The Project Gutenberg EBook of Mrs Whittelsey's Magazine for Mothers and
Daughters, by Various

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Title: Mrs Whittelsey's Magazine for Mothers and Daughters
       Volume 3

Author: Various

Editor: Mrs. A. G. Whittelsey

Release Date: February 16, 2006 [EBook #17775]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Josephine Paolucci
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at





That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace.—Bible.




Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1852, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.

Transcriber's note: Minor typos corrected and footnotes moved to end of text.


A Child's Prayer.369
A Child's Reading.129
A Lesson for Husbands and Wives.257
An Appeal to Baptized Children.—By Rev. William. Bannard.141
A Temptation and its Consequences.21
A Word of Exhortation.5
Brotherly Love.—By Rev. M.S. Hutton, D.D.89, 105, 137
Children and their Training.375
Children of the Parsonage.—By Mrs. G.M. Sykes.246
Children's Apprehension of the Power of Prayer.305
Chinese Daughter.—Letter of Mrs. Bridgeman.18
Cousin Mary Rose, or a Child's First Visit.69
Despondency and Hope; an Allegory.—By Mrs. J. Norton.187
Every Prayer should be offered in the Name of Jesus.356
Excessive Legislation.167
Family Government.320
Fault Finding; its Effects.—By Ellen Ellison.13
    "    "   The Antidote.—By Ellen Ellison.156, 180
Filial Reverence of the Turks.292
First Prayer in Congress.308
Female Education.—By Rev. S.W. Fisher.271
     "      "     Physical Training.297
     "      "     Intellectual Training.330
     "      "     363
General Instructions for the Physical Education of Children.336
Gleanings by the Wayside.217, 249, 277
God's Bible a Book for all.220
Infants taught to Pray.192
Inordinate Grief the effect of an Unsubdued Will.301
Instruction of the Young in the Doctrines and Precepts of the Gospel.31
Intellectual Power of Woman.—By Rev. S.W. Fisher.255
Know Thyself.93
Letter from a Father to his Son.241
Light Reading.316
Lux in Tenebras; or a Chapter of Heart History.—By Mrs. G.M. Sykes.286
Memoir of Mrs. Van Lennep.24
Ministering Spirits.20
Mothers need the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.353
My Baby.309
My Little Niece Mary Jane.55, 76
Music in Christian Families.342
Never Faint in Prayer.259
Never tempt another.184
Notices of Books.36, 131, 164
Old Juda.96
One-Sided Christians.283
Opening the Gate.267
Parental Solicitude.165
Prayer for Children sometimes unavailing.213
Recollections Illustrative of Maternal Influence.37
Reminiscences of the late Rev. T.H. Gallaudet.—By Mrs. G.M. Sykes.42
Report of Maternal Associations.—Putnam, O.64
      "      "      "      2d Presb. Church, Detroit, Mich.84
      "      "      "      Salem, Mich.86
Sabbath Meditations.81
The Benefits of Baptism.—By Rev. W. Bannard.120
The Bonnie Bairns.53
The Boy the Father of the Man.339
The Boy who never forgot his Mother.202
The Death-bed Scene.34
The Editor's Table.67
The Family Promise.—By Rev. J. McCarroll, D.D.109
The Importance of Family Religion.—By Rev. H.T. Cheever.48
The Mission Money, or the Pride of Charity.205, 234
The Mothers of the Bible.—Zipporah.101
    "       "       "     The Mothers of Israel at Horeb.133, 188
    "       "       "     The Mother of Samson.197
    "       "       "     Naomi and Ruth.229
    "       "       "     Hannah.261
    "       "       "     Ichabod's Mother.203
    "       "       "     Rizpah.325
    "       "       "     Bathsheba.357
The Mother's Portrait.310
The Orphan Son and Praying Mother.378
The Promise Fulfilled.112, 145
The Riddle Solved.211
The Stupid, Dull Child.175
The Treasury of Thoughts.162
The Wasted Gift, or Just a Minute.125, 150
The Youngling of the Flock.196
The Young Men's Christian Association.—By Mrs. L.H. Sigourney.228
To Fathers.—By Amicus.7
To my Father.318
Why are we not Christians?346
Woman.—By Rev. M.S. Hutton, D.D.370

[Pg 5]






Sensible of our accountability to God, of our entire dependence upon his blessing for success in all our undertakings, knowing that of ourselves we can do nothing, but believing that through Christ strengthening us we may accomplish something in his service, we enter upon the duties of another year—the twentieth year of our editorial labors.

With language similar to that which the mother of Moses is supposed to have employed when she laid her tender offspring by the margin of the Nile:—

"Know this ark is charmed
With incantations Pharaoh ne'er employed,
With spells that impious Egypt never knew;
With invocations to the living God,
I twisted every slender reed together,
And with a prayer did every ozier weave"—

we launched our frail bark upon the tide of public opinion. Since then, with varied success, have we pursued[Pg 6] our course—often amid darkness, through difficulties and dangers, and to the present time have we been wafted in safety on our voyage, because, as he did Moses in the ark, "the Lord hath shut us in."

Referring whatever of success has attended our efforts to His blessing, and believing that He has given us length of days, and strengthened our weakness, and poured consolation into our hearts when ready to sink in despair, in answer to persevering and importunate prayer, we come to direct our readers to this source of wisdom and aid,—to urge upon them to engage often in this first duty and highest privilege. Let us go forth, dear friends, to the work we have to do in the education of our families, having invoked the Divine blessing upon our efforts, holding on to the promises of the covenant, and pleading for their fulfillment in reference to ourselves and our households.

As Mrs. H. More has beautifully said: "Prayer draws all the Christian graces into her focus. It draws Charity, followed by her lovely train—her forbearance with faults—her forgiveness of injuries—her pity for errors—her compassion for want. It draws Repentance, with her holy sorrows—her pious resolutions—her self-distrust. It attracts Truth, with her elevated eyes; Hope, with her gospel anchor; Beneficence, with her open hand; Zeal, looking far and wide; Humility, with introverted eye, looking at home."

And who need these graces more than parents, in the government and training of those committed to their charge? Could our Savior rise a great while before day,—forego the pleasures of social intercourse with his beloved disciples, and retiring to the mountains, offer up prayers with strong crying and tears, unto Him who was able to save from death in that he feared, and shall we, intrusted with the immortal destinies of our beloved offspring, refuse to follow his example, and pleading want of time and opportunity for this service, be guilty of unbelief, of indolence, and worldly-mindedness?

You labor in vain, dear readers, unless the arm of the Almighty shall be extended in your behalf, and you cannot receive[Pg 7] the blessing except you ask it. Let then your supplications be addressed to your Father in heaven;—pray humbly, believingly, perseveringly, for wisdom and aid, then may you expect to be blessed. So important is this duty, and so much is it neglected, that we could not forbear to urge your attention thereto, ere we entered upon another year.

And will not our Christian friends remember us in their prayers, asking that we may be directed in what we shall say and do this present year, in the work in which we are engaged? And if God shall answer our united petitions, we shall not labor in vain.




How gladly would the writer gain (were it possible) the ear of every father in the land, if it were but for the short space of one quarter of an hour,—nay, some ten minutes, at a propitious time,—such a time as, perhaps, occasionally occurs, when business cases are not pressing, when the mind is at ease, and the heart has ceased its worldly throbbings. He wants such a quarter of an hour, if it ever exists.

"And for what?" That he may have an opportunity to propose some worldly scheme,—some plan which has reference to the probable accumulation of hundreds of thousands? Nothing of the kind. Fathers at the present day generally need no suggestions of this sort—no impulses from me in that direction. They are already so absorbed, that it is difficult to gain their attention to any matters which do not concern the line of business in which they are engaged.

Look for a moment at that busy, bustling man; you see him walking down Broadway this morning; it is early,[Pg 8] quite early. May be he is calling a physician, or is on some visit to a sick friend. He walks so fast; and though early, there is something on his brow which indicates care and anxiety. And yet I think no one of his family is sick, nor do I know of any of his friends who are sick. I have seen that man out thus early so often, and hurrying at just that pace, that I suspect, after all, he is on his way to his place of business. That, doubtless, is the whole secret. He is engaged in a large mercantile concern. It seems to require—at least it takes—all his attention. He is absorbed in it. And, if you repair to his store or office at any hour of the day, you can scarcely see him,—not at all,—unless it be on some errand connected with his business, or with the business of some office he holds, and which must be attended to; and even in these matters you will find him restless. He attends to you so far as to hear your errand; and what then? Why, if it will require any length of time, he says: "I am very busy at this moment, I can't possibly attend to it to-day; will you call to-morrow? I may then have more leisure." Well, you agree for to-morrow. "Please name the hour," you say. He replies—"I can't name any hour; but call, say after twelve o'clock, and I will catch a moment, if I can, to talk over the business."

Now, that merchant is not to blame for putting you off. His business calls are so many and so complex, that he scarcely knows which way to turn, nor what calculations to make. The real difficulty is, he has undertaken too much; his plans are too vast; his "irons," as they say, are too many.

This is the morning aspect of affairs. Watch that merchant during the day,—will you find things essentially different? The morning, which is dark and cloudy and foggy, is sometimes followed by a clear, bright, beautiful day. The mists at length clear off, the clouds roll away, and a glorious sun shines out broadly to gladden the face of all nature. Not so with the modern man of business. It is labor, whirl, toil, all the day, from the hour of breakfast till night puts an end to the active, hurrying concerns of all men. There is no[Pg 9] bright, cheerful, peaceful day to him. Scarcely has he time to eat—never to enjoy his dinner,—that must be finished in the shortest possible time: often at some restaurant, rather than with his family. Not one member of that does he see from the time he leaves the breakfast table till night, dark night has stretched out her curtain over all things.

Let us go home with him, and see how the evening passes.

His residence, from his place of business, perchance, is a mile or two distant—may be some fifteen or twenty, in which latter case he takes the evening train of cars. In either case he arrives home only at the setting in of the evening shades. How pleasant the release from the noise and confusion of the city! or, if he resides within the city, how pleasant in shutting his door, as he enters his dwelling, to shut out the thoughts and cares of business! His tea is soon ready, and for a little time he gives himself up to the comforts of home. His wife welcomes him, his children may be hanging upon him, and he realizes something of the joys of domestic life!

Scarcely, however, is supper ended, before it occurs to him that there is a meeting of such a committee, or such an insurance company, to which he belongs, and the hour is at hand, and he must go. And he hies away, and in some business on hand he becomes absorbed till the hours of nine, ten, or eleven, possibly twelve o'clock. He returns again to his home, wearied with the toils of the day,—his wife possibly, but certainly his children, have retired,—and he lays his aching head upon his pillow to catch some few hours of rest, and with the morning light to go through essentially the same busy routine, the same absorbing care, the same wearing, weary process.

This is an outline of the life which thousands of fathers are leading in this country at this present time. We do not pretend that it is true of all,—but is it not substantially true, as we have said, of thousands? And not only of thousands in our crowded marts of commerce, but in our principal towns—nay, even in our rural districts. It is an age of impulse. Every thing is proceeding with railroad speed. Every branch of business is urged forward with all practical earnestness.[Pg 10] Every sail is set—main-sail, top-sails, star-gazers, heaven-disturbers—all expanded to catch the breeze, and urge the vessel to her destined port.

This thirst for gain! this panting after fortune! this competition in the race for worldly wealth, or honor, where is it leading the present generation—where?

To men who have families—to fathers, who see around them children just emerging from childhood into youth, or verging toward manhood,—this is and should be a subject of the deepest interest.

Fathers! am I wrong when I say you are neglecting your offspring? Neglecting them? do I hear you respond with surprise;—"Am I not daily, hourly stretching every nerve and tasking every power to provide for them, to insure them the means of an honorable appearance in that rank of society in which they were born, and in which they must move? In these days of competition, who sees not that any relaxation involves and necessarily secures bankruptcy and ruin?"

I hear you, and you urge strongly, powerfully your cause. You must, indeed, provide for your household. You must be diligent in business. You may—you ought in some good measure, to keep up with the spirit, the progress of the age. But has it occurred to you that there is danger in doing as you do; that you will neglect some other interests of your children as important, to say the least, as those you have named? Are not your children immortal? Have they not souls of priceless value? Have they not tendencies to evil from the early dawn of their being? And must not these souls be instructed—watched over? Do they not need counsel—warning—restraint? "O yes!" I hear you say, "they must be instructed—restrained—guided—all that, but this is the appropriate business and duty of their mother. I leave all these to her. I have no leisure for such cares myself; my business compels me to leave in charge all these matters to her."

And where, my friend—if I may speak plainly—do you find any warrant in the Word of God for such assumptions as these? Leave all the care of your children's moral and[Pg 11] religious instruction, guidance, restraint, to their mother! It is indeed her duty, and in most cases she finds it her pleasure, to watch over her beloved ones. And in the morning of their being, and in the first years of their childhood, it is hers to watch over them, to cherish them, and to bring out and direct the first dawnings of their moral and intellectual being.

But beyond this the duties of father and mother are coincident. At a certain point your responsibilities touching the training of your children blend. I find nothing in the Word of God which separates fathers and mothers in relation to bringing up their children in the ways of virtue and obedience to God.

I know what fathers plead. I see the difficulties which often lie in their path. I am aware of the competition which marks every industrial pursuit in the land. And many men who wish it were different, who would love to be more with their families, who would delight to aid in instructing their little ones, find it, they think, quite impossible so to alter their business—so to cast off pressure and care, as to give due attention to the moral and religious training of their children.

But, fathers, might you not do better than you do? Suppose you should make the effort to have an hour each day to aid your wife in giving a right moral direction to your little ones? How you would encourage her! What an impulse would you give to her efforts! Now, how often has she a burden imposed upon her, which she is unable to bear! What uneasiness and worry—what care and trouble are caused her, by having, in this matter of training the children, to go on single-handed! whereas, were your parental authority added to her maternal tenderness, your children would prove the joy of your hearts and the comfort of your declining years. But as you manage—or rather as you neglect to manage them, a hundred chances to one if they do not prove your sorrow, when in years you are not able well to sustain it. Gather a lesson, my friend, from the conduct of David in respect to Absolom. He neglected him—he indulged him,[Pg 12] and what was the consequence? The bright, beautiful, gifted Absolom planted thorns in his father's crown,—he attempted to dethrone him,—he was a fratricide,—he would have been a parricide: and what an end! Oh, what an end! Listen to the sorrowful outpourings of a fond, too fond, unfaithful parent: "My son, oh, my son Absolom,—would to God I had died for thee, oh, Absolom, my son, my son!"

Take another example, and may it prove a warning to such indulgence and such neglect! Eli had sons, and they grew up, and they walked in forbidden ways, and he restrained them not; yet he was a good man: but good men are sometimes most unfaithful fathers, and what can they expect? Shall we sin because grace abounds? Shall we neglect our children in expectation that the grace of God will intervene to rescue them in times of peril? That expectation were vain while we neglect our duty. That expectation is nearly or quite sure to be realized if duty be performed.

But I must insist no longer; I will only add, then, in a word,—that it were far, far better that your children should occupy a more humble station in life—that they should be dressed in fewer of the "silks of Ormus," and have less gold from the "mines of Ind," than to be neglected by a father in regard to their moral and religious training. Better leave them an interest in the Covenant than thousands of the treasures of the world. Your example, fathers,—your counsel—your prayers, are a better bequest than any you can leave them. Think of leaving them in a cold, rude, selfish world, without the grace of God to secure them, without his divine consolation to comfort. Think of the "voyage of awful length," you and they must "sail so soon." Think of the meeting in another world which lies before you and them, and say, Does the wide world afford that which could make amends for a separation—an eternal separation from these objects of your love?[Pg 13]



"What in creation have you done! Careless boy, how could you be so heedless? You are forever cutting some such caper, on purpose to ruin me I believe. Now go to work, and earn the money to pay for it, will you? lazy fellow!"

Coarse and passionate exclamations these, and I am sorry to say they were uttered by Mr. Colman, who would be exceedingly indignant if any body should hint a suspicion that he was, or could be, other than a gentleman, and a Christian. His son, a bright and well-meaning lad of fourteen, had accidentally hit the end of a pretty new walking cane, which his favorite cousin had given him a few hours before, against a delicate china vase which stood upon the mantle-piece, and in a moment it lay in fragments at his feet. He was sadly frightened, and would have been very sorry too, but for the harsh and ill-timed reproof of his father, which checked the humble plea for forgiveness just rising to his lips, and as Mr. Colman left the room, put on his hat and coat in the hall, and closed the street door with more than usual force, to go to his store, the young lad's feelings were anything but dutiful. Just then his mother entered.

"Why James Colman! Did you do that? I declare you are the most careless boy I ever beheld! That beautiful pair of vases your father placed there New Year's morning, to give me a pleasant surprise. I would not have had it broken for twenty dollars."

"Mother, I just hit it accidentally with this little cane, and I'm sure I'm as sorry as I can be."

"And what business has your cane in the parlor, I beg to know? I'll take it, and you'll not see it again for the present, if this is the way you expect to use it. You deserve punishment for such carelessness, and I wish your father had chastised you severely." And taking the offending cane[Pg 14] from his hand, she, too, left him to meditations, somewhat like the following:—

"'Tis too bad, I declare! If I had tried to do the very wickedest thing I possibly could, father and mother would not have scolded me worse. That dear little cane! I told Henry I would show it to him on my way to school, and now what shall I say about it? It's abominable—it's right down cruel to treat me so. When I had not intended to do the least thing wrong, only just as I was looking at the bottom of my cane, by the merest accident the head of it touched that little useless piece of crockery. I hate the sight of you," he added, touching the many colored and gilded fragments with the toe of his boot, as they lay before him, "and I hate father and mother, and every body else—and I'm tired of being scolded for nothing at all. Big boy as I am, they scold me for every little thing, just as they did when I was a little shaver like Eddy. What's the use? I won't bear it. I declare I won't much longer." And then followed reveries like others often indulged before, of being his own master, and doing as he pleased without father and mother always at hand to dictate, and find fault, and scold him so bitterly if he happened to make a little mistake. Other boys of his age had left home, and taken care of themselves, and he would too. "I am as good a scholar as any one in school, except Charles Harvey, and I am as strong as any boy I play with, and pity if I can't take care of myself. Home! Yes, to be sure it might be a dear good home, but father is so full of business, and anxious, and thinking all the time, he never speaks to one of us, unless it is to tell us to do something, or to find fault with what is done. And mother—fret, fret, fret, tired to death with the care of the children, and company, and servants, and societies, and every thing—it really seems as if she had lost all affection for us—me, at any rate, and I am sure I don't care for any body that scolds at me so, and the sooner I am out of the way the better. I am sure if father is trying to make money to leave me some of it, I'd a thousand times rather he'd give me pleasant words as we go along, than all the dollars I shall ever get—yes, indeed I had."[Pg 15]

The above scene, I am sorry to say, is but a sample of what occurred weekly, and I fear I might say daily, or even hourly, to some member of the family of Mr. Colman, and yet Mr. and Mrs. Colman were very good sort of people—made a very respectable appearance in the world, regular at church with their children—ate symbolically of the body, and drank of the blood, of that loving Savior, who ever spake gently to the youthful and the erring—and meant to be, and really thought they were, the very best of parents. Their children were well cared for, mentally and physically. They were well fed, well clothed, attended the best schools—but as they advanced beyond the years of infancy, there was in each of them the sullen look, or the discouraged tone, the tart reply, or the vexing remark, which made them any thing but beloved by their companions, any thing but happy themselves. At home there was ever some scene of dispute, or unkindness, to call forth the stern look, or the harsh command of their parents—abroad, the mingled remains of vexation and self-reproach, caused by their own conduct or that of others, made them hard to be pleased—and so the cloud thickened about them, and with all outward means for being happy, loving and beloved, they were a wretched family. James, the eldest, was impetuous and self-willed, but affectionate, generous, and very fond of reading and study, and with gentle and judicious management, would have been the joy and pride of his family, with the domestic and literary tastes so invaluable to every youth, in our day, when temptations of every kind are so rife in our cities and larger towns, that scarcely is the most moral of our young men safe, except in the sanctuary of God, or the equally divinely appointed sanctuary of home. But under the influences we have sketched, he had already begun to spend all his leisure time at the stores, the railroad dépôts, wharves, engine-houses, and other places of resort for loiterers, where he saw much to encourage the reckless and disobedient spirit, which characterized his soliloquy above quoted. Little did his parents realize the effects of their own doings. Full of the busy cares of this hurrying life, they fancied all was going on well, nor were[Pg 16] they aroused to his danger, until some time after the scene of the broken vase, above alluded to, when his more frequent and prolonged absence from home, at meal times, and until a late hour in the evening, caused a severe reprimand from his father. With a heart swelling with rage and vexation, James went to his room—but not to bed. The purpose so long cherished in his mind, of leaving parental rule and restraint, was at its height. He opened his closet and bureau, and deliberately selected changes of clothing which would be most useful to him, took the few dollars he had carefully gathered for some time past for this purpose, and made all the preparation he could for a long absence from the home, parents, and friends, where, but for ungoverned tempers and tongues, he might have been so useful, respected and happy. When he could think of no more to be done, he looked about him. How many proofs of his mother's careful attention to his wishes and his comfort, did his chamber afford! And his little brother, five years younger, so quietly sleeping in his comfortable bed! Dearly he loved that brother, and yet hardly a day passed, in which they did not vex, and irritate, and abuse each other. He was half tempted to lie down by his side, and give up all thoughts of leaving home. But no. How severe his father would look at breakfast, and his mother would say something harsh. "No. I'll quit, I declare I will—and then if their hearts ache, I shall be glad of it. Mine has ached, till it's as hard as a stone. No, I've often tried, and now I'll go. I won't be called to account, and scolded for staying out of the house, when there is no comfort to be found in it." And again rose before his mind many scenes of cold indifference or harshness from his parents, which had, as he said, hardened his heart to stone. "I'll bid good bye to the whole of it. Little Em,—darling little sister! I wish I could kiss her soft sweet cheek once more. But she grows fretful every day, and by the time she is three years old, she will snap and snarl like the rest of us. I'll be out of hearing of it any way." And he softly raised the window sash, and slipped upon the roof of a piazza, from which he had often jumped in sport with his brothers, and in[Pg 17] a few moments was at the dépôt. Soon the night train arrived, and soon was James in one of our large cities—and inquiring for the wharf of a steamer about to sail for California; and when the next Sabbath sun rose upon the home of his youth, he was tossing rapidly over the waves of the wide, deep, trackless ocean, one moment longing to be again amid scenes so long dear and familiar, and the next writhing, as he thought of the anger of his father, the reproaches of his mother. On he went, often vexed at the services he was called to perform, in working his passage out, for which his previous habits had poorly prepared him. On went the stanch vessel, and in due time landed safely her precious freight of immortal beings at the desired haven—but some of them were to see little of that distant land, where they had fondly hoped to find treasure of precious gold, and with it happiness. The next arrival at New York brought a list of recent deaths. Seven of that ship's company, so full of health and buoyancy and earthly hopes, but a few short months before, were hurried by fevers to an untimely, a little expected grave. And on that fatal list, was read with agonized hearts in the home of his childhood, the name of their first-born—James Colman, aged sixteen.

Boys! If your father and mother, in the midst of a thousand cares and perplexities, of which you know nothing—cares, often increased seven-fold, by their anxieties for you, are less tender and forgiving than you think they should be, will you throw off all regard for them, all gratitude for their constant proofs of real affection, and make shipwreck of your own character and hopes, and break their hearts? No—rather with noble disregard of your own feelings, strive still more to please them, to soothe the weary spirit you have disturbed, and so in due time you shall reap the reward of well-doing, and the blessing of Him, who hath given you the fifth commandment, and with it a promise.

Fathers! Provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged, for the tempter is ever at hand to lead them astray. The harsh reproof—the undeserved blame—cold silence, where should be the kind inquiry, or the affectionate[Pg 18] welcome—oh, how do these things chill the young heart, and plant reserve where should be the fullest confidence, if you would save your child.

Mothers! Where shall the youthful spirit look for the saving influence of love, if not to you? The young heart craves sympathy. It must have it—it will have it. If not found at home, it will be found in the streets, and oh, what danger lurks there! Fathers and mothers—see to it, that if your child's heart cease to beat, your own break not with the remembrance of words and looks, that bite like a serpent and sting like an adder!

Ellen Ellison.



Chánghái, Aug. 15th, 1851.

My dear Mrs. Whittelsey:

In order to keep before my own mind a deep interest for this people, and to awaken corresponding sympathies in my native land, I make short monthly memorandums of my observations among the Chinese. They are indeed a singular people, with manners and customs peculiar to themselves; and it would seem that, in domestic life, every practice was the opposite of our own; but in the kindly feelings of our nature, those whom I have seen brought under the influence of Christian cultivation, are as susceptible as those of any nation on earth. At first they are exceedingly suspicious of you,—they do not, they cannot understand your motives in your efforts to do them good; and it is not until by making one's actions consistent with our words, and by close observation on their part, that you enjoy their confidence.

Since I last wrote I have been quite indisposed. During my husband's absence in committee my nurses were Chinese girls, one eleven, the other thirteen years of age. No mother who had bestowed the greatest care and cultivation upon her[Pg 19] daughters, could have had more affectionate attention than I had from these late heathen girls,—they were indeed unto me as daughters,—every want was anticipated, and every thing that young, affectionate hearts could suggest, was done to alleviate my pain. One has been four years, the other a year and a-half, under instruction. Christianity softens, subdues, and renders docile the human mind, before the dark folds of heathenism have deepened and thickened with increasing years.

One of these pupils, after reading in the New Testament the narrative of Christ's sufferings, one day asks—"Why did Jesus come and suffer and be crucified?" I then explained to her as well as I could in her own tongue. She always seems thoughtful when she reads the Scriptures. Will some maternal association remember in prayer these Chinese girls?

During the current month a vile placard has been published against foreigners, and some of the pupils have been railed at by their acquaintances for being under our instruction. One, on returning from a visit to her friends, told me the bitter and wicked things that were said and written; I asked her if she had found them true? she said "No." I asked her if foreigners, such as she had seen, spoke true or false? She said "always true." Did they wish to kill and destroy the Chinese as the placard stated? She replied, "No; but they helped the poor Chinese when their own people would not." The mothers were somewhat alarmed lest we were all to be destroyed. We told them there was nothing to fear, and their confidence remained unshaken.

The school has enjoyed a recess of a week from study, but they do not go to their own homes, except to return the same day. Our house is just like a bee-hive, with their activity at their several employments; and usually some deprivation is a sufficient punishment for a dereliction from any duty.

Who will pray for these daughters? Who will sympathize with the low-estate of the female sex in China? I appeal to the happy mothers and daughters of America, our[Pg 20] dear native land. Though severed from thee voluntarily, willingly, cheerfully, yet do we love thee still; thy Sabbaths hallowed by the voice of prayer and praise; thy Christian ordinances blessed with the Spirit's power. Oh, when will China, the home of our adoption, be thus enlightened, and her idol temples turned into sanctuaries for the living God?

Eliza J. Bridgman.




Do ANGELS minister to me—
Can such a wonder ever be?
Oh, sure they are too great;
Too glorious with their raiment white,
And wings so beautiful and bright,
Upon a child to wait.

Yet so it is in truth, I know,
For Jesus Christ has told us so,
And that to them is given
The loving task to guard with care
And keep from every evil snare
The chosen ones of heaven.

And so if I am good and mild,
And try to be a holy child,
My angel will rejoice;
And sound his golden harp to Him
Who dwells among the cherubim,
And praise Him with his voice.

But if I sin against the Lord,
By evil thought or evil word,
Or do a wicked thing;
Ah! then what will my angel say?
Oh, he will turn his face away,
And vail it with his wing.

Then let us pray to Him who sends
His angels down to be our friends,
That, strengthened by his grace,
I may not prove a wandering sheep,
Nor ever make my angel weep,
Nor hide his glorious face.
[Pg 21]



Not long since, in one of the cities on the Atlantic seaboard, there was a lad employed in a large jewelry establishment. A part of his duty was to carry letters to the post-office, or to the mail-bag on the boat, when too late to be mailed in the regular way. On one occasion, after depositing his letters, he observed a part of a letter, put in by some other person, projecting above the opening in the bag. Seizing the opportunity he extracted this letter without being seen, and took it home. On examination he found it contained a draft for one thousand dollars. Forging the name of the person on whom it was drawn, he presented the draft at a bank and drew the money, and very soon afterwards proceeded to a distant western city.

After a little while, the draft was missed and inquiries made. It was found that this lad had been near the mailbag on the day when the missing letter had been put in it, that he was unusually well provided with money, and that he had suddenly disappeared. Officers of justice were commissioned to find him. They soon traced him to his new residence, charged him with his crime, which he at once confessed, and brought him back to meet the consequences of a judicial investigation. After a short imprisonment he was released on bail, but still held to answer, and thus the case stands at present. He must of course be convicted, but whether the penalty of the law will be inflicted in whole or in part, it will be for the Executive to say.

Meanwhile the circumstances suggest some thoughts which may be worth the reader's attention. This lad was a member of a Sunday school, but irregular in his attendance, and this latter fact may in some degree explain his wandering from the right path. He might, indeed, have been a punctual attendant on his class, and still have fallen into this gross sin, but it is not at all probable. And it is curious and[Pg 22] instructive, that wherever any inmates of prisons, houses of refuge, or other places of the kind, are found to have been connected with Sunday-schools, it is nearly always stated in accompaniment that they attended only occasionally and rarely.

Again, how much weight is there in Job's remarkable expression (ch. 31:5), I have made a covenant with my eyes! The eye, the most active of our senses, is the chiefest inlet of temptation, and hence the apostle John specifies "the lust of the eyes" as a leading form or type of ordinary sins. The lad in the case before us allowed his eye to dwell on the letter, until the covetous desire to appropriate it had grown into a fixed purpose. Had he made the same covenant as Job, and turned his eye resolutely away as soon as he felt the first wrongful emotion in his heart, the result had been widely different. But he rather imitated the unhappy Achan, who, in recounting his sin, says, "When I saw among the spoils a Babylonish garment and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold, then I coveted them." A fool's eyes soon lead his hands astray.

Here also we see the deceitfulness of the heart. A mere boy of fifteen years, of good ordinary training, at least in part connected with a Sunday-school, and not prompted by any urgent bodily necessity, commits a crime punishable by fine and imprisonment. Had any one foretold to him a week before even the possibility of this occurrence, how indignantly would he have spurned the very thought! That he should become, and deservedly so, the inmate of a felon's cell—how monstrous the supposition! Yet so it came to pass. The heart is deceitful above all things, and he who trusts in it is "cursed." Multitudes find their own case the renewal of Hazael's experience. When Elijah told him the enormities he, when on the throne of Syria, would practice, he exclaimed—"Is thy servant a dog that he should do these things?" He was not then, but he afterwards became just such a dog.

But if the heart be deceitful, sin is scarcely less so. When the poor boy first clutched his prize, as he esteemed it, he[Pg 23] promised himself nothing but pleasure and profit, but how miserably was he deceived! After he had converted the draft into money, and thus rendered its return impossible without detection, he saw his guilt in its true character, and for many nights tossed in torment on a sleepless bed, while at last he was made to take his place along with hardened convicts in a city prison. Thus it always is with sin. Like the book the apostle ate in vision, it is sweet as honey in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. Like the wine Solomon describes, it may sparkle in the cup and shoot up its bright beads on the surface, but at the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder. The experiment has been tried times without number, from the beginning in Eden down to our own day, by communities and by individuals, but invariably with the same result. The way of transgressors is hard, however it may seem to them who are entering upon it a path of primrose dalliance. And surely "whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."

Finally, how needful is it to pray—"Lead us not into temptation." Snares lie all around us, whether old or young, and it is vain to seek an entire escape from their intrusion. The lad we are considering, had not gone out of his way to meet the temptation by which he fell. On the contrary, he was doing his duty, he was just where he ought to have been. Yet there the adversary found him, and there he finds every man. The very fact that one is in a lawful place and condition is apt to throw him off his guard. There is but one safeguard under grace, and that is habitual watchfulness. Without this the strongest may fall—with it, the feeblest may stand firm. O for such a deep and abiding conviction of the keenness of temptation and the dreadful evil of sin as to lead all to cry mightily unto God, and at the same time be strenuous in effort themselves—to pray and also to watch.[Pg 24]



The following review, written by Mrs. D.E. Sykes, of the Memoir of Mrs. M.E. Van Lennep, we deem among the finest specimens of that class of writings. The remarks it contains on the religious education of daughters are so much in point, and fall in so aptly with the design of our work, that we have obtained permission to publish it. We presume it will be new to most of our readers, as it originally appeared in the New Englander, a periodical which is seldom seen, except in a Theological Library.

An additional reason for our publishing it is, our personal interest both in the reviewer, who we are happy to say has become a contributor to our pages, and the reviewed—having been associated with the mothers of each, for a number of years, in that most interesting of all associations, "The Mother's Meeting."

For eleven years, Mary E. Hawes, afterwards Mrs. Van Lennep, was an attentive and interested listener to the instructions given to the children at our quarterly meetings—and it is interesting to know that her mother regards the influence of those meetings as powerfully aiding in the formation of her symmetrical Christian character.

An eminent painter once said to us, that he always disliked to attempt the portrait of a woman; it was so difficult to give to such a picture the requisite boldness of feature and distinctness of individual expression, without impairing its feminine character. If this be true in the delineation of the outer and material form, how much more true is it of all attempts to portray the female mind and heart! If the words and ways, the style of thinking and the modes of acting, all that goes to make up a biography, have a character sufficiently marked to individualize the subject, there is a danger that, in the relating, she may seem to have overstepped the[Pg 25] decorum of her sex, and so forfeit the interest with which only true delicacy can invest the woman.

It is strange that biography should ever succeed. To reproduce any thing that was transient and is gone, not by repetition as in a strain of music, but by delineating the emotions it caused, is an achievement of high art. An added shade of coloring shows you an enthusiast, and loses you the confidence and sympathy of your cooler listener. A shade subtracted leaves so faint a hue that you have lost your interest in your own faded picture, and of course, cannot command that of another. Even an exact delineation, while it may convey accurately a part of the idea of a character, is not capable of transmitting the more volatile and subtle shades. You may mix your colors never so cunningly, and copy never so minutely every fold of every petal of the rose, and hang it so gracefully on its stem, as to present its very port and bearing, but where is its fragrance, its exquisite texture, and the dewy freshness which was its crowning grace?

So in biography, you may make an accurate and ample statement of facts,—you may even join together in a brightly colored mosaic the fairest impressions that can be given of the mind of another—his own recorded thoughts and feelings—and yet they may fail to present the individual. They are stiff and glaring, wanting the softening transition of the intermediate parts and of attending circumstances.

And yet biography does sometimes succeed, not merely in raising a monumental pile of historical statistics, and maintaining for the friends of the departed the outlines of a character bright in their remembrance; but in shaping forth to others a life-like semblance of something good and fair, and distinct enough to live with us thenceforward and be loved like a friend, though it be but a shadow.

Such has been the feeling with which we have read and re-read the volume before us. We knew but slightly her who is the subject of it, and are indebted to the memoir for any thing like a conception of the character; consequently we can better judge of its probable effect upon other minds.[Pg 26] We pronounce it a portrait successfully taken—a piece of uncommonly skillful biography. There is no gaudy exaggeration in it,—no stiffness, no incompleteness. We see the individual character we are invited to see, and in contemplating it, we have all along a feeling of personal acquisition. We have found rare treasure; a true woman to be admired, a daughter whose worth surpasses estimation, a friend to be clasped with fervor to the heart, a lovely young Christian to be admired and rejoiced over, and a self-sacrificing missionary to be held in reverential remembrance. Unlike most that is written to commemorate the dead, or that unvails the recesses of the human heart, this is a cheerful book. It breathes throughout the air of a spring morning. As we read it we inhale something as pure and fragrant as the wafted odor of

"—— old cherry-trees,
Scented with blossoms."

We stand beneath a serene unclouded sky, and all around us is floating music as enlivening as the song of birds, yet solemn as the strains of the sanctuary. It is that of a life in unison from its childhood to its close; rising indeed like "an unbroken hymn of praise to God." There is no austerity in its piety, no levity in its gladness. It shows that "virtue in herself is lovely," but if "goodness" is ever "awful," it is not here in the company of this young happy Christian heart.

We have heard, sometimes, that a strictly religious education has a tendency to restrict the intellectual growth of the young, and to mar its grace and freedom. We have been told that it was not well that our sons and daughters should commit to memory texts and catechisms, lest the free play of the fancy should be checked and they be rendered mechanical and constrained in their demeanor, and dwarfish in their intellectual stature. We see nothing of this exemplified in this memoir. One may look long to find an instance of more lady-like and graceful accomplishments, of more true refinement, of more liberal and varied cultivation, of more[Pg 27] thorough mental discipline, of more pliable and available information, of a more winning and wise adaptation to persons and times and places, than the one presented in these pages. And yet this fair flower grew in a cleft of rugged Calvinism; the gales which fanned it were of that "wind of doctrine" called rigid orthodoxy. We know the soil in which it had its root. We know the spirit of the teachings which distilled upon it like the dew. The tones of that pulpit still linger in our ears, familiar as those of "that good old bell," and we are sure that there is no pulpit in all New England more uncompromising in its demands, more strictly and severely searching in its doctrines.

But let us look more closely at the events of this history of a life, and note their effect in passing upon the character of its subject.

Mary, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Hawes, of Hartford, Conn., was born in 1821. Following her course through her youth, we are no where surprised at the development of any remarkable power of mind. She was prayerful and conscientious, diligent in acquiring knowledge, enthusiastic in her love of nature, evincing in every thing a refined and feminine taste, and a quick perception of the beautiful in art, in literature, and in morals. But the charm of her character lay in the warmth of her heart. Love was the element in which she lived. She loved God—she loved her parents—she loved her companions—she loved everybody. It was the exuberant, gushing love of childhood, exalted by the influences of true piety. She seems never to have known what it was to be repelled by a sense of weakness or unworthiness in another, or to have had any of those dislikes and distastes and unchristian aversions which keep so many of us apart. She had no need to "unlearn contempt." This was partly the result of natural temperament, but not all. Such love is a Christian grace. He that "hath" it, has it because he "dwelleth in God and God in him." It is the charity which Paul inculcated; that which "thinketh no evil," which "hopeth" and "believeth all things." It has its root in humility; it grows only by the uprooting of self. He who[Pg 28] would cultivate it, must follow the injunction to let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of heart esteem others better than himself. As Jesus took a little child and set him in the midst to teach his disciples, so would we place this young Christian woman in the assemblies of some who are "called of men Rabbi, Rabbi," that they may learn from her "which be the first principles" of the Christian life.

But let no one suppose that there was any weakness or want of just discrimination in the subject of this memoir. It is true that the gentler elements predominated in her character, and her father knew what she needed, when he gave her the playful advice to "have more of Cato." Without Christian principle she might have been a victim of morbid sensitiveness, or even at the mercy of fluctuating impulses; but religion supplied the tonic she needed, and by the grace of God aiding her own efforts, we see her possessed of firmness of purpose and moral courage enough to rebuke many of us who are made of sterner stuff.

For want of room we pass over many beautiful extracts from the memoir made to exhibit the traits of her character, and to illustrate what is said by the reviewer.

In September, 1843, Miss H. was married to the Rev. J. Van Lennep, and in the following October sailed with him for his home in Smyrna. Our readers have learned from the letter of Rev. Mr. Goodell, which we lately published, through what vicissitudes Mrs. Van Lennep passed after her arrival at Constantinople, which had been designated as her field of labor.

It was there she died, September 27, 1844, in the twenty-third year of her age, only one year and twenty-three days from her marriage-day, and before she had fully entered upon the life to which she had consecrated herself. Of her it has been as truly as beautifully said:

"Thy labor in the vineyard closed,
Long e'er the noon-tide sun,
The dew still glistened on the leaves,
When thy short task was done."
[Pg 29]

And yet this life, "so little in itself," may be found to have an importance in its consequences, hardly anticipated at first by those who, overwhelmed by this sudden and impetuous providence, were ready to exclaim, "To what purpose is this waste?" Her day of influence will extend beyond the noon or the even-tide of an ordinary life of labor. "Sweet Mary Hawes" (as she is named by one who never saw her, and whose knowledge of her is all derived from the volume we have been reviewing), shall long live in these pages, embalmed in unfading youth, to win and to guide many to Him, at whose feet she sat and learned to "choose the better part." Her pleasant voice will be heard in our homes, assuring our daughters that "there is no sphere of usefulness more pleasant than this;" bidding them believe that "it is a comfort to take the weight of family duties from a mother, to soothe and cheer a wearied father, and a delight to aid a young brother in his evening lesson, and to watch his unfolding mind." They shall catch her alacrity and cheerful industry, and her "facility in saving the fragments of time, and making them tell in something tangible" accomplished in them. They shall be admonished not to waste feeling in discontented and romantic dreaming, or in sighing for opportunities to do good on a great scale, till they have filled up as thoroughly and faithfully as she did the smaller openings for usefulness near at hand.

She shall lead them by the hand to the Sabbath-school teacher's humble seat, on the tract distributor's patient circuit, or on errands of mercy into the homes of sickness and destitution,—into the busy sewing-circle, or the little group gathered for social prayer. It is well too that they should have such a guide, for the offense of the Cross has not yet ceased, and the example of an accomplished and highly educated young female will not fail of its influence upon others of the same class, who wish to be Christians, and yet are so much afraid of every thing that may seem to border on religious cant, as to shrink back from the prayer-meeting, and from active personal efforts for the salvation of others. Her cheerful piety shall persuade us that "it is indeed the simplest,[Pg 30] the easiest, the most blessed thing in the world, to give up the heart to the control of God, and by daily looking to him for strength to conquer our corrupt inclinations, to grow in every thing that will make us like him." Her bright smile is worth volumes to prove that "Jesus can indeed satisfy the heart," and that if the experience of most of us has taught us to believe, that there is far more of conflict than of victory in the Christian warfare,—more shadow than sunshine resting upon the path of our pilgrimage, most of the fault lies in our own wayward choice. The child-like simplicity and serene faith of this young disciple, shall often use to rebuke our anxious fears, and charm away our disquietudes with the whisper—"that sweet word, TRUST, tells all." Her early consecration of her all to the great work of advancing the Redeemer's kingdom, shall rouse us who have less left of life to surrender, to redouble our efforts in spreading like "love and joy and peace," over the earth, lest when it shall be said of her, "She hath done what she could," it shall also be added, "She hath done more than they all."

There has been no waste here,—no sacrifice but that by which, in oriental alchemy, the bloom and the beauty of the flower of a day is transmitted into the imperishable odor, and its fragrance concentrated, in order that it may be again diffused abroad to rejoice a thousand hearts. If any ask again, "To what purpose was this waste?"—we answer, "The Lord had need of it."

We are indebted to God for the gift of Washington: but we are no less indebted to him for the gift of his inestimable mother. Had she been a weak and indulgent and unfaithful parent, the unchecked energies of Washington might have elevated him to the throne of a tyrant, or youthful disobedience might have prepared the way for a life of crime and a dishonored grave.[Pg 31]



Mrs. A.G. Whittelsey:

Dear Madam—It is among the recollections of my early youth, that your departed husband was pastor of one of the churches in the southern section of Litchfield County, Conn. Among the distinguishing religious characteristics of that portion of country, at that period, was the soundness of the Congregational churches in the faith of the gospel: the means for which, in diligent use, were, the faithful preaching of the gospel in its great and fundamental doctrines and precepts; and catechetical instruction, in the family and in the school. I am not informed as to the present habits there, on the latter means. But knowing what was the practice, extensively, in regard to the instruction of children and youth, and what its effects on the interests of sound piety and morals in those days, I feel myself standing on firm ground for urging upon the readers of your Magazine, the importance of the instruction of the young in the doctrines and duties of the gospel. The position taken in your Magazine, on that great and important subject, Infant Baptism, is one which you will find approved and sustained by all who fully appreciate the means for bringing the sons and daughters of the Church to Christ. I hope that in its pages will also be inculcated all those great and distinguishing doctrines and commands of our holy religion, which, in the Bible, and in the minds of all sound and faithful men, and all sound confessions of Christian faith, stand inseparably associated with Infant Baptism.

Such instruction should be imparted by parents themselves; not left to teachers in the Sabbath-school alone; as soon as the minds of children begin to be capable of receiving instruction, of any kind, and of being impressed, permanently, by such instruction. It should be imparted frequently—or,[Pg 32] rather, constantly,—as God directed his anointed people: "And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up." It should be done with clearness and simplicity, adapted to the minds of children and youth; with particularity; and with a fullness, as regards "the whole word of God," which shall not leave them uninstructed in any doctrine or command in the sacred word. These points in the manner of instructing the young are suggested, with an eye to the fact, that since the establishment of Sunday-schools, there is a temptation for parents to leave to others this important work; that it is therefore delayed till the age at which children have learned to read,—by which time, some of the best opportunities for impressing truth have become lost—because also there is infrequency and omission of duty; and because there is not always the requisite pains taken to have children understand what is taught; and indefinite ideas on the doctrines and precepts of the gospel are the consequences; and because there is an inclination, too often indicated, to pass over some doctrines and precepts, under the notion that they are distasteful, and will repel the young mind from religion. We set down as a principle of sound common sense, as well as religion, that every truth of the Bible which is concerned in making men wise unto salvation, is to be taught to every soul whose salvation is to be sought, and that at every period of life.

Let a few words be said, relative to the advantages of thorough and faithful instruction of the young, in the doctrines and duties of the gospel. It pre-occupies and guards their minds against religious error. It prepares them early and discriminately to perceive and understand the difference between Bible truth, and the words taught by men, however ingenious and plausible. It exerts a salutary moral influence, even before conversion takes place,—which is of high importance to a life of correct morality. It prepares the[Pg 33] way for intelligent and sound conversion to God, whenever that desirable event takes place; and for subsequent solidity and strength of Christian character, to the end of life. Added to these, it may in strict propriety be asserted, that the influence of thorough instruction in the sound and sacred truths of God's word is inestimable upon the intellect as well as on the heart. Divine truth is the grand educator of the immortal mind. It is therefore an instrumentality to be used in childhood and youth, as well as in adult years.

The objection often made, to omit instruction as advocated in this article,—that children and youth cannot understand it,—is founded in a mistake. Thousands and thousands of biographies of children and youth present facts which obviate the objection and go to correct the mistake. It is the beauty of what our Savior called "the kingdom of God,"—the religion of the gospel,—that while it is to be "received" by every one "as a little child," it is received by many "a little child," who is early taught it. But on the other hand, it is an affecting and most instructive fact, that of multitudes who are left uninstructed in early life, in the truths of the gospel; that Scripture is proved but too true, "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

May your Magazine, dear Madam, be instrumental in advancing the best interests of the rising generation, by its advocacy of bringing up children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" into which enters, fundamentally, teaching to the young,—by parents themselves,—and that "right early," constantly, clearly, particularly and fully, the truths of the gospel; the sure and unerring doctrine and commands of the Word of God. With Christian salutations, yours truly,

E.W. Hooker.
South Windsor, Conn., August, 1851.
[Pg 34]



The following death-bed conversation of a beloved daughter, detailed to us by her mother, exhibits such sweet resignation and trust in God, that we give it a place in our Magazine. Would that we all might be prepared to resign this life with cheerfulness, and with like hopes enter upon that which is to come!

"Mother," said she, "I once thought I could be a Christian without making a profession of religion, but when God took my little Burnet from me, I knew he did it to subdue the pride of my heart and bring me to the foot of the Cross. Satan has been permitted to tempt me, but the Savior has always delivered me from his snares."

I was absent from her one day for a short time; when I returned she looked at me with such a heavenly expression, and said:

"Mother, I thought just now I was dying; I went to the foot of the Cross with my burden of sins and sorrows, and left them there. Now all is peace; I am not afraid to die."

Her father coming, she took his hand in hers and said:

"My dear father, if I have prayed for one thing more than another, it has been for your salvation, but God, doubtless, saw that my death (which will, I know, be one of the greatest trials you have ever met with) is necessary to save you; and although I love my parents, husband and children dearly as any one ever did, and have every thing in this world that I could wish for, yet I am willing to die—Here, Lord, take me."

Her sister coming in, she said to her:—"My dear Caroline, you see what a solemn thing it is to die. What an awful thing it must be for those who have no God. Dear sister, learn to love the Savior, learn to pray, do not be too much taken up with the world, it will disappoint you."[Pg 35]

After saying something to each one present, turning to me, she said:

"My dear mother, I thank you for your kind care of me, for keeping me from places of dissipation. I thought once you were too strict, but now I bless you for it. I shall not be permitted to smooth your dying pillow, but I shall be ready to meet you when you land on the shores of Canaan. Dear mother, come soon."

To Mr. H. she said:—"Dear husband, you were the loadstone that held me longest to the earth, but I have been enabled to give you up at last. I trust you are a Christian, and we shall meet in heaven. Take care of our children, train them up for Christ, keep them from the world." She then prayed for them. After lying still for some time, she said:

"Mother, I thought I was going just, now, and I tried to put up one more prayer for my husband, children, and friends, but (looking up with a smile), would you believe I could not remember their names, and I just said, Here they are, Lord, take them, and make them what thou wouldst have them, and bring them to thy kingdom at last."

When she was almost cold, and her tongue stiffened, she motioned me to put my head near her.

"My dear child," said I, "it seems to distress you to talk, don't try."

"Oh, mother, let me leave you all the comfort I can, it is you who must still suffer; my sufferings are just over; I am passing over Jordan, but the waves do not touch me; my Savior is with me, and keeps them off. Never be afraid to go to him. Farewell! And now, Lord Jesus, come, O come quickly. My eyes are fixed on the Savior, and all is peace. Let me rejoice! let me rejoice!"[Pg 36]


"Roger Miller," or "Heroism in Humble Life,"—Is the title of a small "Narrative"—a reprint from a London Edition, by Carter and Brothers, 235 Broadway, New York.

The field of benevolent action of this holy man, was that great metropolis—London. His life and character were in fact a counterpart of our own Harlan Page. The somewhat extended "Introduction" to this reprint was prepared by Dr. James Alexander. We feel justified in saying, with his extensive experience, and his keen perceptions of truth and of duty in such matters, this Introduction is worth all the book may cost.

The main thought of the work suggests "The condition of our metropolitan population"—points out the "true remedy" for existing evils—shows us the value of "lay agency," and "how much may be done by individuals of humble rank and least favored circumstances."

Every parent has a personal interest to aid and encourage such benevolent action. Vice is contagious. Let our seaboard towns become flagrantly wicked—with "railroad speed" the infection will travel far and wide. Mothers are invited to peruse this little volume—as an encouragement to labor and pray, and hope for the conversion of wayward wandering sons—for wicked and profligate youth.

Roger Miller, whose death caused such universal lamentation in the city of London, was for many years a wanderer from God, and was at length converted by means of a tract, given him by the "way-side," by an old and decrepit woman.

"Newcomb's Manual"—Is a carefully prepared little volume, containing Scripture questions, designed for the use of Maternal Associations at their Quarterly Meetings.

"Mary Ashton"—Is the title of a little work recently issued from the press, delineating the difference between the character of the London boarding-school Miss, and one of nearly the same age, educated and trained by the devoted, affectionate care of a pious mother. The influence which the latter exerts upon the former is also set forth during the progress of the story. Those readers who are fond of delineations of English scenery and of the time-hallowed influences of the old English Church, will be pleased with the style of the volume, while some few mothers may possess the delightful consciousness of viewing in Mary Ashton the image of their loved ones now laboring in the vineyard of the Lord, or transferred to his more blessed service in the skies. But few such, alas! are to be found among even the baptized children of the Church; those on whom the dew and rain gently distilled in the privacy of home and from the public sanctuary bring forth the delightsome plant. God grant that such fruits may be more abundant![Pg 37]



In thinking over the scenes of my childhood the other day, I was led to trace the path of some of my youthful companions into life; and I could not but be struck with the fact, that in almost every instance, both the character and the condition were referable, in a great measure, to the influence of the mother. Some of them were blessed with good mothers, and some were cursed with bad ones; and though the conviction is not in all the cases marked with equal distinctness, yet in several of them, the very image and superscription of the mother remains upon the child to this day. I sometimes visit the place which was the scene of my early training, and inquire for those who were the playmates of my childhood, and I receive answers to some of my inquiries that well nigh make me shudder; but when I think of the early domestic influence, especially the maternal influence, to which some of them were subjected, there is nothing in the account that I hear concerning them, but what is easily explained. For the cause of their present degradation and ruin, I have no occasion to go outside of the dwelling in which they were reared. I am glad to put on record, for the benefit of both mothers and their children, two of the cases which now occur to me, as illustrative of different kinds of maternal influence.

One of the boys who attended the same school with me, and whose father's residence was very near my father's, was, even at that early period, both vulgar and profane in his talk. He seemed destitute of all sense and propriety, caring nothing for what was due from him to others, and equally regardless of the good-will of his teacher and of his companions. When I returned to the place, after a few years' absence, and inquired for him, I was told that he was growing[Pg 38] up, or rather had grown up, in habits of vice, which seemed likely to render him an outlaw from all decent society: that even then he had no associates except from the very dregs of the community. In my visits to my native place ever since, I have kept my eye upon him, as a sad illustration of the progress of sin. He has been for many years—I cannot say an absolute sot—but yet an intemperate drinker. He has always been shockingly profane; not only using the profane expressions that are commonly heard in the haunts of wickedness, but actually putting his invention to the rack to originate expressions more revolting, if possible, than anything to be found in the acknowledged vocabulary of blasphemy. He has been through life an avowed infidel—not merely a deist, but a professed atheist,—laughing at the idea both of a God and a hereafter; though his skepticism, instead of being the result of inquiry or reflection, or being in any way connected with it, is evidently the product of unrestrained vicious indulgence. His domestic relations have been a channel of grief and mortification to those who have been so unfortunate as to be associated with him. His wife, if she is still living, lives with a broken heart, and the time has been when she has dreaded the sound of his footsteps. His children, notwithstanding the brutalizing influence to which they have been subjected, have, by no means, sunk down to his standard of corruption; and some of them at least would seem ready to hang their heads when they call him "father." I cannot at this moment think of a more loathsome example of moral debasement than this person presents. I sometimes meet him, and from early associations, even take his hand; but I never do it without feeling myself in contact with the very personification of depravity.

Now, I am not surprised at all this, when I go back to the time when he had a mother, and remember what sort of a mother she was. She was coarse and vulgar in her habits; and I well recollect that the interior of her dwelling was so neglected, that it scarcely rose above a decent stable. The secret of this, and most of her other delinquencies was, that[Pg 39] she was a lover of intoxicating drinks. I believe she sometimes actually made a beast of herself; but oftener drank only so much as to make her silly and ridiculous. It happened in her case, as in many similar ones, that her fits of being intoxicated were fits of being religious; and though, when she was herself, she never, to my knowledge, made any demonstrations of piety or devotion; yet the moment her tongue became too large for her mouth, she was sure to use it in the most earnest and glowing religious professions. A stranger might have taken her at such a time for a devoted Christian; but alas! her religion was only that of a wretched inebriate.

Now who can think it strange that such a mother should have had such a son? Not only may the general corrupt character of the son be accounted for by the general corrupt influence of the mother, but the particular traits of the son's character may also be traced to particular characteristics of the mother, as an effect to its legitimate cause. The single fact that she was intemperate, and that her religion was confined to her fits of drunkenness, would explain it all. Of course, the education of her son was utterly neglected. No pains were taken to impress his mind with the maxims of truth and piety. He was never warned against the power of temptation, but was suffered to mingle with the profane and the profligate, without any guard against the unhallowed influences to which he was exposed. This, of itself, would be enough to account for his forming a habit of vice—even for his growing up a profligate;—for such are the tendencies of human nature, that the mere absence of counsel and guidance and restraint, is generally sufficient to insure a vicious character. But in the case to which I refer, there was more than the absence of a good example—there was the presence of a positively bad one—and that in the form of one of the most degrading of all vices. The boy saw his mother a drunkard, and why should he not become a drunkard too? The boy saw that his mother's religious professions were all identified with her fits of intoxication, and why should he not grow up as he did, without any counteracting influence?[Pg 40] why should he not settle down with the conviction that religion is a matter of no moment? nay, why should he not become what he actually did become,—a scoffer and an atheist? Whenever I meet him, I see in his face, not only a reproduction of his mother's features, but that which tells of the reproduction of his mother's character. I pity him that he should have had such a mother, while I loathe the qualities which he has inherited from her, or which have been formed through the influence of her example.

The other case forms a delightful contrast to the one already stated, and is as full of encouragement as that is full of warning. Another of my playmates was a boy who was always noticed for being perfectly-correct and unexceptionable in all his conduct. I never heard him utter a profane or indecent word. I never knew him do a thing even of questionable propriety. He was bright and playful, but never mischievous. He was a good scholar, not because he had very remarkable talents, but because he made good use of his time—because he was taught to regard it as his duty to get his lessons well, and he could not be happy in any other course. His teachers loved him because he was diligent and respectful; his playmates loved him, because he was kind and obliging; all loved him, because he was an amiable, moral, well-disposed boy. He evinced so much promise, that his parents, though not in affluent circumstances, resolved on giving him a collegiate education, and in due time he became a member of one of our highest literary institutions. There he maintained a high rank for both scholarship and morality, and graduated with distinguished honor. Not long after this, his mind took a decidedly serious direction, and he not only gave himself to the service of God, but resolved to give himself also to the ministry of reconciliation. After passing through the usual course and preparation for the sacred office, he entered it; and he is now the able and successful minister of a large and respectable congregation. He has already evidently been instrumental of winning many souls. I hear of him from time to time, as among the most useful ministers of the day. I occasionally[Pg 41] meet him, and see for myself the workings of his well-trained mind, and his generous and sanctified spirit. I say to myself, I remember you, when you were only the germ of what you are; but surely the man was bound up in the boy. I witness nothing in your maturity which was not shadowed forth in your earliest development.

Here again, let me trace the stream to its fountain—the effect to its cause. This individual was the child of a discreet and faithful Christian mother. She dedicated him to God in holy baptism, while he was yet unconscious of the solemn act. She watched the first openings of his intellect, that no time might be lost in introducing the beams of immortal truth. She guarded him during his childhood, from the influence of evil example, especially of evil companions, with the most scrupulous care. She labored diligently to suppress the rising of unhallowed tempers and perverse feelings, with a view to prevent, if possible, the formation of any vicious habit, while she steadily inculcated the necessity of that great radical change, which alone forms the basis of a truly spiritual character. And though no human eye followed her to her closet, I doubt not that her good instructions were seconded by her fervent prayers; and that as often as she approached the throne of mercy, she left there a petition for the well-doing and the well-being, the sanctification and salvation of her son. And her work of faith and labor of love were not in vain. The son became all that she could have asked, and she lived to witness what he became. She lived to listen to his earnest prayers and his eloquent and powerful discourses. She lived to hear his name pronounced with respect and gratitude in the high places of the Church. He was one of the main comforters of her old age; and if I mistake not, he was at her death-bed, to commend her departing spirit into her Redeemer's hands. Richly was that mother's fidelity rewarded by the virtues and graces which she had assisted to form. Though she recognized them all as the fruits of the Spirit, she could not but know that in a humble, and yet very important sense, they were connected with her own instrumentality.[Pg 42]

Such has been the career of two of the playmates of my childhood. They are both living, but they have been traveling in opposite directions,—I may say ever since they left the cradle. And so far as we can judge, the main reason is, that the one had a mother whose influence was only for evil, the other, a mother who was intent upon doing good. Both their mothers now dwell in the unseen world; while the one is represented on earth by a most loathsome specimen of humanity, the other by a pure and elevated spirit, that needs only to pass the gate of death to become a seraph.

Mothers, I need not say a word to impress the lessons suggested by this contrast. They lie upon the surface, and your own hearts will readily take them up. May God save you from looking upon ruined children, and being obliged to feel that you have been their destroyers! May God permit you to look upon children, whom your faithfulness has, through grace, nurtured not only into useful members of human society, but into heirs of an endless glorious life!




There is a little legend of the Queen of Sheba and wise King Solomon, which is fragrant with pleasant meaning. She had heard his wonderful fame in her distant country, and had come "with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones;" this imposing caravan had wound its way over the deserts, and the royal pilgrim had endured the heat and weariness of the way, that she "might prove the king with hard questions, at Jerusalem." This we have upon the highest authority, though for this particular test we must be content[Pg 43] with something less. Entering his audience-chamber one day, she is said to have produced two crowns of flowers, of rare beauty, and apparently exactly alike. "Both are for thee, O wise king," said she, "but discern between them, which is the workmanship of the Most High, and which hath man fashioned in its likeness?"

We read of costly oriental imitations of flowers in gold and silver, in pearls, and amethysts, and rubies. How shall Solomon the King detect the cunning mimicry? Solomon the Wise has determined. He causes the windows looking upon the gardens of his ivory palace to be thrown open, and immediately the crown of true flowers is covered with bees.

Like King Solomon's bees are the instincts of childhood, sure to detect the fragrance of the genuine blossom in human nature, and settle where the honey may be found. It was a rare distinction of the good man whose name stands at the head of this chapter, that children everywhere loved him, and recognized in him their true friend. An enduring monument of his love for children, and his untiring efforts to do them good is found in the books he has written for them. His Child's Book on the Soul, has, if I am not mistaken, been translated into French, German, and Modern Greek, and has issued from the Mission-press at Ceylon, in one or more of the dialects of India. It has also been partially rendered into the vernacular at the missionary stations, in opposite parts of the world. His Child's Book on Repentance, and his Histories of the Patriarchs, published by the American Tract Society, are the result of diligent study. The Life of Moses may be specified, as having cost him most laborious investigation; and it is true of them all that there is in them an amount of illustrative Biblical research, and a depth of mental philosophy, which more ambitious writers would have reserved for their theological folios. But even his books, widely as they are known and appreciated, convey but an imperfect idea of the writer's power to interest and benefit children. They cannot present his affectionate, playful manner, nor the genial and irresistible humor of his intercourse with them. Mothers were glad to meet Mr. Gallaudet,[Pg 44] but they were more glad to have their children meet him, even in the street; for a kind word, or a smile of pleasant greeting, told every young friend, even there, that he was remembered and cared for,—and these things encourage children to try to deserve favor.

In person, Mr. G. was rather short and slender, but with an erectness of carriage, and a somewhat precise observance of the usages of refined society, which gave him an unfailing dignity of appearance. A certain quaintness of manner and expression was an irresistible charm about him. Sure I am, that one little girl will always remember the kind hand stretched out to seize her own,—and the question after the manner of Mrs. Barbauld: "Child of mortality, whither goest thou?"

His most remarkable personal characteristic was the power of expression in his face. The quiet humor of the mouth, and the bright, quick glance of the eye, were his by nature; but the extraordinary mobility of the muscles was owing, probably, to his long intercourse with deaf mutes. It was a high intellectual gratification to see him in communication with this class of unfortunates, to whom so large a proportion of the labors of his life was devoted. It is said that Garrick often amused his friends by assuming some other person's countenance. We are sure Mr. Gallaudet could have done this. We remember that he did astonish a body of legislators, before whom there was an exhibition, by proving to them that he could relate a narrative to his pupils by his face alone, without gesture. This power of expression has a great attraction for children. Like animals, they often understand the language of the face better than that of the lips; it always furnishes them with a valuable commentary on the words addressed to them, and the person who talks to them with a perfectly immovable, expressionless countenance, awes and repulses them. In addition to this, our friend was never without a pocketful of intellectual bon-bons for them. A child whom he met with grammar and dictionary, puzzled for months over the sentence he gave her, assuring her that it was genuine Latin:[Pg 45]

"Forte dux fel flat in guttur."

To another he would give this problem, from ancient Dilworth:—

"If a herring and a half cost three-halfpence, how many will eleven pence buy?"

Persons who are too stately to stoop to this way of pleasing childhood, have very little idea of the magic influence it exerts, and how it opens the heart to receive "the good seed" of serious admonition from one who has shown himself capable of sympathy in its pleasures.

Those whose privilege it has been to know Mr. Gallaudet in his own home, surrounded by his own intelligent children, have had a new revelation of the gentleness, the tenderness and benignity of the paternal relation. Many years since I was a "watcher by the bed," where lay his little daughter, recovering from a dangerous illness. He evidently felt that a great responsibility was resting upon a young nurse, with whom, though he knew her well, he was not familiar in that character. I felt the earnest look of inquiry which he gave me, as I was taking directions for the medicines of the night. He was sounding me to know whether I might be trusted. At early dawn, before the last stars had set, he was again by the bed, intent upon the condition of the little patient. When he was satisfied that she was doing well, and had been well cared for, he took my hand in his, and thanked me with a look which told me that I had now been tried, and found faithful and competent.

Not only was he a man made of tender charities, but he was an observant, thoughtful man, considerate of the little as well as the great wants of others. I can never forget his gentle ministrations in the sick room of my most precious mother, who was for many years his neighbor and friend. She had been brought to a condition of great feebleness by a slow nervous fever, and was painfully sensitive to anything discordant, abrupt, or harsh in the voices and movements of those about her. Every day, at a fixed hour, this good neighbor would glide in, noiselessly as a spirit, and, either reading or repeating a few soothing verses from the Bible,[Pg 46] would kneel beside her bed, and quietly, in a few calm and simple petitions, help her to fix her weak and wavering thoughts on that merciful kindness which was for her help. Day after day, through her slow recovery, his unwearied kindness brought him thither, and gratefully was the service felt and acknowledged. I never knew him in the relation he afterwards sustained to the diseased in mind, but I am sure that his refined perceptions and delicate tact must have fitted him admirably for his chaplaincy in the Retreat.

I retain a distinct impression of him as I saw him one day in a character his benevolence often led him to assume, that of a city missionary; though it was only the duties of one whom he saw to be needed, without an appointment, that he undertook. How he found time, or strength, with his feeble constitution, for preaching to prisoners and paupers, and visits to the destitute and dying, is a mystery to one less diligent in filling up little interstices of time.

I was present at a funeral, where, in the sickness or absence of the pastor, Mr. Gallaudet had been requested to officiate. It was on a bleak and wintry day in spring: the wind blew, and the late and unwelcome snow was falling. There was much to make the occasion melancholy. It was the funeral of a young girl, the only daughter of a widow, who had expended far more than the proper proportion of her scanty means in giving the girl showy and useless accomplishments. A cold taken at a dance had resulted in quick consumption, and in a few weeks had hurried her to the grave. Without proper training and early religious instruction, it was difficult to know how much reliance might safely be placed on the eagerness with which she embraced the hopes and consolations of the Gospel set before her on her dying bed. Her weak-minded and injudicious mother felt that she should be lauded as a youthful saint, and her death spoken of as a triumphant entrance into heaven.

There was much to offend the taste in the accompaniments of this funeral. It was an inconsistent attempt at show, a tawdry imitation of more expensive funeral observances. About the wasted face of the once beautiful girl were arranged,[Pg 47] not the delicate white blossoms with which affection sometimes loves to surround what was lovely in life, but gaudy flowers of every hue. The dress, too, was fantastic and inappropriate. The mother and little brothers sat in one of the two small rooms; the mother in transports of grief, which was real, but not so absorbing as to be forgetful of self and scenic effect. The little boys sat by, in awkward consciousness of new black gloves, and crape bands on their hats. Everything was artificial and painfully forlorn; and the want of genuineness, which surrounded the pale sleeper, seemed to cast suspicion on the honesty and validity of her late-formed hope for eternity.

But the first words of prayer, breathed forth, rather than uttered, in the low tones the speaker was most accustomed to use, changed the aspect of the poor place. He was genuine and in earnest.

The mother's exaggerated sobs became less frequent, and real tears glistened in eyes that, like mine, had been wandering to detect absurdities and incongruities. We were gently lifted upwards towards God and Heaven. We were taught a lesson in that mild charity which "thinketh no evil,"—which "hopeth all things, and endureth all things;" and when the scanty funeral train left the house, I could not but feel that the ministration of this good man there had been—

"As if some angel shook his wings."

We preserve even trifling memorials of friends whom we have loved and lost; and even these recollections, deeply traced, though slight in importance, may bear a value for those who knew and estimated the finely organized and nicely-balanced character of the man who loved to "do good by stealth," and who has signalized his life by bringing, in his own peculiar and quiet way, many great enterprises from small beginnings.

Norwich, Ct.[Pg 48]




It is a very general remark, at the present time, throughout our country, and the complaint comes back, especially from the great West, through those who are familiarly acquainted with society there, that there is a growing spirit of insubordination in the family, and, of course, in the State; and it is ascribed to laxity and neglect in the Mothers as much as in the Fathers. Its existence is even made the matter of public comment on such occasions as the celebration of the landing of our Pilgrim Fathers, those bright exemplars of family religion. And grave divines and theological professors, in their addresses to the people, deprecate it as a growing evil of the times.

Now, without entering into other specifications here, may it not be that a chief reason for the increase of family insubordination is to be found in the DECREASE OF FAMILY RELIGION? By this we mean Religion in the household; in other words, the inculcation and observance of the duties of religion in American families, in their organized capacity as separate religious communities. Family religion, in this sense, implies the acknowledgment of God in the family circle, by the assembling of all its members around the domestic altar, morning and evening, and by united prayer and praise to the God of the families of all flesh; by the invocation of God's blessing and the giving of thanks at every social repast; by the strict observance of the Sabbath; and by the religious instruction and training of children and servants, and the constant recognition of God's providence and care. This constitutes, and these are the duties of family religion—duties which no Christian head of a family, whether father or mother, can be excused from performing. They are[Pg 49] duties which all who take upon themselves the responsibilities of the family should feel it a privilege to observe.

The duty of family prayer, especially by the one or the other head of the household, as the leading exercise of the family religion, should be performed with seriousness, order and punctuality. John Angell James very properly asks if the dwellings of the righteous ought not to be filled with the very element of piety, the atmosphere of true religion. "Yet, how few are the habitations, even of professors, upon entering which the stranger would be compelled to say, Surely this is the house of God, this is the gate of heaven! It may be that family prayer is gone through with, such as it is, though with little seriousness and no unction. But even this, in many cases, is wholly omitted, and scarcely anything remains to indicate that God has found a dwelling in that house. There may be no actual dissipation, no drunkenness, no card-playing, but, oh! how little of true devotion is there! How few families are there so conducted as to make it a matter of surprise that any of the children of such households should turn out otherwise than pious! How many that lead us greatly to wonder that any of the children should turn out otherwise than irreligious! On the other hand, how subduing and how melting are the fervent supplications of a godly and consistent father, when his voice, tremulous with emotion, is giving utterance to the desires of his heart to the God of heaven for the children bending around him! Is there, out of heaven, a sight more deeply interesting than a family, gathered at morning or evening prayer, where the worship is what it ought to be?"

It is hardly to be supposed that any pious heads, or pious members, of American households, are in doubt whether family worship be a duty. We are rather to take it for granted, as a duty universally acknowledged among Christians, nature itself serving to suggest and teach it, and the word of God abundantly confirming and enforcing it, both by precept and example. God himself being the author and constitutor of the family relation, it is but a dictate of reason that He should be owned and acknowledged as such,[Pg 50] "who setteth the children of men in families like a flock, who hath strengthened the bars of thy gates, and hath blessed thy children within thee." Of whom it is said, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

It is this great Family-God, whose solemn charges, by his servant Moses, are as binding upon Christian families now as of old upon the children of Israel—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might: and these words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.

