Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

i " On the morning she was to go on board the vessel, she intrusted her two youngest children to the care of the captain, taking the eldest with her to the spot where she had interred the remains of her departed husband, whose tears mingled with her own when standing near his grave. Having paid this last respect to his memory, she haştened to the beach-stepped into the boat ;-but, alas! the boat upset, and though she was saved, her child perished.”

Page 3.





' 66 When the character is consistent, prejudice cannot ridicule, nor infidelity sneer. An enlightened judgment will enable you to attain and to preserve consistency,--that infallible criterion of a highly finished Christian character, the want of which makes some really religious persons not a little vulnerable. It was this want in some of his people which led an eminent divine, at once a man of deep piety and lively wit, to say, that

there were some good persons with whom it would be time. enough to be acquainted in heaven.'” Mrs. Hannah More.


* “We have, residing in our neighbourhood, a most

interesting and charming woman, in whose society it is . my privilege to pass away many pleasant hours, and to

whom I am much attached: but she is not perfect, though she unites in her character as great an assemblage of excellencies as I have ever known centre in one person. She lives in an elegant chateau--possesses a genteel fòrtune-and is the mother of two of the most lovely children I ever saw. As the leading events of her history are rather singular, I presume you will not deem them unacceptable. She was left an orphan when about seven years of age, and was placed under the care of the pious Misses P ; who took great pains with her education, and endeavoured to instil into her mind the pure principles of our holy religion. When she had attained the age of twenty she received the addresses of Mr. C , and in the course of a few months they were married. Mr. Cwas an intelligent, clever man, but of a restless turn of mind-passionately fond of his home, yet always expressing a wish to see the world; and having gained the consent of his amiable wife, he purchased a commission in the army, and soon after left his native country for the Indies. Here they resided for the space of five · years, during which time they became the parents of . three children; and though they had lost many of their friends by death, yet they had not had a day's illness in that unhealthy clime. But, alas ! how often have we

seen the clearest sky suddenly overcast by the clouds of a threatening evil, and beheld the desolating tempest laying waste the most guarded inheritance, without giving any previous notice of its approach.

“Her husband returned from parade one evening rather earlier than usual, and soon after he had taken a little refreshment he complained of sickness: the fatal disorder rapidly increased, and within the space of twenty-four hours he breathed his last. As soon as she could recover from the shock of this sudden disaster, she resolved to return to England; and having engaged with the captain of a vessel which was to sail in the course of two or three weeks, she adjusted her affairs, and prepared to embark. On the morning she was to go on board the vessel she intrusted her two youngest children to the care of the captain, taking the eldest with her to the spot where she had interred the remains of her departed husband, whose tears mingled with her own when standing near his grave. Having paid this last tribute of respect to his memory, she hastened to the beach--stepped into the boat;- but, alas! the boat upset, and though she was saved, her child perished.

“There was on board this vessel a pious Missionary, with his wife, who was returning to his native home for the benefit of his health. They paid great attention to Mrs. C-- and her dear babes, and endeavoured, by every expression of sympathy and kindness, to comfort her; but, like Rachel, who made the village of Ramah to resound with her bitter lamentations over her slaughtered infants, she refused to be comforted, till the Lord was pleased, by the small, still voice of his Spirit, to speak peace to her troubled soul. At first, she informs me, she felt more disposed to impeach the equity of the Supreme Being, in allowing such disasters to befal her, than to acknowledge his goodness in saving her life when exposed to the perils of the deep: but when she became more collected, and viewed her character and conduct through the medium of the Scriptures, her heart began to melt into contrition, and she began to pray, that these severe dispensations of Providence might be employed to promote her spiritual and eternal welfare. After this direction had been given to the tone of her mind, she spent much of her time with the pious Missionary and his lady, whose conversation, and whose prayers she found eminently conducive to her best interests.

« On her arrival in England, she resolved to devote her attention to the education of her children. She has now resided in the village about two years; and is generally esteemed for her politeness and amiability. I had often heard of ber misfortunes before I had ever seen her, and longed to be introduced to her; but I could not gain access, till I very providentially met her at the door of a poor man's cottage, to whom we were both going on the errand of mercy. She took her seat by his bed-side, as one accustomed to administer relief to the necessitous and unhappy; and though my presence imposed some degree of restraint on her feelings, yet she directed his attention to the Saviour in the most energetic manner, and then knelt down and prayed with him. You may judge of my surprize when listening to the holy eloquence of her lips, as I had not previously heard of her piety. We walked away together, but did not separate till we had laid the foundation of an intimacy which has proved as a well-spring of happiness to me. She is intelligent, and at times rather cheerful; yet there is a deep tinge of melancholy on her spirits, which nothing but time can obliterate.

“As she received her religious education under the Misses P- , who are, as you well know, rigidly attached to our Establishment, she regularly attends the church,' though she does not approve of the doctrines which are delivered in it. She condemns the rector for not preaching the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet gives him the sanction of her presence-longs for the introduction of an evangelical ministry amongst the people, and yet will not support it, because its administrations are conducted in our Village Chapel. We have had several discussions on this subject, but she is so deeply intrenched in her prejudices that I can make no impression on her. From her intercourse with some of the pious of our little congregation, she is compelled to admit, that they understand the things of the Spirit of God, which are deemed foolishness by most of the members of her own community, and yet she endeavours to entice them away; and notwithstanding the sweetness of her natural disposition, she often censures, with some degree of severity, the zeal of our pious minister, who goes about doing good. She is anxious for the conversion of sinners, but wishes to see them converted within the pale of the Establishment; and though she confesses, that the preaching of the gospel is the ordained means of accomplishing it, yet she says, we are not to limit the Holy One of Israel, who can bring his gracious purposes to pass without the intervention of those means which he generally employs. She acknowledges, that it is the duty of Christians to take up the cross, and follow the Saviour through evil and through good report, and yet she objects to follow him if he tread on unconsecrated ground; and while she prays, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? she reserves to herself the right of prescribing the limit and extent of her own obedience.*

“ I feel with you, my dear Miss Roscoe, a strong attachment to our Establishment, and would prefer worshipping the Lord of hosts within its hallowed walls ; but I feel no charm in the place whence the gospel is excluded ; and though I would not rashly condemn those who do, yet I think they are governed more by superstitious prejudices than holy principles, and act a part in the drama of social life which is no less disho- . nourable to their. Christian character, than it is injurious in its moral influence. They withhold from the gospel of Christ, which is preached in a chapel, the sanction of their presence, and give it to a style of preaching which they believe to be pernicious ; and though they attempt to palliate their conduct by pleading their attachment to the Establishment of their country, yet can they believe that their Lord and Master would commend them when he has commanded us to take heed what we hear.

A DECIDED CHARACTER.” " I remember, when I had the pleasure of meeting you at B- , our conversation turned on decision of character, when you very justly remarked, that “great care is required in the possessors of it to prevent them from becoming unamiable. I have seen this quality * The intelligent reader is requested to read No.40 of this series.

« PreviousContinue »