Imatges de pÓgina
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maid-servant, “Take the candle, and light me down to the hall.” Then, turning to Emily and Lucy, she added, “Will you come with me? I suppose you have not brought any clean frocks to put on? Well, never mind; when you get into the drawing-room, you must keep behind your mamma's chair, and nobody will take any notice of you.”

So Miss Augusta walked first, with the maid-servant, and Henry and Lucy and Emily followed. They went along the great gallery, and down the stairs, and through several fine rooms, all lighted up with many lamps and candles, till they came to the door where Sir Charles and Lady Noble, and Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, and a great many ladies and gentlemen, were sitting in a circle round a fire. Lucy and Emily and Henry went and stood behind their mamma's chair, and nobody took any notice of them ; but Miss Augusta went in among the company, curtsying to one, giving her hand to another, and nodding and smiling at another.—“What a charming girl Miss Augusta has

grown !" said one of the ladies.—“Your daughter, Lady Noble, will be quite a beauty,” said another.—“What an elegant frock Miss Augusta has on !” said a third lady.-" That rose-coloured sash makes her sweet complexion more lovely than ever,' said one of the gentlemen; and so they went on flattering her, till she grew more conceited and full of herself than ever ; and during all the rest of the evening she took no more notice of Mrs. Fairchild's children than if they had not been in the room.

After the company had all drunk tea, several tables were set out, and the ladies and gentlemen began to make parties for playing at cards. As Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild never played at cards, they asked for the coach ; and, when it was ready, wished Sir Charles and Lady Noble good night, and came away.

Well, my dear,” said Mr. Fairchild, when he was got into the coach with his wife and children,

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- I am (1 John

very glad this day is over, and that we are going back to our own comfortable home, where we can serve God in peace.

“ Alas!" said Mrs. Fairchild, “I am sorry for Lady Noble ; she loves the world too well, and all its fine things ! though it is written in the Bible, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the last of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."" ii. 15-17.)

“Well," said little Henry, “Sir Charles Noble's may be a very fine house, and everything may be very fine in it; but I like my own little home and garden, and John, and the meadow, and the appletrees, and the round hill, and the lane, better than all the fine things at Sir Charles's.”

Now all this while Emily and Lucy did not speak a word ; and what do you think was the reason ? it was this ; that the sight of Miss Augusta's fine clothes and playthings, and beautiful rooms in which she lived, with the number of people she had to attend her, had made them both out of humour with their own humble way of living, and small house and plain clothes. Their hearts were full of the desire of being great, like Miss Augusta, and having things like her but they did not dare to tell their thoughts to their

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mamma.

When they got home, Mrs. Fairchild gave a baked apple to each of the children, and some warm milk and water to drink; and after they had prayed, she sent them to bed. When Emily and Lucy had got into bed, and Betty had taken away the candle, Lucy said, “Oh, Emily! I wish our papa and mamma were like Sir Charles and Lady Noble. What a beautiful frock

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that was that Miss Augusta had on! and I dare say that she has a great many more like it. And that sash!-I never saw so fine a colour."

Emily. “And then the ladies and gentlemen said she was so pretty! and even her governess did not dare to find fault with her !"

Lucy. “But Betty finds fault with us, and John to : and papa and mamma makes us work so hard ! and we have such coarse clothes ! Even our best frocks are not so good as those Miss Augusta wears every morning

In this manner they went on talking till their mamma came up stairs, and into their room. As they had thick curtains round their bed, it being very cold weather, they did not see their mamma come into the room ;

and so she heard a great deal of what they were talking about, without their knowing it. She came up to the side of their bed, and sat down in a chair which stood near it, and putting the curtains aside a little, she said, “My dear little girls, as I came into the room I heard some part of what you were saying, without intending it; and I am glad I heard it, because I can put you in a way of getting rid of these foolish thoughts and desires which you are speaking of to each other. Do not be ashamed, my dears: I am your own mamma, and love you dearly, although I know that you are sinful creatures—and how can my children who are born in my likeness, be otherwise? Do you remember, Lucy, when Emily got that beautiful doll from Lady Noble, that you said 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 wished 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. Ambition 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 hates—though 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 high 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 ambitious, 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 worshiped as God. So, my dear children, you see that there is no end to 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, 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 goud 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 everybody'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

dear children, that wicked desire arise,-0 that I was a 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,

hearts, my

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