This is God's command, and He will hold every parent responsible for the religious instruction of his or her children. In such an education for God, which is the duty of the parent and the right of the child, the habit of family worship constitutes an essential part. Nothing can make up for the want of this. Neither the best of preaching and instruction in the sanctuary or Sabbath-school, nor the finest education abroad, in the boarding-schools or seminaries, will at all answer for the daily discipline of family religion. This is something which no artificial accomplishment can supply. A religious home education, under the daily influence of family worship, and the devout acknowledgment of God at the frugal board, and the godly example and instruction of a pious parentage, are more influential upon the future character and destiny of the child than all the other agencies put together.

The true divine origin of the domestic economy is to train children, by habits of virtue, obedience, and piety in the family, to become useful members of society at large and good subjects of the State, and above all to be fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of faith. In order to this the strict maintenance of family religion is absolutely essential. It is therefore laid down as an axiom that no State can be prosperous where family order and religion are[Pg 51] generally neglected. The present condition of France, and the so far successful villainy of her perjured usurper, are in proof of this position, which was understood by one of her statesmen a few years ago, when he said with emphasis on his dying bed, "What France wants is family religion; what France wants is family religion."

On the contrary, every State will be prosperous, whatever its political institutions, where family religion and healthy domestic discipline are strictly maintained. Disorderly and irreligious families are the hot-beds of disorderly and irreligious citizens; on the other hand, families in which God is honored, and the children educated under the hallowed influences of family religion, are heaven's own nurseries for the State and the Church. The considerations which should urge every Christian householder to be strict in the maintenance of family religion are therefore both patriotic and religious. The good results of such fidelity and strictness on the part of parents are by no means limited to their own children, as the experience of a pious tradesman, related to his minister in a conversation on family worship, most instructively proves.

When he first began business for himself, he was determined, through grace, to be particularly conscientious with respect to family prayer. Morning and evening every individual of his household was required to be present at the domestic altar; nor would he allow his apprentices to be absent on any account. In a few years the benefits of such fidelity in daily family religion manifestly appeared; the blessings of the upper and nether springs followed him; health and happiness crowned his family, and prosperity attended his business.

At length, however, such was the rapid increase of trade, and the importance of devoting every possible moment to his customers, that he began to think whether family prayer did not occupy too much time in the morning. Pious scruples indeed there were against relinquishing this part of his duty; but soon wordly interests prevailed so far as to induce him to excuse the attendance of his apprentices; and it[Pg 52] was not long before it was deemed advisable for the more eager prosecution of business, to make praying in the morning when he first arose, suffice for the day.

Notwithstanding the repeated checks of conscience that followed this sinful omission, the calls of a flourishing business concern and the prospect of an increasing family appeared so pressing, that he found an easy excuse to himself for this unjustifiable neglect of an obvious family duty. But when his conscience was almost seared as with a hot iron, it pleased God to awaken him by a peculiar though natural providence. One day he received a letter from a young man who had formerly been an apprentice, previous to his omitting family prayer. Not doubting but that domestic worship was still continued in the family of his old master, his letter was chiefly on the benefits which he had himself received through its agency.

"Never," said he, "shall I be able to thank you sufficiently for the precious privilege with which you indulged me in your family devotions! O, sir, eternity will be too short to praise my God for what I have learned. It was there I first beheld my lost and wretched estate as a sinner; it was there that I first found the way of salvation, and there that I first experienced the preciousness of Christ in me the hope of glory. O, sir, permit me to say, Never, never neglect those precious engagements. You have yet a family and more apprentices. May your house be the birth-place of their souls!"

The conscience-stricken tradesman could proceed no further, for every line flashed condemnation in his face. He trembled, and was alarmed lest the blood of his children and apprentices should be demanded at his hands. "Filled with confusion, and bathed in tears, I fled," said he, "for refuge in secret. I spread the letter before God. I agonized in prayer, till light broke in upon my disconsolate soul, and a sense of blood-bought pardon was obtained. I immediately flew to my family, presented them before the Lord, and from that day to the present, I have been faithful, and am determined, through grace, that whenever my business becomes[Pg 53] so large as to interrupt family prayer, I will give up the superfluous part of it and retain my devotion. Better lose a few dollars than become the deliberate moral murderer of my family and the instrument of ruin to my own soul."

Now this experience is highly instructive and admonitory. It proves how much good may be doing by family worship faithfully observed when we little know it, and the importance, therefore, of always maintaining it. It proves the goodness of God in reproving and checking his children when they neglect duty and go astray. And it shows the insidious way in which backsliding begins and grievous sin on the part of God's people. May the engagements of business never tempt any parent that reads this article to repeat the tradesman's dangerous experiment! But if there be any that have fallen into the same condemnation, as it is to be feared some may have done, may God of his mercy admonish them of it, and bring them back before such a declension, begun in the neglect of family religion, shall be consummated in the decay and loss of personal religion, and the growing irreligion both of your family and your own soul.


This exquisitely touching ballad we take from the "Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern," edited by Allan Cunningham. He says, "It is seldom indeed, that song has chosen so singular a theme; but the superstition it involves is current in Scotland."

The ladie walk'd in yon wild wood,
Aneath the hollow tree,
And she was aware of twa bonnie bairns
Were running at her knee.

The tane it pulled a red, red rose,
Wi' a hand as soft as silk;
The other, it pull'd a lily pale,
[Pg 54]With a hand mair white than milk.

"Now, why pull ye the red rose, fair bairns?
And why the white lily?"
"Oh, we sue wi' them at the seat of grace,
For soul of thee, ladie!"

"Oh, bide wi' me, my twa bonnie bairns!
I'll cleid ye rich and fine;
And a' for the blaeberries of the wood,
Yese hae white bread and wine."

She sought to take a lily hand,
And kiss a rosie chin—
"O, naught sae pure can bide the touch
Of a hand red—wet wi' sin"!

The stars were shooting to and fro,
And wild-fire filled the air,
As that ladie follow'd thae bonnie bairns
For three lang hours and mair.

"Oh, where dwell ye, my ain sweet bairns?
I'm woe and weary grown!"
"Oh, ladie, we live where woe never is,
In a land to flesh unknown."

There came a shape which seem'd to her
As a rainbow 'mang the rain;
And sair these sweet babes plead for her,
And they pled and pled in vain.

"And O! and O!" said the youngest babe,
"My mither maun come in;"
"And O! and O!" said the eldest babe,
"Wash her twa hands frae sin."

"And O! and O!" said the youngest babe,
"She nursed me on her knee."
"And O! and O!" said the eldest babe,
"She's a mither yet to me."

"And O! and O!" said the babes baith,
"Take her where waters rin,
And white as the milk of her white breast,
Wash her twa hands frae sin."
[Pg 55]



This little girl was doubtless one of those whom the Savior early prepares for their removal to his pure and holy family above. The sweet, lovely, and attractive graces of a sanctified childhood, shone with a mild luster throughout her character and manners, as she passed from one period of intelligence to another, until she had reached the termination of her short journey through earth to heaven.

Peace to thy ashes, gentle one! "Light lie the turf" upon thy bosom, until thou comest forth to a morning, that shall know no night!

After the birth of this their first child, the parents were continually reminded of the shortness and uncertainty of life, by repeated sicknesses in the social circle, and by the sudden death of one of their number, a beloved sister.

Whether it was that this had its influence in the shaping of the another's instructions, or not, yet such was the fact, that the subject of a preparation for early death, was not unfrequently the theme, when religious instruction was imparted. The mind of the mother was also impressed with the idea of her own responsibility. She felt that the soul of the child would be required at her hands, and that she must do all in her power to fit it for heaven. Hence she was importunate and persevering in prayer, for a blessing upon her efforts; that God would graciously grant his Spirit, not only to open the mind of her child to receive instruction, but also to set it home and seal it there.

Her solicitude for the spiritual welfare, of the child was such, as often to attract the notice of the writer; while the results forced upon her mind the conviction, that the tender bud, nurtured with so much care and fidelity, and watered with so many prayers and tears, would never be permitted to burst into full flower, in the ungenial soil of earth.

Mary Jane had hardly numbered three winters, when a[Pg 56] little sister of whom she was very fond, was taken dangerously sick. Her mother and the nurse were necessarily confined with the sick child; and she was left very much alone. I would fain have taken the little girl home with me; but it was feared that a change of temperature might prove unfavorable to her health, so I often spent long hours with her, in her own home. Precious seasons! How they now come up to me, through the long vista of the dim and distant past, stirring the soul, like the faint echoes of melting music, and wakening within it, remembrances of all pleasant things.

I had been spending an afternoon with her in the usual manner, sometimes telling her stories, and again drawing forth her little thoughts in conversation, and was about taking leave, when I said to her, "Mary Jane, you must be sure and ask God to make your little sister well again." Sliding down from her chair, and placing her little hand in mine, she said with great simplicity, "Who will lead me up there?" Having explained to her as well as I could, that it was not necessary for her to go up to heaven; that God could hear her, although she could neither see him nor hear his answers, I reluctantly tore myself away. Yet it was well for the child that I did so; for being left alone, the train of her thoughts was not diverted to other objects; and she continued to revolve in her mind, as was afterwards found, the idea of asking God to make her sister well.

That night, having said her usual evening prayer, "Our Father," "Now I lay me down to sleep," &c., the nurse left her quietly composed to sleep, as she thought, but having occasion soon to pass her door, she found that Mary Jane was awake and "talking loud." On listening, she found that the little girl was praying. Her language was, "My dear Father up in heaven, do please to make my little sister well again."

Before her sister recovered, she was taken sick herself. A kind relative who was watching by her bedside one night, offered her some medicine which she refused to take. The watcher said, "I want to have you take it; it will make you well." The sick child replied: "The medicine can't cure[Pg 57] me—the doctors can't cure me—only God can cure me; but Jesus, he can make me well." On being told that it would please God, if she should take the medicine, she immediately swallowed it. After this she lay for some time apparently in thought; then addressing the watcher she said, "Aunty B——, do you know which is the way to heaven?" Then answering the question herself she said, "Because if you don't, you go and ask my uncle H——, and he will tell you which is the way. He preaches in the pulpit every Sabbath to the people to be good,—and that is the way to go to heaven."

Were the dear child to come back now, she could hardly give a plainer or more scriptural direction—for, "without holiness, no man shall see the Lord."

Before Mary Jane had recovered from this sickness, a little brother was added to the number; thus making a group of infants, the eldest of whom could number but three years and one month.

As the little ones became capable of receiving impressions from religious truth, Mary Jane, though apparently but an infant herself, would watch over them with the most untiring vigilance. One thing she was very scrupulous about; it was their evening prayer. If at any time this had been omitted, she would appear to be evidently distressed. One evening while her mother was engaged with company in the parlor, she felt something gently pulling her gown. On looking behind her chair, she found little Mary Jane, who had crept in unobserved, and was whispering to her that the nurse had put her little brother and sister to bed without having said their prayers.

It was often instructive to me to see what a value this dear child set upon prayer. I have since thought that the recovery of her infant sister, and her own prayer for the same, were so associated in her mind, as to produce a conviction of the efficacy of prayer, such as few possess.

Being confined so much to the nursery, the mother improved the favored season, in teaching her little girl to read, to sew and spell; keeping up at the same time her regular[Pg 58] routine of instruction in catechism, hymns, &c. She had an exercise for the Sabbath which was admirably adapted to make the day pass, not only pleasantly but profitably. In the morning, unless prevented by illness, she was invariably found in her seat in the sanctuary, with such of her children as were old enough to be taken to church. In the afternoon she gave her nurse the same privilege, but retained her children at home with herself. The moment the house was clear, Mary Jane might be seen collecting the little group for the nursery; alluring them along with the assurance that "now mother was going to make them happy." This meeting was strictly in keeping with the sacredness of the day. It was also a social meeting, each little one as soon as it could speak, being required to take some part in it, the little Mary Jane setting the example, encouraging the younger ones in the most winning manner; and always making one of the prayers. The Bible was not only the text book, but the guide. It furnished the thoughts, and from it the mother selected some portion which for the time, she deemed most appropriate to the state of her infant audience. Singing formed a delightful part of the exercises. The mother had a fine voice, and the little ones tried to fall in with it, in the use of some hymn adapted to their tender minds.

These meetings were also very serious, and calculated to make a lasting impression on the tender minds of the children. At the close of one, the mother who had been telling the children of heaven, turned to Mary Jane, and said, "My dear child, if you should die now, do you think you should go to heaven?" "I don't know, mother," was her thoughtful reply; "sometimes I think I am a good girl, and that God loves me, and that I shall certainly go to heaven. But sometimes I am naughty. J—— teazes me, and makes me unthread my needle, and then I feel angry; and I know God does not love me then. I don't know, mother. I am afraid I should not go to heaven." Then encouraging herself, she added in a sweet confiding manner, "I hope I shall go there; don't you hope so too, mother?"

Oh, who of our fallen race would ever see heaven, if sinless[Pg 59] perfection only, were to be the ground of our admittance there? True, we must be free from sin, before we can enter that holy place; but this will be, because God "hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."[A]

How much of the great doctrine of Justification by Faith in Christ this little girl could comprehend, would be very difficult to tell. But, that she regarded him as the medium through which she must receive every blessing, there could be no doubt. He died that she might live; live in the favor and friendship of God here, and live forever in his presence hereafter.

Since commencing this simple narrative, I have regretted that more of her sweet thoughts respecting Jesus and heaven could not be recalled. Every thing relating to the soul, to its preparation for another and better state of existence; to the enjoyments and employments of the blessed, had an almost absorbing power over her mind; so that she greatly preferred to read of them, and reflect upon them, to joining in the ordinary sports of childhood. Yet she was a gentle and loving child, to her little companions, and would always leave her book, cheerfully and sweetly, when requested to join their little circle for play. But it was evident that she could not as easily draw back her thoughts from their deep and heavenly communings.

Whenever she witnessed a funeral procession, instead of lingering over the pageant before her, her thoughts would follow the individual into the invisible world. Was the person prepared for death? Had the soul gone to God? were questions which she pondered with the deepest interest.

A short time previous to her death, she was permitted at her urgent and oft repeated request, to witness the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Her mother was much affected to see the interest which the dear child manifested on the occasion, and also the readiness with which she entered into the meaning and design of the sacred ordinance.

The entire sixth year of Mary Jane was a period of unusual[Pg 60] confinement. Several members of the family were sick during that time; her mother more than once; and she was often confined for whole days to the nursery amusing the younger children and attending to their wants. Hence, when a visit to the 'water-side' was talked of, the proposal was hailed with joy. The prospect of escaping from her confinement, of being permitted to go freely into the fresh air, to see the ocean, and gather shells and pebbles upon its beach, was hailed with joyous emotion. Yet all these delightful anticipations were destined to disappointment. The family did indeed go to the 'water-side'; but they had scarcely reached the place when their second daughter was taken alarmingly ill. When the dear child was told that she must return home with her little brother, not a murmur escaped her lips. Not that she cared nothing for the ocean, or the treasures upon its beach; but she had learned the great lesson of self-denial, although so young. A moment before, and she was exulting in prospect of the joyous rambles in which she should participate, amidst the groups of sportive children collected at the watering place. But when the carriage was brought to the door, and her little bonnet was being tied on, not even, 'I am sorry' was uttered by her, although her whole frame trembled with emotion. With a hurried, though cheerful, 'good bye, mother,' she leaped into the coach and was gone.

The two children were brought home to me; and as day after day passed and no favorable intimation reached us respecting the sick child, I had ample opportunity to see how she resorted to her old refuge, prayer. Often would the dear child return to me with the clear light shining in her countenance, after a short season of retirement for prayer. I feel my heart grow warm, now, after the lapse of a quarter of a century nearly, as I recall that look, and that winning request, 'Aunty, may I stay with you? the children plague me.' Her two little playmates were boys; and they could not understand why she refused to unite in their boisterous sports. She could buckle on their belts, fix on their riding caps, and aid them in mounting their wooden horses; but why she would not race up and down with them upon a cane,[Pg 61] they could not comprehend. She was patient and gentle, towards her little brother. It was a great treat to her, to be permitted to take him out to walk. I have seldom seen more gratitude expressed by a child, than she manifested, when she found that 'aunty' reposed confidence enough in her, to permit her to take him out alone. And how careful she was not to abuse that confidence, by going beyond the appointed limits. Often since then I have found myself adverting to this scene, as furnishing evidence that a child who fears God can be trusted. I can see the dear little girl now, as she arrived at a particular corner of the street, from which the house could be seen, before turning to go back again, stopping and gazing earnestly at the window, if perchance she might catch a bow and smile from "aunty," expressing by her countenance more forcibly than words could, "you see I am here."




In conversation with some Christian friends, a few days since, one young lady remarked that she should never forget a sermon preached by her father several years before, in which he remarked that Christian biographers of the present day differed very much from those inspired of God to write for succeeding generations, for they did not fear to tell the faults and expose the sins of primitive Christians who were to be held up as examples, while those who now wrote took every possible pains to hide the faults and make the subjects of their memoirs perfection itself, not admitting they had a fault or flaw in their characters. "Since hearing these remarks from my pastor," said she, "I have never tried to cultivate a taste for memoirs and have seldom looked into one."

"Depend upon it, my dear friend," I replied, "you have denied[Pg 62] yourself one of the richest means of growth in grace, and one of the most delightful pleasures afforded the Christian; and while your pastor's remarks may have been true of some, I cannot agree with him in condemning all, for I have read most that have come within my reach for ten years past, and have seen but two that I thought merited censure."

"But you will admit," continued my friend, "that those published of children are extravagant, and quite beyond any thing seen in common life."

"No; I can admit nothing of the kind, for let me tell you what I witnessed when on a visit to a friend missionary's family at Pairie du Chien: The mother of little George was one of the most spotless characters I ever saw, and as you witnessed her daily walk you could not but realize that she enjoyed intercourse with One who could purify and exalt the character, and 'keep staid on Him in perfect peace the soul who trusted in Him.' And should it have fallen to my lot to have written her memoirs, I am quite sure it would have been cast aside by those who think with you that memoirs are extravagant. I cannot think because David committed adultery, and the wisest man then living had three hundred wives, and Peter denied his Savior, that all other Christians living in the present enlightened age have done or would do these or like grievous sins. It has been my lot at some periods of my life to be cast among Christians whose confidence in Christ enabled them to rise far above the attainments made by the generality of Christians, indeed so far as to be almost lost sight of, who would shine as brightly on the pages of written Christian life.

"But, as I was going to say, little George was not yet four years old when his now sainted mother and myself stood beside his sick bed, and beheld the sweet child with his hands clasped over his eyes, evidently engaged in prayer, with a look of anguish on his face. We stood there by his side, watching him constantly for over an hour, not wishing to interrupt his devotions, and at last we saw that look of distress gradually disappear, and as silently we watched him[Pg 63] we felt that the influence of God's Spirit was indeed at work in that young heart.

"At last he looked up at his mother, and a sweet smile lighted up his little face as he said, 'Mother, I am going to die; but don't cry, for I am going straight to Jesus; my sins are all forgiven, mother.'"

"How do you know that, my sweet child?"

"Why, Jesus said so, ma."

"Said so; did you, indeed, hear any voice, my son?"

"O no, mother; but you know how it is. He speaks it in me, right here, here, mother," laying his little hand on his throbbing breast. "I don't want to live; I want to go where Jesus is, and be His own little boy, and not be naughty any more; and I hope I shan't get well, I am afraid if I do I shall be naughty again. O, mother, I have been a great sinner, and done many naughty things; but Jesus has forgiven me all my sins, and I do wish sister would go to Him and be forgiven for showing that bad temper, and all her other sins; don't you, ma?"

"Contrary to expectation this lovely boy recovered, and a few days after he got well I saw him take his sister's hand and plead with her to come and pray. 'O, sister,' he said, 'you will lose your soul if you don't pray. Do, do ask Jesus to forgive your sins, He will hear you, He will make you happy; do, do come right to Him, won't you, sissy?' But his sister (who was six years old) turned a deaf ear to his entreaties, and it grieved him so, that he would go away and cry and pray for her with exceeding great earnestness.

"Months after, he had the happiness of seeing his sister converted to Jesus, and knowing that his infant prayer was answered, and great indeed was the joy of this young saint, as well as that of the rest of the household as they saw these two of their precious flock going off to pray together, not only for themselves, but for an older brother, who seemed to have no sympathy with them."

"Well," said my friend, "this is indeed as remarkable as any thing I ever read, and I must say, hearing it from your[Pg 64] own lips, has a tendency to remove that prejudice I have felt toward reading children's conversion. Did this child live?"

"O, yes, and remains a consistent follower of Jesus; he is now twelve years old."

"This is a very remarkable case," continued my friend; "very rare precocity. I have never met with any thing of the kind in my life."

"Yet, I have known several such instances in my short life, one more of which I must detain you to relate."




Time, in its rapid flight, my dear sisters, has again brought us to another anniversary of our Association. It seems but yesterday since we held our last annual meeting, but while we have been busy here and there, the fugitive moments have hurried us along almost with the celerity of thought through another year. Were it not an established usage of our society, that something like a report be rendered of the past, the pen of your secretary would have remained silent. The thought has often arisen, what foundation have I for giving that which will be of any interest to those who may come together? It is true that each month has witnessed the quiet assembling of a little band in this consecrated place, but how small the number! Have we all been here, with united hearts, glowing with love for the souls of our children, and feeling that we had power with God, that we had in our possession that key which is said to unlock heaven, and bring down precious blessings upon those committed to our charge? Have not family cares been suffered, too often, to detain some from the place of meeting? and their absence has thrown the chill air of despondency over those who were here. The average attendance during the year has been but five, while fourteen names are upon the record as[Pg 65] members. Are we manifesting that interest in this important cause which those did who were the original founders of this society? Almost all of those are now absent, several have removed to other places; two, we trust, have long since been joining in the praises, and participating in the enjoyments, of heaven; and others, by reason of illness or the infirmities of age, are usually detained from the place of prayer. But we trust their hearts are with us; and shall we not endeavor to be faithful representatives of those whose places we now occupy? Have we not motives sufficient to stimulate us to a more diligent discharge of duty? God has given to us jewels of rare beauty, no gem from mountain or mine, no coral from the ocean's flow, can compare with them. And they are of priceless value too; Christ's blood alone could purchase them, and this He gave, gave freely too, that they might be fitted to deck His diadem of glory. He has encased these gems in caskets of exquisite workmanship, and given them to us, that we may keep them safely, and return them to Him when He shall ask them of us. Shall we be negligent of this trust? Shall we be busy, here and there, and suffer the adversary of souls to secure them to himself? We know that God is pleased to accept the efforts of the faithful mother; his language to us is, "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." But on this condition alone, are we to receive the reward promised that they be trained for His service. And have we not the evidence, even now, before us of the fulfillment of His precious promise? Those of us who were privileged on the last Sabbath to witness the consecration of that band of youthful disciples to the Savior, felt that the efforts of faithful mothers had been blessed, their prayers had been answered, and when we remembered that six of those loved ones were the children of our little circle, and others were intimately connected with some of our number, we felt our confidence in God strengthened, and I trust all gained new encouragement to labor for those who were yet out of the ark of safety. There are others of our number with whom God's Spirit has been striving, and even now[Pg 66] His influences are being felt. Shall they be resisted, and those thus influenced go farther from Him who has died that they might live?

Not many years since I was permitted to stand by the death-bed of a mother in Israel. Her sons were there, and as she looked at them with eyes in which we might almost see reflected the bright glories of the New Jerusalem, she exclaimed, "Dear sons, I shall meet you all in heaven." Why, we were led to ask, does she say this? Two of them had already reached the age of manhood, and had as yet refused to yield obedience to their Heavenly Father. But she trusted in her covenant-keeping God, she had given them to Him; for them she had labored and prayed, and she knew that God delighted to answer prayer. We realized the ground of her confidence, when tidings came to us, ere that year had expired, that one of those sons, far away upon the ocean, with no Sabbath or sanctuary privileges within his reach, had found the Savior precious to his soul. The other, ere long, became an active member of the church on earth. Is not our God the same in whom she so implicitly trusted, and will He not as readily bless our efforts as hers, if we are truly faithful?

We are all, I trust, prepared to-day to render a tribute of praise to our Heavenly Father, who has so kindly preserved us during the year now passed. As we look around our little circle we find no place made vacant by death, I mean of those who have been the attendants upon our meeting. We do not forget that the messenger has been sent to the family of our eldest sister, and removed that son upon whom she so confidently leaned for support. He who so assiduously improved every opportunity to minister to her comfort and happiness, has been taken, and not only mother and sisters have been bereaved, but children, too, of this association have, by this providence, been made orphans. We trust they have already realized that precious promise, "When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up;" and may He whose judgments are unsearchable, and[Pg 67] His ways past finding out, enable that sorely afflicted mother to say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."

What the events of the coming year are to be, as it regards ourselves, we know not. We would not lift the curtain to gaze into futurity; but may we each have strength and wisdom given us to discharge faithfully every duty, that whether living or dying we may be accepted of God!

Sarah A. Guthrie, Secretary.


The steamer Humboldt, after a long passage, having encountered heavy seas, and been obliged to put into port for repairs, has just arrived. She has proved herself a stanch vessel, thoroughly tested her sea-going qualities, and escaped dangers which would have wrecked an ordinary steamer. Her passengers express the utmost confidence in the vessel and her officers, and advise travelers to take passage in her.

Our bark has now accomplished a voyage, during which it met many dangers and delays which as thoroughly tested its power and capacity; and we too meet with expressions of kindness and confidence, some of which we venture to extract from letters which the postman has just laid on our table.

A lady, residing near Boston, writes thus: "Permit me to assure you, my dear Madam, of my warmest interest in you and your work, and of my earnest desire that your enterprise may prove a successful one. Your work certainly deserves a wide circulation, and has in my opinion a stronger claim upon the patronage of the Christian public than any other with which I am acquainted. You must have met with embarrassments in commencing a new work, and hence, I suppose, the occasional delays in the issuing of your numbers."

A lady from Michigan writes: "My dear Mrs. W., we rejoice in the success which has thus far attended your efforts[Pg 68] in the great work of your life. May their results, as manifested in the lives and characters of the children of the land, for many many years, prove that your labors were not in vain, in the Lord. We were beginning to have some anxiety as to the success of your Magazine from not receiving it as early as we expected; no other periodical could fill its place. May you, dear Madam, long be spared to edit it, and may you have all the co-operation and patronage you need."

A friend says: "Our pleasant interview, after a lapse of years, and those years marked by many vicissitudes, has caused the tide of feelings to ebb and flow till the current of my thoughts is swollen into such a stream of intensity as to lead me, through this channel of communication, to assure you of my warmest sympathy and my deep interest in the important work in which you have been so long engaged. It was gratifying to learn from your lips that amid the varied trials which have been scattered in your pathway God has been your refuge and strength—a very present help in trouble, and cheering to hear your widowed heart sing of mercy and exult in the happiness of that precious group who have gone before you into the eternal world." * * *

"My dear friend, may the sentiments and doctrines inculcated in your work drop as the rain, and distill as the dew, fertilizing and enlivening the sluggish soul, and encouraging the weary and heavy-laden. I know you need encouragement in your labor of love, and as I expect soon to visit M——, when I shall greet that precious Maternal Association to which I belonged for so many years, and which has so often been addressed by you, through the pages of your Magazine, as well as personally, I shall hope to do something in increasing the circulation of the work there. * *

"Your friend,


We have many other letters from which we might make similar extracts, but our purpose in making the above was to give us an opportunity to say to our friends, that our bark is again ready for sea, with the flattering prospect of making a pleasant voyage, and that our sails are trimmed and need but the favoring breeze to speed it on its way.[Pg 69]




How capricious is memory, often retaining through life trivial and transient incidents, in all the freshness of minute details, while of far more important events, where laborious effort has been expended to leave a fair and lasting record, but faint and illegible traces frequently remain!

Far back in my childhood, so far that I am at a loss where to place it, is a little episode, standing so far apart from the main purport of its history, that I do not know how it happened, or whether the original impression was deepened by its subsequent recurrence. This was a visit to the village of W——, the home of my Cousin Mary Rose.

I remember distinctly the ride; short it must have been, since it was but four or five miles from home, but it seemed long to me then. There was great elation of spirits on my part, and no particular excitement; but a very sedate pace on the part of our old horse, to whose swinging gait a monotonous creaking of the old-fashioned chaise kept up a steady response, not unharmonious, as it was connected in my mind with the idea of progress. I remember the wonders of the way, particularly my awe of a place called Folly Bridge, where a wide chasm, filled with many scattered rocks, and the noisy gurgle of shallow water, had resulted from an attempt to improve upon the original ford. Green fields, and houses with neat door-yards, thickened at last into a pretty village, with a church and school-house, stores and workshops. Then, turning from the main street, near the church, we took a quiet lane, which soon brought us to a pause, where our wheels indented the turf of a green slope, before the gate of a long, low dwelling, half buried in ancient lilac trees. This was the home of Aunt Rose, who,[Pg 70] though no veritable aunt of mine, was one of those choice spirits, "to all the world akin," around whose memory lingers the fragrance of deeds of kindness. Here, by special invitation, I had come on a visit—my first visit from home. I had passed through no small excitement in the prospect of that event. I had anxiously watched every little preparation made for it, and my own small packing had seemed momentous. I felt to the full the dignity of the occasion. The father and mother, the brothers and sisters, the inseparable and often tedious nursery-maid, Harriet, were all left behind.

I stood for the first time on my individual responsibility among persons of whom I had known but little. The monotony of home-life was broken in upon, and my eyes and ears were both open to receive new impressions. Doubtless, the careful mother, who permitted me to be placed in this new situation, was well satisfied that I should be subjected only to good influences, but had they been evil, I should certainly have been lastingly affected by them, since every thing connected with the house and its inmates, the garden, the fields, the walks in the village, lives still a picture of vivid hues.

What induced the family to desire my company, I do not know; I have an idea that I was invited because, like many other good people, they liked the company of children, and in the hope that I might contribute to the element of home-cheerfulness, with which they liked to surround their only daughter, my Cousin Mary Rose, whose tall shadowy figure occupies in my recollections, as it did in reality, the very center of this household group. That she was an invalid, I gather from many remembered trifles, such as the constant consideration shown for her strength in walks and rides, the hooks in the ceiling from which her swing-chair had formerly hung (at which I used to gaze, thinking it such a pity that it had ever been removed); her quiet pursuits, and her gentle, and rather languid manner. She must have been simple and natural, as well as refined in her tastes, and of a delicate neatness and purity in her dress. If she was a rose, as her name would indicate, it must have been a white rose; but I think[Pg 71] she was more like a spotted lily. There was her father, of whom I remember little, except that he slept in his large arm-chair at noontide, when I was fain to be quiet, and that he looked kindly and chatted pleasantly with me, as I sat on his knee at twilight. I found my place at once in the household. If I had any first feelings of strangeness to be overcome, which is probable, as I was but a timid child, or if I wept any tears under deserved reproof, or was in any trouble from childish indiscretions, the traces of these things have all vanished; nothing remains but the record of long summer-days of delight. Up and down, in and out, I wandered, at will, within certain limits.

An old cider mill (for such things were in New England) in the orchard was the remotest verge in one direction; to sit near it, and watch the horse go slowly round and round, and chat with Chauncey, the youngest son of the house, who was superintending it, was a great pleasure; but most of my out-of-doors enjoyments were solitary. I think this must have given a zest to them, for at home I was seldom alone. I was one of a little troop of brothers' and sisters, whose pleasures were all plays, gregarious and noisy. It was a new thing to be so quiet, and to give my still fancies such a range. I was never weary of watching the long processions of snow-white geese, moving along the turfy sides of the road, solemn and stately, each garnished with that awkward appendage the "poke," which seemed to me very cruel, since, in my simplicity, I believed that the perpendicular rod in the center passed, like a spit, directly through the bird's neck. Then, how inexhaustible were the resources of the flower garden, on the southern side of the house, into which a door opened from the parlor, the broad semicircular stone doorsteps affording me a favorite seat.

What a variety of treasures were spread out before me: larkspurs, from whose pointed nectaries I might weave "circles without end," varying the pattern of each by alternate proportions of blue, and pink, and white. There were foxgloves to be examined, whose depths were so mysteriously freckled; there were clusters of cowslips, and moss-pinks to[Pg 72] be counted. There were tufts of ribbon-grass to be searched as diligently as ever merchandise in later days, for perfect matches; there were morning-glories, and moon-sleeps, and four o'clocks, and evening primroses to be watched lest they might fail to be true to their respective hours in opening and shutting. There were poppies, from whose "diminished heads" the loose leaves were to be gathered in a basket, (for they might stain the apron,) and lightly spread in the garret for drying. There were ripe poppy-seeds to be shaken out through the curious lid of their seed-vessel, in which a child's fancy found a curious resemblance to a pepper-box; I often forced it to serve as one in the imaginary feasts spread out on the door-step, though there were no guests to be invited, except plenty of wandering butterflies, or an occasional humming-bird, whizzing about the crimson blossoms of the balm. Oh, the delights of Aunt Rose's flower-garden!

Then, there were the chickens to be fed, and the milking of the cows to be "assisted at," and a chat enjoyed, meanwhile, with good-natured Nancy, the maid, to stand beside whose spinning-wheel when, in an afternoon, she found time to set it in motion, herself arrayed in a clean gown and apron, was another great delight.

But my greatest enjoyments were found in Cousin Mary Rose's pleasant chamber, which always seemed bright with the sunshine. From its windows I looked out over fields of grain, and fruitful orchards, and green meadows, sloping all the way to the banks of the blue Connecticut. I doubt if I had ever known before that there was any beauty in a prospect. There was plenty of pleasant occupation for me in that chamber. I had my little bench, on which I sat at her feet, and read aloud to her as she sewed, something which she had selected for me. Though I never had an opportunity of knowing her in years when I was more capable of judging of character (for we were separated, first by distance, and now, alas, by death), I am sure that she must at that time have been of more than the average taste and cultivation among young ladies. Sure I am that she opened to me many a sealed fountain. My range of reading had been[Pg 73] limited to infant story-books and easy school-lessons. She took from her book-shelves Cowper, and made me acquainted with his hares, Tiny and Bess, and enlisted my sympathies for his imprisoned bullfinch. She turned over many leaves of the Spectator and Rambler, till she found for me allegories and tales of Bagdad and Balsora, and showed me the Vision of Mirza, the Valley of Human Miseries, and the Bridge of Human Life; I caught something of their meaning, though I could not grasp the whole, and became so enamored of them that when I returned home nothing would satisfy me but the loan of my favorites, that I might share the great pleasure of these wonderful stories with my friends there. How great was my surprise to find that the same books held a conspicuous place in the library at home!

The little pieces of needlework, too, which filled a part of every day, unlike the tedious, never-ending patchwork of school, were pleasant. Cousin Mary Rose well understood how to make them so, when she coupled the setting of the delicate little stitches with the idea of doing a service or giving a pleasure to somebody. This was a bag for Nancy. To-morrow, it was a cravat for Chauncey. Now, this same Chauncey was my special delight, he being a lively youth of eighteen, the only son at home, with whom, after tea, I had always a merry race, or some inspiriting game of romps. And then, feat of all, came the hemming of a handkerchief for Mr. Williams.

But who was Mr. Williams? I had no manner of idea who he was, or what relation he held to the family, which entitled him to come in unceremoniously at breakfast, dinner or tea-time, and gave him the privilege of driving my Cousin Mary Rose over hill and valley for the benefit of her health. In these rides I often had my share, for my little bench fitted nicely into the old-fashioned chaise, where I sat quietly between the two, looking out for wonders with which to interrupt the talk going on above my head. Not that the talk was altogether unintelligible to me. It often turned on themes of which I had heard much. It spoke of God, of heaven, of the goodness and love of the blessed Savior, of[Pg 74] the hopes and privileges of the Christian. I liked to hear it; there was no constraint in it. They might have talked of any thing else; but I knew they chose the topic because they liked it,—I felt that they were true Christians, and that it was safe and good to be near them. Sometimes the conversation turned on earthly hopes and plans, and then it became less intelligible to me.

One ride, I remember, which occupied a long summer afternoon. We left home after an early dinner, and wound our way over hills rocky and steep, from which we would catch views of the river, keeping always near its bank, till we came to Mr. Williams's own home, or rather that of his mother. What a pleasant visit was that! How Mr. Williams's mother and sisters rejoiced over our coming! What a pet they made of me! and how much they seemed inclined to pet my Cousin Mary Rose. I have an indistinct idea of a faint flush passing now and then over the White Rose. What a joyous, bountiful time it was! Such pears, and peaches, and apples as were heaped up on the occasion! How social and cheerful was the gathering around the teatable, lavishly spread with dainties!

How golden and glorious looked the hills, the trees, and the river in the last rays of the setting sun, as we started from the door on our return! How the sunset faded to twilight, and the dimness gave place to the light of the rising moon, long before we reached the door, where anxious Aunt Rose was watching for us! How much talk there was with the old people about it all; for I suspect that, in their life of rare incidents, it was the custom to make much of every thing that occurred. What an unlading there was of the chaise-box, and bringing to light of peaches and pears, which kept the journey in remembrance for many days after!

That night, as on every other night of my stay, my kind cousin saw me safely placed in my bed, after I had knelt beside her to repeat my evening prayer. Then, as she bent to kiss me, and gently whispered, "God bless thee, child," she seemed to leave her serene spirit as a mantle of repose.

When the Sabbath came, I walked hand in hand with her[Pg 75] to the village church. There was much there to distract my attention, particularly in that rare sight, the ample white wig (the last of the wigs of Connecticut!) on the head of the venerable minister, who, though too infirm for much active service, still held his place in the pulpit; but I listened with all my might, intent on hearing something which I might remember, and repeat to please Cousin Mary Rose; for I knew that she would expect me to turn to the text, and would question me whether I had understood it. I have pleasant hymns too, in recollection, which date back to this very time. They have outlived the beautiful little purse which was Mr. Williams's parting gift to me, and the tortoise-shell kitten, with which Aunt Rose sought to console me, in my grief at seeing myself sent for to return home. The summons was sudden but peremptory, and I obeyed it with a sad heart.

I cannot tell how long afterwards it was, for months and years are not very different in the calendar of childhood, when I was surprised with the announcement that a change had come over Cousin Mary Rose. She was changed to Mrs. Williams, and had gone with him, I think, to the South.

I doubt if any trace of the family is still to be found in the pleasant village which was their home. The parents have gone to their rest. The younger members removed long ago to the distant West.

My Cousin Mary Rose, for many years a happy and useful wife, has at last found, in some part of the great western valley, a peaceful grave. I do not know the spot where she lies, but I would fain twine around it these little blossoms of grateful remembrance.

There is a moral in this slight sketch which I wish to impress on the daughters who read this Magazine. It is that their influence is greater than they may suppose. Children read the purpose, the motive of conduct, and understand the tenor of character; they are attracted by feminine grace and refinement; they are keen admirers of personal beauty, and they can be won by goodness and gentleness. Never, dear young friends, overlook or treat with indifference a child[Pg 76] thrown in your way. You may lose by it a choice opportunity of conferring happiness and lasting benefit.

Norwich, Conn.




When the sick child had recovered, and the family were again collected, Mary Jane was sent to school. This was a delightful change to her—she loved her teacher, she loved the little girls, she loved her book, but more than all, her needle. The neatly folded patchwork made by her little fingers, is kept as a choice relic to this day.

She had been in school just one month when she was taken sick. Whether this was owing to the confined air of the school-room, or to a too close application to her studies and work, is not known.

She returned from school one evening, and having sat with the family at the table as usual, she went to her mother, and with rather unusual earnestness requested her to take her in her lap and tell her a story. To be told a story in mother's lap was regarded as a great indulgence by the children. The little ones on hearing her request, ran to mother and insisted on being attended to first. "Take me up, mother, and do take me up." At length Mary Jane with her usual self-denial restored quiet by requesting her mother to begin with the youngest first. When a short story had been told her little brother, and she was about occupying the desired position, she again yielded her right to the importunities of her younger sister. A longer story was now told, in which she became quite interested herself, so that when her turn came, she appeared somewhat exhausted. As her mother took her in her arms, she laid her head upon her shoulder, saying it[Pg 77] ached very hard. It was thought that sleep would restore her, so she was placed in bed.

At midnight the mother was aroused by the ineffectual efforts of Mary Jane to awaken her nurse. On entering the chamber, she found that the dear child had not slept at all. Her head was throbbing with pain, and she was saying in a piteous manner, "I can't wake up Nancy." Her mother immediately carried her to her own bed, and having placed her there, perceived that from an almost icy coldness, she had suddenly changed to an intense and burning heat.

Her father was standing by the bed uncertain whether or not to call a physician, when in a pleased but excited manner she called out to him "to see all those little girls." She imagined that little girls were all around her, and although somewhat puzzled in accounting for their presence, yet she appeared greatly delighted to see them.

After this she lay for some time in a dozing state, then she became convulsed. During her short but distressing sickness, she had but few lucid intervals. When not lying in a stupor her mind was usually busied amidst past scenes.

At one time as I was standing by her pillow, bathing her head, she said in a piteous tone, "I can't thread my needle." Then in a clear sweet musical voice she called "Nancy" to come and help her thread it.

At another time her father supposing her unconscious said "I fear she will never get well." She immediately opened her eyes, clasped her little hands and laying them upon her bosom, looked upward and with great earnestness commended herself to God: "My dear Father up in heaven," she said, "please to make me well, if you think it is best; but if you do not think best, then please to take me up to heaven where Jesus is." After this, she continued for some time in prayer, but her articulation was indistinct. One expression only was audible. It was this, "suffer little children to come."

What gratitude is due to the tender and compassionate Savior for this rich legacy of love, to the infant mind! How often has it comforted the dying, or drawn to the bosom of everlasting love, the living among little children. "Suffer[Pg 78] little children to come unto me." The preciousness and efficiency of this touching appeal seem to be but little realized even among believing parents. Were it otherwise, should we not see more of infant piety, in the families of professing Christians?

Once as the gray dawn approached, she appeared to wake as from a quiet sleep, and asked if it was morning. On being told that it was, she folded her hands and commenced her morning prayer. Soon, however, her mind wandered, and her mother finished it for her.

From this time she lay and moaned her little life away. But whenever prayer was offered, the moaning would cease for a short interval, indicating that she was conscious, and also interested.

During the last night of her life, her mind appeared perfectly clear. She spoke often of "heaven" and of "Jesus"; but little is recollected, as her mother was not by. Not apprehending death to be so near, she had been persuaded to try to get some rest. Suddenly there was a change. The mother was called. Approaching the bed she saw that the last struggle had come on. Summoning strength, she said, "Are you willing to die and go to heaven where Jesus is?" The dear dying child answered audibly, "Yes." The mother then said, "Now you may lay yourself in the arms of Jesus. He will carry you safely home to heaven." Again there was an attempt to speak, but the little spirit escaped in the effort, and was forever free from suffering, and sorrow, and sin.

In the morning I went over to look upon my little niece, as she lay sleeping in death. "Aunty B——" was there standing by the sofa. Uncovering the little form she said, "She has found the way to heaven now;" alluding to the conversation she had with Mary Jane, more than three years before.

Soon, the person whose office it was to prepare the last narrow receptacle for the little body, entered the room and prepared to take the measurement. Having finished his work, he seated himself at a respectful distance, and gazed[Pg 79] on the marvelous beauty of the child. At length turning to the father he asked, "How old was she?" "Six years and eight months," was the reply. "So young!" he responded; then added that he had often performed the same office for young persons, but had never seen a more intelligent countenance, at the age of fifteen. Yet notwithstanding the indications of intellect, and of maturity of character, so much in advance of her tender age; her perfectly infantile features, and the extreme delicacy of their texture and complexion, bore witness to the truthfulness of the age, beneath her name on the little coffin: "six years and eight months."

And now as my thoughts glance backwards and linger over the little sleeper upon that sofa, so calm and beautiful in death, a voice seems sounding from the pages of Revelation that she shall not always remain thus, a prey to the spoiler. That having accomplished his work, "ashes to ashes," "dust to dust," Death shall have no more power, even over the little body which he now claims as his own.

But it shall come forth, not as then, destined to see corruption, but resplendent in beauty, and shining in more than mortal loveliness; a fit receptacle for its glorified inmate, in the day of the final resurrection of the dead.

Let all Christian parents who mourn the loss of pious children, comfort themselves with the words of the apostle, "Them also that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him," "when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."

It was in the month of November that Mary Jane died, and was buried; reminding one of those lines of Bryant:

"In the cold moist earth we laid her,
When the forest cast his leaf;
And we mourn'd that one so lovely,
Should have a life so brief.
Yet not unmeet it was, that one,
Like that young child of ours,
So lovely and so beautiful,
Should perish with the flowers."

On the return of her birth-day, February 22, when if she[Pg 80] had lived, she would have been seven years old, the following lines were sent to the bereaved mother by Mrs. Sigourney.


Thy first born's birth-day,—mother!—
That cold and wintry time,
When deep and unimagined joy
Swell'd to its highest prime.—

Thy little daughter smileth,—
Thy son is fair to see,—
And from its cradle shouts the babe,
In health and jollity:

But still thy brow is shaded,
The fresh tear trickleth free,
Where is thy first born darling?
Oh, mother,—where is she?

And if she be in heaven,
She, who with goodness fraught,
So early on her Father—God
Repos'd her bursting thought:—

And if she be in heaven,
The honor how divine,
To give an angel to His arms,
Who gave a babe to thine!


Human improvement must begin through mothers. It is through them principally, as far as human agency is concerned, that those evils can be prevented, which, age after age, we have been vainly endeavoring to cure.

He that is good will infallibly become better, and he that is bad will as certainly become worse; vice, virtue, and time, are three things that never stand still.[Pg 81]



John 5:1.

It is a time of solemnities in Jerusalem—"a feast of the Jews"—and crowds throng the sacred city, gathered from all parts of Judea, mingling sympathies and uniting in the delightful services which the chosen people so justly prize. The old and young, the joyful and the sad, all classes and all conditions are there, not even are "the impotent, the blind, the halt, the withered," absent. Through the aid and kindness of friends they have come also, cheered and animated by the unwonted excitement of the scene, and doubtless hoping for some relief in known or unknown ways, from their various afflictions. Among these, a numerous company of whom are lying near the sheep-gate, let us spend an hour. By God's help it shall not be wasted time. How many are here who for long years have not beheld the sun, nor looked on any loved face, nor perused the sacred oracles. A lesson of resignation we may learn from them, in their proverbial peacefulness under one of the severest of earth's trials, for "who ever looked on aught but content in the face of the born-blind?" Here also are those who have felt the fearful grasp of pain, whose nerves have been shocked, and the whole frame tortured by untold sufferings; and those who cannot walk forth on God's earth with free elastic step, nor pursue any manly toil—the infirm, the crippled, the helpless. How it saddens the heart to look upon them, and hear their moans! Yet they all have a look of hope on their faces. The kind angel who descends to ruffle the hitherto calm waters of the lake may be near at hand. Soon sorrow to some of these will give place to proportioned gladness. He who can first bathe his limbs in the blessed wave, says the sacred oracle, shall find relief from every infirmity. First: It is a short and simple word, yet how much of meaning it[Pg 82] contains, and in its connection here how much instruction it affords! It is ever thus under the moral and providential government of God. The first to ask his blessing are those who gain it. "Those who seek Him early are the ones to find Him." The prompt and active are the successful competitors. To those who with the dawning day are found offering their daily sacrifice, He vouchsafes most of his blessed presence. "Give Him thy first thoughts then; so shalt thou keep Him company all day, and in Him sleep."

It is those who dedicate to Him the freshness of youth, that thrive most under His culture, and still bring forth fruit in old age. Their whole lives are spent beneath the shadow of his wings, and they know not the doubts and fears of those who long wandered before they sought that sheltering spot. They who are on the watch, who see the cloud as big as a man's hand, are the largest recipients of the blessing when the Spirit is poured out from on high. The lingerers, who think they need not bestir themselves, for the blessing is sure, may nevertheless fail, for though there was a sound of rain, the clouds may scatter, when but a few drops have fallen, and the first be the only ones who are refreshed.

But we are wandering. In this porch lies one who scarce bears any resemblance to living humanity, and from his woe-worn countenance has departed the last glimmering of hope. "Thirty and eight years" a helpless being! a burden to himself and all around him! Alas, of what untold miseries has sin made human flesh the inheritor! He came long since to this healing pool, with cheerful anticipations, perhaps undoubting faith, that he should soon walk forth a man among men. But he has been grievously disappointed. He seems friendless as well as impotent. Listen while he answers the inquiry of one who speaks kindly to him: "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming another steppeth down before me." This is indeed hopeless wretchedness. But who is it thus asking, "Wilt thou be made whole?" Little didst thou dream, unfortunate, yet most fortunate, of sufferers, who it was thus bending tenderly over thy painful couch! Said we[Pg 83] that thou wert friendless; that none knew thy woes? Blessed be God, there is ever One eye to see, One ear to hear, One heart to pity.

"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path." "He is not far from every one of us." But, though He is ever near, yet God often waits long before he relieves. Why is it thus? We do not always see the reason, but we may be sure it is infinite wisdom that defers. He would have us feel our dependence on Him, and when we do feel this, when we hope no more from any earthly source, and turn a despairing eye to Him, then he is ever ready to rescue. Even toward those who have long withstood his grace, and rebelled against his love, is he moved to kindness "when He seeth that their power is gone." "We must sometimes have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."

Even where we would accomplish most, when we would fain secure the salvation of those dearest to us, when we would win eternal life for our children, we must be made to rely on Him who, as he can raise the dead, even call life from nothing, can also revive the spiritually dead, and break the sleep which threatens to be eternal.

He is gone—while we looked, suddenly he rose in the full vigor of manliness, and now, exulting in his new-found faculties, he is walking yonder among the multitude, carrying upon his shoulders the couch which has so long borne his weary, helpless frame. See, one with frowning countenance and harsh words arrests his steps, and wholly unmindful of the joy which lights his pale face, reproves him with severe and bitter words: "It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed." The command indeed is, "Thus saith the Lord, take heed to yourselves and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day; neither do ye any work; but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers." He stands[Pg 84] dismayed and troubled. In his new-found happiness he has forgotten the solemn mandate. Timidly he answers, "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed and walk." Thou hast answered well. Only the Lord of the Sabbath could have done on thee this work of healing. Go on thy way rejoicing. Return not to seek Him, He was here, he spoke to thee; but he is gone. None saw him depart. Everywhere present, He is, yet, when He will, invisible to mortal eyes.




Another year has passed over us, and we, a little band, have met to recount, and gratefully to acknowledge, God's goodness and loving-kindness to us and our families. Our Association, commencing as a small stream, has not yet grown to be a mighty river; yet it has flowed steadily in its course, and we confidently believe, has sent forth sweet and hallowed influences, refreshing some thirsty souls with pure and living waters.

During the year now past, our meetings have been continually sustained, although sickness and absence from the city, especially during most of the summer, have deprived us of the attendance of a large proportion of our members. Notwithstanding our meetings have been much smaller than we could desire, and sometimes tempted us to be "faint and weary in well-doing," still we believe that our prayers and consultations have been a source of blessing to ourselves and to our offspring. We are told that "the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much." We feel assured that we can testify to the faithfulness of the promise, for not only can we gratefully acknowledge the love of God in shedding more grace upon our hearts; but the gracious call[Pg 85] of the gospel of salvation has been accepted by some of our precious children, and we trust that they are now in the "narrow way that leadeth unto life." Oh, may the Spirit of all truth guide their youthful steps through all the thorny mazes of life, preserve them from the alluring and deceitful charms that surround them, and bring them at last to those blissful mansions prepared for those who love and serve God. We do indeed rejoice with those dear mothers who have been made the recipients of so large a blessing—that of seeing the precious lambs of the flock gathered into the fold of the Good Shepherd. Oh, may the prayer of faith ever encircle them in this only safe retreat from the ravening wolves and the hungry monsters of sin!

But whilst we rejoice with those of our number who have been so greatly blessed, we turn with heartfelt sympathy toward those whose hearts have been wrung by the loss, to them, of the objects of their hopes and affections. Three of the children of members of this Association have died during the past year. Thus we believe so many sweet angels of God have gone from our midst and escaped the sorrows of this evil world. Let the dear parents think of them as already far surpassing their own best attainments, and praising the blessed Savior, in the heavenly paradise, and turn their more anxious and diligent thoughts to the living. Two children have been added by birth to the number of those connected with the Association.

Our membership has not greatly changed within the past year. Three mothers have united with the Association since the last Annual Report, and three have left us, making the number the same that it was one year since.

While we regret the loss of each and all of those who have departed from our midst, we think it would not be deemed invidious to express our deep sense of the loss we have sustained by the removal from the city of Mrs. Parker, the former secretary. Her devotion and faithfulness in every sphere of duty, afforded us all an example well adapted to stimulate us in the discharge of our obligations, as well as to guide us in the paths of usefulness. We hope and pray that[Pg 86] she may long be spared to shed a hallowed influence around her wherever her lot may be cast.

Our quarterly meetings have been sustained with interest and profit. Portions of Scripture have been committed by the children, and the instructions and truths contained in them have been enforced by appropriate remarks from the Pastor. We consider this an invaluable means of instilling saving truth into the tender minds of our children, and would urgently request that it be accompanied by the constant and believing prayers of all parents. Upon a full review of the past year, we see abundant cause for gratitude and encouragement. We have especial occasion for thankfulness that none of our number have been removed by death. Since we know that the Lord has thus prolonged our stewardship, that we may work in his vineyard, let us be the more diligent, that we may be prepared to render our account with joy at the last day. Amongst the means for preparing ourselves for the faithful discharge of our duties to our own families, and as members of this Association, we take pleasure in acknowledging the pre-eminent merits of Mrs. Whittelsey's Magazine, and would urgently recommend its more general perusal and circulation. During the past summer some of us enjoyed the inestimable privilege of hearing her experienced counsel, and fervent exhortations. We believe that her visit to this city resulted in much good, and we wish her abundant success in her noble calling.

Dear Mothers, let us persevere, looking unto the covenant-keeping God for the salvation of our children, as well as for the triumph of the Gospel throughout the community and this sin-ruined world.


We have been brought, through the kindness of our Heavenly Father, to this the first anniversary of our Maternal Association. We meet to-day that we may together look back upon the year just closing, and recall the mercies and judgments of our God, in which I think we cannot fail to[Pg 87] recognize the guiding hand of our Heavenly Father, who we believe has presided over and defended the dearest interests of this our little society. We bless his name that a few individuals, sustaining the sacred name of mother, and upon whom consequently devolve important duties, were led to roll their burden, in all its magnitude, upon an Almighty arm, and in a united capacity to plead for promised grace. We rejoice that this feeling has been perpetuated, and that there have been those who have not "forsaken the assembling of themselves together," but who have been drawn to the place of prayer by an irresistible influence, esteeming it a privilege thus to resign their numerous anxieties into the hands of an all-wise God. And may we not rejoice, dear sisters, that as each returning fortnight has brought its precious opportunity for prayer and instruction, our hearts have cheerfully responded to its call, and that we have hailed these seasons as acknowledged and well-tested sources of profit. If they have not proved so to us, have we not reason to fear that our guilt will be greatly increased, and that we shall share the condemnation of those who have been frequently and faithfully reminded of duty, but who have failed in its performance? During the past year we have had twenty-two meetings, the most of which have been attended by from six to ten mothers. A small number, indeed; yet God, we remembered, promised that where two or three are met together in His name, He would be in their midst to bless them. On the 7th of May the Rev. Mr. Harris preached to the children, from the text, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not." Sixteen ladies were present, and twenty-three children. On the 28th of September, Professor Agnew addressed mothers on their various important duties. At the commencement of the year we numbered twelve mothers and twenty-three children, under the age of fifteen. We now number sixteen mothers and thirty-three children; one little one has been added to our number. God, in wise providence, and for some wise purpose, has seen fit to lay his afflicting hand upon us. Early in the year it pleased Him to call an aged and beloved father[Pg 88] of one of our sisters from time to eternity. With our sister we do most sincerely sympathize; may it truly be said of us, as an Association:

"We share each other's joys,
Each other's burdens bear,
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear."

But God has come nearer still unto us as an Association, and has taken one of our little number, dear sister Elizabeth C. Hamilton, who was one of the four mothers who met together to converse and to ask counsel of our pastor on the subject of forming this Association. On the 11th of October, her spirit took its flight from this frail tenement of clay, as we humbly trust to the mansions of the blest. With her bereaved and afflicted companion and infant daughters, we do most sincerely sympathize. May we remember that we have promised to seek the spiritual and eternal interests of her children as we do that of our own! Let us not cease to pray for her children until we shall hear them lisping forth the praises of the dear Redeemer. As we commence a new year, shall we not commence anew to live for God? Ere another year has gone, some one of this our little number may be called from time to eternity; and shall we not prove what prayer can do; what heavenly blessings it will bring down upon our offspring? But perhaps some mother will say, I should esteem it the dearest of all privileges, if I could lay hold in faith on God's blessed promises, but when I would do so a sense of my own unworthiness shuts my mouth. But which of God's promises was ever made to the worthy recipient? Are they not all to the unworthy and undeserving? And if "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees," shall we not take courage, and claim God's blessed promises for ours, and often in silence and in solitude bend the knee for those we love most dear?

While memory lasts I shall never forget my mother's earnest, supplicating, trembling voice, as she pleaded with[Pg 89] God for Christ's sake to have mercy on her children. And shall our children forget ours? No, dear sisters, let our entreaties with our God be as they will, I think they will not be forgotten. Therefore, let us be more awake to this subject, let us sincerely endeavor to train our children up for God, that they may be useful in his service while they live, and that we may be that happy band of mothers that may be able to say in God's great day: Here, Lord, are we, and the children which thou hast given us.

A. Hamilton, Secretary.
Salem, Wash. Co., Michigan, Dec. 31, 1851.




"Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another."

In no system of morals or religion, except the Bible, can such a precept be found. It at once proclaims its divine author. We feel as we read it—here speaks that God and Almighty Father who so loved the world as to give his Son to die to save it. We feel that none but a being who regards himself as the Father of all, and who would unite his children in the bonds of family affection, would think of urging upon a company of men and women, gathered from all classes and conditions of life, the duly regarding each other with the same sincerity, tenderness, respect and kindness as if they were the nearest relatives. Such is the force of the expression, "Be kindly affectioned one to another." The word expresses properly the strong natural affection between parents and children; but the apostle is not satisfied with this, and uses the word to qualify that brotherly love which our Lord has made the badge of discipleship. It[Pg 90] should be with the tenderness and the unselfishness which characterize the filial and paternal relation, blending love with natural affection, and making it manifest in common intercourse. Oh, how different this from the spirit of the world, the spirit which seeks not to bless others, but self; not to confer honor but to obtain it; which aims not to diffuse respect, but to attract all others to give honor to ourselves.

I design at present to use this divine injunction as conveying the Holy Spirit's direction and description of proper family intercourse, in reference, particularly, to children in the family circle.

I notice very briefly (for the direction must commend itself to the heart of every child) its application to parents: "Be kindly affectioned toward your father and mother." It is indeed hardly necessary to urge this duty, for God has in his wisdom so constituted us, as in a good degree to insure the duty of filial love even in those who do not regard his own authority over their spirits. No child can for a moment reflect upon the love and care which he has received from his parents, without a moved heart, although he can never know their full power until he himself becomes a parent; but here indeed lies the difficulty, and here do I find the necessity of dwelling for a moment upon this point. Children do not reflect upon this. Few ever sit down, calmly and consecutively, to recall the parental kindness, and therefore, would I ask each of you, my young friends, that you may obey this injunction, and be kindly affectionate towards father and mother, to consider their kindness to you. Why, if you look at it, you will hardly be able to find that they have any other care in the world, or any other object, than yourselves. What does that kind mother of yours do which is not for her children? does she not seem always to be thinking of you? have you never noticed how her eye brightens with delight when you or any of your brothers or sisters do right, or even when she looks around on the health and happiness of her children? and, when you or any of her dear ones are ill, how sad she looks, how her cheek will become pale, and how she will watch and wait at the bed-side of her child,[Pg 91] how her own hand gives the medicine, how nothing can call her away from home, no friends, no amusements, often not even the church and Sabbath-day, and if she did go to church while you were ill, she went there to pray that God would make you well. And I would have you also think of the large surrenders of ease, time and fortune which your father is daily making for the benefit and comfort of his children. How many fathers will compass land and sea in quest of provision for them, and in order to give them name and station in society? How many adventurously plow the ocean in their behalf? How many live for years in exile, and in the estrangement of a foreign land, with nothing to soothe them in the midst of their toil and fatigue, but the image of their dear and distant home? How many toil and plan, day after day, and year after year, from early morn until late at night, for no other object than to gather wealth, which in their love they expect and intend their children to enjoy, when they themselves have gone down to the grave! Oh, my young friends, though ye have not perhaps thought of it, yet the devotedness of a parent to his children, in the common every-day duties and comforts of life, often equals and surpasses that which history has recorded for us of the sublimest heroism.

It would often seem utterly impossible to wear out a father's affection or a mother's love, and many a child, after the perversities and losses of a misdirected manhood, has found himself welcomed back again to the paternal home, with all the unquenched and unextinguishable kindness of his early and dependent childhood; welcomed even amid the hardships of poverty, with which declining years and his own hand, perhaps, have united to surround the whitening heads of the authors of his being.

Now, it is in view of the reality and strength of these parental regards, thus flowing from a father's or a mother's heart upon their children, that we bid you see the force, the reason, and the right of the direction, Be kindly affectionate in all your intercourse with them. And it is in the same view that we appeal to your own hearts, and ask whether it[Pg 92] be not most revolting and wrong for a son or daughter to utter the word, or dart the look, or feel the feeling which is prompted by wickedness; a disdainful son or disrespectful daughter is a sight most painful to every right-minded man.

But while I mention this as the rule which should govern the family in their treatment of those who stand at its head, I would also beg leave to remark, that this same law should govern the heads of the family towards each other and all the members. This is the only way by which reciprocal affectionate regard and treatment can be inculcated and insured. The Holy Spirit has deemed this so important, that He has given the express injunction to parents: "Fathers, provoke not your children;" and it is an injunction which parents need constantly to remember. The natural and necessary subjection of the children to parental authority, unless the hearts of the parents be guided by religious principle, will often induce an arbitrary and enforced obedience, which, unless guided and controlled by affection, will have only the appearance of harshness, and will only produce unpleasant feeling. Parents should never forget that it is always as unpleasant to a child to have his will and plans crossed as it is to themselves, and that, therefore, it is their own obedience to the injunction, Be kindly affectioned, which alone can make their authority both strong and pleasant. There are again so many cares and anxieties connected with the details of family arrangements, and there are so much thoughtlessness and perversity in the depraved hearts of the most amiable and properly disposed children, that the patience of even the all-enduring mother will often be tried in a manner which nothing but divine grace can sustain. Ill health and natural irritability, so constantly exposed to attack, will often increase the difficulty, and thus make the injunction, Be kindly affectioned, one of the most arduous duties of life. But the triumph of principle will always be accompanied with corresponding valuable results in the happiness and comforts of the whole family circle.[Pg 93]



Many instructive lessons may be conveyed to the minds of children in story and in verse. We do not now remember who is the author of the story we are about to relate. It may be familiar to many of our readers. We venture, however, to repeat it in our own words, as it has an important moral worthy the attention of the old as well as the young:—

A man and his wife were hard at work in a forest, cutting down trees. The trees were very hardy and tall, and their axes were dull; the weather was cold and dreary, they were but poorly clad, and they had but little to eat.

At length, the woman, in her despondency, fell to crying. Her husband very kindly inquired, "What is the matter, my dear wife?"

"I have been thinking," said she, "of our hard fate, and it does seem to me a hard case that God should curse the ground for Adam's sake, just because he and his wife had eaten a green apple; and now all their descendants must earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, all their days."

The man replied, "Do not, my dear wife, distress yourself thus, seeing it will do no good."

She continued, "I do think that Adam and Eve were very foolish to listen to any thing that a serpent had to say. If I had been in the place of Eve I am sure I should have done otherwise."

To this her husband replied, "True, my dear wife, Eve was a very silly woman. I think, if I had been in Adam's place, before I would have listened to her foolish advice, and run such a hazard, I would have given her a smart box on the ear, and told her to hold her tongue, and to mind her own business."

This remark made his wife very angry, and here followed a long dialogue on this topic till they began mutually to criminate each other as well as the serpent.[Pg 94]

Now, a gentleman, who had all this time been concealed behind the trees, and had heard their complaints, and listened with grief to their fault-finding disposition, came forward and spoke to them very kindly.

He said, "My friends, you seem to be hard at work, and very unhappy. Pray tell me the cause of your misery, and whether I can do anything to comfort you?"

So they repeated to this gentleman what they had been saying.

He replied to them thus: "Now, my dear friends, I am truly sorry for you, and I desire to make you more comfortable. I have a large estate, and I wish to make others as happy as I am myself. I have a fine house, plenty of servants, and every thing desirable to eat and to drink. I have fine grounds, filled with shrubbery and fruit trees. If you will go and live with me you have only to obey the regulations of my house, and as long as you do this and are contented, you shall be made welcome."

So they went with this gentleman. At once he took off their rough and ragged garments, and clad them in a fine suit of clothes, suited to the place, and put them into a spacious apartment, where for a time they lived very happily.

One day this gentleman came to them, and said business of importance would call him from home for some days. In the mean time he hoped they would be happy and do every thing in their power to reflect honor upon his hospitality till his return. He said he had but one other suggestion to make, and that was, that for his sake they would be very careful to set a good example before his servants, and do every thing cheerfully that they should direct, for up to this hour not one of his servants had ever questioned the reasonableness of his commands.

They thanked him kindly for his generous supply of all their wants, and promised implicit obedience.

They now had, if possible, more sumptuous meals, and in greater variety than ever, and for a few days every thing went on well. At length, a servant placed a covered dish in the center of the table, remarking that he always had[Pg 95] orders from his master, when that particular dish was placed upon the table, that no one, on pain of his displeasure, should touch it, much less lift the cover.

For a few days these guests were so occupied in examining the new dishes that this order was obeyed.

But the woman at length began to wonder why that dish should be placed on the table if it were not to be touched; she did not for her part see any use in it.

Every meal she grew more and more discontented. She appealed to her husband if he did not think such a prohibition very unreasonable. If it were not to be touched, why was it placed on the table?

Her husband at length grew very angry; she would neither eat herself nor allow him to eat in peace. She at length remonstrated, she threatened; she used various arguments to induce him to lift the cover; said no one need to know it, &c. Still her good-natured husband tried to reason her out of this notion. She now burst into tears, and said her life was miserable by this gentleman's singular prohibition, which could do no one any good; and she was still more wretched by reason of her husband's unkindness,—she really believed that he had lost all affection for her.

This remark made her husband feel very badly. He lifted the cover and out ran a little harmless mouse. They both ran after it, and tried their best to catch it, but in vain.

While they were feeling very unhappy, and were trembling with fear, the gentleman entered, and seeing their great embarrassment, inquired if they had dared to lift the cover?

The woman replied that she did not see what harm there could be in doing so. She did not think it kind to place such a temptation before them; it could do no one any good.

The man added that his wife teazed him so that he had no peace, and rather than see her unhappy he had lifted the cover.

The gentleman then reminded them of their fault-finding while in the forest, their hard thoughts of God, of the serpent, and of Adam and Eve. Had it been their case[Pg 96] they should have acted more wisely! But, alas! they did not know themselves!

He immediately ordered his servants to take off their nice new clothes and to put on their old garments, and he sent them back to the forest, ever after to eat their bread by the sweat of their brow.



Many years since, I took into my service an old colored woman by the name of Juda. She was a poor, pitiful object, almost worn out by hard and long service. But I needed just such services as she could render, and intrusted to her the general supervision of my kitchen department.

Under the care bestowed upon her she fast recruited, and I continued to employ her for three years. I gave her good wages, and, as for years I had induced all my help to do, I persuaded her to deposit in the savings' bank all the money she could spare. Fortunately for poor old Juda, she laid up during these three years a considerable sum.

Before this, she had always been improvident, careless of her earnings, and from a disposition to change often out of place. But as one extreme is apt to follow another, when she found that she had several dollars laid aside, entirely a new thing for her, there was quite a revolution in her feelings and character. She now inclined to covetousness, and could hardly be persuaded to expend a sum sufficient to make herself comfortable in extreme cold weather which sensibly affected her in her old age and feeble health. At length her disposition to hoard up her earnings increased to that degree that she resorted to many unnecessary and imprudent means to avoid expense and to evade my requirements with regard to her apparel. But for this parsimony she might have held out some years longer. She greatly improved[Pg 97] in health and strength for the first two years, and was more comfortable and useful than I expected she would be. Always at her post, patient, faithful, economical and obliging, I really felt grateful for the relief she afforded me in the management of a large family; but at length I was obliged to dismiss her from my service. For a few months she found employment in a small family, but soon fell sick, and required the services of a physician. She had to find a place of retirement and take to her bed, and soon her money began to disappear.

Her miserable sister, who had exercised an injurious influence over Juda, and whom I had found it necessary to forbid coming to my house, now came constantly to me for this money, for Juda's use, it is true, but which I had reason to fear was not wisely spent. Under this impression, I broke away from my cares and set out to look after her welfare. I was pained to find her in a miserable hovel, surrounded by a crew of selfish, ignorant, lazy and degraded women, who were ready to filch the last farthing from the poor, helpless invalid.

My first interview with Juda was extremely painful. She hid her head, her great wall eyes rolling fearfully, and cried bitterly, "Oh! I am forever undone. Why did I not listen to your entreaties, and heed the kind advice of my good master, to lay up treasures in heaven as well as in the savings' bank!" I remained silent by her bedside, thinking it better for her to give full vent to her agonized feelings before I should probe her wounded spirit, or try to console her. "Oh," said she, "that I could once more have health, that I might attend to what ought to have been the business of my life—the care of my soul." "Yes, Juda," I replied, "but I see, I think, plainly, how it would be had you ever so much time. You would not be very likely to improve it aright, for even now you are wasting this last fragment of time that remains to you in fruitless regrets; why not rather inquire earnestly, 'Is there still any hope for me? What shall I do to be saved? Lord, save me, or I perish.'" For some time her emotions choked her utterance, at length she[Pg 98] seized both my hands so forcibly that it seemed as if she would sever them from my wrists, and exclaimed, "Oh, pray for me!"

Her condition was an awful one. From the nature of her ailment she was a loathsome object. Not one of her old companions would approach her, for to them she was now peculiarly an object of terror. Her entreaties that I would not leave her in the power of such cruel wretches, to perish alone, and without hope, prevailed over my own reluctance and the remonstrances of my husband, and summoning up all my resolution, I remained with her, with but little respite, for three days and nights.

Her bodily sufferings continued to be extreme to the last, but were nothing in comparison to her mental agonies. What a condition of mind and body was hers! Every moment demanding something to cool her parched tongue, or to allay her fears, or to encourage her hopes.

