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you felt something in your heart which made you very miserable ?" · Lucy. “ Yes, Mamma, I remember it very well: you told me it was envy; and I have often prayed to God from that time to take envy out of my heart. But I do not feel envy now: I do not wish to take Miss Augusta's things from her, or to hurt her: Emily and I only wish to be like her, and to have the same things she has.”
“What you now feel, my dears," said Mrs. Fairchild,“ is not exactly envy, though it is very like it: it is what is called Ambition. Ambition is the desire to be greater than we are. Ambition makes people unhappy, and discontented with · what they are and what they have. Anibition is in the heart of every man by nature ; but, before we can go to heaven, it must be taken out of our hearts, because it is a temper that God hatesthough it is spoken of, by people who do not fear! God, as a very good thing."
“ I do not exactly understand, Mamma," said, Emily, “ what ambition makes people do.”
“Why, my dear,” said Mrs. Fairchild, “ suppose that Betty was ambitious, she would be discontented at being a servant, and would want to be as bigh as her mistress: and if I were ambitious, I should strive to be equal to Lady Noble ;: and Lady Noble would want to be as great as the Duchess, who lives at that beautiful house which we passed by when we went to see your grandmamma: the Duchess, if she were ambitious, would wish to be like the Queen.”
Emily. “ But the Queen could be no higher : .so she could not be ambitious.". .
Mrs. Fairchild. “My dear, you are much mistaken. When you are old enough to read history, you will find, that when kings and queens are
anubitious it does more harm even than when little people are so. When kings are ambitious they desire to be greater than other kings, and then they fight with them, and take their kingdoms from them, and cause many cruel wars and dreadful miseries: and, more than this, it has often happened, that when kings have got all they could get in this world, they have been desirous to be thought more than men, and have caused themselves to be worshipped as God. So, my dear children, you see that there is no end of the mischief which ambition does.--When Satan lived in heaven, and in all the glory of it, he was not content, but he wanted to be equal with God, and rebelled against God; in consequence of which, he was cast down, into hell, with his angels.-When Adam and Eve lived in the beautiful garden of Eden, and never knew sorrow, or pain, or sickness, this wicked desire of being great was the cause of their fall : Satan came to them, and told them, that, if they would eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was in the midst of the garden, they should be as gods, knowing good from evil : and they were ambitious, and wished to be like gods; and so they took the forbidden fruit, and brought sin and death upon themselves and their children. And so you see, my dear children, that wherever this desire to be great comes, it makes us unhappy, and in the end ruins us.”
« Indeed, Mamma,” said Lucy, “I think it is: very true; for I have felt very unhappy ever since the thought came into my head about being as great as Miss Augusta."
Emily. “ But you say, Mamma, that this wish is in every body's heart naturally: then how can we get rid of it?”
Mrs. Fairchild. “In the same manner, my dear, that we master every other sinful inclination ;
through the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came into the world to destroy all sin and all the works of the devil : for he that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning: for this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.? (1 John iii. 8.) When you feel in your hearts, iny dear children, that wicked desire arise, - that I was as great as such an one ! or as clever as such an one! or as pretty as such an one !- then go into some retired place, if you can, and fall on your knees, and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, that dear Saviour, who died for you upon the cross, to take this great and dreadful sin of ambition out of your hearts, and to make you humble, and contented with whatever things it may please God to give you in this world. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have;, for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.' (Heb. xiii. 5.)” . · Then Mrs. Fairchild shewed to her children, how much God loves people who do not wish to be great; and how he blesses people who are lowly and humble; and that he will take such people to heaven, as he hath promised ". For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abāsed, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” (Luke xiv. 11)- where they will live in the house of God, and in the sight of that dear Saviour who hum. bled himself for them, “ and, being found in fashion as a man, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.) Then Mrs. Fairchild kissed her children ; for they were beginning to cry, to think of their wicked ambition, and how they had been discontented with their dear parents and happy home. And Mrs. Fairchild knelt by the bed-side, and prayed that God,
for his dear Son's sake, would take the wicked desire to be great out of her dear little girls' hearts. I shall put down Mrs. Fairchild's prayer in this place, with the hymn which they sung afterwards: they may both be of use to you when you feel any of the same kind of ambitious desires and thoughts; for, as Mrs. Fairchild said, “ the wish to be great is natural to every man; neither can we conquer our ambition, excepting through Jesus Christ, who died that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.”
The Prayer. O Lord God, Almighty Father ! hear the prayer of a poor, wicked, proud child ! I know that my heart is full of sin, and that my body is corrupt and filthy, and that I must soon die and go down into the dust; and yet I am so foolish and so wicked as to wish to be great in this world. I wish to have a 'fine house to live in, and a great many servants to wait on me, and to be of great consequence, and to be made a great deal of; and yet I know, that, if I had what I deserved, I should now at this moment be in hell fire. O Thou that resistest the proud, and givest grace to the humble ! give me the grace of humility; make me humble and lowly in heart, content and thankful for what I have. O set my sins in order before my eyes, that I may see I have nothing to be proud of, and know that I am not worthy to be set up and made great in the world. I know that thou, O Lord ! lovest humble and lowly people ; and that thy blessed Son, when in this world, appeared, in the form of a servant, amongst the lowest and poorest of men, and was meek and lowly in his behaviour. O Lord ! send thy Holy Spirit to cleanse my heart from all proud thoughts. · Teach me to know my sins and hate myself, and to
humble myself before men and in thy sight. O give me a clean and a new heart, that I may rather desire to be numbered amongst the saiuts, and martyrs, and children of God those holy people, of whom the world was not worthy-than amongst the great and mighty men of the earth. : *
O holy Father, I am not worthy of myself to make this prayer ; but there is One in heaven," even the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb who bled and died for me, who has promised to intercede for us before the Throne. For the sake, therefore, of thy beloved Son, O Lord Almighty! be favourable unto my prayer, and send thy Holy Spirit to take all pride from my heart. Amen. « Our Father,” &c. &c. ..
Here at thy feet, my God,
And vile ingratitude.
So false, as mine has been ;
So prone to every sin!
Are holy, just, and true; .
Is his most righteous due.
And all her words approve;
And harder yet to love.
These strugglings in my breast ?
And give my conscience rest?
And set the captive free!
And haste to rescue me