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heavenly bodies extends throughout the universe. And this we understand from many verses in the Bible, some of which I shall bring forward in this place. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. He made the stars also.”
It is now nearly five thousand eight hundred years, according to our best reckonings, since the Lord created the world in which we live. You have often, undoubtedly, heard of the first man and woman made by God. These our first parents were made without sin, pure, and holy, and upright, and blameless in the sight of their God: but that wicked spirit, to wit, the devil, or Satan, tempted them to depart from God, by eating of the tree of which God forbade them to taste. And thus they introduced sin and death into the world; the consequence of which was, that from that time every child born of the family of Adam is utterly corrupt from his birth, and not able in himself to think one single good thought. I could bring forward verses without end from the Bible to prove this doctrine of man's utter depravity. “There is not a just man on earth, that doeth good and sinneth not. Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually. There is no health in us. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." These are some of the many verses in the Bible which prove the entire corruption of our nature.
But one would think we need not go to the Bible to be convinced of this. We can hardly walk out into the streets without meeting with wicked children, or bad men and women, who swear and use dreadful words; and if we look into our own hearts we shall see even worse things than these ; we shall find wicked thoughts, anger, idleness, covetousness, malice, foolishness, with many other abominations which I have not time to tell. This being the case, and man's heart being naturally so, we are told that it is necessary for us to have new hearts and new natures: this new nature, which is the gift of: God, is called in Scripture being born again; but as I shall have occasion to speak further on this subject by. and-by, I will say no more upon it at this time; but will return to little Henry Milner, who, as I said before, though he knew no naughty words, showed in many
ways, when he was but in his fifth year, that his nature was corrupt, and that he, like other children, stood in need both of spiritual and bodily chastisement.
One day, when Muff had offended him by getting into his cupboard, he went in a great passion, and collected all his bits of deal in his frock, and threw them in over Muff, saying, “ You naughty cat, you frightful cat, I hate you-that I do."
He also often showed a great deal of ill-temper when Mr. Dalben called him to read. He would not for many days say the letter F. His uncle bought him a set of ivory letters, and used to lay them on the floor at the farthest end of the room, and direct him to bring him each letter as he called for it; but if Mr. Dalben chanced to call for F, he would bring every letter in the alphabet first, and leave that to the very last: and one day he was so naughty about it, that he would not bring it at all, till his uncle got up to see if it was there, and actually found it lying by itself on the carpet. “There it is, Henry,” he said ; “ pick it up and carry it to the rest.” But the little boy swelled out his cheeks, and would not obey. When Mr. Dalben saw this, he remembered Solomon's words : “ Correct thy son while there is hope ; thou shalt beat him with a rod, and save his soul from hell.” Accordingly, the old gentleman called for a twig out of Sally's besom, and laying little master over his knee, he made him recollect the letter F another time. Henry cried violently; but the moment he was set down he took up the ivory letter, carried it to the appointed place, and came back in a moment to kiss his uncle and beg pardon.
“ You will thank me for this by-and-by, my little man," said Mr. Dalben, wiping the tears from Henry's face; " and I will tell you, moreover, my boy, I love you too well to omit any means appointed by God for your soul's good.”
After this day there were no more battles about the letter F; but Henry stood out again a long while about spelling cat: he insisted, whenever he came to that word, upon calling it Muff, and tried to put the matter off at first, as a very good joke. But on his uncle repeatedly telling him that cat would not spell Muff, he grew sullen, and lowered his brow, and pouted his lips. Mr. Dalben reasoned a while with him, and next tried threatening: upon which little master grew more stubborn. Mr. Dalben was then again forced to have recourse to his friend the besom; which, when the young gentleman perceived, he called out cat, cat, so loudly that he was heard by Mrs. Kitty, who was making pie-crust in the kitchen.
Throughout the greater part of his fifth year, little Henry Milner from time to time broke out in these little fits of obstinacy; he was then so very young that he could hardly be expected to understand the danger and guilt of sin, though his good uncle tried to lay these matters before him in words as plain as possible ; but he perfectly understood the arguments used by Sally's besom; and though I think Mr. Dalben only used it three times, if he heard but the name mentioned, he would instantly give up any point, let him have it ever so much at heart.
