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kind clergyman's charity. When I felt myself nourished and cheered by a little tea or broth, which he daily sent me from his own slender provision, my heart smote me, to think how I had daily sat down at home to a plentiful dinner, without any sense of thankfulness for my own abundance, or without inquiring whether my poor sick neighbors were starving; and I sorrowfully remembered, that what my poor sister and I used to waste through daintiness, would now have comfortably fed myself and child. Believe me, my dear mother, a laboring man, who has been brought low by a fever, might often be restored to his work some weeks sooner, if, on his recovery, he was nourished and strengthened by a good bit from a farmer's table. Less than is often thrown to a favorite spaniel, would suffice; so that the expense would be almost nothing to the giver, while to the receiver it would bring health, and strength, and comfort, and recruited life. And it is with regret I must observe that young women in our station are less attentive to the comforts of the poor, less active in visiting the cottages of the sick, less desirous of instructing the young, and working for the aged, than many ladies of higher rank. The multitude of opportunities of this sort which we neglect, among the families of our father's distressed tenants and workmen, will, I fear, one day appear against us.
"By the time I was tolerably recovered, I was forced to leave the house. I had no human prospect of subsistence. I humbly asked of God to direct my steps, and to give me entire obedience to his will. I then cast my eyes mournfully on my child; and though prayer had relieved my heart of a load, which, without it, would have been intolerable, my tears flowed fast, while I cried out in the bitterness of my soul, How many hired servants of my father have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger!' This text appeared a kind of answer to my prayer, and gave me courage to make one more attempt to soften you in my favor. I resolved to set out directly to find you, to confess my disobedience, and to beg a scanty pittance, with which I and my child might be meanly supported in some distant country, where we should not, by our presence, disgrace our more happy relations. We set out, and travelled as fast as my weak health and poor George's little feet and ragged shoes would permit. I brought a little bundle of such work and necessaries as I had left, by selling which we subsisted on the road.” “I hope,” interrupted Bragwell, “there were no cabbage-nets in it?” “ At least,” said her mother, “I hope
you did not sell them near home?” “No; I had none left," said Mrs. Incle, “or I should have done it. I got many a lift in a wagon for my child and my bundle, which was a great relief to me, as I should have had both to carry. And here I cannot help saying, I wish drivers would not be too hard in their demands, if they help a poor sick traveller on a mile or two; it proves a great relief to weary bodies and naked feet; and such little cheap charities may be considered as the cup of cold water,' which, if given on right grounds,
shall not lose its reward."" Here Bragwell sighed, to think, that when mounted on his fine bay mare, or driving his neat chaise, it had never once crossed his mind that the poor way-worn traveller was not equally at his ease, nor had it ever occurred to him that shoes were a necessary accommodation. Those who want nothing, are apt to forget how many there are who want every thing.–Mrs. Incle went on: “I got to this village about seven this evening, and while I sat on the church-yard wall to rest, and meditate how I should make myself known at home, I saw a funeral; I inquired whose it was, and learnt it was my sister's. This was too much for me. I sank down in a fit, and knew nothing that happened to me from that moment, till I found myself in the work-house, with my father and Mr. Worthy."
Here Mrs. Incle stopped. Grief, shame, pride, and remorse, had quite overcome Mr. Bragwell. He wept like a child, and said, he hoped his daughter would pray for him; for that he was not in a condition to pray for himself, though he found nothing else could give him any comfort. His deep dejection brought on a fit of sickness : “O!” said he, “ I now begin to feel an expression in the sacrament which I used to repeat without thinking it had any meaning—the
remembrance of my sins is grievous, the burthen of them is intolerable.' Ở! it is awful to think what a sinner a man may be, and yet retain a decent character! How many thousands are in my condition, taking to themselves all the credit of their prosperity, instead of giving God the glory! heaping up riches to their hurt, instead of dealing their bread to the hungry! O! let those who hear of the Bragwell family, never say that vanity is a little sin. In me it has been the fruitful parent of a thousand sins,-selfishness, hardness of heart, forgetfulness of God. In one of my sons, vanity was the cause of rapine, injustice, extravagance, ruin, self-murder. Both my daughters were undone by vanity, though it only wore the more harmless shape of dress, idleness, and dissipation. The husband of my daughter Incle it destroyed, by leading him to live above his station, and to despise labor. Vanity ensnared the souls even of his pious parents ; for while it led them to wish to see their son in a better condition, it led them to allow him such indulgences as were unfit for his own. .0! you who hear of us, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God; resist high thoughts ; let every imagination be brought into obedience to the Son of God. If you set a value on finery, look into that grave; behold the mouldering body of my Betsy, who now says to corruption, Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister.' Look to the bloody and brainless head of her husband. O, Mr. Worthy, how does Providence mock at human foresight! I have been greedy of gain, that the son of Mr. Squeeze might be a great man : he is dead; while the child of Timothy Incle, whom I had doomed to beggary, will be my heir. Mr. Worthy, to you I commit this boy's education : teach him to value his immortal soul more, and the good things of this life less, than I have done. Bring him up in the fear of God, and in the government of his passions. Teach him that unbelief and pride are at the root of all sin. I have found this to my cost. I trusted in my riches; I said, “To-morrow shall be as this day, and more abundant. I did not remember, that ‘for all these things God would bring me to judgment. I am not sure that I believed in a judgment: I am not sure that I be. lieved in a God.”
