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he is very kind and charitable to the poor, in giving them money, and clothes, and food. You know Mr. when he went into poor people's houses, and saw them in want, he was so grieved that the tcar would roll down his cheek, and he would give the money he had in his pocket, and send other things afterwards. I am sure he is a good-hearted gen. tleman.
F. Certainly Mr. is a man of a very humane and liberal disposition; he feels very much for the poor in this city, and kindly relieves their distress; but he has not the love of God in him, for he takes his name in vain, and even sneers at religion, and those who are endeavouring to keep the commandments of God. Now, so long as this is the case, he cannot have a good heart. I know many besides him that are very ready to open their hands to supply the wants of the poor, and others that are possessed of very amiable natural dispositions, affectionate, kind, and generous, yet their hearts are not right with God.
C. But what do you mean, Father, by a bad heart?
F. I mean by it a heart that does not sin. cerely and supremely love God, and which does not yield entire, universal, and continual obedience to the commandments of God. When our first parents complied with the temptation of Satan, their hearts became corrupt, and as we have all descended from them,
we have the same corrupt, unbelieving, and disobedient hearts.
E. But though they became disobedient and sinful, how is it that their children should be the same?
F. You remember that they were created in the image of God, and if they had continued obedient, then their children would have been like them, righteous and holy creatures; but when they disregarded God, and believed the wicked one, then they bare his image, or became like him, enemies to God in their minds, cherishing desires opposed to the will of God, and disposed to indulge in practices hateful in his sight. Now the Scriptures ask, " who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?" If water be polluted at the fountain, the streams must necessarily be impure. If a tree be corrupt, all the branches will partake of that cor. ruption. The first man became a sinful creature, and his children were born in his likeness and in his image.
H. I do think that Cain was a very wicked
F. He certainly was; for it is said by John, that “he was of that wicked one." a good man; or, we might say, he was of God; but they had both the same advantages, received the same instructions, and had the same example set before them: can you inform me then, Eliza, what produced such an amazing difference between the two brothers ?
E. Really, Father, I could not positively say:
M. It was simply this, my dear, that Abel's heart was purified by faith, in believing what God had said ; and his brother disregarded the word of God.
F. Yes, Abel's heart was naturally no bet. ter than Cain's, and God has said of all men, “that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth”_" that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”“ that out of it proceed evil thoughts, mur. ders,” &c._" that the carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God.”
H. But, Father, you don't mean to say that all men are equally wicked and bad ?
F. I am speaking of the wickedness of the heart and mind in the sight of God. There are great differences in the conduct of men in the world as they appear to us; but so long as men, women, and children, do not believe God, and love him, and his truth, their minds are enmity against him.
c. But I don't think that I am an enemy of God.
M. I should be happy, my dear, to see that you were not, but I have my fears of you. Answer me a question.
C. I will, Mother.
C. I think I do.
M. Do you love him better than Father, or Mother, or brothers and sisters?
C. But why must we love God better than Father and you?
M. I thought you would hesitate. Because God is the best, most glorious, and most lovely of all beings, there are none like him in heaven, neither are there any in earth, that can be compared to him. He is our kindest and most faithful friend. He has an infinitely greater love to us than any being can have; he, therefore, has a right to our supreme love, and he demands it in the very first commandment, “ Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”.
C. Oh, Mother, I really cannot say that I have loved God better than my Father and you.
M. I love your candour, Catharine, but I must tell you the truth, that until your love of God be superior to your love of any creature, there will be enmity in your mind against him.
F. The great proof of love to God is to keep his commandments, and to do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
H. What commandments, Father, do you mean? the ten commandments ?
F. Yes, we may consider these as inclusive of every duty we owe to God and our fellow creatures.
H. I admit, with Catharine, that I have had greater love for you, and mother, and sisters, and brothers, than I have had for God; yet I think I do love him, and regard all the commandments.
M. Indeed, Henry ! did you never take the name of God in vain ?
H. No, Mother, I never swore an oath in
M. Well, I believe that you do not swear ; but did you never say prayers without thinking of God? did you never read the word of God without a reverence and love to his name while pronouncing it? did you never use those very improper exclamations, God bless me! have mercy on us ! &c.?
H. But I did not think that taking the name of God in vain meant any thing else than swearing.
M. You are not singular in this thought, Henry; but in our professed worship of God, unless we believe in him, love him, and worship “him in spirit and in truth,” we do take his name in vain, and he will not hold us guiltless.
C. Well, but, Mother, I'm sure you can't say that we break the Sabbath day by walking the streets, and strolling in the fields like a number of ch dren. M. And a good reason is, because your
Father and I do not allow you ; but I think I have heard both you and Henry say, that you would like very well to be allowed to walk,