And here I must pause to make a remark, which you, my young readers, may not understand now, but which you will perhaps remember and think of in years to come, when you have some little Henrys or Georges of your own to take care of. The Almighty, who knows the foolishness and the sinfulness of children, has in infinite mercy given to each little child some kind friend or parent, in whose hands an awful authority and responsibility is invested; directing that this authority shall be used for the child's good, until that child has attained an age in which he may be supposed to understand the higher obligations of religion. The Almighty, in thus arranging matters for little children, and directing in his holy book that chastisements of various kinds should be used if needful, plainly pointed out that he did not expect persons at a very early period of life to be regulated by argument or reason, but by parental authority: and, therefore, those parents who neglect the use of the power thus placed in their hands are as guilty of despising the ordinances of God as he who refuses to enter a place of worship, or denies the authority of the Divine precepts concerning the sacraments. This was Mr. Dalben's opinion; and I have introduced it here, to show the principle upon which he corrected the little orphan, whom he loved with the utmost paternal tenderness. -But to go on with our story.
As little Henry approached his sixth year, through the Divine blessing upon his uncle's care and instruction, he became evidently more docile. A word would
now do, where some months past it had been necessary to threaten, if not to inflict, punishment: being more humble, he was also become much more polite. I am sorry to say, that I see many little boys in these days, even in gentlemen's families, who do not use common manners; the little words “Ma'am,” and “Sir,” and “I thank you," and "I am obliged to you,” are terribly out of fashion in these days; and I am very sorry for it, because I take rude manners to be a sign of a proud heart; and we know how hateful pride is to God, for his first work with those whom he calls to be his own children is to humble them in their own conceits.
Accordingly, little Henry, as I said before, as he became more humble became more civil; he never spoke to any one without giving a title of respect, and he never received even a bit of bread without thanking the person who gave it.
Thus little Henry finished his fifth year, and I also conclude my chapter.
Giving an Account of Henry Milner's Improvement during his sixth
Year, and of six pleasant Pictures which his Uncle bought him in a Penny-book.
When Henry Milner was completely five years old, he used to spend as much as two hours every day, at different times, at his lessons.
There were not in those days such a variety of little books for children as there now is; but little master did not feel this want, for Mr. Dalben had a custom of telling him every day some little pleasant and true story, commonly when he was out a walking, or when he was sitting on his lap before tea.
Mr. Dalben had been at Worcester one day, and there he bought in a bookseller's shop a pretty penny-book with a gilt cover, and six little pictures within. This book Mr. Dalben used to show to little Henry every day before tea; pointing him out one picture at a time, and telling him a story about that picture,
The first picture in this little book was that of a little boy sitting under a tree and reading a book. “That little boy,” said Mr. Dalben to Henry, “is a very holy little boy; he has got a new heart; I will tell you some other day what a new heart is: every day when he has done his lesson, he comes into this wood, and sits under that tree and reads his Bible. He is a poor boy, and his Bible is very old; but he loves it very dearly, because holy men have written it, the words being put into their heads by God himself. Every word in ihe Bible is true: it tells of things which happened before the world began, and it tells of things which will come to pass in the last days: it speaks also of that dreadful hell to which wicked people go when they die; a place of fire and brimstone, where devils dwell in darkness, fire, and chains. The Bible speaks also of heaven, where holy men, and women, and children go when they die; there are the spirits of just men made perfect, and of redeemed and holy infants; there they rejoice for ever in the presence of their Saviour, wearing crowns of gold, and having harps in their hands, being also clothed in garments made white in the blood of the Lamb. All these things, and many more, this little holy boy finds in his book; he spends many pleasant hours, I am very sure, in that wood; he is a happy little boy; we will call him the happy little boy of the wood.”
The next picture represented a little boy kneeling by his bed, and employed in prayer.
"Oh!” said Mr. Dalben," here is another happy little boy. What shall we call him? not the happy little boy of the wood, but the little boy who makes his bed-chamber a temple of God. This little boy is praying, and I think he is praying with his heart, for see how earnest he looks. Praying is a very dull thing when we do not know whom we are praying to, nor care for what we are praying for; but prayer is very sweet when we are brought to love the person to whom we pray.
" It is God, the only true God, to whom this little boy is putting up his prayers. I dare to say that this little boy knows more about God than you do, Henry, otherwise he would not pray to him with so much pleasure. There are many wicked people in distant lands who say that there are many gods; but we know that there is but one God.
“ In this God there are three Persons. God the VoL I. B