It Isn't Fair, I Peeped

by the American Sunday-School Union

Willie and Eddie were playing Hide the Button. After they had played some time, and it was Willie's turn to find it, he came into the nursery with his face flushed, and evidently much excited. "It isn't fair," said he, and the tears gathered in his eyes, and his lips quivered with emotion, "I peeped. Eddie must hide it again;" and he went out of the room, for Eddie to put the button in another place.

Willie had been overcome by temptation. He had done a dishonourable act, but his conscience was quick to reprove him, and he had listened to its admonitions. There had been a short but severe struggle in his mind, and truth and honour had conquered. He was brave enough to confess his fault, and to do what he could to make amends for it.

Mrs. Dudley was not at home, but a friend who had charge of the children told her the circumstance. It rejoiced her greatly that her dear boy should have had the manliness to acknowledge his error; and it encouraged her to hope that he would never be guilty of a similar fault again. Willie is a conscientious boy. He sometimes does wrong, as in this instance, but when he reflects, he is always sorry.

Mrs. Dudley did not say any thing to Willie about the occurrence; but a few evenings afterwards as she was sitting at the tea-table alone, the others having all left, he came to her and stood by her side, leaning his elbow upon the table, and resting his head upon his hand. She knew by his manner and his serious look that he had something in particular to say to her. She put her arm around him and drew him close to her.

"Mother," said he, "the other day, when you were gone, I peeped while Eddie hid the button;" and then went on and told her all about it. Mrs. Dudley talked with him a short time, and said he had done right in confessing his fault, and in refusing to profit by his wrong act. She knew he was much happier than he could have been if he had done otherwise. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Willie found the happiness of an approving conscience; and I doubt not that Jesus looked down with love upon him, as he does upon all true penitents. "There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth."

If Willie had not confessed his fault, and been sorry for it, his conscience would have been hardened and he would probably have "peeped" another time, when the children played the same game. But now, if he should be tempted in this way again, he would remember how much he suffered in consequence of having once yielded to a similar temptation, and would not allow himself to commit the wrong.

It is very important that children should early learn to confess their faults, and not form the habit of endeavouring to hide them from others. If they have injured any individual, they should apologize to that individual. Sometimes it is only necessary to confess to God, but we should not be satisfied with doing it in a general manner. Each wrong act, so far as we remember it, should be mentioned.

If we really love our heavenly Father, we shall wish to tell him all about ourselves. We shall have no desire to conceal any thing from him, and it will be a pleasure to us to think that he knows every thought and feeling of our hearts.

Willie had no wish to conceal from his mother the wrong he had done; he preferred to tell her about it; and I have no doubt he had previously told his Father in heaven.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."