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Title: eldest child.
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Title: eldest child.
Series Title: eldest child.
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Publisher: Religious Tract Society
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Bibliographic ID: UF00056850
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Main
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Poem
        Page 18
Full Text






THE ELDEST CHILD


M" MAMMA, why do you call me your
-eldest child?" said William B- a
little boy of six years old.
i "Because, my dear," replied his
mother, "you were first born into the




THE ELDEST CHILD.


family, and have lived longer in the
world than any of your brothers or
sisters."
"Mamma, is the eldest child always
the best child in the house ?"
"No, William, he may be the very
worst. But why do you ask me this
question; do you think you are better
than all your brothers and sisters ?"
No, mamma, I am sure I am not;
but you often tell me I should be the
best, as I am the eldest."
"And so you should, my love. Have
you not more sense, and know more
than either Ann or James? And, as
you have lived longer than they, you
should have got more wisdom; as God
sends us into this world that we may
daily grow in knowledge, both of him-
self, and of every thing useful for us
to know. The longer you live the
2




THE ELDEST CHILD.

wiser you should become, and as you
grow in wisdom you should also grow
in goodness."
"But, mamma, I do not think that
people get wiser and better as they
grow older; for the other day, when
you took me up the street, I heard an
old man with very white hair taking
God's name in vain, and saying such
sinful words, that even Richard, young
as he is, would not have dared to say."
"And so you might, William, hear
many an aged person say the same;
but those wicked people who are
neither afraid nor ashamed to live in
great and open sins, have seldom had
a good or kind friend to teach them
what was right; their parents have
almost always been as bad as they
are,: so that, instead of setting them
a good example, or teaching them to




THE ELDEST CHILD.


love and fear God, they have trained
them to tell lies, curse, steal, and do
-many other sinful things. But it is
not so with you, William; for the
desire of the heart and the prayer of
your parents is, that you may be
saved, and live a holy and useful life
here, until God sees fit to take you
to himself in heaven; therefore your
papa and I endeavour to train you
up in the way you should go; and
we trust that when you are old you
will not depart from it; for so the
Bible teaches us to do. Do you'
know, dear William, what it also says
of the servant who knew his mas-
ter's will, and did it not ?'"
"Yes, mamma; 'he will be beaten
with many stripes.' "
Just so,William; and God will have
surely spoken those words against




THE ELDEST CHILD.
you, if you do not follow what we
have taught you, and not only run
into sin yourself, but lead your bro-
thers and sisters along with you."
"No, no, mamma, I am sure I would
never wish to make them bad, even if
I were so myself." '
Perhaps not, my love; but you
must not forget, that when you fall
into sin, you not only hurt your own
soul, but theirs also; as it is very
likely they will do the very same as
you do. When you got up into the
tree in the grass field and sat among
the branches, what did Ann and
James do ?"
Oh they called out at once, that
they must get up too."
"And when they saw you smile the
other morning at family prayers, what
did they do?"




THE ELDEST CHILD.


"Indeed, mamma, they were not
good, for they laughed outright; so
that papa sent them both to the nur-
sery."
Now, William, look into your own
heart, and tell me who was most to
be blamed ? Had you been quite
grave, do you think they would have
acted so sinfully as to disturb the
whole family, when they were reading
God's word?"
No, mamma; I think they would
not. I was most to be blamed in
setting them a bad example."
So I thought, William; and this
was the reason why I made you
sit at the side table and breakfast
alone, while the other two children
sat at the same table with papa and
me. But if they follow you in small
things, they will do so in large things
4




THE ELDEST CHILD.


also; if they see you disobey your
parents, so will they; if you allow
yourself to fall into the sinful habit
of speaking what is not true, no doubt
they will do the same; and you will
not only have to answer before God
for your own sins, but also for the sins
you lead them into."
"Oh! mamma, that would be a
sad thing!"
"Sad indeed, my dear child; yet
it is true. May God in his mercy
save you from it, and guide you to
walk in his ways, and to bring your
friends along with you!"
"Well, mamma, I will try and do
so. But do you think the children
will follow me in what is good, as well
as in what is naughty ?"
I fear in this case, dear William,
they will not care to do just as they




THE ELDEST CHILD.

see you do; for you know what the
Bible says about the heart of man."
"Yes, mamma; that it is full of
sin, and does not love God."
"Then, William, which way will
the heart lead us ?"
"Far from God, mamma."
"So it is, my dear; and so vile do
we find our own hearts, if we ever
look into them to try them, and to see
how sinful they are, that we may
watch over them to keep them back
from sin. But if the children do not
follow you in every thing that is
right, they will-no doubt follow your
example in many things; or at least
you cannot then blame yourself for
leading them into sin. When you
are very quiet and attentive in the
house of God, the children are often
the same; when you try to learn your
a




THE ELDEST CHILD.