Never shall I forget the last night of painful and protracted suffering. The miserable woman who pretended to assist me in watching, had taken some stupefying potion, and I watched alone, as David expressed it, longing for the first ray of the morning. At length, the day dawned, and I was relieved by good old Mr. Moore. As he entered, I said to him, "Poor Juda is still living, and is a great sufferer; will you not pray for her?" He replied, "I come purpose pray with Juda." Then kneeling, prayed, "Oh Lord, Oh Lord God Almighty, we come to thee for this poor dying creature. Have mercy on her precious soul—Lord God, it will never die. Forgive her sins; oh, Lord God, take the lead of her thoughts to-day, TO-DAY, TO-DAY; Lord God, take the lead of her thoughts to-day, for Christ's sake. Amen."

This was indeed her dying day, and I could not but hope that this humble but pertinent prayer was prevalent with God.

Very many times since then, as I have caught the first glimpse of day, have I said, This may prove my dying day, and prayed, Oh Lord, take the lead of my thoughts to-day.[Pg 99]



"The fruits of maternal influence, well directed," said a good minister, "are peace, improvement, and often piety, in the nursery; but if the children of faithful mothers are not converted in early life, God is true to his promise and will remember his covenant, perhaps after those mothers sleep with the generations of their ancestors."

"Several years since," that same minister stated, "he was in the Alms-house in Philadelphia, and was attracted to the bedside of a sick man, whom he found to be a happy Christian, having embraced the Gospel after he was brought, a stranger in a strange land, to that infirmary. Though religiously educated by a pious mother, he clandestinely left home at the age of ten years, and since that period—he was now forty, or more—had been wandering over the earth, regardless of the claims of God or the worth of his own soul.

"In Philadelphia he was taken with a dangerous fever, and was brought to the place where I met him. There, on that bed of languishing, the scenes of his early childhood clustered around him, and among them the image of his mother was fairest and brightest, and in memory's vision she seemed to stand, as in former days, exhorting him to become the friend and disciple of the blessed Savior. The honeyed accents were irresistible.

"Through the long lapse of thirty years—though she was now sleeping in the grave—her appeal came with force to break his flinty heart.

"With no living Christian to direct him on that bed of sickness, remembering what his mother had told him one-third of a century before, he yielded to the claims of Jesus."

Here the power and faithfulness of a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God were exhibited. Here was a mother's influence crowned with a glorious conquest.[Pg 100]


An American Home.—The word Home we have obtained from the old Saxon tongue. Transport the word to Africa, China, Persia, Turkey or Russia, and it loses its meaning. Where is it but in our favored land that the father is allowed to pursue his own plan for the good of his family, and with his sons to labor in what profession he chooses and then enjoy the avails of his labor? The American Home is the abode of neatness, thrift and competence, not the wretched hut of the Greenlander or Caffrarian, or under-ground place of Kamschatka. The American Home is the house of intelligence; its inmates can read; they have the Bible; they can transmit thought. The American Home is the resting-place of contentment and peace; there is found mutual respect, untiring love and kindness; there, virtue claiming respect; there, the neighbor is regarded and prized; there, is safety; the daily worship; the principle of religion.

Ten thousand good people noiselessly at work every day, making more firm all good felt at home or abroad, and fixing happiness and good institutions on a basis lasting as heaven.

Christian Union.—In "D'Aubigne's Reformation" we find a short, beautiful sentiment on the subject of Christian Union. He says: "Truth may be compared to the light of the sun. The light comes from heaven colorless and ever the same; and yet it takes different hues on earth, varying according to the objects on which it falls. Thus different formularies may sometimes express the same Christian truth, viewed under different aspects. How dull would be this visible creation if all its boundless variety of shape and color were to give place to one unbroken uniformity? How melancholy would be its aspects, if all created beings did but compose a solitary and vast unity? The unity which comes from heaven, doubtless has its place; but the diversity of human nature has its proper place also. In religion we must neither leave out God nor man. Without unity your religion cannot be of God; without diversity it cannot be the religion of man, and it ought to be of both."[Pg 101]




In the mountainous and wild region which lies around Horeb and Sinai, were found, in the days of that Pharaoh, whose court was the home of Israel's law-giver, many descendants of Abraham, children of one of the sons which Keturah bore him in his old age. We know little of them, but here and there on the sacred page they are mentioned, and we gain brief glimpses of their character and of the estimation in which they were held by Jehovah. Like all the other nations, they were mostly idolaters, against whom He threatened vengeance for their inventions and abominations. But among them were found some families who evidently retained a knowledge of Abraham's God, and who, although they did not offer him a pure worship, "seem, nevertheless, to have been imbued with sentiments of piety, and intended to serve Him so far as they were acquainted with his character and requirements." For these, from time to time, a consecrated priest stood before the altar, offering sacrifices which were doubtless accepted in Heaven, since sincerity prompted, and the spirit of true obedience animated, the worshipers.

In the family of this priest, who was also a prince among his people, a stranger was at one time found, who had suddenly appeared in Midian, and for a slight kindness shown to certain members of the household, had been invited to sojourn with them and make one of the domestic circle. He was an object of daily increasing interest to all around him. Whence had he come? Why was he thus apparently friendless and alone? Wherefore was his countenance sad and thoughtful; and his heart evidently so far away from present scenes? Seven sisters dwell beneath the paternal roof, and we can readily imagine the eagerness with which they[Pg 102] discussed these questions and watched the many interviews between him and their father, which seemed of a most important character. The result was not long kept from them. Moses was henceforth to perform what had been their daily task, and as his reward, was to sustain the relation of son, husband, and brother in the little circle. Zipporah, whether willingly or reluctantly we are not told, became the wife of the silent man, nor has he, in the record which he has left, given us any account of those forty years of quiet domestic life, watching his flocks amid the mountain solitudes, and in intercourse with the "priest of Midian," and taught of that God who chose him before all other men. As a familiar friend, he was daily learning lessons of mighty wisdom, and gaining that surpassing excellence of character which has made his name immortal. Was the wife whom he had chosen the worthy daughter of her father, and a fit companion for such a husband? Did they take sweet counsel together, and could she share his noble thoughts? Did she listen with tearful eyes to his account of the woes of his people, and rejoice with him in view of the glorious scenes of deliverance which he anticipated? Did she appreciate the sublime beauties which so captivated and enthralled his soul as he pored over the pages of that wonderful poem which portrays the afflictions of the man of Uz? Did she worship and love the God of their common father with the same humility and faith? We cannot answer one of the many questions which arise in our minds. All we know is, that Zipporah was Moses's wife, and the mother of Moses's sons, and we feel that hers was a favorite lot, and involuntarily yield her the respect which her station would demand.

Silently the appointed years sped. The great historian found in them no event bearing upon the interests of the kingdom of God, worthy of note, and our gleanings are small. At their close he was again found in close consultation with Jethro, and with his consent, and in obedience to the divine mandate, the exile once more turned his steps toward the land of his birth. Zipporah and their sons, with asses and attendants, accompanied him, and their journey was[Pg 103] apparently prosperous until near its close, when a strange and startling providence arrested them.[B] An alarming disease seized upon Gershom, the eldest son, and at the same time intimations not to be mistaken convinced his parents that it was sent in token of divine displeasure for long-neglected duty. God's eye is ever on his children, and though He is forbearing, He will not forever spare the chastening rod, if they live on in disobedience to his commands. Both Moses and Zipporah knew what was the appointed seal of God's covenant with Abraham, and we cannot understand why they so long deferred including their children in that covenant. We do not know how many times conscience may have rebuked them, nor what privileges they forfeited, but we are sure they were not blessed as faithful servants are. Now there was no delaying longer. The proof of God's disapprobation was not to be mistaken, and they could not hesitate if they would preserve the life of their child. "There is doubtless something abhorrent to our ideas of propriety in a mother's performing this rite upon an adult son," for Gershom was at this time probably more than thirty years of age, but we must ever bear in mind that she was complying with "a divine requisition," and among a people, and in a state of society whose sentiments and usages were very different from ours. Her duty performed, she solemnly admonished Gershom that he was now espoused to the Lord by this significant rite, and that this bloody seal should ever remind him of the sacred relation. The very moment neglected obligations are cheerfully assumed, that moment does God smile upon his child. He accepts and upbraids not. The frown which but now threatened precious life has fled, and children rejoice in new found peace, and in that peculiar outflowing of tenderness, humility, and love which ever follows upon repentance, reparation and forgiveness.

For some reason, to us wholly inexplicable, Moses seems to have sent his family back to the home which they had just left, before reaching Egypt, and they resided with[Pg 104] Jethro until the tribes, having passed through all the tribulations which had been prophesied for them, made their triumphant exodus from the land of bondage and encamped at the foot of Sinai. Jethro, who seems to have taken a deep interest in the mission of Moses, immediately on hearing of their arrival, took his daughter and her sons to rejoin the husband and father from whom they had been long separated. Touching and delightful was the re-union, and we love to linger over the few days which Zipporah's father spent with her in this their last interview on earth. The aged man listened with wonder and joy to the recital of all that Jehovah had wrought. He found his faith confirmed and his soul strengthened, and doubtless felt it a great privilege to leave his child among those who were so evidently under the protection of the Almighty, and before whom he constantly walked in the pillar of fire and cloud. With a father's care and love, he gave such counsel as he saw his son-in-law needed, and after uniting with the elders in solemn sacrifice and worship, in which he assumed his priestly office, he departed to his own land. We seem to see Zipporah, as with tearful eyes she watched his retreating footsteps, and felt that she should see her father's face no more on earth. Not without fearful struggles are the ties which bind a daughter to her parents sundered, though as a wife she cleaves to her husband, and strives for his sake to repress her tears and hide the anguish she cannot subdue. One comfort, however, remained to Zipporah. Soothingly fell on her ear the invitation of her husband to her brother, the companion of her childhood, "We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you: Come thou with us and we will do thee good: for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel." Deprecatingly she doubtless looked upon him, as he answered, "I will not go, but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred;" and united in the urgent entreaty, "Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes." With her husband and brother near, on whom to lean, she must have been[Pg 105] cheered, and the bitterness of her final separation from home alleviated.

Feelings of personal joy or grief were soon, however, banished from her mind by the mighty wonders which were displayed in the desert, and by the absorbing scenes which transpired while Israel received the law, and were prepared to pursue their way to Canaan. Of her after history we gather little, and the time of her death is not mentioned. One affliction, not uncommon in this evil world, fell to her lot. Her husband's family were unfriendly and unkind to her, and she was the occasion of their reproach and ridicule. But she was happy in being the wife of one meek above all the men upon the earth, and she was vindicated by God himself. What were her hopes in prospect of seeing the promised land, in common with all the nation, or whether she lived to hear the terrible command of God to Moses, "Avenge Israel of the Midianites," we do not know. The slaughter of her people may have caused her many a pang, and she probably went to her rest long before the weary forty years were ended. She has a name and a place on the sacred page,—she was a wife and mother,—and though hers is a brief memorial, yet, if we have been led to study the word of God more earnestly, because we would fain learn more concerning her, that memorial is not useless.




"Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another."

(Continued from page 92.)

I remarked that this precept was important in the heads of families, in regulating their intercourse with each other, as well as that between themselves and their children. I take[Pg 106] it for granted that there is in truth no want of real affection and regard between husband and wife, and yet there may be, in their treatment of each other, frequent violations of the duty of kindly affection. The merely outward manner is indeed never as important as the real feeling, but it always will be regarded more or less as the indication of the real feeling, and parents should never forget, that in their children they have most observant and reflecting minds; and you may rest assured that the parental cords are loosed most sadly when the child is led to remark that his parents do not cordially harmonize. Nay, more, if those parents be Christians, such conduct throws a shade of doubt over their Christian character. There were both force and sincerity in the remark of the man who, when the reality of his religion was questioned, replied: "If you doubt whether I am a changed man, go and ask my wife." I fear that many a professing Christian could not stand this test; he could appeal with confidence to the testimony of his church, and receive the most favorable answer, but could he appeal with the same confidence to the testimony of his home, of one who knows him best? Is his intercourse with them whom he truly loves best, always regulated by the law of that kindly affection which religion imperatively demands, nay, which good sense and common humanity require? Many a man will speak at times to his wife in a most unkind and even uncourteous manner, in a manner in which he would not dare to speak to any one else; I know he may not mean unkindness, but is it not a wrong? I say nothing of its unchristianness; is it not a wrong done to her who loves him more than she does all the world, to treat her far more uncourteously than the world would do?

Is it not shameful that she who has borne all the pain, and care, and anxiety, and burden of his children, should ever have an unkind word or look from him? Nay, is it not a meanness, an entirely unchristian meanness, that a husband should presume upon the very loveliness of his wife, upon the very affections of her pure heart, to treat her thus rudely? And is it not as cowardly as it is mean, thus to[Pg 107] act towards one whose only defense is in himself? I say cowardly, for were many a husband to speak, and to act towards another woman as he allows himself to do and to speak towards his own wife, he would not always escape the punishment due his ungentlemanly conduct. Let us, who are husbands and wives, endeavor all of us to be on the watch in this thing; and let it be our rule to treat no one in the world more kindly or more politely than we do our own wives and our own husbands. Not long since, at the bedside of a dying wife, I heard a husband, with quivering lip and tearful eye, say, "Beloved wife, forgive me, if I have ever treated you unkindly." If you would be saved from the anguish of ever feeling that you needed forgiveness from the dying lips of your dearest earthly ones, be kindly affectioned, therefore, one to another.

Let us, in the next place, seek to apply this direction to the intercourse of brothers and sisters. No association of beings on earth can be more interesting than that of the family; there are found the tenderest sympathies and the most endearing relations. There the painter seeks for the sweetest scenes by which to exhibit his art, and the poet finds the inspiration which gives melody to his song. The highest praise which we can give to any other association of men, whether in church or state, is to say that they dwell together as a family; and cold and hard indeed must be that heart which does not sympathize and rejoice in family ties. In nothing short of the developments made in the cross of Jesus do the wisdom and love of God towards our race shine more conspicuously than they do in this grouping us in families. The result has been, that society has been preserved, even though the authority of God has been condemned; and even the annals of heathenism afford us very many displays of those kindly feelings, which adorn and beautify human nature. These would not have existed, had not the heart been cultivated in the family; and where religious principle is added as the guiding influence of the circle, the family becomes the nursery of all that is great and good in our nature, it becomes the very type and antepast[Pg 108] of heaven. Now, the great development of this religious principle would chiefly show itself in obedience to the apostolic injunction in the precept, "Be kindly affectioned, one to another, with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another." I do not, however, so much seek just now to urge upon the members of the family the existence of kind feelings, for I take it for granted that in obedience to the call of nature, and the ties of blood, these feelings are already in existence; but what I desire to present is the duty of always making these feelings apparent in common intercourse, for just in proportion to the neglect of this, is the family influence on the happiness of its members affected. If you would combine the greatest possible elements of unhappiness you could not imagine any which would surpass that of a family of brothers and sisters, hating each other, yet compelled to live together as a family, where no word of kindness passes from one to the other, where no act of kindness draws out the affections, where the success of one only excites the envy of the others; no smile lights up the countenance; no gladness found in each other's society, the aim of each to thwart and annoy the other. In such dwellings there would be no light, no peace, no joy, no pleasant sounds. Indeed such a picture does not belong to even our fallen world, it is the description of the misery of the lost. A picture, perhaps, of a family in hell. The further, therefore, from this, my friends, that you can remove your own family, the greater will be your own happiness and comfort, and you must remember that the responsibility of this rests upon each one of you individually. Let your brother or sister never receive an unkind, unbrotherly or unsisterly act, never perceive an unaffectionate look, nor experience an uncourteous neglect, and you will do very much towards making your family the abode of as perfect peace as can be enjoyed upon earth, and cause it to present the loveliest and most attractive scene this side of heaven. Now, I will freely acknowledge that in urging this duty upon brothers and sisters, I am setting you upon no easy work; I know that it will require often much self-denial, much restraint in word and deed, but the gain will far more than repay the struggle.[Pg 109]




The promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. From the beginning of the creation God has dealt with man as a social being. He made them a male and a female, and the first institution in innocence and in Eden, was marriage. In his dealings with Adam, God deals with the race. He made with them his covenant when he made it with Him. Hence, by the disobedience of one, many were made sinners; in Adam all die. With Noah he made a covenant never to drown the world again by the waters of a flood. This promise belongs to the children of Noah, the human race.

To Abraham, the father of the faithful, the Almighty God said, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee." (Gen. 17:7.) In token of this covenant, Abraham was circumcised, and his family, and his posterity, at eight days old. This principle of the ecclesiastical unity of the many, this family, is continued under the new dispensation of the covenant, and distinctly announced in the memorable sermon of Peter, on the day of Pentecost: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:38, 39.) Accordingly, when Lydia believed she was baptized, and her household; and when the jailor believed he was baptized, he and his, straightway. (Acts 16.) And so clearly was this principle established, that it extends to the children of parents of whom one only is in the covenant;[Pg 110] "for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." (1 Cor. 7:14.) The first mother derived her personal name from this great principle. Under the covenant of works her name is simply the feminine form of the man, אשה the woman, from אש the man. But when, in the awful darkness which followed the fall, the first light broke upon the ruined race, in the grand comprehensive promise, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel," it was promised that she should be the mother of a Savior who should destroy the grand adversary of man, though he himself should suffer in his inferior nature in the eventful conflict. In view of this great honor, that she should be the mother, according to the flesh, of the living Savior, and all that should live by his mediation and grace, Adam called his wife's name Eve, חוה, because she was the mother of all living, חי. (Gen. 3:20.) The family identity, established at the beginning of the dispensation of grace, and continued to the end of divine revelation without the least shadow of change, gives to Christian parents their grand encouragement and constraining motive to seek the salvation of the children whom God hath given them. His former respects, first, themselves, and then their children, as part of themselves. As it is necessary that they should believe the promise to themselves, in order that they may enjoy it; so they must believe the promise respecting their children, in order that the children may enjoy the blessing. And as they must prove the reality of their faith in the promise which respects themselves by their works, so they must prove the reality of their faith in the promise which respects their children by the faithful discharge of the duties which they owe to God in their behalf. Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

A soldier is not trained for the service of his country or[Pg 111] the field of battle by a few lectures on the art of war. He must be drilled, practiced, in the very things which he must do upon the field of blood. So the children of believers, who are to take the places of their fathers and mothers in the grand warfare against Satan, the world, and the flesh, must be practiced in these very truths, and graces, and duties which they must labor and do, that they may be saved and be instrumental in extending that kingdom which is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, to the end of the earth and to the end of time. Let Christian parents make full proof of the family promise, use it in their prayers at the Throne of grace, cling to it as the anchor of their hope for those who are as dear to them as their own lives, and prove the sincerity of their prayers by unmeasured diligence in instruction and parental authority and influence, and a holy example. It was a high commendation of Abraham, in whose seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed, that He who is the fountain of honor and blessing should say, "I know Abraham, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham the thing that he hath spoken of him." If you would not that the blood of souls should be found in your skirts at the last day, and that the souls of your own children, plead incessantly the family promise, plead it in faith, approved by diligence and a holy example, not only point the road to heaven, but lead the way. So shall each Christian parent say to the Redeemer, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and admired in all that believe, Here am I, Lord, and the children which thou hast given me. Let children of Christian parents plead the promise made on their behalf. It has kept the true religion from becoming extinct; it will yet fill the earth with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Plead it for yourselves and show your faith in it by giving yourselves up to Emanuel, the great high priest of our profession, as free-will offerings in the day of his power, as his progeny, whom he will adorn with the beauties of holiness, as the dew from the womb of[Pg 112] the morning, when reflecting the light of the sun refracts the prismatic colors. Say with David, "I am thy servant, the son of thine handmaid, and therefore belonging to His household, to serve Him, to glorify Him, to enjoy Him forever." But beware, on the peril of your souls, how you abuse your relation to the family of God. Think not in your hearts we have Abraham to our father; make not the holy promise, nor its holy author, a minister of sin, an apology for unbelief and all ungodliness. Wilt thou not at this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? Hear, believe, plead and obey the gracious word. "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and upon the dry ground. I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring, and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses; one shall say, I am the Lord's, and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel."



"Leave thy fatherless children with me, and I will preserve them alive."

How often has this promise been offered in the prayer of faith at the mercy-seat, and proved a spring of consolation to the heart of a pious widowed mother! In the desolation caused by the death of the husband and father, who was the helper, counselor, and guardian in reference to spiritual as well as temporal interests, and in the deepened sense of parental responsibility in the charge now singly resting upon her, how often and readily does the widow cast herself upon the sure and precious promise of the covenant, "I will be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee." In the faith of this her heart imbibes comfort, her prayers become enlarged and constant, and her efforts become wisely directed, and[Pg 113] steadily exerted, in behalf of the spiritual interests of her children. When we carefully observe such cases, we shall find proof that the blessing of the God of grace peculiarly rests upon the household of the pious and faithful widow. God, in the truth and promises of his Word, takes peculiar notice of the widow and the orphan, and his providence works in harmony with his word. The importance and efficiency of maternal influence in every sphere of its exercise cannot be too highly estimated, but nowhere does it possess such touching interest, or such high promise, as the scene of widowhood. How would faith, laying hold upon the truth of the following promise, and securing its proper influence in all appropriate labors, realize the fulfillment of the blessing: "This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever." Isaiah 59:21.

These remarks receive a new confirmation in the case of the recent deaths of two young sons of Mrs. Jane Hunt, widow of the late Rev. Christopher Hunt, pastor of the Reformed Dutch church in Franklin street, in this city. They died within eight days of each other, the elder, De Witt, in his twentieth year, on the 19th of January, and the younger, Joseph Scudder, in his sixteenth year, on the 11th January, both of pulmonary disease. Their father, the Rev. Mr. Hunt, was a faithful and successful minister of Christ, much beloved by the people of his pastoral charge. The writer of this well remembers a sermon preached by him at the close of a series of services in the visitation of the Reformed Dutch churches of this city, which was solemn and impressive, from the text, "There is but a step between me and death." This was in January, 1839. At this time the seeds of disease (perhaps unconsciously to himself) were springing up within him, and after a few more services in his church, he was confined to his house, and lingered until the following May. His soul was firm in faith and full of peace,[Pg 114] on his sick and dying bed. He committed them, again and again, to the care and faithfulness of their covenant God, and felt that therein he left them the best of legacies, whatever they might want of what the world could give. At the time of his decease, they had four children, the youngest of whom was three weeks old. The two oldest were the sons to whose deaths we are now adverting. The two youngest (daughters) are surviving. The elder son was seven years old at his father's death. The responsible trust of rearing these children for Christ and heaven was thus cast upon the widowed mother. Mrs. Hunt is the daughter of the late Joseph Scudder, of Monmouth, N.J., and sister of the venerable, long-tried, and devoted missionary, Rev. Dr. John Scudder, now in India. Brought up under the influences and associations of piety, she was early brought to a saving acquaintance with Christ, and a profession of faith in Him within the church. The consistency and ripeness of her piety has been evinced in the different spheres and relations of life where Providence placed her. With the infant children cast upon her care, at the death of her husband, she plied herself with toilful industry to provide for them, while her soul was ever intent upon their early conversion to Christ. She aimed to give these sons such a course of education as would, under God's sanctifying blessing, prepare them to engage in the work of the ministry, perhaps the missionary service. She had the gratification of seeing them as they grew up evincing thoughtfulness of mind, amiableness of spirit, and correctness of conduct, and by an affectionate spirit, and ready obedience, contributing to her comfort. At the time of his death, De Witt was in the Junior class, and Joseph had just entered the Freshman class, and there had gained a good distinction for study and scholarship, and drawn forth the respect and affection of their instructors and fellow-students. While pursuing his own studies, the elder brother led on the younger brother at home, and it is believed that by his close application he hastened the bringing on of his disease. In addition to this, the mother's heart was yearning for the proofs of their having given their hearts to God. Attentive[Pg 115] as they were to divine truth in the sanctuary and Sabbath-school, in the reading of it at home, and careful in forming associations favorable to piety, she yet looked beyond these to their full embrace of, and dedication to, the Savior. How mysterious is that dispensation which, at this interesting period, when these only two sons were moulding their characters for life opening before them; and when they seemed to be preparing to realize a mother's hope, and reward a mother's prayers, and toils, and anxieties, they should, both together, within a few days of each other be removed from time to eternity. But in the circumstances and issues of their sickness and death we find an explanation of this apparent mystery by the satisfactory evidence they afforded of their being prepared by an early death to be translated to the blissful worship and service of heaven.

Previous to a brief sketch of the sick-bed and dying scene of these dear youths, a circumstance may be adverted to, beautifully and strongly illustrative of the value and efficacy of the prayer of faith. Rev. Dr. Scudder, in his appeals, has frequently and ardently pressed upon parents the importance of the duty of seeking the early conversion of their children, and their consecration to the service of the Savior. With his heart intent upon this duty in the spirit of continued believing intercession, God has signally blessed him in his own large family of children in their early conversion to Christ, and in the training of his sons for the foreign missionary service in which he is himself engaged. Two of his sons are now engaged in that service; one training for it some time since entered into the heavenly rest, and others are now in preparation for it. On the 12th of November last, 1851, Dr. S. addressed a letter from Madura, in India, to his nephew, De Witt Hunt. So remarkable is this letter, not only in the matter it contains, and spirit it breathes, but also in the fulfillment of the prayers it refers to, as the end of the two months stipulated found De Witt brought into the hope and liberty of the Gospel, on the very verge of his removal to heaven, that we make the following copious extracts from it:[Pg 116]

"My dear Nephew,—My daughter Harriet received your letter by the last steamer. I have not the least evidence from the letter that you love the Savior, for you do not even refer to him. On this account I may perhaps be warranted in coming to the conclusion that he is not much in your thoughts. Be this, however, as it may, I have become so much alarmed about your spiritual condition as to make it a special subject of prayer, or to set you apart for this purpose; and I design, God willing, to pray for you in a special manner until about the time when this shall reach you, that is, about two months. After that I can make no promise that I shall pray for you any further than I may pray for my friends in general. I have now set apart a little season to pray for you and to write to you. Do you wonder at this? Has it never occurred to you as a very strange thing that others should be so much concerned in you, while you are unconcerned for yourself? I can explain the mystery. Your friends have seen you, and your uncle, among the rest, has seen you walking on the pit of destruction, on a rotten covering, as it were, liable at every moment to fall through it, and drop into everlasting burnings. This you have not seen, and therefore you have remained careless and indifferent. Whether this carelessness and indifference will continue I know not. All that I can say is, that I am greatly alarmed for you. It is no small thing for you to trample under foot the blood of Christ for eighteen years. Justly might the Savior say of you, as he said of his people of old, 'Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.' Your treatment of the blessed Savior is what grieves me to the heart. What has He not done to serve you? Were you to fall into a well, and a stranger should run to your help and take you out, that stranger should forever afterwards be esteemed as your chief friend. Nothing could be too much for you to do for him. Of nothing would you be more cautious than of grieving him. And has Christ come down from heaven to save you? Has He died for you? Has He shed his very blood for you that you might be delivered from the worm that dieth not, and the fire which is never quenched? And can[Pg 117] you be so wicked as not to love Him? My dear nephew, this will not do; it must not do. You must alter your course. But I will stop writing for a moment and kneel down and entreat God's mercy for you. I will endeavor to present the sacrifice of the Redeemer at the Throne of grace, and see if I cannot, for this sacrifice' sake, call down the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon you."

As a remarkable coincidence evidencing an answer to earnest believing prayer, this letter found both the nephews drawing near to their eternal state. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the end of the two stipulated months for special daily prayer in his behalf, found De Witt brought into the light and liberty of the Gospel, rejoicing in his Savior.

A few incidents occurring in the progress of the sickness, and during the death-bed scene, will now be adverted to; and as the death of Joseph took place first, I shall first allude to his case. He was in his fifteenth year, and last fall, in September, entered the Freshman class in the New York University. He had been characterized from childhood for an amiable and docile spirit, filial kindness and obedience, and correctness of deportment. His mind opened to religious instruction in the family and Sabbath-school. He loved the Bible, and it is believed was observant of the habit of prayer. It was the anxious prayer, and assiduous labor of his pious mother that all this might be crowned with the saving knowledge of Christ as his Redeemer. He took a cold soon after entering the University which at first excited no alarm, but it was soon accompanied with hectic fever, which made rapid progress, and gave indications that his death was not remote. In the early part of November, their mother, realizing these indications, and also the precarious state of De Witt's health, who had been afflicted with a cough during the whole of the preceding year, which had been slowly taking root, and now furnished sad forebodings of the issue, plied her labors with greater earnestness for their spiritual welfare. The visits and conversations of Rev. Mr. Carpenter were most acceptable and blessed after this[Pg 118] period. I shall here make extracts from some notes and reminiscences furnished me by the mother: "The evening of Sabbath, November 16, was a solemn one to myself and sons. We spent the time alone; I entreating them to yield their hearts unto God, they in listening to the words of their mother as though they felt and understood their import. I begged them not to be wearied with my importunity, and wearied they had been had they not cared for the things belonging to their everlasting peace. I knew not how to part with them that night until they should yield themselves, body, soul and spirit, to Whom they had been invited often to go." After this, Joseph's disease rapidly advanced, and the physicians pronounced his case hopeless. He was throughout meek, quiet, patient. Mrs. Hunt again writes: "Sabbath morning, November 30, I endeavored to entreat God to make this the spiritual birthday of my children. I was with Joseph in the morning, reading and conversing with him. In the afternoon I urged him to go to Christ just as he was, feeling his own nothingness, and casting himself upon His mercy. He replied, in a low, solemn voice, 'I have tried to go many times, but I want faith to believe I shall be accepted.' After a few minutes he said, 'Sometimes I think I shall be, and sometimes that I shall not be.' Again, there was a pause and waiting, and then his gentle voice was heard saying, 'I can give my heart to the Savior.' Truly did I bless God for his loving kindness and tender mercy." It is worthy of observation, that the evening before, Saturday, a small number of pious young men of their acquaintance met for special prayer on behalf of Joseph, De Witt, and another young man very ill. I continue to quote Mrs. H.: "On Friday night, the 2d of January, I asked him in regard to his feelings. He replied, 'I pray that I may give myself away to Christ, and He may be with me when I pass through the valley of the shadow of death.' I remarked, then, Joseph, you want to enter the heavenly Canaan, to praise Him, and cast your crown at his feet. He said, 'Yes, to put on the robe of righteousness.' On Wednesday night, January 7, he was restless. After he awoke[Pg 119] on Thursday morning, I said to him, Joseph, try now to compose yourself to prayer; to which he assented and closed his eyes. During the day he remarked to me, 'I prayed for the teachings of God's Holy Spirit that I might be made wise unto salvation; that he would lift upon me the light of his countenance, and uphold me with his free Spirit; give me more light that I may tell around what a precious Savior I have found. I say, Precious Savior, wash me in thine own blood, and make me one of thine own children. I come to thee just as I am, a poor sinner.'" On Wednesday, the day before De Witt received the letter from his uncle, Dr. Scudder, before referred to and quoted. "Joseph wished me to read it to him, which I did. After I had finished, he remarked, 'Before Uncle Scudder prays for me all his prayers will be fulfilled,' but afterwards added, 'he thought his uncle would now be praying for him, and sending a letter to him.'" After this he grew weaker and weaker, and continued peacefully and patiently to wait his coming death, giving expressions of fond attachment to his mother, in acknowledgment of her pious care. On Saturday he was visited, as he lay very low, by Rev. Mr. C., who held a plain and satisfactory conversation with him. Passages of Scripture and hymns were read to him, which gave him pleasure, and to the import of which he responded. He expressed to him the blessed hope of soon reaching heaven. He sank during the night, and died at half-past one o'clock, of the morning of the blessed day of the Lord, January 11, 1852, surrounded by weeping but comforted Christian friends. T.D.W.


John Newton one day called upon a family whose house and goods had been destroyed by fire. He found its pious mistress in tears. Said he, "Madam, I give you joy." Surprised and almost offended, she exclaimed, "What! joy that all my property is consumed?" "I give you joy," he replied, "that you have so much property that no fire can touch."[Pg 120]




Son.—Father, how do you reconcile the distinction which the apostle Paul makes in 1 Cor. 7:14, between children as "holy" and "unclean," with the fact that all the descendants of Adam inherit a corrupt nature?

Father.—The distinction is not moral, but federal or ecclesiastical. The apostle is speaking, you perceive, of the children of believers and unbelievers. The one, he says, are "holy," the other "unclean." But he does not mean by this that the children of pious parents are by nature different from others, or that, unlike them, they are not tainted with evil. He means that they stand in a different relation to God and his church. "Holy," in Scripture, means primarily "set apart or consecrated to a sacred use." Thus, the temple at Jerusalem, its altar, vessels and priests, were holy. The Jews themselves, as a people, were in covenant with God. They belonged to him, were set apart to his service, and in this sense "holy." Now, the apostle is to be understood as teaching that children of believing parents, under the Gospel, are allowed to participate in this heritage of God's ancient people, and hence are holy.

Son.—But how can this be?

Father.—I will tell you, briefly, though I cannot now go into detail. In virtue, then, of their parents' faith in God's covenant, into which he entered with Abraham, and through him with all believing parents, their children, also, are brought into covenant with him and entitled to its privileges and blessings. They are set apart and given to him by their parents when they are sealed with the seal of his covenant in baptism. In this manner, and in this sense, they become "holy."

Son.—In what sense are all others "unclean?"[Pg 121]

Father.—The children of unbelievers are "unclean" because they sustain no such relation to God. They have not been consecrated to him by their parents' faith in offering them to him in the ordinance of baptism, and are not interested, therefore, in the provisions or benefits of the Abrahamic covenant. They have, moreover, no special relation to the church; no more title to its immunities, deeper interest in its regards, than the children of the heathen. They may, indeed, when they reach a suitable age, hear the Gospel, and upon repentance and faith, be admitted to its ordinances, but they have no special claim upon its care, or right to its prayers and nurture.

Son.—But, after all, is not this relation one of mere name or form? Has it any positive or practical benefits?

Father.—It is, indeed, too often disregarded, yet it is positive in its character and fraught with striking benefits. If you will give me your attention I will state a few of the benefits which accrue to children from this relation. You, then, my son, and all children of believing parents who have been consecrated to God in baptism, are considered as thereby belonging to Him. You are set apart to his service, in a sense that others are not, and consequently are "holy." In this solemn dedication, your parents professed their faith in the triune God, and their desire that you should be his servants. They took him to be your God according to the terms of his covenant; they desired that you might be engrafted into Christ, and claimed for you the promise of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and sanctify you. Now this, in itself, is an unspeakable blessing. On their part it was an act of faith and obedience. In compliance with the divine direction, they claimed for themselves and for you a privilege which has been the birthright of the church in all ages. They commended you in the most solemn manner to God—the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, a covenant-keeping God, who is rich in mercy, infinite in resources, and who has promised "to be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee." It is an unspeakable blessing to be thus placed under his protection, to be brought within the bonds of his covenant, and[Pg 122] to be entitled to that pledge of mercy which he has made "unto thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments." If it were a privilege for children to be brought to Christ to receive his blessing while he was on earth, equally is it a privilege to be brought to him now that he is exalted to the majesty on high, and "able," as then, "to save unto the uttermost." Though God has a regard for all his creatures, both his word and providence assure us he has a special interest in his people. His language is, "Jacob have I loved, and Israel have I chosen." His elect are those in whom he delights. Their names are in his book of life. "All things" are overruled for their good. They are regarded with more than maternal tenderness, for though a mother forget her infant child, God will not forget his people. And in this affection their children share. Repeated instances are given in which the offspring of believers, though wicked, were spared for the sake of their parents. The descendants of David were not utterly banished from the throne for generations, for their father's sake. Of Israel it was said, when oppressed for their sins by Hazael, King of Syria, "the Lord had compassion and respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet." Even since they have rejected and crucified their Messiah, there is a remnant of them left, according to the election of grace, who are "beloved for their father's sake." The children of the covenant do unquestionably receive manifold temporal and spiritual mercies, and to this more than anything else on earth, it may be, they are indebted for their present and eternal well-being. They are not forgotten when those who bore them to God's altar, and dedicated them to him in faith, have passed away. When father or mother forsake, or are called from them, the Lord shall take them up. Though they stray from the fold of the good Shepherd, and seem to wander beyond the reach of mercy, often, very often, does His grace reclaim and make them the monuments of his forgiving love. This covenant-relation is indeed one whose benefits we cannot here fully[Pg 123] estimate, for they can be known only when the secret dealings of God are revealed, and we are permitted to trace their bearing upon an eternal destiny. They do not secure salvation in every instance, but who shall say they would not obtain even that blessing were they never perverted, and were parent and children alike faithful to the responsibilities they involve?

Son.—These are, indeed, great benefits, but are there any other?

Father.—Yes; besides sustaining this marked and honored relation to God, the baptized sustain a different relation to his church from that of others. They are members of the visible church. Their names are enrolled among God's preferred people. They have a place in the sanctuary of which David sung, "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts." Nor is this relation without its benefits. They are brought thereby within the supervision and nurture of the church. They become the subjects of her care, instruction and discipline. In addition to household privileges, to the prayers, examples and labors of pious parents, they have a special claim to the prayers and efforts of the church. They are remembered as "the sons and daughters of Zion." "For them the public prayer is made." They can be interceded for not only as needing the grace of God, but as authorized to expect it in virtue of their covenant with him. With all faith and hope may they be brought to the throne of mercy as those of whom God has said, "I will be their God." They may claim, too, as they ought to receive, a special solicitude on the part of ministers, officers and members of the church, in their instruction, and in the tender interest which those of the same body should feel in each other. They are to be watched over, sought out and cared for in private and in public; to be borne with in their weakness and reclaimed in their wanderings. They are "Lambs" of the flock, dear to the good Shepherd, and to be loved and labored for, therefore, for his sake. Though they become openly wicked it is not beyond the province of the church to rebuke them for their sins, warn them of their danger, and by all the moral[Pg 124] means in her power to seek for their reformation. And these considerations are fraught with benefit. It was the lament of one of old, a lament that may be taken up by numbers in our day—"No man careth for my soul." But the church does care for the souls of her baptized children. She recognizes them as within her pale, provides in her standards for their nurture, and though not faultless in her treatment of them, she does seek their improvement, through the influence of her ministers, and by urging upon parents their responsibility.—There is in these facts, moreover, a tendency to draw them to the church, to bring them within hearing of the Gospel and within the scope of its ordinances. They will be attracted to the sanctuary of their fathers and attached to the faith and worship of those among whom they have been solemnly dedicated to God. How often in after years do we in fact see them coming themselves and esteeming it a privilege to bring their own children to receive, as they have received, the seal of the covenant!—The baptized are, further, candidates for all the immunities of Christ's house. They may come to the Lord's table as soon as they have attained to the requisite knowledge and piety. It is a distinguished honor, and exalted privilege, to be a guest at Christ's table, to partake of that feast which is a type of the marriage supper of the Lamb, and to this they are invited whenever they are ready publicly to avow their faith and love as his professed disciples. They are for the present excluded, as children in their minority are forbidden to exercise the rights of citizens; or rather in virtue of their power to discipline, as well as instruct, the officers of the church may exclude them, like other unworthy members, from the communion. But it is the aim and desire of the church that they may speedily acquire the knowledge, faith and godliness that shall qualify them for this delightful service.—Now, all this is happy in its tendency and beneficial in its effects. It is a high honor to sustain a covenant relation to God, and to be favored with the peculiar regard of his people. It is a privilege to stand in a different relation to the church of Christ from that of a mere heathen, and to[Pg 125] share in the kind offices and be objects of the prayers of those who are "the excellent of the earth," and whose intercession availeth much. It is a blessing to be under influences adapted to counteract the power of an evil heart and an evil world, and thus be made meet for the glories of Christ's kingdom. And though the baptized may be, in fact often are, insensible to these benefits, they do in themselves constitute their choicest mercies. If valued and improved, they will become effectual for their salvation. And should they be brought ultimately to share in the blessings of this covenant, they will praise God for the agency it exerted, and adore the wisdom and beneficence of its arrangements.



"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might."—Ecclesiastes 9:10.

"Dear mother," said little Emily Manvers, as she turned over the leaves of an elegant annual which she had just received, "Is not uncle Albert very kind to send me this beautiful book? I wonder sometimes that he gives me such costly presents, but I suppose it is because he sees me so careful of my gifts."

Mrs. Manvers smiled. "That speech sounds rather egotistic, my dear. Do you really think you are such a very careful little girl?"

"I am sure, mother," replied Emily, coloring slightly, "that I take more care of my things than many other girls I know. There is my wax doll, I have had three years, and she is not even soiled; and that handsome paint-box uncle gave me a year ago this Christmas, is in as good order as ever, though I have used it a great deal; there is not one paint lost or broken, and the brushes and crayons are all safe and perfect."

"That is as it should be, my daughter," returned Mrs.[Pg 126] Manvers, "for even in small things, we should use our gifts as not abusing them; but what will you say when I tell you that you possess a treasure of inestimable value, which you often misuse sadly, and neglect most heedlessly,—a gift that properly employed will procure wonderful privileges, but which I sometimes fear you will never learn to value until you are about to lose it forever."

"Why, mother, what can you mean!" exclaimed Emily, in astonishment. "It can't be that costly fan cousin Henry sent me from India, that was broken when I laid it down just a minute, instead of putting it immediately away, or do you mean my pet dove that I sometimes have not a minute's time to feed in the morning; you cannot surely think that I will let it starve."

"No, Emily," answered the mother, "it is something far more precious than either, although by your own admission you have two gifts of which you are not at all careful. But I fear that if I tell you what the treasure is, I shall fail in making you see clearly how much you misuse it; I will therefore keep a little memorandum of your neglect and ill-usage of it for one week, and that I hope will make you more careful in future. I will begin on Monday, as to-morrow, being the Sabbath, I have this gift of yours more under my immediate care."

Emily wondered very much what this wonderful treasure could be that she used so badly, and puzzled her brain the whole evening in guessing, but her mother told her to have patience, and in a week she would find out.

Emily Manvers was a kind, amiable little girl, between ten and eleven years old; she was dutiful and obedient, but had an evil habit of procrastination, which her mother had tried in vain to overcome. It was always "time enough" with Emily to do everything, and consequently her lessons were frequently imperfect, and her wardrobe in a sad state, as Mrs. Manvers insisted upon her daughter sewing on strings, and hooks and eyes, when they were wanting, thus endeavoring to instill early habits of neatness. "Put not off till to-morrow what should be done to-day," was a copy the little[Pg 127] girl frequently wrote, but she never allowed its meaning to sink into her heart. It was this truth which her mother hoped now to teach her.

On Monday morning, Emily jumped up as soon as her mother called her, and seated herself on a low stool to put on her shoes and stockings; there was a story book lying upon the table, and as her eyes fell on it, she began to think over all the stories it contained, (some of them quite silly ones, I am sorry to say,) and pulling her night-dress over her feet, sat thinking about worse than nothing, until her mother opened the bed-room door, and exclaimed in surprise,

"What! not dressed yet, Emily! It is full fifteen minutes since I called you."

"I will be dressed directly, mother," said she, jumping up quite ashamed, and she hurriedly put on her clothes, brushed her hair and prepared for breakfast.

After breakfast she had to look over her lessons, but remembering her mother's remarks, she stole a few minutes to feed her doves, and then hurried to school afraid of being late. On her return home in the afternoon, her mother told her to mend her gloves, which she had torn. Emily went to her work-basket, but could not find her thimble.

"Where can my thimble be?" she cried, after looking two or three minutes for it. "Oh, I remember now; I left it on the window sill," and off she ran to get it.

She was gone some time, and on her return her mother asked, "Couldn't you find your thimble, Emily?"

"Yes, mamma, but James and George were flying their kites, so I stopped just a minute to look at them. I will sit down now."

She opened her work-box and took out a needle, then looking about said,

"Why, where is my cotton spool? I left it on the chair a minute ago."

She moved the chairs, turned up the hearth-rug, and tumbled over her work-box in vain; the cotton could not be found. Presently she espied puss, under the sofa, busily employed tossing something about with her paw.

"Oh, you naughty kitty, you have got my spool," cried[Pg 128] Emily, as she stooped down and caught hold of the thread which puss had entangled about the sofa legs; but kitty was in a playful mood and would not give up the cotton-spool at once, so Emily amused herself playing with the cat and thread for some time longer. At last, she remembered her gloves, and sitting down mended them in a few moments.

Had Emily's mother told her that she looked at her watch when the little girl first went for the thimble, and that she had passed exactly three-quarters of an hour in idleness, she would not have credited it.

After a while Mrs. Manvers sent Emily up stairs to get something for her. She stayed so long that her mother called, "Emily, what keeps you so?"

"Nothing, mamma; I stopped just a minute to look at my new sash, it is so pretty."

Ten minutes more were added to the wasted time. The next day Emily came home from school without any ticket for punctuality.

"How is this?" asked the mother; "you started from home in good time?"

"Yes, mother," returned the little girl, "but I stopped just a minute to speak to Sarah Randall, and I know our school-clock must be wrong, for it was half-past nine by it when I went in."

Mrs. Manvers took the trouble to walk around to the school and compare her watch with the clock; they agreed exactly, and thus she found her daughter had wasted half an hour that morning.

"Do you know your lessons, Emily?" she asked, after her return, as the little girl had been sitting for more than an hour with her books upon her lap.

"Not quite, mother."

"Have you been studying all the time, my dear?"

"Pretty near; there was a man beating his horse dreadfully, and I just looked out of the window a minute."

Mrs. Manvers smiled, and yet sighed, for she knew that Emily had spent half an hour humming a tune and gazing idly from the window upon the passers by.




In this day of books, when so many pens are at work writing for children, and when so many combine instruction with entertainment, every family should be, to some extent, a reading family. Books have become indispensable; they are a kind of daily food; and we take for granted that no parent who reads this Magazine neglects to provide aliment of this nature for his family. How many leisure hours may thus be turned to profitable account! How many useful ideas and salutary impressions may thus be gained which will never be lost! If any family does not know the pleasure and the benefit of such employment of a leisure hour, we advise them to make the experiment forthwith. The district library, the Sabbath-school or village library in almost every town afford the facilities necessary for the experiment. But my object is not so much to induce any to form the taste for reading, for who, now a-days, does not read? nor is it to write a dissertation on the pleasures and advantages of reading; but simply to suggest a few plain hints upon the subject matter and the manner of reading.

And, in the first place, the parent should know what his child reads. The book is the companion or teacher. Parent, would you receive into your family a playmate or a teacher of whose tastes and habits and moral character you were ignorant? Would you admit them for one day in such a capacity without having previously ascertained as far as possible their qualifications for such an intimate relationship to your child? But remember that the book has great influence. It puts a great many thoughts into the mind of the young reader, to form its tastes and make lasting impressions; and how can you be indifferent to this matter, when our land is flooded with so many vicious and contaminating books; when they come, like the frogs of Egypt, into every house and bed-chamber, and even into the houses of the servants! A single book may ruin your child! You yourself may not be proof against evil thoughts and corrupt[Pg 130] principles. Look well, then, to the thoughts that come into your child's mind from such a companion or teacher of your child as a printed book, having perhaps all the fascination of a story or a romance. And, besides, there are so many volumes that are tried and proved, and acceptable to all, that there can be no excuse for admitting into your family any which are even of a doubtful character. And do not merely exercise supervision over the books which come to you and ask admission. Avail yourself of the best means of information, and choose the best books; I mean those best adapted to your purpose. Do not get too many, but make a choice selection. Judge whether your child can comprehend what you put into its hand; whether it is fitted to convey instruction, or wholesome entertainment, or right moral impressions. If it can do neither of these, it will be either an idle or a vicious companion for your child, and you should exclude it at once.

But, furthermore, see in what manner the book is read. Draw out the thoughts of your child upon it; ascertain whether it has been read understandingly and is remembered. In this way you will strengthen the power of attention and of memory and judgment, and exercise also the power of language, by drawing out an expression of thought. In this way reading will be doubly interesting, and will be an invigorating exercise without overloading and clogging all the powers of thought.

But, one thing more: Is your child inclined to pore over its books too much? Be careful, lest its mind be over-stimulated at the expense of the body. Many a child is at this hour undermining its physical constitution by reading in the house, when it should be playing out of doors, or using its muscular system in some kind of domestic employment. Beware of any cause which shall induce a sickly precocity or a hotbed mental growth. Let no partiality for mental prodigies induce you to make physical invalids. The sacrifice is too great; seek rather a healthy and complete development of the whole child, watching each power as it unfolds, and training all for the most efficient fulfillment of the practical duties of life.[Pg 131]


We venture to devote more space than usual to "Notices of Books," as we have a large number on our table deserving a word of commendation. We shall confine ourselves to the class of works of which the topics of consideration come within the scope of this magazine.

Memoirs of the Life and Trials of a youthful Christian, in Pursuit of Health, as developed in the Biography of Nathaniel Cheever, M.D. By Rev. Henry T. Cheever. With an Introduction by Rev. George B. Cheever, D.D. New York: Charles Scribner.

We have laid down this book, after attentive perusal, with the feeling that among the many things to be learned from it, one stands prominently forth,—the beauty of family affection in a Christian household. "To our Beloved and Honored Mother, these Memorials of her Youngest Son are affectionately Dedicated." Here we stand at the foundation stone, and are not surprised afterward to see taking their place in the fair edifice of family love, "stones polished after the similitude of a palace."

The history presented in this memoir has no startling incidents. The subject of it, a beautiful and promising boy, full of life and happiness, is suddenly smitten with a disease which hangs like an incubus upon his progress through life, and terminates his course just after he has entered successfully on the practice of the medical profession, in the island of Cuba, led, as he had previously been, on repeated voyages across the ocean, by the hope of permanent benefit from change of climate. Scattered through the book are descriptions of scenery, observations on men and manners, and pleasant narratives, which give variety to its pages, but its charm rises in the character of uncommon loveliness which it presents; in the unvarying cheerfulness and patience with which the young sufferer met pain, disappointment of cherished plans of life, defeat and delay in his efforts for intellectual improvement, separation from the friends to whom his sensitive spirit clung with a tenacity of affection which is often developed by suffering, but which seems to have been an original element in his nature; years of banishment from the home circle, and at last, death, away from every friend, on the ocean, which he was struggling to cross once more that he might breathe his last sigh on his mother's bosom. The conscientiousness, the integrity, the simplicity of this young Christian are as beautiful to contemplate as his elasticity of spirit, his cheerful submission, and his resolute determination to be all that, with the shattered materials, he was capable of making himself. His patient efforts, retarded by his severe sufferings, to educate himself, and acquire a profession, are touching and instructive, though few, who have not experienced the slow martyrdom of chronic disease, can fully appreciate his energy, or sympathize with his difficulties. Better than all this is his unwavering trust in God, from his boyhood to the day of his early death. Here was the secret of his joyfulness. His biographer well remarks, "Beyond all doubt the inalienable treasure and guarantee of cheerfulness,[Pg 132] being reconciliation to God, was in that heart, whose pulsations are still beating in the leaves of this book. In his sky the star of hope was always in the ascendant. The aspect which life had to him, notwithstanding all his suffering, was green and cheerful. He was wont to view things on the sunny side, or if a cloud intervened to look beyond it."

Such a cheerfulness, so based, is worth more than "silver and gold." We commend the book to the attention of our readers, as a beautiful illustration of early and consistent piety.


Mrs. Whittelsey:—"The influence of poetry," says another, "in forming the moral character, and guiding the thoughts of children, is immense. How often has a simple couplet made an indelible impression on their memories, and been the means of shaping their conduct for life! It cannot be a matter of indifference, then, whether the poetry they read and hear be good or bad, healthful or poisonous. And every parent should see that it be of the former kind; such as not only to cultivate the taste, but such as will form the character and mould the heart to all that is holy and excellent."

These thoughts have come up to my mind with strong interest, since I have lately examined a little work published by Mr. M.W. Dodd of your city, entitled, "Select Poetry for Children and Youth," a book worthy to be in every family, and possessed by every mother in the land. It is full of just the kind of poetry to interest children deeply, and profit them truly; and is such a work as every parent may safely and wisely introduce to his household. As a parent, I have taken it home, and read it to my own family circle, and have found all, from oldest to youngest, absorbed in attention to its choice selections, which are from such writers as Mary Howitt, Jane Taylor, Mrs. Hemans, Cowper, &c., &c., &c. And I am persuaded that if other parents will make the same experiment, they will find it attended with the same result.

And now, in conclusion, as a parent who has always taken your excellent Magazine, and who through it would speak to parents, let me ask, Ought we not to be more careful as to the reading of our children—more careful that the couplets they learn, and the little ballads they hear, and the verses they commit to memory, are such as they ought to be? Lessons from such sources will leave a deep and lasting impression long after we are silent in the grave! The verses which the writer was taught by a pious mother, in early days, are all vividly remembered, and probably will be while life shall last. And if every parent would seek to make verses the vehicle of instruction to the young (for children delight in poetry earlier than in prose), they might easily implant the seeds of virtue and piety that would never be lost, but that in due season would spring up and bear fruit an hundred-fold to eternal life.

A Parent.
[Pg 133]




We beg those readers of this Magazine who have had the patience to follow us thus far in our study, now to open their Bibles with an earnest invocation of the aid of that Spirit who indited the sacred pages, and so far from being satisfied with the meager thoughts which we are able to furnish, we entreat that they will bend diligently to the work of ascertaining the real interest which we and all the mothers of earth have in the scenes which transpired at the foot of Horeb's holy mount. To the instructions there uttered, the mighty ones of every age,—the founders of empires, statesmen, law-givers, philanthropists, patriots, and wise men, have sought for their noblest conceptions, and their most beneficent regulations, and it would be impossible to estimate the influence of those instructions upon all the after history of the world. But if the Almighty there revealed himself as the God of kingdoms, the all-wise and infinitely good Ruler of men in a national capacity, not less did He make himself known as the God of the family, and his will there made known regulating the mutual relations of parents and children, has been at once the foundation and bulwark of all that has been excellent or trustworthy in family government from that day to this.

It is impossible, in the brief space allotted to us, that we should begin to give any adequate view of the subject which here opens before us, or follow out fully a single one of the many trains of thought to which it gives rise.

At Horeb, Jehovah, amid fire and smoke, and in that voice which so filled with terror all that heard, first inculcated the duty of filial piety on all the future generations of men. Filial piety! how much it implies. It stands at the head of the duties enjoined from man to man. It comes[Pg 134] next in order to those which man owes to his Maker. It inculcates on the part of children toward their parents feelings akin to those which he has required toward Himself, and far surpassing any which he demands toward any other human being. It speaks of reverence, of a love superior to ordinary affection, of unqualified submission and obedience. "Honor thy father and thy mother" is the solemn command, and the comments which infinite wisdom has made on it, scattered up and down on the pages of inspiration, throw light on its length and breadth, and on the heinous nature of the sin which is committed in its infringement. "Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father, and keep my Sabbaths; I am the Lord." In the Jewish law, a man who smote his neighbor must be smitten in return; but "he that smiteth father or mother shall be surely put to death." "He that curseth," or as it more exactly reads, "he that disparages or speaks lightly of his parents, or uses contemptuous language to them, shall surely be put to death." "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who when they have chastised him will not hearken unto them, then shall his father and his mother lay hold of him and bring him to the elders of the city, and unto the gate of his place. And they shall say unto the elders of the city, This, our son, is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die; so shall thou put away evil from among you, that all Israel shall hear and fear."

Still more fearful is the practical commentary upon this solemn command, given in Ezekiel 22:7, when Jehovah, in enumerating the crying sins which demanded his vengeance on the people, and brought upon them the terrible calamities of long captivity says, "In thee have they set light by father and mother."

But some one will say, You profess to be speaking to parents, and this command is given to children. True, friend, but the duty required of children implies a corresponding duty on the part of parents. Who shall teach children to[Pg 135] reverence that father and mother in whose character there is nothing to call forth such a sentiment? "Though children are not absolved from the obligation of this commandment by the misconduct of their parents, yet in the nature of things, it is impossible that they should yield the same hearty respect and veneration to the unworthy as to the worthy, nor does God require a child to pay an irrational honor to his parents. If his parents are atheists, he cannot honor them as Christians. If they are prayerless and profane, he cannot honor them as religious. If they are worldly, avaricious, over-reaching, unscrupulous as to veracity and honest dealing, he cannot honor them as exemplary, upright, conscientious and spiritually-minded."

If parents only say, like Eli, in feeble accents, "Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear. Why do ye such things?" they will not only have disobedient and irreverent children, but often, if not always, they will be made to understand that their sin is grievous in the sight of God, and he will say of them also, "I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth, because his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not." "And therefore have I sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever."

Unto parents God has committed the child, in utter helplessness, and weakness, and ignorance, an unformed being. The power and the knowledge are theirs, and on their side is He, the Almighty and infinitely wise, with his spirit and his laws, and his promises. If they are faithful,—if from the first they realize their responsibility, and the advantages of their position, can the result be doubtful? But they will not be faithful; imperfection is stamped on all earthly character, and they will fail in this as in all other duties. What then? Blessed be God, the Gospel has a provision for erring parents. If Sinai thunders, Calvary whispers peace. For men, as sinners, the righteousness of Christ prevails, and for sinners, as parents, not less shall it be found sufficient. Line and plummet can soon measure the extent of human perfection,[Pg 136] but they cannot fathom the merit of that righteousness, and when laid side by side with the most holy law, there is no deficiency. If, then, we find ourselves daily coming short of the terms of that covenant which God has made with us as parents, we need not despair of his fulfilling his part, for we can plead our surety's work, and that is ever acceptable in his eyes, and answers all his demands.

Let not, however, the negligent and willfully-ignorant parent conclude that the spotless robe of the perfect Savior will be thrown as a shield over his deficiencies and deformity. Let not those who have blindly and carelessly entered on parental duties, without endeavoring to ascertain the will of God and the requirements of his law, expect that the blessing of obedient and sanctified children will crown their days. Let not those who suffer their children to grow up around them like weeds, without religious culture or pruning, who demand no obedience, who command no reverence, who offer no earnest, ceaseless prayer, let them not suppose that the blessing of the God who spoke from Horeb will come upon their families. "He is in one mind and who can turn him." Not an iota has he abated from his law since that fearful day. Not less sinful in his eyes is disobedience to parents now, than when he commanded the rebellious son to be "stoned with stones until he died." Yet, how far below His standard are the ideas even of many Christian parents? "How different," says Wilberforce, "nay, in many respects, how contradictory, would be the two systems of mere morals, of which the one should be formed from the commonly-received maxims of the Christian world, and the other from the study of the Holy Scriptures;" and we are never more forcibly impressed with this difference than when we see it exemplified in this solemn subject.

The parents who stood at Horeb learned that God required them to train their children to implicit and uncompromising obedience, and he who closely studies the Word of God can find no other or lighter requisition. How will the received opinions and customs of this age compare with the demand?

We ask our young friends, who may perchance glance[Pg 137] over these pages, to pause a moment and consider: If capital punishment should now be inflicted on every disobedient child, how many roods of earth would be planted with the instruments of death? If every city were doomed to destruction in which the majority of sons and daughters "set light by father and mother," how many would remain? To every child living comes a voice, "Know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment."




Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.

(Concluded from page 108.)

To aid you in making the effort to comply with the injunction we have been considering, I add the following considerations:

1st. It is right, this you will all acknowledge, no matter how unkindly a brother or sister may treat you, you will acknowledge that it is never right for you, never pleasing to God, that you should treat them unkindly in return. Yes, you will all (except when you are angry) acknowledge that the injunction Be kindly affectioned one to another in brotherly love, is right, proper, beautiful; could there be a better reason for trying to obey the injunction?

2d. You have already often disobeyed this injunction. You cannot remember many of the instances, but you can some where you acted unbrotherly or unsisterly. Alas, such are the pride and selfishness of our hearts that we begin very early to sin against our dearest friends. Little boy, did you not get angry the other day, when your little brother or sister took one of your playthings which you wanted[Pg 138] yourself, and if you did not speak unkindly or snatch it away roughly, did you not go and complain to mother, and was that very kind and loving? Would it not have been kinder and more brotherly to try to make little brother and sister happy, and not to have troubled mother? Little children, I say this especially for you, I want you all to make it a rule to love everybody, and to try and make everybody around you happy. That is the way to be happy yourselves. But, my young friends, you, who are older, are in equal danger of sinning, and I am afraid that your consciences can also condemn you. Indeed I know not but the danger of violating this law is greater with those more advanced in life. There is a transition period when the childhood is about losing itself in the youth, which is often very trying to brotherly and sisterly affection. The sister is not quite a woman, the brother not quite a young man, and each is sometimes disposed to demand an attention which the other is not quite willing to yield on demand—each would yield, perhaps, if it were asked as a favor—but the spirit of an independent existence is beginning to rise, and that spirit spurns any claim. This spirit is generally the stronger in the brother than in the sister, and he therefore sins most frequently against the law of love, and he will treat his sister as he will allow no other young man to do, and will treat every other young lady with more politeness and courtesy than he does his own noble-hearted and loving sister. Oh, there is many a brother, who, if any young man were to say and do what he says and does to his sister, he would consider him to be no gentleman and a scoundrel. Now, I would ask, does the fact of your being a brother alter the nature of your conduct? You are her brother, and therefore may act ungentlemanly and like a scoundrel! Why, oh, shame, cowardly shame! because there is no one to resent your ill-treatment—there is no one to defend a sister from the unkindness of a brother, or to defend the brother, I may add, from the sister's unkindness; for though I speak to the brother, let each sister who reads this, ask her conscience whether her own sister's heart condemn her not.[Pg 139]

Time will not allow me to enter into any great detail, in illustrating the frequency of these violations of the law of family affection, nor indeed is it needed. I can give you a general rule, which your own minds will approve, and which will meet all cases. Let the sister treat no man with more courtesy and politeness than she treats her father and her brothers—treat no woman more kindly and politely than she does her mother and her sisters. Let her not confine all her graces and fascinations to strangers, and make her family to endure all her petulance and unamiability. So let the brother treat his mother and sisters. So let the father and mother treat each other and their children, and you will, my readers, obtain a noble reward in the increasing happiness and comfort of your family circles—in the manliness which will belong to the sons—in the mental and moral graces which will adorn the daughters. The family will thus become the school of virtue and the bulwark of society—the reciprocal influence of brothers and sisters thus trained will be of untold power on each other's character.

One word further, and I close. I have been describing the legitimate influence of religion in a family. True religion will make just such fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. It is in this way that religion develops itself; that religion which is beautiful abroad and has no beauty at home, is of little worth. If, then, you would make your families what I have described, you must yourself come under the power of religion, must give your heart to God, and then you will find the duties of the family becoming comparatively easy. Unless you do so, you will find yourselves constantly failing in your most strenuous efforts, and will be far from reaching the point which I have sought to describe. Natural affection may indeed be much cultivated by this course, and drawn forth in its native simplicity or regulated by the forms of refined education, it will throw an inestimable beauty and charm around the fireside. But it will be, after all, but merely natural affection. It cannot rise so high nor exert such heavenly influence over the family circle as will the power of religion. It sanctifies and exalts natural affections. It not only restrains[Pg 140] but actually softens the natural asperities of the temper, harmonizes discordant feelings and interests, and secures that happy co-operation which makes a Christian circle an emblem of heaven. In one word, religion will make you a happy family forever, happy here and happy in yonder world of bliss. Without religion also, allow me to add, the very beauty and enjoyment, arising from the exercise of these domestic virtues, will prove injurious to your eternal interests. They will serve to strew with comforts your path leading away from God to heaven. The powerful influence of a much loved brother is exerted to keep the sister in the path of worldliness; while, in return, the sister's boundless influence, for in such a family the sister's influence may be said to be boundless, will all be added to the snares of an ungodly world, to drive the brother onward in his neglect of God and his own soul. My young friends, seek not only to make those around you happy in this world, but happy forever. Give thine own heart to Jesus, and thou mayest save thy brother and thy sister, and thou shalt meet them on high. Refuse to do so, and thou mayest drag these loved ones down with thee to that cold dark region, where affection is unknown and nothing is heard but blasphemies and curses. Oh, thou kind and loving brother and sister, can ye endure the thought of spending an eternity in cursing each other as the instruments of each other's destruction? Christ alone can deliver you from such a woe.

Habit.—"I trust everything, under God," said Lord Brougham, "to habit, upon which, in all ages, the lawgiver, as well as the schoolmaster, has mainly placed his reliance; habit, which makes everything easy, and casts all difficulties upon the deviation from a wonted course. Make sobriety a habit, and intemperance will be hateful; make prudence a habit, and reckless profligacy will be as contrary to the nature of the child, grown or adult, as the most atrocious crimes are to any of your lordships."[Pg 141]




It is presumed, young friends, that you have reached an age when you are capable of appreciating your obligations, but have hitherto neglected them. It is proposed, therefore, in what follows, briefly to call your attention to your position and responsibilities. If you have considered your privileges as the children of pious parents who have dedicated you to God in baptism, you are now prepared to examine your duties. You have then a name and a place in Christ's visible church; you sustain covenant relations to God, and these, fraught as they are with manifold benefits, cannot be without corresponding responsibilities.

You are not the children of the world but the children of the covenant. Solemn vows have been assumed for you, and these vows are binding upon your consciences. They were taken with the hope and intention that you should assume them for yourselves when you arrived at years of discretion. You were given to God with the expectation that you would grow up to serve him. And this it is your duty to do. You are his property. You are his by sacred engagement, and you cannot violate this engagement; you cannot renounce His service, and devote yourselves to the service of Satan or of the world, without dishonoring your parents, doing injustice to God, and periling your own salvation. You may say this contract was formed without my consent, and when too young to understand its requirements. No matter; this does not release you from obligation to perform it. Ability and responsibility are not always co-extensive. We are bound perfectly to keep God's holy law, and yet no man of himself is able to do it. His inability, however, does not diminish it's binding force. God cannot[Pg 142] abate one jot or tittle of the law's demands, for that would be a confession of its imperfection or of his variableness. Or, should he diminish his demands because our wickedness has made us incapable of keeping them, then the more wicked we become, the less binding would be his authority, and if we only grew depraved enough we might escape from all obligation to obedience. Such an idea, cannot, of course, be tolerated. The truth is, that under the government of God, as well as under human government, children are held responsible for the conduct of their parents. Parents have a right to act for them, and children must abide by their decisions, and endure the consequences of their acts. They cannot escape from it, for this is a natural as well as moral law which is continually operating. The character and destiny of the child are determined mainly by the parent. He may educate him to be refined, intelligent and useful, or to be vicious, debased and dangerous. This process is going on continually. The parent may make positive engagements in behalf of his children, which they are bound to perform, and which the law recognizes as valid. A father dying, for example, while his children are in infancy or in their minority, may require them to appropriate a portion of his estate for certain ends, as a condition on which they shall receive it. Another may require of his children a given service, on condition of receiving his blessing; and if the requirement be not morally wrong, who would not feel themselves bound to observe it? But there are examples, perhaps more in point, in Scripture, in which parents have entered into formal covenants that have had direct reference to their children. Adam covenanted for himself and posterity. They had no personal agency in it, in any sense, and yet all are held accountable for its transgression; all suffer a portion of its penalty, as they might, if he had kept it, been made possessors of its blessings. So Abraham covenanted with God for himself and his seed; and his descendants felt themselves bound to fulfill its requirements. They knew, in fact, that unless they did, its benefits could not be enjoyed. The same principle holds good in reference to the baptized. You[Pg 143] are bound by the covenant engagements of your parents. You cannot be released from them on the ground that you had no agency in assuming them. They were assumed for you by those who had the right to do it—a right recognized by both God and man—and you cannot therefore throw them off; you cannot willfully disregard or live contrary to them, without guilt and dishonor. The apostle urges this principle when he testifies "to every man that is circumcised that he is a debtor to do the whole law." His consecration to God in this rite bound him to keep his whole law; and yet this obligation was imposed on him when an infant only eight days old; but after arriving at maturity, he could not shake it off. He was a debtor still, for he was placed in that position in accordance with the divine command and by those who had the authority over him. With equal propriety may we now testify unto you who are baptized, that you are debtors unto Christ. You are bound to keep the laws of his kingdom, bound to serve him to whose service you have been set apart. You are not your own; you are not, therefore, to live unto yourselves. The vows of God are upon you. You have been sealed with his seal. And since you have attained an age at which you can understand your position, you are bound to perform those vows; to seek to be sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. There is no escape from this obligation; and when, therefore, you live utterly regardless of it, as many do, your conduct is doubly criminal. You may have flattered yourselves that you enjoyed superior advantages, and that you were more highly favored than others; and this is true. But you must take into the account your corresponding responsibilities. There is a broad distinction between your position, and that of mere worldlings, and there ought to be a like difference in your practice. You cannot give yourselves to the sins of youth, or the gayeties of life. You cannot set your hearts on fashion, dress, amusements, business or any mere worldly ends, with as much consistency, or with as little guilt, as your unbaptized associates. You cannot harden yourselves against the truth, grieve the Holy Spirit, turn away in coldness[Pg 144] or disdain from the claims of Christ, without exposing yourselves to an aggravated condemnation. Shall you who are pledged servants of Christ, who are bound to him by solemn covenant, be regardless of these vows, or be recreant to Him as his avowed enemies? Ah, this is approaching fearfully near the appalling sin of "treading under foot the Son of God, of counting the blood of his covenant an unholy thing, and doing despite unto the Spirit of grace." You cannot, surely, have considered your relations to Christ and to his church. You cannot have pondered the nature of your baptismal vows which were taken for you, but which are now binding upon your own souls. You cannot realize against what gracious promises, what high, privileges you sin, in living contrary to your obligations, and in remaining at heart, and by your conduct, "strangers to God and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." Review your position, and remember you are placed where you cannot recede. Duties press upon you which you cannot disregard; vows are upon you which you cannot break with safety or with honor. It is not enough that you lead a moral life, or that you continue in your present position. You are required to advance. You have been pledged to God; and to fulfill this pledge you must be His in heart. You must choose His service. You must take Christ's yoke upon you and dedicate yourselves to Him. Nothing short of this will fulfill your covenant vows or insure your enjoyment of its blessings. As to receding, that is utterly inadmissible. You have been put in this relation by those who loved you and had the right, nay, were commanded of God, to dispose of you in this manner. You cannot then evade it. You may say you never gave it your consent, and that it is hard to be thus bound to act contrary to your natural inclinations; but it is right, and you cannot help it. You are in this position, and you cannot break away but at the peril of your salvation; nay, without the certainty of perdition. But it is not hard, or cruel, to require you to love and obey God. You were created for this, and your nature will never attain to its perfection until you fulfill this its noblest destiny. A[Pg 145] hard thing to do right! A grievous thing to be saved from the pollution of sin and the very gulf of perdition! A hard thing to be taken under divine protection; to be enriched with God's blessing; to be numbered among his people on earth and ultimately admitted to his kingdom in heaven! Impossible! You did not think it; you did not mean to urge this as an objection to your most obvious duty. You would not object to your parents' securing for you a costly estate while in your minority, and why then discard the heavenly inheritance they would provide for you? Fulfill your vows. Choose His service, and be blessed now and forever.



