The First Great Commandment.


MINNIE. Mother, my Sabbath-School teacher

gave me a card today with a Bible

verse on it.

MOTHER. What is the verse? Can you

repeat it?

Minnie. "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with

all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all

thy mind." How can we love God with our heart?

Mother. By heart is meant our affections or love.

We must give him all our love.

Minnie. Why, mustn't I love you nor anybody?

Mother. Yes; but we must love God more than

we do any other person.

Minnie. How can I tell, when I love him most?

Mother. Do you try hardest to please those you

love most, or those you love least?

Minnie. Those I love most, always.

Mother. Then we can easily tell by that rule,

who or what your love is placed upon. If you 

loved God better than yourself, or any other 

person, you would try to do just as he wished

 you to in every thing. Let us see if you have

 always done so.

One Sabbath morning not long ago, we were 

reading the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah which

 contained these words: "If thou turn away thy

 foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure

 on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, 

the holy of the Lord, honorable, and shalt honor 

him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine

 own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, 

then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord." This

 verse your father carefully explained to you, and

 then repeated the fourth commandment in which

 God forbids us to do any work on the Sabbath.

 About an hour afterward Minnie wished her 

mother to sew the strings on her new hat, so

 that she could wear it to Sabbath School. When

 father said, "That would be doing our own 

work," she still urged me saying,

"It won't take but a minute."

Minnie. It was so pleasant I wanted to wear it.

Mother. Wanted to wear your hat more than you

wanted to please God. In the afternoon uncle

 John and Fannie came to ask you to take a 

pleasure ride with them on the lake. You plead

 earnestly to go, even after we told you that 

would be finding your own pleasure.

Minnie. I thought it was too bad that I couldn't

go, when you had promised me that I might go

when Fannie went.

Mother. I should have said if they do not go on

the Sabbath, or if nothing providential hinders.

The Lord would have been displeased, had I 

permitted you to go. Last Sabbath you were 

laying plans as to what you should do at 


When told that was speaking your own words,

 you said, "Can't I talk, nor anything?" O Minnie!

How it has grieved us to see you so unwilling to

please and obey God.

Minnie. Well, I'll try to please God now, mother,

if you will tell me how.

Mother. We will read God's word together, and

that will tell us what he wishes us to do, and

 what he wishes us not to do.

Minnie. How can we love God with our soul and


Mother. I will explain it to you as well as I can,

telling what I think it means. When we love God

with all our heart we cultivate all the kind, 

gentle, and loving feelings, because we know 

those are pleasing to him. We are ready to deny

 ourselves any pleasure when we know, or even

 think, he wishes us to. If we love him truly we

 know that he loves us, and will do just what will

 make us the holiest and happiest. We are also to

 love God with all our soul. I think that soul here

 means life. The New Testament was not written

 at first with such letters as we use, but with 

curious looking letters called Greek. Those who

 know how to read them wrote words with our

 letters that meant the same, or nearly so. This

 was called translating into our language. The 

word that they translated soul was psu-kee, in 

the Greek Testament; and the principal meaning

 of psu-kee is breath or life. As breathmakes us

 live, we might say the meaning or idea

is life in both words. Then we are to show our

love to God by every act of our lives.

Minnie. How can we?

Mother. By doing all God commands, and leaving

undone all he forbids, or wishes us not to do. For

this is the love of God that we keep his 


See 1 John 5:3.

Minnie. Must we do what Jesus said too?

Mother. Certainly, for Jesus said, "If ye love

me, keep my commandments." "If a man love me,

he will keep my words; and the word which ye

hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."

"He gave me commandment what I should do, 

and what I should speak." 

John 14:15, 23, 24; 12:49.

So the commands or words spoken by Jesus, 

are in reality the commands of God.

Minnie. How can I love God with my mind?

Mother. One way is to put away all bad thoughts

Minnie. Is it wicked if we only think about play

on the Sabbath, and don't say anything about it?

Mother. We might as well talk about, or play

even, as to keep thinking about it. For our words

and actions are only thoughts made known to 


And God understands thoughts as easily as


Minnie. But I can't help thinking; thoughts

come themselves.

Mother. I know that it is very difficult to think

only right thoughts. Satan loves to crowd in

 wrong ones, especially on the Sabbath.

Minnie. If Satan makes wrong thoughts come,

are we to blame for thinking?

Mother. Not so much to blame for their coming,

as for their staying. Of ourselves we can do 

nothing good, but we can do all things through 

Christ who strengtheneth us. He will help us 

drive away wrong thoughts if we look continually

 to him for help. It is best to have the mind so 

taken up with good reading or talk, as to have no

 room for improper thoughts. We are not only to

 shut out bad thoughts, but it is our duty to fill 

our minds with pure and holy thoughts; thoughts

 of God and heaven. Paul served God with his

 mind, and so should we. 

Romans 7:25.

Minnie. Can't I think about play, when it isn't


Mother. Yes, think about it and play too, at

proper times. Run and laugh and sing, and be as

happy as happy can be." Play while you play,

work while you work, and learn when you study.

Do each "with a right good will." Be kind and

affectionate to your playmates, obedient and 

faithful with your work and studies, and when 

Jesus comes, angels shall carry you to God's 

beautiful home in heaven.