God has given you all many gifts, for which you ought to thank him. If I should look into your play-rooms, how many things I should see which add to your enjoyment! In one there is a pasteboard house, with windows and doors, and partitions to divide it into rooms. It is furnished with tables and chairs, and the dolls can sit in them. In another, are blocks with which to build houses, castles, and railways, or any thing the fancy of the young architect may dictate; and here is Noah’s ark, in miniature, containing himself and family, and many animals. Countless other toys are distributed among my young friends, which make their bright eyes sparkle, and wreathe their lips with smiles.
Other treasures, more valuable than these, are not wanting. How many books I see! and as I open them, one after another, at the fly-leaf, I read your own names and the names of those friends and relatives who have given them to you.
Have you ever thanked your heavenly Father, as Mary Wilson did, for these pleasant things which make you so happy, and for all the blessings he confers upon you?
Your parents provide you with food and clothes, and many other comforts which you need; but it is God who enables them to do so, and who fills their hearts with such love for you as to make it a pleasure to watch over and care for you. You should be grateful to them for all their kindness, but you should never forget that to your Father in heaven you owe your gratitude for such loving friends.
God himself has taught you to ask him, day by day, for your daily bread. That prayer shows who provides for your wants, and whom you should thank for the pleasant things you enjoy.
There is one gift of exceeding great value which the Lord has bestowed upon us—greater than all others—but I will tell you about it another time.
Children who are called obedient children are often not so prompt in their obedience as they should be. Instead of doing directly as they are bidden, they stop to ask “Why?” and seem to wish some other reason for compliance with a command than the word of a parent. It is often proper to tell children why they should do or should not do certain things; but children should be careful to remember that they must obey, whether they know the reason of the requirement or not.
Bessie Hartwell is about eleven years old. She is generally a good child, but, like all others whom I have known, she has some faults. Although she always intends to obey, she does not always obey instantly. I will tell you a sad accident which befell her in consequence of this tardiness, and you will see it would have been much better for her if she had learned to be prompt.
She was travelling with an aunt on a steamboat. She was very happy, for she was going to visit her grandfather and grandmother, and she knew she should enjoy herself on the fine farm, scampering about over the fields, raking the new-mown hay, and riding on the top of the load.