Away off in the farther corner of the garden, under a hedge, bloomed a simple white clover. It was entirely unheeded by the multitude, although it gave a sweetness and fragrancy to the air, which made the invalid stop to inhale it. In its modesty it bloomed, in its lowly bed it sought no observation, and was passed by as a simple white clover. By and by the mower’s scythe passed that way and levelled it among common grasses. It was gathered in the general mass of hay, and became a part of the sustenance of the master’s cattle.
The dahlia was plucked by the horticulturist, and placed in a glass receptacle, among kindred flowers, where it was gazed at for a time; then it faded and was thrown among common rubbish. During their lifetime we will suppose them to have conversed together.
“I,” said the dahlia, “am queen of this garden. I attract every eye that passes; while you, little clover, are hidden by the tall grass, and liable to be crushed at any moment.”
“Well,” replied the clover, “let it be so now; but look at our final end. You will be placed in a glass, plucked from your native stem, where you will wither and die as a worthless thing; while I shall be felled by the scythe, after I have reached my maturity, and then a thousand tiny seeds will I strow around me; so that, another reason, I shall bloom all about the hedges, and my usefulness will be appreciated. And pray where will you then be?” The dahlia blushed, and hung its head for shame.
Here, children, is a fable designed to illustrate pride and humility. Which appears the most beautiful, because the most useful? I know you will prefer humility to pride. If so, you must remember that the peculiar traits you now cultivate are forming within you the one or the other. By a thousand little kind acts, you can diffuse happiness in your homes; and all the while you are disseminating these virtues, you are acquiring these lasting graces, in yourselves, which will spring up, like the violet and sweet clover, leaving a fragrancy and beauty wherever you have trodden.
Dear children,—although I am almost a stranger among you, yet I feel a true interest in your welfare. It gives me great pleasure when I enter the Sabbath school to meet your happy countenances and smiling faces. Children, you do not assemble together for the purpose of passing an hour that perhaps might pass unpleasantly elsewhere. It is for a higher and nobler purpose. It is to gain useful and religious instruction from the Bible, the best of all books. You should not be content with learning and reciting your lessons, but you should try to remember what you learn. And when you grow up to be men and women, you will never regret it. It is in the Bible that we are taught to love God, and all mankind.