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Crosbie!” said Mrs. Crosbie; “ you are putting every dish out of its place! Surely Mr. Somers knows how to carve as well as you do."
“But papa is afraid Mr. Somers won't give him all the nice bits,” said Miss Betsey.
“Learn to be silent, miss!" said Mr. Crosbie.
Miss Betsey was going to answer her papa, when Miss Crosbie came into the room, newly dressed, in a very elegant manner. She came smiling in, followed by Lucy and Emily, who went to sit at a small table with Henry.
“ Sister," said Mrs. Crosbie, “where was the need of your dressing again? If we had waited for you, the dinner would have been spoiled.”
“ But we did not wait for Miss Crosbie; so there was no harm done,” said Mr. Fairchild, smiling.
“My aunt would not lose an opportunity of showing her new-fashioned gown for the world !” said Miss Betsey.
"Indeed, niece," answered Miss Crosbie, "I do not know why you should say that I am fond of showing my clothes ; I wish to be neat and clean; but no person cares less than I do about fashions and finery." .
“ La !” said Miss Betsey, whispering to Mrs. Fairchild, “hear my aunt: she says she does not care about finery! That's like mamma saying how goodnatured she is !",
“Fie, fie, Miss Betsey!" said Mrs. Fairchild, speaking low: “ you forget your respect to your elders."
Miss Betsey coloured, and stared at Mrs. Fairchild. She had not been used to be found fault with; for she was spoiled by both her parents; and she felt quite angry. “ Indeed,” she said, “ I never was thought disrespectful to any one before. Can't I see people's faults ? can't I see that mamma is cross, and my aunt fond of fine clothes, and that papa loves eating ?"
“ Hush ! hush !” said Mrs. Fairchild, in a low voice; “ your papa and mamma will hear you."
** And I don't care if they do,” said Miss Betsey : " they know what I think.”
“What's that you are saying there, Miss Betsey ?” said Mr. Crosbie.
“Oh, don't ask, brother,” said Miss Crosbie: “I know it is something saucy, by my niece's looks.”
“And why should you suppose I am saying any thing saucy, aunt ?" said Miss Betsey; "I am sure you are not accustomed to hear me say saucy things."
“Miss ! miss! be quiet !” said Mrs. Crosbie; for she was afraid Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild would think her daughter ill-behaved.
“ What, mamma!" answered Miss Betsey, "am I to sit quietly, and hear my aunt find fault with me before company-and for being impertinent, too-to my elders; as if I were a mere child ?"
"Well, well-enough !” said Mr. Crosbie.—“What is that pie, Mrs. Fairchild, in the middle of the table ? I must have some, if you please.”
Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were not sorry when dinner was over; and Mrs. Crosbie proposed that Mrs. Fairchild should show her the garden. Accordingly, the ladies and children got up, and left the gentlemen together; for Mr. Crosbie never stirred for some time after dinner. When Mrs. Crosbie had got into the garden, and had looked about her, she said, “Ah, Mrs. Fairchild! how happy you are! Such a pretty house and garden-such a kind husband-such good children !” Then she sighed, and gave Mrs. Fairchild to understand that she was not so happy herself. Mrs. Fairchild then took occasion to point out to Mrs. Crosbie that no family could be happy in which the fear of God is not the ruling principle. “ All men and all women," said she," have some particular humours and tempers. We have all some besetting sin naturally, which makes us uncomfortable to ourselves and disagreeable to those with whom we live : but when God is with us, we have power given us, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to overcome our selfish tempers in a great degree; and then we become happier in our own minds and more agreeable to our friends."
Mrs. Crosbie did not seem offended at what Mrs. Fairchild said; so Mrs. Fairchild ventured to talk a little more plainly to her about religion; and pointed out to her, that when we find ourselves unhappy, by reason of our own faults or those of our family, we must apply by prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised to help all those who call upon him.
After tea Mr. Crosbie and his family took their leave, and went off to the next inn upon the London road, where they were to sleep; for Mr. Crosbie was in haste to be at home, and would not stay, although Mr. and
Mrs. Fairchild begged that they would, at least till the next day. When they were gone, Mr. Fairchild and Henry took a walk towards the village with Mr. Somers, while the little girls remained at home with their mamma.
“Dear Lucy,” said Mrs. Fairchild, as soon as she was alone with her little girls, “ do you remember what we were speaking about yesterday, before Mr. Crosbie's letter came ?"