Bragwell at length grew better, but he never recovered his spirits. The conduct of Mrs. Incle, through life, was that of a humble Christian. She sold all her sister's finery, which her father had given her, and gave the money to the poor; saying, “It did not become one who professed penitence to return to the gayeties of life.” Mr. Bragwell did not oppose this; not that he had fully acquired a just notion of the selfdenying spirit of religion, but having a head not very clear at making distinctions, he was never able, after the sight of Squeeze's mangled body, to think of gayety and grandeur, without thinking, at the same time, of a pistol and bloody brains; for, as his first introduction into gay life had presented him with all these objects at one view, he never afterwards could separate them in his mind. He even kept his fine buffet of plate always shut; because it brought to his mind the grand unpaid-for sideboard that he had seen laid out for Mr. Squeeze's supper, to the remembrance of which he could not help tacking the idea of debts, prisons, executions, and self-murder.
Mr. Bragwell's heart had been so buried in the love of the world, and evil habits were become so rooted in him, that the progress he made in religion was very slow ; yet he earnestly prayed and struggled against sin and vanity; and when his unfeeling wife declared she could not love the boy, unless he was called by their name, instead of Incle, Mr. Bragwell would never consent, saying, he stood in need of every help ; against pride. He also got the letter which Squeeze wrote just before he shot himself, framed and glazed ; this he hung up in his chamber, and made it a rule to go and read it as often as he found his heart disposed to VANITY.
'TIS ALL FOR THE BEST.*
“ It is all for the best,” said Mrs. Simpson, whenever any misfortune befell her. She had got such a habit of vindicating Providence, that, instead of weeping and wailing under the most trying dispensations, her chief care was to convince herself and others, that however great might be her sufferings, and however little they could be accounted for at present, yet that the Judge of all the earth could not but do right. Instead of trying to clear herself from any possible blame that might attach to her under those misfortunes which, to speak after the manner of men, she might seem not to have deserved, she was always the first to justify Him who had inflicted it. It was not that she superstitiously converted every visitation into a punishment; she entertained more correct ideas of that God who overrules all events. She knew that some calamities were sent to exercise her faith, others to purify her heart; some to chastise her rebellious will, and all to remind her that this “ was not her rest;" that this world was not the scene for the full and final display of retributive justice. The honor of God was dearer to her than her own credit, and her chief desire was to turn all events to his glory.
Though Mrs. Simpson was the daughter of a clergyman, and the widow of a genteel tradesman, she had been reduced, by a succession of misfortunes, to accept of a room in an alms-house. Instead of repining at the change, instead of dwelling on her former gentility, and saying, “How handsomely she had lived once; and how hard it was to be reduced ; and she little thought ever to end her days in an alms-house;" which is the common language of those who were never so well off before; she was thankful that such an
* A profligate wit of a neighboring country having attempted to turn this doctrine into ridicule, under the same title here assumed, it occurred to the author that it might not be altogether useless to illustrate the same doctrine on Christian principles. [The work here alluded to is the “ Candide," or the Optimist, of Voltaire; the object of which is, not only to ridicule the doctrine of providence, but to confound all distinction between good and evil, virtue and vice. ED.]