lessons, so do they; but when you
are silly and giddy, they are silly and
giddy too, as they are always watch-
ing to see what you are doing: so
that you may lead them to' good or
evil."
"Oh! mamma, that reminds me of
my little cousin Elizabeth, who showed
her sister such a bad example, and
brought her into great mischief; so
that they were both nearly killed. Do
please, mamma, tell me all about it
again."
I will, William, as it may be a
warning to you of the power of bad
example. Your grandmamma had
been very unwell, and having taken
some strong medicine, a small quan-
tity of which would have poisoned
either a child or a grown person, she
placed the bottles on the chimney-




THE ELDEST CHILD,


piece, and left the room. Some time
after, Elizabeth came in, along with
her younger sister. She then got
up on the table, and told Jane to
do the same; and then, as a very
naughty child only would do, she
took down the bottle, and having
drunk some herself, .gave the rest to
Jane, and spilt what she did not like
about the table. When her grand-
mamma and aunt found out what a
sad thing she had done, they were
much alarmed; as they thought she
had killed both herself and sister.
But they soon gave both the children
some medicine which made them very
sick, and God in his mercy blessed
it for their good; so that they at
length became well again. But aunt
Annie got so great a fright, that
she became very ill, and was con-




THE ELDEST CHILD.


fined to bed for some days. So
you see all the evil that naughty
little girl did; for if Elizabeth had
not, gone up first, little Jane, who is
a very quiet and good child, would
not have thought of doing so. But
I am sorry to say, her eldest sister
often leads her into sin, as she is a
wild, giddy girl."
"That is a sad story, mamma. ,But
I am sure I would never teach the
little children of this house to do any-
thing half so naughty."
"Do not boast of your own 'good-
ness, my dear child. Do you quite
forget what happened to Peter, when
he thought himself so very good a
man, that nothing would make him
forsake or deny his Master ?"
"Yes, ma~ ma ; God soon taught
him that he was only a weak sinful




THE ELDEST CHILD.


man; for shortly after he denied his
Master with oaths and curses, and
swore that he had never known him."
Then take care,William; never be
proud of your own goodness ; for you
have no more strength to keep you
from sin than Peter had. Still you
can do all things through Christ
who will give you strength."
"But, mamma, though one little
child could lead another into sin, I
am sure a large boy would be too
wise to follow even his brother in what
is wicked."
"By no means, William; large
boys are as easily led into sin as little
boys, and if your brothers follow you
now in what is wrong, they will do
just the same ten years hence. I have
often known the eldest of a family
lead all the younger children to ruin;
12




THE ELDEST CHILD.


and this, dear William, is the reason
I so much wish that you should fear
the Lord even from your childhood,
that the other children may walk in
your footsteps, or-at least have no
bad example before them. Do you
not remember the beautiful story I
read to you of David and Abner
Brown, two little brothers who feared
God, and helped each other on to
heaven? But I grieve to say, that
there are few brothers who walk in
their steps, while there are many
who lead each other into hell."
0 mamma, that is dreadful!"
"It is dreadful indeed; but we see
cases of this kind every day. Have
I not often told you of poor Mrs. F.,
whose husband died when her chil-
dren were quite young? Surely they
should have been a comfort to her in
1 S




THE ELDEST CHILD.


her trouble; but instead of this, as
the eldest grew up to be a man, he
became very wicked: he was unkind
to his mother, who is almost broken-
hearted. The rest of the children
are going on in the same path; one by
one they follow their eldest brother's
wicked example; while their poor
mother trembles to see the ruin that
is coming on them in this world, and
the misery that is for ever before them
in the next world: far happier would
she be had they never been born."
0 dear mamma, are you afraid
that when I grow up, I shall be like
that wicked boy ?"
"God forbid it, my child But I
once more warn you, with this sad
example before your eyes, not to for-
get, that, as the eldest child in the
family, the younger children will be
14




THE ELDEST CHILD.

likely to follow you, whether in good
or evil; but if you desire to walk in
God's ways, and to see your brothers
and sisters do the same, that you may
all meet as one happy family in hea-
ven, never more to part again, you
must 'Remember now your Creator
in the days of your youth.' You must
believe in Jesus Christ, who died on
the cross to save sinners, and trust in
his word. Those that seek me early
shall find me.' "
"I will ask God to give me grace
to do so, mamma, and I have just
been thinking, that if I take Jesus
Christ as my example, I shall neither
run into the ways of sin myself, nor
lead others after me."





THE ELDEST CHILD.

Jrsus Christ, my Lord and Saviour,
Once became a child like me:
Oh that, in my whole behaviour,
He my pattern still might be

All my nature is unholy,
Pride and passion dwell within;
But the Lord was meek and lowly,
And was never known to sin.

While I'm often vainly trying
Some new pleasure to possess,
He was always self-denying,
Patient in his worst distress.

Let me never be forgetful
Of his precepts any more,
Idle, passionate, and fretful,
As I've often been before

Lord. though now thou art in glory,
We have thine example still:
I can read thy sacred story,
And obey thy holy will.

Help me by that rule to measure
Every word, and every thought;
Thinking it my greatest pleasure
There to learn what thou hast taught.



BEIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY: INSTITUTED 1799
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