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“Oh! papa, papa!" said Emily, “we will never be angry again."
My dear Emily,” said Mr. Fairchild, "you must not say that you will never be angry again; but that you will pray to God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your dear Redeemer, to send his Holy Spirit into your heart, to take away these wicked passions."
“ Papa,” said Lucy, “ when the Spirit of God is in me, shall I never hate any more, or be in wicked passions any more ?"
“My dear child,” answered Mr. Fairchild,“ the Lord Jesus Christ says, “ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another.' John xiii. 31. Therefore, if you are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of God is in you, you will love everybody, even those who hate you and use you ill.”
Then Mr. Fairchild kissed his children, and forgave them; and they kissed each other; and Mr. Fairchild gave them leave to dine with him as usual. After dinner, Mr. Fairchild said to his wife:
"I will take the children this evening to Blackwood, and show them something there, which, I think, they will remember as long as they live : and I hope they will take warning from it, and pray more earnestly for new hearts, that they may love each other with perfect and heavenly love.”
“ If you are going to Blackwood,” said Mrs. Fairchild, “I cannot go with you, my dear, though I approve of your taking the children. Let John go with you, to carry Henry part of the way; for it is too far for him to walk.”
“What is there at Blackwood, papa ?" cried the children.
“Something very shocking,” said Mr. Fairchild. “ There is one there,” said Mr. Fairchild, looking very grave, “who hated his brother.”
« Will he hurt us, papa ?” said Henry. “No," said Mr. Fairchild: “he cannot hurt you now."
When the children and John were ready, Mr. Fairchild set out. They went đown the lane nearly as far as the village ; and then, crossing over a long field, they came in front of a very thick wood.
“ This is Blackwood," said Mr. Fairchild, getting over
the stile: “the pathway is almost grown up; nobody likes to come here now.”
“ What is here, papa ?” asked the children: “is it very shocking? We are afraid to go on.”
“There is nothing here that will hurt you, my dear children,” said Mr. Fairchild. “Am not I with you; and do you think I would lead my children into danger ?"
“No, papa," said the children: “but mamma said there was something very dreadful in this wood.”
Then Lucy and Emily drew behind Mr. Fairchild, and walked close together : and little Henry asked John to carry him. The wood was very thick and dark; and they walked on for half a mile, going down hill all the way. At last they saw, by the light through the trees, that they were come near to the end of the wood; and as they went farther on, they saw an old garden wall ; some parts of which being broken down, they could see, beyond, a large brick house, which, from the fashion of it, seemed as if it might have stood there some hundred years, and now was fallen to ruin. The garden was overgrown with grass and weeds, the fruit trees wanted pruning, and it could now hardly be discovered where the walks had been. One of the old chimneys had fallen down, breaking through the roof of the house in one or two places; and the glass windows were broken near the place where the garden wall had fallen. Just between that and the wood stood a gibbet, on which the body of a man hung in chains : the body had not yet fallen to pieces, although it had hung there some years. It had on a blue coat, a silk handkerchief round the neck, with shoes and stockings, and every other part of the dress still entire; but the face of the corpse was so shocking, that the children could not look upon it.
“Oh! papa, papa! what is that?" cried the children.
“ That is a gibbet,” said Mr. Fairchild ; " and the man who hangs upon it is a murderer-one who first hated, and afterward killed his brother! When people are found guilty of stealing, or murder, they are hung upon á gallows, and taken down as soon as they are dead; but in some particular cases, when a man has committed a murder, he is hanged in iron chains upon a gibbet, till his body falls to pieces, that all who pass by may take warning by the example.” While Mr. Fairchild was speaking, the wind blew
strong and shook the body upon the gibbet, rattling the chains by which it hung.
“Oh! let us go, papa !” said the children, pulling Mr. Fairchild's coat.
“ Not yet,” said Mr. Fairchild: “I must tell you the history of that wicked man before we go from this place."
So saying, he sat down on the stump of an old tree, and the children gathered close round him.
“When I first came into this country, before any of you, my children, were born,” said Mr. Fairchild,“there lived in that old house which you see before you, a widow lady, who had two sons. The place then, though old fashioned, was neat and flourishing ; the garden being full of fine old fruit-trees, and the flowerbeds in beautiful order. The old lady kept an excellent table, and was glad to see any of her neighbours who called in upon her. Your mamma and I used often to go to see her; and should have gone oftener, only we could not bear to see the manner in which she brought up her sons. She never sent them to school lest the master should correct them, but hired a person to teach them reading and writing at home; this man, however, was forbidden to punish them. They were allowed to be with the servants in the stable and kitchen, but the servants were ordered not to deny them any thing: so they used to call them names, swear at them, and even strike them; and the servants did not dare to answer them, lest they should lose their places: the consequence of which was, that no good servant would stay, to be abused by wicked children.
