« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. You cannot understand this, Henry; but you will understand it better by-and-by: but I can tell you what each of these three Persons has done, and still is doing for you. God the Father knew you before you were born, and he also knew that you would have a bad heart, and be fit only for everlasting destruction ; but God the Father loved you, notwithstanding your bad heart; and he sent his dear Son to die for you upon the cross; and this dear Son came and gave up his life for you long before you were born, and then he went back to heaven to prepare a place to receive you when you die. It is a sweet place, a place where all are happy, and there is no sorrow nor crying there.
“So God the Father loved you before you were born; and God the Son died for you; neither does God the Holy Spirit fail in his part of your salvation, for he has taken upon himself to make your heart clean, and to take naughtiness out of you. When God the Spirit has done his work, you will be fit to go to heaven; you will then be full of joy and gladness, and your soul will be white and holy as the angels, who stand before the throne of God: That little boy, who is kneeling by his bed, I make no doubt, knew all these things ; and if he is praying rightly, he is thanking God the Father for having loved him before the world was made ; and he is thanking God the Son for all that he suffered for him; and I doubt not but that he is earnestly beseeching the Lord the Spirit to make his heart clean and holy. Well," continued Mr. Dalben, “these are two very pleasant pictures, and two happy little boys."
The next picture was that of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, sitting in the garden of Eden before they had committed any sin. Around them were playing all manner of birds and beasts; a monstrous lion was lying quietly at Adam's feet, and a leopard was sleeping upon the grass by the side of Eve.
“Oh! how happy," said Mr. Dalben, “was the world before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit! Those, Henry, were the first man and woman made by God; they had no naughtiness in their hearts then; they lived in that beautiful garden, and lions, and tigers, and other beasts, which are now so furious, lived with them: but when they were tempted by Satan to eat of the fruit of which God forbade them to taste, every thing was changed; their hearts became full of sin, and their bodies liable to death: and the world from that time became full of sin and sorrow."
The fourth picture represented an eagle flying through the air after a dove, and a fierce dog pursuing a gentle hind; and in another part of the picture was a lion fighting with a tiger.
* See, see, Henry,” said Mr. Dalben, “see how these strong creatures pursue the weak ones, and see how those two dreadful beasts are tearing each other to pieces. Before Adam sinned, these creatures lived together very happily in the garden of Eden : there was no death there, no quarrelling and tearing each other to pieces ; but when sin came into the world, their natures were all changed, and they have since lived in continual war with each other.”
The fifth picture represented a little white horse standing in a field; it was night, and the heavens were covered with bright stars ; in a thicket near to this little white horse lay a monstrous lion fast asleep.
“ What is the meaning of this !” said Mr. Dalben, as he looked at this picture. “Oh, I can tell, and its meaning is very pretty.
“ You have often heard me speak of God the Son, our Saviour Christ, who came to die for us upon the cross : this dear Saviour is now gone up into heaven, and he has promised that he will come again in the last days to be king over the earth: these are the blessed days called the millennium; and the Bible is full of sweet accounts of these days, when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.'
“When Jesus Christ is king over all the earth, there will be no longer cruelty in the world ; little boys will be no longer cross and passionate, and evil beasts will become gentle : 'the wolf will lie down with the lion, and the calf and the young lion together, and a little child shall lead them. This picture represents a happy night in the millennium; the stars are shining bright; the sky is free from clouds; the little horse stands quietly in his field, and is not frightened, though the lion is near: for it is the days of the millennium, the blest days of the millennium, and violence has ceased from the land."
The sixth and last picture was that of the Shepherd King sitting on the top of a lovely hill, with a multitude
of sheep feeding quietly around him ; the Shepherd King had a harp in his hand, and a crown on his head.
“ This," said Mr. Dalben, “is the King who shall reign in the days of the millennium, from one end of the earth to the other. This King is Christ, and the sheep are his people; this King has bought his sheep with his own blood; therefore they are his; and they know him, and love him, because he gave his life for them."
You do not suppose that little Henry Milner understood all these pictures, after having seen them only once or twice. No, he had seen them, and heard his uncle talk of them, over and over again, before he understood them properly; but before he was six years old, he so fully comprehended them, that he would often take the book himself and tell the stories, as it were, to himself; and then he began to ask his uncle questions about the subjects of these pictures; and so he gradually acquired new ideas relative to them.
Thus little Henry Milner entered his seventh year, an account of certain events in which I shall give you in my next chapter.
Giving an Account of Henry's Contest with his Temptations to Idle
ness; the Pigeon, the Butterfly, the Humble-bee, the bright-eyed Mouse, and the Spider.
