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help. It is a very pleasant thing, to know that
any act of kindness, done by a follower of the Redeemer, to the least of those who love the Saviour, is accepted as an act of gratitude to God; and this is plain from a text which I have already quoted to you, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” Matt. xxv. 40. So long, then, as you can find one of God's people, rich or poor, old or young, learned or unlearned, in health or in sickness, to whom you can render a service in a grateful spirit, that service is an act of gratitude to God.
Mary. Now I understand you.
Mr. F. That ground must be bad in which vegetation will not grow; and that heart must needs be hard wherein gratitude to God does not increase. Shall the seed that we put in the ground grow up into a flower; the twig that we plant in the earth spring up and bud, and blossom and bear fruit; and the poor bird be so full of joy, as to mount upwards with his morning song; and we, with our countless blessings, perform no act of gratitude ? Children! children! we ought not to allow the sun to go down in the longest day of summer, nor in the shortest day of winter, without some act of grateful acknowledgment to our heavenly Father. Look about you; be quick to spyout opportunities of thanking God by your actions, for the unnumbered and
unmerited mercies you enjoy. No wonder that a Christian poet, overcome with a sense of God's goodness, should burst out into the well known words,
“When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys;
In wonder, love, and praise.
The gratitude declare,
But thou canst read it there."
M. Mamma is very fond of these verses.
Mr. F. We should all be very grateful to those around us, for acts of kindness. I read lately of an instance of gratitude on the part of a poor Turk, which much pleased me.
T. A Turk! I have heard boys say, "As cruel as á Turk;" but I never heard of a grateful Turk.
Edward. But I have, Thomas. There is a piece in one of my books, called “The Grateful Turk," and a pretty piece it is. Turks can be grateful, no doubt, as well as Christians.
Peter. Tell us about the Turk, papa. Tell us about the Turk !
Mr. F. The account I saw, said that many years ago, a poor Turk, who was accustomed to play a barrel-organ about the streets of London, was playing one evening opposite the house of one of the foreign ambassadors, when the ambassador came to the door.
T. Ay! Now the ambassador gave him a shilling, I dare say.
M. More likely a half-crown.
E. I should say that five shillings would be more likely still, for ambassadors have a great deal of money to spend.
P. How much did he give the poor Turk, papa ? Mr. F. He
him a guinea. “A guinea!” cried Edward and Mary. “A guinea l" repeated Thomas and little Peter.
Mr. F. Yes, a golden guinea, for it was before sovereigns were made; and it seemed to overwhelm the poor grateful-hearted Turk. The ambassador dressed himself, and went out to a party, came home late, retired to rest and went to sleep. When he awoke he heard the sound of music; and when he looked through the window into the street, there was the Turk, still occupied as before. The night had been wet and sharp, but neither the rain, nor the cold, had driven the poor fellow from his post, out of thankfulness for the guinea which had been given him; all the night long he had been standing in the muddy street, gratefully grinding away at his barrel organ.
“Well done, Turk !” exclaimed Edward. “He was a very grateful man,” said Mary. “I never heard of such a Turk as that," cried Thomas. “ The ambassador ought to have given him another guinea !” said little Peter.
Mr. F. It never once entered the poor man's head, I dare say, that it was possible to weary any one with his barrel-organ. The gratitude of his heart overcame every other feeling, and he acknowledged the kindness of the ambassador in the very best way he was acquainted with. M. I like that Turk
much. Mr. F. One general rule I will lay down for you, is well worth your attention. It is this-Regard every favour you receive from your fellow creatures as a gift from heaven, and this will lead you to acknowledge it, not only to its earthly bestower, but to your heavenly Father. He has the hearts of all at his disposal, and what does it matter whether he send an angel from heaven with his gifts, or move the hearts of his creatures to bestow them?
M. Very true! Oh, that is a capital rule. We must thank God for all our blessings, and kindnesses, and comforts, let them come from what quarter, and in whatever way they will. Mr. F. Exactly so.
Do you understand that, Peter
P. Yes, papa. When mamma brings me my little
present, I must thank her, and God too, for making her so kind to me.
Mr. F. I see that you understand me very well, and, of course, your brothers and sister do. We may, perhaps, say more about
this subject afterwards; but enough for the present. By following up your undertaking of learning to act, you will find that every day will present opportunities of performing virtuous deeds. Whether our acts are those of duty, obedience, love, friendship, kindness, humanity, prudence, usefulness, or gratitude, we should perform them with an humble and grateful spirit. We should be earnest in praying that the Holy Spirit would teach and guide us, and make us holy; and then give all the praise to God, who alone teaches us to will and to do aright. I have written out a prayer for you, which I hope you will not forget. “Help me, O Lord, by thy grace, so to think, to feel, and to act, that my thoughts, words, and deeds may be acceptable in thy sight, through Jesus Christ. Amen."