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should wish to be as good, as kind, as patient as Thou art. Give me a good heart; make me sensible and wise; govern me, that I may always speak the truth. Give me a cheerful mind, and make me daily more able to do good, so that I may be happy. But, my child, have you hitherto done all the good which you now resolve to do? Child. Oh, no!
Mother. Have not your parents daily instructed you in all good, and were you not sometimes naughty? Is not that a sign that there is much evil in you?
Child. I fear so.
Mother. Then you find that you know what is good, and yet do not always do good, but sometimes evil. This is common to all men. They are all inclined to evil. Do you think that God created men at first with this propensity to evil?
Child. I cannot believe that.
Mother. Then whence can the evil in man proceed?
Child. That I should like to know.
Mother. Well, I will teach you this, and then tell you how you can become a good man, and, in some measure, like God. .
Mother. I have promised to tell you, my child, whence the evil in man proceeds: this I will do, after I have first told you something else. When God made the world, all creatures were good and excellent; so also God gave to Adam and Eve all that was necessary for their welfare and happiness. They had a true reason. Their will inclined to good. Their whole heart was holy, and their body unstained by sin. For God formed them according to his image. God created man in his own likeness: in his own likeness created he him. Do you understand these words aright? Has God a form or shape like us?
Child. You taught me that God had no body.
Mother. Right, my child. But God has reason: is it not so? Child. Yes.
Mother. He has also a holy and just will?
Mother. He is inclined to all good?
Mother. Now see! God so created the first human beings, that they were like him: that they had reason, a heart pure and holy, and all that was necessary to their happiness. Now, if a son be like his father, do we not say, the son is the father's image?
Mother. So the first beings were the image of God; that is, they had a likeness to God. Does God die?
Mother. Neither would they have died, if they had remained good, and without sin. Is God Lord over the whole world?
Mother. In like manner did God make them lords over the whole earth, and said to them: You shall reign over the fish in the sea, and over the birds under heaven, and over the cattle, and over the whole earth. Does not God enjoy uninterrupted happiness?
Mother. So God placed our first parents in a similar happy state. They had a good conscience; rejoiced continually at the goodness of God; had an innocent pleasure in his creatures; and were in a very pleasant place,
called Paradise, or Eden; the place of pleasure and joy. This fine garden was abundantly provided with every thing that was necessary for the food and pleasure of man. Adam and Eve were adorned with the image of God; they lived together in continual love, and in the most happy place. God loved them as his children: they loved, honoured, and praised him. But this state did not last long; for they were led to disobedience.
Child. Who led them to it?
Mother. That you shall soon hear. You must learn first, that God had created other reasonable creatures besides man.
Mother. What is your soul?
Child. My soul is that with which I learn and conceive a thing.
Mother. Therefore, your soul is that within you which has reason and will?
Mother. And we call such, as I have already told you, a spirit. God had produced a great number of such spirits at the creation. But as a good God can make nothing bad, so all these spirits were good, and created after his image. Many such pure and exalted spirits still exist. They praise God, and execute the commands of God with joy. Are not those very happy spirits? Child. Yes.
Mother. Should not you wish to be like them?
Child. Yes, if I could.
Mother. The more pious and obedient you are, the more you will be like the angels. But all these angels did not remain in their happy state. Some were disobedient to God, sinned, and were banished from the face of God. The dreadful place allotted to them is Hell. These bad spirits still persist in their sin. They do not love God, and have a wicked pleasure in what is bad. Therefore they were envious, and sought to hurt the first happy man.
Child. Will they hurt me too?
Mother. If you be good, you have nothing to fear; but he who does not love God, who has a pleasure in evil, and not in good, is not useful, but hurtful to others; he may justly be afraid. For God will banish such from his