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done for you. He made you, with a body and mind capable of being happy. He gave you kind parents to take care of you, when you were a little baby; and to teach you about God and Jesus. He has kept you alive, and given you food and clothing, and a great many good things, while you have been all the time sinning against him, and never thanking him in your heart. I suppose you would not give any thing more to the little girl, after you found how unthankful she was. But God is good to the unthankful, and to the evil. O think how thankful you ought to be to Him, for the gift of his dear Son. God commendeth his love to us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' There is perhaps no sin, my dear, more hateful, both in the sight of God and man, than the sin of ingratitude. And we cannot expect God will give us the things we pray for, when we are un
thankful for what he has already
WE MUST FORGIVE OTHERS, WHEN WE PRAY; AND WE MUST FORSAKE SIN AND OBEY GOD, IF WE WOULD HAVE HIM ANSWER OUR PRAYERS.
"MOTHER, you told me how I must feel towards God, when I pray. Will you tell me how I must feel towards other people, too?"
"You must feel a spirit of kindness and good will to all mankind. That is the spirit of the gospel. When the angel came down to bring the news of the birth of Jesus, they sung 'peace on earth, good will to men;' and the same feeling must be formed in every Christian's heart."
"But, mother, cousin Mary has treated me very ill, and I do not feel
as if I could speak to her. Will not God hear my prayers, till I feel kind to her?"
"If she has injured you, my dear, you ought to forgive her; but it is very likely, that, if you examine your conduct towards her, you will find that you are to be blamed yourself. But, even if it is not so; if the blame is all on her side, you must forgive her. If you have any 'hard feeling' against her, or any other person, God will not hear your prayers. When you go to pray, your heart will be hard, and you will feel no sense of the presence of God. Jesus says, we must love our enemies, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that treat us ill. And, in another place, he says, 'When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your father also, which is in heaven, may forgive you your trespasses. But, if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in
Heaven, forgive your trespasses." This is very plain. If you do not forgive others, the Lord has declared that he will not forgive your sins. So you see it is in vain for you to go to God, in prayer, while you feel a single unkind feeling towards any person in the world."
"O mother; then I am afraid I have never prayed in my life!"
"Well; Jesus told a parable, to show how unreasonable it is for us to expect to have our own sins forgiven, if we will not forgive others. In those days, kings often had absolute power over their people, so that they could take their lives, or sell them into slavery whenever they pleased. And, Jesus said, there was a certain king, who called for a settlement with his people; and he found one man who owed him a great sum of money; more than fifteen millions of dollars.”
"That was a great sum, mother;
more than I ever counted in my life. How could the man pay it?"
"He was not able to pay it; and the king commanded that he and his wife and children should be sold to pay the debt."
"But the man came and fell down before him, and besought him to have patience with him, and he would pay him all. And the king had compassion on him, and forgave him the debt."
"O how thankful the poor man must have been, mother, when the king gave him so much money!"
"We should suppose he would have been very thankful, my dear; but his actions did not show it. For he went and found a poor man that owed him a very small sum: about fourteen dollars, and he caught him by the throat, and told him to pay him what he owed. But the poor man had nothing to pay, and fell down before him, and begged him to