"Leave thy fatherless children with me, and I will preserve them alive."

(Concluded from page 119.)

The elder brother, De Witt, from childhood, was of a thoughtful cast of mind, regular in his habits, careful in forming his associations, kind and dutiful as a son and brother. He ever proved a help and solace to his mother in the family circle, where he was the oldest child. In pursuing his course of studies he evinced industry of application, and sustained an excellent standing in his classes. His regular and interested attendance on the exercises of the Sabbath-school, as well as the services of the sanctuary; his conduct in the family circle, and the developments of the closing scenes of his life, all tend to form the conviction that divine truth had obtained a lodgment in his mind by the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit. At the interesting period of nineteen years, full of hope and promise, the seeds of pulmonary disease sprang forth within him. In the fall of 1850, he began to cough, and since then, with variations as to[Pg 146] its severity, it continued with him, and his friends marked that it became deeply seated, and apprehended its probable termination. He, however, retained his active habits and course of study till last fall. His earnest attention to sermons, his occasional remarks on their evangelical and practical character as profitable, and his prayerful reading of the Bible, showed the influence divine truth was exerting upon him. The sickness and rapid decline of his brother Joseph was to him most affecting, as they had grown up from childhood together in uninterrupted intercourse and love. In his feeble state of health, he saw his beloved brother hastening to death and the grave, while their dear mother was yearning over both in view of their spiritual welfare. While everything indicated a deep interest in the matter of the soul's salvation, doubts and difficulties prevented him from finding joy and peace in believing. About ten days before his death, and just before the death of Joseph, he received the remarkable letter from his Uncle Scudder which wrought powerfully on his mind, and followed by Joseph's death, was doubtless instrumental, under the divine blessing, in leading him to the decision of giving himself to the Savior by the profession of his faith. The Sabbath, January 11, on the morning of which Joseph died, was indeed a memorable and impressive one in many of its associations. De Witt had just made profession of his faith, and was admitted into the communion of the Presbyterian Church in Canal street, of which the Rev. Mr. Carpenter is pastor, and was carried into the church to unite with God's people in celebrating the Lord's supper, and it was just at the expiration of the two months of special prayer by his uncle in India. When his mother, this morning, announced to him the death of his brother, he just exclaimed, with much emotion, "Is Joseph dead? Then I have no brother." He left the room for a moment and returned, saying, "Mother, we have no cause to mourn. Joseph is only gone to the new Jerusalem, where dear father was waiting to receive him," and then calmly prepared himself for the sacramental service in the church before him. The writer of this had an interview with him[Pg 147] the following morning (Monday). Everything conspired to render the scene impressive. As I saw the remains of Joseph, I observed in the appearance of De Witt the indications of approaching death, and heard the account of his attendance at the Lord's table on the preceding day. After conversation, he asked me to pray that it would please God to spare his life that he might be a support and comfort to his mother, and be permitted to labor for Christ. I replied that such desires were in themselves worthy, but that I strongly felt it would be with him as with David in whose heart was the desire to build the house of God. God accepted the desire, but denied him the work, and assigned it to another. I told him that I must affectionately tell him that every indication denoted that the Savior was preparing him shortly to enter upon his service in heaven, and that he would soon join his brother, whose mortal remains were then waiting for the tomb. He received this without agitation, and calmly replied that he then wished me to pray that it would please God to impart and preserve to him the light of his countenance, and his divine peace, and enable him to glorify Him during the little portion of time which might still be allotted to him on earth. His mother states she does not remember after this to have heard him say much about living, and that only as connected with the service of his Savior. His mind, which had been opening to the light and peace of the Gospel, became more and more established in the faith of Christ, and enriched with the comforts of the Spirit. While his body was fast wasting, his soul as rapidly grew strong. There has rarely been a more striking growth in grace, calm and substantial, free from all vain excitements and feverish heats. Many interesting incidents connected with the spirit he displayed, and the words he uttered during the week following my interview with him just alluded to, are treasured up in the heart's memory. But there is no room for details until we reach the closing scene, from Friday to Monday, January 19. I shall copy from some memoranda furnished by the mother. She had before urged that he should pray in view of continued life only for strength to[Pg 148] speak of the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and thus live a long life in the little time spared to him. This seemed to be verified. Mrs. Hunt writes: "On Friday morning he arose as usual, and reclined on the sofa. He was weak, and his throat sore, so that he could only swallow liquids. When the physician visiting him left, I told him that he thought him very low, but I requested him to remember what his beloved minister had told him, to look away from death to Jesus and Heaven; he exclaimed, 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks to God, who giveth me the victory, through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.' He expressed the delightful thought that he would be where 'the Lamb would feed him, lead him to living waters, and wipe away all tears from his eyes.' Sometimes he would say, 'Precious Savior. Mother, what would I do without such a Savior? Precious hope, what would I do without such a hope?' And then he would speak of the mansions in Heaven. The 27th and 40th Psalms, which his dear father had selected for us a short time before his death, that we might read them for our comfort after he was gone, were given. When the 27th was commenced he took it up and repeated the whole. On Saturday he had severe pain in the lungs, and thought his end near. Several of his friends called, and he noticed them all distinctly. He addressed two of his fellow-students in the University in an affectionate appeal to what he supposed their spiritual condition. In a conversation with Rev. Mr. C., he said that if God had been pleased to spare his life, he should have felt himself consecrated to the ministry and missionary service; and expressed the calm assurance of his faith. Prayer was offered that he might spend one more precious Sabbath on earth. The night passed, and the Sabbath came. My child exclaimed, soon after waking, 'Precious Sabbath,' and his eyes beamed with hallowed feeling. I said, 'Dear son, can you truly say this morning that you feel the peace of God which passeth understanding?' He raised his eyes and replied, most impressively, 'Oh, yes.' He said[Pg 149] with delight, 'Mother, O think that Joseph is now by the river of the water of life.' He said also to me, 'Mother, you will not weep for me?' I replied, 'If I do joy will mingle with my tears.' He continued, 'I shall be nearer to you in Heaven than in India' (alluding to his purpose, if his life should be spared, to be a missionary in India). I asked him what message I should send to his Uncle Scudder. He said, 'Tell him I think my heart was in the right place when his letter reached me, or I know not what I should have done.' Two friends came in. De Witt said, 'I thought I should have spent part of this day around the throne in heaven.' And one (a pious young college companion) said to the other, 'If this be dying, I envy him.' After service in the afternoon, Rev. Mr. Carpenter came in with two of his elders, and three other Christian friends were present. Singing was proposed; De Witt was delighted with the thought of it, and selected the hymns. 'Come, thou fount of every blessing,' was sung first. My child could not join with his voice, but stretched out his arm, and with his arm, having the forefinger extended, beat the time. It was a touching, solemn scene; the singing filled the room, and seemed to go up to Heaven. After we had ended the second hymn, 'Rise, my soul, and stretch thy wings,' he exclaimed, 'I thought I was almost in heaven.' On Sabbath night, about ten o'clock, he inquired of a friend, 'whether she did not think he would soon die?' I went to him and asked him if he felt any change that induced him to ask the question. He replied, 'Everything seems to fail.' I then talked to him about the Savior being with him when he passed through the dark valley, and added, 'Dear son, I will give you up to the Lord.' Directly he said, 'I am now ready any moment to say, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' He afterward repeated 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Of whom shall I be afraid? It is better to die than live.' A little before six o'clock he looked intensely upon me. I asked what he wished to give me?—his farewell kiss, which he repeated several times. He then again gave me an intense look. I said, 'My son, God will take care.' He replied, 'I[Pg 150] know he will.' He shook hands with two of his youthful companions, and sent a message to the brother of one of them, expressive of his solicitude for his spiritual welfare. I said to him, 'I have taken care of you these nineteen years, for the Lord.' He said, 'Yes, these nineteen years,' but did not proceed. He asked one of his friends to pray, which he did. After this he ceased to speak, and sank, continuing to breathe hard, without a struggle, until the precious spirit took its everlasting flight a little before eight o'clock, January 19."

I have thus given, from the notes furnished by the bereaved and mourning, but grateful and comforted mother, a sketch of the closing hours and dying scene of this youth, which, in connection with the similar scene in the younger brother, beautifully and strongly illustrates the precious trust committed to mothers, the importance and value of maternal influence, and the encouragement to its faithful and wisely-directed exercise.




"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might."—Ecclesiastes 9:10.

(Continued from page 128.)

That evening a little schoolmate came to visit her; they played several amusing games, and Emily staid up much past her usual hour. The next morning when her mother called her, she felt very sleepy, and unwilling to rise, so instead of jumping up at once, she turned her head on the pillow thinking "I will get up in a minute." But in less than that minute she was fast asleep again, and did not awake until aroused by Mary the nurse, whose voice sounded close in her ear, exclaiming,

"Why, Miss Emily, are you in bed yet! Here have I been looking all through the house and garden for you. Jump up quick, breakfast is just over."[Pg 151]

You may be sure Emily did not wait a second bidding, but hurrying on her clothes, hastened down stairs without even thinking about saying her prayers, which no little child should ever forget to do, because it is the kind and merciful God who keeps us safely through the night, and our first thoughts when we awaken should be gratitude to him for protecting us, and we should pray to Him to keep us all day out of sin and danger, and teach us how to improve the time which He has intrusted to our care.

Emily thought of none of these things, but ran down to the breakfast-room, feeling rather ashamed of being so late. Her papa had finished his breakfast, and gone out, and when her mother looked up to the clock as she entered, she saw that it wanted twenty minutes to nine.

"How very late it is!" thought the little girl, as she hurried off to school, "mamma always calls me at seven. I did not think I had slept so long."

Despite all Emily's haste she was too late; school had commenced when she entered, and worse than all, she did not know her lessons, and was kept in an hour after the rest were dismissed. She could not study the evening before, and had depended upon an hour's study before breakfast, but her unlucky morning nap left her no time to think about lessons before school, and her consequent disgrace was the punishment. The little girl returned home that day very unhappy.

Emily had not forgotten the conversation about the wasted gift, and had determined to give no opportunity for her mother to complain. She thought she was very careful that week, but never imagined how much of the precious gift she wasted each day in idleness.

The day after her unfortunate disgrace in school, she brought down several articles of dress that needed repairing, and seated herself at the window to work. Her mother had promised to take her out with her, and Emily had to finish her mending first. She plied the needle very steadily for a while, but presently her attention was attracted by the opposite neighbors.

"Look, mamma," she exclaimed, "there is Mrs. Dodson[Pg 152] and Lucy; they are just going out, and Lucy has on a new hat."

"Well, my dear," returned her mother quietly, "it is not unusual for people to get new bonnets at this season."

Emily felt a little abashed at this reply, but could not refrain from casting furtive glances across the way. The afternoon was fine, and the street filled with well-dressed people. The little girl watched the passers-by, holding her needle listlessly in her fingers, and presently cried out,

"Did you see that lady, mamma? How oddly she was dressed."

"No," answered Mrs. Manvers, "I am attending to my work now, but I hope soon to join the promenaders myself."

Emily stole a glance at her mother to see whether her countenance implied reproof, but Mrs. Manvers's eyes were fixed upon her work and the little girl again endeavored to fix her attention upon her sewing. At length Mrs. Manvers rose and put aside her work-basket. "I am going to dress, Emily," she said.

"Very well, mother, I will be ready in a minute," replied her daughter, and she followed her mother up stairs.

Emily tossed over her bureau in vain to find a clean pair of pantalets, and then she remembered of having taken several pairs down stairs to mend. She ran hastily down and selected the best pair. Some of the button-holes were torn out, but she could not wait to mend them now, so hastily pinning on the pantalets, she dressed and joined her mother.

As they pursued their walk, Emily felt something about her feet, and looking down discovered her pantalets; she hastily stooped to pull them off and the pin scratched her foot severely. Mrs. Manvers saw all this, but said nothing; she knew that her daughter had wasted time enough to have mended all her pantalets, and she added another hour to the already long account of wasted minutes in her memorandum.

The following day was Friday, and it was part of Emily's duties on this day to arrange her bureau-drawers and put her closet in order. She went up stairs after dinner with[Pg 153] this intention, but there were so many little gifts and keep-sakes in her drawers, to be successively admired and thought over, so many sashes to unfold, and odd gloves to be paired, that the whole afternoon was consumed, and the tea-bell rang before she had quite finished the second drawer, and consequently the duty of that day remained to be finished on the next.

"Well, my little girl," said her father the next morning, "I hope you will have my handkerchief nicely hemmed by this afternoon; you have had it several days now, and I suppose it is nearly finished. I shall want it, as I am going away after dinner."

"You shall have it, papa," replied Emily. She did not like to tell him the handkerchief was not yet commenced, as she felt quite sure she could finish it in time, and determined to begin immediately after breakfast.

When she went up stairs to get the handkerchief out of her drawer she saw her bureau was yet in disorder. "Mamma will be displeased to see this," she thought, "and I shall have time enough to put it in order and hem papa's handkerchief beside." She went eagerly to work, but the bureau took her longer than she anticipated, and when her father came home to dinner she had not finished his handkerchief.

Now she made her needle fly, but her industry came too late; her father could not wait, and Emily had the mortification of hearing him say:

"I hope my handkerchief will not be like my gloves, that you kept so long to mend, and mamma had to finish after all."

She cried bitterly after he was gone, but managed through her tears to finish the handkerchief at last, and carried it to her mother, asking her to beg her papa's forgiveness.

After tea was over, Mrs. Manvers called Emily to her, and folding her arm fondly around the little girl's waist, pointed to a small book lying open upon the table, saying as she did so:

"Do you remember, my love, our conversation last Saturday night upon the subject of your gifts?"[Pg 154]

"Oh, yes, mamma, and you told me you would keep an account of my ill-usage of one of them."

"I have done so, my dear, and now tell me can you not imagine what this gift is which you so much abuse?"

"Indeed, I cannot, mamma," replied the little girl with a sigh. Mrs. Manvers placed the memorandum book in her daughter's hand without saying a word.

There, written at the head of the page, were these words:

"Emily's Waste of Time."

and beneath was quite a long column of figures, and a list of duties unfulfilled.

"Oh, mamma," cried Emily, throwing herself upon her mother's breast, "it is time, precious time, that is the gift I waste; but surely I have not spent so many idle minutes in just one week."

"I am sorry to say that you have, my dear daughter, all these and even more. I have promised to keep an account, and I have done so; add them up and see how many there are."

Emily added up the figures with tearful eyes, and said, "there are four hundred and twenty, mamma."

"And how many hours does that make, Emily?"

The little girl thought a moment, and then answered,

"Seven hours."

"Very well; then you see you waste seven hours in a week, which would make three hundred and sixty-four in a year, and if you should live the allotted period of life, which would be sixty years from the present time, you will willfully waste twenty one thousand eight hundred and forty hours of the precious time God has given you in which to work out His will."

"Oh, dear mamma, it does not seem possible; I am sure I don't know how the time slips away," said Emily, sadly.

"I will tell you, my love," replied Mrs. Manvers. "It slips away in just a minute; as uncounted drops of water form the sea, so do millions of minutes make up the sum of life; but so small are they that they pass without our heeding[Pg 155] them, yet once gone they come back to us no more. Time is the one talent, the precious gift which God has bestowed upon all his creatures, and which we are bound to improve. Every hour brings its duty, and do you think it is right, Emily, to leave that duty unfulfilled?"

Emily hung her head, while tears slowly coursed down her cheek.

"Do you not see, my dear, that by idling away the precious moments you crowd the duty of one hour into the next, so your task can never be finished, or at best very imperfectly? If you reflect, the experience of the past week will tell you this. I have kept this memorandum on purpose to convince you of your sinful waste of that most precious of all gifts,—the time which our Master allows us here to work out our happiness hereafter. Remember, my love, that you are accountable to Him for your use of His gifts, and a proper improvement of time will not only save you many mortifications and produce much pleasure and comfort to yourself and all about you, but it is a duty you owe to the God who bestowed it. Do not think me unnecessarily earnest, my dear little girl; the subject is of fearful importance, and this habit of putting off till to-morrow what should be done to-day, is your greatest fault. Remember hereafter that 'Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it now with all thy might,' and then I shall have no more occasion to remind you of the wasted gift."

Emily never forgot the lesson of that week, but gradually overcame the evil habits of idleness and procrastination which were becoming fixed before she was made fully aware of their danger, and a long life of usefulness attested the good impression left upon her mind by her mother's memorandum of "The Wasted Gift."[Pg 156]



"Will you excuse me, mother," said a bright looking boy of twelve or thirteen to his mother, as soon as he had finished his meat and potato. "Yes, if you wish." "And may I be excused too, mother?" cried his little brother of some six or seven years. "Yes, dear, if there is any occasion for such haste, but why do you not wish for your pudding or fruit?" "Oh, Charley is going to show me something," replied the happy little boy, as he eagerly hastened from his seat, and followed his brother to the window, where they were both speedily intent upon a new bow and arrow, which had just been presented to Charley by a poor wandering Indian, to whom he had been in the habit of giving such little matters as his means would allow. Sometimes a little tobacco for his pipe, a pair of his father's cast-off boots or a half-worn pair of stockings, and sometimes he would beg of his mother a fourpence, which instead of purchasing candy for himself was slid into the hand of his aboriginal friend, and whenever he came, a good warm dinner was set before him, under Charley's special direction. He loved the poor Indian, and often told his mother he would always help an Indian while he had the power, for "Oh, how sorry I am that they are driven away from all these pleasant lands," he often used to say, "and are melting away, like the snows in April. Mother, I should think they would hate the sight of a white man." But the poor Indian is grateful for kindness from a white man, and this day as Charley came from school, poor Squantum was sitting at the corner of the house waiting for him, with a fine long smooth bow, and several arrows. "I give you this," he said, "for you always good to Squantum;" and without waiting for Charley's thanks, or accepting his earnest invitation to come in and get some dinner, he strode away. Charley was wild with delight. He flew to the house with his treasure, but the dinner-bell rang at that moment. He[Pg 157] could not find in his heart to put it out of his hand, so he took it with him, and seated himself at the table, and as soon as his hunger was appeased, he nodded to his brother and hurried to show him his precious gift. The family were quietly conversing and finishing their dinner, when crash! and smash! went something! Poor Charley! In the eagerness of his delight, while showing the beautiful bow to his brother, he had brought the end of it within the handle of a large water-pitcher, which stood on the side table near him, and alas, the twirl was too sudden—the poor pitcher came to the floor with a mighty emphasis. "Boy! what are you about? What have you done? What do you mean by such carelessness? Will you break everything in the house, you heedless fellow? I'd rather you had broken all on the table than that pitcher, you young scapegrace. Take that, and learn to mind what you are about, or I'll take measures to make you." And with a thorough shaking, and a sound box on the ear, the father quitted the room, took his hat, and marched to his office, there to explain the law, and obtain justice for all offenders. But alas for Charley! How great was the change of feeling in his boyish heart. His mother looked for a moment with an expression of fear and sorrow upon her countenance, and telling a servant to wipe up the water he had spilled—she took his hand gently to lead him away. For a moment he repulsed her, and stood as if transfixed with astonishment and rage. But he could not withstand her pleading look, and she led him to her own room. As soon as the door closed upon them, his passion burst forth in words. "Father treats me like a dog. I never will bear it—never, never, another day. Mother, you know I did not not mean to do a wrong thing, and what right has my father to shake and cuff me as if I were a vile slave? Mother, I'll break the house down itself if he treats me so—to box my ears right before all the family! And last night he sent me out of the room, so stern, just because I slammed the door a little. I was glad he had to go to the office, and I wish he would stay there—"

"Hush, hush, my son, what are you saying? Stop, for a moment, and think what you are saying of your own kind[Pg 158] father! Charles, my son, you are adding sin to sin. Sit down, my dear child, and crush that wicked spirit in the bud." And she gently seated him in a chair, and laying her cool hand upon his burning brow, she smoothed his hair, and pressing her lips to his forehead, he felt her tears. "Mother, mother, you blessed good mother." His heart melted within him, and he wept as if it would burst. For a few moments, both wept without restraint, but feeling that the opportunity for making a lasting impression must not be lost, Mrs. Arnold struggled to command herself. "Charles, my son, you have displeased your father exceedingly, and you cannot wonder that he was greatly disturbed. That pitcher, you often heard him say, was used for many years in his father's family. It is an old relic which he valued highly. It was very strong, and has been used by us so long, that it seemed like a familiar friend. It is not strange that for a moment he was exceedingly angry to see it so carelessly broken, and oh, my son, what wicked feelings have been in your heart, what undutiful words upon your tongue!"

"I cannot help it, mother—I cannot help it," replied the excited boy, "he ought not to treat me so, and I will not—" "Charles, Charles, you are wrong, you are very wrong, and I pray you may be sorry for it," interrupted his mother, in a tone of the deepest sorrow. "Do not speak again till you can conquer such a spirit," and they were both silent for a few moments. The mother's heart went up in fervent prayer that this might be a salutary trial, and that she might be enabled to guide his young and hasty spirit aright.

At length he spoke slowly, and his voice trembled with the strong feelings which had shaken him. "Mother, you are the dearest and best mother that ever lived. I wish I could be a good boy, for your sake; but when father speaks so harsh, I am angry all the time, and I cannot help being cross and ugly too. I know I am more and more so; I feel it, and the boys tell me so sometimes. John Gray said, yesterday, I was not half as pleasant in school as I used to be. I feel unhappy, and I am sure if I grow wicked, I[Pg 159] grow wretched too." And again he burst into a passion of tears.

"Does not sin always bring misery, my dear boy?" asked his mother, after a little pause, "and will you not daily meet with circumstances to make you angry and unhappy, if you give way to your first impulse of impatience,—and is it not our first duty to resist every temptation to feel or act wrong? God has not promised us happiness here, but He has promised that if we resist evil it will flee from us. He has promised that if we strive to conquer our wicked feelings and do right when we are tempted to do wrong He will aid us, and give us sweet peace in so doing. To-day you have given way to anger, and you are wretched. You are blaming your father and think he is the cause of your trouble; but think a moment. If you had borne the punishment he gave you meekly and patiently, would not a feeling of peace be in your bosom, to which you are now a stranger? You know that when we suffer patiently for doing well, God is well pleased; and would not the consciousness that you had struggled against and overcome a wicked feeling, and that God looked upon you with approbation, make you more really happy than anything else can? My dear, dear boy, your happiness does not consist in what others say or do to you, but in the feelings you cherish in your own heart. There you must look for happiness, and there, if you do right, you will find it."

"I know you always say right, mother, and I will try, I will try, if I can, to bear patiently; but oh, if father only was like you"—and again tears stopped his utterance.

"My dear child," said his mother, "your father has many troubles. It is a great care to provide for his family, and you know he suffers us to want for nothing. He often has most perplexing cases, and his poor brains are almost distracted. You are a happy boy, with no care but to get your lessons, and obey your parents, and try to help them. You know nothing yet of the anxieties which will crowd upon you when you are a man. Try now to learn to bear manfully and patiently all vexations—looking for help to that blessed One, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again. How much happier and[Pg 160] better man you will be, how you will comfort your mother, and still more, you will please that blessed Savior, who has left such an example of meekness—suffering for sinners, and even dying for his cruel enemies. Oh, my son, my son, ask that blessed Savior to make you like himself, and you will be happy, and His own Spirit will make you holy. Let us ask Him to do it," and she knelt by her bedside, and her son placed himself beside her. It was no new thing for him to pray with this devoted mother. Often had she been with him to the throne of grace, when his youthful troubles or faults had made him feel the need of an Almighty helper and friend, but never had he come before with such an earnest desire to obtain the gift of that blessed Spirit, to subdue and change his heart and make him like his Savior. When they rose from prayer he sought his own room. He felt unable to go to school, and his mother hoped the impression would be more lasting, if he thought it over in the solitude of his own chamber, and she had much reason afterward to hope that this solemn afternoon was the beginning of good days to the soul of her child. As she looked anxiously at the expression of his countenance when the family assembled at the tea-table, she was pleased to notice, though an air of sadness hung around him, he was subdued, gentle, and affectionate, and she hoped much from this severe contest with his besetting sin. His father said little, and soon hurried away to a business engagement for the evening. Mr. Arnold was a lawyer, a gentleman and a professing Christian, and though never very strongly beloved, yet few of his neighbors could tell why, or say aught against his respectability and general excellence of character. He was immersed in the cares of an extensive business, and spent little time at home, and when there he seemed to have no room in his busy heart for the prattle of his children, no time to delight and improve them, with the stores of knowledge he might have brought forth from his treasury. If company were present, he was polite and agreeable. If only his wife and children, he said little, and that little was chiefly confined to matters of domestic interest—what they should have for dinner—what schools the children[Pg 161] should attend—or the casual mention of the most common news of the day. He provided liberally for his family, what they should eat and drink, and wherewithal they should be clothed and instructed—but he took no pains to gain their affections or their confidence, to enlarge their ideas and awaken within them the thirst for knowledge, and plant within them the deathless principles of right and wrong—or even to inspire their young minds with love and reverence for their Divine Creator and Preserver. All this most important duty of a father was left to his wife, and blessed is the man who has such a wife and mother, to whom to intrust the precious charge he neglects. Most amiable and affectionate, intelligent and judicious, and of ardent and cheerful piety, this excellent woman devoted herself with untiring zeal to the training of her cherished flock, and as she saw and felt with poignant grief that she would have no help in this greatest and first earthly duty, from him who had solemnly promised to sustain and comfort, and assist, and cherish her, to bear and share with her the trials and cares of life (and what care is greater than the right training of our offspring), she again and again strove with earnest faith and humble prayer, to cast all her care upon Him, who she was assured cared for her, and go forward in every duty with the determination to fulfill it to the utmost of her power. Many times did the cold and stern manner of her husband, his anger at trifles, and his thoughtless punishment for accidental offenses, cause her heart to bleed for the effects of such government, or want of government, upon her children's hearts and minds. But she uttered no word of blame in their presence, she ever showed them that any want of love or respect for their father grieved her, and was, moreover, a heinous sin, and by patient continuance in well doing, she yet hoped to reap the full reward. Her eldest, Charles, felt most keenly his father's utter want of sympathy, and to him she gave her most constant tender care. Affectionate, but hasty, he was illy constituted to bear the harsh command, or the frequent fault finding of his father, and often she trembled lest he should throw off all parental control, and goaded by[Pg 162] his irritated feelings, rush into sin without restraint. And so, probably, he would have done but for the unbounded love and reverence with which he regarded his "blessed mother." Her gentle influence he could not withstand, and it grew more and more powerful with him for good, till the glance of her loving eye would check his wayward spirit, and calm him often, when passion struggled for the mastery. Often did she venture to hope he had indeed given himself to his Savior, and her conversations with him from time to time, showed so much desire to conquer every evil passion, and to shun every false way with so much affectionate reverence for his God and Redeemer, that the mother's heart was sweetly comforted in her first-born.



The days of primer, and catechism, and tasks for the memory are gone. The schoolmaster is no longer to us as he was to our mothers, associated with all that is puzzling and disagreeable in hard unmeaning rules, with all that is dull and uninteresting in grave thoughts beyond the reach of the young idea. He is to us now rather the interpreter of mysteries, the pleasant companion who shows us the way to science, and beguiles its tediousness. If there is now no "royal road," certainly its opening defiles are made easier for the ascent of the little feet of the youthful scholar. The memory is not the chief faculty which receives a discipline in the present system of things. The "how," the "why," are the subjects of interest and attention. This is well; but it may be that in our anxiety to reach the height of the hill, and to keep up with the progress of the age, we are neglecting too much the training of the memory, which should be to us a treasury of beautiful thoughts, to cheer us in the prose of every-day life, to refine and elevate taste and feeling.[Pg 163] We do not think it was a waste of time to learn, as our mothers did, long extracts from Milton, the sweet lyrics of Watts, the Psalms of David. Have we not often been soothed by their recitation of them in the time of sickness, at the hour of twilight, when even the mind of the child seems to reach out after the spiritual, and to need the aliment of high and holy thought? The low, sweet voice, the harmony of the verse, were conveyancers of ideas which entered the soul to become a part of it forever.

If we would be rich in thought, we must gather up the treasures of the past, and make them our own. It is not enough, certainly, for ordinary minds, simply to read the English classics; they must be studied, learned, to get from them their worth. And the mother who would cultivate the taste, the imagination of the child, must give him, with the exercise of his own inventive powers, the rich food of the past.

It need not be feared that there will not be originality in the mind of one thus stored with the wealth which others have left. Where there is a native vigor, and invention, it will remould truth into new forms, and add a value of its own, having received an inspiration from the great masters of thought.

If, then, you would bless your child, persuade him to make Milton and Cowper, and other authors of immortal verse, his familiar friends. They shall be companions in solitude, ministers of joy in hours of sadness. And let the "songs of Zion" mould the young affections, and be associated with a mother's love, and the dear delights of home. Perhaps in a strange land, and in a dying hour, when far from counselor and friend, they may lead even the prodigal to think upon his ways, and be his guide to Heaven.[Pg 164]


"The Wide, Wide World."—This is a charming book, written by one of our own countrywomen, which we think may be safely and appropriately given to a pure-minded and simple-hearted daughter. If it is fictitious, it is only so as the ideal landscape of an artist, which, though unreal, compels us to exclaim, How true to nature! If the delineation of true religious character is not its main object, that of piety and benevolence is as truly a part of it, as is its fragrance a part of the rose. We should love to give it to some of our friends whose Christianity may be vital, but which does not make them lovely—who may show some of its fruits, but who hardly cultivate what may be called the leaves and flowers of a holy character. If the sternness and want of sympathy of Aunt Fortune does not rebuke them, perhaps the loveliness and patience of Ellen, and her friends, may win them to an imitation.

"Life in the West; or, the Moreton Family."—This tasteful little work, coming out under the sanction of the American Sunday-School Union, hardly needs from us an item of praise; but we cannot consent to pass it by unnoticed. A more faithful and interesting picture of the trials of a Christian family in removing westward, and of their surmounting such trials, we have never seen. Religion, the religion of home, they take with them; and by the wayside, and in the log cottage, they worship their father's God. We needed such a delineation, in the form of an attractive narrative, to show us that in passing through the trials of a strange country, we are yet to be on the Lord's side. But beside this, there is in the work the loveliness of a well-ordered home; the picture of a faithful, thoughtful mother, and of children and husband appreciating such a mother. To give one little extract—"The mother's room! What family knows not that sociable spot—that heart of the house? To it go the weary, the sick, the sad and the happy, all sure of sympathy and of aid; all secure in their expectation of meeting there the cheering word, the comforting smile, and the loving friend." In thorough ignorance of what a new home should mean, little Willie inquires, "Home is not a house, is it?" Most sensible question for a child. To such as desire an answer to the inquiry, we recommend the work, as one which will be of value to them and their children.[Pg 165]



In my intercourse with Christian parents, and it has not been limited, I have often found a deep anxiety pervading their hearts in relation to the spiritual state of their children. And why should not such anxiety exist? If a parent has evidence that his child is in an impenitent state—especially if that child is growing up in habits of vicious indulgence—he ought to feel, and deeply feel. That child is in danger, and the danger is the greater by how much the more his heart has become callous, under the hardening influence of a wicked life; and every day that danger increases. God's patience may be exhausted. The brittle thread of life may be sundered at any moment, and the impenitent and unprepared soul be summoned to the bar of God. With great propriety, therefore, may the parent feel anxious in regard to his unconverted children.

But to some parents it seems mysterious that such deep, constant, corroding anxiety should be their allotment. They sometimes attempt to cast it off. They would feel justified in doing so, were they able. But that is impossible. Now, to such parents allow me to address a few thoughts which, may the Divine Spirit, by his gracious influence, bless to their comfort and direction.

And the first thing I have to say is, that the solicitude they feel for their children may be excessive. That it should be deep must be admitted, and it should continue as long as the danger lasts. It should even increase as that danger increases up to a given point; but there is a point beyond which even parental solicitude should never be suffered to proceed. It should not become excessive. It should never be suffered to weaken our confidence in the divine goodness, nor in the wisdom of the divine dispensations. It should never prompt the parent to desire that God should alter the established order of his providence, or change or modify the[Pg 166] principles of his moral government. It would not be right for me to wish my children saved at all adventures. That anxiety which prompts to such a desire is both excessive and selfish. It can never be justified, nor can God ever favorably regard it.

My second remark is, that a deep solicitude of the parent for the spiritual good of his children is most desirable. I am aware that it is more or less painful, and in itself is neither pleasant nor desirable. But may it not, notwithstanding, be beneficial in its results, and even of incalculable importance? Where no danger is apprehended, no care will be exercised. Who knows not that the unsolicitous mariner is far more likely to suffer shipwreck than he who, apprehensive of rocks and reefs, exercises a wise precaution? The parent who never suffers himself to be disturbed—whose sleep is never interrupted while his children are abroad, exposed to temptation—may for that very reason neglect them at the critical juncture, and the head-waters may become too impulsive; the tendencies to vice and crime too powerful to be resisted. Oh! had the parent been a little more anxious—had he looked after his children with a higher sense of his obligations, how immeasurably different, probably, had been the result! The truth is, that where one parent feels too much in relation to his children, hundreds of parents are criminally indifferent. In regard to such parents, it is our duty to awaken their anxieties by every means in our power. But what shall we say to those who may be thought already over-solicitous? Such parents are seldom to be found. If any such there be, let them moderate what may possibly be excessive; but be sure to bless God, who has given you a deep anxiety for the salvation of your loved ones. Remember that it prompts you to greater watchfulness and care than you would otherwise exercise. You pray more, you instruct them more, you guard them more. And your children, therefore, are more likely to become the children of God. And remember, further, that your Heavenly Father knows just what solicitudes you feel, their weight, their painfulness; and just so long as you feel them, and in consequence[Pg 167] of them, act in the use of those legitimate means which God has instituted for the restraint and conversion of your children, you have reason to hope. The very end and object of those Christian anxieties are just what you desire, and for which you are daily praying—the conversion of your children; and if you pursue a proper course under them, you are probably more likely to see your hopes accomplished than if they did not exist.

I had contemplated adding other suggestions, but time and space will not allow. But I cannot dismiss this subject without saying, that instead of ever complaining that God has imparted to you such a deep anxiety for the spiritual good of your children, let that time thus spent be employed in fervent, importunate and agonizing prayer for them. That is the best way of washing off these accumulated and accumulating loads of anxiety. Plead in view of your deep solicitude—plead in Christ's name—plead by the worth of your children's souls—plead by every consideration you can think of, and then plead by every consideration which the All Omniscient mind of God can think of—especially plead the divine honor and glory, as involved in such a desired result, and when you have done all these, then act wisely, and efficiently as you can. Never give up—never falter—not even for a moment. But be steady to your purpose—yet in every step of your progress say, "O God, thy will be done."



A family is a community or government, of which the parents are the legislators, and the children are the subjects. The parents are required by the family constitution to superintend and direct the conduct of their children, and others under their care. And children, by the same authority, are required to obey their parents. "Children, obey your parents[Pg 168] in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." But parents are more than legislators; they possess the executive power. They are to see their rules carried out. And, still further, they are to judge of the penalty due to infraction and disobedience, and of the time and manner in which punishment is to be inflicted. The authority vested in parents is great, and most judiciously should it be exercised. God has given general directions in his word touching the exercise of their authority. To Him they are amenable. And by all the love they bear to their offspring, their desire for their welfare, and the hope of the future approbation of God, they should endeavor to bring up their children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord."

But are not parents apt to legislate too much? This is often an error in all legislative assemblies. Perhaps there is not a State in the Union in which the laws are not too many, and too minute. Every legislator feels desirous of leaving his impress on the statute book. And so there is yearly an accumulation of laws and resolves, one-half of which might probably be dispensed with, with advantage to the people.

The same over legislation often obtains in the school-room, springing doubtless from a desire on the part of the teacher to preserve a more perfect order among his pupils. Hence the number and minuteness of his rules; and in his endeavor to reduce them to practice, and make clock-work of the internal machinery, he quite likely defeats the very object he has in view. A school-teacher who pretends to notice every aberration from order and propriety is quite likely to have his hands full, and just so with parents. Some children cannot keep still. Their nervous temperament does not admit of it. I once heard an elderly gentleman say, that when riding in a coach, he was so confined that he felt as if he should die because he could not change his position. Oh! if he could have stirred but an inch! Children often feel just so. And it is bad policy to require them to sit as so many little immoveable statues. "There, sit in just that spot, and don't you move an inch till I bid you." Who has not heard a parent give forth such a mandate? And a[Pg 169] school-master, too, to some little urchin, who tries to obey, but from that moment begins to squirm, and turn, and hitch, and chiefly because his nervous system is all deranged by the very duty imposed upon him. And, besides, what if Tommy, in the exuberance of his feelings, while sitting on the bench, does stick out his toe a little beyond the prescribed line. Or suppose Jimmy crowds up to him a little too closely, and feeling that he can't breathe as freely as he wishes, gives him a hunch; or suppose Betty, during a temporary fit of fretfulness, induced by long setting in one posture, or overcome with the heat of a midsummer afternoon, or the sweltering temperature of a room where an old-fashioned box stove has been converted into a furnace; suppose Betty gives her seat-mate a sly pinch to make her move to a more tolerable distance, shall the teacher utter his rebuke in tones which might possibly be appropriate if a murder was about being committed? I have known a schoolmaster "fire up" like a steam-engine, and puff and whiz at the occurrence of some such peccadilloes, and the consequence was that the whole school was soon at a stand-still as to study, and the askance looks and suppressed titter of the little flock told you that the teacher had made no capital that time. I have seen essentially the same thing in parents.

Now, I am not exactly justifying such conduct in children. But such offences will exist, despite of all the wisdom, authority, and sternness in the wide world. My position is, that these minor matters must sometimes be left. They had better not always be seen, or if seen, not be noticed. I think those who have the care of children may take a lesson from a slut and her pups, or a cat and her kittens. Who has not seen the puppy or the kitten taking some license with their dams?—biting as puppies and kittens bite at play? Well, and what sort of treatment do they sometimes get from the older folks? Now and then you hear a growl, or see a spat. But, generally, the "old ones" know better. The little frolicsome creatures are indulged. Nature seems to teach these canine and feline parents that their progeny must and will have sport. I have, indeed, as I have said,[Pg 170] heard the ominous growl and the warning spat or spit, but what good has it done? Why, the growl seems only to inspirit the young dog. He plays so much the more; or, at least, if he plays shy for a brief space, the next you'll see, he jumps on to the old dog and plays the harder, and the kitten acts in like manner.

But I have said enough. The sum is, that it is wise not to take cognizance of all that might be considered amiss in children. Correct the faults which are the most prominent. Let the statute-book not be overburdened with small enactments. Nothing is small which is morally wrong; but little physical twitchings, and nervous peccadilloes are not worthy of grave legislation. The apostle's account of himself has some pertinence here. "When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child"—Paul, doubtless acted as a child; "but when I became a man, I put away childish things." The experience and observation of years often make salutary corrections, which you would in vain attempt to effect in early childhood, by all the laws of a ponderous octavo, or by all the birch saplings to be found in a western forest.

A Grandfather.



Kind reader, whoever thou art, I come to thee with an earnest plea, and that I may the more surely prevail in my suit, let me for a time exert over thee the mesmeric power; thy bodily eyes being closed, and thy spirit set free from its encumbering clay, let me introduce thee to distant scenes.

The hour is midnight,—the place an humble home in far off Michigan. Let us enter; nothing hinders, for bolts and bars are here unknown. Step quietly, that we may not disturb the sleeping. Come with me to this bed-chamber; it is indeed dark, but the spirit does not need material light. On[Pg 171] this rude bed reposes an aged man with whitened locks and furrowed face, and yonder lies a little child whose tiny feet have yet taken but few steps on life's rude journey. Listen!—she moves—she is not asleep. What has wakened thee, gentle one?—the slumbers of childhood should be undisturbed. She sings—in the silent, lonely night, with sweet low voice she is singing—

"Jesus, Saviour, Son of God,
Who for me life's pathway trod;
Who for me became a child,
Make me humble, meek, and mild.

I thy little lamb would be,
Jesus, I would follow thee;
Samuel was thy child of old,
Take me now within thy fold."

The old man wakens—she has disturbed him. Shall he stop her?—no; he loves that little one, and he has not the heart to bid her be silent. One after another she pours forth her sweet melodies, till at last her voice grows fainter and fainter, and soon she and her grandfather are both lying again in unbroken repose. The morning comes. The old man calls to him the petted one, and says: "Lucy, why did you sing last night when you should have been asleep? What were you singing?" Stopping her play she looks up and says brightly—"I was singing to Jesus, grandpa, and you ought to sing to him, too."

Why does he start and tremble, that stern, gray-headed man? He has lived more than sixty years an unbeliever—a despiser of the lowly Savior. No thought of repentance or remorse has afflicted him—no desire has he ever had to hear the words of eternal life. He has trained up his family in ignorance of God, and only in his memory has the blessed Sabbath had a name since he went to his distant western home.

Not long ago a benevolent man passing through the town, gathered some of the ragged and forsaken little ones into a Sabbath-school, and bestowed on them the inestimable[Pg 172] gift of a few small books. The little Lucy heard from her young companions the wonderful story, and begged to go. But she was sternly refused. He wanted nothing with the Sabbath-school. She could not be pacified, however, and at length with prayers and tears she was permitted to prevail. She went, and returned with her Testament and little hymn-book, and with such joy and glee, that even her grandfather came to think the Sabbath-school an excellent thing. Of that blessed school he is now a member, and is weekly found studying the word of God, as humbly and diligently as a little child. The infidel of sixty years is a penitent follower of that Jesus to whom little Lucy sung her midnight song, and who out of the mouths of babes often perfects his praise.

But we cannot tarry here; let us journey on. Our way lies through these woods. Do you hear the sound of an axe? Yonder is a woodman, and by his side a little boy. We will approach. Never fear. Spirits cannot be discerned by mortal eyes, and though we come very near, they will be unconscious of our presence. How attractive is childhood. The little fellow is as merry as a lark, and chatters away to his father, who, with silent absorption pursues his work. Suddenly his axe slips, and a large limb, which should have fallen in the other direction, descends with violence upon his foot. Can spirits be deaf at pleasure? If so we will quickly close our ears, for fearful is the torrent of oaths proceeding from the mouth of the infuriated man. But where is the child? Look at him where he stands; his innocent prattle hushed—his whole appearance and attitude showing the utmost fear and distress. Listen—he speaks—slowly and solemnly: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Who made thee a preacher of righteousness, a rebuker of sin, thou little stray lamb of the Savior's fold? The Sabbath-school,—lone instrument of good in these western wilds, has taught thee, and thou teachest thy father. Nor is the reproof vain. Heart-stricken and repentant he is henceforth a new man. "God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform." But we will on. The woods are[Pg 173] passed, and we emerge again into the highway. Who goes yonder with painful effort in the road before us? It is a crippled boy. Stop—let us speak to him. Can spirits converse in human tones? We will try. "Good morning, my poor boy; are you going far on your crutches over this rough road?"

"Only to the village, sir, about a mile from this."

"And pray what may be your errand that you make so much effort?"

"Oh, sir, one of the boys, last week, gave me a little book, which told about God, and heaven, and hell, and I am frightened about my soul, and I am going to ask the good minister who lives in the village what I shall do that I may go to heaven."

"God speed and teach thee, and give us to see thee at last among the ransomed ones."

We have left the village where the "good minister" lived, far behind, and now we approach a populous town. By our side travels a thoughtful man, all unwitting of his company. It is the Sabbath, and he has been ten miles to hear the gospel preached. No church-going bell has as yet ever gladdened the place which he calls his home. Deep sighs escape from his breast, as he rides slowly along. He meditates on the wretched condition of his neighbors and friends. As we approach the town the sound of voices is heard. The good man listens, and distinguishes the tones of children familiar and dear. He approaches the hedge from which they proceed. What anguish is depicted on his face as he gazes on the boys, sitting under the hedge, on God's holy day, busily engaged in playing cards! Are you a parent, kind reader? Are you a Christian parent? If so, perhaps you can understand his feelings as he turns desparingly away, and murmurs to himself—"No preacher of the gospel—no Sunday-school—no Sabbath day. Alas! what shall save our children?"

Our journey is ended. Every incident which we have imagined we saw, is recorded in God's book of remembrance as a fact.[Pg 174]

My plea is in behalf of those who would establish Sabbath-schools among the thousands of precious infant souls in the far-off West.

Do you ask what you can do? Perhaps you can increase your donations to the Home Missionary and Sunday-school Societies. Every dollar goes far, given to either. But perhaps you are doing all you can in that way. Have you then no good books lying about your home which have done their work for your loved ones, and can be dispensed with? Can you collect among your friends a dozen or more? Do not think it a small thing. Gather them together, and put them in some box of clothing which is destined to Michigan. Every one of those defaced and cast-off books may be a messenger of life to some starving soul.

More than this you can do. Train your own precious children to value their abundant privileges, and embue them with the earnest desire to impart freely what is so freely given. Look upon your son, your pride and joy. A few years hence may find him living side by side with one of those unfortunate boys who knew no better than to desecrate the holy day with gambling. Will he be able to withstand the influences which will surround him in such society? That, under God, depends on your prayers and efforts. Ask earnestly for grace to prepare him to do the blessed work, wherever he goes, of winning souls to Christ, and not be himself enticed to evil. Your daughter—your gentle, bright-eyed one—over whom your heart yearns with unspeakable tenderness—her home may be yet appointed far toward the setting sun. For her sake, lend all your influence to the good work of saving those rapidly populating towns from the dominion of evil. Labor and pray, and day by day, instil into her young mind the principles which governed her Savior's earthly life—who went about doing good, and who valued not the riches of heaven's glory that he might redeem souls.

Sigma.[Pg 175]



There is always great danger of wounding the sensibilities of a timid, retiring child. It requires great forbearance and discrimination on the part of parents and teachers, in their endeavors to develop the latent faculties of the minds of such children, (whether this dullness is natural, or the effect of untoward circumstances,) without injuring the sensibilities of the heart.

This is especially true at the present day, when the world is laying such heavy demands upon the time and attention of parents.

We not unfrequently hear a father confessing, with regret, to be sure, but without any apparent endeavors to obviate the evil, that his time and thoughts are so absorbed in the cares of his business, that his little children scarcely recognize him, as he seldom returns to his family, till they are in bed, and goes forth to his business before they are up in the morning.

This is, indeed, a sad evil, and if possible ought to be remedied. How can we expect that such a father will understand the peculiar temper and dispositions of his children so as to aid a mother in their proper training? Perhaps in some cases such evils cannot be remedied.

But, alas! what heavy responsibilities does such neglect, on the part of the father, devolve upon the mother! Methinks the circumstances of such a mother may be even more difficult to meet than if she were a widow!

We invite the attention of parents to a consideration of this topic and some of the evils growing out of the wrong treatment of timid, dull children. We can do no more at present than attempt to show, in a given case, how such an existing evil was cured by forbearance and kindness. The illustration is taken from "Pictures of Early Life," in the case of a little girl by the name of Lilias Tracy.[Pg 176]

This poor child, though her father was rich, and held an honorable station in society, yet on account of her mother's sorrows, and subsequent insanity, her poor child, Lilias, who was allowed to remain with her mother, was brought up in an atmosphere of sadness, and it was no wonder that she became melancholy and reserved.

After the death of her mother, her father understood too little of the character of his only child to be able to afford her much solace, and he therefore determined to send her to a boarding-school.

If there be a trial which exceeds a child's powers of endurance, it is a first entrance into a boarding-school. Little Lilias felt at once this painful situation in all its bitterness.

Shy and sensitive at all times, she had never felt so utterly forlorn, as when she first found herself in the play-ground belonging to Mrs. Bellamy's school.

Not only was she timid and shy, but the necessity of being always with her mother to soothe the paroxysms of distress, had deprived Lilias of many opportunities of education, and she was therefore far less advanced in knowledge than most of her companions. Numberless were the mortifications to which she was obliged to submit on account of her ignorance, while her timidity and shyness increased in proportion to the reproofs of her teachers, and the ridicule of her schoolfellows. She at length came to be regarded as one of those hopelessly dull pupils who are to be found cumbering the benches of every large school, and but for her father's wealth and honorable station in society, she would, probably, have been sent away in disgrace.

Fortunately, Providence raised up for poor Lilias, at this juncture, a kind friend and patient teacher in a schoolfellow, by the name of Victorine Horton. This amiable young lady, seeing the trials and mortifications of this sensitive child, begged Mrs. Bellamy to allow Lilias to become her room-mate, and she would assist her in her lessons. Some few weeks after this arrangement took place, Victorine was accosted thus—

"How can you waste so much time on that stupid child,[Pg 177] Miss Horton?" said one of the teachers. "She does not seem to improve any, with all your pains; she will never repay your trouble."

"I do not despair," said Victorine, smiling. "She is an affectionate little creature, and if continual dropping will wear away a stone, surely, repeated kindness will melt the icy mantle of reserve which now conceals her better qualities."

A happy child was little Lilias, thus to become the companion and bedfellow of such a kind-hearted friend as she found in Victorine. Stimulated by affection, she applied herself to her studies, and as "perfect love casteth out fear," she was enabled to get her lessons, and to recite them without that nervous timidity which had usually deprived her of all power.

A few months after Victorine had thus undertaken the charge of Lilias, a prize was offered, in each class, for the most elegantly written French exercise. Lilias observed the eagerness of the pupils to compete for the medals, but she never dreamed of becoming a candidate till Victorine suggested it.

"I wish you would try to win the prize in your class, dear Lilias," said Victorine.

"I, Victorine! It would be impossible."

"Why, impossible, Lilias? You have lately made great progress in the study of French, and if I may judge by your last translation, you will stand as good a chance as any of the class."

"But, you know, I have your assistance, Victorine, and if I were writing for the prize I should be obliged to do it all myself."

"I gave you little aid in your last exercises, Lilias, and there are yet two months before the time fixed for awarding the premiums, so you will have opportunity enough to try your skill."

"But if I should not succeed, the whole school will laugh at me for making the attempt."

"No, Lilias; those who possess proper feelings will never[Pg 178] laugh at an attempt to do right, and for those who can indulge an ill-natured jest at the expense of a schoolfellow's feelings, you need not care. I am very anxious you should make the attempt."

"Well, if you wish it, Victorine, I will do my best; but I know I shall fail."

"Do you know how I generally succeed in such tasks, Lilias? It is never by thinking of the possibility of failure. I have almost forgotten to say, I can't, and have substituted, upon every occasion, I'll try."

"Well, then, to please you, Victorine, 'I'll try,'" said Lilias, smiling.

"Poor child," thought Victorine, "with your affectionate nature, and noble principles, it is a pity you should be regarded only as a dull and sullen little dunce, whom no one cares to waste a thought upon."

For a long time, Lilias' project in regard to the medal was concealed from the school. To tell the truth, Victorine, herself, had many doubts as to the success of her little friend, but she knew if she failed to obtain the prize, the exertion would be of service to herself.

Long before the day arrived, Lilias had twenty times determined to withdraw from all competition; but she never broke a promise, and as she had pledged herself to Victorine, she resolved to persevere.

In the sequel, Victorine was surprised at the beauty of the thoughts in Lilias' exercise, as well as the correctness of the language. She was satisfied that Lilias had done well; her only fear was lest others should do better.

At the head of the class to which Lilias belonged was Laura Graham; and a mutual dislike had always existed between them. Laura was a selfish, as well as an avaricious girl; and she had often looked with a covetous eye upon the costly trifles which Lilias' father had bestowed upon his daughter. To her narrow mind it seemed impossible that Victorine should not have an interested motive in her kindness to Lilias, and she thought an opportunity was now offered her of sharing some of her spoils.[Pg 179]

About a week before the trial day, Laura G. sought Lilias, and leading her to a remote part of the garden, she unfolded to her a scheme for insuring the prize she so much coveted. She proposed to destroy her own theme, knowing she was one of the best French pupils, thereby securing the prize to Lilias, on condition she should receive, in return, a pearl brooch and bracelet she had long coveted. Lilias, as might have been expected, expressed the greatest contempt and resentment at the proposal.

When the day arrived, many a little heart beat high with hope and fear. Victorine, as might have been expected, took the first prize in the first class. The class to which Lilias belonged was next in order. As Mrs. Bellamy arose, Lilias perceived she held in her hand two themes, while before her on the table lay a small box. Addressing Laura Graham, who sat with an air of conscious superiority at the head of the class, Mrs. Bellamy said,

"Of the two themes I hold in my hand, the one written by you, Miss Graham, and the other by Miss Lilias Tracy, I am sorry to say that yours is best."

Lilias could scarce restrain her tears, as she saw Laura advance, proudly, towards Mrs. Bellamy, and bend her head as if to receive the riband that suspended the glittering prize; but what was her surprise, when Mrs. Bellamy, instead of offering it to Laura, in the usual manner, handed her a small box, closely sealed.

"As the best French scholar, Miss Graham," said she, "I am compelled to bestow on you the medal which you will find enclosed in a box; but, as an act of justice, and a proper punishment for your want of integrity, (Mrs. B. having casually overheard what passed in the garden), I forbid you to wear, or exhibit it, for twelve months."

"Come hither," said Mrs. B. to Lilias, as Laura, pale and trembling, and drowned in tears, hurried in shame and sorrow from the room. Lilias, scarcely less overwhelmed than her guilty fellow-pupil, advanced with faultering step, and Mrs. Bellamy, suspending from her neck a small and highly-finished locket, said:[Pg 180]

"I can give but one medal in each class for improvement in French, and had not Miss Graham been in your class, yours, Miss Tracy would have been the best; I cannot, however, allow this opportunity to pass without some lasting memorial of your merit. I therefore present you with a locket containing the hair of your beloved friend, Victorine, as a testimonial of my esteem for your integrity and honor."

Poor Lilias! She had never been so happy in her life as when she threw herself in Victorine's arms, and shed tears of joy upon her bosom.

Whether these few outlines of this truly interesting story be founded on fact or not, we cannot forbear to say that God will assuredly, sooner or later, fully reward all those who live up to the holy principles and precepts of his own blessed truth, and he is no less faithful in punishing every proud and wicked doer.


(Continued from page 162.)

At length it was time to choose his path in life, and being inclined to mercantile pursuits, his father placed him in the store of one of their friends, where he would have every facility for acquiring a thorough knowledge of business. Oh, how carefully did his mother watch the effect of a closer contact with the world, and a more prolonged absence from her hallowed influence—and how gratefully did she perceive that her precious boy still came to her with the confiding love of his childhood, in all the temptations of his business life, and that her influence was still potent with him for good.

"Mother, I was terribly urged to go to the theater last week," said he in one of his frequent visits at home. "Harvey and Brown were going, and they are pretty steady fellows, and I really was half inclined to go."

"Well, what saved you?"[Pg 181]

"Oh, I knew just how you would look, mother, dear, and I would rather never see a theater than face that grieved look of yours. Mother, the thought of you has saved me from many, many temptations to do wrong, and if I am good for anything, when I am a man, I must thank God for my mother."

"Thank God for his preserving grace, my dearest Charley, and ask him to give you more and more of it."

Not many days after, Mrs. Arnold was in company with her son's employer. "Your son promises well, Mrs. Arnold," said he, "he is very accurate, obliging, respectful. I am somewhat hasty at times, and a few days since blamed him severely for something which I thought he had done wrong. He showed no ill-temper, but received it with so much meekness, my heart smote me. The next day he asked me very respectfully if I would inquire of one of the clerks about it, which I did, and found he had done nothing blameworthy in the least. He is a fine boy, madam, a very fine boy, and I hope will make as good a man as his father."

But a good man Charley was not destined to be. Her reward was nearer than she had thought, and he who had learned of the lowly Saviour to be meek and lowly of heart, was soon to be transplanted to dwell with loving and holy ones above. One day he returned home unexpectedly, and the first glance told his mother he was in trouble. "Mother, I feel really sick. I was sick yesterday, but I kept in the store; but to-day I could only go down and see Mr. Barker, and tell him I must come home for a day or two. Oh, mother it is a comfort to see your dear kind face again," said he, as she felt his pulse, examined his tongue, and inquired how he felt, "and perhaps if I can rest quietly an hour or two this dreadful pain in my head will be relieved."

He went to his pleasant chamber, to his quiet bed, the physician was summoned, and all that skill and the tenderest care could do was done, but he rapidly drew near the grave. He was patient, gentle, grateful, beautiful upon that bed of death, and while his mother's soul was poured forth in earnest prayer, for his continued life, her heart swelled with grateful[Pg 182] thanksgiving for the sweet evidence he gave of a subdued and Christian spirit, and she could say with true and cheerful submission, "Not my will but Thine be done, whether for life or death, for it is well with the child."

Just at twilight one evening, he awoke from a short slumber, and his eye sought his mother at his bedside. She leaned over him and softly pressed her lips to his forehead. "Mother," he said, faintly, "the Doctor has given up all hope of my life, has he not?" Nerving herself to calmness for his sake, she answered, "He thinks you very sick, Charley, but I cannot give up all hope. How can I part with you, my beloved?"

"Mother," said he, as he took her hand in both his, and laid it on his breast, "I want, while I am able, to tell you how I feel, and I want you to know what you have done for me. I was a passionate, bad tempered boy, and you know father—" He stopped. "Mother, I should have been a ruined boy but for you. I see it all now plainly. You have saved me, mother. You have saved my soul. You have been my guide and comfort in life. You have taught me to meet even death and fear no evil, for you have shown me my sin, and taught me to repent of it, and love and trust the precious Saviour, who died that His blood might cleanse even my guilt. I feel that I can lie in His arms, sure that He has forgiven my sin and washed my sinful soul white in His blood. How often you have told me He would do it if I asked Him, and I have asked Him constantly, and He will do it, He will not cast me off. Mother, when you think of me, be comforted, for you have led me to my Saviour, and I rejoice to go and be with Him forever."

The next sun arose on the cold remains of what was so lately the active and happy Charles Arnold, and there was bitter grief in that dwelling, for very dear had the kind and loving brother been to them. The father was stunned—thunderstruck. Little had he expected such a grief as this, and he seemed utterly unable to endure it, or to believe it. How much he communed with his own heart of his neglected duty to that departed boy, we know not, but dreadful was[Pg 183] the anguish he endured, and the mother had the joy to perceive that his manner afterward was far more tender to his remaining children, whom he seemed now for the first time to realize he might not always have with him, to be neglected and put aside, as a trouble and as a care, rather than as a precious gift, to be most carefully trained up for God.

But all wondered at the perfect calmness of that afflicted mother. So devoted—so saintlike—it would seem that she was in constant and sweet communing with the redeemed spirit of her boy. No regret, no repining escaped her lips, and many who knew how fondly she loved her children, and had feared that this sudden blow would almost overwhelm her, gazed with wonder at her perfect submission, her cheerful touching tenderness of voice and speech. And though tears would at times flow, yet she would say in the midst of them, "These are not tears of grief but of joy, that my darling son is safe, and holy, and blessed forever. Tears of gratitude to God for His goodness." And when hours of sadness, and of longing for her absent one came, as they will come to the bereaved at times, a faint voice seemed to whisper in her ear. "Mother, you have saved me, you have saved my soul!" And sweetest comfort came with that never to be forgotten whisper from the dying bed of her precious child, to sustain her in the darkest hour.

Fathers! Plead as you will, that you are full of care and labor to support your families. Say it over and over, till you really believe it yourself, if you please, that when you come home tired at night, you cannot be crazed with the clatter of children's tongues. You want to rest and be quiet. So you do, and so you should—but have you any right to be so perfectly worn out with business, that the voice of your own child is irksome to you? Try, for once, a little pleasant, quiet, instructive chat with him. Enter for a few moments into his feelings, and pursuits and thoughts—for that child has feelings, that need cherishing tenderly, for your own future comfort. He has pursuits, and you are the one to talk with him about them, and kindly tell him which are right and useful, and which he would do better to let alone. He[Pg 184] has thoughts, and who shall direct that mind aright which must think forever, if not the author of his being? Ask of his school, and his playmates, and see if your own spirit is not rested and refreshed, and your heart warmed by this little effort to win the love and confidence, and delight the heart of this young immortal, who owes his entrance into this weary world to you, and whom you are under the most solemn obligations, to strive to prepare to act well his part in it. Do not say this is his mother's business. Has the Bible laid any command upon mothers? Would it not seem that He who formed her heart, knew that she needed not to be told to labor, in season and out of season, for her beloved offspring? But to you is the strong command, "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

Mothers, do you not reap a rich reward for curbing your own spirits, for every self-denial, for untiring devotion to the immortals given to your care, with souls to be saved or lost? Oh! neglect them not, lest conscience utter the fearful whisper, "Mother, you might have saved that soul!"

Ellen Ellison.
Feb. 1852.



There are thousands of persons in the United States to whom the name of Jonathan Trumbull, formerly a governor of Connecticut, is familiar—I mean the first governor of that name. He was a friend and supporter of General Washington during the Revolutionary War, and greatly contributed by his judicious advice and prompt aid to achieve the Independence of America.

This Governor Trumbull had a son by the name of John, who became distinguished in the use of the pencil, and who[Pg 185] left several paintings of great merit commemorative of scenes in the history of our revolutionary struggle. My story relates to an incident which occurred during the boyhood of John.

His father, for the purpose of giving employment to the Mohegan Indians, a tribe living within the bounds of the Connecticut colony, though at some distance from the governor's residence, hired several of their hunters to kill animals of various kinds for their furs. One of the most successful of these hunters was a sachem by the name of Zachary.

But Zachary was a drunkard, and persisted in his intemperate habits till he reached the age of fifty. By whose means I am unable to say, but at that time he was induced utterly to abandon the use of intoxicating drinks. His life was extended to eighty years, but he was never known after the above reformation, although often under powerful temptation, to taste in a single instance of the "accursed thing."

In his history of the Indians of Connecticut, De Forest has given us an account of the manful resistance of Zachary on one occasion of an artful temptation to violate his temperance principles, spread before him by John Trumbull, at his father's house. He says, "In those days the annual ceremony of election was a matter of more consequence than it is now; and the Indians, especially, used to come in considerable numbers to Hartford and New Haven to stare at the governor, and the soldiers, and the crowds of citizens, as they entered those cities, Jonathan Trumbull's house was about half-way between Mohegan and Hartford, and Zachary was in the habit of stopping, on his way to election, to dine with his old employer.

"John Trumbull, then about ten years old, had heard of the reformation of Zachary, and, partaking of the common contempt for the intemperate and worthless character of the Indians, did not entirely credit it. As the family were sitting around the dinner-table, he resolved to test the sincerity of the visitor's temperance.[Pg 186]

"Sipping some home-brewed beer, which stood on the table, he said to the old man, 'Zachary, this beer is excellent; won't you taste it?' The knife and fork dropped from the Indian's hand; he leaned forward with a stern intensity of expression, his dark eyes, sparkling with indignation, were fixed on the young tempter: 'John,' said he, 'you don't know what you are doing. You are serving the devil, boy. Don't you know that I am an Indian? I tell you that I am; and if I should taste your beer, I could never stop until I got to rum, and become again the drunken, contemptible wretch your father once knew me. John, while you live, never again tempt any man to break a good resolution.'"

This was said in an earnest, solemn tone, and deeply affected Governor Trumbull and lady, who were at the table. John was justly awed, and deep was the impression made upon him. His parents often recurred to the incident, and charged their son never to forget it.

The advice of the sachem was indeed most valuable. "Never again tempt any man to break a good resolution." It were well if this precept were followed by all. How many who are reformed from evil habits, yet not firm and established, but who would persevere in their better resolutions were they encouraged, are suddenly, and to themselves surprisingly, set back by some tempter! What sorrow is engendered! and how difficult to regain what is thus lost! All this is essentially true of the young. Their good resolutions are assaulted; the counsels of a pious mother—the precepts of a kind father, and the determinations which a son may have formed in view of those counsels and those precepts, may be easily undermined and destroyed by the flattery or the ridicule, the reproach or the banter of some subtle or even of some thoughtless companion. To those who may read these pages, and who may at any time be tempted to seduce others from paths of virtue, or to break over solemn resolutions which they may have formed as to an upright and commendable course of life, let the injunction of old Zachary, the Mohegan sachem, not come in vain. "Never tempt any one to break a good resolution."

[Pg 187]





In a lone forest, dark and drear,
Stood wrapt in grief a maiden fair;
Her flowing locks were wet with dew,
Her life was sad, her friends were few.

A sparkling light gleam'd distant far,
Like twinkling faint of evening star;
Quickly it spread its brilliant ray,
Till forest drear looked bright and gay.

And on the wings of love and light,
A radiant figure, pure and white,
Approached and spake with accents mild:
"Why so despondent, sorrow's child?

"When thy lone feet the violet press,
Its perfume rises still to bless;
While groves and lawns, with landscape fair,
Are bathed in healthful mountain air."

"Ah, friend! thy path shines bright and clear;
Daily thou breath'st the mountain air;
But mine is in the barren wild,
Where naught looks bright to sorrow's child."

"Then take my arm, pale sister, dear,
With you I'll tread this forest drear;
When guided by this light from Heav'n,
Strength and peace will both be given."

They journeyed on through glade and fen,
'Till passing near a rocky glen,
Mild Patience came and sweetly smiled
Upon the path of sorrow's child.

The measured way still brighter grew,
'Till cares and griefs were faint and few.
Thus, Hope and Patience oft beguiled
The toil-worn path of sorrow's child.
[Pg 188]




There is no path of duty appointed for man to tread, concerning which the Almighty has not expressed his will in terms so plain that the sincere inquirer may always hear a voice behind him saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it;" nor are there any relations of life, nor any human affections which he has not constituted, and bestowed, nor any disappointment of those affections for which he has not manifested a sympathy so sincere, that the desolate and heart-stricken may always say, "Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal."

Yet, it is something difficult for us to realize in our hours of darkness and despondency, that toward us personally and individually, the great heart of Infinite Love yearns with tenderness and pity. Even if we can say, "Though clouds and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne," and can acquiesce meekly in all his dispensations, and believe sincerely that they will work for our good, yet we often fail of the blessedness which might be ours, if we could be equally assured that, "As a father pitieth his children, so doth the Lord pity them that fear him." This assurance only the faithful student of the Bible can feel, as the great truth gleams forth upon him from time to time, illuming "dark afflictions midnight gloom" with rays celestial, and furnishing balm for every wound, the balm of sympathy and love.

We often hear it said, by those who even profess themselves Christians, and devout lovers of the sacred oracles, "How can you read the book of Leviticus? What can you find in the dry details of the ceremonial law to detain you months in its study and call forth such expressions of interest?" Such will probably pass by this article when they find themselves invited again to Horeb. Turn back, friends.[Pg 189] You are not the only ones who have excused themselves from a feast. And we—we will extend our invitation to others. On the by-ways and lanes they can be found; in every corner of this wide-spread earth are some for whom our table is prepared. We leave the prosperous, the gay, the happy, and speak to the desolate—the widowed.

Dearly beloved, you can look back to a day in your history over which no cloud lowered, when you wore the bridal wreath, and stood at the sacred altar, and laid your hand in a hand faithful and true, and pledged vows of love, and when hope smiled on all your future path; but who have lived to see all you then deemed most precious, laid beneath the clods of the valley, and have exchanged buds of orange for the most intensely sable of earthly weeds; you who once walked on your earthly journey in sweet companionship which brightened your days; who were wont to lay your weary head every night on the faithful "pillowing breast," and there forget your woes and cares, but who are now alone; you who trusted in manly counsel and guidance for your little ones, but who now shed bitter, unavailing tears in every emergency which reminds you that they are fatherless; and, worse than all, you who had all your wants supplied by the loving, toiling husband and father, but have now to contend single-handed with poverty,—come, sorrowing, widowed hearts, visit with us Horeb's holy mound. It is, indeed, a barren spot; nevertheless, it has blossoms of loveliness for you. Come in faith, and perchance the prophet's vision shall be yours—peradventure, the "still, small voice" which bade to rest the turmoil of his soul, shall soothe your griefs also; the words which are heard from its summit as Jehovah gives to Moses his directions, have indeed to do with "meats and drinks and divers washings," yet, if you listen intently, you will now and then hear those which, as the expression of your Heavenly Father's heart, will amply repay the toil of the ascent. Draw near and hearken:

"Ye shall not afflict any widow nor fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath shall wax hot, and[Pg 190] I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, your children fatherless."

Will you not now be comforted? "The Eternal makes your sorrows his own," and Himself stands forth as your protector against every ill.

"When thou cuttest down thy harvest in thy field, and hast forgotten the sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it, but it shall be for the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the works of thy hands."

If God's will is done, you see you will not suffer. He will raise you up friends, and those who obey Him, who wish to please Him, will always be ready to aid you for His sake. As shown to himself, he regards and will reward the kindness shown to you, and He has all hearts in his hands. But this is not all. A certain portion of every Israelite's possessions is to be given to furnish the table of the Lord, and, as if to assure you that He considers you His own, and will perform the part of husband and father for you at that table, and in his own house he provides for you ever a place. "In the tithes of wine, corn and oil, the firstlings of the herds and flocks, in all that is to be devoted to the service of the Lord, you have your share.

"At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year and lay it up within the gates. And the Levite, because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest."

Do you sorrowfully say that no such table is now spread? But He who thus provided still lives, and is the same as then. The silver and the gold are His, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, and he ruleth all things by the Word of His power. They that trust in him shall never be confounded.

"Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless, nor take the widow's raiment to pledge. Why? Because they have no earthly friend to redeem the[Pg 191] latter or plead for the former. Weak and unguarded, they are exposed to all these evils, but that He, the Eternal, takes them under his own especial care; and instead of compelling them to depend on the insecure tenure of man's compassion, or even justice, institutes laws for their benefit, the disobedience of which is sin against Himself."

Scattered through all the sacred volume are words which, equally with those we have quoted, speak forth Jehovah's interest in the helpless. "Leave thy fatherless children to me," he said, by his prophet Jeremiah, at a time when misery, desolation, and destruction were falling on Judea and her sons for their awful impiety. "Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me." "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation."

Oh, do we receive the full import of these soul-cheering words? Lone, solitary one! who hidest in thy heart a grief which, untasted, cannot be understood, there is a Being sitting on the circle of the heavens, who knows every pang thou endurest. He formed thee susceptible of the love which thou hast felt and enjoyed; Himself ordained the tie which bound thee. He, better than any other, comprehends thy loss. Dost thou doubt—study faithfully His word; obey his voice. Yield thy heart to Him and trust Him implicitly. He will prove himself able to bless thee in thine inmost soul. The avenues to that soul are all open to Him, and He can cause such gentle, soothing influences to flow in upon thee as shall make thee "Sing even as in the days of thy youth."

Fatherless child! whose heart fails thee when thou dost miss from every familiar place the guide of thy youth, faint not nor be discouraged, though the way is rough, and the voice that ever spoke tenderly to thee is silent. Thou hast a father in heaven; and He who calls himself such understands better than thou what is implied in that sacred name. Tell Him thy woes and wants.

"Thou art as much His care, as if beside
Nor man nor angel lived in heaven or earth."
[Pg 192]



Persons who have never investigated the subject cannot believe that young children are capable of being taught to pray, intelligently. As infants cannot be supposed to understand the essential nature and design of prayer, we may profitably inquire, "Of what use can prayer be to a young child?"

