Page images
PDF
EPUB

was so struck with their fidelity, that he remitted the punishment, and intreated them to allow him to share their friendship.

E. Noble! noble! noble! That was something like friendship.

Mr. F. It is related of lord chief justice Hale, that though he did not relieve common beggars, but set them to work, yet his kindness to the old, the needy, and the sick, was very great. He often invited his poor neighbours to dinner, and made them sit down with him, treating them with every mark of attention; and if any were sick, and could not come, he supplied them with provisions warm from his own table.

Thomas. Very good indeed! Every body must have loved such a kind man as that.

Mr. F. With the humane view of relieving the horrors of captivity, Howard the philanthropist, devoted many years of his life to visit the prisons of this and foreign countries, which were at that time in a dreadful state. No difficulty was sufficient to deter him, no danger daunted him in his humane career. He explored the noisome and pestilential dungeons of England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey; and at last sacrificed his life, in an attempt to find out the nature of the plague, and to cure it.

W. We have heard of Howard. What a humane man he must have been !

Mr. F. Perhaps you may remember reading in the Bible about Abigail. David was so enraged by the churlishness of Nabal, that he was determined to cut off all that belonged to him; but Abigail, the wife of Nabal, by her prudent conduct, and by the presents she gave David, so subdued his anger, that she averted the danger, and David sent her away in peace.

T. I remember reading about Abigail.

Mr. F. The most striking instance of promptitude which I, at this moment, remember, is the following. In consequence of some circumstances which had taken place, it became necessary to send an officer to America. He was required to take out despatches, and to assume an important command. now," said the secretary of state to him, “in how short a time can you be ready to embark?" “ In half an hour, my lord,” was the prompt reply; “but, if it be necessary, in twenty minutes."

T. Twenty minutes, to get ready to go to America ?

Mr. F. Caxton brought into England the art of printing, Jenner introduced the cowpox, and Raikes founded Sunday schools. Think of the Bibles and good books which are now so abundant; consider the lives which have been saved by arresting the pestilence of the smallpox; and reflect on the incalculable benefit conferred on the world by Sunday schools,

66 And

and you will admit that these are striking instances of usefulness. E. Indeed they are.

How I should like to be as useful as Caxton, Jenner, or Raikes!

Mr. F. A poor and aged man, when busily employed, in planting and grafting an apple tree, was reproached for his folly in planting trees, when he could not hope to live long enough to eat the fruit of them. “Others, said he, “planted trees for me before I was born, and those I now plant will show my gratitude when I am dead and gone."

E. Well done, old man! he had a grateful heart.

Mr. F. Some of these examples are such as you are not likely to equal, nor would it be reasonable to expect it. To cultivate kind intentions, and to be able to perform what duties

may
be required of

you,

with a moderate share of self-possession, knowledge, prudence, promptitude, patience, and perseverance, will be as much as we ought to look for from your undertaking of learning to act: and this I really hope you will be able to accomplish.

For a long time after Mr. Franklin had left them, the young people were talking over what had been said. Thomas seemed to think most of the promptitude of the officer, in undertaking to be ready to embark in twenty minutes for America; Edward wished much to be as useful as Raikes, Jenner, or Caxton;

Mary was half disposed to become a prison visitor, and to take a store of good things for the poor prisoners; and little Peter said, that if she did go to the prisons, he would help her to carry the basket.

[graphic]

CHAPTER V.

ACTS OF DUTY AND OBEDIENCE.

Let it not be thought that those, whom God, in his wisdom, has visited with affliction, must of necessity be unhappy, and given to repine. Oh no! the deaf and dumb, the blind and the lame, have their enjoyments; and their heavenly Father can, if he please, and often does, make ample amends for the afflictions of the body, by the peace, and hope, and confidence, and joy, he imparts to the mind. Mr. Franklin was an instance of this. Instead of repining that he could not move about with the activity that once he possessed, he was continually lifting up his heart in thankfulness and praise for his abundant mercies.

True it was, that he was lame; but, on the whole, his general health was good: he had been blessed with prosperity, his family were growing up in the fear of the Lord, and his amiable partner, as well as himself, possessed that inestimable jewel-a sure and certain hope of everlasting life, through the merits and atoning sacrifice of the Redeemer.

The great difficulty in the way of inducing habits of thought among young people, had led him with eagerness to avail himself of the book called “ Learning to Think,” for the

« PreviousContinue »