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the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and strengthen you in every duty.
Ē. Well, we have got on capitally! But who would have thought, that the principal acts of duty to be performed to God and man, would be to say firmly, and with all our hearts, Yes! and No!
ACTS OF DUTY AND OBEDIENCE CON
If a painter has pleasure in observing the progress of his picture on his canvass; and a sculptor has satisfaction in perceiving the statue he is forming from the marble block, gradually approach the likeness of the human figure; how much greater is the enjoyment of a parent who witnesses in his children the growth of knowledge and virtue. Mr. Franklin saw in his children, what all parents will see in theirs, much to watch over with care, and to correct with judgment and kindness; but their tractable disposition, and their love one for another, was to him a source of great comfort. He saw, too, that the seed he sowed in their hearts took root, and sprang up, and promised in after years to bring forth an abundant harvest of good.
“Now, then," cried he, as he joined his young family, “if any of you need any further instructions in learning to act, I am ready to lend a helping hand; but if you think yourselves already perfect, we need say little more about the matter."
All the young people cried out together, and begged their papa to go on; and Edward
and Mary said, that so far from being perfect, they hardly knew any thing about it at present.
“Well, well,” replied Mr. Franklin, “ that being the case we will try to proceed. So long as you feel yourselves ignorant, I shall always be willing to instruct you; but the moment I see that you fancy yourselves wise, I shall sit me down, and ask you to instruct me.”
It seemed to be a settled thing among the young people, that their father had but a very poor prospect of ever being instructed by them; he therefore went on with his undertaking.
“We spoke,” said he, “ of acts of duty and obedience, and I showed you how much these consisted in the power and practice of saying Yes! to every demand of duty; and No! to every requirement of temptation. I will now add, it will help you much in acts of obe-dience, if you call to mind the sad consequences of disobedience. Our first parents were commanded not to eat of the fruit of the tree which was in the midst of the garden; and what did their disobedience cost them? It cost them paradise, and sin and sorrow came into the world. You see by this, that it is the act of disobedience that is offensive to God. Eating of the fruit when God commanded them not to eat it, was as bad as if they had rooted up the tree. Never for a
moment talk or think of little sins, or little acts of disobedience. The word of God says,
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die,' Ezek. xviii. 4. Remember this, Peter, that though you are a little boy, there are no little sins.”
Peter. I will try to remember it, father.
Mr. Franklin. What reason had Pharaoh to repent of his disobedience. God commanded him, by his servant Moses, to let the children of Israel go to hold a feast in the wilderness; but, instead of obeying him, he replied, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?" Exod. v. 2. He was soon taught who the Lord was, for plague upon plague smote him, till he and his people were utterly overwhelmed in the sea. Pharaoh by disobedience was destroyed; and Noah by obedience in building the ark was saved.
Peter. I have got a picture of Noah's ark,
and another of Pharaoh in his chariot in the Red Sea.
Mr. Franklin. When you look at them, always remember that disobedience to God is followed with a curse; and obedience with a blessing. Hardly need I repeat that verse in the Proverbs that speaks about the ravens and those who disobey their parents, for I think that all my children must know it.
Here Edward, Mary, and Thomas began to repeat the text, but Edward and Thomas stopped, and let Mary go on. eye
that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."
Mr. F. Acts of obedience refer to God, to your parents, to your teachers, and to all who have authority over you; and I think you will desire to practise them so long as you remember that to obey is to secure peace, and to disobey is to bring on yourselves heavy troubles. Did I ever tell you of the officer who lost his life by his disobedience in writing a letter?
Thomas. Oh, no! Do tell us all about it.
Mr. F. If I rightly remember, it was Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, who ordered, on pain of death, that every light should be put out in his camp by a certain hour. In order to know whether his commands were obeyed, he walked out at night from tent to tent, and found in one of them