It was the intention of Mr. Dalben to bring up little Henry, the Lord permitting, for the ministry of God; he therefore knew that the little boy must acquire a knowledge of those ancient languages in which the Bible was written ; but inasmuch as he knew with what difficulty children acquire a knowledge of grammar in a foreign language, he resolved to make him first acquainted with the parts of speech and other such matters in the English tongue, for these are the same in all languages; and it is a great matter to understand what an adjective, and what a substantive, and what a verb is, before we begin to study new and strange words in other tongues..
Mr. Dalben accordingly procured a plain English
grammar to his purpose, and took considerable pains in explaining it to the little boy.
Henry, in commencing this new and dry study, felt himself much disconcerted; but he did not show his illhumour as he had formerly done, in pouting and obstinacy, but by being excessively idle ; he for a length of time would never study his grammar, excepting when his uncle was working with him and trying to explain it to him.
At length Mr. Dalben was displeased, and calling him to him, he said, “Henry Milner, you may perhaps have heard foolish people say that idleness is not sin; but I plainly tell you that idleness in children is nothing but obstinacy; and that it is because children will not work, not because they cannot work, that we see so many ignorant boys and girls. You often tell me that you wish to be good, and to be one of the little lambs of the Shepherd King, and to be like those holy children who in ages to come will play upon the fair hills of the millennium ; but, Henry, do you suppose that these boys will be idle ? think you not rather that they will be ready to learn, and would be ready, if called upon, even to suffer for the sake of their King ?
“Let me tell you, Henry Milner, if you do not know it already, that this idleness is a strong symptom of an unchanged heart, and that if it is not speedily overcome, I shall apply to the friend which has lain by in the closet for nearly a year and a half.”
So saying, Mr. Dalben produced the rod; but I am happy to say that he had no occasion to use it, for Henry melted into tears, confessed his fault, and, to show his penitence, set to work with all his might to learn his lesson.
It was summer-time, and Thomas had mowed one of the fields. Mr. Dalben, at breakfast the day after the above conversation, said to the little boy, “If you will do all your lessons before dinner, Henry, you shall go with me after dinner to the hay-field, and shall help to make hay.” Henry heard this with great delight, and the monient breakfast was finished, set to his lessons. He had a copy to write and a sum to do, he had two lessons to learn in geography, his Bible to read, and his grammar lesson: all these lessons he loved, excepting his grammar. So he did those he liked best first, and then said to his uncle," May I go, sir, into the closet where I sleep?" for Henry, being six years old now, slept in the closet I spoke of within his uncle's room," and there learn my grammar ?"
Mr. Dalben gave his consent, and Henry ran up stairs, shut the door, and sitting down on a little stool opposite the window, set himself to learn his lesson. It was the summer-time, as I before said, and the window was open; but there was nothing to be seen where Henry sat, through the window, but the tops of the tallest shrubs, the summits of the grove behind these, and the heights of Malvern beyond, but at such a distance, that the little gardens and cottages, half-way up the hill, only looked like dark specks upon the blue mountain. Henry set himself very earnestly to his lessons, and went on without interruption, till a blue pigeon from his uncle's pigeon-house over the stable (for Mr. Dalben had built a pigeon-house about half a year before) came flying towards the window, and setting herself on the windowsill, for she was very tame, began to coo and dress her feathers, turning about her glossy neck in a very dainty and capricious manner. Henry's voice ceased ; his eye wandered from his book, and fixed itself upon the pigeon; till at length, recollecting himself, he cried out,
Get away, Mrs. Pigeon; I will learn my lesson, and you shall not hinder me.” At the sound of his voice the bird took flight, and Henry went on with his lesson very successfully, till suddenly a beautiful yellow butterfly, whose wings were enriched with spots of azure, appeared in the open window, first settling himself upon the window-frame, then upon some of the furniture within, and then upon the ceiling. Henry's eye again left his book, and followed the butterfly through all its irregular motions, till the creature, returning through the window, and flying towards the shrubs, was presently too far off to be seen. “I am glad you are gone," said Henry, returning to his lesson, “and I hope you will come no more." Henry should have said," " I hope I shall have sense, if you should happen to come again, not to think any more about you." But Henry was a silly idle little boy, and had not yet learned the necessity of commanding his attention to what he ought to be doing. Poor Henry was very unfortunate that day; for, no sooner was the yellow butterfly out of sight than in came a humble-bee-Buzz, buzz, buzz; and this last gentleman was so impertinent, that he came flying up to