“ Yes, mamma,” said Lucy: “we were speaking of besetting sins, and you said that everybody has a besetting sin, and you told me what you believed mine
“True, my dear,” answered Mrs. Fairchild: “I told you, that without the help of the Holy Spirit of God, very few people know what their own besetting sins are. You had an opportunity to-day of observing this: every individual of our friend Mr. Crosbie's family has a very strong besetting sin: Mr. Crosbie loves eating; Mrs. Crosbie is ill-tempered : Miss Crosbie is vain and fond of finery; and Miss Betsey is very pert and forward. We can see these faults in them, and they can see them in each other; but it is plain they do not see them in themselves. Mr. Crosbie said several times, that he was not at all particular about what he ate or drank ; Mrs. Crosbie said that there was not a person in the world who thought her ill-tempered but her husband ; Miss Crosbie said that nobody in the world cared less for finery than she did; and Miss Betsey was quite offended when she was told she was not respectful in her manners to her elders."
“Oh, yes !” said Emily: “she said, 'I am not saucy : of all faults, sauciness is not one of my faults, I am sure ;' and I thought all the time she looked as saucy and impertinent as possible.”
“And how Mr. Crosbie did eat!” said Lucy: “ he ate half the haunch of venison! And then he was helped twice to pigeon-pie ; and then he ate apple-tart and custard ; and then—"
“ Well! well! you have said enough, Lucy,” said Mrs. Fairchild, interrupting her. “I do not speak of our poor friends' faults out of malice, or for the sake of making a mockery of them; but to show you how people may live in the constant practice of one particular sin, without being at all conscious of it, and, perhaps,
thinking themselves very good all the time. We are all quick enough, my dear Emily and Lucy, in finding out other people's faults : but, as I said before, without the Spirit of God, we none of us know our own faults. The Spirit of God is called the Searcher of hearts. By the Spirit of God we know that we are sinners, and we find that our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
“Mamma,” said Lucy, “ do you know any prayer about besetting sins ?"
“ Yes, my dear,” answered Mrs. Fairchild': “I have one in my own book of prayers; and I will copy it out for you, with a hymn on the same subject, to-morrow morning.”
So Mrs. Fairchild broke off her discourse with her little girls, and bade them go and play a little before bedtime.
The prayer which Mrs. Fairchild gave to her little girls was called, “A prayer that God would show us our Besetting Sins, and give us Power, by the Help of his Spirit, to resist them;" and was as follows:
The Prayer. O Lord God Almighty! thou Glorious and Holy Trinity, three Persons in one God! I, a poor sinful child (trusting in the merits of my dear Saviour, for whose sake thou hast promised to answer prayer), am · come to beg of thee to make me acquainted with the sins of my heart; to the end that, knowing myself, I may hate myself and love thee. Make me, 0 dear Lord, by thy Holy Spirit, to know what my besetting sin is. I know that every child of Adam has some one besetting sin: some are most strongly inclined to pride ; some to cruelty; some to anger; some to vanity and conceit; some to pragmatical talkativeness; some to evil thoughts ; some to stealing : every one has his kesetment. O Lord, open my eyes by thy Holy Spirit, and make me to know what mine is, that I may be humble, and may know that I have need to call for help from God. O Father! holy Father! teach me to know myself: show unto me all the dark corners of my wicked heart, for my dear Saviour's sake ; for the sake of Him who bled and died for me. Hear my prayer, Almighty God; and grant me thy Holy Spirit, to save ine from the power of my besetting sins.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, for ever and ever Amen. “Our Father,” &c.
O for a closer walk with God!
A calm and heav'nly frame!
That leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord ?
Of Jesus and his Word ?
What peaceful hours I once enjoy'd!
How sweet their mem'ry stiil!
The world can never fill.
Return, O Holy Dove! return,
Sweet Messenger of Rest!
And drove thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
And worship only thee.
Calm and serene my frame;
That leads me to the Lamb.
STORY ON LOVE TO OUR PARENTS;
OR, A VISIT TO MARY BUSH.
Not very long after the death of poor Miss Augusta Noble a note came from Sir Charles and Lady Noble, inviting Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild to dinner the next day; but not mentioning the children, as they used to do, when they sent their invitations.
“ Poor Lady Noble !” said Mr. Fairchild ; “ I wish we could give her any comfort! but, God being willing, we will certainly go.”