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Emily and Lucy kept by their little girls for the same purpose.
After the Divine Service was over, Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild and their family came home; and the children, if they pleased, had a bit of bread as soon as they came in. But there was one thing which Mr. Fairchild would not allow his family to do—a thing which many people are very much in the practice of —that is, when they have been at church, hearing the good word of God, to come home and chatter together about foolish things, till they have quite forgotten all the holy words they have heard in the church. “You might just as well,” Mr. Fairchild would say, good seeds in your fields, and then turn in a flock of birds to pick them all up, as go to church, and afterwards meet, and talk, and chatter, till you have forgotten everything you have heard.” So Mrs. Fairchild ordered her children, when they came in from church, whilst they were waiting for their dinner, to go each one into a place apart by themselves, where they might think of what they had been hearing. Sometimes they would walk alone in the garden, or in a path which was in a coppice just by, if it was a fine day; or go into their own little rooms, to pray, and sing a hymn, and think of God. Henry, in particular, had a little favourite shady path in the coppice, where scarcely ever any person came, excepting two old women, whose cottages were on that side of the coppice ; and there you might see him walking up and down, praying, or singing his hymns, till he was called to dinner by the dinner-bell, which John always rang out of the house door.
At dinner Mr. Fairchild would not allow his family to speak of the business of the week-days, nor even to talk of their neighbours : they found enough of pleasant discourse in speaking of what they had heard in the church, or of what had happened in the school ; which of the children were improved, and who said
the Catechism best, and who got rewards, and such things.
After dinner, in the long days, they all went again to church ; but in the winter they could not go in the evening, because there was no service. So when they could not go to church, Mr. Fairchild was the clergy. man, and Henry the clerk; and Mrs. Fairchild, and Lucy and Emily, and John and Betty, and the two old women who lived in the coppice, who generally drank tea with Betty on a Sunday evening, made up the congregation. After Evening Service came tea; and when tea was over, the children were allowed to read any pretty Sunday book they had ; and amongst them they had a great many. Before they went to bed, Mr. Fairchild heard them read a few chapters in the Bible, and repeat the Church Catechism. Then they all sang some hymns together, and prayed; and when they had had their baked apples (or if it was summer time, perhaps some strawberries and cream, or raspberries and cream), the children went to bed.
Now of all the days in the week, Sunday was the day the children loved best; for on this day there was no worldly business—no care about money, or clothes, or cooking dinner ; po work to be done but God's work, the sweetest of all works, the work which angels delight to do. And God blessed Mr. Fairchild's family in all things, because he kept the Sunday holy, making out the words of the prophet Isaiah :
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable ; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father ; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah lviii. 13, 14.
I shall finish this chapter by adding a prayer for Sunday which Mr. Fairchild's children used, with the very hymn which Henry so often sang in his favourite wood-walk. You may use this prayer any time in the day, and in any place : if you have a retired walk in your papa's garden, or in any field near your house, you cannot do better than withdraw to it to pray and sing on a fine summer's day, after you have been at church : or before it, if it should suit you better. Many good people have liked to pray in the open air, where they can look up to the heavens, and around them, upon the fairest of God's works—trees and shrubs, and brooks, green hills and meadows, and flowery fields.
A Prayer for Assistance in keeping the Sabbath-Day
O holy Father, who hast ordered us to keep the seventh day holy, I pray thee to give me grace to keep this Sunday holy; that I may do no manner of worldly work in it, nor talk about business in it, nor spend the day in visiting, or foolish play, or idleness ; but that I may spend this holy day in reading my Bible and other holy books, and singing hymns, and praying, both at church and by myself at home. And O, my Father, send thy Holy Spirit into my heart, that, when I pray and read, I may mind what I am
Ι about, and not think of foolish things whilst I am repeating the words of God. And O fill my heart this day with love for that dear Saviour who died for me : that I may serve him with joy and delight, and not be tired when I am hearing his blessed words, or thinking of vain or foolish things when I am in his holy house. And when I have fulfilled my number of Sundays in this world, remove me, O dear Lord God, for my dear Saviour's sake, to that happy place where we shall enjoy an eter, nal Sabbath at thy right hand for ever and ever. Amen.
“Our Father,” &c.
ANOTHER six days' work is done,
This heav'nly calm within the breast
THE ALL-SEEING GOD.
I MUST now tell
you of a sad temptation into which Emily fell about this time. It is a sad story, but you shall hear it.
There was a room in Mrs. Fairchild's house which was not often used : in this room was a closet full of shelves, where Mrs. Fairchild used to keep her sugar and tea and sweetmeats and pickles, and many other things. Now, as Betty was very honest, and John
too, Mrs. Fairchild would often leave this closet unlocked for weeks together, and never missed anything out of it. One day, at the time that damascenes were ripe, Mrs. Fairchild and Betty boiled up a great many damascenes in sugar, to use in the winter; and when they had put them in jars, and tied them down, they put them in the closet I before spoke of. Emily and Lucy saw their mamma boil the damascenes, and helped Betty to cover them and carry them to the closet. As Emily was carrying one of the jars, she perceived that it was tied down so loosely that she could put in her finger and get at the fruit. Accordingly, she took out one of the
. damascenes and ate it: it was so nice that she was tempted to take another; and was going even to take a third, when she heard Betty coming up : she covered the jar in haste, and came away. Some months after this, one evening, just about the time it was getting dark, she was passing by the room where these sweetmeats were kept, and she observed that the door was open : she looked round to see if anybody was near, but there was no one : her mamma and papa,
and her brother and sister, were in the parlour, and Betty was in the kitchen, and John was in the garden : no eye was looking at her but the eye of God, who sees everything we do, and knows even the secret thoughts of the heart; but at that moment the fear of God was not in the heart of Emily. Accordingly she passed through the open door, and went up to the closet there she stood still again, and looked round, but saw
She then opened the closet door, and took two or three damascenes, which she ate in great haste. She then went to her own room, and washed her hands and her mouth, and went down into the parlour, where her papa and mamma were just going to tea.
Although her papa and mamma never suspected what naughty thing Emily had been doing, and behaved just as usual to her, yet Emily felt frightened