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    CHAPTER I.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER III.

Foote, Julia A.J.
A Brand Plucked From the Fire



Religious Impressions--Learning the Alphabet.

I do not remember having any distinct religious impression until I was about eight years old. At this time there was a "big meeting," as it was called, held in the church to which my parents belonged. Two of the ministers called at our house: one had long gray hair and beard, such as I had never seen before. He came to me, placed his hand on my head, and asked me if I prayed. I said, "Yes, sir," but was so frightened that I fell down on my knees before him and began to say the only prayer I knew, "Now I lay me down to sleep." He lifted me up, saying, "You must be a good girl and pray." He prayed for me long and loud. I trembled with fear, and cried as though my heart would break, for I thought he was the Lord, and I must die. After they had gone, my mother talked with me about my soul more than she ever had before, and told me that this preacher

was a good man, but not the Lord; and that, if I were a, good girl, and said my prayers, I would go to heaven. This gave me great comfort. I stopped crying, but continued to say, "Now I lay me." A white woman, who came to our house to sew, taught me the Lord's prayer. No tongue can tell the joy that filled my poor heart when I could repeat, "Our Father, which art in heaven." It has always seemed to me that I was converted at this time.

When my father had family worship, which was every Sunday morning, he used to sing,

"Lord, in the morning thou shalt hear
My voice ascending high."

I took great delight in this worship, and began to have a desire to learn to read the Bible. There were none of our family able to read except my father, who had picked up a little here and there, and who could, by carefully spelling out the words, read a little in the New Testament, which was a great pleasure to him. My father would very gladly have educated his children, but there were no schools where colored children were allowed. One day, when he was reading, I asked him to teach me the letters. He replied, "Child, I hardly know them myself." Nevertheless, he

commenced with "A," and taught me the alphabet. Imagine, if you can, my childish glee over this, my first lesson. The children of the present time, taught at five years of age, can not realize my joy at being able to say the entire alphabet when I was nine years old.

I still continued to repeat the Lord's prayer and "Now I lay me," & c., but not so often as I had done months before. Perhaps I had begun to backslide, for I was but a child, surrounded by children, and deprived of the proper kind I of teaching. This is my only excuse for not proving as faithful to God as I should have done.

Dear children, with enlightened Christian parents to teach you, how thankful you should be that "from a child you are able to say that you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." I hope all my young readers will heed the admonition, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth," etc. It will save you from a thousand snares to mind religion young. God says: "I love those that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me." Oh! I am glad that we are never too young to pray, or too ignorant or too sinful. The younger,

the more welcome. You have nothing to fear, dear children; come right to Jesus.

Why was Adam afraid of the voice of God in the garden? It was not a strange voice; it was a voice he had always loved. Why did he flee away, and hide himself among the trees? It was because he had disobeyed God. Sin makes us afraid of God, who is holy; nothing but sin makes us fear One so good and so kind. It is a sin for children to disobey their parents. The Bible says: "Honor thy father and thy mother." Dear children, honor your parents by loving and obeying them. If Jesus, the Lord of glory, was subject and obedient to his earthly parents, will you not try to follow" his example? Lift up your hearts to the dear, loving Jesus, who, when on earth, took little children in his arms, and blessed them. He will help you, if you pray, "Our Father, which art in heaven, thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, my Saviour, did say, "Suffer little children to come unto me.' I am a little child, and I come to thee. Draw near to me, I pray thee. Hear me, and forgive the many wicked things I have done, and accept my thanks for the many good gifts thou hast given me. Most of all, I thank thee, dear Father, for the gift of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, who died for me, and for whose sake I pray thee hear my prayer. Amen."


    CHAPTER I.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER III.