The Unpleasant Neighbour
by the American Sunday-School Union
Eddie's father has a disagreeable neighbour. In
one way or another he is a constant source of annoyance.
Sometimes his pigs will creep through
the fence, and root up the smooth green lawn. His
part of the fence he will not keep in repair, and the
hungry cows, in search of food, will break into the
garden, and make sad havoc among the cabbages
and other vegetables. His fine bay horse, whom he
knows will jump over any ordinary fence, is permitted
to run in a pasture, where he can eke out his
scanty meal by a hearty lunch among Mr. Dudley's
corn. All these aggressions, and many more, have
been borne with the greatest patience.
Mr. Dudley has often been advised to resort to
the law as a means of defence, yet he has been reluctant
to do so. The children have sometimes felt
very indignant when they have been obliged to
chase the pigs or the cows out of the yard or field,
but their parents have endeavoured to teach them
At one time Eddie had been thinking about Mr.
Morrison,—for by that name I shall call the unpleasant
neighbour,—and he said very seriously to his
"Mother, can Mr. Morrison go to heaven if he
She hesitated a moment how to answer him, for,
she had taught him that it is wicked to lie and to
swear, and that if a person loves God he will not be
in the habit of committing such sins; so she told
him, that unless Mr. Morrison repented he could not
go to heaven.
At another time Eddie and his mother were talking
about God's love for the beings he has made.
She told him that God loves every one.
"Does he love Mr. Morrison?" he inquired.
"Yes, God loves Mr. Morrison. He is grieved
and offended by his wickedness, but he loves him.
You know I love you, when you have done wrong,
although I am sorry that you have been naughty.
I do not cease to love you. The Bible tells us that
while we were sinners, God so loved us as to send
his Son to die for us. He loves all, and wishes all
to repent and believe in Christ, and be happy. He
has provided a way for all who believe to be saved,
and it is only because people love sin more than they
love holiness, that they are lost."
Nothing can give us a higher idea of God's love,
than the thought that he loves every one—even his
enemies. "God is love." What a blessed, glorious
thought! How it encourages us to trust him
at all times!
God does not willingly afflict, nor grieve, nor punish
any one. All that he does, he does from the
The knowledge that God loves us should lead us
to love him. We are naturally disposed to love
those who love us, and always do, unless there is
something repulsive about them. There can be
nothing repulsive about God, for he is love, and we
who love him, love him because he first loved us.
One night, after little Eddie had repeated the
Lord's Prayer and his usual evening petitions, he
raised his head, and said to his mother,
"Shan't I pray for Mr. Morrison, now?"
"Yes, dear, if you wish to," she answered.
He bowed his head again, and uttered a simple
prayer for the man who was the occasion of so
much trouble and perplexity to his father's family.
He prayed that God would forgive his sins for
Jesus' sake, and make him a good man. It was
very pleasant to hear Eddie pray thus, and to witness
his kind and forgiving spirit.
Mr. and Mrs. Dudley have often regretted that
the children should have their early memories saddened
by such a neighbour, but perhaps their heavenly
Father wishes to teach them a lesson of forbearance
and love for those who injure them, which
they could not so well learn in any other way.
Our Saviour, when dying on the cross, taught us
practically the duty of forgiveness. He prayed
even for those who put him to death. "Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Do you not suppose he was pleased to hear Eddie
ask his Father in heaven to forgive Mr. Morrison
and make him a good man?