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original promise, were engraven, as with the pen of a diamond, on every human heart, though they knew it not, namely, original sin, a propitiation for sin, and the dignity of that divine Person appointed to perform this grand transaction.
( To be concluded in our next.)
“It is getting so dark, mamma,” said Annie Kennedy, one winter's afternoon, “ that we cannot see to play any more; will you talk to us as you do sometimes ?”
Mumma.-Well, bring your stools, and sit down by me, and tell me what we shall talk about.
Annie.—The other day you were going to tell us something about praying, when you were interrupted; will you now, dear mamma?
Mamma.-Will my little Emma like it too?
Emma.—I will try to understand you, and I think I shall be able, for sister Annie sometimes talks to me about it.
Mamma.—Can either of you, my children, tell me what prayer is ?
Emma. It is not saying prayers I know, because I can do that, but I can't pray; and it is not just reading prayers either, is it mamma?
Mamma.-What is Annie's explanation ?
Annie.- Prayer is asking God for what we want; and really meaning what we say.
Mamma.–Right, my child. Prayer is asking for all we want; going to God as to our kind Father, and telling him all the desires of our heart, just as you would go to your dear papa, or to me, when you
wish for any thing. Emma.—But why need we pray at all? You can give us all we want.
Mamma.--Stop, my child, you want very little indeed if I can give you all. But let us see how much I really can give you. You know I dearly love all of you, and would therefore very gladly do all I can; but there are many most necessary things which even a fond mother cannot do. You want food and clothing
every day ; true, we give it to you, but if God did not first provide it, where, my love, should we get it from? You come to us with all your little wants, and so far as they are reasonable, and we have it in our power, we gratify them; but, if our bountiful Father had not first given us the means, we could not supply our children. God, my child, is the great source of every blessing—we are only employed by Him, to take care of you, will you remember this ; or, to make you understand it better, when Rachel takes food or medicine to the poor families around us, when I am often unable to go out, they are very much obliged to her; but, she is not giving her own, is she?
Emma.--No, mamma, it is you that send it; she only carries the things.
Mamma.—Just so, my love. So it is with us, we are the agents or servants of God; and by us He sends you those comforts which you require.
Annie.—Then besides, Emma dear, mamma cannot make us well, when we are sick, she cannot keep us alive. You know when dear little Caroline died, mamma would have made her well if she could.
Emma.-But she can give us medicine; and she can send for the doctor.
Annie.-Then if God does not bless the medicine, it won't be of any use; so mamma told me the other day when I was obliged to take some.
Emma.-Well then, mamma, I will always ask God to keep us all well, and not to let us be sick; will he do it?
Mumma.-If it will be for our good; but sometimes we require pain.
Emma. I never wish for it, mamma ; and I never hear you ask God for it.
Mamma.—No my love, I do not mean that we wish for pain or sickness; but we need it. You never wish for medicine, but you often need it; now pain is to the soul, what medicine is to the body; but we will talk of this another time. We were speaking about the things which I cannot do for you; now you are a very little girl, and do not know much about your heart, but still you have lived long enough to learn that you have very naughty tempers; very foolish thoughts; and Annie has learned that she
every day falls short of being what God's word requires her to be ; have you not my children?
Mamma.—Then, my dear girls, prayer as Annie said, is asking for ALL we want; and there is nothing which you want more than that God should change those sinful hearts of yours-give you meek and gentle tempers, instead of angry and passionate onesmake you obedient instead of obstinate and self-willed. Your heavenly Father knows all your naughty tempers, and graciously allows you to talk to him about them, and to ask him for that grace which He promises to those who pray to him.
Emma.—But may such a little girl as I pray ?-will the great God hear me?
Mamma.—Yes, my dear little girl, our kind Father listens to the simplest words of the least children.
Annie.—But, mamma, there is one thing which I so often think of. You say that God hears, sees, and knows every thing ; now, when so very, very many persons are praying to him, and he has to take care of every body in the world, I think he must forget me among them all ?
Mamma.—I do not wonder my love at these thoughts sometimes occupying your mind; but it is because you know so little of God. You can form no idea of his wisdom, you judge of him by your own feeble power, and that you will allow is very
foolish; to you it is an effort to give attention to one thing, and even older persons are perplexed if many cases press upon their mind; but that glorious Being of whom we are speaking, governs worlds, and attends to the wants of every creature which he has made, at the same moment, and that without trouble to himself; so that even my Annie
may take her wants and her little cares to her heavenly Father, and feel as sure of attention as if she were the only being who was addressing him. Go then, my child, and try to pray, and you too, my little Emma; and remember one promise for your encouragement, a promise made to little children as well as to “ Ask, and it shall be given to you."
THE RULE OF MORAL DUTY.
Tue first principle of religion is the belief in the existence of a God. To the religious mind, all nature is a mirror, wherein is reflected the glory of its Maker. He perceives it animated by his presence, brightening under his smile, and proclaiming him to be wise and good. Such a man cannot walk abroad without appreciating the beauty of external nature. Ile will not cast upon it a cold and unmeaning look; be will perceive the traces of his heavenly Father's hand graven on every tree, and shrub, and flower. The sun in his strength, will appear to him a type of the christian going forth upon his heavenward journey, prepared to battle with the temptations of a “world which lieth in wickedness.” The hour of sunset too, will appear to him a type of the death-bed of a Christian, when that same spirit of holiness which animated him during his earthly pilgrimage, at times breaks forth with splendour, and casts its hallowed radiance on all around; just as the declining “orb of day” at times clothes the heavens with a mantle of the most gorgeous and beautiful hues. In short to a man of such a spirit all nature appears bathed in the sunshine of the Almighty's smile.
But he perceives also a Being, the contemplation of whose perfection is calculated to rouse the noblest energies of his soul, and to attune his lips to accents of joy and praise. He may not, as in the heaven of his childhood's dreams, conceive that above the blue sky there is a God enthroned; he will cast away all material conceptions of the Deity, for he knows that “God is a spirit,” who manifests himself by his doings. He will perceive that the true glory of his nature consists in the impress which it bears of the image of his Maker. Every thing to his mind declares that God is the moral Governor of the Universe.
Now, if God sustain the character of a moral Governor, and man is a subject of his dominion, it follows that the law of the subject's. duty, can be nothing else than his sovereign's will. If we grant that God exercises a supreme sway over the universe which he hath called into being, and the consequent subjection of man to his authority, it inevitably follows that the rule which must regulate his conduct, all his thoughts and actions, is the will of his maker.