Imatges de pÓgina
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tory of my being found in the cherry-tree, and all that had passed on the occasion between us.

“ The next morning he came to me as I was sitting in the arbour reading my new Bible. So, my dear,' he said, you are up very early—and reading your Bible !--that is well. Your mother was a pious woman : I knew her very well : God grant that you may be like her!

• • Did you know my mother, sir ? said I; 'I wish I was more like her. I should then, perhaps, be able to please my aunts better than I do now; I make no doubt but that my aunts have long since told you what they think of me.'

". Your aunts, last night, my dear, were telling me all about you,' he answered; and I promised to talk to you this morning. Come,' said he, let us take a walk in the fields, whilst breakfast is getting ready, and I will hear what you have to say.

So the good man led the way, and I followed into the fields.

««Your aunts tell me, my dear,' said he, that you often

say you wish to be good, but cannot.' “It is very true, sir,' answered I: 'I often determine to keep God's commandments, and think I will be so good; and perhaps, at the very

moment when I want to be good, I do something naughty.' "You have your Bible in your

dear,' said the old gentleman : 'turn to the seventh chapter of the Romans, and read the 15th, 18th, and 19th verses : I think you will there find something like what you say of yourself.'

“I turned to the place, and found these words : * For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that do I ... For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not: for the good

hand, my

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that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.'

" St. Paul, my dear,” said my cousin, 'was the writer of this—an exceedingly holy man, and one as near heaven as man could be ; yet he felt, that when he wished to do well he could not ! and for this reason, because there was no good in him. If St. Paul, then, was so unable to do well, how can you expect (a little silly girl as you are to be able to do well ?'

“I looked very hard at the old gentleman, and could not think what he meant ; for my aunts had always told me that I might do well if I would.

“ The old gentleman then explained to me what I never understood before—that is, the dreadful change which passed upon Adam when he ate the forbidden fruit; and how his heart became utterly and entirely evil and corrupt; and how all his children, being born in his likeness, were also utterly corrupt, and unable to do well. He then explained to me the wonderful scheme of man's salvation; of which I have so often spoken to you before, my beloved children, but which I shall endeavour to state to you again, as nearly as I can, in the words of my pious old friend.

And first he pointed out to me that doctrine of Scripture which I had never understood beforenamely, that there are three equal Persons in one God. And he made me acquainted with the names of these three holy Persons ; to wit, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. He also endeavoured to make me understand how each of these Persons is engaged in the great work of man's salvation : he pointed out to me the exceeding love of God the Father, who sent his Son to die for the sins of the world, and the tender mercies of God the Son, who came down from heaven, took upon him the body of man, and in that body endured the punishment due to the sins of all mankind; and,

finally, he showed me that of which I had not before the most distant idea-namely, the work and offices of God the Holy Spirit, who has undertaken to convince those who are to be saved, of the unbelief and hardness of their hearts, to bring them to a knowledge of their Saviour, and to enable them to keep God's holy Will and Commandments.

“ These doctrines were all so new to me, that I felt quite puzzled, and knew not what to think, or what to answer; whereupon the old gentleman advised me to retire to my room,

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pray for light from on high, that I might be enabled to understand these things ; and he promised to have a little more talk with me the next day.

“ I did as I was requested : I went to my little closet, and prayed; after which I was enabled to recollect much of what he had said to me; and, the next morning, we took another walk in the fields; and he asked me several questions, to prove if I understood anything of what he had taught me the day before. I shall repeat to you the questions he put to me.

“ The old gentleman first asked me — By what I said to you yesterday, concerning your own heart, what did you learn ?'

“I answered, “That my heart is wicked, and that I cannot do well.'

The Old Gentleman.-How came you to have a wicked heart?'

“I answered : “When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, his heart became wicked; and his children, being born like him, have bad hearts too.'

“The old gentleman then said, “You have heard of heaven and hell; and that one is the place where good people go when they die, and the other place is where bad people go ; to which of these places do mankind deserve to go??

"I answered, "To a place of eternal punishment.' “When men had by their sins deserved eternal

punishment,' said the old gentleman, 'what method did God take to save them ?'

“ I answered, “He sent his Son to die for them.'

"Very true, my dear,' said he. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven you ; and, more than this, power will be given you, by God the Spirit, to keep his Commandments. Whoever attempts to keep the Commandments without the help of God the Spirit, is labouring in vain ; he is striving to do what he has no power to do. And here, my dear child, is the mistake into which you have fallen : you have been trying some years past to do well without God's help, and have never been able to do it : now try another way ; go again into your own room, and there kneel down, and confess to God that you are a miserable sinner, fit only to go to hell; and entreat that you may be made to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and have a heart to love him ; that, through the merits of his death, your sins may be forgiven you, and you may receive the Holy Spirit of God in

your

heart.' “He then explained to me, that the work of the Holy Spirit is to cleanse our vile hearts ; and that he will give us power to keep the Commandments of God; which, without his help, it is in vain to attempt. The old gentleman then showed me several pretty verses, in the fourteenth chapter of St. John, which he made me learn: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me. . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth

and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father ; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him... Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words 5 ;

and
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Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.' (Ver. 6, 21, 23.)

“ The old gentleman stayed with my aunts two

me ;

months : and every day he used to take me with him, to walk in the fields, the woods, and in the pleasant meadows on the banks of the Thames. His sweet discourse to me at those times I shall never forget : he, with God's blessing, brought me to the knowledge of my dear Saviour, and showed me the wickedness of my own heart, and made me sensible that I never could do any good but through the help of God. He used also to talk to my aunts about these things. At the time they did not seem much to attend to him ; but before they died, when they were in their last sickness, they told me that all his words returned to their minds; and they sought earnestly after God.”

“I am glad of that,” said Henry.

“When the good old gentleman was gone, did you behave better than you did before he came, mamma?” said Lucy.

“ After he left us, my dear, I was very different from what I was before," said Mrs. Fairchild. “I had learnt to know the wickedness of my heart, and to ask God to help me to be good ; and when I had done wrong, I knew whose forgiveness to ask. I took great delight in my Bible, and used to read, and pray, and sing Psalms, in my little closet; and I do not think that I ever fell into those great sins which I had been guilty of before—such as lying, stealing, and deceiving my aunts ;—but still I found my heart full of sin ; and till I die, the sins of my heart, and the wicked inclinations of this vile body, will make me unhappy : but, blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ, who will in the end give us the victory.

Mrs. Fairchild then gave her children a prayer which this good old gentleman had made for her, with a hymn; and I shall put the prayer down here, for the use of any children who may hereafter read this book, When

you

wish to keep God's or your parents' commandments, and find that you are not able, then you will find this prayer useful to you.

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