“From quarrelling with the servants, these angry boys proceeded to quarrel with each other. James, the eldest, despised his brother Roger, because he, as eldest, was to have the house and land; and Roger, in his turn, despised his brother James. As they grew bigger, they became more and more wicked, proud and stubborn, sullen and undutiful. Their poor mother still loved them so foolishly that she could not see their faults, and would not suffer them to be checked. At length, when they became young men, their hatred of
each other rose to such a height that they often would • not speak to each other for days together; and some
times they would quarrel, and almost come to, blows, before their mother's face.
* One evening in autumn, after one of these quarrels, James met his brother Roger returning from shooting, just in the place where the gibbet now stands: they were alone, and it was nearly dark. Nobody knows what words passed between them ; but the wicked Roger stabbed his brother with a case-knife, and hid the body in a ditch under the garden, well covering it with dry leaves. A year or more passed before it was discov. ered by whom this dreadful murder was committed. Roger was condemned and hung upon that gibbet; and the poor old lady, being thus deprived of both her sons, became deranged, and is shut up in a place where such people are confined. Since that time no one has lived in the house, and, indeed, nobody likes to come this way.”
« O what a shocking story !" said the children: “and that miserable man who hangs there is Roger, who murdered his brother? Pray let us go, papa.”
“We will go immediately,” said Mr. Fairchild : “but I wish first to point out to you, my dear children, that these brothers, when they first began to quarrel in their play, as you did this morning, did not think that death, and perhaps hell, would be the end of their quarrels. Our hearts by nature, my dear children," continued Mr. Fairchild, “ are full of hatred. People who have not received new hearts do not love anybody but themselves; and they hate those who have offended them, or those whom they think any way better than themselves. By nature, I should hate Sir Charles Noble, because he is a greater man than myself; and you might hate his children, because they are higher than you. By nature, too, I should hate Farmer Greenfield, because he is ten times richer than I am; and even poor John Truenian, because, of all the men in this country, high or low, he is the most esteemed. And take me with my natural heart to heaven, and I should hate every angel and every archangel above myself; and even the glory of the Almighty God would be hateful to me. But when, through faith in my dying Redeemer, I receive a new heart, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, my hatred of God and of my fellow-creatures will be turned into love : then I shall love my enemies, bless them that curse me, do good to them that hate me, and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute me; Matt. v. 44; like my beloved Redeemer; who prayed upon the cross
for his enemies, saying, ' Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'” Luke xxiii. 34.
“ Papa,” said Lucy, “let us kneel down in this place, and pray for new hearts.”
“Willingly, my child,” said Mr. Fairchild. So he knelt upon the grass, and his children round him; and after. ward they all went home.
A Prayer for Love towards God and our Neighbours, which may be used by any Child who has been angry with his Companion.
O Lord God, who sent thy dear Son to die upon the cross for us, who by nature hate thee; hear our prayers, for our dear Redeemer's sake. Thou hast commanded us to love everybody; but we have such wicked hearts that we do not love any person but ourselves. O Lord, send thy Holy Spirit to cleanse our wicked hearts: and make us to love thee, O Lord God, and to love each other. Let us not despise poor people, but love them and help them; and let us not envy people who are greater or better than ourselves, but love them also, and bless them, and do good to them. If anybody is kind to us, give us hearts to be thankful to them, and to love them; and if anybody is unkind to us, give us hearts to forgive them, and love them too; for the Lord Jesus Christ prayed for the wicked people who nailed him upon the cross. And, above all, make us to love our dear father and mother, and everybody who teaches us any good thing; and our dear brothers and sisters, and all the little children we play with: and may we never quarrel, as wicked men and devils do; but live in love, like the angels of God in heaven.
O Lord God, if thy Holy Spirit is in our hearts, we shall do well ; but if it is not in our hearts we shall do evil. Come, then, O Holy Spirit, come into our young hearts, and fill them with holy love.
“ Our Father," &c. &c.
There should be peace at home;
Quarrels should never come.,