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In holy duties let the day,
THE ALL-SEEING GOD. I must now tell you of a sad temptation into which Emily fell about this time. It is a sad story, but you shall hear it.
There was a room in Mrs. Fairchild's house which was not often used; in this room was a closet full of shelves, where Mrs. Fairchild used to keep her sugar and tea, and sweatmeats, and pickles, and many other things. Now as Betty was very honest, and John too, Mrs. Fairchild would often leave this closet unlocked for weeks together, and never missed any thing out of it. One day, at the time that damascenes were ripe, Mrs. Fairchild and Betty boiled up a great many damascenes in sugar, to use in the winter; and when they had put them in jars, and tied them down, they put them in the closet I before spoke of. Emily and Lucy saw their mamma boil the damascenes, and helped Betty to cover them and carry them to the closet. As Emily was carrying one of the jars, she perceived that it was tied down so loosely that she could put in her finger and get at the fruit. Accordingly she took out one of the damascenes, and ate it : it was so nice that she was tempted to take another; and was going even to take a third, when she heard Betty coming up; she covered the jar in haste, and came away. Some months after this, one evening, just about the time that it was getting dark, she was passing by the room where these sweetmeats were kept, and she observed that the door was open; she looked round to see if anybody was near, but there was no one ; her mamma and papa, and her brother and sister, were in the parlour, and Betty was in the kitchen, and John was in the garden; no eye was looking at her but the eye of God, who sees every thing we do, and knows even the secret thoughts of the heart; but at that moment the fear of God was not in the heart of Emily. Accordingly she passed through the open door and went up to the closet; there she stood still again, and looked round, but saw no one. She then opened the closet door, and took two or three damascenes, which she ate in great haste. She then went to her own room and washed her hands and mouth, and went down into the parlour, where her papa and mamma were just going to tea.
Although her papa and mamma never suspected what naughty thing Emily had been doing, and behaved just as usual to her, yet Emily felt frightened and uneasy before them; and every time they spoke to her, though it was only to ask the commonest question, she stared and looked frightened, making out the words of King Solomon; “ The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Prov. xxviii. 1.
I am sorry to say, that the next day, when it was beginning to get dark, Emily went again to the closet, and took some more damascenes; and so she did for several days, though she knew she was doing wrong.
On the Sunday following, it happened to be so rainy that nobody could go to church; in consequence of which, Mr. Fairchild called all the family into the parlour and read the morning service, and a sermon. Some sermons are hard, and difficult for children to understand: but this was a very plain, easy sermon; even Henry could tell his mamma a great deal about it. The text was from Psalm cxxxix. 7th to 12th verses; “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
The meaning of these verses was explained in the sermon at full length; it was first shown, that the Lord Jehovah is a spirit, without body, parts, or passions ; and secondly, that there is no place where he is not ; that if a person could go up into heaven, he would find God there; if he were to go down to hell, there also he would find God; that God is in every part of the earth, and of the sea, and of the sky; and that, being always present in every place, he knows every thing we do, and every thing we say, and even every thought of our heart, however secret we may think it. Then the sermon went on to show how foolish and mad it is for people to do wicked things in secret and dark places, trusting that God will not know it. “If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me:" for no night is dark unto God: “ he will surely bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart.” i Cor. iv. 5. Therefore " wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in , the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and Who knoweth us ?" Isa. xxix. 15.
While Mr. Fairchild was reading, Emily felt frightened and unhappy, thinking of the wickedness she was guilty of every day; and she even thought that she never would be guilty again of the same sin: but when the evening came, all her good resolutions lest her; for she confided in her own strength, and therefore the Divine assistance was for a while withheld; and she went again to the room where the damascenes were kept. However, when she came to the door of the closet, she thought of the sermon which her papa had read in the morning, and she stood still a few moments to consider what she should do. “ There is nobody in this room,” she said ; " and nobody sees me it is true; but God is in this room: he sees me : his eye is now upon me: I cannot hide what I am going to do from him : he knows every thing, and he has power to cast me into hell. I will not take any more damascenes; I will go back, I think. But yet, as I have come so far, and have got to the closet, I will just take one damascene-it shall be the last; I will never come here again without mamma's leave.” So she opened the closet door, and took one damascene, and then another, and then two more. While she was taking the last she heard the cat mew: she did not know that the cat had followed her into the room, and she was so frightened that she spilt some of the red juice upon her frock, but she did not perceive it at the time; as it is said, • The way of the wicked is darkness; they know not at what they stumble.” Prov. iv. 19. She then left the closet, and went as usual to wash her hands and mouth, and went down into the parlour.
