Editorís note: Reprinted with permission. Easy Lessons for the Little Ones at Home, circa 1855, digitized by Michigan State University.
MY DEAR CHILD - Do you know what sin is? I will tell you. Sin is disobeying God.
There are two ways in which people sin. One is by doing what is wrong, and the other is by not doing what is right. Both of these are sin. To obey, is to do as we are told. God has told us in the Bible what we ought to do, and if we do not try to obey him, we cannot please him.
You know there are a great many people in the world who do very wicked things. You have heard of people who kill and steal and swear and cheat. All these wicked actions are sin. God sees them all, and he knows when these people sin; and he will punish them for it, for he has said he would.
But is nothing sin except such very wicked acts as I have mentioned?
O yes. There are a great many kinds of sin. You know I told you that sin meant doing wrong. Now stop and think a moment, and you can tell some things which are wrong besides those I have mentioned.
Is it not wrong to tell lies, to quarrel, to get angry, to be cross and unkind to your brothers and sisters? O yes; these are wrong, all these are sin.
Then do not children sin as well as men? Yes; children sin, even little children sin, and all children sin. There is not a day or hour in which you do not do something that is wrong, or refuse to do what you know to be right. Are you not sorry to think of this? O it is very sad, but it is true.
People who sin, are sinners. Their children are sinners. All children who will sit down for a few minutes and think about it, will feel that they are sinners; they will remember naughty things which they have done, and cross feelings which they have had in their hearts. And you know that God can see what we think and feel, just as well as what we say or do. And he knows when we feel wrong; and this is sin.