Miss H. More defines prayer to be "The application of want to Him who alone can relieve it; the confession of sin to Him who alone can pardon it; the urgency of poverty, the prostration of humility, the fervency of penitence—the confidence of trust. It is the 'Lord save us, we perish,' of drowning Peter—the cry of faith to the ear of mercy." Now, are not children, for several of their first years, absolutely dependent upon others for the supply of all their wants? And yet, though no beings are so weak, so helpless, yet none are so eloquent in pleading or praying for what they want as young children in distress, though they have not yet acquired the language of speech, and simply because this language is nature's voice.

How irresistible are the entreaties of an infant in sickness, pain, and trouble. It will not be pacified or comforted by any one but its mother—her bosom is its sanctuary—her voice its sweetest melody—her arms its only refuge. What a preparation is this in the ordering of Providence, and in direct reference to what is to succeed, evidently with the design that when a child is of a suitable age, it may transfer its highest love and confidence from its earthly parents to a heavenly Father. At first the mother stands in the place of God to her child, and is all the world to him. But if she be a praying mother, the child will very early discover that, like himself, she too is a helpless, dependent, needy creature, and he will learn to trust in that great Being whom his mother adores.[Pg 193]

Perhaps she has been in the habit, when her child was drawing its nutriment from her breast, to feel more than at any other time her responsibility to the little helpless being who is a part of herself, and especially to "train it up in the way it should go." And she will usually improve this opportunity to commune with her God, saying with more solemn importunity, day by day, "How shall I order thee, child?" She feels the need of more wisdom, for she now begins to realize that her arms will not always encircle her child, and if they could, she could not ward off the arrows of disease and death. She thinks too of the period as near when it will be more out from under her scrutinizing watch, and will be more exposed to temptations from without and from within. Perhaps, too, she may die early, and then who will feel for her child, who will train it, who will consecrate it to God as sedulously as she hopes to do? O, if she could be certain of its eternal well-being. She eagerly inquires, "Is there any way by which my child can be so instructed, so consecrated, that I may be absolutely certain that I shall meet him, a ransomed soul, and dwell with him forever among the blessed in heaven?" "Yes, there is." I find in the unerring Scriptures many precious examples of children who were thus early dedicated to God, and were accepted and blessed of Him. She loves to remember those mothers on the plains of Judea who brought their infants to the Savior for his blessing. They were not discouraged, though the disciples, like many of the present day, forbade them to come, saying, "Of what possible use can it be to bring young children to the Savior?" But behold, the Savior welcomes and blesses them. Children who have been thus blessed of the Savior will not, cannot be lost. His promise is, "None shall pluck them out of my father's hand;" and again, "I will keep that what is committed to me till the final day."

With such Scripture promises and examples, this praying mother, hour by hour, lifts her heart to God, and implores that the Savior would crown with success her endeavors to obey his precepts, and, in doing so, to accept her consecrated[Pg 194] child. How sweet and gentle are her accents! With a loud voice she puts up her petitions which, till now, under similar circumstances, have not even been whispered aloud.

But her emotions have risen so high, that not only does her voice become inarticulate, but her tears fall like April showers upon the face of her, till now, unconscious child.

The child looks inquiringly. It now perceives that that countenance, which has hitherto been lighted up only by smiles, and been radiant with hope, at times is beclouded by fears. No wonder if this scene should attract the attention of this infant listener. Perhaps it is overawed. It rises up, it looks round to see if any one is present, with whom its mother is holding converse. Seeing no one, it hides its little head in the folds of its mother's dress, and is still.

What does all this do but to awaken, on the part of the mother, a still deeper interest in the welfare of her sympathizing little one. She now realizes as she never did before, what an influence she has in swaying the mind and affections of her darling child, and her responsibility seems to increase at every step. She presses her child more and more fondly to her bosom. With daily and increasing faith, love and zeal, she resorts to the throne of grace, and pleads for that wisdom she so pre-eminently needs.

It cannot be but that her love to her child should be daily strengthened by such communings with her own heart and her Savior, in sweet fellowship with her little one, though so young as not fully to comprehend all it sees and hears, yet it will remember and be influenced, eternally, by what has been done and said in its presence. This mother fully realizes that she is under the watchful eye of God, her Maker and Redeemer—that the Holy Trinity—the mysterious "three in one" have been present, more than spectators of what has transpired. For she is sure that these aspirations after holiness for herself and for her child are not earth-born—but emanations from the triune God.

It is natural to suppose that lasting impressions would be made upon the heart of a child thus early taught to pray.

No wonder if this little child, ever after, should find a sacred[Pg 195] pleasure in visiting the place where prayer is wont to be made, which at first was hallowed and sweetened by tender and endearing associations.

And we would here remark, that it is chiefly by the power of association that young children can be supposed to be benefited by such teachings and examples.

A striking incident occurred in my mother's nursery, not only illustrative of the power of association, but showing how very tenacious is the memory of young children.

My mother had a fit of sickness when my little brother was but seven months old, and she was obliged to wean him at that early age.

He was always a feeble child and clung to our mother with almost a death-grasp. The weaning of that child will never fade from my recollection. In fact our mother used to say that that boy was never weaned.

When he was about a year old, he was found fast asleep one day behind the bed-room door, leaning his little head upon a chest. Over the chest was a line, and across the line had been thrown a chintz shawl, memorable as having always been worn by our mother when nursing her children. In one hand he had hold of the end of the shawl, which he could just reach, and he was sucking the thumb of the other.

This shawl, which this little child had not previously seen for some time, was associated in his mind with its sweetest, but short-lived comfort. This fact will serve to explain the propriety of taking all the ordinary week day play-things from children on the Sabbath, and substituting in their place others more quiet—for instance, relating Scripture stories, explaining Scripture pictures, and the like.

Such scenes and experience as have been above alluded to, must be more or less familiar to every faithful and praying mother. Children who have been dedicated to God, as was Samuel, and David, and Timothy, in all ages of the world, will be found in after life to be, to the praise, and glory, and riches of God's grace, vouchsafed to parents, in answer to their faith and prayers, and pious teachings.[Pg 196]


Welcome! thrice welcome to my heart, sweet harbinger of bliss!
How have I looked, till hope grew sick, for a moment bright as this;
Thou hast flashed upon my aching sight when fortune's clouds are dark,
The sunny spirit of my dreams—the dove unto mine ark.

Oh! no, not even when life was new, and life and hope were young,
And o'er the firstling of my flock with raptured gaze I hung,
Did I feel the glow that thrills me now, the yearnings fond and deep,
That stir my bosom's inmost strings as I watch thy placid sleep!

Though loved and cherished be the flower that springs 'neath summer skies,
The bud that blooms 'mid wintry storms more tenderly we prize.
One does but make our bliss more bright; the other meets our eye,
Like a radiant star, when all besides have vanished from on high.

Sweet blossom of my stormy hour, star of my troubled heaven,
To thee that passing sweet perfume, that soothing light is given;
And precious art thou to my soul, but dearer far than thou,
A messenger of peace and love art sent to cheer me now.

What, tho' my heart be crowded close with inmates dear though few,
Creep in, my little smiling babe, there's still a niche for you;
And should another claimant rise, and clamor for a place,
Who knows but room may yet be found, if it wears as fair a face.

I cannot save thee from the griefs to which our flesh is heir,
But I can arm thee with a spell, life's keenest ills to bear.
I may not fortune's frowns avert, but I can with thee pray
For wealth this world can never give nor ever take away.

But wherefore doubt that He who makes the smallest bird his care,
And tempers to the new shorn lamb the blast it ill could bear,
Will still his guiding arm extend, his glorious plan pursue,
And if he gives thee ills to bear, will give thee courage too.

Dear youngling of my little flock, the loveliest and the last,
'Tis sweet to dream what thou may'st be, when long, long years have past;
To think when time hath blanched my hair, and others leave my side,
Thou may'st be still my prop and stay, my blessing and my pride.

And when this world has done its worst, when life's fevered fit is o'er,
And the griefs that wring my weary heart can never touch it more,
How sweet to think thou may'st be near to catch my latest sigh,
To bend beside my dying bed and close my glazing eye.

Oh! 'tis for offices like these the last sweet child is given;
The mother's joy, the father's pride, the fairest boon of heaven:
Their fireside plaything first, then of their failing strength the rock,
The rainbow to their wavering years, the youngling of their flock.

[Pg 197]




In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Judges is recorded the short but suggestive story which is our Bible lesson for the present month. Horeb is long since left behind. The evil generation, who forty years tried the patience of Jehovah, have fallen in the wilderness, and their successors are now in possession of the promised land. Moses, and Joshua, and Caleb, have gone to their rest, and Israel, bereft of their counsel, follow wise or evil advices as a wayward fancy may dictate, and receive a corresponding recompense at the hands of their God. The children proved in no respect wiser or more obedient than their fathers. Again and again "they forsook the Lord and served the idols of the Canaanites, and in wrath He gave them up to their enemies." Often in pity he raised up for them deliverers who would lead them for a time in better paths, "but when the judge was dead, they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings nor from their stubborn way," and therefore were they often for long tedious years in bondage to the various nations which God had left in the land "to prove them whether they would walk in his ways." It was during one of these seasons of trouble that the subject of our study is mentioned. She was the wife of Manoah, a citizen of Zorah, of the tribe of Dan. Of her previous history, and the events of her after life, we know nothing. He who sitteth on the circle of the heavens, and beholdeth all things that are done under the sun, and readeth all hearts, had marked her out as the instrument, wherewith he would work to get glory to himself, and however little known to others, He deemed her worthy of this distinguished honor, and to[Pg 198] receive a direct communication from himself. Of her character nothing is said, but we gather with unerring certainty that she was a self-denying, obedient child of God, for He would not have chosen one who would not adhere strictly to his every injunction.

It is not necessary that we should detail every incident of those interviews with the angel Jehovah, which the mother of Samson was permitted to enjoy. Take your Bible, friend, and read for yourself in words more befitting than we can use, and as you rise from the perusal, if the true spirit of a Christian reigns in your heart, you will perhaps exclaim, "Oh, that the Lord would come to me also and tell me how I shall order my children that so they may be the subjects of his grace and instruments of his will!" If you meditate deeply while you read, perhaps you will conclude that in His directions to this mother, our Heavenly Father has revealed to us wonderful and important things, which may answer us instead of direct communications from Himself, and which, if heeded and obeyed, will secure to us great peace and satisfaction. Bear in mind, that he who speaks is our Creator—that all the wonders of the human frame are perfectly familiar to Him, and that He knows far more than earthly skill and science have ever been able to ascertain, or even hint at, concerning the relations which Himself ordained. He comes to Manoah's wife with these words: "Now, therefore, beware, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. For, lo! thou shall conceive and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb." Can you discern in this only an allusion to Jewish customs and ceremonies, long since obsolete, and in no way interesting to us, except as a matter of history? Can you not rather see gleaming out a golden rule which all would be blessed in following? To us, in this history, Jehovah says, "Mother, whatever you wish your child to be, that must you also in all respects be yourself." Samson is to be consecrated to God by the most solemn of vows all the days of his life, and the conditions of that vow his mother is commanded to fulfill from the moment[Pg 199] that she is conscious of his existence until he is weaned, a period of four years at least, according to the custom of her time.

These thoughts introduce to us a theme on which volumes have been written and spoken. Men of deep research and profound judgment have been ready to say to all the parents of earth, "Whatever ye are such will also your children prove always, and in every particular to be;" and there are not wanting multitudes of facts to strengthen and confirm the position. In certain aspects of it it is assuredly true, since the principal characteristics of the race remain from age to age the same. Nor is it disproved by what seem at first adverse facts, for although children seem in physical and intellectual constitution often the direct opposite of their parents, yet a close study into the history of families may only prove, that if unlike those parents in general character, they have nevertheless inherited that particular phase which governed the period from which they date their existence. No person bears through life precisely the same dispositions, or is at all times equally under the same influences or governed by the same motives. The gentle and amiable by nature may come into circumstances which shall induce unwonted irritability and ill-humor; the irascible and passionate, surrounded in some favored time, by all that heart can wish, may seem as lovely as though no evil tempers had ever deformed them; and the children who may be the offspring of these episodes in life, may bear indeed a character differing wholly from the usual character of their parents, but altogether corresponding to the brief and unusual state which ruled their hour of beginning life. So is it also in physical constitution. The feeble and sickly have sometimes intervals of health, and the robust see months of languor and disease. Hence, perhaps, the differences which are observable many times in the children of the same family with regard to health and natural vigor.

We cannot enter into the subject. It is wide and extended as human nature itself. It is also, apart from the Gospel of God's grace, a very discouraging subject to the parent who[Pg 200] contemplates it with seriousness, and with an earnest desire to ascertain the path of duty. "How useless," we may be tempted to exclaim, "any attempt to gain an end which is so uncertain as the securing any given constitution, either of body or mind, for my children. To-day I am in health, full of cheerfulness and hope; a year hence I may be broken and infirm, a prey to depressing thoughts and melancholy forbodings. My mind is now vigorous and active; who knows how soon the material shall subject the intellectual and clog every nobler faculty? What will it suffice that to-day I feel myself controlled by good motives, and swayed by just principles, and possessed of a well-balanced character, since in some evil hour, influences wholly unexpected may gain the ascendancy, and I be so unlike my present self that pitying friends can only wonder and whisper, How changed! and enemies shall glory in my fall. No. It is vain to strive after certainty in this world of change and vicissitude, since none of us can tell what himself shall be on the morrow. Do what I will, moreover, my child can only inherit a sinful nature." In the midst of gloomy thoughts like these, we turn to the story of Samson's mother, and hear Jehovah directing her to walk before Him in the spirit of consecration, which is to be the life-long spirit of her son. He surely intimates that the child's character begins with, and depends upon, that of the mother. A ray of light and encouragement dawns upon us. True, we are fickle and changeable, and subject to vicissitude; but He, our God, is far above all these shifting scenes, and all the varying circumstances of this mortal life are under his control, and he can turn the hearts of men as He will; His counsel shall stand. True, we are transgressors like our first father, partakers of his fallen nature, and inheritors of the curse; but "where sin abounds, grace does much more abound," and "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." For all the evils under which we groan, the Gospel has a remedy, and we have faith that in spite of all obstacles and difficulties, our Savior will yet present us, as individuals, faultless before the throne. Why may not our faith take a[Pg 201] still higher flight? There are given to us exceeding great and precious promises. The Holy Spirit, first of all, shall be given to all who ask. They who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. He has never said to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain. There are on almost every page of the sacred word, these precious promises. By them you are encouraged daily in your onward struggle, Christian friend. What shall hinder you now from taking them to your heart as a mother with the same faith? If God is able to secure your soul against all evil influences, yes, even against the arch enemy himself, and if he has made the character of your child to depend upon your own in any degree, why may you not plead the promises of His word with double power, when your prayers ascend not merely for yourself, but for another immortal being whom he has so intimately associated with you. You are accustomed daily to seek from Him holy influences; you pray that you may grow in grace and knowledge, and be kept from the evil that is in the world, and from dishonoring your Savior. Can you not offer these same petitions as a mother, and beg all these blessings in behalf of your child, who is to take character from you? Can you not consecrate yourself in a peculiarly solemn manner to the Lord, and viewing the thousand influences which may affect you, pray to be kept from all which would be adverse to the best good of the precious soul to be intrusted to you, and believe by all you know of your Heavenly Father and of his plan of grace, that you will be accepted and your petitions answered? And then can you not act upon that faith? Desiring your child to be a man of prayer, will you not, during the years in which you are acting directly on him, give yourself much to prayer? Hoping that he may not be slothful, but an active and diligent servant of his Lord, will you not give your earnest soul and busy hands to the work which you find to do? Wishing him to be gentle and lovely, will you not strive to clothe yourself with meekness? In short, will you not cultivate every characteristic that is desirable for the devoted Christian, in order that, at least, your child may enter on life with every possible[Pg 202] advantage which you can give him? And since a sane mind, and rightly-moving heart, are greatly dependent on a sound body, will you not study to be yourself, by temperance and moderation, and self-denial and activity, in the most perfect health which you can by any effort gain?

Who does not believe that if all Christian mothers would thus believe and act, most blessed results would be secured? The subject appeals to fathers also, and equal responsibility rests upon them.

Some will doubtless be ready to say, "This would require us to live in the spirit of a Nazarite's vow all the time. You have drawn for us a plan of life which is difficult to follow, and demands all our vigilance, constant striving, and unwearied labors." True, friends; but the end to be gained is worth the cost, and you have "God all-sufficient" for your helper.

June 2, 1852.

My Dear Madam,—I send you an extract from an unpublished memoir of the Rev. E.J.P. Messinger, who died in Africa, where he was sent as a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church. This biography is not finished; but I think the following passage is well adapted to your Magazine.

Yours, with respect,
Stephen H. Tyng.



When James was ten years old his father was suddenly removed by death. His mother was then left to provide for the aged mother of her husband, as well as her own little family, of whom the youngest was an infant of a few weeks old. This was a weary and toilsome task. Neither of her sons were old enough to render her any assistance on the[Pg 203] farm, and the slender income arising from it would not warrant the expense of hiring needful laborers. She was obliged to lease it to others, and the rent of her little farm, together with the avails of their own industry, became the support of the widow and fatherless. With this she was still able to send her children to school, and to give them all the advantages which her retired dwelling allowed.

It was during these first years of his mother's lonely widowhood that the tenderness and the loveliness of her son's character were brought out to view. All that he could do to relieve her under her burden became his delight. Though but a child, he was ready to make every sacrifice to promote her comfort and happiness, and to gratify and console his aged grandmother. Attention to his mother's wants from this time entered into all his plans of life. Her interests and welfare were a part of his constant thoughts. It seemed to be his highest earthly delight to increase her happiness and to relieve her trials. He never forgot his mother. He might be called "the boy who always loved his mother." Beautiful trait of character! And God blessed him in his own character and life, according to his promise. After he had gone from his native home to enter upon the business of life, this trait in his character was very constant and very remarkable. At a subsequent period, when his younger brother was about leaving home to learn a trade, James wrote to him, "Mother informs me that you intend learning a trade. I am very glad of it, because I know that it will be advantageous to you. But before you leave home, I hope you will endeavor to leave our dear mother, and grandmother, and the rest of the family, as comfortable as possible. The desire of mother that I should come home and in some measure supply your place, I should not hesitate to comply with, had I not been strongly impressed with the idea that I could render more substantial help by remaining here than by coming home. But I hope before you leave home you will do everything you can for mother; and should you be near home, that you will often visit them, and afford them all the assistance in your power. You know, dear brother, that[Pg 204] mother has had many hardships for our sakes. Well do I remember how she used to go out in cold, stormy weather, to assist us about our work, in order to afford us the opportunity of attending school. May we live to enjoy the pleasure of having it in our power to return in some small degree the debt we owe her, by contributing to her comfort in the decline of life."

Then again he wrote to his sister, referring to his brother's absence: "I scarcely know how you will get along without him, as mother wrote me he was going to learn a trade this fall. You must try to do all you can to help along. Think how much trouble and hardship mother has undergone for our sakes. Surely we are old enough to take some of the burden off her hands. I hope you will not neglect these hints. Never suffer mother to undergo any hardship of which you can relieve her. Strive to do all you can to lessen the cares and anxieties which must of necessity come upon her. Be kind, obedient, and cheerful in the performance of every duty. Consider it a pleasure to do anything by which you can render assistance to her."

To another sister he wrote, "I hope you will do all you can to contribute to the assistance and comfort of grandmother and mother. You have it in your power to do much for them. Take care that you never grieve them by folly or misconduct. If my influence will have any effect on your mind, think how much your brother wishes you to behave well, and to render yourself useful and beloved; but remember above all, that God always sees you, and that you never can be guilty of a fault that is not known to him. Strive then to be dutiful and obedient to our only remaining parent, and to be kind and affectionate to all around you."

These are beautiful exhibitions of his filial love. A remembrance of his mother's wants and sorrows was a constantly growing principle of his youthful heart. It was a spirit, too, which never forsook him through his whole subsequent life. Even while on his bed of death in Africa, his heart still yearned over the sorrows and cares of his widowed mother. Then he gave directions for the sale of his little[Pg 205] earthly property, that the avails of it might be sent back to America to his mother. Though the sum was small it was enough to contribute much to her comfort for her remaining years. How precious is such a recollection of a boy who never forgot, and never ceased to love his mother. What a beauty does this fact add to the character and conduct of a youth! How valuable is such a tribute to the memory of a youth, "He never forgot his mother!"



"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them."—Matthew 6:6.

In an obscure country village lived two little girls of nearly the same age, named Annie Grey and Charlotte Murray; their homes were not very distant from each other, and they were constant companions and playmates.

Charlotte Murray was the eldest of five children, and her parents, though poor, were kept removed from want by constant frugality and industry. Her father labored for the neighboring farmers, and her mother was a thrifty, notable housewife, somewhat addicted to loud talking and scolding, but considered a very good sort of woman.

Charlotte was ten years old, and assisted her mother very much in attending to the children, and performing many light duties about the house. She was healthy, robust and good-natured, but unfortunately had never received any religious instruction, more than an occasional attendance at church with her mother, and thus was entirely ignorant of any higher motives of action than to please her parents, which, though in itself commendable, often led her to commit serious faults. She did not scruple to tell a falsehood to screen herself or brothers from punishment, and would often misrepresent the truth for the sake of obtaining praise. Charlotte was also very fond of dress, and as her parents' means forbade the indulgence[Pg 206] of this feeling, she loved to decorate herself with every piece of faded ribbon or soiled lace that came in her way.

Annie Grey was the only child of a poor widow, who supported herself and daughter by spinning and carding wool for the farmers' wives. Mrs. Grey was considered much poorer than any of her neighbors, but her humble cottage was always neat and in perfect order, and the small garden patch which supplied the few vegetables which she needed was never choked with weeds. The honeysuckle was carefully trained about the door, and little Annie delighted in tying up the pinks, and fastening strings for the morning glories that she loved so much.

Mrs. Grey, though poor in this world's goods, had laid up for herself "those treasures in Heaven, which no moth nor rust can corrupt." She had once been in better circumstances, and surrounded by all that makes life happy, but her mercies had been taken from her one by one, until none was left save little Annie; then she learned that "whom God loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth;" and thus were her afflictions sanctified unto her.

Annie was a delicate little girl, and had never associated much with the village children in their rude sports. Once, when her mother spent a week at Mrs. Murray's, assisting her to spin, she had taken Annie, and thus a friendship commenced between herself and Charlotte.

Annie had been early taught by her mother to abhor deceit and falsehood as hateful to God, and Charlotte often startled her by equivocating, but she had never known her to tell a direct untruth, and she loved her because she was affectionate and kind. Some kind and pious ladies had succeeded in establishing a Sunday-school in the village, and Annie was among the first who attended; she told Charlotte, who prevailed upon her mother to let her go, and they were both regular scholars.

One pleasant Sunday morning, the two little girls went together to school, and after all the children had recited their lessons, the superintendent rose and said that a good missionary[Pg 207] was about to leave his home, and go to preach the Gospel to the heathens far over the sea, and that they wanted to raise a subscription and purchase Bibles to send out with him, that he might distribute them among those poor people who had never heard God's holy word.

He told them how the poor little children were taught to lie and steal by their parents, and how they worshiped images of carved wood, and stone, and sometimes killed themselves and drowned the infants, thinking thus to please the senseless things they called their gods. He said that children who could read and write, and go to church, ought to be grateful to God for placing them in a Christian country, and they should pray for the poor little heathen children, and do all they could to provide instruction for them.

"I do not expect you to do much, my dear children," he said, "but all I ask is, to do what you can; some of you have money given you to buy toys or cakes; would you not rather know that it had helped a little heathen child to come to God, than to spend it in anything so soon destroyed and forgotten? And to those who have no money, let me ask, can you not earn it? There are very many ways in which children may be useful, and God will most graciously accept a gift which has cost you labor or self-denial. You remember Jesus himself said that the poor widow's two mites were of more value than all that the rich cast into the treasury, because they gave of their abundance, but she cast in all that she had; will you not, therefore, endeavor to win the Savior's blessing by following the widow's example, and 'Go and do likewise?'"

The children listened very attentively to all the superintendent said, and after school there was much talking among the scholars as to the amount to be given, and how to obtain it. The following Sunday was appointed to receive the collection, and all seemed animated with a generous feeling, and anxious to do what they could.

"I have a bright new penny," cried little Patty Green, who was scarcely six years old. "I didn't like to spend it, because[Pg 208] it was so pretty, but I will send it to the little heathen children to buy Bibles with!"

"And I," added James Blair, "have a tenpence that Mr. Jones gave me for holding his horse; I was saving it to buy a knife, but I can wait a while for that; uncle has promised me one next Christmas."

"You may add my sixpence to it, brother," said his sister Lucy. "I did want a pair of woolen gloves, but it is long until winter, and I do not need them now."

"Good!" exclaimed merry, good-natured Simon Bounce. "Ten and six are sixteen, and Patty's bright penny makes seventeen; and let me see, I've got fivepence, and John Blake offered me three cents for my ball, that will make two shillings exactly, quite a good beginning. Why what a treasure there will be if we all put in our savings at this rate!"

Thus talking, the children strolled away in groups, and Charlotte and Annie walked slowly toward their homes. Annie looked thoughtful, and Charlotte spoke first.

"I wish," said she, "that father would give me sixpence; but I know he wont, for he never goes to church, and cares nothing about the heathen, and as for mother, she would call me a simpleton if I was to ask her. I am determined I wont go to school next Sunday if I can't take something, it looks so mean; I will say I am sick and cannot go."

"Oh, Charlotte!" said Annie, "that would be a great deal worse than not giving anything, for it would not only be a falsehood, but you would tempt God to make you sick. I know you do not mean what you say."

"You always take everything so seriously," replied the other, laughing and looking a little ashamed. "But what are you going to do, Annie? Your mother cannot give you anything; but I am sure she would if she had it, she is so kind, and never scolds. I wish mother was so always."

"I have been thinking," returned Annie, "that if I take the two hours mother gives me to play in the garden, and card wool for her, as she has more than she can do this week, perhaps she will give me two or three pennies. I wish I could earn more, but I will do what I can."[Pg 209]

"Maybe your mother will let me help her too," said Charlotte, eagerly; "but I have so little time to play that I could not earn much, and I would be ashamed to give so little. I would rather put in more than any one, it would please the teacher and make the girls envy me."

"I am sure," answered Annie, gently, "the teacher would not like us to do anything that would make another envy us, because that is a very wicked and unhappy feeling, and though she might be pleased to see us put in so much, yet it is God whom we are seeking to serve, and he looks at the heart, and knows our feelings. He tells us not to give alms to be seen of men, and you remember, Charlotte, what the superintendent said about the widow's mite, which pleased Jesus, though the gift was so small."

"You speak like a superintendent yourself," cried Charlotte, gaily, "but ask your mother, Annie, and I will come over to-night and hear what she says."

They had now reached Mrs. Grey's house, and bidding each other good-by they parted. Charlotte hurried home to tell her mother about the contributions, and was laughed at, as she expected; however, Mrs. Murray said she would give, if she had it to spare, but charity began at home, and it was not for poor folks to trouble their heads about such matters. Let those who had means, and nothing else to do, attend to it.

When Annie told her mother what had been said in school, Mrs. Grey told her that it had also been given out in church, and a collection was to be taken up on the following Sunday, when the missionary himself would preach for them.

"I shall give what little I can," she added, with a slight sigh. "I wish it was more, but my earnest prayers shall accompany this humble offering to the Lord."

Annie now unfolded her plan to her mother, and asked her consent, which was readily given, and then Annie told her of Charlotte's request. And her mother said that although she did not require Charlotte's help, still she would not refuse her, as she liked to encourage every good inclination. And when Charlotte came in the evening, Annie had the[Pg 210] pleasure of telling her that her mother had consented, and would give them a little pile of wool to card every day, for which each should receive a penny.

"And that will be sixpence a-piece, you know," continued Annie, "and we can change it to a silver piece, for fear we might drop a penny by the way."

"Oh, how nice that will be," cried Charlotte. "Do you think many of the girls will put in as much? I hope, at any rate, that none will put in any more."

Then, thanking Annie, she ran home, leaving her friend not a little puzzled to know why Charlotte should wish to make a show.

The difference between the little girls was this; Charlotte only sought to please others from a selfish feeling to obtain praise, while Annie had been taught that God is the searcher of all hearts, and to please him should be our first and only aim.

The next morning Annie was up bright and early, and it seemed to her that the wool was never so free from knots before. After she had said her prayers in the morning, and read a chapter with her mother, the little girl ate her frugal breakfast, and seated herself at her work, and so nimbly did she ply the cards, that her task was accomplished full half an hour before the usual time. She was just beginning her own pile when Charlotte came in; they sat down together, and worked away diligently. Charlotte said that her mother laughed at her, but told her she might do as she pleased, for it was something new for her to prefer work to play, and availing herself of this permission she came.

Annie, who was accustomed to the work, finished her pile first; she then assisted Charlotte, and they each received a penny; there was plenty of time beside for Annie to walk home with her friend.

The two following days passed in the same manner, but on Thursday Charlotte went out with a party of girls, blackberrying, thinking she could make it up on Friday; but it was as much as she could do to earn the penny with Annie's assistance, and Saturday was a busy day, so her mother could[Pg 211] not spare her, and Charlotte had but fourpence at the end of the week. Annie had worked steadily, and on Saturday afternoon received the last penny from her mother. She had now six cents, and after supper went with a light heart to get them changed for a sixpenny piece, at the village store.

On the way she met Charlotte. "I could not come to-day," said the latter. "Mother could not spare me, and I cried enough about it. I might have earned another penny, and then I would have changed it for a silver fivepence. Is it not too bad? How much have you got?"

"I have six pennies," answered Annie, "And I am going to change them now; but if you feel so bad about it, I will give you one of them, and then we will each have alike; it makes no difference, you know, who puts it in the box, so that it all goes for the one good purpose."

"How kind you are! How much I love you!" exclaimed Charlotte, gratefully, as she took the money, and kissed her friend. "I will run home and get my fourpence directly."

Annie went on with a contented heart; she had obliged her companion and done no injustice to the good cause, since Charlotte would put the money to the same use. The store-keeper changed the pennies for a bright, new fivepence, and she went on her way rejoicing.

(To be Continued.)



Some years since, the pastor of a country congregation in a neighboring State was riding through his parish in company with a ministerial friend. As they passed a certain house, the pastor said to his friend, "Here is a riddle which I wish you would solve for me. In yonder house lives one of my elders, a man of sterling piety and great consistency of character, who prays in his closet, in his family, and in public. He has seven or eight children, several of whom are grown[Pg 212] up, and yet not one is hopefully converted, or even at all serious. Just beyond him, on the adjoining farm, lives a man of the same age, who married the elder's sister. This man, if a Christian at all, is one of those who will 'be saved so as by fire;' he is very loose and careless in his talk, is in bad repute for honesty, and, although not guilty of any offense which church authorities can take hold of, does many things which grieve the people of God, and are a stumbling-block to others. Yet, of his eleven or twelve children, seven are valued and useful Christians, and there is every reason to anticipate that the rest, as they grow up, will follow in the same course. Now, solve me this difficulty, that the careless professor should be so blessed in his family, while the godly man mourns an entire absence of converting grace, especially as both households are as nearly equal as may be in their social position, their educational facilities, and their means of grace?"

"Let me know all the facts," said the pastor's friend, "before I give my opinion. Have you ever considered the character of the mothers, respectively?"

At once the pastor clasped his hands and said, "I have it; the secret is out. It is strange I never thought of it before. The elder's wife, although, as I trust, a good woman, is far from being an active Christian. She never seems to take any pleasure in religious conversation, but whenever it is introduced, either is silent or speedily diverts it to some worldly subject. She is one of those persons with whom you might live in the same house for weeks and months, and yet never discover that she was a disciple of Christ. The other lady, on the contrary, is as eminent for godliness as her husband is for inconsistency. Her heart is in the cause; she prays with and for her children, and whatever example they have in their father, in her they have a fine model of active, fervent, humble piety, seated in the heart and flowing out into the life."

The friends prosecuted the inquiry no further; they felt that the riddle was solved, and they rode on in silence, each meditating on the wide extent, the far-spreading results of that marvellous agency—a mother's influence.[Pg 213]



Matthew, in his Gospel (chap. 20th), has recorded a highly instructive incident in relation to the disciples, James and John, whose parents were Zebedee and Salome. The latter, it would seem, being of an ambitious turn, was desirous that her two sons should occupy prominent stations in the temporal kingdom, which, according to the popular belief, Jesus Christ was about to establish in the world. That she had inspired them also with these ambitious aspirations, is apparent from the narrative; she even induces them to accompany her in her visit to Christ, and so far they concurred with her designs. On entering his presence she prefers her request, which is, that these sons may sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom. The request was made with due respect, and, doubtless, in all sincerity.

Now, it cannot be denied that there may be a just and reasonable desire on the part of parents, that their children should be advanced to posts of honor and distinction in the world. But that desire should ever be accompanied with a wish that those honors and distinctions should be attained by honest and honorable means, and be employed as instrumentalities of good. If such wish be wanting, the desire is only selfish. And selfishness seems to have characterized the desires of Salome, and probably of James and John. We trust that they all, at length, had more correct views of the character and kingdom of Jesus, and sought and obtained spiritual honor in it, infinitely to be preferred to the honor which cometh from men.

But at the time we speak of, the desires of the mother were narrow and selfish. Yet, it is remarkable with what courtesy Christ treated her and her sons, while at the same time he gave them to understand that they did not know the nature of their request, nor the great matters involved in it.[Pg 214]

Passing from the contemplation of the prayer of Salome for the temporal advancement of her sons to the prayers of many parents, at the present day, for the salvation of their children, have we not reason to apprehend the prevalence in them, if not of a similar ambition, of a similar selfishness? I would wish to speak with just caution on a subject of so much interest to parents, and one on which I may easily be misunderstood. And yet a subject in reference to which the most sad and fatal mistakes may be made.

God in his providence has intimately connected parents and children. In a sense, parents are the authors of their being; they are their guardians; they are bound to provide for them, educate them, teach them the knowledge of God, and use all proper means for their present and eternal welfare. In all these respects, they are required to do more for their children than for the children of others, unless the latter are adopted by them, or come under their guardianship. It is doubtless my duty and my privilege to seek more directly and more assiduously the salvation of my children than the salvation of the children of others. This seems to be according to the will of God, and according to the family constitution. And, moreover, it is most reasonable and right.

And if parents have a just apprehension of their responsibilities, they cannot rest satisfied without laboring for the salvation of their offspring, and laboring assiduously and perseveringly for its attainment. And among other things which they will do—they will pray. The Christian parent who does not pray for his children, is not entitled to the name of Christian. There is no such Christian parent, and we doubt if there can be.

But it is obvious that the spirit of Salome, at least in the selfishness of that spirit, may sometimes be even the governing principle of the parent in his prayers for the salvation of his child. Knowing, as he must know, something of the value of his child's soul, and the eternal misery of it if finally lost, how natural to desire his conversion as the only means of escape from a doom so awful! And we admit that the parent is justified, and his parental affinities require him[Pg 215] to make all possible efforts to bring that soul to repentance. And he should pray and wrestle with God, as fervently, as importunately, as perseveringly as the object sought is important and desirable.

But, then, here is a point never to be overlooked, and yet is it not often overlooked? viz., that the grand governing motive of the parent in seeking the salvation of his child should be the glory of God—not simply the honor of that soul, as an heir of a rich inheritance—not simply the exemption of his child from misery—nor yet his joy, as a participator in joys and glories which mortal eye has not yet seen, nor human heart yet conceived. The glory of God! the glory of Jesus! that is the all in all—the paramount motive, which is to guide, govern parents, and all others in their desires and labors for the salvation of children and friends!

I do not mean to intimate that parents can ever, or ought ever to take pleasure in the contemplated ruin of their children. God takes no pleasure in the death of him that dieth. But it is not enough for the parent simply to wish his child saved. That desire may be selfish, and only selfish. And that prayer which terminates there, may be as selfish as was the desire of Salome that her sons might occupy the chief places of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The parent may, indeed, wish, and ought to wish, that his child may be saved, and for that he should labor and toil—but in a way which will illustrate the marvels of redeeming mercy, and which shall be in consonance with the established principles of the Gospel.

The parent, then, who prays for the salvation of his child, irrespective of all other considerations, excepting his exemption from misery, prays in vain, for he prays with a heart which is supremely selfish. Where is the parent who could not thus pray? Pray, do I say; such is not prayer. Such pleas, however ardent, however long, however importunate, can never be consistently answered. Prayer, to be acceptable and effectual, must always have the glory of God in view, and be offered in submission to the divine will. It must have reference not merely to what is good, but to a good which shall consist with those eternal principles of justice[Pg 216] and mercy, according to which God has decided to conduct the affairs of his spiritual kingdom. We may never wish our children to sit with Christ in his kingdom to the exclusion of others. We may not wish them introduced into that kingdom on other principles, or by other instrumentalities, than those which God has recognized and appointed. The great law which governs in relation to other matters is to govern here. Whatsoever ye do or seek, do and seek, even the salvation of your children, for the glory of God.'

And, now, in conclusion, allow me to inquire whether it be not owing to this selfish feeling that so many parents, who nevertheless abound in prayer for their children, fail in seeing those prayers answered? They fail, not because they do not pray often and earnestly, but because they desire the salvation of their children rather than a humble, holy, self-denying walk with God on earth. They forget that the chief end of man is to glorify God, and that the enjoyment of Him is an effect or result of such a course.

The object of the writer is not to discourage parents in praying for their children, not for a moment, only, dear friend, I show you "a more excellent way." I would urge you to abound in prayer still more than you do. Pray on—"pray always"—pray, and "never faint." But, at the same time, pray so that you may obtain. Amicus.

Superior Reverence for the Sabbath in Scotland, as aptly represented by the anecdote of the American geologist, who was walking out for meditation one Sabbath day in Glasgow. As he passed near the cottage of a peasant, he was attracted by the sight of a peculiar species of stone, and thoughtlessly broke a piece of it. Suddenly a window was raised, and a man's coarse voice reprovingly asked, "Ha! man, what are ye doing?" "Why, only breaking a piece of stone." "An', sure," was the quaint reply, "ye are doing more than breaking the stone; ye are breaking the Lord's day."[Pg 217]




"Do with thy might whatsoever thy hand findeth to do."

I rose one morning, before six, to write letters, and hastened to put them into the post-office before breakfast. It was a dark, lowery morning, not very inviting abroad, for an April shower was then falling.

I had the privilege of depositing my letters in a box kept by Mr. D., a thriving merchant, not very remote from my dwelling. As I entered the store, Mr. D. expressed surprise to see me out from home at so early an hour, remarking that he was sure but few ladies were even up at that time, and much less abroad.

I told him in reply, that I had been accustomed from my childhood to strive to "do with my might whatsoever my hand found to do." That persons often expressed surprise that one so far advanced in life could do so much, and endure so much fatigue and labor, and still preserve health. I told Mr. D. that I had myself often reflected upon the fact that I could do more in one day, with ease and comfort to myself, and could endure more hardships, than most others. And when I came to analyze the subject, and go back to first principles, I could readily perceive all this had grown out of an irrepressible desire to please and honor my parents.

My love towards them, coupled with fear, was perfectly unbounded, and became the guiding and governing principles of my whole life. I could not bear, when a very young child, to have either of my parents even raise a finger, accompanied by a look of disapprobation, and whenever they did, I would, as soon as I could, unperceived, seek out some retired place where I could give vent to my sorrowful feelings and troubled conscience.

That I might not often incur their censure, I strove by all possible means to do everything to please them. My parents had a large family of children; there was a great deal to be[Pg 218] done, and our mother was always in feeble health. I felt that I could not do enough, each day, in sweeping, dusting, mending, &c., besides the ordinary occupation of each day, that I might gratify my father, for he was very careful and tender of our mother. I was not conscious of a disposition to outvie my brothers and sisters, but when anything of consequence was to be done I would exert myself to the utmost in my efforts to accomplish the largest share. When we went into the garden or the fields to gather fruits or vegetables, I was constantly influenced to be diligent, and to make haste and gather all I could, so that on our return home I might receive the plaudit, "Well done, good and faithful child." So it was in knitting and sewing. That I might be able to accomplish more and more each day, I would often induce one or more of my sisters to strive with me, to see which could do the most in a given period.

So profitable did I find this excitement, that I often carried the practice into my hours of study, as when my busy fingers plied the needle. And often when I had no one to strive with me, I would strive with myself, by watching the clock,—that is, I would see if I could not knit or sew this hour more than I did the previous hour, if I could not commit to memory more verses, or texts, or lessons, than I had the last hour.

In this way I not only cultivated habits of vigorous efforts, but I acquired that cheerful, happy disposition which useful occupation is always sure to impart. In this way, too, I obtained that kind of enthusiasm when anything of importance was to be done, that a boy has when he is indulged in going out on a fishing or hunting excursion. A boy thus situated, needs no morning summons. On the contrary, he is usually on his way to the field of action before it is quite light; and it concerns him but little whether he eats or fasts till his toils are at an end.

Children, who thus early acquire habits of industry, and a love of occupation, instead of living to eat in after life, will eat to live.

Oh, how do early right habits and principles help to form the character, and mould the affections, and shape the destiny[Pg 219] in all the future plans and modes of living. How do they lead their possessor to strive after high attainments, not only in this life, but thus lay the foundation for activity in the pursuit of high and holy efforts throughout the endless ages of eternity.

It will be perceived that the ruling motives of my conduct, in my early childhood, towards my parents, were those of love and fear. Indeed these are the two great principles that actuate the holy inhabitants of heaven towards their Maker, whether they be saints or angels.

It was not the fear of the rod that led me to obey my best of parents. It was not all the gifts or personal gratifications that could be offered to a child that won my love.

I saw in both of my parents heavenly dispositions, heavenly tendencies, drawing them, day by day, towards the great source of all perfection and blessedness. I saw the noble and sublime principles of the Gospel acted out in the nursery as sedulously as in the sanctuary, in fact far more when at home than when abroad, for here there were more ample opportunities afforded for their full development than perhaps anywhere else. They loved each other with a pure heart, fervently, and they sought not only the temporal good of their children, but their eternal felicity and happiness. There was no constraint in their daily and hourly watchings and teachings, but it was of a ready mind.

They aspired, themselves, after a perfect conformity to the image of the blessed Savior—whose name is love—and they taught their children by precept, and by their own lovely examples, to walk in his footsteps, who said, "Be ye holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy."

What powerful motives then have all parents so to demean themselves towards each other, and towards their children, as to deserve and to secure their filial regard! Parents and children, thus influenced, will forever respond to the following beautiful sentiment:

"Happy the heart where graces reign,
Where love inspires the breast;
Love is the brightest of the train,
And strengthens all the rest."
[Pg 220]



At a meeting of the thirty-sixth anniversary of the American Bible Society, May 13, 1852, many thoughts were suggested worthy the special attention of all Christian mothers. A few are here registered, in the hope that they may continue to call forth the prayers and efforts of all Christian parents, and lead them to feel that whatever else they neglect in the daily instructions of their children, they cannot safely overlook their sacred obligations to see to it that the minds and hearts of their children be early imbued with a love and reverence for this Book of books.

As was justly remarked, the Bible is the teacher of true philosophy, in fact the only fountain of truth, and suggests the best and only plan adequate to the conversion of the world.

Let the prayers, then, of all Christian mothers be daily concentrated in asking God's blessing upon this noble institution, keeping in mind the Savior's last prayer for his beloved disciples, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

We particularly invite attention to a resolution offered on that occasion by Rev. Theo. L. Cuyler of Trenton, N.J.:

"Resolved, That the adaptedness of the Bible to all conditions of society, and all grades of intellect, as shown by past history, brings us evidence of its divine origin, and inspires us with hope of its future success in enlightening and purifying the world."

Mr. C. remarked—"A wide field swells out before me in this resolution, for it is nothing less than the universality of God's Word in its complete adaptedness to the possible conditions of humanity. The truth which I hold up for you all to gaze upon is, that 'God's Bible is the book for all.' Like the air which visits alike the palace and the cottage; like the water which meanders its way, or gushes from deep fountains[Pg 221] for the use of all men; so this book is adapted to the wants of all immortal men. It is adapted to every grade of mind and heart, rising higher than human intellect ever reached, and descending lower than human degradation ever sank.

"Go to that closet in the neighborhood of Edinburgh, and see one of the mightiest intellects the world has ever produced, upon whose transcendent eloquence a Brougham, a Canning, and the greatest names of the age, have hung entranced, bending over the pages of the Book of Life. He reads, and writes his thoughts as he reads, until his writings become volumes, and the world is blessed with his meditations on the whole Bible. So thoroughly does his spirit become imbued with the thoughts of this book, that Chalmers was said to have held the whole Bible in solution.

"Upon Alpine peaks it spreads a moral verdure which makes their rugged valleys smile, and adorns them with flowers of heavenly origin. Upon the Virginia plantation, it made Honest John, the happy negro. It was adapted to all climates and all conditions of life. It was the only book which comforts in the last hour.

"This was vividly illustrated by the closing scene in the life of Sir Walter Scott. The window of his chamber was open, through which entered the breeze, bearing upon its wings the music of the silvery Tweed, which had so often lulled his mighty spirit. His son-in-law was present, to whom he said, 'Lockhart, read to me.' Lockhart replied, 'What shall I read?' The dying bard turned to him his pale countenance and said, 'Lockhart, there is but one book!'

"What a tribute from the world's mightiest master of enchantment, who had himself penned so many works which were the admiration of his fellows, were those brief words uttered, when the spirit hung between two worlds, 'There is but one book.' Would you learn true sublimity? Throw away Virgil, the Greek and Roman classics, and even Milton and Shakspeare, and go to the Bible.

"Amid all turbulence, agitation and danger, there is no other foundation upon which we can rest the welfare and[Pg 222] peace of society. This is the only resort of every scheme of human elevation. This contains the primal lessons of all duty. Let reformers recollect this, and let us all gather around and protect this pillar of truth. Diffuse this 'blessed book,' as one of England's poets, when pressing it to his lips in his dying hour, called it. Wheel up this sun of light to the mid-heavens, and cause its rays to gleam in every land."

Rev. Mr. Goodell, missionary to Constantinople, remarked, that during thirty years residence in Mahomedan countries, he had learned something of the importance of that book. The nations of the East are all wrong in their conceptions of God. He had often stood upon the goodly mountain, Lebanon, and upon the heights around Constantinople, and raised his thoughts to God, asking, How long shall this darkness prevail? Without this book we could have effected little in our missionary work; but by it God hath done great things, whereof we are glad. The Bible was once found only in dead languages; now it is translated into the language of almost every people with whom we come in contact. Every friend of the Bible will rejoice to know that it is becoming the great book of the East. Before its translation into the Greco-Armenian, it was a mere outside book, kept and admired for its handsome binding, and from a superstitious reverence. Now it is an inside book; it has taken hold of the heart of the Armenian nation. Once it was looked at; now it is read. It has come to assume a great importance in the eyes of that people. They have a great anxiety to read. More than one hundred aged women are now engaged in learning to read, that they may read the New Testament for themselves.

Let religion create the atmosphere around a woman's spirit and breathe its life into her heart; refine her affections, sanctify her intellect, elevate her aims and hallow her physical beauty, and she is, indeed, to our race, of all the gifts of time, the last and best, the crown of our glory, the perfection of our life.[Pg 223]



"And though to his own hurt he swears,
Still he performs his word."

I was yet a boy, when one day a gentleman came into the lot where my father was superintending the in-gathering of his hay crop, and addressing himself to a mower in my father's employment, inquired whether he would assist him the following day. He replied, "Yes." "How is this," said my father; "are you not engaged to mow for me?" "O yes," said the man. "Why, then," continued my father, "do you promise to mow for Gen. K——?" "Why," said the man, "I wish to oblige him; I love to oblige everybody." "And so," said my father, "you are willing to incur the guilt of falsehood, for you cannot perform your promise to him and myself, and in the end you must disappoint one of us; and, maybe, seriously injure our interests and your reputation."

Nothing, surely, is more common, it is believed, than this heedless manner of making promises which cannot be fulfilled. The modes in which such promises are made are multitudinous, but it is not within the compass of this article to specify them. That they are utterly wrong, and indicate, on the part of those who make them, a light regard for truth, is obvious. Besides, they often lay the foundation for grievous disappointments, they thwart important plans, derange business calculations, give birth to vexatious feelings, cause distrust between man and man, and sap the foundations of morality and religion. Promises should always be made with due caution and due reservation: "If the Lord will," "if life is spared," "if unforeseen circumstances do not interpose to prevent." It is always easy to state some conditions, or make some such reservations. Or, rather, it would be easy, were it not that one is often urged beyond all propriety, to make the promise, as if the making of it, of course insured[Pg 224] its fulfillment, although a thousand circumstances may interfere to prevent it.

This is a subject of vast importance to the community. There are evils also connected with it of alarming magnitude, and which all needful efforts should be made to remove. Especially should this subject attract the attention of parents. The mischief often begins with them and around their own hearths. How common it is for parents to make promises to their children, while the latter are yet tottering from chair to chair, which are never designed to be fulfilled. And, at length, the deception is discovered by the little prattlers, and often much earlier than parents imagine. Often, too, is the parent reminded of his promise and of its non-fulfillment. And, sometimes, this is done days and weeks after the promise has been made and neglected. The consequence is, that the child comes to feel that his parent has little or no regard to truth himself, and that truth is a matter of minor importance. So that child grows up. So he goes forth into society, and enters upon business. Will he be likely to forget the lessons thus early taught him, and the example thus early set him?

I am able to illustrate this subject by an incident which occurred in my own experience within the last two months. I must tell the story in my own simple way, and as it is entirely truthful, I hope salutary impressions may be made in every quarter where they are needed, and where this article shall be read.

Having occasion for the services of a mechanic in relation to a certain piece of work, I called upon one in my neighborhood, then in the employment of a gentleman, and was informed, on stating my object, that as he should be through with his present engagement on the evening of a certain day, he would commence my work on the following morning. The specified time arrived, but the man did not appear. I waited two or three days, in hourly expectation of his appearance, but was doomed to disappointment. At length, I again called upon him and found him still in the employment of the gentleman aforenamed. On inquiring the reason of[Pg 225] his delay, I was informed that on completing his former engagement the gentleman had concluded to have more done than he originally intended, and insisted upon the continuance of the mechanic in his service until his work was entirely finished.

I said to him, "But did you not agree with me for a specified day?"


"Did not your engagement with Mr. —— terminate on the evening previous to that day?"


"Were you under obligation to that gentleman beyond that time?"


"Did not your continuance with him involve a violation of your promise to me?"


"Was not this wrong? and how are you able to justify your conduct?"

"Sir," said he, "you do not understand the matter. I am to blame, but my employer is still more to blame. Look at it. I am a mechanic and a poor man. I am dependent on my labor for the support of myself and family. This gentleman is rich, and gives me a great deal of employment; I do not like to disoblige him, and, sir, when I told him, on the termination of my engagement to him, that I had promised to enter upon a piece of work for you, he would not release me. He claimed that I was in good faith bound to work for him till his various jobs were done."

"And did you think so, my friend?"

"No," he replied, "I did not; but he told me that if I did not stay he would give me no further employment."

"And so," said I, "you violated your conscience, wronged your own soul, disappointed me, and all for the sake of obliging a man who was willing that you should suffer in point of conscience and reputation, if his selfish purposes might be answered."

"I am sensible," said he, "that I did wrong, but what[Pg 226] course shall we pursue, who are dependent upon our daily labor, for our support?"

"I admit," said I, "that you and others similarly situated, are under a grievous temptation. But honesty, in the long run, is the best policy. Acting upon the same principles with the gentleman who has detained you, I might hereafter refuse to employ you. And others might refuse, whose work you are probably engaged to perform, but are postponing to gratify him. The consequence of all this is, that your promises will soon pass for nothing. You will be considered as a man not of your word, and when once your good name is lost, you will become poorer than you now are, and remain without employment and without friends."

No one, it is believed, can read the foregoing incident without being impressed with the great impropriety chargeable upon the gentleman referred to. The temptation he spread before the poor mechanic was utterly wrong and unbecoming. It was nothing short of oppression. It was bringing his wealth to bear upon a point with which it had no legitimate connection. It was placing self before right; it was a reckless sacrifice of the interests of others for his own gratification.

That such cases are common, is well known; but their frequency is only a proof of the slight regard in which the sacredness of promises is held, and to the violation of which employers frequently contribute by the temptations which they spread, and the coercion which they practice. We do not justify for a single moment the mechanics and laborers who violate their pledges. We insist upon it that it is their solemn duty to encounter any and every temporal evil rather than sacrifice truth and conscience; but it is believed they would seldom be guilty of this violation were they not pressed beyond measure by employers.

We must for a moment again advert to parents. You see, friends, what an evil exists throughout the community. It is everywhere, and is helping to work the ruin of immortal souls. It often begins, it is believed, in the family. Parents are guilty, in the first place, and they early inoculate their[Pg 227] children with the evil. And the infection, once taken, is likely to spread and to pervade the whole moral system. It enters into other relations of life. It reaches to other departments of duty, and tends to destroy our sense of obligation to God. It weakens our regard for promises made to the Author of our being. In short, this disregard for the fulfillment of sacred promises helps to sap the foundations of moral virtue, and to prepare the soul for a world where falsehood reigns supreme, and where there is no confidence between man and man.




The Rev. Wm. Jay has sweetly said of the trials of the people of God: "Have they days of affliction? God knows them; knows their source, their pressure, how long they have continued, the support they require, and the proper time to remove them. Have they days of danger? He knows them, and will be a refuge and defense in them. Have they days of duty? He knows them, and will furnish the strength and the help they require. Have they days of inaction when they are laid aside from their work, by accident or disease? He knows them, and says to his servants under every privation, 'It is well that it was in thy heart.' Have they days of privation when they are denied the ordinances of religion, after seeing his power and glory in the temple, and going with the voice of gladness to keep holy day? He knows them, and will follow his people when they cannot follow him, and be a little sanctuary to them in their losses. Have they days of declension and of age in which their strength is fled, and their senses fail, and so many of their connection have gone down to the dust, evil days, wherein they have no pleasure? He knows them, and says, 'I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth. Even down to old age I am He, and to hoary hairs will I bear and carry you.'"[Pg 228]



Our friend, Mrs. Sigourney, has, at our request, kindly sent us the subjoined hymn and remarks: "The Young Men's Christian Association I consider one of the very best designs of this age of philanthropy. I send you a hymn, elicited by the Boston branch of this same Society, a circumstance which will not, I hope, diminish its adaptation to your pages."

We cannot omit to ask mothers and daughters to give this Association their countenance and prayers. We trust it will be the means of accomplishing great good.


God of our children! hear our prayer,
When from their homes they part,
Those idols of our fondest care,
Those jewels of the heart.

We miss their smile in hall and bower;
We miss their voice of cheer;
We speak their names at midnight hour
When none but Thou dost hear.

God of their spirits! be their stay,
When from their parents' side,
Their boat is launched to find its way
O'er life's tempestuous tide.

Tho' toss'd 'mid breakers wild and strong,
Its veering helm should stray
Where syrens wake the mermaid song,
Guide thou their course alway.

Oh, God of goodness, bless the band
Who, moved by Christian love,
Take the young stranger's friendless hand
And lead his thoughts above.

May their own souls the sunbeam feel,
They thus have freely given,
And be the plaudit of their zeal
The sweet "well-done" of heaven.

L.H.S.[Pg 229]




It would be only presumption in us to attempt giving in any other than the beautifully simple words of Scripture the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law. The narration is inimitable, and needs nothing to make it stand out like a picture before the mind. Suffice it then that we now attend only to the lessons which may be gathered from it, and endeavor to profit by them through all our coming lives. Nor let any think the lessons afforded by these four short chapters few or easily acted upon, though they may be soon comprehended. They will amply reward earnest study and persevering practice.

The first thing which wins our admiration is Ruth's faith. She had been educated in the degrading worship of Chemosh, the supreme deity of Moab. Probably no conception of the one living God had been formed in her mind until her acquaintance with the Jewish youth, the son of Elimelech and Naomi. How long she had the happiness of a wife we are not informed. We know it was only a few years. But during that period she had learned to put such confidence in Jehovah, that she was willing to forsake country and friends, even the home of her childhood and beloved parents, and go forth with her mother-in-law to strange scenes, and willing to brave penury and vicissitude that she might be numbered among His people. Firmly she adhered to her resolution. The entreaties of Naomi—the thought of her mother—the prospects which might await her in her own land—even the retreating form of Orpah—nothing had power to prevail over her desire to see Canaan and unite in the worship of her husband's God. "The Lord recompense thy work," said Boaz to her, "and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." He is not unfaithful, and that reward was made sure.[Pg 230] "Of the life that now is," the promise speaks, and it was fulfilled to her. Of an undying honorable name it says nothing, but that is also awarded her. "Upon a monument which has already outlasted thrones and empires, and which shall endure until there be a new heaven and a new earth—upon the front page of the New Testament is inscribed the name of Ruth. Of her came David—of her came a long line of illustrious and good men—of her came Christ."

Why will we not learn—why will we not daily and constantly act upon the truth that implicit faith is pleasing to God? "None of them that trust in Him shall be desolate."

There is a fund of instruction also in the few glimpses which we gain of the intercourse of Naomi and Ruth as they journey on and after their arrival in Canaan. How does the law of love dictate and pervade every word and action! Naomi had once been an honored wife and mother in Judah, and far above the reach of want. But in "the days when the judges ruled," those days during which "every man did what was right in his own eyes," her husband had deserted his people; and now on her return she was probably penniless, her inheritance sold until the year of jubilee, and she in her old age, unable by her own efforts to gain a subsistence. The poor in Israel were not forlorn, but it required genuine humility on Ruth's part, and a sincere love for her mother-in-law, to induce her to avail herself of the means provided. She hesitated not. It was "in the beginning of the barley harvest" that they came to Bethlehem, and as soon as they were settled, apparently in a small and humble tenement, she went forth to glean in some field after the reapers, not knowing how it would fare with her, but evidently feeling that all depended on her labors. The meeting of the mother and daughter at the close of that important day is touching indeed. The joy with which the aged Naomi greets her only solace, and the kind and motherly care with which she brings the remains of her own scanty meal, which she had laid aside, her eager questions, and Ruth's cheerful replies as she lays down her burden and relates the pleasant events of the day—what gratitude to[Pg 231] God—what dawning hopes—what a delightful spirit of love appear through all! And as days pass, how tenderly does Naomi watch over the interests of her child, and how remarkable is the deference to her wishes which ever animates Ruth. Even in the matter of her marriage,—a subject on which young people generally feel competent to judge for themselves,—she is governed entirely by her mother's directions. "All that thou sayest unto me I will do." Said a young lady in our hearing, not long since, "When I am married I shall desire that my husband may have no father or mother." This is not an unusual wish, nor is it uttered in all cases lightly and without reason. We know of a mother who would never consent that her only son should bring his wife to dwell under her roof, although she was entirely satisfied with his choice, and was constantly doing all in her power to promote their happiness. What were her reasons? She was a conscientious Christian and fond mother, but she would not risk their mutual happiness. She felt herself unable to bear the test, and she was unwilling to subject her children to it. Often do we hear expressions of pity bestowed on the young wife who is so "unfortunate" as to be compelled to live with her mother-in-law, and many are the sighs and nods and winks of gossip over the trials which some of their number endure from their sons' wives. Why is all this? The supreme selfishness of our human nature must answer. Having a common love for one object, the mother for her son, the wife for her husband, they should be bound by strong ties, and their mutual interests should produce mutual kindness and sympathy, and this would always be the case if each were governed by the spirit of the Gospel. But alas! love of self rather than the pure love inculcated by Jesus Christ most often rules. Brought together from different paths, unlike, it may be, in natural temperament, perhaps differing in opinion, the mother wishing to retain her wonted control over her son, the wife feeling hers the superior claim, there springs up a contest which is the fruitful source of unhappiness, and which mars many an otherwise fine character. Before us in memory's glass as[Pg 232] we write, sits one of a most fair and beautiful countenance, but over which hang dark clouds of care, and from the eyes drop slowly bitter tears. She is what all around her would call a happy wife and mother. Fortune smiles upon her, and the blessing of God abides by the hearth-stone. Her husband is a professing Christian, as is also his yet youthful-looking mother and the wife herself. Beautiful children gambol around her, and look wonderingly in her face as they see those tears. What is the secret of her unhappiness? She deems hers a very hard lot, and yet if we rightly judge, could her sorrow be resolved to its elements, it would be found that the turmoil of her spirit is occasioned solely by the fact that she finds it hard to maintain her fancied rights, her desired superiority over her husband and servants, because of the presence of her calm, firm, dignified mother-in-law, whose very lips seem chiseled to indicate that they speak only to be obeyed. What would be the result if the tender, considerate love of Naomi and the yielding spirit of Ruth were introduced to the bosom of each?

We cannot leave this record of Holy Writ without commenting also on the remarkable state of society which existed in Bethlehem in those far distant days. When Naomi returned after an absence of ten years—an absence which to many might have seemed very culpable—with what enthusiastic greetings was she received. "The whole city was moved." It made no difference that she "went out full but had returned empty;" nor did they stop to consider that "the Lord had testified against her." The truest sympathy was manifested for her and for the stranger who had loved her and clung to her. In her sorrow they clustered around to comfort her, and when the bright reverse gave her again an honored name and "a restorer of her life" in her young grandson, they were eager to testify their joy. The apostolic injunction, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep," seems to have been strictly obeyed in Bethlehem. The distinctions of society, although as marked apparently as in our own time, seem not to have caused either unhappiness nor the slightest approach[Pg 233] to unkind or unchristian feeling. Witness the greeting between Boaz and the reapers on his harvest field. "And behold Boaz came from Bethlehem and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee." Boaz was "a mighty man of wealth;" he had his hired workmen around him, and in the same field was found the poor "Moabitish damsel," gleaning here and there the scattered ears, her only dependence. Yet we find them all sitting together in the hut which was erected for shelter, and eating together the parched grain which was provided for the noon's refreshment, while Boaz enters into a conversation with Ruth which indicates his truly noble and generous character, and speaks words which are like balm to the sorrowing spirit. "Thou hast comforted me and spoken to the heart of thy handmaid," she said as she rose to leave the tent and felt herself no longer a stranger, since one so excellent and so exalted in station appreciated and sympathized with her. We see little in these Gospel days and in this favored land which will compare with the genuine kindliness which breathes in every word and act recorded in the book of Ruth.

But the most surprising revelation is made in the account which follows the scene in the tent. What exalted principle—what respect for woman—what noble virtue must have characterized those among whom a mother could send her daughter at night to perform the part assigned to Ruth, apparently without a fear of evil, and receive her again, not only unharmed, but understood, honored, and wedded by the man to whom she was sent, and that notwithstanding her foreign birth and dependent situation, and fettered with the condition that her first-born son must bear the name and be considered the child of a dead man!

We have friends who will fasten their faith on the New Testament only, and can see nothing in the Old akin to it in precept or spirit. We commend to them the Book of Ruth.[Pg 234]



"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them."—Matthew 6:6.

(Concluded from page 211.)

In the mean time Charlotte ran home for her pennies, and on her return met an acquaintance who did not belong to the Sunday-school.

"Where are you going so fast, Charlotte?" said she; "stop, I want to show you what a lovely blue ribbon I have just bought at Drake's, only four cents a yard, and half a yard makes a neck ribbon; isn't it sweet? just look;" and she displayed a bright blue ribbon to the admiring gaze of Charlotte.

"It is very pretty," said Charlotte longingly, "and I wish I could afford to buy one like it, but I've got no money."

"What is that in your hand?" asked the other, as she espied the pennies in Charlotte's hand.

"That is mission money," she replied; "I am going to give it to the missionary to buy Bibles for the heathen."

"Buy fiddlesticks!" said the other, with a loud laugh. "Why, you are a little simpleton to send your money the dear knows where, when you might buy a whole yard of this beautiful ribbon and have a penny left!"

Charlotte looked wishfully at the ribbon, and sighed as she answered, "But I earned this money on purpose to give."

"More goose you to work for money to give away; but if you are so very generous, buy half a yard, and then you will have three cents left to give, that is enough I am sure; but do as you like, I must go. They have got some splendid pink, that would become you exceedingly. Good bye;" and so saying she left her.

Charlotte walked thoughtfully on; her love of dress and finery was a ruling passion, and had been aroused at a most[Pg 235] unfortunate moment; she had never possessed a piece of new ribbon, and she longed to see how it would look with her white cape. Thus thinking she arrived at Mr. Drake's store, and the first thing she saw temptingly displayed in a glass case upon the counter was the identical ribbon she coveted. There were customers in the store, and Charlotte had to wait her turn; during those few moments various thoughts passed through her mind.

"If I buy the ribbon what will Annie say?" suggested conscience. "Why need you care for Annie?" whispered temptation, "the ribbon will look pretty and becoming; you earned the money, and beside, Annie need not know anything about it; tell her you had not time to change the money, and throw the pennies quickly in the box; there will be more there, and no one will know how much you put in."

Poor Charlotte! she did not know that the best way to avoid sin is to flee from temptation. The shopman was at leisure, and waited to know what she wished. She had not decided what to do; but the ribbon was uppermost in her thoughts, and she asked, "What is the price of that ribbon?" "Four cents," said the shopman as he quickly unrolled it; "here are pink, white, blue and yellow; pink I should think the most becoming to you, Miss. How much shall I cut you? enough to trim a bonnet?"

Charlotte was agitated; the man's volubility confused her, and she stammered forth, "Half a yard, if you please, sir."

It was cut off, rolled up, and in her hand, and she had paid the two cents before she collected her thoughts; and then as she slowly returned home, she unfolded her purchase, and tried in her admiration of its gay color to forget she had done wrong.

Perhaps if Charlotte had read her Bible she would have remembered how Ananias and his wife Sapphira were struck dead for mocking the Lord, by pretending they had given all when they had reserved a part of their goods. Their sin consisted not so much in keeping back a part as in lying unto God; and this sin Charlotte was about to commit by[Pg 236] pretending to put in the mission box more than she really did.

Sunday morning dawned bright and lovely. Annie was up and tidily dressed long before the hour for school. She had time to sing a sweet morning hymn, and to feed the tame robins with the crumbs she had carefully swept up, and then with her little Bible sat down to study her lesson again, and assure herself that she had it perfect. As she read the sacred volume, and dwelt upon its precious promises, which her mother had explained to her, she felt doubly sorry for those poor people who were deprived of so great a blessing; and then she thought of her little offering, and wished with all her heart it had been more.

Charlotte, on the contrary, awoke late, after an uneasy slumber, and hurriedly eating her breakfast, for which she had but little appetite, dressed herself, and opening the box where she kept her little treasures, took out the gay pink ribbon, and after a long admiring gaze, pinned it carefully about her neck. As she closed the box cover she saw the three cents lying in one corner, and hastily put them in her pocket with a feeling of self-abasement that made her cheeks glow with shame. She ran quickly down stairs, lest her mother should see her and question her about the ribbon, for although Mrs. Murray would not have disapproved of her daughter's purchase, Charlotte dreaded her mother's ridicule for so soon abandoning her new-fangled notions, as she called them.

She had promised to call for Annie, and she walked quietly along, hoping her friend would not notice the ribbon nor ask to see the money. As she slowly approached Mrs. Grey's cottage, she saw Annie's favorite kitten jump up in the low window seat to bask in the warm sunshine. Charlotte saw the little cat put out her paw to play with something, and just as she was opposite the window a small bright piece rolled down into the road. She hastened forward and picked it up; it was a bright new five-pence.

"This must be Annie's," she thought; and looking in the window she saw the room was empty, and Annie's Bible[Pg 237] and handkerchief laid on the window seat. Puss was busy playing with the leaves of the book, and Charlotte walked slowly on with the piece yet in her hand.

"How pretty and bright it looks," she thought. "I wish that I had one to give. I know the girls will stare to see Annie put in so much. How lucky it was that I passed; if I had not it would have been lost, or some one else would have picked it up. I will give it to her in school; I shall not keep it, of course." Thus quieting her conscience she walked quickly to school, and took her seat among the rest.

How gradual is the descent to sin. Charlotte would have spurned the idea of stealing, and yet from desiring to give with a wrong motive she had been led on step by step, and when the girl who sat next her asked what she had brought, she opened her hand and showed the piece of money.

School had commenced when Annie came in; she looked disheartened, and her eyes were red with crying. Charlotte's heart smote her, and could she have spoken to Annie, she would doubtless have returned the piece of money, but she dared not leave her seat, and after a few moments it was whispered around the class that Annie Grey had lost her mission money. Then the girls about Charlotte told each other how much she had brought, and she began to think,

"What difference will it make if I put it in the box? it is all the same, Annie says, who gives the money, so that it is given;" and so when the box was handed round she dropped the five cent piece in. Her conscience reproved her severely as she glanced at poor Annie, whose tears were flowing afresh, and who, when the teacher handed her the box, said in low, broken tones, that she had lost her offering and had nothing to give.

After dismissal the children crowded around Annie, pitying and questioning her. Charlotte moved away, she could not speak to her injured friend; but as she passed she heard Annie say, "I laid it on my Bible. I was just about tying it in the corner of my pocket handkerchief when mother called me away; when I came back it was gone. Kitty was sitting in the window, and I suppose must have knocked it[Pg 238] down in the road. I searched all over the room, and out in the road, but could not find it."

"I am really sorry," said one.

"And I, and I," added three or four more.

"Let us go and help her look for it again," said they all, "perhaps we may find it yet," for Annie's gentleness had made her beloved by all.

Charlotte's feelings were far from enviable as she went towards home; she hated herself and felt perfectly miserable. As soon as she arrived at the house she went hastily up stairs, and took off the hateful ribbon, as it now appeared, with a feeling of disgust, and throwing herself on the bed cried long and bitterly. Charlotte did not know how to pray to God to give her a clean heart and forgive her sin; she never thought of asking His forgiveness, or confessing her fault; she felt sick at heart, restless and unhappy. Such are ever the consequences of sin. She ate no dinner, and her mother told her to go and lie down, as she did not look well. Charlotte gladly went up stairs again, and after another hearty crying spell fell fast asleep.

When she awoke it was evening, and going down stairs she found that her mother had gone to visit a neighbor. Charlotte stood out by the door, and although it was a lovely summer night, a gloom seemed to her to overhang everything. Her little brothers spoke to her, and she answered them harshly and sent them away. While she stood idly musing a miserable old beggar woman, who bore but an indifferent character in the neighborhood, came hobbling along; she came up to the little girl and asked an alms. Almost instinctively she put her hand in her pocket, and taking thence the three cents placed them with a feeling of relief in the beggar's hand. She thought she was doing a good act, and would atone for her wicked conduct. The old woman was profuse of thanks, and taking from her dirty apron a double handful of sour and unripe fruit, placed it in Charlotte's lap and went away.

