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often of their sinful hearts ; but very few people know
wicked their hearts are. There is something within us that is always pressing us forward to
and that so strongly, that we have not power to stand against it. The fear of pain or shame in this world, or even of everlasting fire in the world to come, is not enough to frighten us from sin ; and for this reason, that it is our nature to sin.
Therefore, my child, our natures must be made regenerate by the power of God the Spirit, before we can in any wise cease from sin. When we wish to do well, we must not say we will be good: but we should go
into some private place, if possible, and there, falling upon our knees, we should confess to God our weakness and sinfulness, and ask, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the help of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to do well.”
“ Then," said Lucy, “if we ask for the Spirit of God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, will it be given to us, mamma?”
“ Yes, my dear child,” answered Mrs. Fairchild : “ for the Lord Jesus Christ says, “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John xiv. 14.) But this does not mean that God will at once give us power to overcome our wicked nature. No, my dear: this will not be. Our wicked hearts will contrive to torment us till we die. Then, if in this world we have loved the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be entirely set free from sin, and that for ever and ever.”
“Oh, mamma!” said Lucy, “how very happy we shall be when we have no more sin in our hearts ! for the sin of my heart often makes me very unhappy when I have nothing else to vex me. Sometimes, when you give me leave to play, mamma, and I have everything to make me enjoy my play - my brother and sister's company, Emily's pretty doll,
and all my playthings-yet I cannot be happy, but feel cross and ill-natured."
Mrs. Fairchild. This, my child, I have no doubt, is very true : and hence it follows, that if you were to be placed in heaven itself with your sinful heart, you would not be happy there : and this shows that our hearts must be changed before we can go to heaven.”
Then Mrs. Fairchild knelt down with her children, and prayed that they might be delivered from the power of sin : and this prayer, with the change of a few words only, I will put down here, for the use of any little child who may hereafter feel and be sorry for the sinfulness of their hearts.
A Prayer for a New Heart. O Almighty Father ! how apt am I to boast, and to say, “I have been good to-day, and I was good yesterday; I have done this thing well, and that thing well; and, I am a good child !" when it would be more proper for me to cry out, “O Lord, have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner! O Lord, I humbly confess that I am altogether evil : there is no good in me: I can do nothing well : I cannot even think one good thought without the help of thy Holy Spirit, O Lord !” The fear of
father and mother, and of being punished, often keeps me from breaking out into
my parents and teachers were to be taken from me, and I was no longer under fear of punishment, then, O Lord, I should break out into open and shameless wickedness; and be no better in appearance (as I am no better in heart) than the poor little boys and girls in the street, who are left entirely to themselves.
O Almighty Father, let me not be puffed up with pride, or think well of myself, because I am kept from very great sins by the care of my friends ; for
my heart is altogether filthy and evil, and if I were to be left to myself, I certainly should come to open shame.
O dear Father! O beloved Saviour! O Holy and Glorious Spirit ! thou blessed Three in One! have mercy on a poor, weak, and wicked child! Leave me not to myself : leave me not to my own wicked heart; but be thou
Teacher and my Ruler. O Lord Jehovah! give me a new heart, that I may obey thy commandments, and walk in thy fear all the days
life. O grant this the prayer of a wicked child, for the sake of Him who bled and died
for Him, even the blessed Lord Jesus : to whom, with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour for ever and ever." Amen.
“Our Father,” &c.
Far from the world, O Lord, I flee,
From strife and tumult far;
still His most successful war.
The calm retreat, the silent shade,
With prayer and praise agree,
For those that follow thee.
There, if the Spirit touch the soul,
And grace her mean abode,
She communes with her God!
There, like the htingale, she pours
Her solitary lays ;
Nor thirsts for human praise.
Author and Guardian of my life!
Sweet Source of life divine !
My Saviour ! thou art mine.
What thanks I owe thee, and what love ?
A boundless, endless store,
Till time shall be no more.
STORY ON THE SECRET SINS OF THE
SOME days after these things had happened, of which I told you in the last chapter, Mrs. Fairchild called Lucy to her, and said :
“ My dear child, it is now a week since your papa and I went out, on that day when you were so naughty. Do you think that you have been good since that time?"
Lucy considered a moment. “Why, mamma," she said, I am almost afraid to say that I have been good at any time. To be sure I have not done any very bad things this week—such as I did the day that you went out; but then you have been with me always, mamma, and have watched me, and have kept me in order. Perhaps, if you had not been with me, I might have been as naughty as I was that day; for I think that my heart is the same : I don't think that it is
better.' Mrs. Fairchild. “ What you say, my child, is very true: your heart is the same : and it is only because I am with you, watching you and taking care of you,
that you seem to be better than you were that
“ Here, my
day. Those poor children who have not good fathers and mothers to take care of them, do many very wicked things, because they have no one to restrain them. You do not do so many openly bad things as they do; but it is not because you are by nature better than they are, but because you are restrained by your friends. People who have good friends all their lives, and have always been kept in good order, are apt to fancy that they have better hearts than other persons, and they become self-conceited and proud: whilst, if they would but look close into their hearts, they would find nothing to be proud of in them-nothing but sin and evil passions.”
Then Mrs. Fairchild went to a drawer, and took out a book neatly bound in red leather : there was nothing written in the book; the leaves were all blank. This book she gave to Lucy : and she said,
dear ; take this book, and write in it every day the naughty things which pass in your heart. You will then find, my dear, that many days, when you may appear to be very good in the eyes
of your papa and mamma, and of other people, you are in reality in the sight of God very naughty. This custom, my dear child, will teach you to know your own heart, and will keep you from being proud, and thinking better of yourself than of other people."
Lucy took the book, and said, “Mamma, must I show what I write to anybody? I shall be ashamed to show it."
Mrs. Fairchild. “ No, my dear: I would not have
you to show what you write in this book to any one unless it might be to me; and I shall never ask to see it: if you choose to show me what you write of your own accord, that will be quite a different thing."
“When must I begin to write in this book, mamma ?” said Lucy.