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and kind laws of God. I tried to point her to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. I told her of the love of the Universal Father; that she was his child; that He loved her better than she loved those dear children who were resting from their toils by her side ; that if she suffered, it was all ordered in mercy, for God did not willingly afflict his creatures; that he was as kind in what he withheld as in what he bestowed ; that it was the desire of the Saviour to take her and her children, with all the weary, and oppressed, and sorrowful, home to Heaven, when they had done with this world, its cares, and its sufferings. She had but to love her Father; trust his goodness; be sorry for all that she had done that was wrong; give herself away in an everlasting covenant to him in confidence, and she should meet the compassionate embrace of her kind Saviour.
“Oh, sir," she said, “I think I could love such a Being ;" and, as she spoke, a smile, that seemed almost unwilling to stay, spread its gentle glow over her once handsome features. “But," said she, after a moment's hesitation, “ if there was such a Being as the Bible describes; such a Being as you have told me of; so powerful that He can do all things; and so good that He is pained to see any of his creatures suffer, it seems to me He would help my children. He certainly would if He loved them as well as I do."
I endeavoured to explain these things to her
THE UNIVERSAL FATHER.
mind in as simple a way as possible. She replied, “I wish I could see all this as you do; but I am so ignorant, I am afraid I never shall.” And then, after a few words had been said about death, she added, “Oh, yes, sir, there is much pleasure in thinking about death; and if I and my children could all lie down and die to-night, I should be very happy. For if there is such a Being as you have read and spoken of, and we shall live after we are dead, He will provide us a home where the rich and the proud will trouble us no more.”
“Only believe it, and trust in the mercy which has promised it, and adore the Being who made you, and it shall all be yours; and there is one promise in the Bible specially adapted to you in your present circumstances. God has declared that He is the widow's God and the orphan's Father, and will hear their cry. He has given you a gracious invitation to come to Him in these tender words: Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.?”
“Oh! sir,” she answered, "I think I would go to Him; but I am very ignorant, and I have been very wicked; what shall I do ?”
“ He will instruct your ignorance and enlighten your soul; and all your sins He will forgive and forget--only trust in his mercy. He has declared He loves all who trust in his mercy. Be willing to obey Him; to submit to your lot, though it be hard, without repining; kiss the hand that afflicts you; go to Him;
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give yourself and your children away to Him in confidence, and He will never forsake you or them. And if you are called to die soon, and leave these orphan children on the wide world, remember that in Heaven is the orphan's Father; that He loves your children better than you do, and will protect them more tenderly. He will watch over them with fidelity, and be a kind Parent to them when you are dead; and at last gather them all up into that bright world where there shall be no more sorrow, or sighing, or pain; where God shall wipe the tears of earth from every eye; and where the poor orphan shall never be heard to say, “I have no father.”
“Oh!” exclaimed the widow, as she clasped her hands together, and tears and smiles covered her face," I will go to God; I will trust Him, and love Him forever; I think I see it. I can bear these things better now. It is hard to see my children suffer. I should not care much for myself if I could see these dear little things have bread to eat. But if it is God's will, I think I can bear it all now. I thank God, sir, that you ever came here. I never shall forget it. I wish you would pray before you go, sir, if it will not be asking too much.”
We knelt by her bed, and I tried to pray. I felt that we need not pray to God as though He were in a distant heaven-He was with us. It was a holy scene, and we were forgetful that we were in that cold, damp cellar, for the atmosphere seemed like that we are told fills Heaven.
HOW INFIDELS ARE MADE.
When we rose from prayer, the widow took
my hands and pressed them with great earnestness, saying, “I have nothing to give you, sir; but I will remember
you, and try to pray for you as long as I live.” I felt in my inmost soul that the widow's prayer was answered. I was blessed.
One pleasure was still in store for me. I gave her what money I thought it would be right in my circumstances to spare, and left her home. ed unlike the room I had entered.
Oh! thought I, as I pursued my way through the dark, narrow streets to my lodgings, what have sin and oppression done in the world! How have they marred the fair works of God! It is a world of tears and broken hearts; but it was not always so—this bright Record stands upon the page of inspiration, “God has made everything beautiful in his time”. it shall not always be so.
How many hard-earned dollars has that poor widow paid to support the Established Church of England, and how much advantage has she ever derived from it? It matters not how much ecclesiastical dignitaries prate and write about “our Holy Religion,” “ Apostolical Succession,” and the “ Divine Rights of Kings and Bishops:" one such case as this cannot be disposed of by an argument as long as the Bodleian Library. It matters not how much they declaim from the pulpit about the mercy of God, and his regard for the poor. The poor are told that these men are the heaven-descended ministers of this
religion-men who afflict the poor ; who shoot widows' sons to get their tithes (for cases of this kind have occurred in Ireland), and at last become infidels. Gibbon, with all his philosophy, did not escape the same conclusion. He tells us the corruptions and abuses of Christianity made him a skeptic.
Let the clergy of the Church of England preach such doctrines to others than poor widows and hungry children, from whose scanty wages their princely incomes are filched. If there be a structure of tyranny and abuse more iniquitous in the Eye of Heaven than any other, it is the despotism of a state which converts the sublime religion of Christ into an instrument of avarice and ambition : of ambition, for the political elevation of the aristocracy; and of avarice, which starves widows and orphans to array in gold those who are pompously styled “God's ministers.” God's ministers they surely are; and
are thunderbolts, tempests, conflagration, and death!
When I returned from my walk to the house of the gentleman with whom I was staying for a day or two, I related some of these circumstances. “Why, sir," said he,“ that is very bad, to be sure ; but suppose I should tell you that just at this time there are 40,000 operatives in Manchester who are out of work, and obliged to depend upon charity for bread to keep them from starvation.
“I employ nearly a thousand hands in my mills in ordinary times; but, owing to the general commer