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Mother. Now, when the good man dies, his soul goes to God, in heaven; but the soul of bad men to hell.
Child. I have already often heard talk of that: it is, I suppose, a dreadful place.
Mother. So it is, my child. God preserve you, that you may never see it. It is, as I before told you, the dwelling place of bad, impure spirits, who fell off from God and were disobedient. To these, then, the souls of wicked men are banished.
Child. But what happens to the bodies of good men?
Mother. The bodies of the pious will be brought out of the earth alive again by God.
Child. My body too?
Mother. Yes, your body will be awakened, and united with the soul.
Child. Shall I look as I do now?
Mother. Far more beautiful, my child, far more glorious! The bodies of the happy will' be freed from all weaknesses; surrounded by splendour and honour. They will no more become old or sick, and no more die. In short, nothing will be wanting to body or soul of the good, that they could wish for; and it will be ever well with them.
Child. Shall we soon arrive at such a great glory?
Mother. At the last day of the world. For this world will not always stand.
Child. But why has God created it, if it shall not remain?
Mother. When a house becomes old and out of repair, what does a rich man do with it?
Child. He pulls it down and builds a new one.
Mother. Well! The rich and all-powerful God will do the same. The world gradually gets old; God will pull it down and build a new one. You have seen my old silver cup?
Child. Yes: it was much bent, and did not look so handsome as the new one.
Mother. Now, my child, do you know what the goldsmith did with it?
Mother. He laid the old broken, black cup on the fire, melted it, and cast this fine new cup out of it. God will do the same with the old world. He will put it all into fire. Sun and moon, the earth and all stars will melt together, and God will produce a new, more perfect nd immutable world.
Child. Oh, when will this happen?
Mother. This will happen on the last day.
Child. When will the last day come?
Mother. That God only knows. And as we do not know it, my child, we must daily hold ourselves in readiness for it. For on that great and dreadful day God will judge all men, pronounce their sentence, and give to each according to his works. He who has thought, spoken, and done much good, will receive much good; he who has thought, spoken, and done much evil, will receive much evil. Oh! how needful is it, my dear child, that we avoid all evil. Does not God know all that men do?
Child. Yes, he is omniscient, you told me.
Mother. Does he not also know the thoughts of the heart?
Mother. And there is not the least evil, not even a had desire, for which God will not punish bad men. And there is not the least good, for which he will not eternally reward the good, in his grace. In his grace, I say: my child, mark this well! for I shall now soon tell you, who has brought us all the happiness which we shall receive. Only pray diligently to God, to preserve you from the bad ways which lead to destruction; that he make you better, and worthy of that eternal glory. Good God! preserve me, that I may not deprive myself, by any wilful sin, of the happiness which Thou hast intended for me. Govern my vain heart, that I may employ the short time of my life in doing much good. When I die, take me to thyself. Oh! how will I praise Thee, if Thou make me wise, and holy, and immortal! how will I eternally praise Thee with a glad heart!
Eccl. xii. 13, 14. Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
John, v. 28, 29. The hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Dan. xii. 2, 3. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they
that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Rom. vi. 23. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Mother. A benevolent man had received a poor little boy into his family, for the purpose of educating him with his own children? he was nursed and attended to with the greatest care; he was instructed by the father himself and by eminent masters; he had an abundant share of the best food, had comfortable clothes, and received many useful presents. When the boy was grown up, he became disobedient and wicked; despised his benefactor, and grieved him by his disgraceful conduct. Pray, was this a good child?
Child. No, he was an ungrateful and a bad boy.
Mother. Well then, my dear child! how many good things, how many benefits has your kind God bestowed upon you! He has given you life, a sound body, and a reasonable soul;