When we do anything which we feel to be wrong, a feeling of reproof arises in our minds which destroys our peace and comfort. It makes us uneasy and unhappy. This feeling comes not only to men and women, but to children also. When we are tempted to be angry with our companions, to say what is not true, to take what belongs to another, or to do anything that is wicked, we feel that these things are wrong, and that we ought not to act in such a manner. If we obey this feeling, which would restrain us from evil, we are rewarded by a feeling of peace; but if we yield to the temptation to do evil, a sense of condemnation follows, which destroys for a time our happiness. That which comforts us when we do right, and reproves us when we do wrong, is the Spirit of the Lord who created us. He is very merciful and kind to us, and He designs that we should be happy in this life, and that after death our spirits should forever be happy with Him. But He is a pure and holy being, and we cannot be happy in His presence unless we also be made pure and holy. Therefore He warns us against everything which is wrong and sinful, and encourages us in those things which are right and good, so that He may prepare us to enjoy eternal happiness.
If we refuse to obey His warnings, and go on committing sin after sin, we become more and more wicked; and if we continue in this state until the end of life, we must be forever separated from His presence and be eternally wretched. But great is the love of God toward us, that He sent His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, into the world to save us from so dreadful a state. He came, as the Holy Scriptures declare, that we might have live, that is, spiritual and eternal life. Jesus Christ, when on earth, taught men how to live so as to receive the Divine blessing; and for Christ’s sake, God is willing to forgive us our sins, and continue to love us freely if we will obey His commandments. He also promised His disciples that He would send the Comforter, which is the Spirit of Truth, to teach them what they should do, and should guide them through life, so they might receive eternal happiness hereafter.
Reader, this is the Spirit of the Living God, through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, which teaches thee that thou must not lie, or steal, or envy the blessings of thy neighbor, or indulge to excess in eating or drinking, or use bad language, or injure another, or do anything which is evil. It leads thee to speak the truth, to be temperate, honest, just, kind, merciful, to avoid evil thoughts, to love all men and seek to do them good.
It works in the hearts of all, even of those who never heard of the coming of Christ on earth. It is spoken of in the Holy Scriptures as the Grace of God, which it is declared hath appeared unto all men, and which teaches them to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this world. It nor only shows us what is wrong, but it gives us power to turn from and resist it. When thou art tempted to do evil, this Divine Grace will warn thee against it; and if thou yield thy mind to its influence and turn from the evil, it will give thee strength to do the Lord’s will, and thus preserve thee from evil. By acting in this way thou wilt find favour with the Lord, and He will often reward thee with a sweet feeling of peace and tenderness of heart. Thus thou wilt learn to love the Lord more and more, and to obey His commands; and He will forgive thy sins, and enable thee to trust in His goodness and mercy.
As thou livest in His love and holy fear, doing His will, He will give thee a hope and faith that when thou leavest this state of being thou shalt be prepared through His help and mercy to enjoy pure happiness hereafter with Him, and with the good of all ages and nations. This will make thee very watchful and careful not to offend so gracious a master, and thou wilt be afraid to indulge a wicked thought, knowing it pollutes thy soul and is displeasing to the Lord. But if thou refuse to submit thy will to the Lord’s will, and disregard His Divine Grace or Spirit by doing what thou feelest to be wrong, thou wilt grow worse and worse. The devil who tempts us to sin will have more and more power over thee, and thou wilt become more and more like him. Thou wilt have no pleasure in the society of good people, nor in thinking of the Lord thy Creator. Thou wilt seek the company of sinners like thyself, and if death should overtake thee in that condition, thou must dwell hereafter with the wicked.
Dear reader, choose that which is good and refuse the evil, and may the Lord bless thee and help thee to love Him, and keep His holy law in thy heart, as He shows it unto thee.