Charlotte's parents had forbidden her eating unripe fruit; but a day begun in sin was not unlikely to end in disobedience.[Pg 239] She felt feverish and thirsty, and so biting one of the apples went on eating until all were gone. She then went up to bed, and feeling afraid to be alone, for a bad conscience is always fearful, she closed her eyes and fell almost immediately asleep.

She was awakened in the night by sharp and violent pain; she dreaded to call her mother, as she would have to tell her what she had been eating, and so she bore the suffering as long as she could; but her restless tossings and moans aroused her mother, who slept in an adjoining room, and hastening in to her daughter, she found her in a high state of fever. She did all she could for her, but the next morning Charlotte was so much worse that a physician was sent for. She was quite delirious when he came, and he pronounced her situation dangerous.

The poor girl raved incessantly about ribbons and Annie's tearful face, and seemed to be in great distress of mind. Annie heard that Charlotte was very ill, and came to see her. She was shocked to hear her talk so wildly, and to see her face flushed with fever. She stayed some time, but Charlotte did not know her, although she often mentioned her name. When Annie returned home she asked her mother's permission to stay with Charlotte as much as possible, which Mrs. Grey cheerfully gave, and went to visit her herself.

For a whole week poor Charlotte's fever raged violently, and as Annie or her mother were with her constantly, they could not fail to discover from the sick girl's ravings that she had taken the lost fivepence. Annie, however, who heartily forgave her playmate, never mentioned what she heard to her mother, and Mrs. Grey also wisely refrained from telling her suspicions. She was better acquainted with the treatment of the sick than Mrs. Murray, and she watched over Charlotte with the tenderness of a mother. One day Annie sat reading her Bible by the bedside when Charlotte awoke from a long sleep, the first she had enjoyed, and looking towards Annie said in a feeble voice,

"Oh, dear Annie, is that you?"[Pg 240]

The little girl rose, and bending over her sick playmate, begged her in a gentle voice to lie still and be quiet.

"I will, I will," answered Charlotte, clasping her hands feebly about her friend's neck as she leaned towards her, "if you will only say you forgive me. Oh, you know not what a wicked girl I am, and yet it seems as if I had been telling everybody."

"Never mind now, dear," whispered Annie, "only keep still or you will bring on your fever again."

"I believe I have been very ill, and have said many strange things," murmured Charlotte, "but I know you now and understand what I say. Do you think you can forgive me, Annie?"

"Yes, dear Charlotte, and I love you better than ever now, so do not talk any more." Annie kissed her tenderly as she spoke, and the sick girl laid her head upon the pillow still holding Annie's hand in her own.

From this time Charlotte rapidly improved, and one afternoon, when her mother and Mrs. Grey and Annie were sitting with her, she told them the whole truth about the lost money, and begged them to forgive her. Little Annie, whose tears were flowing fast, kissing her again and again, assured her of her entire forgiveness, and told her never to mention it again.

Mrs. Grey then said, "I think that we all forgive your fault, my dear child, but there is One whose forgiveness you must first seek before your repentance can be sincere. The sin you have committed against God is far greater than any injury you have done us. In the first place, my dear Charlotte, you wished to give with a wrong motive; you did not seek to please God and serve Him, by giving your trifle with a sincere heart and earnest prayers. You sought rather the praise of your teachers; and worse even than this, you wished to awaken the envy of your companions. Such a gift, however large, could never be acceptable to the just God, who knows all hearts, and bids us to do good in secret and He will reward us openly. You see, my little girl, how one misstep makes the way for another,—how this pride[Pg 241] begat envy, and envy covetousness, and then how quickly did deceit and dishonesty and disobedience come after. Do not think me harsh, my dear child, from my heart I forgive you; your punishment has been severe, but I trust it will be to you a well-spring of grace; and now let us humbly ask the forgiveness and blessing of that just and yet merciful God who for Jesus' sake will hear our prayers."

They knelt, and Mrs. Grey made a touching and earnest prayer; even Mrs. Murray was affected to tears; she felt ashamed of her daughter's conduct; she knew she herself was to blame, and this event had a good effect upon her future conduct.

After a little while Charlotte asked for her box, and taking out the pink ribbon placed it in Mrs. Grey's hand and begged her to burn it, as she could not bear to see it.

"No," said Mrs. Grey, "keep it, Charlotte; it will remind you of your fatal error, and perhaps, through God's blessing, may sometimes lead you from the path of sin into that of holiness."

Charlotte took her friend's advice, and after her recovery never gave utterance to a falsehood. She and Annie became Sunday-school teachers, and through the grace of God Charlotte was the means of bringing her whole family into the fold of the Good Shepherd; and while she lived she always carefully treasured the pink ribbon, which was a memento alike of her fault and her sincere repentance.



My Dear Son:—Seldom, if ever, have I perused a letter of deeper interest to myself as a father, than the one you lately addressed to your sister. Long had it been my daily prayer that the Spirit of God would impress you with the importance of becoming a Christian; from your letter I infer[Pg 242] that you are anxiously inquiring after the "great salvation." It is all-important that you be guided aright. What must you do?

The Bible should be our guide in matters involving our spiritual interests, and we need not fear to follow its directions. The Bible declares that in order to be saved the sinner must "repent." This is the first step.

But what is it to repent? Let me tell you. Suppose, then, that a person spreads a false and injurious report about another, by which his character is wounded, his influence lessened, and his business destroyed. This is wrong. Of this wrong, the injurer at length becoming sensible, and deeply regretting it, repairs to the one whom he has injured, confesses the wrong, seeks forgiveness, does all in his power to make amends, and offends no more. This is repentance.

Now, when such sorrow is exercised toward God for wrong done to Him, when that wrong is deeply deplored, is honestly confessed, and is followed by a permanent reformation, that is repentance toward God. Such repentance God requires; nor can one become a Christian who does not exercise it. This is one unalterable condition of salvation. I do not mean that the penitent sinner will never afterwards, in no instance, sin again. He may sometimes, again, do wrong, for so long as he is in the world imperfection will pertain to him; but the ruling power of sin will be broken in his heart. He may sometimes sin; but whenever he does he will lament it. He will retire to his closet, and while there alone with God his tears will flow. Oh! how will he pray and wrestle that he may be forgiven; and what solemn resolutions will he make to sin no more! This he will continue to do month after month, and year after year, as long as he lives, as long as he ever does any wrong. To forsake sin becomes a principle of his life; to confess and forsake it, a habit of his soul. Repentance, then, is the first step.

But the Bible adds, "Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Belief, or faith, as it is called, is another exercise required in order to be saved. What now is faith? Let me illustrate this.[Pg 243]

Suppose a person is standing on the branch of a tree. It appears to be sufficiently firm to bear him, and he feels secure. But presently he perceives that it is beginning to break, and if it break he may be dashed on the rocks below. What shall he do? He looks abroad for help. At this critical moment a person presents himself at the foot of the tree, and says, "Let go, let go, and I will catch you." But he is afraid. He fears that the person may not be able, or may be unwilling to save him. But the branch continues to break, and destruction is before him. Meanwhile the kind-hearted person below renews his assurance, "Let go, let go, confide in me and I'll catch you." At last the person on the branch becomes satisfied that no other hope remains for him, so he says, "I'll do as this friend bids me; I'll trust him." He lets go, falls, and the other catches him. This is faith, or in other words it is confidence.

Now the sinner is liable to fall under the wrath of God for the wrong he has done, and there to perish. He may repent of that wrong, and repentance is most reasonable, and is, we have seen, required; but repentance of itself never repairs a wrong. One may repent that he has killed another, but that does not restore life. One may be sorry that he has broken God's commands, but that does not repair the dishonor done to the Divine government. That government must be upheld. How can it be done? I will tell you how it has been done. Christ consented to take the sinner's place. On the cross he suffered for and instead of the sinner; and God has decided that whosoever, being penitent for sin, will confide in his Son, or trust him, shall be saved.

Sinners are wont to put a high value upon some goodness which they fancy they possess, or upon good actions which they imagine they have done. These, they conceive, are sufficient to save them; and sinners generally feel quite secure. How little concerned, my son, have you been. But sinners mistake as to their goodness. They are all "dead in trespasses and sins." They are under condemnation. They are in imminent danger. Any day they may fall into the hands of an angry God. Sinners under conviction see this[Pg 244] and feel this. The branch of self-righteousness on which they stand is insufficient to bear them. By-and-by it begins to give way. When the sinner feels this he cries, "What shall I do? Who will save me?"

Now Christ is commissioned to save, and when the poor sinner sees that he is about to perish, and in that state cries for help, Christ comes to him and says, "Let go all hope in yourself; let go dependence upon every other thing; trust to me and I will save you." "Come, for all things are ready." But may be the sinner is afraid. Will Christ do as he promises? Is he able to save? Well, the sinner looks round—he hesitates—perhaps prays—weeps—promises; but while all these are well enough in their places, they never of themselves bring peace and safety to the anxious heart. At length he sees and feels that there is no one but Christ, who stands as it were at the bottom of the tree, that can save him. And now he lifts up his voice and cries, "Lord, save me, or I perish." Into the hands of Christ he falls, and from that moment he is safe. This is Gospel faith or confidence.

And this repentance and faith which I have described are necessary in order to salvation. So the Bible decides; and whenever a soul exercises them that soul is a Christian soul, and that man is a Christian man.

There is yet one question further of great moment. You hope, perhaps, that you are a Christian—that you have truly repented, and do exercise true faith. You ask, How shall one decide?

I will tell you this also. Suppose you agree with a nurseryman to furnish you with a tree of a particular kind. He brings you one. You inquire, "Is this the kind of tree I engaged?" He replies, "Yes." But you say, "How do I know? It looks indeed like the tree in question, and you say it is; but there are other trees which strongly resemble it." He rejoins, "I myself grafted it, and I almost know." "Ah! yes, almost; but are you certain?" "No," he replies, "I am not absolutely certain, and no one can be sure at this moment." "But what shall I do?" you ask. "I want that particular tree." "Well," says he, "I will suggest[Pg 245] one infallible test. Set it out on your grounds. It will soon bear fruit, and that will be a sure and satisfactory test." "Is there no other way?" you ask—"no shorter, better way?" "None," he replies. "This is the only sure evidence which man can have."

Let us apply these remarks. As there is but one infallible test as to a tree, so there is but one in respect to a man claiming to be a Christian. "What fruit does he bear?" "By their fruits," says our Savior, "ye shall know them." Only a good tree brings forth good fruit. Here, then, we have a plain, simple, and, I may add, infallible rule for testing ourselves. What kind of fruit are we bearing? What fruit must we bear? "The fruits of the Spirit," says the Bible, "are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," &c. If, then, we have been born of the Spirit, i.e., born again, or in other words, if we are Christians, we shall bear the fruits of the Spirit.

I have known persons suggest various marks or tests by which to try themselves; but I have never found any which could certainly be depended upon besides the one which I have named—the fruit which one brings forth. The application of this test requires time. For evidence of Christian character, a person must examine himself month after month and year after year. His great aim must be to glorify God. He will, therefore, strive to keep his commandments. He will shun all known evil, and let others see that he sets a high value upon all that is "lovely and of good report." He will pray, not one day or one month, but habitually. His life will be a life of prayer, and in all the duties of the Christian profession he will endeavor to persevere. He will find himself imperfect, and will sometimes fail; but when he fails he will not sink down in despair and give up, but he will repent and say, "I'll do better next time;" and thus he will go forward gathering strength. Many trials and difficulties he will find, but the way will grow smoother and easier. His evidence will increase. The path of the righteous is as the light which shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.[Pg 246]

And now, my dear son, are you willing to set out in all sober earnestness so to live, not one day, but always? If you are, God will bless and aid you. You will be a happy boy, and as you grow older you will be happier still; and in the end you will go to God and to your pious friends now in heaven, or who may hereafter reach that blissful abode, and spend an eternity in loving, praising and serving God. This is the constant prayer of your affectionate father.




Little Charlie, the youngest child of our pastor, was the delight of all the household, but especially of the infirm grand-mother, to whose aid and solace he devoted his little efforts. He was a beautiful and active child, of nearly three years, and was to the parsonage what the father emphatically called him,—its "fountain of joy." But little Charlie was suddenly taken from it, after an illness of a few hours. A week afterward, Fanny, a beautiful and highly intelligent child of five years, died of the same fearful disease, scarlet fever. The following little poems were intended as sketches of the characteristics of the two lovely children.

Some three years after, death bore away also little Emma, a child two years old, who had in some measure replaced the lost children of the parsonage. To express the sparkling and exuberant vivacity of this last darling of friends very dear to the writer, has been the object of another simple lay. There are smitten hearts enough in the homes to which this magazine finds its way to respond to notes that would commemorate the infant dead.[Pg 247]


Beside our pilgrim path there sprang
A pleasant little rill,
Whose murmur, ever in our ear,
Was cheerful music still.

The earliest rays of brightening morn,
Back to our eyes it flashed,
And onward through the livelong day,
In tireless sport it dashed.

We loved the little sparkling rill,
We sunned us in its glance;—
The turf looked green where, near our feet,
It kept its joyous dance.

And welcome to our weariness
Was the clear draught it gave;
E'en way-worn age took heart and bowed,
Its aching brow to lave.

But where is now our pleasant rill,
We miss it from our side;
We looked, and it was at its full—
We turned, and it was dried.

Oh Father.—thou whose gracious hand
Bestowed the boon at first,
A parched and desert land is this—
Let not thy servants thirst!

Fountains of joy at thy right hand
Are gushing evermore—
Bid them for us, thy fainting ones,
Their rich abundance pour.


We miss thee on the threshold wide.
Smiling little Fanny!
Thine offered hand was wont to guide
Our footsteps to thy mother's side,
Ready little Fanny!

We miss the welcome of thy face,
Winning little Fanny!
We miss thy bright cheek's rounded grace
Thy clear blue eyes' confiding gaze,
[Pg 248]Lovely little Fanny!

We miss thy glowing earnestness,
Guileless little Fanny!
We miss thy clasping arms' caress,
The solace of thy tenderness,
Loving little Fanny!

We miss thy haste at school-time bell,
Docile little Fanny!
Learning with eager face to spell,
Thy Sabbath verses conning well,
Studious little Fanny!

We miss thee at the hour of prayer,
Gentle little Fanny!
Thy sweet low voice and thoughtful air,
Reading God's word with earnest care,
Serious little Fanny!

The hour of play brings woeful dearth,
Merry little Fanny!
With thee the voice of childhood's mirth,
Died from about our twilight hearth,
Joyous little Fanny!

But angels' gain doth our loss prove,
Precious little Fanny!
Now dwelleth with our God above[C]
That little one whose life was love,
Blessed little Fanny!


A floweret on the grassy mound
Of buried hopes sprang up;—
Tears fell upon its bursting leaves
And gemmed its opening cup.

But such a rosy sun-light fell
Upon those tear-drops there,
That no bright crystals of the morn
Such diamond-hues might wear.

No glancing wing of summer-bird
Was ever half so gay
As that fair flower—no insect's hues
[Pg 249]Shone with such changeful play.

It nodded gaily to the touch
Of every wandering bee,
Its petals tossed in every breeze,
And scattered odors free.

And they who watched the pleasant plant
In its bright bursting bloom,
Hailed in its growth their bower of rest,—
Solace for years to come.

But He who better knew their need
Laid its fair blossoms low;—
Between their souls and heaven's clear light
Tendril nor leaf might grow.

Then oh! how sad the grassy mounds
Its graceful growth had veiled!—
How sere and faded was their life,
Its fragrance all exhaled;—

Till from the blue o'erarching sky,
A clearer beam was given,
A light that showed them labor here,
And promised joy in heaven.



I shall attempt to show by an every-day sort of logic, rather than by any set argument, that young children, when religiously educated, do at a very early age comprehend the being of a God,—that the mind is so constituted that to such prayer is usually an agreeable service,—that in times of sickness or difficulty, or when they have done wrong, they do usually find relief in looking to God for relief and for forgiveness.

I have known quite young children, in a dying state, when their parents have hesitated as to the expediency of referring, in the presence of the child, to the period of dissolution as near, in some paroxysm of distress at once soothed and[Pg 250] quieted by the strains of agonizing prayer of the father, that relief might be afforded to the little sufferer, commending it to Jesus.

From my own early experience I cannot but infer that young children do as readily comprehend the sublime doctrine of a superintending providence as the man of gray hairs. We know from reason and revelation that the heavens declare the glory of God, and that the earth showeth forth his handiwork—day unto day utterreth speech, and night unto night showeth forth knowledge of him.

As soon therefore as a child begins to reason and to ask questions, "Who made this?" and "who made that?" it can understand that "the great and good God made heaven and earth." Indeed this truth is so self-evident that the heathen who have not the Bible are said to be without excuse if they do not love and worship the only living and true God, as God.

The man, therefore, of fourscore years, though he may understand all things else,—how to chain the lightning, to analyze all earthly substances, to solve every problem in Euclid, yet in matters of Gospel faith, before he can enter the kingdom of God, must come down to the capacity of a little child, and take all upon trust, and believe, and obey, and acquiesce, simply on the ground, "My Father told me so."

One of the first things I remember with distinctness as having occurred in the nursery, related to the matter of prayer. One night when a sister a year and a half older than myself had, as usual, repeated all our prayers suited to the evening, which had been taught to us, from a sudden impulse I made up a prayer which I thought better expressed my feelings and wants than any which I had repeated. My sister, who was more timid, was quite excited on the occasion. She said that as I did not know how to make up prayers, God would be very angry with me. We agreed to refer the case in the morning to our mother. When we came to repeat our morning prayers, the preceding transaction came to mind, and we hurried as fast as possible to dress, each one eager first to obtain the desired verdict.[Pg 251]

Almost breathless with excitement, we stated the affair to mother. Her quick reply was, "The Bible says that Hezekiah, king of Israel, had been sick, and he went upon the house-top, and his noise was as the chattering of a swallow, but the Lord heard him." Without asking any further questions, ever after we both framed prayers for ourselves.

Soon after this occurrence a sudden death occurred in our neighborhood, and my mind was deeply affected. I went stealthily into our spare chamber to offer up prayer, feeling the need of pardon. Just as I knelt by the bedside, my eldest sister opened the door. Seeing her surprise at seeing me there and thus engaged, I was about to rise, when she came up to me, put her arms about my neck, kissed me, and without saying anything, left the room. This tacit approval of my conduct, so delicately manifested, won for her my love and my confidence in her superior wisdom; and though nearly sixty years with all their important changes have intervened, yet that trifling act is still held in grateful remembrance.

One such incident is sufficient to show the immense influence which an elder brother or sister may have, for weal or for woe, over the younger children. The smothered falsehood, the petty theft, the robbing of a bird's-nest, the incipient oath, the first intoxicating draught, the making light of serious things, with the repeated injunction—"Don't tell mother!" may foster in a younger brother the germ of evil propensities, and lead on till some fatal crime is the result.

When I was nine years old a letter was received by my father, the contents of which set us children in an uproar of joy. It was from our father's elder brother, who resided in a city seventy miles distant from our country residence. This letter stated if all was favorable we might expect all his family to become our guests on the following week, our aunt and cousins to remain in our family some length of time, and be subjected to the trial of inoculation from that dreaded disease—small-pox. We were all on tip-toe to welcome our friends, and especially our uncle, who from time to time had supplied us with many rare books, so that we had now quite[Pg 252] a valuable library of our own. All our own family of children were at the same time put into the hospital. I shall never forget "O dear," "O dear, I have got the symptoms, I have got the symptoms!" that went around among us children.

I cannot but take occasion to offer a grateful tribute of thankfulness that we are not now required by law, as then, to subject our children to such an ordeal and to such strict regimen. Who ever after entirely recovered from a dread of "hasty pudding and molasses" without salt?

When all was safely over, and my uncle came to take his family home, there seemed to have been added a new tie of affection by this recent intimacy, and it was agreed that my uncle's eldest son, a year or two older than myself, should remain, and for one year recite to my father, and that I should spend that time in my uncle's family, and become the companion of a cousin three years younger, who never had a sister.

I have often wished that such exchanges might be more frequently made by brothers and sisters and intimate friends. It is certainly a cheap and admirable method of securing to each child those kind and faithful attentions which money will not always command. I needed the polish of city life—the freedom and the restraints imposed in well-disciplined schools, where personal graces and accomplishments were considered matters of importance as well as furniture for the mind; while my cousin would be benefited in body and mind by such country rambles, such fishing and hunting excursions, such feats of ball-playing, as "city folks" know but little about. Some fears were expressed lest this boy should lose something by forsaking his well-organized school, and fall behind his classmates. But I have heard that cousin say, as to literary attainments, this year was but the beginning of any high intellectual attainments; for till now he had never learned how to study so that intellectual culture became agreeable to him. And what was gratifying, it was found on his return home that he was far in advance of his classmates. So needful is it often to have the body invigorated, and the[Pg 253] mind should receive a right bias, and that such kind of stimulants be applied as my father was able to give to the wakeful, active mind, of his aspiring nephew.

Many times after my return home did my mother bless "sister N——" for the many useful things she had taught me. My highest ambition had been to iron my uncle's large fine white cravats, which, being cut bias, was no easy attainment for a child.

I cannot well describe my astonishment and grief of heart, on being installed in my new and otherwise happy, delightful home, to find wanting a family altar. I had indeed the comfort of knowing that in my own distant home the "absent child" was never for once forgotten, when the dear circle gathered for family worship.

So certain was the belief which my parents entertained that an indispensable portion was to be obtained for each child in going in unto the King of kings, that in case of a mere temporary sickness, if at all consistent, family prayer was had in the room of the invalid. Not even a blessing was invoked at the morning meal till every child was found in the right seat. In case of a delinquency, perhaps not a word of rebuke was uttered, but that silent, patient waiting, was rebuke enough for even the most tardy.

It was felt, I believe, by each member of the family, that there was meaning in the every-day, earnest petition, "May we all be found actually and habitually ready for death, our great and last change." My father did not pray as an old lady is said to have done each day, "that God would bless her descendants as long as grass should grow or water should run." But there was something in his prayers equivalent to this. He did seldom omit to pray that God would bless his children and his children's children to the latest generation.

Oh how often, while absent, did my mind revert to that assembled group at home! Nothing, I believe, serves to bind the hearts of children so closely to their parents and to each other as this taking messages for each other to the court of[Pg 254] heaven. Never before did I realize that each brother and sister were to me a second self.

I was a most firm believer in the truth of the Bible, and I have often thought more inclined to take the greater part as literal than most others. I had often read with fear and trembling the passage, "I will pour out my fury upon the heathen, and upon the families that call not upon my name." To dwell in a Christian land and be considered no better than heathen—what a dreadful threatening; a condemnation, however, not above the comprehension of a child. Here I was in such a family, and here I was expected to remain for a full year. I do not recollect to have entertained any fears for my personal safety, yet every time a thunder-storm seemed to rack the earth, and as peal after peal with reverberated shocks were re-echoed from one part of the firmament to the other, I was in dread lest some bolt might be sent in fury upon our dwelling on account of such neglect. Little did these friends know what thoughts were often passing through my mind as I ruminated upon their privileges and their disregard of so plain and positive a duty. I did often long to confide to my aunt, whom I so much venerated, my thoughts and feelings on religious subjects, with the same freedom I had been encouraged to do to my own dear mother. I can never forget the struggle I had on one occasion. A lady came to pass a day in the family. The conversation happened to turn upon the importance and efficacy of prayer. Here now, I thought, is an opportunity I may never have again to express an opinion on a subject I had thought so much about; and summoning to my aid all the resolution I could, I ventured to remark, "the Bible says, 'the effectual and fervent prayer of the righteous prevaileth much.'" I saw a smile pass over the radiant and beautiful countenance of my aunt, and I instantly conjectured that I had misquoted the passage. For a long time, as I had opportunity, I turned over the pages of my Bible, before I could detect my mistake. I cannot say how long a period elapsed, after I left this pleasant family, before the family-altar was erected, but I believe not a very long period. One thing I am grateful to record,[Pg 255] that when my aunt died at middle age, all with her was "peace," "peace," "sweet peace." And my venerated uncle recently fell asleep in Jesus, at the advanced age of more than fourscore years, like a shock of corn fully ripe.



There has been a long-standing dispute respecting the intellectual powers of the two sexes, and the consequent style of education suitable to each. Happily, the truth on this subject may be fully spoken, without obliging me to exalt the father at the expense of the mother, or ennoble man by denying the essential equality of woman. It is among the things settled by experience, that, equal or not equal in talents, woman, the moment she escapes from the despotism of brute force, and is suffered to unfold and exercise her powers in her own legitimate sphere, shares with man the sceptre of influence; and without presuming to wrest from him a visible authority, by the mere force of her gentle nature silently directs that authority, and so rules the world. She may not debate in the senate or preside at the bar—she may not read philosophy in the university or preach in the sanctuary—she may not direct the national councils or lead armies to battle; but there is a style of influence resulting from her peculiar nature which constitutes her power and gives it greatness. As the sexes were designed to fill different positions in the economy of life, it would not be in harmony with the manifestations of divine wisdom in all things else to suppose that the powers of each were not peculiarly fitted for their own appropriate sphere. Woman gains nothing—she always loses[Pg 256] when she leaves her own sphere for that of man. When she forsakes the household and the gentler duties of domestic life for the labors of the field, the pulpit, the rostrum, the court-room, she always descends from her own bright station, and invariably fails to ascend that of man. She falls between the two; and the world gazes at her as not exactly a woman, not quite a man, perplexed in what category of natural history to classify her. This remark holds specially true as you ascend from savage to refined society, where the rights and duties of women have been most fully recognized and most accurately defined. Mind is not to be weighed in scales. It must be judged by its uses and its influence. And who that compasses the peculiar purpose of woman's life; who that understands the meaning of those good old Saxon words, mother, sister, wife, daughter; who that estimates aright the duties they involve, the influences they embody in giving character to all of human kind, will hesitate to place her intellect, with its quickness, delicacy and persuasiveness, as high in the scale of power as that of the father, husband and son? If we estimate her mind by its actual power of influence when she is permitted to fill to the best advantage her circle of action, we shall find a capacity for education equal to that of him who, merely in reference to the temporary relations of society, has been constituted her lord. If you look up into yonder firmament with your naked eye, the astronomer will point you to a star which shines down upon you single in rays of pure liquid light. But if you will ascend yon eminence and direct towards it that magnificent instrument which modern science has brought to such perfection of power, the same star will suddenly resolve itself into two beautiful luminaries, equal in brilliancy, equal in all stellar excellence, emitting rays of different and intensely vivid hues, yet so exactly correspondent to each other, and so embracing each other, and so mingling their various colors as to pour upon the unaided vision the pure, sparkling light of a single orb. So is it with man and woman. Created twofold, equal in all human attributes, excellence and influence, different but correspondent, to the eye of Jehovah the harmony[Pg 257] of their union in life is perfect, and as one complete being that life streams forth in rays of light and influence upon society.


The following letter, addressed to a mutual friend, we rescue from oblivion, containing as it does a lesson for husbands and wives, and most gracefully conveyed.

We shall certainly be pardoned if we take a more than ordinary interest to preserve a memento of that "hanging garden," as for months it was as fully seen from our own window as from that of the writer, though a little more remote, yet near enough to feast our eyes, and by its morning fragrance to cause our hearts to render more grateful incense to Him who clothes the lily with such beauty, and gives to the rose its sweet perfume. It is a sad pity that there are not more young wives, who, like the writer of the following letter, are ready to strive by their overflowing love, their gentleness and forbearance, to win their husbands to love and good works.

Perhaps some good divine who may perchance read this article will tell us whether the Apostle Peter, when he said, "For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?" did not by this language mean to convey the idea of a promise that if the wife did conduct herself towards her husband on strictly Gospel principles, she would be the honored instrument of saving his soul?

"I would like to tell you how my husband and I amuse ourselves, and contrive to have all we want. You will see that we illustrate the old saying, that 'where there is a will, there is a way,' and that some people can do things as well as others. We both love flowers extremely, but we neither own nor control a foot of ground; still, we have this summer cultivated and enjoyed the perpetual bloom of more than a hundred[Pg 258] varieties. You will wonder how this is done when you know that we are at board, and our entire apartments consist of a parlor and dormitory—both upon the second floor. Very fortunately our windows open upon a roof which shelters a lower piazza, and this roof we make our balcony. Last May we placed here eight very large pots of rich earth, which we filled with such seeds and plants as suited our fancy. Now, while I sit writing, my windows are shaded with the scarlet runner, morning glory, Madeira and cypress vines, so that I need no other curtains. Then, on a level with my eye, is one mass of pink and green—brilliant verbenas, petimas, roses and oleanders seem really to glow in the morning light. Flowers in the city are more than beautiful, for the language they speak is so different from everything about them. Their lives are so lovely, returning to the culturer such wealth of beauty—and then their odors seem to me instead of voices. Often, when I am reading, and forget for a time my sweet companions, the fragrance of a heliotrope or a jessamine greets me, causing a sense of delight, as if a beautiful voice had whispered to me, or some sweet spirit kissed me. With this presence of beauty and purity around me, I cannot feel loneliness or discontent.

"Our flowers are so near to us we have become really intimate with them. We know all their habits, and every insect that harms them. I love to see the tender tendril of a vine stretch for the string that is fastened at a little distance for its support, and then wind about it so gladly. Every morning it is a new excitement to see long festoons of our green curtains, variegated with trumpet-shaped morning-glories, looking towards the sun, and mingled with them the scarlet star of the cypress vine. When my husband comes home wearied and disgusted with Wall-street, it refreshes his body and soul to look into our "hanging garden," and note new beauties the day has developed. I trust the time and affection we thus spend are not wasted, for I believe the sentiment of Coleridge's lines[Pg 259]

'He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.'

But there is one circumstance that makes this garden precious, which I have yet to tell you, and you will agree with me that it is the best part of it. When we were married, my husband was in the habit of drinking a glass of beer daily. I did not approve of it, and used to fancy he was apathetic and less agreeable afterwards; but as he was so fond of it, I made up my mind not to disagree upon the subject. Last spring, when we wished some flowers, we hesitated on account of the expense, for we endeavor to be economical, as all young married people should. Then my husband very nobly said that though one glass of beer cost but little, a week's beer amounted to considerable, and he would discontinue the habit, and appropriate the old beer expenditure upon flowers. He has faithfully kept his proposal, and often as we sit by our window, he points to the blooming balcony, saying, 'There is my summer's beer.' The consequence of this sacrifice is that I am a grateful and contented wife; and I do assure you (I being judge) that since beer is turned into flowers, my husband is the most agreeable of mankind.

Yours very truly."



"Men ought always to pray and not to faint."

So important is a spirit of prayer to mothers who are bearing the heat and burden of the day, that we give for their encouragement a few devout meditations by Rev. W. Mason, on the above passage. And though penned towards the close[Pg 260] of the last century, they have lost none of their freshness or fragrance.

Christ opposes praying to fainting, for fainting prevents praying. Have you not found it so? When weary and faint in your mind, when your spirits are oppressed, your frame low and languid, you have thought this is not a time for prayer; yea, but it is: pray always. Now is the time to sigh out the burden of your heart and the sorrows of your spirit. Now, though in broken accents, breathe your complaints into your Father's ear, whose love and care over you is that of a tender and affectionate father.

What makes you faint? Do troubles and afflictions? Here is a reviving cordial. "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Ps. 50:15. Does a body of sin and death? Here is a supporting promise. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved." Rom. 10:13. Do we faint because we have called and prayed again and again to the Lord against any besetting sin, prevailing temptation, rebellious lust, or evil temper, and yet the Lord has not given us victory over it? Still, says the Lord, pray always—persevere, be importunate, faint not; remember that blessed word, "my time is not yet come, but your time is always ready." John 7:6. "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." Matt. 26:41. Note the difference between being tempted and entering into temptation.

Perhaps you think your prayers are irksome to God, and therefore you are ready to faint and to give over praying? Look at David; he begins to pray in a very heartless, hopeless way, "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord, forever?" but see how he concludes; he breaks out in full vigor of soul, "I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me." Ps. 13:6. Above all, look to Jesus, who ever lives to pray for you; look for his spirit to help your infirmities. Rom. 8:26.

[Pg 261]




Imagination can picture no more animating scenes than those which were presented to the beholder at the seasons of the year when Judea poured forth her inhabitants in crowds to attend the solemn festivals appointed by Jehovah, and observed with punctilious exactness by the people. Our present study leads us to contemplate one of these scenes.

From some remote town on the borders of Gentile territory the onward movement commences. A few families having finished all their preparations, close the door of their simple home, and with glowing faces and hopeful steps begin their march. They are soon joined by others, and again by new reinforcements. Every town, as they pass, replenishes their ranks, until, as they approach Shiloh, they are increased to a mighty multitude. It is a time of joy. Songs and shouts rend the air, and unwonted gladness reigns. All ages and conditions are here, and every variety of human form and face. Let us draw near to one family group. There is something more than ordinarily interesting in their appearance. The father has a noble mien as he walks on, conversing gaily with his children, answering their eager questions, and pointing out the objects of deepest import to a Jew as they draw near the Tabernacle. The children are light-hearted and gay, but the mother's countenance does not please us. We feel instinctively that she is not worthy of her husband; and especially is there an expression wholly incongruous with this hour of harmony and rejoicing. While we look, she lingers behind her family, and speaks to one, who, with slow step and downcast looks, walks meekly on, and seems as if she pondered some deep grief. Will she whisper a word of comfort in the ear of the sorrowful? Ah, no. A mocking smile is on her lips, which utter taunting words, and she glances[Pg 262] maliciously round, winking to her neighbors to notice how she can humble the spirit of one who is less favored than herself. "What would you give now to see a son of yours holding the father's hand, or a daughter tripping gladly along by his side? Where are your children, Hannah? You surely could not have left them behind to miss all this pleasure? Perhaps they have strayed among the company? Would it not be well to summon them, that they may hear the father's instructions, and join in the song which we shall all sing as we draw near to Shiloh?" Cruel words! and they do their work. Like barbed arrows, they stick fast in the sore heart of this injured one. Her head sinks, but she utters no reply. She only draws nearer to her husband, and walks more closely in his footsteps.

The night has passed, and a cloudless sun looks down on the assembled thousands of Israel. Elkanah has presented his offering at the Tabernacle, and has now gathered his family to the feast in the tent. As is his wont, he gives to each a portion, and hilarity presides at the board. The animated scene around them—the white tents stretching as far as the eye can reach—the sound of innumerable voices—the meeting with friends—all conspire to make every heart overflow, and the well-spread table invites to new expressions of satisfaction and delight. But here, also, as on the journey, one heart is sad. At Elkanah's right hand sits Hannah, her plate filled by the hand of love with "a worthy portion;" but it stands untasted before her. Her husband is troubled. He has watched her struggles for self-control, and seen her vain endeavors to eat and be happy like those around her; and, divining in part the cause of her sorrow, he tenderly strives to comfort her. "Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? Am I not better to thee than ten sons?" That voice of sympathy and compassion is too much. She rises and leaves the tent to calm in solitude, as best she may, her bosom's strife. Why must she be thus afflicted? Severe, indeed, and bitter are the elements which are mingled in her cup. Jehovah[Pg 263] has judged her. She has been taught to believe that those who are childless are so because of His just displeasure. Her fellow-creatures also despise her; her neighbors look suspiciously upon her. Wherefore should it be thus? She wanders slowly, and with breaking heart, towards the Tabernacle. The aged Eli sits by one of the posts of the door as she enters the sacred inclosure, but she heeds him not. She withdraws to a quiet spot, and finds at last a refuge. She kneels, and the long pent-up sorrow has now its way; she "pours out her soul before the Lord." Happy, though sorrowful, Hannah! She has learned one lesson of which the prosperous know nothing; she has learned to confide in her Maker, as she could in no other friend. It were useless to go to her husband with the oft-told trouble. He is ever fond and kind; but though she is childless, he is not, and he cannot appreciate the extent of her grief. All that human sympathy can do, he will do, but human sympathy cannot be perfect. It were worse than useless to tell him of Peninnah's taunts and reproaches. It would be wicked, and bring upon her Heaven's just wrath, if she did aught to mar the peace of a happy family. No; there is no earthly ear into which she can "pour out her soul." But here her tears may flow unrestrained, and she need leave nothing unsaid.

"O Thou who hidest the sorrowing soul under the shadow of thy wings—who art witness to the tears which must be hidden from all other eyes—who dost listen patiently to the sighs and groans which can be breathed in no other presence—to whom are freely told the griefs which the dearest earthly friend cannot comprehend,—Thou who upbraidest not—who understandest and dost appreciate perfectly the woes under which the stricken soul sways like a reed in the tempest, and whose infinite love and sympathy reaches to the deepest recesses of the heart—unto whom none ever appealed in vain—God of all grace and consolation, blessed are they who put their trust in thee."

Long and earnest is Hannah's communion with her God; and as she pleads her cause with humility, and penitence, and love, she feels her burdened heart grow lighter. Hope[Pg 264] springs up where was only despair, and a new life spreads itself before her; even the hard thoughts which she had harbored towards Peninnah had melted as she knelt in that holy presence. The love of the Eternal has bathed her spirit in its blessed flood, and grief, and selfishness, and envy have alike been washed away. Strengthened with might by the spirit of the Lord, she puts forth a vigorous faith; and taking hold on the covenant faithfulness of Jehovah, she makes a solemn vow. The turmoil within is hushed. She rises and goes forth like one who is prepared for any trial—who is endued with strength by a mighty though unseen power, and sustained by a love which has none of the imperfect and unsatisfying elements that must always mingle with the purest earthly affection. Meek, confiding, and gentle as ever, she is yet not the same. She meets reproach even from the High Priest himself with calmness. She returns to her husband and his family no longer shrinking and bowed down: "she eats, and her countenance is no more sad."

Another morning dawns. Hannah, has obtained her husband's sanction to the vow which she made in her anguish. Elkanah and his household rise early and worship before the Lord, and return to their house in Ramah.

A year passes, another and another, but Hannah is not found among the multitude going up to Shiloh. Has she, the pious and devoted one, become indifferent to the service of Jehovah, or have the reproaches and taunts of Peninnah become too intolerable in the presence of her neighbors, so that she remains at home for peace? No. Reproach will harm her no longer. As the company departs, she stands with smiling countenance looking upon their preparations, and in her arms a fair son; and her parting words to her husband are—"I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever."

Will she really leave him? Will she consent to part from her treasure and joy—her only one? What a blessing he[Pg 265] has been to her! Seven years of peace and overflowing happiness has that little one purchased for her burdened and distracted spirit. Can she return to Ramah without him, to solitude and loneliness, uncheered by his winning ways and childish prattle? Surely this is a sorrow which will wring her heart, as never before. Not so. There she stands again on the spot where she once knelt and wept and vowed, but no tears fall now from her eyes—no grief is in her tones. She has come to fulfill her vow, "to lend her son to the Lord as long as he liveth." Again she prays as she is about parting from him. What a prayer!—a song of exultation rather. Listen to its sublime import. "My heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord." How did we wrong thee, Hannah! We said thy son had purchased peace and joy for thee. Our low, selfish, doting hearts had not soared to the heights of thy lofty devotion. We deemed thee such an one as ourselves. In the gift, truly thou hast found comfort; but the Giver is He in whom thou hast delighted, and therefore thou canst so readily restore what he lent thee, on the conditions of thy vow. The Lord thy God has been, and is still to be, thy portion, and thou fearest not to leave thy precious one in His house. We thought to hear a wail from thee, but we were among the foolish. Thy soul is filled with the beauty and glory of the Lord, and thou hast not a word of sadness now. Thou leavest thy lamb among wolves—thy consecrated one with the "sons of Belial"—yet thou tremblest not. Who shall guide his childish feet in wisdom's ways when thou art far away? What hinders that he shall look on vice till it become familiar, and he be even like those around him? The old man is no fit protector for him. Does not thy heart fear? "Oh, woman, great is thy faith!"

Come hither, ye who would learn a lesson of wisdom; ponder this record of the sacred word. Hannah returned to Ramah. She became the mother of sons and daughters; and yearly as she went with her husband to Shiloh, she carried to her first-born a coat wrought by maternal love, and rejoiced to see him growing before the Lord. How long she[Pg 266] did this, we are not told. We have searched in vain for a word or hint that she lived to see the excellence and greatness of the son whom she "asked of God." The only clew which we can find is, that Samuel's house was in Ramah, the house of his parents; and we wish to think he lived there to be with them; and we hope his mother's eyes looked on the altar which he built there unto the Lord, and that her heart was gladdened by witnessing the proofs of his wisdom and grace, and the favor with which the Almighty regarded him.

But though we know little of Hannah—she being many thousand years "dead, yet speaketh."—Come hither, ye who are tempest-tossed on a sea of vexations. Learn from her how to gain the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Come ye who feel that God hath judged you, and that you suffer affliction from his displeasure. Learn that you should draw nearer to him, instead of departing from him. Come with Hannah to his very courts. "Pour out your soul" before Him; keep back none of your griefs; confess your sins; offer your vows; multiply your prayers; rise not till you also can go forth with a countenance no more sad. He is "the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." Come hither, ye who long to know how your children may assuredly be the Lord's. Strive to enter into the spirit of Hannah's vow, remembering, meantime, all it implied as she afterwards fulfilled it. Appreciate, if you can, her love and devotion to her God; and when you can so entirely consecrate your all to Him, be assured he will care for what is His own, and none shall be able to pluck it out of his hand. Come hither, ye who are called to part with your treasures; listen to Hannah's song as she gives up her only son, to call him hers no more—listen till you feel your heart joining also in the lofty anthem, and you forget all selfish grief, as she did, in the contemplation of His glories who is the portion of the soul. "My heart rejoiceth in the Lord." Alas! alas! how does even the Christian heart, which has professed to be satisfied with God, and content with his holy will, often depart from him, and "provoke him to jealousy" with many idols! Inordinate affection for some earthly object absorbs the soul which[Pg 267] vowed to love him supremely. In its undisguised excess, it says to the beloved object, "Give me your heart; Jehovah must be your salvation, but let me be your happiness. A portion of your time, your attention, your service, He must have; but your daily, hourly thoughts, your dreams, your feelings, let them all be of me—of mine." Oh for such a love as she possessed! We should not then love our children less, but more, far more than now, and with a better, happier love—a love from which all needless anxiety would flee—a perfect love, casting out fear.

Ye who feel that death to your loved ones would not so distress you as the fear of leaving them among baleful influences—who tremble in view of the evil that is in the world, remember where Hannah left, apparently without a misgiving, her gentle child. With Eli,—who could not even train his own sons in the fear of the Lord—with those sons who made themselves vile, and caused Israel to transgress,—she left him with the Lord. "Go ye and do likewise," and remember, also, He is the God of the whole earth.



I lately met with an account of a youth, under the above title, which contains a volume of instruction. It is from a southern paper, and while particularly designed for a latitude where servants abound, it contains hints which may prove highly useful to lads in communities where servants are less numerous:

"'I wish that you would send a servant to open the gate for me,' said a well-grown boy of ten to his mother, as he paused with his satchel upon his back, before the gate, and surveyed its clasped fastening.

"'Why, John, can't you open the gate for yourself?' said[Pg 268] Mrs. Easy. 'A boy of your age and strength ought certainly to be able to do that.'

"'I could do it, I suppose,' said the child, 'but it's heavy, and I don't like the trouble. The servant can open it for me just as well. Pray, what is the use of having servants if they are not to wait upon us?'

"The servant was sent to open the gate. The boy passed out, and went whistling on his way to school. When he reached his seat in the academy, he drew from his satchel his arithmetic and began to inspect his sums.

"'I cannot do these,' he whispered to his seat-mate; they are too hard.'

"'But you can try,' replied his companion.

"'I know that I can,' said John, 'but it's too much trouble. Pray, what are teachers for if not to help us out of difficulties? I shall carry my slate to Prof. Helpwell."

"Alas! poor John. He had come to another closed gate—a gate leading into a beautiful and boundless science, 'the laws of which are the modes in which God acts in sustaining all the works of His hands'—the science of mathematics. He could have opened the gate and entered in alone and explored the riches of the realm, but his mother had injudiciously let him rest with the idea, that it is as well to have gates opened for us, as to exert our own strength. The result was, that her son, like the young hopeful sent to Mr. Wiseman, soon concluded that he had no 'genius' for mathematics, and threw up the study.

"The same was true of Latin. He could have learned the declensions of the nouns and the conjugation of the verbs as well as other boys of his age; but his seat-mate very kindly volunteered to 'tell him in class,' and what was the use in opening the gate into the Latin language, when another would do it for him? Oh, no! John Easy had no idea of tasking mental or physical strength when he could avoid it, and the consequence was, that numerous gates remained closed to him all the days of his life—gates of honorgates to richesgates to happiness. Children ought to be early taught that it is always best to help themselves."[Pg 269]

This is the true secret of making a man. What would Columbus, or Washington and Franklin, or Webster and Clay, have accomplished had they proceeded on the principle of John Easy? No youth can rationally hope to attain to eminence in any thing who is not ready to "open the gate" for himself. And then, poor Mrs. Easy, how she did misjudge! Better for her son, had she dismissed her servants—or rather had she directed them to some more appropriate service, and let Master John have remained at the gate day and night for a month, unless willing, before the expiration of that time, to have opened it for himself, and by his own strength. Parents in their well-meant kindness, or, perhaps, it were better named, thoughtless indulgence, often repress energies which, if their children were compelled to put forth, would result in benefits of the most important character.

It is, indeed, painful to see boys, as we sometimes see them, struggling against "wind and tide;" but watch such boys—follow them—see how they put forth strength as it accumulates—apply energies as they increase—make use of new expedients as they need them, and by-and-by where are they? Indeed, now and then they are obliged to lift at the gate pretty lustily to get it open; now and then they are obliged to turn a pretty sharp corner, and, perhaps, lose a little skin from a shin-bone or a knuckle-joint, but, at length, where are they? Why, you see them sitting in "the gate"—a scriptural phrase for the post of honor. Who is that judge who so adorns the bench? My Lord Mansfield, or Sir Matthew Hale, or Chief Justice Marshall? Why, and from what condition, has he reached his eminence? That was a boy who some years since was an active, persevering little fellow round the streets, the son of the poor widow, who lives under the hill. She was poor, but she had the faculty of infusing her own energy into her boy, Matthew or Tommy; and now he has grown to be one of the eminent men of the country. Yes; and I recollect there was now and then to be seen with Tommy, when he had occasionally a half hour of leisure—but that was not often—there was one John[Pg 270] Easy, whose mother always kept a servant to wait upon him, to open and shut the gate for him, and almost to help him breathe. Well, and where is John Easy? Why there he is, this moment, a poor, shiftless, penniless being, who never loved to open the gate for himself, and now nobody ever desires to open a gate to him.

And the reason for all this difference is the different manner in which these boys were trained in their early days. "Train up a child," says the good book, "in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Analyze the direction, and see how it reads. Train up a child—what? Why train him—i.e., educate him, discipline him. Whom did you say? A child. Take him early, in the morning of life, before bad habits, indolent habits, vicious habits are formed. It is easy to bend the sapling, but difficult to bend the grown tree. You said train a child, did you? Yes. But how? Why, in the way in which he ought to goi.e., in some useful employment—in the exercise of good moral affections—pious duties towards God, and benevolent actions towards his parents, brothers, companions. Thus train him—a child—and what then—what result may you anticipate? Why, the royal preacher says that when he is old—of course, then, during youth, manhood, into old age, through life he means, as long as he lives he will not—what? He will not depart from it, he will neither go back, nor go zig-zag, but forward, in that way in which he ought to walk, as a moral and accountable being of God, and a member of society, bound to do all the good he can. And thus he will come under the conditions of a just or honest man, of whom another Scripture says, "His path is as the shining light, which shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day." The perfect day! But when is that? Why in it may mean the day when God will openly acknowledge all the really good as his sons and daughters. But I love to take it in more enlarged sense—I take the perfect day to be when the good will be as perfect as they can be; but as that will not be to the end of eternity, those who are trained up in the way they should go, will probably continue[Pg 271] to walk in it till the absolutely perfect day comes which will never come, for the good are going to grow better and better as long as eternity lasts. So much for setting out right with your children, parents!—bringing them up right—and this involves, among other things, teaching them to "open the gate for themselves" and similar sorts of things.





The nature of female education, its influence, its field of action, comprehending a wide range of the noblest topics, render it utterly impossible to do justice to the entire theme in the brief limits here assigned to it. Indeed it seems almost a superfluous effort, were it not expected, nay, demanded, to discuss the subject of education in a work like this.

Thanks to our Father in Heaven, who, in the crowning work of his creation, gave woman to man, made weakness her strength, modesty her citadel, grace and gentleness her attributes, affection her dower, and the heart of man her throne. With her, toil rises into pleasure, joy fills the breast with a larger benediction, and sorrow, losing half its bitterness, is transmitted into an element of power, a discipline of goodness. Even in the coarsest life, and the most depressing circumstances, woman hath this power of hallowing all things with the sunshine of her presence. But never does it unfold itself so finely as when education, instinct with religion, has accomplished its most successful work. It is only then that she reveals all her varied excellence, and develops her high capacities. It only unfolds powers that were latent, or develops those in harmony and beauty which otherwise would push themselves[Pg 272] forth in shapes grotesque, gnarled and distorted. God creates the material, and impresses upon it his own laws. Man, in education, simply seeks to give those laws scope for action. The uneducated person, by a favorite figure of the old classic writers, has often been compared to the rough marble in the quarry; the educated to that marble chiselled by the hand of a Phidias into forms of beauty and pillars of strength. But the analogy holds good in only a single point. As the chisel reveals the form which the marble may be made to assume, so education unfolds the innate capacities of men. In all things else how poor the comparison! how faint the analogy! In the one case you have an aggregation of particles crystallized into shape, without organism, life or motion. In the other, you have life, growth, expansion. In the first you have a mass of limestone, neither more nor less than insensate matter, utterly incapable of any alteration from within itself. In the second, you have a living body, a mind, affections instinct with power, gifted with vitality, and forming the attributes of a being allied to and only a little lower than the angels. These constitute a life which, by its inherent force, must grow and unfold itself by a law of its own, whether you educate it or not. Some development it will make, some form it will assume by its own irrepressible and spontaneous action. The question, with us, is rather what that form shall be; whether it shall wear the visible robes of an immortal with a countenance glowing with the intelligence and pure affection of cherub and seraph, or through the rags and sensual impress of an earthly, send forth only occasional gleams of its higher nature. The great work of education is to stimulate and direct this native power of growth. God and the subject, co-working, effect all the rest.

In the wide sense in which it is proposed to consider the subject of education, three things are pre-supposed—personal talents, personal application, and the divine blessing. Without capacities to be developed, or with very inferior capacities, education is either wholly useless, or only partially successful. As it has no absolute creative power, and is utterly unable to add a single faculty to the mind, so[Pg 273] the first condition of its success is the capacity for improvement in the subject. An idiot may be slightly affected by it, but the feebleness of his original powers forbids the noblest result of education. It teaches men how most successfully to use their own native force, and by exercise to increase it, but in no case can it supply the absence of that force. It is not its province to inspire genius, since that is the breath of God in the soul, bestowed as seemeth to him good, and at the disposal of no finite power. It is enough if it unfold and discipline, and guide genius in its mission to the world. We are not to demand that it shall make of every man a Newton, a Milton, a Hall, a Chalmers, a Mason, a Washington; or of every woman a Sappho, a De Stael, a Roland, a Hemans.

The supposition that all intellects are originally equal, however flattering to our pride, is no less prejudicial to the cause of education than false in fact. It throws upon teachers the responsibility of developing talents that have scarcely an existence, and securing attainments within the range of only the very finest powers, during the period usually assigned to this work. To the ignorant it misrepresents and dishonors education, when it presents for their judgment a very inferior intellect, which all the training of the schools has not inspired with power, as a specimen of the result of liberal pursuits. Such an intellect can never stand up beside an active though untutored mind—untutored in the schools, yet disciplined by the necessities around it. It is only in the comparison of minds of equal original power, but of different and unequal mental discipline, that the result of a thorough education reveal themselves most strikingly. The genius that, partially educated, makes a fine bar-room politician, a good county judge, a respectable member of the lower house in our State Legislature, or an expert mechanic and shrewd farmer, when developed by study and adorned with learning, rises to the foremost rank of men. Great original talents will usually give indication of their presence amidst the most depressing circumstances. But when a mind of this stamp has been allowed to unfold itself under the genial influence of large educational advantages, how will it grow[Pg 274] in power, outstripping the multitude, as some majestic tree, rooted in a soil of peculiar richness rises above and spreads itself abroad over the surrounding forest? Our inquiry, however, at present, is not exclusively respecting individuals thus highly gifted.

Geniuses are rare in our world; sent occasionally to break up the monotony of life, impart new impulses to a generation, like comets blazing along the sky, startle the dosing mind, no longer on the stretch to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge, and rouse men to gaze on visions of excellence yet unreached. Happily, the mass of mankind are not of this style of mind. Uniting by the process of education the powers which God has conferred upon them, with those of a more brilliant order which are occasionally given to a few, the advancement of the world in all things essential to its refinement, and purity, and exaltation, is probably as rapid and sure as it would be under a different constitution of things. Were all equally elevated, it might still be necessary for some to tower above the rest, and by the sense of inequality move the multitude to nobler aspirations. But while it is not permitted of God that all men should actually rise to thrones in the realm of mind, yet such is the native power of all sane minds, and such their great capacity of improvement, that, made subject to a healthful discipline they may not only qualify us for all the high duties of life on earth, but go on advancing in an ever-perfecting preparation for the life above.

The second thing pre-supposed in education is personal application. There is no thorough education that is not self-education. Unlike the statue which can be wrought only from without, the great work of education is to unfold the life within. This life always involves self-action. The scholar is not merely a passive recipient. He grows into power by an active reception of truth. Even when he listens to another's utterances of knowledge, what vigor of attention and memory are necessary to enable him to make that knowledge his own? But when he attempts himself to master a subject of importance, when he would rise into the[Pg 275] higher region of mathematics, philosophy, history, poetry, religion, art; or even when he would prepare himself for grappling with the great questions of life, what long processes of thought! what patient gathering together of materials! what judgment, memory, comparison, and protracted meditation are essential to complete success? The man who would triumph over obstacles and ascend the heights of excellence in the realm of mind, must work with the continuous vigor of a steamship on an ocean voyage. Day by day the fire must burn, and the revolve in the calm and in the gale—in the sunshine and the storm. The innate excellency of genius or talents can give no exemption to its possessor from this law of mental growth. An educated mind is neither an aggregation of particles accreted around a center, as the stones grow, nor a substance, which, placed in a turner's lathe, comes forth an exquisitely wrought instrument. The mere passing through an academy or college, is not education. The enjoyment of the largest educational advantages by no means infers the possession of a mind and heart thoroughly educated; since there is an inner work to be performed by the subject of those advantages before he can lay claim to the possession of a well-disciplined and richly-stored intellect and affections. The phrase, "self-made men" is often so used as to convey the idea that the persons who have enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education, are rather made by their instructors. The supposition is in part unjust.

The outward means of education stimulate the mind, and thus assist the process of development; but it is absolutely essential to all growth in mental or moral excellence, that the person himself should be enlisted vigorously in the work. He must work as earnestly as the man destitute of his faculties. The difference between the two consists not in the fact that one walks and the other rides, but that the one is obliged to take a longer road to reach the same point. Teachers, books, recitations and lectures facilitate our course, direct us how most advantageously to study, point out the shortest path to the end we seek, and tend to rouse the soul to the putting forth of its powers; but neither of these can take[Pg 276] the place of, or forestall intense personal application. The man without instructors, like a traveler without guide-boards, must take many a useless step, and often retrace his way. He may, after this experimental traveling, at length reach the same point with the person who has enjoyed superior literary aids, but it will cost the waste of many a precious hour, which might have been spent in enlarging the sphere of his vision and perfecting the symmetry of his intellectual powers. In cases of large attainments and ripe character, in either sex, the process of growth is laborious. Thinking is hard work. All things most excellent are the fruits of slow, patient working. The trees grow slowly, grain by grain; the planets creep round their orbits, inch by inch; the river hastens to the ocean by a gentle progress; the clouds gather the rain-drop from the invisible air, particle by particle, and we are not to ask that this immortal mind, the grandest thing in the world, shall reach its perfection by a single stride, or independently of the most early, profound and protracted self-labor. It is enough for us that, thankfully accepting the assistance of those who have ascended above us, we give ourselves to assiduous toil, until our souls grow up to the stature of perfect men.

The third thing pre-supposed in education is the divine benediction. In all spheres of action, we recognize the over-ruling providence of God working without us, and his Spirit commissioned to work within us. Nor is there any work of mortal life in which we need to allay unto ourselves the wisdom and energy of Jehovah, as an essential element of success than is this long process where truth, affection, decision, judgment, and perseverance in the teacher, are to win into the paths of self-labor minds of every degree of ability, and dispositions of every variety. When God smiles upon us, then this grand work of moulding hearts and intellects for their high destiny moves forward without friction, and the young heart silently and joyously comes forth into the light.[Pg 277]



A river never rises higher than the source from whence it springs; so a character is never more elevated and consistent, in mature life, than the principles which were adopted in childhood were pure, reasonable, and consistent with truth: so a tree is either good or bad, and brings forth fruit after its own kind, though it be ever so stinted. If you find a crab-apple on a tree, you may be sure that the tree is a crab-tree. So one can predicate a pretty correct opinion of a person, as to character, disposition, and modes of thinking and acting, from a single isolated remark, incidentally made, or an act performed on the spur of the moment.

This I shall attempt to show by reference to two occurrences which took place in the case of a young husband and wife.

Joseph, the father of a young child, one day brought home "Abbott's Mother at Home," remarking to his wife, as he presented it, "Louise, I have been persuaded to buy this book, in the hope that it may aid us in the training of our little daughter."

Her quick and tart reply was—"I don't think I shall 'bring up' my child by a book."

It may be useful to learn under what peculiar circumstances this young wife and mother had herself been "brought up."

Certainly not, as a matter of course, in the country, where good books are comparatively difficult to be obtained, and (though every one has much to do) are usually highly prized, and read with avidity. Certainly not, as a matter of course, where there was a large family of children, and where all must share every thing in common, and where each must perform an allotted part in household duties, perhaps to eke out a scanty salary. Not in a farm-house, where the income will yield but a bare competency for the support of ten or[Pg 278] twelve children. If there is a good and wise father and mother at the helm, it is under such conflicting circumstances that children are usually the most thoroughly and practically taught the great principles which should govern human society.

Louise was educated under very different circumstances. Her father's residence was the great metropolis. He was a very wealthy man, and he had the means of choosing any mode of education which he might prefer to adopt.

The mother of Louise was said to have been a noble-minded woman, but always in delicate health. She early dedicated this infant daughter to God, but died while she was quite young. Unfortunately, poor little Louise was for a few years left to the care of ignorant and selfish relatives, who intermeddled, and often in the child's hearing, with a significant nod of the head, would utter the piteous inuendo, "Who knows how soon the poor thing may have a step-mother!"

From this and similar ill-timed remarks, poor little Louise very early fostered an inveterate dislike to her father's ever marrying a second time.

But he did soon marry again. Instead of at once taking this cruel sliver out of the flesh, acting on the sublime principle, "Duty belongs to us; leave consequences with God," the father of Louise very injudiciously and selfishly fell in with this child's foolish and wicked notions, and in order, as he thought, to remunerate this darling child for her great trial, allowed her to live almost entirely abstracted from the family circle.

She was allowed to have a room entirely by herself, which was the largest and best in the house, and in all respects to maintain a separate interest. No one might interfere with this or that, for it belonged to Miss Louise.

Her father said, at any rate, she should not be annoyed by any participation in the care of the little ones, as she left no one in doubt of the fact, that above every thing she disliked children, and especially the care of them. Certainly, he said, they should not interfere in any way with her in acquiring a[Pg 279] "liberal education." And thus she lost the sweet privilege of acting the honorable and useful part usually assigned to an "elder daughter," and an "elder sister."

To atone for her isolated and unfortunate situation—made unfortunate by the contracted and selfish views of this ill-judging father—her father made another mistake under the circumstances, for, instead of sending her to a good select school, where she would come in contact with children of her own age, and her intellectual powers might be sharpened by coming in contact with other minds, he procured for her private teachers, and she had not even the benefit of a good long walk to and from school in the open air.

Thus was this mere child, day after day, and hour after hour, confined to the piano, to her drawing and painting lessons, and her worsted work. She became a proficient in these external accomplishments, and was by some considered quite a prodigy—possessing a rare genius, which often means nothing more nor less than a distorted character.

Her health for a time was sadly undermined, and her nervous system was shattered by too close attention to pursuits which imposed too great a tax upon the visual organs, and too much abstraction from common objects.

Who would not rather see a young daughter—the merry, laughing companion of a group of girls—out after wild flowers, weaving them into garlands to crown the head of some favorite of the party, making up bouquets as a gift for mamma, or some favorite aunt—cutting paper into fantastic figures, and placing them upon the wall to please children, or dressing a doll for little sister? Who would not rather see their young daughter a jumping delicate little romp, chasing a bird in mirthful glee, as if she verily thought she could catch it?

How could this young wife and mother, so differently trained, be expected all at once to judge and act wisely and impartially about the grave matter of infant training—a subject she absolutely knew nothing about, having never contemplated it? What do parents think, or expect when their young daughters marry and become parents? Do they suppose[Pg 280] that some magic spell will come over a girl of eighteen in going through the matrimonial ceremony, which shall induct her into all the mysteries of housewifery, and initiate her into the more intricate and important duty of training the infant, so as to give it a sound mind in a sound body, so that it shall possess a symmetrical character?

The father of Louise saw too late his mistake in allowing this daughter the great privilege, as he thought at the time, of having her own way in every thing.

If this were a proper place to give advice to young men on the grave subject of selecting a wife, we should say, "Never marry a young lady merely for her showy, outward accomplishments, which, ten chances to one, have been attained at the expense of more valuable and useful acquirements—perhaps at the sacrifice of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Never select for a wife a young lady who dishonors her name and sex by the avowal that she dislikes children; that she even hates the care of them, and that she never could find pleasure in household duties. She could never love flowers, or find satisfaction in cultivating them."

A lovely infant is the most beautiful object of all God's handy works. "Flowers are more than beautiful;" they give us lessons of practical wisdom. So the Savior teaches us. If I did not love little children—if I did not love flowers—I would studiously hide the fact, even from myself, for then I could not respect myself.

But to return to the remark which Louise made to her husband, when he presented her with that good and useful book—a book which has elicited praise from many able writers, and called forth the gratitude of many wise and good parents.[D]

This remark was anything rather than a grateful acknowledgment to her husband for his thinking of her when absent; and it not only evinced a spirit of thoughtlessness and[Pg 281] ingratitude to him, but manifested a remarkable share of self-sufficiency and self-complacency.

Just so it is with a head of wheat. When it is empty, it stands perfectly erect, and looks self-confident; but as soon as it is filled with the precious grain, it modestly bends its head, and waives most gracefully, as if to welcome every whispering breeze.

But was Louise wanting in affection and care to her own child? No; not in one sense, for she was foolishly fond of this little paragon of perfection. She one day said, boastingly, "My child has never been washed but with a fine cambric handkerchief, which is none too good for her soft flesh. Nothing can be too good for this precious darling, and while I live she shall never want for any indulgence I can procure for her."

It might be said, too, that Louise evinced a fondness for her husband; and she was proud of the attentions of a youth who was admired for his remarkable polish of manners; but she certainly had not at this time—whatever she might afterwards acquire—a warm and generous heart, free from selfish interests, to bestow upon any object on earth or in heaven.

Notwithstanding Joseph's elegant address and appearance, his character was in one respect vulnerable, as will be seen from a trivial act which I have yet to mention.

His mother was an occasional assistant in her son's family. He was her only son. She was in most respects a highly-educated woman, with no ordinary share of self-possession, having pleasing manners, unless it might be said that she evinced a kind of hauteur, which made her rather feared than loved. But it was apparent to every one that she was selfishly attached to this only son. Louise said one day to a friend—"I never had occasion to be jealous of Joseph's attentions to me, or of his affection for me, except when his mother was present."

No one could help noticing the greater deference this mother paid to her son, even when his father was present; and most fully did this son reciprocate his mother's respectful attachment. This love and reverence for his mother, on[Pg 282] the part of this son, would have been right and beautiful if it had not been so exclusive.

In one of her visits in her son's family, when she was in feeble health, this son proposed to his mother, towards night, in the presence of Louise, but without conferring with her, that his mother should lodge in his broad bed, with Louise, in their well-heated nursery.

To this Louise objected, saying she would quickly have a fire made in the spare chamber, and there would be ample time to have it thoroughly heated; and if she did not choose to lodge alone, she would offer her a charming young lady to sleep in the room with her. The choice was again referred by Joseph to his mother. Louise now expostulated with her husband. She said, as she was not strong, she needed his assistance a part of the night, as usual, in the care of the infant. But still, without any regard for her feelings and her wishes to the contrary, Joseph insisted that his mother should make a choice; and, strange to say, she chose to lodge with Louise.

This unaccountable preference, unless it was because it was proffered by her son, it would seem, must have produced unhappiness and discomfort, on her part, on witnessing this daughter the livelong night restlessly turning from side to side, and her child restless and crying. But not one expression of regret was manifested the next day by either mother or son.

The day after the incident referred to above occurred, a kind friend whispered in Joseph's ear a truth, which, perhaps, till then had been entirely overlooked by him. This friend reminded him that when he plighted his vows to his young wife at the altar, he did most solemnly promise, agreeably to God's ordinance, "that he would forsake father and mother, and all others, and he would cleave to his wife, and to her alone; that he would take her for better or for worse."

We may laud the conduct of Naomi and Ruth in their beautiful attachment to each other, at the point of history where they are first introduced to us. But their love to each other was doubtless greatly modified by the circumstances[Pg 283] into which they were now brought. They had a remarkable sympathy and fellow-feeling for each other in their sufferings. That son and husband, the bond of this tender and happy union, and the occasion had there been any strife between them when this loved object was living, was now forever removed from them, and not a trace of any thing to blame or to regret was still remembered by them.

I can never be sufficiently grateful for the oft-reiterated advice of my father to his children. "Never," he would say, "act a selfish part." In all your plans and purposes in life, do not have an exclusive regard to self-interest. If you do, you will find many competitors. But if you strive to render others happy, you will always find a large and open field of enterprise; and let me assure you that this is the best way to promote your own happiness for time and for eternity.



How difficult a thing it is in the present day to find a well-balanced Christian! In this day of fits and of starts, of impulse and of action, a day of revolution both in thought and kingdoms, where is the man who is formed in all respects after the image of his Savior?—where the Christian, who, "being fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord?" Many of the followers of Christ seem to have forgotten that His alone is the example after which they are to pattern, and are looking to some distinguished neighbor or friend, or to their own selfish and sensual desires, to inquire how they shall walk in this evil world. Many appear to have made an estimate in their hearts how little religion will suffice them—how little humbling of the spirit—how little self-denying labor for Christ and dying men. It may be they "do justly," and, in their own eyes, "walk humbly;" but their[Pg 284] religion is of the negative sort. They are "neither extortioners, unjust, nor even as this publican:" they give to every man his due, and take good care to obey the precept—"to look every man on his own things, and not on the things of his neighbors." But they forget that "Love mercy" was a part of the triad! that the religion of Jesus is not a religion of selfishness, and that the Master has said, "Go ye out into the streets and lanes, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled!" They forget His example who came down from heaven to suffer and die for guilty man; who went about doing good, and whose meat and drink was to accomplish the work which the Father had given him to do. They forget that one of his last acts was to wash his disciples' feet, saying, "As I have done to you, so do ye also to one another;" and, as if our selfish and proud hearts would rebel, he adds—"The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord."

This want of conformity to Christ is also shown in the speech of many of his followers. He who was the Searcher of hearts must certainly be expected to condemn iniquity, and condemn it severely; but how unwilling do we find him to pass sentence upon the guilty—how comforting and consoling to the sinner! To the offending woman he says—"Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more." For his murderers he cries—"Father, forgive them; they know not what they do!" And must vain, erring man be more harsh towards his fellow-man than his Maker? "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." "I came," says Jesus, "to seek and to save the lost!" therefore, who so lost but in Jesus shall find a friend? And shall it not be so with his followers, when they remember his words, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you"?

In this day of the multiplicity of good works, and of trusting to them for salvation, it may seem strange for us to urge their necessity. But in speaking of those who lack the beautiful oneness in character and conduct which distinguished Jesus, we would not omit many who, having been educated in the full belief of the doctrine of "justification by faith,"[Pg 285] carry it to such an extent as to despise good works, and almost to look upon them as heretical. They set them down in their religious calendar as savoring of ostentation, and thus run into the opposite extreme, neglecting entirely the command of our Lord, to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works." They take a one-sided view of truth and duty, forgetting that "he who shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so" (even by practice), shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. Could they but know, by sweet experience, the luxury of giving "even a cup of cold water in His name," they would never again refrain from the blessed work. Could they fully understand the words to be pronounced on the final day, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," no earthly inducement would be able to deter them from obtaining a part in that commendation and reward. Did they but read with divine enlightening the parable of the good Samaritan, and hear the Master saying, "Go and do thou likewise," what possible excuse would remain for them for not obeying his command? They little realize that they may read and meditate and believe, and still remain very selfish and un-Christ-like; for if Christ had been possessed of their supineness, he would still have remained in heaven, and we and ours yet been in the bonds of wickedness. Christian mothers have greatly erred in not training their children to a life of Christian self-denial and usefulness. In their visits to the poor and perishing, they should early accustom their little ones to accompany them, thus overcoming that sensitive dread of misery in its various forms, so common to the young. They would thus be laying up for them a good foundation against the time to come—training them in the way they should go—guiding their feet into the imitation of that blessed One whom they hope soon to see them following. Of how many delightful hours have parents deprived their children, who have never taught them, by precept and example, the luxury of doing good! How many gracious promises in God's blessed word are yet sealed to them—promises[Pg 286] for time and for eternity! Mothers, awake! to know more of Jesus, of his life, his example, and of the high and holy inducements which he holds out to you in his word, to be conformed to his image.




It was a beautiful winter-morning. The new fallen snow lay light and fleecy about the porch and on the evergreens before the door, and cushioned and covered all the thousand minute branches of the trees till they stood forth as if traced in silver on the deep blue of the sky. A sparkling, dazzling scene it was, which lay spread out before the windows of that comfortable family parlor, where the morning sunshine and the blazing wood-fire on the hearth seemed to feel a generous rivalry as to which should be most inspiriting.

There were children in the room, a merry group of all sizes, from the boy of ten years old to the little one whose first uncertain footsteps were coaxed forth by a lure, and cheered onward like a triumphal progress by admiring brothers and sisters. It was the morning of New-Year's day, which had always been held as a high festival in the family, as it is in many families of New England, all the merriment and festal observance elsewhere bestowed upon Christmas having been transferred by Puritan preferences to this holiday.

