in the living room.

“Well, the new contract came through. We will be moving to northern India.”

“India!” shouted Larry.

At this, the father hesitated. “Well, it’s like this, Son. You won’t be going with us. You will be starting your third year of high school this fall, and there’s no good English-language high school in the area where your mother and I will be. I’ve already checked into this, for I wanted you to be with us. But the political situation in India is not good at this time.

“But, Dad,” pleaded the boy. “You know how much I want to be with you both! We’ve never been separated before!”

Mother sat silent. Father replied,

“I know, Son, and it bothers me a lot. But I don’t know what else to do. I want you to have a good high-school education, and you only have two more years to go. Your mother already offered to home school you there, but I have decided you should attend a good boarding school here in the states. The contract is a tight one and we will not, under any circumstances, be able to return to the states till next May.”

“Where will the school be?” asked Larry.

“I have found one that I am told is a good school. It’s in northern Massachusetts. You will leave near the end of July for the school, the same week your mother and I leave for India.”

Mr. Grant’s current contract was in Philadelphia. So, before leaving, they decided to visit the historical buildings in town. Driving in from the farm they were renting in the country, they parked near the Delaware River and walked down Walnut Street to Carpenters’ Hall.

“This was the meeting place of the First Continental Congress in 1774,” Mr. Grant said. “If it wasn’t for those men back then, we would not have our freedoms today.”

Next door was Independence Hall. “Back then, this was the State House. The Second Continental Congress met here a year later. It was right here in Philadelphia that Ben Franklin helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence.”

“What gave those men the courage to do this, when it meant death if the British captured them?” asked Larry.

“They were Christians, Son,” said Mother.

“That’s actually right,” Father agreed. “They were Christians. I guess we need more people like that today.” His voice trailed off as he spoke those words.

Soon they were standing in front of the Liberty Bell. “It’s a huge bell, isn’t it?” said Larry.

“Over 2,000 pounds of metal, the sign says,” Mr. Grant said. “I think it’s brass, but it may be bronze. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Back then, bronze was an alloy of copper and tin.”

Bending down, they read farther and found that it was set up in 1753 in a yard outside Independence Hall, where it now rests. It rang at each anniversary of the Fourth of July adoption of the Declaration of independence in 1776. But a large crack appeared in 1835.

“Oh, look, there’s an inscription on it!” said Larry.

Around the top of the bell was an engraved sentence.

Larry read it: “ ‘Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,’ Boy, that’s sure a good motto.”

“That’s from the Bible, Son,” his mother said. “It was a proclamation to be made to everyone in the land, so everyone could be set free” [Leviticus 25:10].  

“A few years ago, a crazy man came here; and, as he stood in front of the Liberty Bell,” Mr. Grant said, “he pulled a large hammer out from under his coat and struck savagely at the bell, hoping to break it. But he only hit it once before guards overpowered him.”

“That was odd. Did it hurt the bell at all?” asked Larry.

“Not a bit,” laughed his father. “All the man did was make one tiny dent in the rim. He could have pounded it for a year with that hammer and accomplished nothing.”

“That heavy bell is like a Christian character,” said Mother. “Hammers can’t hurt it.”

“That’s right,” said Larry. 

 

CHAPTER FOUR - HEADING NORTH

 

On the jetliner, Larry found himself in a center seat with people on both sides. He wished he had been by a window, so he could watch the scattered clouds and see what was below them. But, lacking that, as soon as the plane was airborne he took out his Bible, rested it on his backpack, and started reading.

On his left was a man reading a newspaper. Looking up, he was startled to see what Larry was reading. “Whatcha got,” kid?”

“I’m reading in my Bible.”

“Why do ya do that?” asked the surprised man.

“Because the Bible helps me. It gives me courage to do what needs to be done and guidance to do it right.”

“Uh, huh,—uh, yea.” Back into his newspaper went the man.

A few minutes passed. Then the man on the other side of Larry said, “I like that, youngster. We need more young people in America who read the Bible.”

“Do you read the Bible too?” inquired Larry.

“No, I don’t.” A pause, then, “I used to years ago, but I got away from it.” Another pause, then. “I wish now I hadn’t.” Another pause, and this time embarrassed that he had said so much, the man said, “I guess I’d better get back to my reading.”

About ten minutes passed, as all three continued reading. “Young man, may I ask—.” The man on Larry’s right hesitated.

“Yes, sir,” responded Larry.

“May I ask,—well, does reading the Bible really help you that much?”

“I could not get through a day without Bible study, and along with it prayer throughout the day.”

“You really are committed!” said the man in a surprised tone. “Tell me more. I’m interested.”

“Christ died to save each of us from sin. The wonderful news is that, through the grace of Christ, Sir, you can be forgiven of all your past sins. And, more through that same grace, you can be strengthened to obey His Inspired Word.”

Silence for a moment, then, “Son, this is what I need in my life right now.”

For the remainder of the trip, Larry was busy leading the man on his right to Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

All the while the other man kept his nose buried in his newspaper while carefully listening to all that went on.

As they arose to get their baggage, the newspaper man turned to Larry and shook his hand. “I want you to know I appreciated what I heard. I’ll be thinking about this.”

Larry left the plane with his newfound friend, the man he had brought to Christ.

“I’m an prominent businessman here in Boston,” he told Larry. “My name is William C. Steger. This is my business card. If you ever need help, give me a call.”

