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above all creatures, and above every being that God has made. Miserable shalt thou be to an endless duration !” The sentence upon the woman, was great sorrow in child-bearing, and subjection to her husband. The sin of the man was in hearkening to his wife rather than God. “ Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake.” God would, as it were, take no delight in blessing it, as well he might not, as all would be perverted to, and become food for rebellion. The more he would bless the earth, the more wicked would be its inhabit. ants. Man himself is doomed to wretched. ness upon it; he should drag on the few years that he might live, in sorrow and in misery; of which the thorns and thistles, which it should spontaneously produce, were but emblems. God had given him before to “eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;" but now he must be expelled from thence, and take his portion with the brutes, and live upon the “herbs of the field.” He was allowed “bread;" but it should be by the “sweat of his face;" and this is the lot of the great body of mankind. The end of this miserable state was, that he should return to his native dust. Here the sentence leaves him. A veil is at present drawn over the future world; but we elsewhere learn, that at what time “the flesh re
turns to the dust, the spirit returns to God
E. I suppose that the evils that were denounced against them, came likewise upon
all their descendants.
F. This is very evident; man to this day finds, that in order to eat bread, great and incessant Tabour is necessary to procure it; cares, vexations, and disappointments are more or less the lot of all men; neither the rich nor the poor are exempted from them. Our bodies are invaded by diseases and pains, that break down the constitution, and are the forerunners of that certain death which passes upon all men.
And here I may inform you, that there are people who, in the pride of their hearts, reject the Scripture account of the cause of the natural evils which men suffer, and yet they cannot assign one more satisfactory. If the evils which mankind suffer were not on account of the introduction of sin into our world, but arose from some other temporary cause, then that cause would cease to operate, and these evils would certainly have an end; but this world ha existed more than 5800 years, and still we find that it is the same at this day as it was in the first ages. “ Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward ;" that he is “ of few days and full of trouble.
He cometh forth as a flower and is cut down, he fleeth as a shadow and continueth not." We may rest assured, my dear children, that God can take no pleasure in human wretchedness, and we are expressly informed, that “he afflicts not willingly, nor grieves the children of men," and that he has “no pleasure in the death of the sinner.”
H. But why then has he permitted such evils to come upon men?
F. It is just because we are sinners that we are sufferers.
M. But these evils that afflict mankind, are often the very means which God employs to bring them to the knowledge and enjoyment of infinitely greater happiness than the most abundant possessions in this world could communicate.
H. I don't understand you, Mother.
M. I am sorry for it, Henry. Nothing, my dear, but the love and favour of God can make men truly happy. Now, while they live in the love and practice of sin, it is im. possible that they can enjoy his favour; but God, in his providence, visits one with se. vere bodily pain, another with very great losses in the world, a third with the loss of a beloved wife, and a fourth he bereaves of a very dear child; if these should be the means of show. ing them the vanity of this world, and of inducing them to turn to God and ask his for. giving morcy, and the enjoyment of his favour
in this world and in an eternal state, and if God should grant their desires, would not such persons be truly happy? E. Oh! yes, Mother; and I remember Miss
saying, that she never thought seriously about God and the salvation of her soul, till she had that severe fever, which brought her to the gates of death ; she durst not promise, when she was ill, that she would reform her life if she were spared; for she remembered how thoughtless she had formerly been; but happily the Lord enabled her to understand his word, and to put her trust in him; and now she has a peace and joy of mind to which she had been a total stranger before her fever.
M. You may also recollect what Mr. once said to your father, that his great losses in business were the greatest blessing he ever met with; for though he was now reduced to a bare competency, yet he found that the blessing of the Lord enriched him, and he had nothing of the vexation and sorrow which he felt when he ardently wished to gain a large portion of this world's goods.
H. Now, Mother, I do not see how a state of poverty can be a blessing; for Mr. is now poor.
M. Mr. is indeed poor, compared to what he once was.
When he said that his loss was a blessing, he meant to say that his adversity had led him to consideration, and that in the end he was happily taught to say, “the Lord is the portion of my soul, therefore will I hope in him.”
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
H. From what you said, Mother, in last conversation, I think you would have us to consider all the evils of life as so many blessings.
M. No; they are the bitter fruits of sin, and can never be agreeable to our feelings; but if they lead us to God, they are rendered blessings to us. But, my children, we inherit from our first parents something worse than being subjected to the natural evils of this life.
C. What may that be, Mother?
M. Why, Catharine, it is a bad heart, or a corrupted nature.
C. And have we all bad hearts?
H. I am sure I know some people that have very good hearts.
F. Let us hear what you mean by a good heart.
H. I think a man has a good heart, when