It was just the weather for a holiday—brisk and bracing. Sleigh-bells were jingling merrily, as the deep drifts of the road having been overcome, one after another of the families of the neighborhood had commenced their round, bearing baskets filled with gifts and pleasant tokens of remembrance, with the customary wishes and salutations of the day.[Pg 287]

The young mother sat in the group of happy children, but she did not smile on them. Her hand rested fondly on one little head and another, as they pressed to her side with eager question or exclamation. She drew the little one with a quick, earnest clasp to her heaving bosom. Her tremulous lips refused to obey the impulse of her will; she left Edward's question unanswered, and abruptly placing Willie in the arms of his careful nurse, she rushed away from the gladness she could not bear, to the solitude of her own chamber. There she fell upon her knees and covered her face, while the storm of sorrow she had striven so hard to stem, swept over her. Amid groans of agony, came forth the low murmur—"'Write his children fatherless, and his wife a widow!' Oh, my God, why must this be? His children fatherless, his wife a widow!"

Soon came the quick sobs which told that the overcharged heart which had seemed ready to burst, had found temporary relief in tears; then followed the low moans of calmer endurance, and the widow's heart sunk back into all it had yet found of peace under this great bereavement, though it had been months since the blow fell; the peace of submission—"Not my will, but thine, O God, be done!" This time it expressed itself in the quaint words of Herbert;

"Do thou thy holy will;—
I will lie still."

Then came the mother's habitual recollection of her children. They must not bear the weight of this great sorrow in the days of their tender youth, lest the hopefulness and energy they would certainly need in after life should be discouraged and disheartened out of them. Edward is naturally too reflective; he dwells too much on his loss, and evidently begins to ponder already how so many children are to be taken care of without a father. Sensitive Mary feels too deeply the shadow of the cloud which has come over her home; her face reflects back her mother's sadness.

So, rising, the mother rang the bell, and gave directions that the children should be prepared for a visit to their[Pg 288] grandfather's, and that the sleigh should be brought to the door.

"They must go," thought she, "I cannot bear them about me. I must spend this day alone;" and she bade Mary replenish the fire, and seated herself in the arm-chair by the window. What a sickness fell upon the sad heart as the eye roved over the cheerful winter landscape! Here were the hurryings to and fro of congratulation, the gay garments, such as she and hers had laid aside, the merry chiming of the many-toned sleigh-bells, all so familiar to her ear that she knew who was passing, even if she had not looked up. Here is Thomas with the sleigh for the children, and, preceding it, is Ponto in his highest glee—now he dashes forward with a few quick bounds, and turns to bark a challenge at Thomas and the horses—now he plunges into a snow-drift, and mining his way through it, emerges on the other side to shake himself vigorously and bark again.

Has Ponto forgotten his master? Ponto, who lies so often at his mistress's feet, and looks up wistfully into her face, as if he understood much, but would like to ask more, and seems, with his low whine, to put the question—Why, when his master went away so many months ago, he had never come back again:—Ponto, who would lie for hours, when he could steal an access to them, beside the trunks which came home unaccompanied by their owner, and which still stood in a closed room, which was to the household like the silent chamber of death. There had been for the mourner a soothing power in Ponto's dumb sympathy, even when, with the caprice of suffering, she could not bear the obtrusiveness of human pity.

Out trooped the merry, noisy children, well equipped with caps and comforters. Good Thomas arranged them on the seats, and wrapped the buffalo-robes about them, and encircling his special darling, a prattling little girl of three years old, with his careful arm, away they went, down the hill and out of sight.

With a sigh of relief, the mother drew her chair to the hearth, and resolved, for that one day, to give over the struggle,[Pg 289] and let sorrow have its way. She dwelt on all the circumstances of the change, which so suddenly had darkened her life. She permitted her thoughts to run upon themes from which she had sedulously kept them, thus indulging, and as it were, nursing her grief. She recalled the thoughtful love which had been hers till it seemed as natural and as necessary to her as the air she breathed. She had been an indulged wife, constantly cared for, and lavishly supplied with everything that heart could wish. The natural sensitiveness of her temperament had been heightened by too much tenderness; she had been encouraged to cling like a vine, and to expect support from without herself. She was still young and beautiful. She was accustomed to be loved and admired by many, but that was nothing to her in comparison with the calm unvarying estimation in which she had been held by one faithful heart. How was she to live without this essential element of her life?

Then the darkened future of her life rushed over her like an overwhelming flood: the cares and duties which were henceforward to devolve on her alone; the children who were never to know any other parent but herself; never to know any stronger restraints from evil or incentives to good than she in her feebleness could exert over them. What would become of her boys as they grew older, and needed a father's wise counsels? She saw with grief that she was even less qualified than most mothers to exercise the sole government and providence over a family. She had been too much indulged—too entirely screened from contact with the world's rough ways.

How were the wants of her large family to be provided for with the lessened income she could now command? Pecuniary loss had followed close upon her great bereavement, and though this constituted but a small element in her sorrow, yet now that it came before her on the morning of this new year, it added yet another shade to the "horror of great darkness" which encompassed her. She knew that it must have a direct bearing upon her welfare, and that of her family.[Pg 290]

Then she reverted to the New Year's Day of last year; the little surprises she had helped to plan; the liberal expenditure by which she had sent pleasure, for one day at least, into the dwellings of the poor, her generous gifts to her servants, which it had been a pleasant study to adapt to their several tastes and wants; the dependencies, near and remote, which she had used as channels for conveying a measure of happiness to many a heart. Now there must be an end to all this; she could be generous no more. Even her children, partly from her pre-occupied mind, had no gifts provided for them to-day. Was she not a "widow and desolate?"

"Desolate, desolate!" she repeated in bitterness of soul. She paused. A voice within her seemed to say—"Now she that is a widow and desolate trusteth in God." A moment after there came into her mind yet another verso, "And none of them that trust in Him shall be DESOLATE."

Could it be that she remembered the passage aright? Her Bible lay open on the table before her. She had that morning earnestly sought strength from it, and from communion with God before she could nerve herself to meet her children, and bear their reiterated salutations, heart-rending to her, "Happy New Year, mother"—"Mother, dear mother, I wish you a Happy New Year."

Now as she drew it towards her, and turned over its pages to verify the exactness of the words, it soon opened to the blessed thirty-fourth psalm, which has proved to many an anchor of hope when they cried to God "out of the depths."

"I will bless the Lord at all times;" Oh, surely not!—How could any one bless the Lord at such a time as this? Yet there it stood:—

"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." If others could do this, and had done it, God helping her, she would do it too. She, too, would bless the Lord, and speak his praises.

"My soul shall make her boast in the Lord." A feeling of exultation began to rise within her. Something was yet left[Pg 291] to her. Her earthly "boast" was indeed broken; but why might not she, too, "make her boast in the Lord"?

Touched with living light, verse by verse stood out before her, as written by the finger of a present God. Humbled to the earth, overpowered by deep self-abasement and contrition of soul, she clung as with a death-grasp to the words that were bearing her triumphantly through these dark waves.

"They looked unto Him and were lightened." Was not her darkness already broken as by a beam from His face?

"This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles."

"The angel of the Lord encampeth about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."

"The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry."

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."

Who was this, that, under these comfortable words, looked peacefully upward? It was one who was learning to trust God; taught it, as most of us are, by being placed in circumstances where there is nothing else to trust.

It is not for us to portray all that passes in the human soul when it is brought into vivid communion with its Maker. It is enough for us to know that this sorrowful heart was made to exult in God, even in the calm consciousness of its irretrievable loss; and that before the sun of a day specially consecrated to grief had attained its meridian, the mourner came cheerfully forth from her place of retirement, while a chant, as of angelic voices, breathed through the temple of her sorrowful soul, even over its broken altar.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."

"Oh, fear the Lord, ye his saints; for there is no want to them that fear Him."

The group of banished little ones was recalled, but while the messenger was gone for them, the mother in the strength of her new-found peace, had brought forth from that closed chamber the gifts which the fond father had designed for[Pg 292] each of his children, and had spread them out in fair array on the parlor table. So it was New Year's Day to the children after all.

The trust of that mother in the widow's God was never put to shame. Her children grew up around her, and hardly realized that they had not father and mother both in the one parent who was all in all to them. She was efficient and successful in all her undertakings. Her home, with its overshadowing trees, its rural abundance and hearty hospitalities, lives in the hearts of many as their brightest embodiment of an ideal, a cheerful, Christian home. The memory of that mother, dispensing little kindnesses to everybody within her reach, is a heritage to her children worth thousands of gold and silver. Truly, "they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."


A beautiful feature in the character of the Turks is, their reverence and respect for the author of their being. Their friends' advice and reprimands are unheeded; their words are leash—nothing; but their mother is an oracle. She is consulted, confided in, listened to with respect and deference, honored to her latest hour, and remembered with affection and regret beyond the grave.

"My wife dies, and I replace her; my children perish, and others may be born to me; but who shall restore to me the mother who has passed away, and who is no more?"[Pg 293]




"Strength is born
In the deep silence of long-suffering hearts,
Not amidst joy."

The noblest characters the world knows are those who have been trained in the school of affliction. They only who walk in the fiery furnace are counted worthy the companionship of the Son of God. The modes of their discipline are various as are their circumstances and peculiar traits, but in one form or other stern trials have proved them all. They partake of the holiness of the Lord, because they have first endured the chastening of his love. They are filled with righteousness, because they have known the pangs of spiritual hunger and the extremity of thirst. They abound, because they have been empty. They are heavenly-minded, because they have first learned in the bitterness of their spirits how unsatisfying is earth. They are firmly anchored by faith, because frequent tempests and threatened shipwreck have taught them their need. The Master himself was made perfect through suffering, and with his baptism, must they who would follow him closely, be baptized.

While Hannah was undergoing at Ramah the discipline which wrought in her such noble qualities, there dwelt in Shiloh one of kindred spirit, who was called to endure even severer tests, inasmuch as that which should have constituted her happiness, was evermore the bitterest ingredient in her cup; what might have been her purest joys became her greatest griefs. She was a wife, but only in name. Of the serenity and bliss which attend on true wedded love she was deprived. Her bridal pillow was early planted with thorns, which henceforth forbade all peace. She was a mother, but her children were to be partakers of their father's[Pg 294] shame, disgraced, and doomed to early death or lives of wickedness and woe. She seemingly enjoyed abundant privileges, but her trials as a child of God were deeper than all others. She dwelt on sacred ground, but alas! herein lay the secret of her sorrow. Had her home been among the thousands in the outer camps, it had not been so sadly desecrated. Her husband was the High Priest's son, and daily performed the priest's duty among holy things. Had he been a humble member of Dan or Naphtali, his crimes had not been so heinous. She lived under the shadow of the tabernacle; had her abode been farther from the sacred enclosure, she had not been daily witness to the heaven-daring deeds which made men abhor the offering of the Lord, and called for vengeance on her nearest and dearest. Her food was constantly supplied from the sacred offerings; had it been procured in ordinary ways, she had not been a partaker with those who committed sacrilege.

No trifling vexations, no light sorrows were hers; and as might be expected, her virtues bore their proportion to the purifying process to which she was subjected. Disappointed in her earthly hopes, she clung to her God, and fastened her expectations on Him. Humiliated in her human relations, she aspired to nothing henceforth but His honor and glory. Wounded in heart, her wealth of love despised, lonely, deserted, she sought in Him the portion of her soul, and her lacerated affections found repose and satisfaction, without the fear of change in His unchanging love.

It is often so ordered in the Providence of God, that those who have borne the yoke in their youth, live to see days of comparative quietude and exemption from trouble. Hannah, after the birth of Samuel, appears to have passed the remainder of her life in peace and prosperity. But the nameless woman whose memorial we record had no respite. Her life was a life of endurance, and she was cut off in the midst of her days by a most fearful and agonizing stroke.

Israel was as usual at war with the Philistines. The army had pitched beside Eben-ezer, "And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined[Pg 295] battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines." Alarmed and distressed by this defeat, the Israelites vainly imagining that wherever the ark of God was, there He would be also with his favoring presence, sent up to Shiloh to bring from thence the sacred symbol. With great pomp and solemnity it was borne by the Priests and Levites, and uproarious was the rejoicing as it entered the camp, but no account is given of the feelings of those who remained near the deserted tabernacle. Did the aged Eli forbode that the awful event which should signal the fulfillment of prophetic woe against his family was about to befall? Did the abused wife dream that she should behold no more her husband's face? We know not what of personal apprehension mingled with their trouble, but we do know that with trembling hearts these faithful servants of God awaited tidings of the ark of his covenant. How portentous soever might be the cloud which hung over their own happiness, they deemed it of small importance in comparison with the honor of Jehovah. The messenger came, but who shall portray the scene when he rendered his tidings!

In a darkened chamber, whither death, clothed in unwonted horrors, has suddenly come for the fourth victim of that doomed family, lies the subject of our meditations, panting under his iron grasp. The afflictions of her life are now consummated. The husband of her youth, his follies and faults against her, now are forgotten in the bitter thought that he is dead, has gone unrepentant to the bar of God to give account of his priesthood—her venerable father-in-law alone, with no friend to cheer his dying agonies, has also departed from earth—her people are defeated in battle, and worse than all, the ark of God is fallen into the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines—who doubtless glory as if Dagon had conquered the invincible Jehovah. What to her are the pangs and throes under which her tortured body labors? She heeds them not. Pitying friends endeavor to rouse her from her dying lethargy, by the most glad tidings a Hebrew woman could learn, "Fear not; for thou hast borne a son!"[Pg 296] But she answers not. Shorter and shorter grows her breath—nearer and nearer she approaches the eternal shore. But she is a mother, and though every other tie is sundered, and she is dying of the wounds which the cruel breaking of those heart strings has caused, she feels one cord drawing her to her new-born child, and asks that he may be brought. It is too much! Why was he born? No cheering thought comes with his presence. Nor joy nor honor are in store for him. Call him Ichabod, (without glory) she gasps with feeble accents, "for the glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." A moment more and her freed spirit is in His open presence, who she deemed was forever departed from her people.

Christian friend, you who are walking through desert places, and perhaps fainting under the heavy hand of God, let not your heart fail you. Shrink not back from the path, though it seem beset with thorns. Some good is in store for you. Affliction, indeed, is not for the present joyous but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. If, like the mother of Ichabod, you learn to forsake the turbid waters of earth for the Fountain of eternal love—if you make the Lord your portion, you will not in the end be the loser, though wave on wave roll over you and strip you of every other joy. No, not even if at length your sun shall set in clouds impenetrable to mortal vision. A glorious cloudless morning lies beyond, and you shall be forever satisfied with Him who has chosen you in the furnace of affliction.

"Then rouse thee from desponding sleep,
Nor by the wayside lingering weep,
Nor fear to seek Him farther in the wild,
Whose love can turn earth's worst and least
Into a conqueror's royal feast;
Thou will not be untrue, thou shall not be beguiled."
[Pg 297]




I have presupposed three things in reference to education. The field which it covers is also three-fold—the body, the intellect, and the heart.

The body is the living temple of the soul. It is more than a casket for the preservation of the jewel; it is more than the setting of the diamond; it is more even than an exquisitely-constructed dwelling wherein the soul lives, and works and worships. It is a living, sensitive agent, into which the spirit pours its own life, through which it communes with all external nature, and receives the effluxes of God streaming from a material creation. It is the admirable organ through which the man sends forth his influence either to bless and vivify, or to curse and wither. By it, the immortal mind converts deserts into gardens, creates the forms of art, sways senates, and sheds its plastic presence over social life. The senses are the finely-wrought gates through which knowledge enters the sublime dome of thought; while the eye, the tongue, the hand, are the instruments of the Spirit's power over the outer world. The soul incarnate in such a body, enjoys a living medium of reciprocal communication between itself and all things without. Meanwhile the body itself does not arrive here mature in its powers; nor does it spring suddenly from the imbecility of the infant to the strength of the man. By slow development, by a gradual growth, in analogy with that of a tree whose life is protracted, it rises, after years of existence, to its appointed stature. Advancing thus slowly, it affords ample time for its full and free development.

In this physical training, there are two points of special importance. The first is the removal of all unnatural restraints[Pg 298] and the pressure of unhealthy customs; the second, is the opportunity, the motive and the habit of free exercise in the pure air of heaven. These, as causes of health and fine physical development, are interwoven as are their opposites. In the progress of society from barbarism to refinement, it has often been the case that men, in departing from what was savage, have lost that which was natural; and in their ascent from the rude have left behind that which was essential to the highest civilization. In escaping from the nakedness of the barbarian, they have sometimes carried dress to an extreme of art which renders it untrue to nature and productive of manifold evils. In ascending from the simple and rude gastronomy of the savage, they have brought the art of cookery to such an excess of luxury as to enervate society by merely factitious appetites. In the formation of habits of life, social intercourse and amusements adapted to a refined state, they have introduced many things at war with the healthful development of both body and mind. The manly exercises of swimming, skating, riding, hunting, ball playing; the bracing walk in storm and sunshine; the free ramble over hill and dale, all adapted to develop an independent, self-relying character; with the occasional reunion where wit, science, healthful industry and serene piety shed their benedictions; associating that which is free and bold with the refined and sacred; all these are, in many cases, displaced by frivolous and less healthful excitements. Our girls and boys, prematurely exalted into young gentlemen and ladies, are tutored by dancing masters; their manners disciplined into an artificial stiffness; and the free developments of an open nature formed under the genial influence of truly polite parents—the finest discipline in the world—arrested by the strictures of a purely conventional regimen, in which the laws of health and the higher spiritual life seem never to have been consulted.

With such a physical training, associated with a corresponding education of the mind and heart, they are ripe for the customs and fashions of life in harmony therewith; and totally averse to the purer, manlier and nobler duties and[Pg 299] pleasures of a better state of society. To dress and exhibit themselves; to crowd the saloon of every foreign trifler, who, under the abused name of art, and for the sake of gold, seeks to minister to us those meretricious excitements which associate themselves with declining states and artificial forms of life; to waste the most precious hours of night, set apart by the God of nature for repose, in dancing, eating, drinking, and revelry, follow naturally enough upon such training. Then in the rear, come disease of body and mind, broken constitutions and broken hearts; and last of all, with grim majesty, death, prematurely summoned, avenges this violation of the laws of nature upon the miserable victims, and quenches the glare of this brilliant day in the darkness of the tomb. How utterly different is such training and such modes of life consequent upon it, from those which are dictated by a thorough understanding of our nature and the great purposes of our existence. For in all these things we shall find there exists a connection sufficiently obvious between the right education of the spirit and the body; and that so strong is their mutual influence as to render it of great importance to care for them both in harmony with each other. Then shall we regard the perfection of the form and the vigor of our bodily powers. Casting away whatever did not consist with the health and finer developments of the physical system, we should pursue that course of education which best prepared the body for its grand work as the living agent of the spirit.

In considering physical training it is allowable for us to look both at beauty and intellectual power. A noble form in man; a fine, beautiful, healthful form in woman, are desirable for their outward influence. Created susceptible of deep impressions from external appearances, it is neither religion nor good sense to undervalue them. That men generally have over-estimated their worth, is a reason why we should reduce them to their true position, and not sink them below it. The palace of the soul should befit its possessor. And as God has taken pleasure in scattering images of beauty all over the earth, and made us susceptible of[Pg 300] pleasure therefrom, it is right that in the education of our children we should seek for the unfolding of the noblest and most beautiful forms. Shall we beautify our dwellings; adorn our grounds with plants, flowers, and trees of various excellence; improve the breed of our cattle, and yet care not for the constitutions and forms of those who are on earth the master-pieces of divine wisdom and the possessors of all this goodly heritage? Most of all, however, as the agent of the spirit, should we seek to rear our children in all healthful customs and invigorating pursuits. It is possible, indeed, that a mind of gigantic powers may sometimes dwell in a feeble frame, swayed to and fro by every breath of air. But we are sure that such a physical state is the source of manifold vexations, pains and loss of power. It is a state which the possessor never covets; which oppresses him with the consciousness of an energy he is forbidden to put forth, and a force for moving the world crippled by the impediment of a frail body. For the full discharge of all the duties of life; for the affording to our mental powers a fair field for their action; and especially for the education and advancement of succeeding generations, it is indispensable the vigor of the body should correspond to the vigor of the intellect, so far as to constitute the one the most efficient agent of the other. It has rarely been taken into view, that, aside from the personal benefits of health in the greater power of present action, the intense intellects and feeble frames of one generation are a ruinous draft upon both the physical and mental powers of that which succeeds. A race of overwrought brains in enfeebled bodies must be recruited from a more healthful stock, or their posterity will, in time, decline into idiocy or cease from the earth. The process of degeneracy, by an infallible law, will pass from the body to the intellect; and the descendant of a Luther or a Bacon go down to the level of the most stupid boor that drives his oxen over the sands of southern Africa.[Pg 301]



I called on a friend a few months since, who for a full year had been watching with maternal solicitude over an invalid daughter still in the morning of life, upon whom had been lavished all the fond caresses of parental love and tenderness. Every advantage which wealth, and the means of education could impart to qualify her for happiness in this life had been hers—nor had her religious culture been entirely overlooked.

In her father's family there had been little effort made to instill into the minds of their children the principles of holy living, and it was felt that there was but little necessity to give them habits of self-denial or self-reliance.

This daughter, notwithstanding her happy childhood in having all her wants anticipated, and upon whose pathway the sun had shone most brightly, was now, like an unsubdued child, under a most painful infliction of the rod of God.

Two years previous to this time, during a revival of religion, she publicly covenanted to walk in all the statutes and ordinances of God's Word and house, blamelessly. Thus was she married to Christ, and she then felt, and her friends felt, that she had chosen Christ to be the guide of her youth.

But how could she be expected, never having had her will thoroughly subdued, or been called to bear any yoke or burden, fully to understand, or to realize what was implied, or required in becoming a disciple of Christ, so that she could at once fully adopt the language,

"Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow thee,
Naked, poor, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be."

Just one year from her espousal to Christ the village of —— was all excitement, on an occasion which had called the young and the middle-aged to the house of her father,—the[Pg 302] wealthy Mr. G——, when this lovely daughter was to be united in marriage to the accomplished, the graceful, the pious Mr. L——, a universal favorite with persons of all ages and ranks. A short time previous to his union to the young and beautiful belle of ——, he had, under most favorable auspices, commenced a lucrative business in the city of ——.

Immediately after the nuptial ceremony, Mr. L—— accompanied his bride to the Falls of Niagara, that favorite place of resort on such memorable occasions. They were now all the world to each other. Alas, how utterly, for a time, did they overlook the injunction, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Nor did they for once even dream how insensibly the streams of God's bounty and goodness were withdrawing their hearts from the fountain of all blessedness and perfection.

On their return from this delightful excursion, this envied young husband was soon found at his post of business, surrounded by numerous friends all eager to aid and encourage him on in his preparations to welcome to his home and his heart, his darling "wife." Oh, how sweet to him did that treasured name sound, when greeted by his young friends, and the question was asked, "How is your wife?" "When do you expect your wife?" Never, he felt, was there another more truly blessed.

How sudden must have been the transition, for the summons came, as it were, in a moment, "The Master has come, and calleth for thee." Young Mr. L—— had been in the city but two days, when retiring to his bed, he was suddenly siezed with a bilious attack, and in a few brief hours, even before his friends could reach his bed-side, he was wrapped in the habiliments of the grave. His last faint farewell was uttered in hurried and broken accents, just as he expired, "Tell her that Jesus makes me willing"—"makes me willing."

In his ready, cheerful, and manly willingness to obey the Master's call, though so sudden, we see the blessed influence[Pg 303] of early parental discipline—absolute unconditional submission to parental authority.

Truly this was a most sad and unexpected reverse for that youthful and happy bride. Her face at once became as pale and almost marble-like, as the icy hand of death had made that of her husband's. No wonder if this world should now seem to her as a barren wilderness. No wonder if her thoughts, for a time, should brood mournfully over the words, "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness." No wonder if to her desolate heart, solitude, and gloom, and the grave, should, for a season, be her chosen themes of contemplation. She does well to grieve. There is nothing wrong in the mourner's tears. We have the example of Jesus in such an expression—tears are Nature's own sweet relief. It is safe—yes, it is well to bleed when our limbs are taken from our side.

But let such as mourn remember, in all cases of bereavement, it is God, whose discipline is strictly parental, hath done it, and "He doeth all things well." How sad it is when the bereaved, who are not called to mourn as those who have no hope, allow their thoughts to find a lodgment only in the grave. How widely different had been the condition of this youthful mourner, if, instead of shutting herself up in her chamber, taking to her bed, chiefly, for a full year refusing to be comforted—had she dwelt more upon that touching "farewell" to her, receiving it as a beam of light and love from the spirit land, inviting her to the contemplation of heavenly themes. Had she rather considered her departed companion as favored in this early call to glory,—had she considered the passage in Isaiah 57:1, "The righteous are taken away from the evil."—why did she not meekly and penitently reflect, that as God does not willingly afflict, he must have had some special design in this severe chastisement upon her. Had her mind been open to conviction—had she been bowed down under a sense of sin—would she not have inquired whether the blessed Saviour, perceiving the lurking danger there was to this young couple, from a[Pg 304] disposition to find their heaven upon earth, to seek their chief happiness in each other, had not with the voice of love and tender compassion said to her husband, "The Master hath need of thee, come up hither." Had her heart been right with God, as she contemplated her departed friend in his new-born zeal to honor and glorify his Redeemer, flying on swift wings to perform Heaven's mandates, would she not resolve, by the grace of God, to emulate him in his greater efforts to save lost souls, for whom Christ died? Were not the same motives set before her, by his death, to seek a new and holy life? Was not the same grace—the same strength proffered to her, which, if accepted and improved aright, would have enabled her to deny herself—to take up her cross and to follow Jesus whithersoever he might see fit to lead her?

But, alas, this was in nowise her happy experience. On the contrary, she turned away from the consolations proffered to her in God's blessed Word, and by his Holy Spirit, and in the teachings of that last touching "farewell."

May we not suppose that her husband, on finding himself liberated from the trappings of earth, from sin and temptation, as his thoughts would naturally revert to the friends he had left behind—finding his chosen, bosom friend, a mere clod of clay, sunk down in a state of hopeless misery and sorrow, at his loss, having no sympathy with him in his new and blessed abode, and in his more exalted employments and purer enjoyments, would he not rather bless God, more ardently, that he was so quickly removed from such chilling, blighting earth-born influences as she might have exerted over him?

Oh, that this youthful mourner might now hear that voice of God to his chosen people, "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough—turn you northward." God grant that the past time of her life may suffice that she has "wrought the will of the flesh." We most earnestly commend to her prayerful contemplation the last words of our blessed Saviour to his disciples, "In my Father's house are many mansions." I go to prepare a place for you—just such a mansion—such a place as each ransomed soul, by improving the[Pg 305] discipline of God—by holy and self-denying efforts in this life, to do his will, is fitted to fill, and enjoy.

And so it will ever be with the heirs of salvation, while they remain in a world of sin and temptation. They are daily and hourly working out their salvation with fear and with trembling, while God is working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. The improvement which is made of afflictions has a great deal to do in this process.

And thus, too, will it be with those who wilfully, or even thoughtlessly neglect the great salvation—those who reject the overtures of pardoning mercy and salvation by Christ. They will hereafter know and acknowledge that "they knew their duty but they did it not." It is said that "Judas went to his own place"—and that "Dives made his bed in hell." And herein will these words of the poet be strikingly fulfilled in every human soul—

"'Tis not the whole of life to live,
Nor all of death to die."



While visiting in the family of Rev. Mr. F——, one morning as we were quietly seated at the breakfast table, his two little boys, Willie and Georgie were seated between their father and mother. All at once Georgie, the youngest, a child of five years, reached his head forward, and in a half-whisper said to his brother, "Willie, Willie, if you were going a journey, which would you give up, your breakfast or your prayers?"

Willie replied, "I should want both."

"But," said the little fellow, still more earnestly, "What if you couldn't have both, then which would you give up?"

"I would give up my breakfast," said Willie.

The little urchin said in an undertone, "I think mother[Pg 306] would take something along in her bag." There was certainly a good "look out" for two worlds.

A mother who resides near me, and has a large family of small children, related to me the following circumstance of her eldest boy, when quite young. From the time her children began to talk, she accustomed them, each in their turn, to kneel by her side, on rising and retiring each morning and evening, and repeat to her their little prayers.

One day when her eldest boy, as she thought, was old enough to comprehend her, she said to him rather seriously, "My son, there is one kind of prayer to God to which I have not directed your attention. It is called 'secret prayer.' The direction and encouragement for this kind of prayer is found in the passage, 'Enter into thy closet and shut to thy door, and pray to thy Father which is in heaven, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.' Now do you not desire to obtain this open reward. If you would like a closet of your own, there is a little retired place near my bed-room—you can go there each day by yourself, and shut your door as directed."

One day, not long after, the child was gone some time; his mother did not like to accuse him of having trifled on so serious an occasion, for he was a remarkably conscientious and honest boy—and she said to him, "Frank, you have been gone so long I fear you may have been using 'vain repetitions.'"

The color mantled at once in the little fellow's cheeks, and almost ready to cry, he said, "Mother, when aunt Mary left us yesterday, she said that she and the children would be exposed to many dangers during the voyage, and she asked me to pray for them, and it took me a good while."

I was told by a friend, of a group of little boys when visiting a little companion, all seated on the floor near each other, looking at some pictures. They came to one representing Daniel in the den of lions. It was noticed that the lions were not chained, and yet they were in a reposing posture. None seemed to understand how this was. One little boy said to another, "Ah, wouldn't you be afraid to be put into a den of lions?" "Oh, yes," was the reply. And so the[Pg 307] question went all round, eliciting the same answer. At last the youngest of the party reached himself forward and pulled his brother by the sleeve, saying, "Johnny, Johnny, if lions are afraid of praying people, they'd be afraid of mother—wouldn't they? And she wouldn't be afraid of them, for she says we needn't fear anything but sin."

I was acquainted with a family where the following circumstance occurred. The two youngest boys in the family were often trusted to take long walks, and sometimes they were permitted to go over, by themselves, to N——, a distance of nearly four miles, and make a call on their aunt and cousins, who resided there.

One day they came and asked their mother if they might take a long walk. She told them not a very long walk, for that day they had not been as studious and dutiful as usual. They took hold of hands, and without designing to do so at first, it was believed, they ran on very fast till they reached the village of N——, where their aunt lived.

On going to the house, their aunt thought, from their heated appearance, and hurried and disconcerted manner, that they were two "runaways." She, however, welcomed them as usual—invited them to partake of some fine baked apples and new bread and milk—quite a new treat to city boys—but N——, the eldest, declined the invitation. She then proposed to them to go to the school-house, which was near by, and see their cousins. This, too, N—— declined. He said to his brother, "Charley, we must go home." And they took hold of hands and ran all the way as fast as possible, and immediately on entering the house, their faces as red as scarlet, N—— confessed to his mother where they had been, and asked her forgiveness. This being granted, N—— could not be happy. He said, weeping, "Mother, will you go up stairs with us and pray with us?" She did so, with a grateful heart, and sought pardon for them. N—— did the same. When it came Charley's turn to pray, he made an ordinary prayer—when his brother repeatedly touched him, and in a low whisper he said, "Charley, why don't you repent—why don't you repent?"[Pg 308]

A very little child, not two years old, always seemed delighted to hold her little book at prayer time, and when her father said Amen, she always repeated it after him aloud. One day she seemed very uneasy during prayer time, and though she made great resistance, she was taken out of the room. She insisted on going back to the drawing-room, and the chairs being still in the order in which the family had been seated during prayer time, the little creature went by the side of each, and folding her little hands, she repeated "Amen," "Amen," until she had been to each one. Thus we see it is not so much for want of knowledge, as for a right state of heart, right teachings, right examples, that children do not live and act, speak and think and pray aright.



In the letters of John Adams to his wife, Sept. 10, 1774, we have an account of the First Prayer in Congress. What an instructive and encouraging lesson is here taught to all religious persons, always unhesitatingly to obey all holy and good impulses.

Had Mr. Cushing, who moved the resolution, held back,—or had Mr. Samuel Adams refused to second this resolution,—or had Rev. Mr. Duché declined, when called upon to lead on that occasion, our nation might never have presented the sublime spectacle of uniting, as a body, in calling upon God at the opening of their Congressional sessions.

And who would dare to predict the loss which this omission might at that time have occasioned to this infant Republic!

Mr. Adams's account is as follows:—

"When Congress first met, Mr. Cushing moved that it should be opened with prayer. This was opposed on the ground that the members, being of various denominations,[Pg 309] were so divided in their religious sentiments that they could not join in any one mode of worship. Mr. Samuel Adams arose, and after saying that he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was a friend to his country, moved that Rev. Mr. Duché—an Episcopal clergyman, who, he said, he understood deserved that character—be invited to read prayers before Congress the next morning. The motion was passed; and the next morning Mr. Duché appeared, and after reading several prayers in the Established form, then read the Collect for the 7th of September, which was the thirty-fifth Psalm. This was the next morning after the startling news had come of the cannonade of Boston;" and, says John Adams, "I never saw a greater effect upon an audience: it seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning."

"After this," he continues, "Mr. Duché, unexpectedly to everybody, struck out into an extemporaneous prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced. Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervor, ardor, earnestness, and pathos, and in language so eloquent and sublime, for America, for the Congress, for the province of Massachusetts, and especially for Boston. It had an excellent effect upon everybody here," and many, he tells us, were melted to tears.



Within a cradle, still and warm,
There lies a little gentle form,
Just look beneath the coverlid,
And see the tiny sleeper hid!

Then peep beneath the cap of lace,
Behold his rosy happy face;
The velvet cheek, so pure and white,
[Pg 310]Didst ever see a fairer sight?

His dimpled arm across his breast,
His chubby limbs composed to rest,
The gentle curls of waving hair,
Falling upon the pillow there!

The drooping lashes shroud his eyes,
Blue as the tinge of summer skies,
His damask lips like tints of rose
Which garden buds at twilight close.

Art thou a form of human mould,
Or stray-lamb of the heavenly fold?
A little herald to the earth,
Or cherub sent to bless our hearth?

Must evil spirits intertwine
And lead astray that heart of thine?
And must thou be with sin defiled,
That seemest now an angel child?

Oh blessed Lamb of God! to thee
I come, and with my baby flee
Within thy fold, and sheltering care,
I lay my child, and leave him there.

Euclid, Ohio.



Night was coming on. The tall elms which beautify the little village of G—— were waving to and fro their pendent branches, heavy with the evening damp, and as the boughs swayed against the window panes of one of the largest mansions in the town, the glass was moistened by the crystal drops. But heavier and colder was the dew that gathered upon the forehead of the sufferer within; for extended upon the couch lay a dying woman.

The trembling hand of an aged man wiped the forehead, and the tears that stood in his eye told that his remaining days on earth must be uncheered by the kind voice and radiant smile of her who had been a mother to his children.[Pg 311] Those children, grown to full age, were there, and if need be could have borne clear and convincing testimony that sometimes, at least, the connection between a step-mother and her husband's family is only productive of good. But where were her own offspring? Three noble looking men, and as many matrons, owed their existence and education to her, and she had hoped, ere she died, to behold once more their faces.

Soft and gentle were the hands that smoothed her pillow; low and sweet were the voices that inquired of her wants, but dear to her as were these, they were not her own, and the mother's heart yearned once more to trace their father's likeness in the tall dark-eyed sons who but a few years ago were cradled in her arms. And can these feelings cause the pang which seems at once to contract the face? So thinks her step-daughter, as she says, "They will be here to-morrow, mother." "It is not that, my dear," murmured the sick one, "but when I was just now enjoying the blessedness of committing my soul to Him who died for me, when feeling my own unworthiness of one of his many mercies, I had cast myself on the mercy of the 'Sinner's Friend,' like a wave of agony rushed in upon me the thought that my dear sons have denied the divinity of the Savior, into whose name they were baptized, and who laid down his life to redeem them. Oh! could I be assured that they would be led back to their fathers' God, I could die happy." There was stillness in this chamber of death. The invalid's pale lips moved as if in prayer, and soon the lids were raised, and the brilliant black eye was lighted up as of old, and triumphant was the strain that burst forth. "I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed to Him, my most precious treasures, my children, against that day. I know Him—I rest in His faithfulness." The smile lingered on her features, but the spirit had fled.

The Green Mountain range in Massachusetts presents a series of most magnificent scenery, and in the villages which[Pg 312] nestle among its summits, dwell some of the noblest hearts and sturdiest frames of New England.

Mountains have always been the rugged nurses of independence of thought and action, and the grand chains of our own land form no exception to the rule. Nor is this all—none who have not dwelt among our rural population know the strong sympathy which pervades the inhabitants of the same settlement—long may it continue! Each takes an interest in the welfare of all about him, and though there are some things disagreeable in the minute surveillance to which one is thus exposed, yet it is more than compensated by the affectionate interest which is manifested in the weal or woe of each neighbor. Not there, as in the crowded city, may a man be laid in his grave, while the occupant of the next dwelling neither knows nor cares concerning his fate.

The intelligence of illness spreads from house to house, and who can number the kind offices which are immediately exercised by neighbors far and near. The very schoolboys lower their voices as they pass the darkened windows, and there needs no muffling of the knocker, for who would disturb the invalid? And when the bell solemnly announces the departure of a soul, sadness settles in every heart, and the cathedral hung in sable is a poor tribute to departed worth, compared to the general mourning of the whole village, when the long funeral procession, whence old and young unite

"To pay the last sad tribute, and to hear
Upon the narrow dwelling's hollow bound,
The first earth thrown."

Oh! who would not exchange the pomp and hollow pageantry of the metropolis for such attentions?

In one of these same homes of virtue and happiness dwelt a family, who, contented with their lot, sought no wide sphere of enjoyment. With a good education, fine talents, with a strong constitution, the father had commenced his career about forty years before, and by his own exertions had risen to wealth, respectability and honor. Having often[Pg 313] represented the interests of his fellow-townsmen in the assembly of the State, the county in which he resided had deemed that they could commit to no safer hands the senatorial dignity.

His gentlemanly bearing, his benevolent smile, his tall and commanding appearance won all hearts; while his calm judgment, his energetic course of action gained respect and demanded admiration. In public and private life he was a pattern of excellence. Surely his mother must have looked upon such a son with feelings of gratitude and even pride. As you enter the door, from which no poor man was ever turned empty away, and crossing the hall, advance into the elegant parlor to greet your host and his amiable wife, you can fancy a smile of satisfaction upon the lips of that mother's portrait, which hangs in the place of honor on the wall, a smile which seems to say, "this is my eldest born." But, alas! it was for this son that that mother had put up her last prayer—for him it was, she had poured forth her soul, and now years have passed since he stood by her helpless remains, and her petition is still unanswered.

It is a May morning, two years later, and cheerily does the sun shine upon the village of ——. The pine forest at a little distance, sheds forth after the last night's rain that fragrance which is so delicious, the fields are gay with dandelions, the brooks yellow with the American cowslip, close beside which peeps forth the lovely veronica, while yonder slope is enameled with bright blue violets, and the little white Mayflower. But no children are seen plucking them. The very herds in the field low in a subdued manner, and the birds warble their gladsome spring song with a depth which belongs only to sacred music. None are moving about the streets. The church doors are open, however, for it is the Sabbath. Come with me to yonder mansion—the tasteful shrubbery, the vine-covered window, the well arranged garden bespeak for its possessor wealth and luxury. Enter with me, but tread lightly as we ascend the staircase. Upon that white curtained bed, raised by pillows, reposes[Pg 314] one who has numbered more than sixty summers. His brow is scarcely furrowed, though his face is thin. His clasped hands are emaciated, but he does not look old. The fever spot burns in his cheeks, and his eye is lighted up with a heavenly ray, which shows that now at least the soul is triumphing over the body.

A small table, covered with damask of snowy whiteness, stands near, on which are placed the emblems of the broken body and poured-forth blood of our Redeemer. A few Christian brethren and sisters are kneeling around, and the pastor is blessing the bread. Methinks "it is good to be here." The great Master is present, and "his banner over this little company is love." One can almost see the ministry of angels as they bend to watch the scene.

The rite is done. The softly murmured hymn which concludes it, has died upon the balmy evening air. The partakers of the Lord's Supper have departed. The pastor has for the last time pressed the hand which has so recently subscribed to the covenant of the church, and he, too, has taken his final leave. Relations alone remain in the chamber of death. Solemnity broods over the spot. The brothers who through life have looked to this now dying brother, as a father, guide, and friend, sit gazing on him in mournful silence, the tears slowly chasing each other down their manly cheeks, with something of the feeling of the prophet when it was told him, "Know thou that your master will be taken from your head to-day".

The sisters watch and anticipate his wishes, till first one and then another is overcome by her emotion, and steals away to give it vent. The wife, like a ministering spirit, silently wipes the clammy brow and moistens the parched lips. But now the sick man speaks: "Brother, will you bring mother's portrait! I would take my leave of that—O, how soon shall I join her now." It is brought, and the heavy window curtains are thrown back, and it is placed at the foot of the bed with reverend care, which showed the veneration in which the original was held.

"Look, brother: it smiles upon me!" and observing the[Pg 315] astonished expression of his friends, the dying man continued in a less excited tone, "Do not suppose that my mind is wandering. I assure you on the word of one who must shortly appear before a God of truth, that ever since my mother's death the picture has frowned upon me. I knew what it meant, for you have not forgotten her last prayer, and every time I have looked upon it I felt, while I continued to deny the divinity of our Savior, I could not expect my mother's approbation or blessing. For years I fought against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, till I examined the subject more thoroughly, and to-day I have sealed my renunciation of that error, and have testified my faith in the atonement made for sinners. The cross of Christ has drawn me with cords of love. I wanted to see that portrait once more, and, lo, the frown is gone—and my mother beams upon me the same sweet smile as when at sixteen years of age I left home a fatherless boy, to make my own way in the world. Thank God I die in peace."

My sketch is finished. Shall I make the application? Has not every mother's heart made it already? asking the question, "Is my influence over my children such that when I am gone my portrait shall have such power over them for good?"

Cowper has embalmed his mother's miniature in lines which will touch the heart while our language is preserved. But this picture is hallowed by strains which are poured forth from angelic choirs, as they tune their harps anew "over one sinner that repenteth."

The likeness of Cowper's mother led him to mourn for past delights, but this picture led the son to look in humble joy to that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

[Pg 316]



During a recent tour in search of health and pleasure, I was surprised and pained at seeing the amount of light reading indulged in while traveling, by old and young of both sexes and all classes. I observed, while rapidly urged over our railways, many thus engaged—many purchasing eagerly the trash offered at every station, and could but regret they had not provided with the same care food for the mind, by placing in the satchel that contained sustenance for the body, some valuable book, some truthful work.

Lake George, with its clear waters and lovely islands, its majestic, untrod mountains and historical associations, had not attractions sufficient to win the lovers of fiction from the false pages of life, to the open, beautiful book of Nature. It was a bright July morning when I stood upon the deck of the "John Jay."

"The beautiful sun arose—and there was not
A stain upon the sky, the virgin blue
Was delicate as light, and birds went up
And sang invisibly, the heavenly air
Wooed them so temptingly."

Now the mountain-tops were radiant with the golden light, now valley, lake, and green islet, rejoiced in the morning sun. Yet, at such an hour, amid such scenes, ladies and gentlemen were engrossed with the mawkish sentimentalities of fictitious narrations, their eyes closed to all the beauty of the time and place, their ears deaf to the delicious harmony of awakening nature.

Lake Champlain, with its romantic ruins ever dear to the heart of an American, its verdant shores and rural villages, nestling in the valleys or crowning the hills, could scarce obtain a passing glance from those enraptured with the improbable if not impossible pictures of life.[Pg 317]

When upon the St. Lawrence, gliding swiftly through the charming scenery of the Thousand Isles, that like emerald gems adorn the bosom of that noble river, now passing one with cultivated fields and quiet farm-house, another low and level bathed in the rays of a setting sun, others rocky and precipitous, crowned with cedar and fir; again a little quiet spot where one would like long to tarry, or one with shrubbery and light-house so peaceful in its rural beauty you almost envied the occupants their retirement; even here, as I turned from the scene at the whispered exclamation of a friend, "O, how beautiful!" my eye fell upon two ladies bending over the pages of newly issued novels, their countenances glowing—not with holy emotions awakened by the enjoyment of a summer's sun-set upon the St. Lawrence, but with feverish excitement, kindled by the overwrought pictures of the novelist. Fair, young girls, how could you linger over the unreal when passing through such scenes of God's own work? How could you shut out that gorgeous sunset, turn from all the pure and heavenly feelings such scenes must awaken, to sympathize with imaginary beings and descriptions?

And now I tarried at Niagara, wonderful, sublime Niagara—

——"Speaking in voice of thunder
Eternally of God—bidding the lips of man
Keep silence, and upon the rocky altar, pour
Incense of sweet praise."

Rambling along the shore of Iris Island, every step presenting a new scene, impressing the mind with the greatness of God and the insignificance of man, while "the voice of many waters" proclaimed to erring reason "there is a God:" also, here, under the shade of a noble oak, in full view of the great Cataract, sat a small group of ladies; in their midst, a gentle girl reading aloud from one of the many works that "charm the greedy reader on, till done, he tries to recollect his thoughts and nothing finds—but dreamy emptiness." I lingered, and learned this was the tale of a[Pg 318] young authoress, whose writings are now winning golden opinions from a portion of our religious press. Yet how unsuitable the place for delighting in the extravagant and improbable blending of truth and fiction, though it may have a moral and religious under-current. At the side of that young reader sat her mother. The favorable moments for impressing that immortal mind committed to her guardianship, with right views of the Infinite Supreme, were swiftly passing away, the opportunity of awakening in her young heart while beholding His wonderful work emotions of humility and reverence was alike forgotten; with the daughter just entering upon womanhood she gave all thought and feeling, alone to the ideal. Could I have aroused that parent to a sense of her obligations, of her neglected opportunities, of the priceless value of her child's soul, stranger though I was, I would have earnestly besought her, to take away that romance, to step with her to the point but just before them—open the "Book of books," and let her read of Him "who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span; who hath compassed the waters with bounds until the day and night come to an end; whose way is in the sea, and his path in the great waters. The Lord, whose name alone is excellent, his glory above the earth and heaven."





All gone—yet 'mid this heavy loss
A ray of light behold;
If thou art parted with the dross,
[Pg 319]There's left for thee the gold.

A name unsullied—conscience clear,
From aught that man can prove;
And, what must be to thee most dear,
Thy children's changeless love.

The visions of the world so fair
Are fading from our sight;
Yet hope sinks not in vain despair,
But points to one more bright.

Oh, may misfortune's chilling blight,
But bind us closer here,
Till we behold the dawning light
Of yonder blessed sphere.

And O, my father, linger not,
In exile, from our hearth;
Ah, this has been a cherished spot,
To make us cling to earth.

'Tis where the youngest of the seven
First drew his fleeting breath,
Sweet cherished flower, the gift of heaven,
To fill our blooming wreath.

And saddened memories linger not
Around each faded year;
Oh, let it never be forgot
Death hath not entered here.

The shrine of many a fervent prayer,
More loved than words can tell,
Is passing to another's care,
And we must say, Farewell.

But O, my father, hasten home,
'Tis in each loved one's heart;
Thy wife, thy children, bid thee come,
And ne'er again depart.

For me, my love shall ever twine
Around thy future years;
And my most fervent prayers be thine
Amid this vale of tears,

That when life's busy cares shall cease—
Its feeble ties be riven;
Thine honored head may rest in peace,
Thy soul ascend to heaven.
[Pg 320]



It is generally admitted that there has been a lamentable declension in family government within a few years. I propose to show some of the causes of this growing evil, and to point out the remedy.

1. Inattention and blindness to the faults of children.—As a matter of course we cannot expect parents will restrain their children without observing their faults. They must see an error before they can correct it.

It would not be strange if affection or love for our children should sometimes hide their faults, or that others should sometimes notice them before we do. They are often, too, looked upon as trivial, as of small importance. The mother of pirate Gibbs might have thought it very trivial that her little son should kill flies, and catch and torture domestic animals. But it had its influence in forming the character of the pirate. The man who finishes his days in state-prison as a notorious thief began his career in the nursery by stealing pins, or in the pantry by stealing sugar and cake, and as soon as old enough to look abroad, to take a little choice fruit from a neighbor's garden or orchard. The finished gambler began his career by the side of his mother, by taking pins stealthily from her cushion. Children cannot do great things when young. They have not the power. Their powers and views are too limited to perform what may be called great deeds of wickedness. Yet the grossly immoral usually begin their downward course in youth. The germ of wickedness is then planted. Time only matures what is thus begun. Those trivial things which you suffer to pass without a rebuke, constitute the germ of all their future depravity. The wickedness of youth differs from that of mature age rather in degree than in kind. The character of the man may often be read in the conduct of the child. Thus bad government originates in overlooking the faults of[Pg 321] children, or in wrong views of their conduct. The deeds of childhood are considered of small moment. Childhood with them has no connection with manhood. The child may be anything, and make a giant in intellect, or a professor in morals. But it should be remembered that the very essence of good government lies in watching the connection of one act with another, in tracing the relation between the conduct of mature age and the little developments of childhood and youth. Good government respects not only the present good of its subjects but their future. It takes in eternity as well as time. A great many parents are totally blind to the faults of their children. They see none when they are even gross. Everybody else can see them, and is talking about them, and they know not that they exist. Like Eli, of ancient days, the first that they know of the wickedness of their children they hear it from all the people. It is a sad thing when others have to tell us of the depravity of our children. And it is then generally too late to correct them. The public do not know the first aberrations of childhood and youth. They can only be learnt in the nursery. If parents are blind to them, and they are suffered to become habits, it is generally too late to correct them. It is in the form of habits that neighbors become acquainted with them. Woe to that child then, whose faults are rebuked by every one else, but not by his parents! His faults are in every one's mouth, but not in theirs.

2. The interference of one parent while the other is endeavoring to enforce rightful discipline.—Nothing has a more injurious influence upon family government than such a course. It presents the two, in whom the children should place the most implicit confidence, at variance. As a matter of course, the disobedient child will throw himself into the hands of the one interfering, as a kind of shield from the rod. In such a case it is almost utterly impossible to maintain government and support discipline. The child justifies himself, and stoutly persists in his rebellion while he receives countenance from one of his parents. This, if I mistake not, is often done. Many a family has been ruined in this way for time and eternity. Government was entirely disobeyed in the outset.[Pg 322] The father undertook the correction of the child, but the mother threw her arms over him—she pleads that he is a little child—that he knew not what correction means, as for what he is corrected—or the rod is applied too severely. The child cried most unmercifully, when perhaps he only cried because he was rebellious and stubborn. This repeated a few times, and the one who is determined to maintain discipline becomes discouraged, and silently the management, or rather the mismanagement of the family passes into the hands of the other parent, and for peace sake.

The above is a fruitful cause of bad management. In truth no one is prepared to govern others unless he governs himself. A fretful spirit and an impatient manner can do but little else than awaken opposition in the breast of the child. Such a course can never secure confidence and love. Every parent is here exposed to err. We are never prepared to administer discipline without possessing the spirit of Christ. It would probably be a good rule to adopt never to correct a child until we have been upon our knees before God in prayer. It would be a great preventive to a spirit of impatience.

3. A want of decision.—One reason why some find so much difficulty in the management of their families, is owing to the manner in which they address their children. They never speak with any degree of decision. The child judges it doubtful whether the parent means what he requires. He therefore hesitates and hesitates before he obeys. He foresees this habit, and hence he neglects obedience altogether. For the want of decision, he is under the necessity of repeating his commands again and again. What a wretched practice! No one should think he governs his children without they obey him at once. He should never expect to repeat his commands, and he should speak in such a manner as to lead the child to infer the parent expected him to obey. Manner has great influence. Expression is more than half.

Where submission takes place under such circumstances, it is generally of the genuine kind. There is no spuriousness about it. And there is not often any more trouble about discipline after that. The question is decisively settled. It[Pg 323] is not every child that manifests its rebellion so much all at once. They manifest it little by little, daily, as opportunity offers, and then they will appear more easily to yield. It is to be feared, there is but little genuine submission in many such instances. At least there is but one course for the parent—to keep up the discipline so long as he manifests the least particle of rebellion. If he shows rebellion in any particular way, you should not try to avoid it, but meet it, and effect the work of entire submission.

4. Correcting with an improper spirit and in an improper manner is another cause of bad government.—Some never chastise except in a rage, and then no one is prepared to do it. They must get very much excited before they undertake to correct the child, and then perhaps when the child is not in the least to blame. He lets a pitcher fall, or breaks a plate, the parent flies into a passion, and begins to beat the unlucky boy or girl. Perhaps no positive correction was deserved. Such a spirit can never benefit a child. Some never think of reproving a real fault. It is only when an accident occurs, or some unintentional mishap is done, that the rod is ever used. To be sure there might be blame, but nothing compared with some acts of deliberate and willful transgression, when no correction is given.

Parents, your children cannot purchase at any price what you can give them; I mean a subdued will. To effect this it is necessary to begin when a child is very young. The earlier the better, if you can make yourself understood. You need not fix upon any particular age when to begin; let this depend on circumstances, and different children will show their rebellion upon different points.

5. Coming short of attaining the object when you make the attempt—leaving discipline half completed.—When a child is corrected, every reasonable object should be attained. No point should be evaded. The parent should not stop until perfect and entire submission is effected on every point of dispute. And first I would invite your attention to instances by no means rare, where the child shows rebellion on some particular point. At such a point he stops; you cannot move him. He will do anything else but just the thing[Pg 324] required. He may never have showed a stubborn will before. You have now found a point where you differ; there is a struggle between will and will; the stakes are set, and one or the other must yield. There is no avoiding it; you cannot turn to the right nor to the left; there is but one course for you. You must go forward, or the ruin of your child is sealed. You have come to an important crisis in the history of your child, and if you need motive to influence you to act, you may delineate as upon a map his temporal and eternal destiny—these mainly depend upon the issue of the present struggle. If you succeed, your child is saved; if you fail, he is lost. You may think perhaps your child will die before he will yield. We had almost said he might as well die as not to yield. I have known several parents who found themselves thus situated. Perhaps they possessed a feeble hand, their strength began to fail, but it was no time to parley. They summoned all their energy to another mighty struggle. Victory was theirs—a lost child was saved. Some are contented with anything that looks like obedience in such instances. The occasion passes. It soon, however, recurs with no better nor as good prospects. Thus the struggle is kept up while the child remains under the parental roof.

A father one day gave his little son some books, his knife, and last of all his watch to amuse him. He was right under his eye. At length he told him to bring them all to him. He brought the books and knife to him cheerfully; the watch he wanted to keep—that was his idol. The father told him to bring that; he refused. The father used the rod. He took up the watch and brought it part way, and laid it down. The father told him to put it in his hand, but he would not. He corrected him again. He brought it a little farther and laid it down. Again he whipped him. At length he brought it and held it right over his father's hand, but would not put it in. The father, wearied by the struggle, struck the son's hand with the stick, and the watch fell into his hand. It was not given up. There was no submission. That son has been known to be several times under conviction, but he would never submit to God.[Pg 325]




In order fully to understand the subject of our present study, we must return upon the track, to the days of Joshua, before Israel had wholly entered upon the possession of the promised land. The tribes were encamped at Gilgal to keep the passover, and from there, by the direction of Jehovah, they made incursions upon the surrounding inhabitants. Jericho and Ai had been taken, and the fear of these formidable Hebrews and their mighty God had fallen upon the hearts of the nations and stricken them almost to hopelessness. Feeling that a last effort to save themselves and their homes must be made, they banded together and resolved to defend their rights, and to put to proof the combined power of their deities. One clan, however, despairing of success by any such means, having heard that the utter extirpation of the Canaanites was determined upon, resorted to stratagem, and thus secured their safety in the midst of the general ruin. "They did work wilily," says the sacred record, "and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles old, and rent, and bound up; and old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country, now therefore make ye a league with us." At first the Israelites seem to have suspected trickery, but when the supposed ambassadors produced their mouldy bread, and declared that it was taken hot from the oven on the morning of their departure from their own country, and that their wine bottles were new, now so shrunk and torn, and pointed to their shoes and garments quite worn out by the length of the journey; and told[Pg 326] their pitiful story, and in their humility stooped to any terms if they might only be permitted to make a covenant, Joshua and his elders were completely deceived, and without stopping to ask counsel of the Lord, "they made peace with them, and made a league with them to let them live."

The Lord abhors treachery, and although his people had greatly erred in this act, and although these Hivites were among the nations whom he had commanded them to destroy, yet since a covenant had been made with them, it must be kept on peril of his stern displeasure and severe judgments. Only three days elapsed before the Israelites discovered that the crafty ambassadors were their near neighbors, and were called upon to come to their defense against the other inhabitants of the land, who having heard of the transaction at Gilgal, had gathered together to smite their principal city, Gibeon, and destroy them because they had made peace with Joshua. Before the walls of that mighty city, and in behalf of these idolaters, because Jehovah would have his people keep faith with those to whom they had vowed, was fought that memorable battle, the like of which was never known before or since, when to aid the cause, the laws of Nature were suspended upon human intercession—when Joshua said, "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon." "So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day."

The tribes gained their inheritance, and their enemies were mostly driven out of the land, but in their midst ever dwelt the Gibeonites, safe from molestation, though the menial services of the tabernacle were performed by them, because of the deceit by which they purchased their lives, and they were contented to be thus reduced to perpetual bondage so they might escape the doom of their neighbors.

Years passed on, and vicissitudes came to the Israelites of one kind and another. Sometimes they were victorious in their battles and peaceful among themselves; and again they fled before enemies or were embroiled in civil dissensions. Ever, above, caring for them, and bringing them safely[Pg 327] on through all; instructing, guiding and disciplining, sat on his throne, their mighty invisible King. They demanded an earthly monarch, and in judgment he granted their desire. In judgment, and miserable in many ways were the results of his reign. Among his other evil acts not recorded, but alluded to in the history, was one of cruel treachery to the Gibeonites. "It would seem that Saul viewed their possessions with a covetous eye, as affording him the means of rewarding his adherents, and of enriching his family, and hence, on some pretense or other, or without any pretense, he slew large numbers of them, and doubtless seized their possessions." In this wicked deed we gather that many of the Israelites, and the members of Saul's family in particular, had an active share, and were benefited by the spoils. The Almighty beheld and took cognisance, but no immediate retribution followed. Towards the close of David's reign, however, for some unknown reason, the whole land was visited with a famine. Month after month it stalked abroad, and year after year, until three years of want had afflicted the chosen people. At the end of that time David, having resorted to all possible means of providing food in vain, began to reflect that there was meaning in the visitation, and "sought the face of the Lord," to inquire why he was displeased with his people. The answer was explicit and terrible. "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." Though men forget, the Lord does not. He will plead the cause of the oppressed sooner or later, and though his vengeance sleep long, yet will he reward to those that deal treachery sevenfold sorrow.

Driven by famine and by the expressed will of Jehovah, David sent to ask of the injured people what should be done to satisfy their sense of justice. "And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul nor of his house, neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel.

"The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,

"Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we[Pg 328] will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeon of Saul. And the king said, I will give them."

Dreadful days of blood! Fearful fiat! which though needful and just, yet invaded the sanctuary of home so gloomily. Sad world! in which the innocent so often bear the sins of the guilty,—when will thy groans, ever ascending into the ears of Almighty love, be heard and bring release?

The sentence was executed. Two sons of Saul by Rizpah, his inferior wife, and five of Merab his eldest daughter, whom Michal had, for some reason, educated, were delivered up and hung by the Gibeonites.

Who can imagine, much less portray, the mother's anguish when her noble sons were torn from her for such a doom! We do not know whether Merab was living to see that day of horror, but Rizpah felt the full force of the blow which blasted all her hopes. Her husband, the father of her sons, had been suddenly slain in battle; her days of happiness and security had departed with his life, and now, all that remained of comfort, her precious children, must be put to a cruel death to satisfy the vengeance due to crimes not hers nor theirs. Wretched mother! a bitter lot indeed was thine! But the Lord had spoken, and there was no reprieve. To the very town where they had all dwelt under their father's roof, were these hapless ones dragged and their bodies ignominiously exposed upon the wall until they should waste away—a custom utterly abhorrent to all humanity, and especially to the Hebrews, whose strongest desire might be expressed in the words of the aged Barzillai, "Let me die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and mother."

Behold now that lone and heart-broken mother, on the spot where day and night, week after week, and month after month, she may be found. Neither heat nor cold—distressing days nor fearful nights—the entreaties of friends, nor the weariness of watching, nor the horrifying exhibition of decaying humanity, could drive her from her post. Upon the sackcloth which she had spread for herself upon the rock she remained "from the beginning of the harvest until the rain[Pg 329] dropped upon them out of heaven," and suffered neither the birds of the air by day, nor the beasts of the field by night to molest those precious remains. O mother's heart! of what heroism art thou capable! Before a scene like this the bravest exploits of earth's proudest heroes fade into dim insignificance. At this picture we can only gaze. Words wholly fail when we would comment on it. Of the agonies it reveals we cannot speak. There are lessons to be learned from it, and upon them we can ponder.

The value which the Lord our God sets upon truth is here displayed. He will have no swerving from the straight path of perfect fidelity to all engagements and covenants. Severe and awful appears his character as thus presented to us, and yet it is upon this very attribute that all our hopes rely. "He is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent." If he thus defends those who love him not, how safe and happy may his children rest.

The days in which Rizpah lived were dark and gloomy days. The words of Samuel to Agag may stand as their memorial, "As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women." Let us be thankful that we see no such direful scenes, and let us act worthy of our higher lot. Let us remember also that there is a destruction of life more terrible even than that which Rizpah witnessed—the destruction of the soul. If the mother's love within us prompts us to half the care of the spiritual life of our children, which she bestowed on the decaying forms of her loved ones, He who rewards faithfulness will not suffer us to labor in vain.

Each day is a new life; regard it therefore, as an epitome of the world. Frugality is a fair fortune, and industry a good estate. Small faults indulged, are little thieves to let in greater.[Pg 330]




Let us now enter upon the second part of the field of education, the training of the intellect. It is obvious that we have in this, a much higher subject to deal with than that on which we have just dwelt. The physical form in a few years develops itself, and soon reaches its utmost limits of growth. It is then an instrument whose powers we seek to maintain but cannot increase. As time advances, indeed, those powers gradually yield to the influence of disease or age, until the senses begin to neglect their office, the brain declines in vigor, while the tongue, the eye, the hand, forget their accustomed work in the imbecility wrought by the approach of death. But no such limitation is manifest to us in the growth and future life of the intellect. Dependent upon the body for a healthful home in this world, and so far limited by the conditions of mortality, it yet seems to have in itself no absolute limitation bounding its prospective and possible attainments, save as the finite never can fully attain to the infinite. Granting it a congenial home, a fitting position, with full opportunity for progress, and there is scarcely a height this side infinity which in the ascent of ages it seems not capable of reaching. All creatures are finite, and as such, limited; but the horizon around the soul is so amazingly expansive, and the capacities of the mind for progress so immense, that to us, in our present state, it is almost as if there were no limitations at all.

The power of the intellect to acquire facts and relations, and from them to ascend to the laws which control; its power to advance in a daily ascending path into the region of intuition, where masses of things, once isolated or chaotic, range themselves into harmony, and move in numbers most[Pg 331] musical; its power thus to rise into an enlarging vision of truths now latent, and behold directly laws, relations and facts which once evaded the sight, or were only seen dimly and after great toil, it is utterly beyond our sphere to limit. We know that what to us in childhood was a mystery, is now simple; that some of the grandest laws of the material world which a few years back were reached only after stupendous labor, are now become intuitive truths; and we can see no reason why the human mind is not capacitated for just such advances eternally; at every ascent sweeping its vision over a broader range of truth, and rising ever nearer that Omniscient Intellect to which all things open. The instinct and imperfect reason of the noblest brutes, are here in marked contrast to the mind of man. They reach the limit of knowledge with the ripening of their physical frame; a limit which no training, however protracted and ingenious, can overpass; which never varies, except as a cord drawn round a center may vary, by being enlarged on the one side and contracted on the other; and which prepares them without the acquisition of a particle of superfluous intelligence for their brute life as the servitors of man. While his mind, never wholly stationary for a long period, has capacities for development that seem to spurn a merely sensual life, and lift the spirit to a companionship with angels; which, instead of resting satisfied with the mere demands of the body, seeks to penetrate the deep springs of life, discern the exquisite organism of an insect's wing, measure the stars, and analyze the light that reveals them.

Possessing an intellect of so fine a nature, it is not to be questioned that, according to our opportunities, it is incumbent on us to carry forward its improvement from childhood to hoary age. A power like this, of indefinite expansion, in directions surpassingly noble, among subjects infinitely grand, has been conferred that it might be expanded, and go on expanding in an eternal progression; that it might sweep far beyond its present horizon and firmament, where the stars now shining above us, shall become the jeweled pavement beneath us, while above still roll other spheres of knowledge,[Pg 332] destined in like manner to descend below us as the trophies of our victorious progress.

To bury such an intellect as this in the commonplaces of a life of mere sense; to confine it to the narrow circle of a brute instinct and reason; to live in such a world, with the infinite mind of Jehovah looking at us from all natural forms, breathing around us in all tones of music, shining upon us from all the host of heaven, and soliciting us to launch away into an atmosphere of knowledge and ascend to an acquaintance with the great First Cause, even as the bird challenges the fledgling to leave its nest, and be at home on the wing; to live amid such incitements to thought, yet never lift the eyes from the dull round of physical necessities, is treason toward our higher nature, the voluntary defacement of the grandest characteristic of our being. The education of the intellect is not a question to be debated with men who have the slightest appreciation of their noble capacities. The obligation to improve it is commensurate with its susceptibility of advancement and our opportunities. It is not limited to a few years in early life, it presses on us still in manhood and declining age. Such is a general statement of the duty of intellectual improvement.

In the actual education of the mind, our course will necessarily be modified by the ultimate objects at which we aim. Properly these are twofold—the first general, the second specific. The first embraces the general training of our intellectual powers, with direct reference to the high spiritual life here and hereafter. We place before us that state of immortality to which the present stands in the relation of a portico to a vast temple. The intellect is itself destined to survive the body, and as the instrument through which the heart is to be disciplined and fitted for this condition of exalted humanity, is to be informed with all that truth most essential for this purpose. Whatever there be in the heavens or the earth—in books or works of men, to discipline, enlarge and exalt the mind, to that we shall be attracted. A right heart breathes in an atmosphere of truth; it grows and rejoices in communion with all the light that shines upon it[Pg 333] from the works or word of God. All truth, indeed, is not of the same importance. There is that which is primary and essential; there is that which adds to the completeness, without going to the foundation of character. The truths that enter a well cultivated mind, animated by right sentiments, will arrange themselves by a natural law in the relative positions they hold as the exponents of the character of God, and the means more or less adapted to promote the purity and elevation of man. All truth is of God; yet it is not all of equal value as an educational influence. There are different circles—some central, some remote. The crystals of the rock, the stratification of the globe, and the facts of a like character, will fill an outer circle, as beautiful, or skillful, or wonderful, in the demonstration of divine powers, but not so in themselves unfolding the highest attributes of God. The architecture of animate nature, the processes of vegetable life, the composition of the atmosphere, the clouds and the water, will range themselves in another circle, within the former, and gradually blending with it, as the manifestations of the wisdom and benificence of God. Then the unfoldings of his moral character in the government of nations, in the facts of history, and in the general revelation of himself in the Scriptures, will constitute another band of truth concentric with the others, yet brighter and nearer the center. While at length in the cross and person of Christ—in the system of redemption, and all the great facts which it embodies, we behold the innermost circle that, sweeping round Jehovah as its center, reflects the light of his being, most luminously upon the universe. Such is obviously the relative order of the truth we seek to know. It is the different manifestations of God, ascending from the lowest attributes of divinity, to those which constitute a character worthy the homage and love of all beings. Now, as it is the great object of life to know God and enjoy him, so in education we are to keep this steadily in view, and follow the order of procedure for the attainment of it which God has himself established. To spend the life or the years of youth on the study of rocks and crystals, to the neglect of the higher moral truths which lie within their[Pg 334] circle, is unpardonable folly—a folly not to be redeemed by the fact that such knowledge is a partial unfolding of God to man. It is little better than studying the costume to the neglect of the person—than the examination of the frame to the neglect of the master-piece of a Raphael inclosed within it—than the criticism of a single window to the neglect of the glorious dome of St. Peter's—than viewing the rapids to the neglect of the mighty fall of Niagara. In education, the observance of this natural order of truth will bring us, at length, to that which fills the outer circle, and thus all the kinds of knowledge will receive a just attention. Indeed, the study of the one naturally leads us to the other. We shall pass from the inner to the outer lines of truth, and back again, learning all the while this important lesson, that the study of the more remote class of truths is designed to conduct us to a more perfect appreciation of that which is moral, religious, central and saving; while the study of the higher parts of revelation will show us that the former come in to finish and perfect the latter. We do not despise the frieze—the architrave—the cornice—the spires, and the other ornaments of the temple, because we regard as most essential the foundation, the corner stone, the walls and the roofing; but in due time we seek to impart to our edifice not only strength and security, but the beauty of the noblest and richest adornment. According to our means, and as the necessities of life will permit, we shall seek for knowledge from all its various spheres, and despise nothing that God has thought worthy of his creative power or supporting energy.

Now this large course of education in obedience to its first great object, is not limited by anything in itself or in us, to a particular class of individuals. It is the common path along which all intelligent beings are to pass. The object to which it conducts is before us all, and common to all. It is not divided into departments for separate classes. Woman, as well as man, has an interest in it, and an obligation to seek for it, just as binding as that which rests on him. All souls are equal, and though intellects may vary, yet the pursuit of truth for the exaltation of the soul is common[Pg 335] to all. As this obligation to unfold the powers of the intellect, that we may grasp the truth, is primary, taking precedence of other objects—since all duty is based on knowledge, and all love and worship, and right action on the intelligence and apprehension of God—so education, which in this department is but the development of our capacity, preparing us to pursue the truth, and master the difficulties which frown us away from its attainment, rises into a duty the most imperative upon all rational beings. The same path here stretches onward before both sexes, the same motives impel them, the same objects are presented to them, the same obligations rest upon them. Neither youth nor age—neither man nor woman, can here make a limitation that shall confine one sex to a narrow corner—an acre of this broad world of intelligence—and leave the other free to roam at large among all sciences. Whatever it is truly healthful for the heart of man to know, whatever befits his spiritual nature and immortal destiny, that is just as open to the mind of woman, and just as consistent with her nature. To deny this abstract truth, we must either affirm the sentiment falsely ascribed to Mahomet, although harmonizing well enough with his faith in general, that women have no souls; or take the ground that truth in this, its widest extent, is not as essential to their highest welfare as it is to ours; or assert, that possessing inferior intellects, they are incapable of deriving advantage from the general pursuit of knowledge, and therefore must be confined to a few primary truths, of which man is to be the judge. The first supposition we leave with the fanaticism that may have given it birth, and with which it so well harmonizes; the second we surrender to those atheistic fools and swindling politicians who can see no excellence in knowledge, save as it may minister to their sensual natures, or assist them to cajole the people; while the man who maintains the third, we would recommend to a court of Ladies, with Queen Elizabeth as judge, Madame de Stael as prosecuting attorney, and Hannah More, Mrs. Hemans, and other bright spirits of the same sex, as jury.[Pg 336]

I have dwelt thus at length on the first and most general object before us in the pursuit of knowledge, because it is really of the highest and noblest education, common to both sexes and unlimited by anything in their character or different spheres of life.



