Page images
PDF
EPUB

compels them to feel the evil and the bitterness of their șin, yet he finally restores unto them the joy of his salvation; but when he has given up an apostate to the judicial hardness of his heart, neither the language of mercy, nor the terrois of judgment will produce any other effect than that of accelerating the dreadful catastrophe. He goes on waxing worse and worse, till at length he comes to the fearful end of his career. Thus it was with Mr. Beaufoy. The extreme agony into which he was thrown by the simple appeals of his mother's letter, and the ardour of reflection which they excited, gradually abated; but he felt it necessary to adopt some novel and extraordinary expedients, to gain some small degree of tranquillity. His attachment to his wife was strong, and had gained such ascendancy over him that he refused to leave his home except she accompanied him; but now a melancholy gloom was cast over all his pleasant things, and those from which he had extracted the sweetest comforts of life became as bitter as wormwood to his taste. Though he forbore, at this early stage of his mental anguish, to reproach her as the cause of his apostacy, yet he secretly laid the sin to her charge, and began occasionally to feel that her society aggravated the evil, which her kindness prompted her to attempt to alleviate. He became reserved, refused to attend any place of worship, and often protracted his visits from home to a very late hour. At first Mrs. Beaufoy hoped that another sudden change would take place, and bring back the domestic happiness of former times, and she refused to harbour the impressions which circumstances produced on her mind; but at length she was awakened to a full discovery of the extent of the misery by which she was surrounded. Her husband was no more the interesting and affectionate companion of her retired hours--no more the attentive and fond lorer,-haring devoted himself to the society of strange women, er to the company of the sons of dissipation and rice. He rarely returned home till long after her eyes had become heavy by watching for him; and when he did, it was only to exhibit his own disgrace, and tortan her feelings She would sometimes renture to remonstrate with him, and hang over him with all the affection of former dars, when his heart would give

way to its subduing force ;' but having lost the power of self-controul, and entailed on himself a portion of anguish' too great to be borne, he felt compelled to seek for ease amidst the scenes of convivial mirth and folly.9 0

3. leta

. 13 This is an expedient to which many resort when trouble cometh upon them; but it increases the evil it is intended to remove; , for though it may give a temporary exhilaration to the spirits, and drive away, for a short season, the fearful forebodings of future woe, yet they return with redoubled force to inflict keener anguish. A Voice is sometimes heard speaking to the man of sorrows from the celestial glory, saying, Call upon me in the day of thy calamity, and I will hear thee: but that voice cannot be heard amidst the riot and confusion of a theatre or a tavern. · It speaks to him when he is alone—bowed down beneath his burden, and despairing of help.." Retire then, thou poor backslider from the haunts of evil-and yet hope for mercy. Thy guilt is great, thy wound is deep, but there is virtue in the balm of Gilead, when applied by the great Physician to heal it. Go, then, into thy closet, shut the door about thee, confess thy sin, shed the penitential tear, and heave the penitential sigh, and implore for forgiveness. Here others have acknowledged their iniquities, and here they have obtained consolation. Your case may be desperate but it is not hopeless; and though you may be tempted to despair, yet resist the temptation, as that seducing spirit which would at once seal your final doom. . T, As many months had now elapsed since either of them had been to any place of worship, Mrs. Beaufoy availed herself of an opportunity which occurred to allude to it, when her husband" replied, “I wish you to go for it is enough that one of us perish.” Dreading the return of his paroxysm of agony, she diverted his attention from the subject, and endeavoured by her soothing kindness to cheer his spirits. She so far succeeded as to bring over his countenance his pleasant smile, but little did she imagine when tracing on his features the picture of his youthful contentment and felicity, that the whole was so soon to be obliterated by the image of despair. The servant entered the parlour with a letter which she gave to her master. 'He placed

[ocr errors]

178

...........

