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The Good Resolution   By:

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"Why am I so unhappy to day?" said Isabella Gardner, as she opened her eyes on the morning of her fourteenth birth day. "Is it because the sun is not bright enough, or the flowers are not sweet enough?" she added, as she looked on the glorious sunshine that lay upon the rose bushes surrounding her window.

Isabella arose, and dressed herself, and tried to drive away her uncomfortable feelings, by thinking of the pleasures of the afternoon, when some of her young friends were to assemble to keep her birth day. But she could not do it; and, sad and restless, she walked in her father's garden, and seated herself on a little bench beneath a shady tree. Everything around was pleasant; the flowers seemed to send up their gratitude to Heaven in sweetness, and the little birds in songs of joy. All spoke peace and love, and Isabella could find nothing there like discontent or sorrow. The cause of her present troubled feelings was to be found within.

Isabella Gardner was in the habit of indulging in a fretful and peevish temper. She was often "hasty in her spirit to be angry;" forgetting that the wise Solomon says, "Anger resteth in the bosom of fools;" and that a greater than Solomon had commanded her to forgive, as she would be forgiven.

Her disrespect and ill humor toward her parents had caused her many unhappy days and sleepless nights; and often had the day closed on faults unrepented of, and sins unforgiven. It was but the afternoon before that she had spoken in a high angry tone to her eldest sister, Mary, and parted in displeasure from her brother Edward, because he would not leave his studies to go into the garden with her. Thus had the "sun gone down upon her wrath;" and we cannot be surprised that when it rose in the morning she was unhappy.

Isabella had a generous temper; and after she had been unkind or unjust, she was frequently sorry, and determined to be so no more; but her regret was forgotten as soon as she was again tempted; and at the age of thirteen she had gained no victory over the sinful habit of indulging in an angry temper.

Isabella had kind and indulgent parents; parents who looked with thankfulness upon the virtues, and with sorrow upon the faults, of their children, and prayed that the former might be strengthened, and the latter corrected. Mrs. Gardner had long seen with deep anxiety the growing defect in Isabella's temper, and it was now brought more painfully home to her feelings, as she reflected how much an added year increased the responsibility of her child.

She had risen early, and had been long engaged in prayer to Him who can alone regulate the unruly dispositions, wills, and passions of sinful men. She prayed for knowledge of her duty to her child, and for strength to perform it: she prayed for Isabella, that God would convince her of the error of her way; that his Holy Spirit might renew her in the spirit of her mind, that she might become a child and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Long and anxiously the pious mother continued her supplications at the throne of grace; and after taking her Bible, and reading the blessed assurance, "I can do all things through Christ strengthening me," she went into the garden to meet Isabella. She found her there, sitting as we have described, alone and sorrowful. "What is the matter, Isabella," said Mrs. Gardner, in a kind tone: "why are you so sad on the morning of your birth day?"


"I don't know, mother," replied Isabella; "I believe it is because nobody loves me."

"Isabella," said Mrs. Gardner, "I am afraid nobody will love you long if you go on as you have done lately, giving way to angry feelings whenever anything opposes your wishes; and, what is much worse, you will offend your heavenly Father, if you thus continue to break his holy commands."

"I can't help being displeased, mother, when people show me that they don't like me, and try to vex me... Continue reading book >>

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