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her place; and one evening when she had a little leisure, she determined to fulfil this promise ; but when she looked in her box, she found that a few sheets of paper, which her father had bought for her, had not been put up. Mrs. Smith had none to give her, and no shop was at hand, where she could get any :-at the moment, one of the housemaids happened to come into the room, and seeing her look of disappointment, asked the cause. When she heard it-" do not vex yourself,” said she, “ if that is all, I will bring you what you want: Mary thanked her, and said she would repay it the next day, when she would buy some. "Oh, you need not trouble yourself to do that,” said Susan.
My mistress's blotting book lies on her table, and there's always plenty there, or in the drawingroom ; but why do you look so amazed ? You surely do not think there is any harm in taking a sheet of paper.”_"Indeed I do," said Mary, "and I would not on any account have it, though I am obliged to you for wishing to help me.”_* Why, you are very precise indeed,” said Susan, colouring deeply, “ I have as great à horror of stealing as you can have, but there is no great harm in helping ourselves to a sheet of paper." Mary said, " I should think myself guilty of stealing if I took it. Remember, Susan, God's commandment is, thou shalt not steal,' and we must surely know that it means to forbid our taking any thing and every thing that is not ours. We should not take the smallest trifle if we know that it belongs to another. It is true, that a small thing is not so likely to be missed, but this should make no difference to us.”—“ Well, Mary, I cannot say but that is all very true, but where did you learn to think so rightly, young as you are."-"În my dear father's gift, and from my dear father's teaching," answered Mary, her eyes brightening at the recollection of the blessing she had received from God, in such a
take a very
A Father's Gift. father : " his parting gift was this Bible,” said she, taking off the cover to shew the outward beauty of her treasure," and look here, Susan,” said she, turning over the leaves," he that is faithful in little is faithful also in much.” And here again, examine yourselves, prove your ownselves, Watch and pray lest ye fall into temptation.' And my father, knowing, I dare say, how many temptations servants meet with from being in houses where so much must be trusted to them, and where they see so many fine things, and useful things, that they had not been accustomed so see in their own poor cottages, always took great pains to teach me to fear the beginning of evil; 'if,' said he, ' you ever suffer yourself to commit what some people foolishly and wickedly call trifling sins; if, for instance, you
little thing that is not your own, you will next be tempted to take something of a little more value, and so on, by degrees, you might be led at last perhaps to steal without scruple ; the most wicked person did not become so all at once, he began with trifles; do, you, my child, pray for God's help to strengthen your weak heart, which his word tells us is deceitful above all things.' Whenever you feel tempted to commit the least fault, remember that all sin is offensive in the sight of a just and holy God: never, therefore, think that any sin can be trifling, for sin is in opposition to the command of God ?" Susan listened very patiently, and thanked Mary for taking the trouble to repeat this good advice to her. “ I had no father," said she, " to teach me my duty, after I was old enough to learn it; but I have a Bible, Mary, and I will try to learn it from that.”_" Dó so,” answered Mary, "and then, Susan, be sure hat you will tliere learn also true happiness."
Some time after this, when Mary had lived almost two years in her place, she was led to the commission of a fault which caused her great uneasi
Mrs. Tarlton had desired, that, when walking out with her children, the nurse-maids should never make any calls in the village, or stop to talk to any one they might happen to meet; Mary had always been strictly attentive to this command; but, one evening, when two of the younger children had been trusted to her care for a walk, she was surprised to meet a young woman, who had formerly been her schoolfellow in her native village, leading by the hand a child of about three years old. Naturally anxious to hear of her parents and family, she was thrown off her guard, and, instead of asking her friend to call at Mr. Tarlton's, or enquiring as she passed where she might call upon her, she forgot all the orders she had received and entered into a long conversation with her, till roused by the long and loud coughing of the strange child, she was told that it was the hooping cough. Poor Mary was in an instant recalled to a sense of her disobedience, she hastily took a hand of each of her little girls, (neither of whom had had the disorder,) and walked towards home in the greatest confusion.
- What shall I—what can I do?" repeated she to herself, “ oh how very wrong I have done." This was one of the greatest difficulties Mary had known since she had been in service; happily she remembered her father's charge, to consult his last gift in all her difficulties; and to "speak the truth always," was, she knew, one of its precepts. “O Lord, my God," said she in her heart, “ forgive my fault, and give me grace honestly to confess it:” thus strengthened, she went instantly to her mistress's room, and there with many tears told her the whole truth. “ You have indeed done wrong, very wrong, to disobey me, Mary,” said her kind lady, " but you have also acted so very wisely in acknowledging it as you have done, that I heartily forgive you; but I sincerely trust you will be more watchful over yourself in future:" and Mary had the comfort to find that she was not afterSelf-Examination.
443 wards less trusted than she had been before. She continued in the same service, and was every year more and more esteemed by her master and mistress : the proofs they gave of their regard for this good and faithful servant, I hope to tell you, my young Cottage friends, at some future time. E. M.
The friend who sent us the above account, refers us to a little book, called the “ History of Ellen Webster.”
ON SELF-EXAMINATION. Nothing is more important to our happiness, here and hereafter, than a thorough knowledge of ourselves. A certain state of mind is needful for every one who would partake of that everlasting blessedness, which is promised to the true disciples of Christ, it therefore becomes the duty of us all to ask ourselves, whether we really possess this. But why is this duty, of Self-Examination so grievously neglected ? It is because it hurts our pride to look into ourselves, and to discover the corrupt and sinful passions, that reign within our hearts; it hurts, I say, the pride of our nature, to discover our own littleness; it wounds our vanity, and our selflove to see in how wretched a state we really are, how prone to follow that which is evil, how unwils ling heartily to pursue that which is good. These are the reasons which make Self-Examination, so unwelcome a task to most of us. But, to the pious and humble Christian, this ought not to be so;-he wishes to do the will of his heavenly Father. He believes in the promises made in the Gospel to the faithful servants of Christ,—but he searches himself that he may find out whether his belief produces its proper effect; for, if he is really looking forward to a state of eternal happiness hereafter, he must naturally wish to know whether he does possess those dispositions which will be a right preparation for heavenly enjoyments and heavenly society. A Christian is to love God, and to love his fellowa creatures. « Let a man examine himself” and see whether such love be in him. By self-examination, we are to search out what sins most easily beset us; and against these, our most earnest endeavours, and our most anxious prayers should be directed. Let some portion of every day be employed in this exercise! Even those who are the most actively employed in the concerns of the world, must not urge their want of time, as an excuse for their neglect of this most important duty.—How short a time it would take you, every night, before you kneel down to offer up your prayers to the throne of grace, to stop and reflect on what has been your conduct, and what disposition you have exercised during the day. The more likely you are to be drawn from religion, by the business of the world, so much the more need have you to be watchful, and to search yourself to see, in what you have offended against the commands of God. This habit of self-examination, should lead to true repentance where you find that you have done wrong.–And where, by God's assistance, you have been enabled to resist temptation, you will then offer up your humble and hearty thanks to your Heavenly Father, and pray for the continuance of the same Divine aid. This duty belongs to persons of every rank and condition; it is needful, -it is profitable, --for every one. When indeed we examine our own hearts, we must ever find much to lament in our sinful nature; yet if we can humbly hope, that, by the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, (which he freely gives to those, who seek it aright) we have been enabled to overcome the sinful lusts and affections of the flesh, and have reason to hope that we are advancing, even though slowly, towards our Heavenly home; then shall we