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presence, into the society of devils. And who knows if he will not allow Satan, even here, to be hurtful to such a wicked man. On the contrary, nothing is hurtful to the good. If God protect you, who will do you harm? God is more powerful than a bad spirit, and all creatures?
Mother. Then you have nothing to fear. God is every where with you, and about you. He has also placed the angels as invisible guards. For though we do not see them, yet Scripture assures us that they are ordered by God, to preserve the good from what is hurtful to them. For we read thus of the good angels, in God's word:
Psalm xxxiv. 7. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Psalm xci. 11, 12. God has given his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Heb. i. 14. Are not the angels all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.
Psalm ciii. 20, 21. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commands, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
But of the bad angels it is written thus: 2 Peter, ii. 4. God has not spared the angels that sinned; but cast them down to hell, and delivered them unto chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.
Jude, 6. The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.
Mother. Besides the other trees and plants in Paradise, there were two trees of a particular nature. One was the tree of life. The other was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Though the fruit of this tree was lovely to look at, yet God had borbidden man to eat it, and said: If you eat of this tree, ye must die.
Child. Why should they not eat such a lovely fruit?
Mother. God would not have it. He had the wisest reasons for forbidding it. For all the commands of God are good.
Child. But you say the fruit was fine and good.
Mother. That is true; but are not gold and silver fine and good?
Mother. Dare you eat them?
Child. No: they are not to be eaten.
Mother. So that fruit was not to be eaten, although it was fine and good. God had cre^ ated it for another purpose. Man should not eat of it. One of the cunning and bad spirits knew this. He determined, because he had a wicked pleasure in evil, to tempt man to disobedience against God. He therefore came to Eve in the shape of a serpent, and spake thus: Has God really forbidden you to eat of this tree? Eve answered: Certainly, and if we eat of it, we must die. The lying serpent said: No! you will not die if you eat of this fruit; but your eyes will be opened; that is, your reason will become greater: you will know what is good or evil, and be like God. Eve suffered herself to be blinded by these speeches; looked at the lovely form of the fruit; believed the serpent; hoped to become like God; took and ate, and gave her husband of it to eat. All kinds of bad desires directly arose in them. This was the origin of sin, and all human misery.
Child. Was it of so much consequence that they ate of this fruit?
Mother. Had not God forbidden them to eat of the tree?
Mother. Were they not, therefore, disobedient to God?
Mother. Did they not believe a creature more than God?
Child. Yes, they did.
Mother. They were, therefore, unbelieving, mistrustful, and disobedient towards God. And why did Eve eat: was it not for the haughty purpose of knowing as much as God?
Mother. Then their sin was very great; for they were proud, unbelieving, and mistrustful towards their Creator, and disobedient to his commands. Were these small sins?
Mother. And by these sins they plunged all their successors into wretchedness. How dangerous it is to transgress, in the smallest degree, God's command: by so acting, we, sooner or later, fall into sorrow and misery. For all the commands of God are good; therefore, he who does not keep them, does wrong; and he who does evil, will meet with evil. You now see, my dear child, how dangerous it is to listen to evil incitements to the transgression of God's commandments. Oh, therefore, when bad men entice you, do not follow them!
Mother. Is it not a great punishment for sin, when a man is tormented by shame and remorse, and troubled by a bad conscience?
Child. Yes, that is a great punishment.
Mother. As soon as Adam and Eve had sinned, this punishment fell upon them. It was for that reason that they hid themselves behind the trees, when they heard God's voice in the garden, in the evening. And was not