When Emily got into the parlour, she immediately saw the red stain on her frock. She did not stay till it was observed, but ran out again instantly, and went up stairs
and washed her frock. As the stain had not dried in, it came out with very little trouble, but not till Emily had wet all the bosom of her frock and sleeves : and that so much, that all her inner clothes were thoroughly wet even to the skin: to hide this, she put her pinafore on to go down to tea. When she came down, “ Where have you been, Emily ?" said her mamma: “we have almost done tea.”
“I have been playing with the cat, up stairs, mamma," said Emily. But when she told this sad untruth, she felt very unhappy, and her complexion changed once or twice from red to pale.
It was a cold evening, and Emily kept as much from the fire and candle as she could, lest any spots should be left in her frock, and her mamma should see them. She had no opportunity, therefore, of drying or warming herself, and she soon began to feel quite chilled and trembling: soon after a burning heat came in the palms of her hands, and a soreness about her throat; however, she did not dare to complain, but sat till bedtime, feeling every minute more and more uncomfortable.
It was some time after she was in bed, and even after her mamma and papa came to bed, before she could sleep: at last she fell asleep; but her sleep was disturbed by dreadful dreams, such as she had never experienced before. She fancied she had been doing something wrong, though her head was so confused that she did not know what, and that a dreadful eye was looking upon her from above. Wherever she went, she thought this eye followed her with angry looks, and she could not hide herself from it. It was her troubled conscience, together with an uneasy body, which gave her these dreadful dreams; and so horrible were they, that at length she awoke, screaming violently. Her mamma and papa heard her cry, and came running in to her, bringing a light; but she was in such a terror that at first she did not know them, but kept looking up as if she saw something very terrifying.
"Oh, my dear!” said Mrs. Fairchild, “ this child is in a burning fever: only feel her hands.”
It was true, indeed: and when Mr. Fairchild felt her, he was so much frightened, that he resolved to watch by her all night, and in the morning, as soon as it was light, to send John for the doctor, But what do you
suppose Emily felt all this time; knowing, as she did, how she had brought on this illness, and how she had deceived, for many days, this dear papa and mamma, who now gave up their own rest to attend her; knowing also, as she did, how she had offended God by continuing so many days in sin; and particularly in committing the sin again, after having been warned of the greatness of it in the sermon which her papa had read in the morning ?
Emily continued to get worse during the night; neither was the doctor able, when he came, to stop the fever, though he did his uttermost. It would have grieved you to see poor Luicy and Henry. They could neither read nor play, they missed their dear sister so much. They continually said to each other, “Oh, Emily ! dear Emily! there is no pleasure without our dear Emily !"
When the doctor came on the third morning, he found Emily so much worse, that although he tried to hide his fears from Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, he could not. He ordered her to be removed from her brother and sister, lest they should catch the fever. Accordingly, she was taken into the very room where the sweetmeats were kept; the doctor chose that room because it was very airy, and separate from the rest of the house.
For some hours Emily had not seemed to notice any thing that passed; neither did she seem to know that they were moving her; but when she came into the room, and saw the closet-door (for the bed on which they laid her was just opposite the closet-door), she looked this way, and that way, and tried to speak; but was so ill, and her head so confused, that she could not make anybody understand what she wished to say.
The next day, when the doctor came, Emily was so very ill, that he thought it right that Lucy and Henry should be sent out of the house. Accordingly, John got the horse ready, and took them to Mrs. Goodriche's. Poor Lucy and Henry, how bitterly they cried when they went out of the gate, thinking that perhaps they might never see their dear Emily any more! It was a terrible trial for poor Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild : they had no comfort but in praying and watching by poor Emily's bed. And all this grief Emily brought upon her friends by her own naughtiness! "Wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their