it on the table, and sat using for some minutes. He wept, though unconscious of the tear that gently stole a passage from his half-closed eye; and sighed, though he knew not that any ear was listening. He again took the letter-pressed it to his lips, and wept, and sighed again, yet seemed to act as though he thought himself alone. “Yes, my mother, I know thy hand, and if thou knewest the agony of my heart thou wouldst pity me." He opened it-attempted to read it, but he had not read many words before he started from his seat, as if wounded by an invisible hand, threw the letter on the ground, and was retiring abruptly from the room, when he recognized his wife. “What's the matter, my Henry," she exclaimed, as she attempted to follow him. “Read that,” he sternly replied, pointing to the letter on the floor, and suddenly withdrew, closing the door after him.

“ MY DEAR HENRY, . “Your father is no more: he died last night, just as the parish clock was striking eleven. He ne'er smiled on us after he heard that you had orsaken the Lord, and he went to the grave mourning. He said just before he died, “Tell my dear boy, for he is still my son, that my last tear was shed on his account;—and when your pious sister wiped off the big tear that was rolling down his grief-worn cheek, he became composed for a few minutes, and then prayed, O Lord God, heal the backslidings of thine Ephraim, and'-but he could not finish, for then he died.

“And now, my son, you have broken your father's heart, I hope you will have compassion on mine, for ’tis very tender, and won't bear much more trouble. If you can come down to the funeral we shall be glad to see you; if not, may the Lord restore and bless you. .

“I know your love of your wife, and I wish you to love her; but I fear she has been a snare to you. If she had feared the Lord she would have kept you from evil; but I understand she does not; and, if that be true, I don't wonder that you have been led astray. May the Lord bless and restore you. . “Your bereaved Mother,

“ A. B. :

THE

[No. 79. Home The :. EVANGELICAL RAMBLER.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

« On ascending the slope which leads to the entrance of the village, we turned round to gaze on the various objects which give such a picturesque beauty to the long extended valley, when our attention was suddenly arrested by the harmony of human voices, which, like the Æolian harp, rose and fell in the power of its melody, with the varying strength of the current which wafted it to our ear." .

| Page 9

PRINTED FOR FRANCIS WESTLEY, 10, STATIONERS''.

COURT, AND AVE-MARIA-LANE.

VILLAGE CHARACTERS.

. ii .

PART II.
6 Not many wise, rich, noble, or profound
In science, win one inch of heavenly ground.
And is it not a mortifying thought,
The poor should gain it, and the rich should not ?"

Cowper.

“ After having taken the whole compass of the village, we passed through one of the finest parks in the kingdom; and, feeling rather fatigued, we sat down to rest ourselves under the shadow of a' clump of trees that stood near the foot-path. As we sat watching the hares and rabbits which came out of a neighbouring coppice and the stately deer which fed around us, unawed by our presence, we were startled by the abrupt interrogations of the 'Squire, whose voice we heard, but whose form we could not discover. Having amused himself some time with our consternation, he came forth from his place of concealment, and in a most good-humoured and kindly manner invited us to take some refreshment at the hali. The invitation was of course accepted, and we soon found. ourselves in a large antique parlour, in which the spirit of hospitality had dwelt from time immemorial. The 'Squire, as he is termed, when young, was rather gay, and, by his extravagance, involved himself in pecuniary embarrassments ; but he took a turn on his marriage with his present wife, and has amassed great wealth.

“He had one child, on whom his affections were strongly placed, who was sent, when eleven years of age, to one of our first-rate classical schools to be prepared for Oxford, where he was to have finished his education; and then, at the decease of his father, to have inherited all his possessions. When about the age of fourteen, according to a barbarous custom which still prevails in most of our great schools, he was chosen by a senior scholar to fight another boy about his own age, strength, and size. They met in a retired part of the play-groundstripped like the low vulgar prize-fighters of the present day--and after contending till his strength was nearly exhausted, he received a blow on his right temple, which sent him lifeless to the ground. At first they

« PreviousContinue »