The great difficulty in this country is, that we try to do too much for our children. If we would let them alone a little more, we should do better; that is, if we would content ourselves with keeping them warm and clean, and feeding them on simple, wholesome food, it would be enough.

They will take exercise of themselves, if we will let them alone, and they will shout and laugh enough to open their lungs. It is really curious for a scientific person to look on and observe the numerous and sometimes, alas! fatal mistakes that are constantly made. You will see a family where the infants are stout and vigorous as a parent's heart could desire, and, if only let alone, would grow up athletic and fine people; but parents want to be doing, so they shower them every morning to make them strong—they are strong already!

Then, even before they are weaned, they will teach them to suck raw beef; for what? Has not their natural food sustained them well? An infant will have teeth before it wants animal food.

But all these courses they have heard were strengthening, so they administer them to the strongest, till excess of stimulants produces inflammation, and the natural strength is wasted by disease. Then the child grows pale and feeble; now the stimulants are redoubled, they are taken to the sea-shore, kept constantly in the open air, and a great amount of exercise[Pg 337] is insisted on. By this time all the symptoms of internal inflammation show themselves: the skin is pale, the hands and feet cold, dark under the eyes, reluctance to move, &c., &c. But no one suspects what is the matter; even the physician is often deceived at this stage of the process, and if he is, the child's case will be a hard one.

I mention particularly this course of stimulants, as it is just now the prevalent mania. Every one ought to understand, that those practices which are commonly called strengthening, are, in other words, stimulating, and that to apply stimulants where the system is already in a state of health, will produce too much excitement. The young, from the natural quickness of their circulation, are particularly liable to this excess of action, which is inflammation. This general inflammation, in time, settles into some form of acute disease, so that in fact, by blindly attempting to strengthen, we inflame, disease, and enfeeble to the greatest possible degree.

If we look at nature—at the animal instincts that are around us, what a different course does it advise! The Creator has taught the lower races to take care of their young; and if some accident does not happen to them they never lose one; just as they manage to-day, just so did they do for them a thousand years ago. Man is left to his own reason, I had almost said to his caprice; every age has produced different customs, and in consequence different diseases. More than half of the human race die under five years old; how small a portion live to the full "threescore and ten."

Morally and intellectually, man may advance to an almost unlimited extent; but he must remember, that physically he is subjected to the same laws as other animals. Is it not quite time that we should bow our pride of reason, and look to the practice of those animals that raise all their young, and live out their own natural lives? How do they manage? We need not look far; see, madam, the cat; how does she contrive to rear her young family? Who ever saw her give one of them a shower-bath? Who ever saw her take a piece of meat to her nest, that her little ones might try their gums[Pg 338] on it, before their teeth had grown? Who ever saw her taking them out of a cold winter's day for exercise in the open air, till their little noses were as red as those of the unfortunate babies one meets every cold day? Not one of all these excellent fashionable plans does she resort to. She keeps them clean—very clean, warm—very warm indeed. The Creator sends them to make their way in the world dressed completely, cap and all, in a garment unexceptionable as to warmth; there is no thick sock on the feet to protect from chills, and the head left with the bare skin uncovered, because reason had discovered that the head was the hottest part of the body, and that it was all a mistake that it should be so; therefore it was left exposed to correct this natural, universal law of the animal economy. Pussy knows nothing of all this, so kittie's cap is left on, coming snug over the little ears; and who ever saw a cat deaf (but from age) or a kitten with the ear-ache? Yet the first thing that strikes a stranger, in coming to our land of naked heads, is the number of persons he meets, that are partially deaf, or have inflamed eyes. All this sounds like a joke, but is it not a pretty serious one? Is it not strange, that men do not look oftener in this direction? It is not the cat alone, every animal gives the same lessons. The rabbit is so careful, that lest her young should take cold while she is from home, she makes a sort of thick pad or comforter of her own hair, and lays it for a covering over them. We do not hear that the old rabbits, when they go out into life, (in our cold climate too) are any more liable to take cold from having been so tenderly brought up. In fact, I doubt whether they ever take cold at all, young or old; while with man, to have a cold seems to be his natural state, particularly in the winter season. I have heard some persons go so far as to say, that a cold does not do a child any hurt; but it is not true, let who will say it; every cold a child takes, makes him more liable to another; and another, and another succeeds, till chronic disease is produced.

(To be Continued.)[Pg 339]




On my first visit to New York, many years since, I was accompanied by a young nephew. He was made up of smiles and cheerfulness. Such a traveling companion, of any age, is rare to be found, so gallant—so ready to serve—so full of bright thoughts—anticipating all my wishes, and yet so unobtrusive and modest—at the same time disposed to add to his own stock of knowledge from every passing incident. Nothing, in fact, escaped his observation. The variety and richness of scenery which is everywhere to be found in the New England States, seemed to delight his young heart. This alone, was enough to inspire my own heart with sunny thoughts, though I was in affliction, and was seldom found absent from my own happy home.

As I recall to mind that journey and that happy, cheerful child, I often think how much comfort even a child can impart to others, when their hearts have been sanctified by the Spirit of God. I cannot forbear to say that cheerfulness is a cardinal virtue, and ought to be more cultivated by the old and by the young. A cheerful disposition not only blesses its possessor but imparts happiness to all that come within its reach.

As we entered the city at an early hour, everything wore a cheerful aspect, every step seemed elastic and every heart buoyant with hope. There was a continual hum of busy men and women, as we were passing near a market. Such a rolling of carts and carriages—so many cheerful children, some crying "Raddishes"—"raddishes"—others "Strawberries"—"strawberries"—others with baskets of flowers—all wide awake, each eager to sell his various articles of merchandise. This was indeed a novel scene to us—it did seem a charming place. My young companion remarked, Aunt[Pg 340] C——, "I think everybody here must be happy." I could not but at first respond to the sentiment. But presently we began to meet persons—some halt—some blind—some in rags—looking filthy and degraded.

Every face was new to us—not one person among the throngs we met that we had ever seen before. An unusual sense of loneliness came over me, and I thought my young attendant participated in this same feeling of solitude, and though I said nothing, I sighed for the quiet and familiar faces and scenes of the "Home, sweet home" I had so recently left.

We had not proceeded far before we saw men and boys in great commotion, all running hurriedly, in one direction, bending their steps towards the opposite shore. Their step was light and quick, but a look of sadness was in every face. We could only, now and then, gather up a few murmuring words that fell from the lips of the passers-by.

"There were more than thirty persons killed," said one. "Yes, more than fifty," said another. We soon learned that a vessel on fire, the preceding evening had entered the harbour, but the fire had progressed so far that it was impossible to extend relief to the sufferers, and most of the crew perished in the flames, or jumped overboard and were drowned.

The awful impression of distress made upon the minds of persons unaccustomed to such disasters, cannot well be described—they certainly were by no means transient.

It was sad to reflect that many who had thus perished after an absence from home, some a few weeks, others for months, instead of greeting their friends, were hurried into eternity so near their own homes, under such aggravated circumstances. And then what a terrible disappointment to survivors! Many families as well as individuals were by this calamity not only bereft of friends, but of their property—some reduced to a state of comparative beggary.

This day's experience was but a faint picture of human life.

But to return to that young nephew. Does any one inquire[Pg 341] with interest, Did his cheerful, benevolent disposition, his readiness to impart and to receive happiness continue with him through life? It did in a pre-eminent degree. It is believed that even then "The joy of the Lord was his strength."—Neh. viii. 10.

He died at the age of 37, having been for nearly six years a successful missionary among the spicy breezes which blow soft o'er Ceylon's Isle. A friend who had known him most intimately for many years while a student at Yale, and then tutor, and then a student of Theology, after his death, in writing to his bereaved mother, says, "We had hope that your son, from his rare qualifications to fill the station he occupied, his remarkable facilities in acquiring that difficult language, his cheerfulness in imparting knowledge, his indomitable perseverance, his superior knowledge, and love of the Bible, which it was his business to teach—that in all this God had raised him up for a long life of service to the Church; but instead of this, God had been fitting him, all this time, for some more important sphere of service in the upper sanctuary."

Here, as in thousands of other cases, we see that "The boy was the father of the man."

Would any mother like to know the early history of that cheerful young traveler, we reply, as in the case of the prophet Samuel, he was "asked of the Lord," and was, therefore, rightly named Samuel. The Lord called him by his Spirit, when a mere child, "Samuel," "Samuel," and he replied "Here am I;" and his subsequent life and character were what might be expected from his obedient disposition and his lowly conduct in early childhood.

A young prince having asked his tutor to instruct him in religion and to teach him to say his prayers, was answered, that "he was yet too young." "That cannot be," said the little boy, "for I have been in the burying ground and measured the graves; I found many of them shorter than myself."[Pg 342]



It gives me much pleasure, in accordance with your suggestions, Mrs. W., to lay before the readers of the Magazine, a few thoughts on the subject of music in Christian families. The subject is a very interesting one; and I regret that time and space will not allow me to do it more ample justice.

Music is one of those precious gifts of Providence which are liable to be misused and misinterpreted. It has been applied, like oratory, to pernicious, as well as to useful purposes. It has been made to minister to vice, to indolence and to luxury—as well as to virtue, to industry, and to true refinement. But we must not on this account question the preciousness of the gift itself. The single circumstance that the Master of Assemblies requires it to be employed through all time, in the solemn assemblies of his worshipers, should suffice to prevent us from holding it in light estimation.

Other good things besides music have been abused. Poetry, and prose, and eloquence, for example; but shall we therefore undervalue them? Painting, too, has its errings—some of them very grievous; but shall it therefore be neglected, as unworthy of cultivation? Things the most precious all have this liability, and should on this account be guarded with more vigilance.

Music, merely as one of the fine arts, has many claims to our attention. We could not well say, in this respect, too much in its favor. Wrong things, indeed, have been said; and many pretensions have been raised to which we could never subscribe. It does not possess, as some seem to think, any inherent moral or religious efficacy. It is not always safe, as a mere amusement. An unrestrained passion for it, has often proved injurious, and those who would become artists or distinguished amateurs, have need of much caution on this head. Music is in this respect, like poetry, painting, and sculpture. The Christian may cherish any of these arts,[Pg 343] as a means to some useful end; but the moment he loses sight of real utility he is in danger, for everything that he does or enjoys should be in accordance with the glory of God.

The most interesting point of view in which music is to be regarded is that which relates to the worship of God. This gives it an importance which is unspeakable. There is no precept which requires us to employ oratory, or painting, or sculpture in the worship of the Most High. Nor is there any direct precept for the consecrated use of poetry; for "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," may be written in elevated prose. But the Bible is filled with directions for the employment of music in the sacred service. Both the Old Testament and the New require us to sing with devout affections, to the praise and glory of God. The command, too, seems to be general, like those in relation to prayer. If all are to pray, so "in everything" are all to "give thanks." If we are to "pray without ceasing," so we are told, "let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord." Again, "is any man afflicted, let him pray: is he merry (joyful), let him sing psalms." The direction is not, "if any man is joyful, let him attend a concert or listen to exercises in praise," but "let him sing." There is something to be done in his own proper person.

Our necessities compel us to pray. A mere permission to do so, might seem to suffice. For we must pray earnestly and perseveringly, or perish forever. But will it do meanwhile to be sparing in our thanks? True, one may say, I am under infinite obligations to give thanks, and I generally endeavor to do so when engaged in the exercise of prayer. But, remember there is another divinely constituted exercise called praise. Why not engage in this also, and mingle petitions with your praises? This is the scriptural method of expressing gratitude and adoration, and for ourselves, we see not how individuals are to be excused in neglecting it. Every one, it is true, would not succeed as an artist, if he had never so many advantages. But every one who has the ordinary powers of speech, might be so far instructed[Pg 344] in song, as to mingle his voice with others in the solemn assembly, or at least to use it in private to his own edification. This position has been established in these later times beyond the possibility of a rational doubt. Proofs of it have been as clear as demonstration. These, perhaps, may be exhibited in another number.

But in reply to this statement it will be said, that cultivation is exceedingly difficult if deferred to adult years. Well, be it so. It follows, that since it is not difficult in years of childhood and youth, all our children should have early and adequate instruction. There should be singing universally in Christian families. And this is the precise point I have endeavored to establish in the present article. How far the neglects and miscarriages of youth may excuse the delinquences of adult years, I dare not presume to decide or conjecture. It may suffice my present purpose to show that according to the Bible all should sing; and that all might sing if instruction had not been neglected. Is it not high time for such neglect to be done away? And how shall it ever be done away, except by the introduction of music into Christian families?

Let Christian parents once become awake to the important results connected with this subject, and they can ordinarily overcome what had seemed to them mountains of difficulty; nay, more, what seemed impossibilities, by considerable effort and a good share of perseverance.

Even one instance of successful experiment in this way should be quite sufficient to induce others to make similar efforts.

A father who for many years, during his collegiate and professional studies, was for a long period abstracted from all domestic endearments, much regretted this, as he was sensible of the prejudicial influence it had in deadening the affections. Not many years after he became settled in business, he found himself surrounded by quite a little group of children. He became exceedingly interested in their spiritual welfare, and in the success of Sabbath-school instruction. His heart was often made to rejoice as he contemplated the delightful[Pg 345] influence upon himself of these home-scenes, and which he longed to express in sacred song. But as he had never cultivated either his ear or his voice, he felt at his time of life it would be quite useless for him to try to learn. Neither did the mother of his children know anything about the rules of music.

They had at one time a very musical young relative for a visitor in their family. The children were so delighted with his lofty strains that they kept him singing the greater part of the time. The mother expressed great regret that neither she nor her husband could gratify the children in their eager desire to enjoy music.

This young friend said he was sure, if she would but try, he would soon convince her of the practicability of learning. She promised to try—and in the attempt she was greatly encouraged by the assurances of her husband that he also would try.

It was soon found that all the children had a good ear and a good voice, and particularly the eldest, a girl of seven, who was at length able to take the lead in singing a few tunes at family worship.

After a few months' trial, no money could have tempted these parents to relinquish the pleasure and the far-reaching benefits which they felt must result from this social and exalted pleasure of uniting on earth in singing the sacred songs of Zion, as a preparation for loftier strains in Heaven.

It has been beautifully said that Reason is the compass by which we direct our course; and Revelation the pole star by which we correct its variations.

Experience, like the stern-light of a ship, only shows us the path which has been passed over.

Happiness, like the violet, is only a way-side flower.[Pg 346]




It was the day for the meeting of the Monthly Missionary Society, in the village of C.; a day of pure unclouded loveliness in early summer, when the sweetest flowers were blossoming, and the soft delicious air was laden with their perfume, and that of the newly-mown hay. All nature seemed rejoicing in the manifestations of the goodness and love of its Creator, while the low mingled murmurings of insects, breezes and rivulets, with the songs of birds, formed a sweet chorus of praise to God. The society was to meet at deacon Mills's, who lived about four miles out of the village, and whose house was the place where, of all others, all loved to go. Very early in the afternoon all the spare wagons, carriages, carryalls, chaises and other vehicles were in demand. A hay-rack was filled with young people, as a farmer kindly offered to carry them nearly to the place, and toward evening, they considered, it would be pleasant to walk home. So deacon Mills's house was filled with old, middle-aged and young, who were all soon occupied with the different kinds of work, requisite for filling a box to be sent to a missionary family among the distant heathen. Seaming, stitching, piecing, quilting and knitting, kept every hand busy, while their owners' tongues were equally so, yet the conversation was not the common, idle talk of the day, but useful and elevating, for religion was loved, and lived, by most of those dear and pleasant people, and it could not but be spoken of. Still there was interest in each other's welfare, as their social and domestic pursuits and plans were related and discussed.

There was a piazza in front of the house, the pillars of which were covered with vines, running from one to another, gracefully interlacing, and forming a pleasant screen from the[Pg 347] sun's rays. At one end of this piazza, a group of five young girls were seated at their work. They were chosen and intimate friends, who shared with each other all that was interesting to themselves. They had been talking pleasantly together for some time, and had arrived at a moment's pause, when Clara Glenfield said, "Girls, I think this is a good opportunity to say to you something that I have for a long time wished to say. You know we are in the habit of speaking to each other upon every subject that interests us, excepting that of religion. None of us profess to be Christians, although we know it is our duty to be. We have all pious mothers, and, if yours are like mine, they are constantly urging, as well as our other friends, to give our hearts to God, and we cannot but think of the subject; now, why should we not speak of it together? and why are we not Christians?"

Emily Upton. "I should really be very glad, Clara, if we could. It seems to me we might talk much more freely with each other, than with older persons; for some things trouble me on this subject, and if I should speak of them to mother, or any one else, I am afraid they would think less of me, or blame me."

Clara. "Then let us each answer the question, why are we not Christians? You tell us first, Emily."

Emily. "Well, then, it seems to me, I am just as good as many in the church. I do not mean to say that I am good, but only if they are Christians, I think I am. There is Leonora D., for instance, she dresses as richly with feathers and jewels, attends parties instead of the prayer-meetings, and acts as haughtily as any lady of fashion I ever knew. Now, I go to the Bible class, evening meetings, always attend church, and read the Bible, and pray every day. Notwithstanding all, mother says, so tenderly, 'Emily, my child, I wish you were a Christian,' and I get almost angry that she will not admit that I am one."

Alice Grey. "Well, I do not blame Leonora much. To tell the truth, I do not believe in so much church-going and psalm-singing. I think God has given us these pleasant things to enjoy them, and it is perfectly natural for a young[Pg 348] girl to sing and dance, visit, dress, and enjoy herself. It seems to me there is time enough for religion when we grow older, but give me youthful pleasures and I can be happy enough."

Sophia. "But you think religion is important, do you not?"

Alice. "Yes, I suppose it is necessary to have religion to die by, and I own I sometimes feel troubled for fear that I may die before possessing it, but I am healthy and happy, and do not think much about it. I want to enjoy life while I can, like these little birds in the garden who are singing and skipping so merrily."

Clara. "Annie, you are the reverse of Alice, quiet, gentle, and sedate; why are not you a Christian?"

Annie. "Since we are talking so candidly, I will tell you. I really do not know how to be. I cannot feel that I have ever done anything that was so very sinful, although I know, for the Bible says so, that I am a sinner. To be sure, I have done a great many wrong things, but it does not seem as though God would notice such little things, and besides it did not seem as though I could have done differently in the circumstances. Mother has always commended me, and held me up for a pattern to the younger children, and I suppose I have become, at least, you will think I have, a real Pharisee. Yet when I have been urged to repent and believe in Christ, I have not known what to do. I have spent hours in the still, lonely night, thinking upon the subject, and saying, if I could only feel that I am a sinner I would repent. I have always believed in Jesus, that He is the Son of God, that He assumed our nature, and bore the punishment we deserve, and will save all who believe in Him. Now what more can I do? I know that I must do everything, for I feel that I am far from being a Christian, and yet I know not what. I suppose your experience does not correspond with mine, Clara?"

Clara. "Not exactly. I not only know, but deeply feel, that I am a great sinner; sometimes my sinfulness appears too great to be forgiven. The trouble with me is procrastination.[Pg 349] I cannot look back to the time when I did not feel that I ought to be a Christian, but I have always put off the subject, thinking I would attend to it another time, and it has been just so for year after year. Only last week I was sitting alone in my room at twilight, enjoying the quiet loveliness and beauty of the view from my window. I could not help thinking of Him who had made all things, and had given me the power of enjoying them, besides so many other blessings, and I longed to participate in the feeling which Cowper ascribes to the Christian, and say, 'My Father made them all.' Then something seemed to whisper, 'wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth?' 'Now is the accepted time.' 'To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart.' But I did harden my heart. I did not feel willing, like Alice, to give up the pleasures which are inviting me all around, and become a devoted, consistent Christian, for I do not mean to be a half-way Christian, neither one thing or the other."

Sophia. "Nearly all these reasons have been my excuse for not becoming a Christian, but another has been, that I do not like to be noticed, and made an object of remark. My father and mother and friends would be so much pleased, they would be talking of it, and watching me, to see if my piety was real, and I would feel as if I were too conspicuous a person. Now if we would all at the same time resolve to consecrate ourselves to the Lord, I think each particular case might not be so much noticed."

"But why should you dread it so much Sophy?" asked Emily.

"I hardly know why" she replied, "but I have always felt so since I was quite a child, but since I have for the first time spoken of it, it seems a much more foolish reason than I had before considered it."

Alice. "And I must confess that I am not always so careless and thoughtless on this subject. When I am really possessing and enjoying the pleasures I have longed for, there seems to be always something more that I need to make me happy. Fanny Bedford, pious and good as she is, seems[Pg 350] always happier than I, and I have often wished that I was such a Christian as she is."

"Who has not," exclaimed the other girls; and their praise of her was warm and sincere.

"She is so consistent and religious, and yet so humble, and so full of love to every one, that it is impossible not to love her and the religion she loves so much. Annie, I have never wished so much that I was a Christian, as when I have thought of her; how much I wish I was like her." "There is Fanny in the hall, let us speak to her of what we have been saying," said Sophia.

They agreed that they were willing she should know it all, and called to her. She came and sat with them, and they related to her the conversation which they had had together, to which she listened with much interest, and a warm heart, and replied, "It is a great wonder to me now, dear girls, that any should need to be persuaded to accept of Christ, and devote themselves to His service; yet it was once just the same with me. I had all of your excuses and many more, and considered them good reasons for not becoming a Christian. How true it is, that 'the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine unto them.' Could you but once experience the blessedness of being children of God, you would be surprised and ashamed that you have so long refused so precious a privilege, to possess instead, the unsatisfying pleasures of earth. Consider, to be a Christian, is to have God for your father, to have all that is glorious and excellent in his perfections engaged for your good. It is to have Jesus for an ever-present, almighty friend, ready to forgive your sins, to save you from sin, to bear your sorrows, to heighten your joys, to lead and bless you in all the scenes of life, to guide and assist you while you engage in his blessed service, to be with you in the hour of death, and to admit you to the realms of eternal joy. I can scarcely commence telling you of all the benefits he bestows on His people."

"What must we do, Fanny?" inquired Annie.

"The first thing of all, dear Annie," she replied, "is to[Pg 351] go to the Savior, at His feet ask for repentance and true faith in Him. Consecrate yourself to Him, and resolve that you will from this time serve the Lord. Then, Annie, you will have done what you could, and 'He giveth the Holy Spirit to them that obey Him.' That Spirit will convince you of sin, and you will be surprised and grieved that you could ever have thought of yourself as other than the chief of sinners, and while you shed tears of sorrow and repentance, He will lead you to Christ, the Lamb of God, whose precious blood will prevail with God for the pardon of your sins; in it you can wash away your sins, and be made pure and holy in his sight. Do what you know how to do, and then shall you know if you follow on to know the Lord; will you not?"

Annie. "I will try."

Fanny. "I think the sin of procrastination must be very displeasing to God, as it is to our earthly parents, when we defer obeying their commands. It is solemn to think that He against whom we thus sin, is He in whose hands our breath is, and who can at any time take it away. If He were not so slow to anger, what would become of us? Dear Clara, and each of you, you are only making cause for sorrow and shame in thus neglecting to do what you know you ought to do. 'Enter in at the strait gate and walk in the narrow way that leadeth unto life,' and you will find that every step in that way is pleasure. Not such pleasure as the world gives, Alice, but more like the happiness of angels. Religion takes away no real pleasures, nor the buoyancy and happiness of the youthful spirit. It only sanctifies and leads its possessor to do nothing but what a kind heavenly Father will approve, Alice."

"But, Fanny, all Christians are not happy ones."

Fanny. "Yet those who are the most devoted and consistent, are the most happy. Some have troubles and sorrows which they could scarcely bear if it were not for religion. They are sanctified by means of these afflictions and so made happier; holiness and happiness are inseparable. ''Tis religion that must give, sweetest pleasure while we live,'[Pg 352] you know the hymn says, and it is true. Do you think Emily, that because you are as good as you think Leonora is, you are good enough?"

Emily. "No, Fanny, it was a poor excuse; I see that I must not look at others, but at what God requires of me."

Fanny. "How common is the excuse, so many people profess to think they can do without religion, because so many who call themselves Christian are inconsistent. Dear girls, I pray that if you are ever Christians, you may be consistent, sincere ones. Who can estimate the good, or the evil, you may do by your example. If you love the Savior more than all else beside, you will find his yoke easy and his burden light, and for his sake it will be pleasant to do what would naturally be unpleasant. Remember this, Sophy, and I hope you will soon all know the blessedness of being Christians. It is our highest duty and our highest happiness. Do, dear girls, resolve, each of you, to seek the Lord now."

Just then, their pastor came; he spoke kindly to each of the little group, before entering the house.

"It is nearly tea-time," said Clara, "let us go and offer our assistance to Mrs. Mills; as we are the youngest here, perhaps she would like to have us carry around the plates and tea. We will try to not forget what you have told us, Fanny."

"Pray for me, Fanny," said Sophia softly, as she passed her, and kissed her.

"And for me," said Annie.

"And for us, too," continued Clara, Emily and Alice, as they stepped back for a moment.

Tea was soon over, the missionary hymn, "From Greenland's icy mountains," was sung, and prayer offered by the pastor, and then the pleasant interview was ended.

A few days after, Fanny and Annie met each other in the street. "Have you tried to do, Annie, what seemed your duty to do?" Fanny asked.

"I have," she replied, as she looked up with a happy smile.

"You have done what you could," said Fanny; "it is all that God requires of you, continue to do so." Annie's heart thrilled with joy, at the first faint hope that she was indeed[Pg 353] a Christian, and from that time her course, like that of the shining light, was onward and brighter.




At one period of my life, during a revival of religion, God led me by his Spirit to see and feel that the many years I had been a professed follower of Christ—which had been years of alternate revivings and backslidings, had only resulted in dishonor to Him and condemnation to my own soul. True, I had many times thought I had great enjoyment in the service of God, and was ever strict in all the outward observances of religion. But my heart was not fixed, and my affections were easily turned aside and fastened upon minor objects. In connection with this humiliating view of my past life, a deep sense of my responsibilities as a mother, having children old enough to give themselves to God, and still unreconciled to him, weighed me to the earth.

I plainly saw that God could not consistently convert them while I lived so inconsistent a life. I felt that if they were lost I was responsible. I gave myself to seek the Lord with all my heart, by fasting and prayer. One day, in conversation with my dear pastor, I told him my trials, and he said to me, "What you want is a baptism of the Holy Ghost. Give yourself up to seek this richest of all blessings." I did so—and rested not until this glorious grace was mine. Then, oh how precious was Jesus to my soul! How perfectly easy was it now to deny myself and follow Christ!

I now knew what it was to be led by the constraining love of Jesus, and to do those things that please him. Then it was that he verified to me his precious promise, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Very shortly, one of my dear[Pg 354] loved ones was brought to make an entire surrender of herself to Christ.

I trust I was also made the instrument of good to others, who professed to submit their hearts to my precious Savior. Will not many more be induced to take God at his word and believe him when he says, "Then shall ye find me, when ye shall search for me with all your hearts"?



The following paragraphs, which we have met in the course of our reading, contain a great deal of truth worthy the consideration of our readers.

Extravagance in living.—"One cannot wonder that the times occasionally get hard," said a venerable citizen the other day, "when one sees the way in which people live and ladies dress." We thought there was a great deal of truth in what the old gentleman said. Houses at from five hundred to a thousand dollars rent, brocades at three dollars a yard, bonnets at twenty, and shawls, and cloaks, &c., from fifty dollars up, are enough to embarrass any community that indulges in such extravagances as Americans do. For it is not only the families of realized wealth, who could afford it, that spend money in this way, but those who are yet laboring to make a fortune, and who, by the chances of trade, may fail of this desirable result. Everybody wishes to live, now-a-days, as if already rich. The wives and daughters of men, not worth two thousand a-year, dress as rich nearly as those of men worth ten or twenty thousand. The young, too, begin where their parents left off. Extravagance, in a word, is piled on extravagance, till

"Alps o'er Alps arise."
[Pg 355]

The folly of this is apparent. The sums thus lavished go for mere show, and neither refine the mind nor improve the heart. They gratify vanity, that is all. By the practice of a wise economy, most families might, in time, entitle themselves to such luxuries; and then indulgence in them would not be so reprehensible. If there are two men, each making a clear two thousand a-year, and one lays by a thousand at interest, while the other spends his entire income, the first will have acquired a fortune in sixteen years, sufficient to yield him an income equal to his accustomed expenses, while the other will be as poor as when he started in life. And so of larger sums. In fine, any man, by living on half of what he annually makes, be it more or less, can, before he is forty, acquire enough, and have it invested in good securities, to live for the rest of his life in the style in which he has been living all along. Yet how few do it! But what prevents? Extravagance! extravagance! and again extravagance!

Wives and carpets.—In the selection of a carpet, you should always prefer one with small figures, for the two webs, of which the fabric consists, are always more closely interwoven than in carpeting where large figures are wrought. "There is a good deal of true philosophy in this," says one, "that will apply to matters widely different from the selection of carpets. A man commits a sad mistake when he selects a wife that cuts too large a figure on the green carpet of life—in other words, makes much display. The attractions fade out—the web of life becomes weak—and all the gay figures, that seemed so charming at first, disappear like summer flowers in autumn. This is what makes the bachelors, or some of them. The wives of the present day wish to cut too large a figure in the carpet of life."

[Pg 356]



Through Him alone have we access with boldness to the throne of grace. He is our advocate with the Father. When the believer appears before God in secret, the Savior appears also: for he "ever liveth to make intercession for us." He hath not only directed us to call upon his Father as "Our Father," and to ask him to supply our daily need, and to forgive our trespasses; but hath graciously assured us, that "whatsoever (we) shall ask in his name, he will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."—(John 14:13.) And saith (verse 14), "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." And again (John 15:23, 24), "Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it you. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."

All needful blessings suited to our various situations and circumstances in this mortal life, all that will be necessary for us in the hour of death, and all that can minister to our felicity in a world of glory, hath he graciously promised, and given us a command to ask for, in his name. And what is this but to plead, when praying to our heavenly Father, that Jesus hath sent us; and to ask and expect the blessings for his sake alone?

H. More.

[Pg 357]




A summons from the king! What can it mean? What can he know of her? She is, indeed, the wife of one of his "mighty men," but though he highly esteems her husband, he can have no interest in her. She meditates. Her cheek pales. Can he have heard evil tidings from the distant city of the Ammonites, and would he break kindly to her news of her husband's death? It cannot be. Why should he do this for her more than for hundreds of others in like trouble? Again, she ponders, and now a crimson hue mounts to her temples—her fatal beauty! Away with the thought—it is shame to dwell upon it—would she wrong by so foul a suspicion the Lord's anointed? She wearies herself with surmises, and all in vain. But there is the command, and she must be gone. The king's will is absolute. Whatever that summons imports, "dumb acquiescence" is her only part. She goes forth in her youth, beauty and happiness—she returns—

Weeks pass, and behold another message, but this time it is the king who receives, and Bathsheba who sends. What is signified in those few words from a woman's hand, that can so unnerve him who "has his ten thousands slain"? It is now his turn to tremble and look pale. Yet a little while, and he, the man after God's own heart, the chosen ruler of his people—the idol of the nation, shall be proclaimed guilty of a heinous and abominable crime, and shall, according to the laws of the land, be subjected to an ignominious death. He ponders now. Would he had thought of all this before, but it is too late. The consequences of his ungoverned passion stare him in the face and well nigh overwhelm him. Something must be done, and that speedily. He cannot[Pg 358] have it thus. He has begun to fall, and the enemy of souls, is, as ever, at hand to suggest the second false and ruinous step.

Another summons. A messenger from the king to Joab. "Send me Uriah the Hittite." It is peremptory; no reasons are given, and Joab does as he is bidden. Unsuspecting as loyal, Uriah hastens on his way, mindful only of duty, and is soon in the presence of his royal master, who, always kind, is now remarkably attentive to his wants and thoughtful of his interests. He inquires for the commander of his forces and of the war and how the people fare, and it would almost seem had recalled him only to speak kindly to him and manifest his regard for the army, though he had not himself led them to battle.

But though unsuspecting and deceived, the high-minded and faithful soldier cannot even unwittingly be made to answer the end for which he has been summoned, and after two days he returns to Joab, bearing a letter, of whose terrible contents he little dreams and is happy in his ignorance.

Meantime Bathsheba has heard of his arrival in Jerusalem, and is momentarily expecting his appearance. Alas! that she should dread his coming. Alas! that she should shudder at every sound of approaching footsteps. How fearful is the change which has come over her since last she looked on his loved face! He is her husband still, and she, she is his lawful loving wife. Never was he so dear to her as now. Never did his noble character so win her admiration, as she contemplates all the scenes of her wedded life and reviews the evidences of it in the past. How happy they have been! What bliss has been hers in the enjoyment of his esteem and affection! She is even now to him, in his absence, the one object of tender regard and constant thought. She knows how fondly he dwells on her love, and how precious to him is the beauty which first won him to her side. She is the "ewe lamb which he has nourished, which has drank from his own cup and lain in his bosom"—she is his all. He has been long away; the dangers of the battle field have surrounded[Pg 359] him, and now he is returned, alive, well; her heart bounds, she cannot wait till she shall see him; yet how can she meet him? Ah! fatal remembrance, how bitterly it has recalled her from her vision of delight. It is not true! it cannot be true! it is but a horrible dream! Her heart is true? She would at any moment have died for him. The entire devotion of her warm nature is his. She had no willing part in that revolting crime. Oh! must she suffer as if she had been an unfaithful wife? Must she endure the anguish of seeing him turn coldly from her in some future day? Must she now meet him and have all her joy marred by that hateful secret? Must she take part in deceiving him, in imposing upon him—him, the noble, magnanimous, pure-minded husband? Oh, wretched one! was ever sorrow like hers?

The day passes, and the night, and he comes not. Can he have suspected the truth? Slowly the tedious hours go by, while she endures the racking tortures of suspense. The third day dawns, and with it come tidings that he has returned to Rabbah, and his words of whole-souled devotion to his duty and his God are repeated in her ears.—Faint not yet, strong heart; a far more bitter cup is in store for thee.

Bathsheba is again a wife, the wife of a king, and in her arms lies her first-born son. Terrible was the tempest which burst over her head, and her heart will never again know aught of the serene, untroubled happiness which once she knew. The storm has indeed lulled, but she sees the clouds gathering new blackness, and her stricken spirit shrinks and faints with foreboding fears. The little innocent being which she holds fondly to her bosom, which seemed sent from heaven to heal her wounds, lies panting in the grasp of fierce disease. She has sent for the king, and together they look upon the suffering one. Full well he knows, that miserable man, what mean those moans and piteous signs of distress, and what they betoken. He gazes on the wan, anguished features of his wife as she bends over her child; his thoughts revert hurriedly to her surpassing beauty when first he saw[Pg 360] her—a vision of the murdered Uriah flits before him—the three victims of his guilt and the message of Nathan, which he has just received—the stern words, "Thou art the man," bring a full and realizing sense of the depth to which he has fallen, and overwhelmed with remorse and wretchedness, he leaves the chamber to give vent to his grief, to fast and weep and pray, in the vain hope of averting the threatened judgment.

Seven days of alternate hope and fear, of watching and care have fled, and Bathsheba is childless. Another wave has rolled over her. God grant it be the last. Surely she has drained the cup of sorrow. She sits solitary and sad, bowed down with her weight of woes; her thoughts following ever the same weary track; direful images present to her imagination; her frame racked and trembling; the heavens clothed in sackcloth, and life for ever divested of happiness and delight. The king enters and seats himself beside her. And if Bathsheba is changed, David is also from henceforth an altered man. "Broken in spirit by the consciousness of his deep sinfulness, humbled in the eyes of his subjects and his influence with them weakened by their knowledge of his crimes; even his authority in his own household, and his claim to the reverence of his sons, relaxed by his loss of character;" filled also with fearful anticipations of the future, which is shadowed by the dark prophecy of Nathan—he is from this time wholly unlike what he has been in former days. "The balance of his character is broken. Still he is pious—but even his piety takes an altered aspect. Alas for him! The bird which once rose to heights unattained before by mortal pinion, filling the air with its joyful songs, now lies with maimed wing upon the ground, pouring forth its doleful cries to God." He has scarcely begun to descend the declivity of life, yet he appears infirm and old. He is as one who goes down to the grave mourning. Thus does he seem to Bathsheba as he sits before her. But there is more in David thus humble, contrite and smitten, to win her sympathy and even love, than there was in David the absolute, and so far as she was concerned, tyrannical[Pg 361] monarch, though surrounded with splendors, the favorite of God and man. A few days since had he assayed the part of comforter, she would have felt her heart revolt; but now repentant and forgiven, though not unpunished by Jehovah, she can listen without bitterness while he speaks of the mercy of the Lord which has suffered them both to live, though the law could have required their death, and which sustains even while it chastises.

Another message—by the hand of the prophet to David and Bathsheba—a message of peace and tender consideration—a name for their new-born child, the gift to them from his own hand. "Call him Jedediah—beloved of the Lord."

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out."' In his dealings with his sinful children how far are his ways above the ways of men! "As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him." He dealeth not with them after their sins—he rewardeth them not according to their iniquities, but knowing their frame—remembering that they are dust—that a breath of temptation will carry them away—pitying them with a most tender compassion, he deals with them according to the everlasting and abounding and long-suffering love of his own mighty heart. Whenever those who have known him best, to whom he has manifested his grace most richly, whom he has blessed with most abundant privileges, fall, in some evil hour, and without reason, upon the slightest cause, bring dishonor on his name and give occasion to his enemies to blaspheme, and incur his just judgment, behold how he treats them. Upon the first sign of contrition, the first acknowledgment "I have sinned," how prompt, how free, how full is the response, "The Lord also hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die." No lingering resentment—no selfish reminding of his wounded honor—no thoughts but of love, warm and tender, self-forgetting love and pity for his sorrowing child. Even when he must resort to chastisement, "his strange work"—when he must for[Pg 362] his great name's sake, raise up for David evil out of his own house—when he must, before the sun and before all Israel, show his displeasure at sin; with one hand he applies the rod, and with the other pours into the bleeding heart the balm of consolation, so pure, so free, that his children almost feel that they could never have understood his goodness but for the need of his severity. When, notwithstanding the earnest prayer of the father, he smites the child of his shame, how soon does he return with a better gift—a son of peace, who shall remind him only of days of contrition and the favor of God—a Jedediah, who shall ever be a daily witness to his forgiving love.

And to those who suffer innocently from the crimes of others, how tender are the compassions of our heavenly Father. To the injured, afflicted Bathsheba is given the honor of being the mother of Israel's wisest, most mighty and renowned king; and she is, by father and son, by the prophet of the Lord, by the aspirant to the throne, and by all around her, ever approached with that deference and confidence which her truly dignified character and gentle virtues, not less than her high station, demand. And while not a word of reproach is permitted to be left on record against her, on that monument of which we have before spoken, among mighty and worthy names, destined to stand where many of earth's wisest and greatest are forgotten, with the progenitors of our Lord and Savior, is inscribed hers "who was the wife of Urias."

[Pg 363]




The second and special object of education, is the preparation of youth for the particular sphere of action to which he designs to devote his life. It may seem at first, that this general education of which I have already spoken, as it is most comprehensive and reaches to the highest range of subjects, so it should be the only style of training for an immortal mind. If we regarded man simply as spiritual and immortal, this might be true; but when we descend to the practical realities of life; when we behold him in a mixed nature, on one side touching the earth, on the other surveying the heavens, his bodily nature having its necessities as well as his spiritual, we find ourselves limited in the manner of education and the pursuit of knowledge. The division of labor and of objects of pursuit is the natural result of these physical necessities in connection with the imperfection of the human mind and the constitution of civilized society.

This division of labor constitutes the starting point for the diverse training of men, and modifies, in part, all systems of instruction that cover childhood and youth. This is, at first, an education common to all. The general invigoration of the intellect, and the preparation of the mind for the grand, the highest object of life on which I first dwelt, embrace all the earliest years of youth. There are elements of power common to all men, and instruments of knowledge effective for both the general pursuits of a liberal education, and the limited pursuits of physical toil. The education of the nursery and school are equally useful to all. But when you advance much beyond this, far enough to enable the youth to fix upon his probable line of life, then the necessity of an[Pg 364] early application to that pursuit at once modifies his course of education.

When we pass from the diverse professions into which the growth of civilized society has divided men, to the distinctions which exist between man and woman, we enter upon a still clearer department of our subject. The differences which are here to give character to education, are not incidental and temporary, but inherent and commensurate with life itself. The physical constitution of woman gives rise to her peculiar life. It determines alike her position in society and her sphere of labor.

In all ages and climes, celebrated by travelers, historians, poets, she stands forth as a being of better impulses and nobler affections than him, of whom she is the complement. That which is rugged in him, is tempered by softness in her; that which is strong in him, is weak in her; that which is fierce in him is mild in her. Designed of God to complete the cycle of human life, and through a twofold being present a perfect Adam, she is thus no less different from man than essential to his perfection. Her nature at once introduces her into a peculiar sphere of action. Soon, maternal cares rest upon her; her throne is above the family circle; her scepter of love and authority holds together the earliest and happiest elements of social life. To her come young minds for sympathy, for care, for instruction. Over that most wonderful process of development, when a young immortal is growing every day into new thoughts, emotions and habits, which are to abide with it for ever, she presides. By night she watches, by day she instructs. Her smile and her frown are the two strongest powers on earth, influencing human minds in the hour when influence stamps itself upon the heart in eternal characters. It is from this point of view, you behold the glorious purpose of that attractive form embosoming a heart enriched with so copious a treasure of all the sweetest elements of life. She is destined to fill a sphere of the noblest kind. In the course of her life, in the training of a household, her nature reveals an excellence in its adaptation to the purpose for which she is set apart, that signally illustrates[Pg 365] the wisdom of God, while it attracts the homage of man. Scarcely a nobler position exists in the world than that of a truly Christian mother; surrounded by children grown up to maturity; moulded by her long discipline of instruction and affectionate authority into true-hearted, intelligent men and women; the ornament of society, the pillars of religion; looking up to her with a reverent affection that grows deeper with the passage of time; while she quietly waits the advent of death, in the assurance that, in these living representatives, her work will shine on for ages on earth, and her influence spread itself beyond the broadest calculation of human reason, when she has been gathered to the just.

How then are we to educate this being a little lower than the angels; this being thus separated from the rest of the world, and divided off, by the finger of God writing it upon her nature, to a peculiar and most noble office-work in society? It is not as a lawyer, to wrangle in courts; it is not as a clergyman, to preach in our pulpits; it is not as a physician, to live day and night in the saddle and sick room; it is not as a soldier, to go forth to battle; it is not as the mechanic, to lift the ponderous sledge, and sweat at the burning furnace; it is not as a farmer, to drive the team afield and up-turn the rich bosom of the earth. These arts and toils of manhood are foreign to her gentle nature, alien to her feeble constitution, and inconsistent with her own high office as the mother and primary educator of the race. If their pursuits are permitted to modify their education, so as to prepare them for a particular field of labor, proceeding upon the same supposition, it is equally just and appropriate, that her training should take its complexion from the sphere of life she is destined to fill. So far as it is best, education should be specific, it should have reference to her perfect qualification for her appropriate work. This work has two departments. The first, which is most limited, embraces the routine of housewifery and the management of the ordinary concerns of domestic life.

The second department of her duties, as it is the most important,[Pg 366] so it must be regarded and exalted in an enlightened system of female education. It is as the centre of social influence; the genial power of domestic life; the soul of refinement; the clear, shining orb, beneath whose beams the germs of thought, feeling, and habit in the young immortal are to vegetate and grow to maturity; the ennobling companion of man, his light in darkness, his joy in sorrow, uniting her practical judgment with his speculative wisdom, her enthusiastic affection with his colder nature, her delicacy of taste and sentiment with his boldness, and so producing a happy mean, a whole character; natural, beautiful and strong; it is as filling these high offices that woman is to be regarded and treated in the attempt to educate her. The description of her sphere of life at once suggests the character of her training. Whatever in science, literature and art is best adapted to prepare her to fill this high position with greatest credit, and spread farthest around it her appropriate influence, belongs of right to her education. Her intellect is to be thoroughly disciplined, her judgment matured, her taste refined, her power of connected and just thought developed, and a love for knowledge imparted, so that she may possess the ability and the desire for future progress.

Who will say that this refiner of the world, this minister of the holiest and happiest influences to man, shall be condemned to the scantiest store of intellectual preparation for an entertainment so large and noble? Is it true that a happy ignorance is the best qualification for a woman's life; that in seeking to exalt the fathers and sons, we are to begin by the degradation of mothers and daughters? Is there anything in that life incompatible with the noblest education, or which such an education will not ennoble and adorn? We are not seeking in all this to make our daughters profound historians, poets, philosophers, linguists, authors. Success of this high character in these pursuits, is usually the result of an ardent devotion for years to some one of them, for which it is rarely a female has the requisite opportunities. But should they choose occasionally some particular walk of literature, and by the power of genius vivify and adorn it; should there be[Pg 367] found here and there one with an intense enthusiasm for some high pursuit, combined with that patient toil which, associated with a vigorous intellect, is the well-spring of so many glorious streams of science, should not such a result of this enlarged education be hailed as the sign of its excellence, and rejoiced in as the proof of its power? The Mores, the Hemanses, the De Staels, and others among the immortal dead and the living, who compose that bright galaxy of female wit shining ever refulgent—have they added nothing to human life, and given no quick, upward impulse of the world? Besides, that system of education which, in occasional instances, uniting with a material of peculiar excellence, is sufficient to enkindle an orb whose light, passing far beyond the circle of home, shall shine upon a great assembly of minds, will only be powerful, in the multitude of cases, to impart that intellectual discipline, that refinement of thought, that power of expression, that sympathy with taste for knowledge, which will best prepare her for her position, and enable her in after life to carry forward her own improvement and that of her associated household.

The finest influence of such an education is the development of a character at once symmetrical, refined, vigorous, confident in its own resources, yet penetrated with a consciousness of its distance from the loftiest heights of power; a character which will be an ennobling life in a household, gently influencing others into quiet paths of excellence; to be felt rather than seen, to be understood rather in its results than admired for any manifest attainments in science; an intellect informed and active, in sympathy with what is known and read among men; able to bear its part in healthful discussions, yet not presuming to dictate its opinions; in the presence of which ignorance becomes enlightened and weakness strong; creating around its home an atmosphere of taste and intelligence, in which the rudest life loses some of its asperity, and the roughest toils much of their severity. Such is the form of female character we seek to create by so enlarged an education.

The education of the heart reaches deeper, and spreads its[Pg 368] influence further than all things else. The intellect is only a beautiful piece of mechanism, until the affections pour into it their tremendous vitality, and send it forth in all directions instinct with power. When the "dry-light" of the understanding is penetrated by the liquid light of the emotions, it becomes both light and heat, powerful to vivify, quicken, and move all things. In woman, the scepter of her chief power springs from the affections. Endowed most richly with sensibility, with all the life of varied and vigorous impulse and deep affection, she needs to have early inwrought, through a powerful self-discipline, an entire command of her noble nature. There are few more incongruous and sadly affecting things than a woman of fine intellect and strong passions, without self-control or truly religious feeling. She is like a ship whose rudder is unhung; she is like a horse, rapid, high-spirited, untamed to the bridle; or, higher still, she is like a cherub fallen from its sphere of glory, with no attending seraph; without law, without the control of love, whose course no intelligence can anticipate and no wisdom guide. Religion seems to have in woman its most appropriate home. To her are appointed many hours of pain, of trial, of silent communion with her own thoughts. Separated, if she act the true woman, from many of the stirring scenes in which man mingles, she is admirably situated to nourish a life of love and faith within the circle of her own home. Debarred from the pursuits which furnish so quickening an excitement to the other sex, she either is confined to the routine of domestic life and the quiet society of a social circle, or devotes herself to those frivolous pleasures which enervate while they excite; which, like the inspiration of the wine-cup, are transient in their joy, but deep and lasting in their evil. But when religion enters her heart it opens a new and that the grandest array of objects. It imparts a new element of thought, a wonderful depth and earnestness of character. It elevates before her an ennobling object, and enlists her fine sensibilities, emotions and affections in its pursuit. Coming thus through religion into harmony with[Pg 369] God, she ascends to the highest position a woman can occupy in this world.

To woman should Christianity be especially dear. It has led her out of the house of bondage; it has lifted her from the stool of the servant to an equality with the master; it has exalted her from the position of a mere minister of sensual pleasure, the toy of a civilized paganism, to a full companionship with man; it has given her soul—once spurned, degraded, its immortality doubted, its glory eclipsed—a priceless value; and shed around her whole character the radiance of heaven. Let pure religion create the atmosphere around a woman's spirit, and breathe its life into her heart; let it refine her affections, sanctify her intellect, elevate her aims, and hallow her physical beauty; let it mould her early character by its rich influences, and cause the love of Jehovah to consecrate all earthly love, and she is indeed to our race of all the gifts of time, the last and best, the crown of our glory, the perfection of our life.



By one of our little friends, seven years of age, for a little sister of five, who had committed an offense.

Oh great and glorious God!
Thy mercy sweet bestow
Upon a little sister,
So very full of woe.

Oh Lord, pray let her live,
For lo! at thy right hand,
To intercede for sinners,
The blessed Savior stands.

Then pardon her, Most High!
Pray cast her not away,
But blot out all her sins,
And cleanse her heart to-day.
[Pg 370]




"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him."—Gen. 2:18.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."—Gen. 1:27.

These two passages settle beyond controversy the oft-disputed question as to the equality of the sexes. In the image of God created he man; male and female created he them. Had God created him male and female, in one person, the question of equality could never have arisen. Nor should it arise because in his wisdom he has been pleased to create man in two persons—both man and woman are made in the image of God. It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a help meet for him. The exact rendering of the original translated help meet, is an help as before him, i.e. one corresponding to him, a counterpart of himself, in a word, a second self, contrived to meet what is still wanting to his perfection, and to furnish mutually a social and superior happiness, of which solitude is incapable. A more delicate and beautiful form was united in the woman to a mind possessing gentler and lovelier affections, a more refined taste, and more elegant sentiments. In the man, a firmer and stronger frame was joined to a mind more robust. In each, the other was intended to find that which was wanting in itself, and to approve, love, and admire both qualities and actions, of which itself was imperfectly capable; while in their reciprocations of tenderness, and good will, each beheld every blessing greatly enhanced, and intensely endeared. The only instance in which these mental and moral qualities were ever united in one person, is in the Lord Jesus Christ. And I would[Pg 371] here note the fact, that in Christ we have as perfect an example of the woman's nature as we have of man's nature. All the kindness, gentleness, softness, endurance, and unselfishness of woman were in him combined, with all the majesty, firmness and strength of the manly nature. All dispute, therefore, about the superiority or equality of man and woman is absurd and inconclusive. They stand on the same platform, were both made in the image of God, and the platform upon which they stand is wide enough for them both, and not completely filled until both are upon it.

My object, however, in selecting these passages is to present some thoughts on the mission of woman in our world, which have not perhaps been as prominently presented as they deserve. Men have their distinct objects in life before them, their various professions. One aims to be a lawyer, another a merchant, another a physician, another a mechanic, and thus through all the vocations of life. But what is woman's aim? what her object in life? These questions are more or less frequently asked in our day, and asked in reference to that general spirit of reform and progress of society which seems to characterize our age, and in relation to which, just in proportion as men forget to listen to the Word of God, they grope about in the darkness of their own feeble light.

Our theme then is Woman's Mission.

What is it?

The general answer to this inquiry is very plain and easy. God created man in his own image; male and female created he them. The general design, therefore, of the creation of woman is precisely the same as that of the man. He created but one race when he made them male and female, and had in view but one object. In relation then to that object, no distinction is to be drawn between man and woman, and the perfect equality of the two sexes again becomes apparent. Indeed, it is a matter of wonder that this question of superiority has ever risen, or at least has ever been agitated by reflecting men, who for one moment considered the manner in which our race is propagated in the world. Nothing ever rises above its own nature. A spark, however high it may[Pg 372] rise, however brilliantly it may shine in the blue ethereal, can never become a star. It ever remains but a spark, and so the offspring of a woman cannot, in its nature, rise above its origin. A man can never become superior in nature to his mother, and can certainly never, with right or justice, exercise authority over her. He may be stronger, wiser, and better, but he cannot be a superior being. Such a claim is alike foolish and despicable. The two sexes, therefore, being one in nature, their chief end is one, and reason and revelation unite in the assertion that man was created to glorify God and enjoy him forever. God made all things for himself. He is presented to us as the sole and supreme object of our love and worship. His laws are our only rule of conduct, and he himself the sole Lord of our souls. This he claims from us as creatures. This, at the same time, he has required with the promise of eternal life to obedience, and the threatening of eternal death to disobedience; thus showing us that he regards this end as of infinite importance—for this end, his own glory, happiness in himself. When we had sinned he sent his Son into the world, and formed the plan to save our immortal souls from woe, while from the nature of the case it is evident that this is the highest and noblest end which man can accomplish. What can be a higher aim than to be like God? What can God confer superior to himself as a source of happiness? As he is the source and sum of all good, both moral and natural, to know and to love him is to know and love all that is excellent, great, and lovely, and to serve him is to do all that is amiable or desirable, all that is pleasing to God or profitable to his rational creatures. True happiness and true worth are thus attained, and thus alone. There is, there can be no other design in the creation of man than this, to glorify God by loving, serving, and enjoying him; by obeying his laws, living for him, living to him. This, then, is of course the general answer to the inquiry, What is woman's mission? To glorify God and to enjoy him forever. She, as well as man, has come short of this. She, as well as man, therefore, needs atoning blood and a renewed heart. She is a fallen, depraved being, influenced,[Pg 373] until she comes under divine grace, by unholy and unworthy motives. Her first and imperative duty, therefore, if she would fulfill her mission, is to return to God by the way of his appointment, to come to Jesus, repenting of sin and believing on him, to receive pardon and eternal life. This, indeed, is the imperative duty of all, but it will be seen in the prosecution of our subject, that, as far as the welfare of society is concerned, it is most imperative upon woman. She needs it most for her own happiness here; she needs it most on account of her greater influence upon the happiness of others.

Having thus seen the general and ultimate design of woman's creation is to glorify God, our next inquiry is, Is there any particular mode by which she is to fulfill this duty? How can she most glorify God and enjoy him in this life? In order to answer these inquiries it becomes necessary for us to examine her peculiar nature. That woman differs from man in her very nature is obvious, and the peculiarities of her organization clearly intimate that her Maker has assigned to her peculiar duties—that she has her allotted sphere for which infinite wisdom has fitted her. To enter upon all these peculiarities would require a volume. I must therefore be content with a brief notice of some of the more prominent and acknowledged ones.

Her physical organization is more delicate than that of man. She possesses not the muscular power which belongs to him, and is therefore not designed to undergo the outward toil and hard labor of life. The same toil and physical exertion which will strengthen and increase the power of the man, will often weaken and destroy her more delicate organism. And when, in addition to this, you consider that to her alone is committed the entire maternal care, you have not only the difference between the two sexes distinctly marked, but you have also an intimation of where her peculiar sphere is to be found, and in accordance with this physical difference you will find a corresponding difference in her true spiritual and moral nature. No one who has had around him a youthful family circle has failed to notice that even from the cradle[Pg 374] there is a difference in the very nature of sons and daughters. Every little girl knows that she is different from boys of her own age, though she may not be able just now to point out that difference; she knows that there are many things which boys like, and which they do, which she does not like and will not do, and this difference only widens as we advance in life.

There is generally a delicacy of feeling, of thought, and of action, corresponding with the delicacy of her physical organism. God hath made her gentle by nature, and kind. She likes and longs to be loved and to love, must have some object on which she can center her affections. She admires flowers, and everything which is beautiful and delicate like herself. She has a finer imagination and more curiosity than men. She is more conscientious and truthful, and though a fallen, sinful creature, and by nature like us all, a hater of God, yet there is not so decided an opposition to religious things in her heart, in her loving nature; there is not, indeed, a predisposition towards a God of love, but a peculiar adaptation which assimilates more easily to religious things when her heart is touched by the Holy Spirit. The beauty, the harmony, the adaptation of the Gospel to the wants of our fallen nature, are more apparent to her, more quickly perceived. This may also, perhaps, be traced to another peculiarity which I must not forget to mention—her disposition to lean on others. Unlike man, she loves to be dependent—place her in danger and she naturally flies to her brother, her father, or her husband. I am aware that to all these things there are exceptions—there are unwomanly women as there are effeminate men, but the fewness of the exceptions only proves the general truth. England had her masculine Elizabeth, but she had only one.[Pg 375]



What wonderful provision has God made for the happiness, safety, and well-being of infants. He has implanted in the human breast a natural love of offspring, and has provided for each child parents, who should be of mature age, and who should have been so trained by their parents, that by combined wisdom, sagacity and experience, it may be duly watched over and cared for, and so trained as to answer life's great end, viz., "To glorify God and enjoy him forever."

Then how wisely is the body framed, and most wonderfully adapted to answer all the purposes of life, and especially during the period of infancy and childhood, when the body must be more or less exposed to accidents; while therefore it is destitute of experience, and cannot take care of itself, its bones are all soft and yielding, and more particularly of the skull which incloses and protects the brain, and those of the limbs are made flexible, so that if it falls they may bend and not break.

We see daily some new development of wonderful powers and faculties in every new-born infant. An infant has a natural and instinctive desire to exercise its limbs, its voice, and indeed all its bodily functions. How soon it begins to laugh and coo like a little dove, to show you that it is social in its disposition, asking for your sympathy in return.

It is curious and interesting to watch a young child when it first opens its eyes upon the light of day or the light of a candle. With what evident satisfaction does it slowly open and close its eyelids, so adapted—to say nothing of the wonderful mechanism of the eye itself—to let in sufficient light to gratify desire, or to shut out every ray that would prove injurious to the untried organs.

What incipient efforts are first made to feel and examine different objects, and how very soon even infants become possessed of some of the elementary principles of the most[Pg 376] abstruse sciences, and that without a teacher. How many thousands of times will you see it endeavor to put up its little hands before its face, before it is able to control its movements so as to be able to examine them critically.

We propose to dwell, hereafter, somewhat minutely upon the all-important subject of infant training, and in a way to show the care and attention which both parents should bestow upon each child, so as to provide proper food, clothing, and the means of self-culture and amusement, and absolute control over it at the earliest possible period—the earlier the better, so as to secure "a sound mind in a sound body."

It is really pitiable to find so large a proportion of young parents who seem to think that but little instruction can be imparted, and in fact that but little is needed in the care and management of infants, whereas their education commences, in very many respects, and in a very important sense, as soon as they are born.

Man is a complex being, composed of mind, soul and body, mysteriously united as to their functions, in beautiful harmony with each other, yet so distinct as absolutely to require widely different methods of training, that each shall do its office without encroaching upon the others, and in a way to secure a symmetrical character.

No wonder the proper training of children should become painfully interesting to Christian parents, when they consider the pains-taking, the watchfulness, the restraints, the self-denial, and the encouragement which may be requisite for this. The faith and prayers which may be necessary to bring their children into the fold of the Good Shepherd, who in his last commission to his disciples did not forget to remind them, saying, "Feed my lambs," and whose promise and prediction, before his coming into the world, was, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings I have ordained praise." The Scriptures inform us that it was the purpose of God when he "set the solitary in families," to "seek a goodly seed."

How delightful and consoling then is the thought, in this world of sin and temptation, where there are three mighty[Pg 377] obstacles to the final salvation of our children—the world, the flesh and the devil, that angels, ministering spirits, are appointed to "keep their watchful stations" around the families of the just. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

When parents cheerfully fall in with the great designs of God, and in dependence upon him in the use of the divinely appointed means, in his preparing a people to himself, what a glorious combination there is in all this to fulfill his gracious purposes. Not only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, but the angelic hosts, and all good people by their prayers and labors, help forward this grand and glorious design.

When beyond this sublunary sphere, and the vail is removed which now hides from our view the realities of the unseen world, with what different emotions may we suppose parents will look upon their mission on earth. It will indeed seem wonderful that they should have been thus intrusted with the care and guardianship of children, which in a peculiar sense is their own, and in this respect widely differing from the angelic band, whose happiness, though they are permitted to minister to the saints, in such efforts and experience, must be inferior to that which parents will feel in training their own offspring—even emulating the all-wise Creator in his preparing a people for himself. It is certainly but natural to suppose that the happiest souls in Heaven will be those parents who are the spiritual parents of their own children.

The benefits which must result to parents in the careful training of infants—children who are, by means of parental faith and fidelity, converted in early life, can scarcely be apprehended, certainly not fully, in this world, even by the most judicious Christian parents.

Considering the instinctive love of offspring which God has implanted in the parental bosom, it is most painful to see the utter dislike which so many persons at the present day, who have entered the marriage relation, evince to the care and responsibility which the guardianship of children must ever involve.[Pg 378]

There is something in all this manifestly wrong. It is unnatural. It is even monstrous—even below the brute creation. It interferes with the whole economy of nature, and frustrates the wise and benevolent designs of the Creator, when he set the solitary in families. No person who takes into view eternal realities and prospects, can, while so doing, indulge in such selfish, carnal and sordid views. Those who are without natural affection are classed by Paul with the enemies of all righteousness. We cannot therefore but look suspiciously upon all such as deny the marriage relation, cause of abuses (this is not the way to cure them), or, for any pretext, profess to plead the superior advantages of those who, for reasons best known to themselves, may choose a state of "single blessedness," however plausible or cogent their arguments may appear in favor of such a choice. We may not do evil that good may come, or in other words, "root up the tares, lest we also root up the wheat."



Some years since a small volume was sent to me by a friend, containing an account of the labors of a pious missionary along the line of the Erie canal. I read it with great interest, and I trust, with profit. God honors his word; he honors his faithful servants; and when the Great Day shall reveal the secrets of this world, it will be seen to the glory of divine grace, that many a humble missionary was made the instrument of eternal consolation to the poor neglected orphan—in answer to a pious mother's prayers.

I beg leave to ask the insertion in the Magazine of a touching scene, which occurred during a missionary tour of[Pg 379] the above friend of the outcast and neglected. I shall give the narrative chiefly in his own words.

"I called at a horse station one morning very early. The station keeper had just got up, and stood in the door. I told him my business, and that I desired to see his boys a few moments. He said his boys were in bed, and as I was an old man, he did not wish to have me abused. 'You had better go on and let my boys alone,' said he; 'they will most assuredly abuse you if they get up, for I have got a very wicked set of boys.' I told him the very reasons that he assigned why I should not see his boys, were the reasons why I wished to see them, for if they were very wicked boys, there was the greater necessity for their reformation; and as to the abuse, that was the least of my troubles, for my Master had been abused before me.

"'Well, sir,' said he, 'don't blame me, if you are abused.' He then awoke his boys, and as they came out, I talked to them. Instead of abusing, they listened attentively to me, and some of them were much affected. They took my tracts, and I presume, read them.

"On leaving them, I remarked, that I supposed the most of them were orphans, that I was the orphan's friend, and though I might never see them again, they might be assured they had my prayers daily, that they might be converted. There was one little fellow who, as I had observed, looked very sober, and who at the last remark cried right out. As I wished to take the same boat again, I stepped out of the station house, but found it had left, and I was walking along, looking for another boat, when I heard some one crying behind me, and turning round, saw that it was the little fellow who wept so much in the station house.

"He said, 'Sir, you told me you was the orphan's friend; will you stop? I want to ask you a question.'

"I asked him if it was because he had now discovered that he was a sinner, that he cried, and wished me to talk with him.

"'No, sir,' said he, 'I knew that three years ago.'

"I perceived, from his answer, he was an interesting boy,[Pg 380] and said to him, 'Sit down here, my son. How old are you?'

"'Thirteen,' he replied.

"'Where did you come from?'

"He said, three years ago his father moved from Massachusetts to Wayne county; he was a very poor man, and when they got to their journey's end they had nothing left. His father obtained the privilege of building a small log house to live in, on another man's land, but just as he had got the house finished, he was taken sick and died. I asked him if his father was a Christian, but afterwards regretted that I asked him the question, for it was a long time before he could answer it.

"At length he said, 'No, sir, if he had been a Christian, we could have given him up willingly. We had no hope for him; but my mother was a Christian. My mother, a sister seven years old, and myself, were all the family after my father died. I had no hope that I was a Christian when my father died; but my mother used to come up the ladder every night and kneel down, and put her hand upon my head, and pray that I might be converted. Often, when I was asleep, she would come, and her tears running into my face, would wake me. I knew that I was a sinner, but I hope God forgave my sins one night, while my dear mother was praying for me, and I still hope I was converted then.

"'About a year after my father died, my sister was taken sick and died in about two months. My mother was naturally feeble, and her sorrow for the loss of my father and sister wore upon her until she was confined to her bed. She lay there seven months, and last fall she died.'

"By this time the little fellow was so choked with grief that he could hardly speak. 'Then,' said he, 'I was taken sick, and lay all winter, not expecting to get well.' I shall never forget the appearance of that boy, and the expression of his countenance, when he said, 'I am a poor orphan, sir; I have nothing in this world except the clothes I have on.'

"All the clothes he had on would not have sold for twenty-five cents.[Pg 381]

"What an example is here to induce mothers to be faithful to their children. I wish to ask mothers if they have ever gone at the midnight hour and awoke their children by a mother's tears while pleading with God for the salvation of their souls?"

Many mothers—thousands of mothers—have done no such thing. They have neglected their own souls, and the souls of their dear children—and both have gone to the bar of God, unprepared for the solemn interview.

But some mothers have been more faithful, and what a rich and divine reward have they received! Many a son, now in glory, or on his way thither, owes his religious impressions to the prayers of a tender, faithful mother.

Nor should mothers be soon or easily discouraged! True, they may not live to see their prayers answered—but a covenant-keeping God will remember them, and in his own good time and chosen way give them an answer.

Though seed lie buried long in dust,
It shan't deceive our hope;
The precious grain can ne'er be lost,
For grace insures the crop.

The writer, perhaps, cannot better conclude this article than by another extract from the work alluded to, much to the same purpose as the one already cited.

"In conversing with the captain of a certain boat, I found him a very amiable and companionable man, although he acknowledged, that he had no reason to hope that he was a Christian. Said he, 'I ought to have been a Christian, long ago,' without giving his reasons for such an assertion. When the hour for prayer arrived, (I staid on his boat all night,) I asked him for a Bible. He seemed to be affected, and I did not know but he was destitute of a Bible. I told him I had one in my trunk, on the deck, and that if he had none, I would go up and get it. 'I have one,' said he, and unlocking his trunk, he took out a very nice Bible, and as he reached it out to me, the tears dropped on its cover. 'There, sir,' said he, 'is the last gift of a dying mother. My dear mother[Pg 382] gave me that Bible about two hours before she died; and her dying admonition I shall never forget. O, sir, I had one of the best of mothers. She would never go to bed without coming to my bed-side, and if I was asleep, she would awaken me, and pray for me before she retired. Twelve years have elapsed since she died, and five years of that time I have been on the ocean, five years on this canal; and the other two years traveling. I do not know that I have laid my head on my pillow and gone to sleep, during that time, without thinking of the prayers of my mother: yet I am not a Christian; but the prayers of my mother are ended. I have put off the subject too long, but from this time I will attend to it. I will begin now and do all that I can to be a Christian.'

"I hope those dear mothers, who may have an opportunity of reading these sketches, will inquire of their own hearts, 'Will my own dear children, those little pledges of God's love, remember my prayers twelve years after my head is laid in the narrow house appointed for all the living?' Oh, could we place that estimate on the soul which we should do, in the light of eternity, how much anxiety would be manifested on the part of parents for their children, and for the whole families of the earth. The midnight slumber would more often be disturbed by cries to God, and tears for this fallen, apostate, rebellious world."

Mothers! what do you think of such facts? And what are they designed to teach you? Every one of them, as you meet them in the pilgrimage of life, is a voice of encouragement from above. Has God been kind towards other mothers? he can be kind towards you. Has he blessed their efforts? he can bless yours. Has he heard their prayers? he can hear and answer yours.

Say not that you have prayed, labored, watched, and all in vain! How long have you thus toiled? thus wrestled? Years? Well, and may be you will have to toil and strive years to come. What then! Your Heavenly Father knows precisely when it is best to answer you, and how! Suppose you pray and labor ten, twenty, thirty years—and then you succeed—won't the salvation of your children be a[Pg 383] sufficient reward? How do worldly parents do? Take an example from them. They spend life in laying up this world's goods for their children—treasures which perish in the using. Surely, then, you may, with great propriety, devote a few years to secure an imperishable crown of glory for your sons and daughters. For what is the present world—its gold of California or its gems of Golconda—what are its honors—its stars, coronets, crowns—to an inheritance in the kingdom of God!

The time has not yet come when parents appreciate this subject as they will do. Oh, no! and until they realize their duty, their privileges, the purchase which they have on the throne of God by means of faith, and their covenant interest in the blood of Jesus, there is reason to fear that many children will perish, but who need not perish—who would not perish were their parents as faithful and energetic as parents will be in some more distant age of the world.

But why postpone what may be realized now? Why relinquish blessings of vast and incomparable magnitude to others which you may enjoy, and which it is no benevolence to forego for others, because when they come upon the stage, there will be blessings for them in abundance and to spare? Let the sentiment fall upon your hearts, and make its appropriate impression there—"While God invites, how blest the day!"

If the candle of your earthly comfort be blown out, remember it is but a little while to the break of day, when there will be no more need of candles.

Christian, wouldst thou have an easy death? then get a mortified heart; the surgeon's knife is scarcely felt when it cuts off a mortified member.[Pg 384]



The beams of morn were glittering in the east,
The hoary frost had gathered like a mist
On every blade of grass, on plant and flower,
And sparkling with a clear, reflected light—
Shot forth its radiant beams that, dazzling bright,
Proclaimed the ruling charm in beauty's power.

The god of day came forth with conquering glow,
When shrinking from his gaze the glittering show
In vapor fled, with steady, noiseless flight—
But left its blasting mark where'er it pressed
The tender plant that on earth's peaceful breast,
Still slept, unmindful of the fatal blight.

Thus sin oft gilds the onward path of youth,
Till straying far from virtue and from truth,
Heaven's bright, pure rays, in fearful distance gleam;
While on the mind the blasting, clinging shade,
With deathless power, refuses still to fade—
Till life's dark close unfolds the fearful dream.

The Fireside, is a seminary of infinite importance. It is important because it is universal, and because the education it bestows, being woven in with the woof of childhood, gives form and color to the whole texture of life. There are few who can receive the honors of a college, but all are graduates of the hearth. The learning of the university may fade from the recollection; its classic lore may moulder in the halls of memory. But the simple lessons of home, enameled upon the heart of childhood, defy the rust of years, and outlive the more mature but less vivid pictures of after days.


[A] 2 Cor. 5:21.

[B] The construction put upon this passage is taken from Bush's Commentary on Exodus, which see.

[C] 1 John iv:16.

[D] We are glad to see that Mr. Abbott has recently revised and enlarged this useful book. We recommend it to the careful perusal of all young people, as well as parents.

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