Vol. I, No. 1
From the German
Gratitude Towards God
Samuel, a little boy five years old said one day to Mr. Raphael, his teacher, My dear sir, you once told me that I owe all my being, my preservation, and indeed all the good which I enjoy to Almighty God? Is it not so?
Teacher. Yes, son, my and not only you, but your parents also, I myself, all mankind, and every thing which is in the whole world, owe their being to God, for all were created by Him. He likewise takes care of all his creatures, as a loving father provides for his children.
Boy. But you told me, too, that. it is a duty to be thankful to every one from whom we have received any benefit. Since God, therefore, has shown me so much kindness, I would gladly thank Him quite heartily, for I love so much this good and gracious God.
Teacher. Truly speaking, Samuel, by loving God you are already grateful towards Him; for He who sees every thing sees also your grateful heart, and receives its emotions with favour; but you desire to give expression to your gratitude in words? Have I guessed it?
Boy. Indeed you have guessed it. When I consider how many acts of goodness God has done for me already, and how much good he continues to do for me every day; when I reflect, that He has created me, and had provided means for my support before I was yet born; that He preserves my parents and myself in life and health, and gives us food, and drink, and clothing, and all else that we want, something comes over me--I cannot well tell you what it is--but I feel that I could cry out in a loud voice, 'O good and beneficent God, I offer unto Thee my heartfelt thanks for all the many benefits which thou hast, healed upon myself, my parents, and all mankind, and yet continuest daily, to bestow." I think that I should feel relieved after saying this.
Teacher. What prevents you, Samuel, from doing this? Behold, my dear child, God, the Almighty, is omnipresent; that means, He is every where. This is certainly as yet beyond the reach of your understanding to comprehend, but you wall learn to understand it at a later period of your life. He sees, bears, and knows all; He gives us what we need; protects and shields us from all evil; in short, it is his will that we should be happy. But we can give Him nothing in return, nor does He desire any thing of us, farther than that we should love and adore Him. For this reason he gave us the law תורה which contains all the precepts which we should obey, if we desire to be pleasing to Him. It is for this reason that we, who are grown up, pray, every day three times to God, and express in these prayers our love and reverence for Him. We study the law תורה in order to be correctly informed of what we should do, and what we should not do,
Boy. O that I were at this moment already a grown up person, that I might do so likewise!
Teacher. Your honest zeal pleases me; but even as a child you can do this already. Your short prayer, which you uttered just now, is as agreeable to God, as the most perfect one proceeding from a man; for the Lord looks only to the heart. You can also observe his precepts if you follow the directions of your parents, and those which I may give you. It shall be our endeavour to lead you in the path which is pleasing to God, and you will surely become a virtuous and godly man. Will you do this?
Boy. O yes! You shall see how obedient and industrious I shall be; and when I refresh myself after my school hours, with food and drink, or when I put on a new raiment, I will exclaim with true sincerity, O gracious God, Father of all mankind, I thank Thee!