“Thank you so much. May God help us both be faithful. Remember, it’s not enough to give God your life one day; you will have to keep doing it every day for the rest of your life,” said Larry, as he put the card in his wallet.

“Thank you for those words. I count you as a real friend.”

Outside the terminal at Logan International Airport, Larry waited for the bus from the school to arrive. Soon he and a few other students had boarded it and rather quickly were headed north on the interstate.

Everything was interesting, for Larry had never been in Massachusetts before. He had taken a seat at the front, across from the driver, so he could look out the front window as they drove along.

Glancing over, the bus driver said, “Well, young man, I see you keep a Bible with you. I read the Bible also.”

Amid the busy traffic there was no further opportunity for conversation. Pulling up in front of a two-story building, as the driver helped the boys unload their luggage, he turned to Larry and said, “It was good meeting you. Maybe we’ll see each other again before the year’s out.”  

 

CHAPTER FIVE - MEETING NEW FRIENDS   

Map of Campus

Larry found himself at the entrance to the boys’ dorm at Badger Bay Academy. Located at Badger Bay, a little above Salem, Massachusetts, it overlooked the Atlantic Ocean.

The buildings were clustered in the shape of a T, with the top of the T running north to south.

Scattered beyond the campus to the west, across a little-used highway, were a number of faculty and other homes in what was called the “village.”

The school was located on a promontory, with a short walk to a view on the east of the bay and ocean spread out below it.

Rather quickly, the boys in the dorm were to find that Larry was a little odd. He didn’t spend time in hijinks, wasn’t interested in wasting time, already knew a lot about many things, and (although a junior) was physically stronger than most people on the campus.

And they found that Larry was smart. He always seemed to have a good solution. Yet he had this strange habit of insisting on time alone with God and the Bible for a while every morning and evening.

Yet he seemed like a nice guy, so they put up with his quirks.

Larry’s new home for the year was a room at the end of the first floor. Because it was a corner room, windows were on two sides which overlooked the hardwoods of the Northeast. Larry was thankful for this.

“Hi, are you going to be my new roommate!” In the door walked Peter Crockett, an easy-going junior. “We’re glad to have you here!”

“Well, I’m glad to be here too,” said Larry. “I’ve transferred in as a junior. What’s it like here on campus?”

“Oh, pretty good. I’ve heard they got a new course; other than that, everything will probably be the same as last year.”

“Hey, who’s there?” The door was half open and in walked Skip Cramer. A freshman, Skip got along well with Larry and Peter as soon as he met them. He was glad that he had a room next to theirs.

“Well, everything’s stowed in our rooms now,” said Peter, ignoring the fact that some of it was still dumped in the middle. “Let me show you around the campus. We can finish the rooms later in the afternoon.”

“Great,” said Skip. “I’m for it; this will help us learn where everything is in advance.”

Peter enjoyed his roll as their official tour guide. “The boys’ dorm is on the north end of the campus,” Peter explained as they walked along. “And here,” pointing to a large two-story building, “is Chaffee Hall. It’s the largest building on campus where all the classes, other than woodwork, are held on the second and third floor.

“The Assembly Hall is on the south half of the first floor, with an entrance facing south. The cafeteria is on the north part of the first floor, with an entrance on the north side. The entrance to Chaffee Hall is in the middle, facing east.

“Next to Chaffee Hall is the building housing both the library and a second, somewhat smaller auditorium. Behind the library is the administrative headquarters. We call it the ad building. That’s where the president’s and treasurer’s offices are located.

“On the other end of it is the bookstore. Next to the ad building is a building housing the café and campus store. The campus store has groceries, hardware, and things like that. We’re far enough out in the country that we are a little community all our own.

“Behind the campus store is the heating plant and the service station. Behind the ad building is a building housing the garage, a room where woodwork is taught, and the carpenter’s shop.

“Behind that is a large warehouse. I don’t know what that’s used for. Probably general storage.

“Over there is the girls’ dorm, on the south end of the campus. Both dorms look alike; each one is two stories in height.

“The faculty and staff live in homes close to the western edge of the campus. Scattered beyond are a few other homes. And that’s about it; the rest is woods.”

“Pretty nice,” said Skip.

“Oh, yes, there’s one more thing here.” Turning right, they strolled along a gravel road. Suddenly, there before them was the Atlantic Ocean.

“Terrific!” said Larry. “I heard it was around here somewhere.”

“This is called the ‘overlook.’ Fortunately, it’s not far from the boys’ dorm,” said Peter. “Makes a nice place to come and sit while watching the ocean.”

Recognizing that the guided tour was nearly over, Peter said in a scholarly tone, “Badger Bay Academy is located on the edge of Badger Bay, a little above Salem, Massachusetts. The campus overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The school got its name from the bay, which someone who couldn’t see straight thought was shaped like the foot of a badger.”

At this everyone laughed.

“We’re standing on a bluff overlooking the bay, with the ocean beyond,” he added. “But, near here, there are several paths that lead down to the beach.”

“Great, let’s go down there!” exclaimed Skip.

“What time is it; I left my watch back in the dorm,” said Larry.

“It’s 2 o’clock,” said Peter. “We have the entire afternoon free. Registration is not until tomorrow morning, and we can straighten up our rooms later this afternoon and all evening.” 

GO TO CHAPTER 6

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