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TO ELDER READERS OF MY LITTLE BOOK.
ORIGINALITY can scarcely be expected from the writer on Truths which have been echoed from mind to mind during eighteen centuries. But every intellect reflects their light " with a difference;" and it is this diversity of perception that prevents them from becoming so familiar as to lose, in a great degree, their power of awakening the attention.
Therefore sermons are as diverse as intellects, though they tell the same great story; and books on The Book are multiplied not vainly or tediously, though, on all chief points, they are but a hundred-times-told tale.
At the earnest request of a friend, this addition to the endless Echo of the Truth is offered to the public. The explanations of the Parables were given verbally to a real little Honora (many of whose remarks are here recorded); and the ease with which she comprehended the teaching, suggested that its simplicity might make it acceptable to others.
The only claim the teaching of this little volume has to “freshness," or novelty, consists in a simplification of thought rather than language, and an avoidance of doctrines beyond the understanding of childhood, and of motives uncongenial to its tenderness and trust: the author deeming that too great insisting on sinfulness and punishment is unadvisable, as examples of “ naughty children” frequently prove suggestive of evil rather than warnings against it; and that it is not " hard words,” but thoughts beyond their comprehension, which make a book “ too difficult” for little ones.
If any good should possibly spring from the
perusal of this tiny volume, it will proceed from the only source of all good teaching, who can and does use the feeblest of His creatures at His own wise will. That no mistaken views may arise from it, is the humble prayer of the writer, who is not without hesitation as to how far a woman may venture to teach in the Church, even through the medium of the press. But female teachers may at least plead Madame Guyon's meek apology to Bossuet,—“As God condescended, on one occasion at least, to. employ a dumb animal to utter His truth, He may sometimes make use of a woman for the same purpose.”
The excellent Clergyman, who has kindly glanced over this little work, says, in reference to page
167:“ It is very important that there should be a marked distinction between the Church militant on earth and the Church triumphant in heaven, because the common confusion on this head has
led to many errors. In the Church militant there shall be, our Lord says, wheat and tares, corn and chaff, good fish and bad, virgins wise and foolish; all must remain till the harvest. Then the separation shall be made. There will be no foolish virgins in heaven. The mixture in the Church at present is, therefore, a proof of its being the true one." And in allusion to page 24 :
" When speaking of the discrepancies between the Evangelists, it may be as well to point out what a strong confirmation these very differences are of the truth of the Gospel. Those who agree to tell a falsehood are sure to be circumstantially correct; those who are simply telling the truth are as sure slightly to
SUNDAY AT SELBY MANOR.
He loves to have the little ones
Upon His lap quite close and near,
And they so little while are here;
It was a warm April day. The air was soft and balmy with the first freshness of spring, and everything was still and hushed in the sabbath quiet of England. The light rustling of the leaves; the twittering of the birds; the distant song of the lark; the far-off chimes of the church-bells, were the only sounds to be heard, as Mrs. Digby and her little ones seated themselves beneath the old tulip trees of Selby Manor. Two pretty little girls, one about eight, the other about three years old, sat beside their mother, while little Antony, a beautiful baby of sixteen months, toddled about on the grass