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sight which would have made an epicure rejoice, but which only now added to the ill-nature of her husband.
“A pretty dish, this !” exclaimed he. “Boiled fish! Chips and porridge. If you had not been one of the most stupid of woman-kind, you would have made it into a chowder.”
His patient wife, with a smile, immediately placed a tureen before him, containing an excellent chowder.
“My dear," said she, “I was resolved to please you. There is your favourite dish.”
“ Favourite dish, indeed,” grumbled the discontented husband. “I dare say it is an unpalatable wishy-washy mess. I would rather have had a boiled frog than the whole of it."
This was a common expression of his, and had been anticipated by his wife, who, as soon as the preference was expressed, uncovered a large dish at her husband's right arm, and there was a bull-frog of portentous dimensions, and pugnacious aspect, stretched out at full length ! Zechariah sprung from his chair, not a little frightened at the unexpected apparition.
“My, dear," said his wife in a kind, entreating manner, “I hope you will at length be able to make a dinner.”
Zechariah could not stand this. His surly mood was finally overcome, and he burst into a hearty laugh. He acknowledged that his wife was right, and that he was wrong--and declared that she should never again have occasion to read him such another lesson. And he was as good as his word.Lowell Journal.
THE DEATH OF INFANTS. The narrative of the Shunamite's child teaches us how suddenly and unexpectedly children may die. It was well in the morning; at noon it was dead. “ Childhood and youth are altogether vanity.” As à flower of the field, so are they. “In the morning it is green and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth away. The wind passeth over them, and they are gone." And as if most impressively to teach us the danger of building hopes on such a frail support, it would seem that death often removes those who are the most remarkable for health, beauty, and promise, who come and go like a vision, that we may always regard the life of a child as the most uncertain of all things;-
" Like snow that falls upon a river,
Such providences are specially mysterious. Death is always a great mystery ; but there are many circumstances which relieve the mystery of death when it comes to the mature and aged. It seems according to the law of nature, that the aged and infirm, when the work of life is done, should lie down to sleep in the grave. And when one is cut down in the midst of his days and usefulness, however mysterious it may seem to us, we recollect that he has not lived in vain, and that “ being dead,
he yet speaketh." But the death of a child who has not passed the period of helplessness, who has been only an object of care and watchfulness, who has never been able to accomplish any thing for himself or others,--the death of such an one is as mysterious as the setting of the sun in the morning. The toil, anxiety, and suffering attendant upon the short and helpless existence of an infant, remind us of the precious gums brought from afar, to vanish as the costly incense of a moment,
"A short sweet odour, at a vast expense."
· We wonder that so much should be expended in vain, and are led to inquire, “ Wherefore is this waste?”
Our greatest consolation under every trial is confidence in a kind and benevolent Providence. And the special mystery in which the death of children is involved, is remarkably adapted to create and nourish this very emotion. When all is midnight darkness, when the ways of God are inscrutable, and past finding out, how favourable the hour to put forth a more full and implicit trust in Him, who, though enveloped in clouds and mystery, is infinite in mercy, wisdom, and truth. It is comparatively easy to exercise confidence in God under other trials, the causes and reasons for which are obvious and indisputable; but blessed are they who believe though they see not. Blessed are they who, with nothing to relieve the deep mystery of their affliction, can cast their care upon Him who careth for them, and say with the bereaved mother of old-" It is well with me, it is well with the child." Such seasons will, if improved, do more for the cultivation of holy confidence in God, than long seasons of ordinary affliction, just as we have seen an ivy growing slender and weak so long as it clings to its support, but which, when detached and alone, shoots out into a stem strong and bold as the adjacent tree,
But there are special consolations afforded those who have been called to consign their infant offspring to a premature grave. They escape the deeper affliction of seeing their children grow up in sin, accumulating guilt, and dying without hope.
There is a death worse than the death of the body,--the death of affection, of reputation, of conscience, of the soul. Parental hopes may be crushed by the misconduct of children, more than by the closing of the grave's portals. They may live only to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, and bring down the grey hairs of pious parents with sorrow to the grave.
See that son of many prayers; he was consecrated to God in infancy. How anxiously do those Christian parents watch every indication of sobriety. How ardently do they hope it may result in his salvation. What despondency and sinking of heart do they experience, as they behold him grow up in impenitence. He is about to leave his father's house ; his mother gives him a Bible, and begs him to read it. But as he passes beyond the reach of parental restraint, he casts off fear, restrains prayer, takes his seat with the scorner, and, with the drunkard's unmeaning laugh, scoffs at the Bible, and the Bible's God. Behold him now the grief of parents, the shame of friends; an outcast from society. Were it not for the hope that at some future period he might be overtaken by divine grace, and peradventure might repent, would it not be the spontaneous language of each afflicted parent, “ Would God, my son, that you had never been born; would that you had died in infancy, ere such a measure of guilt and wrath had been treasured up against you !" And now let him be laid upon his dying bed, let all hope of his repentance be taken away; and see him pass into eternity with all his sins upon his head, and what consolation can cheer the midnight gloom of such bereavement ? Be assured that there is a measure of grief in that affliction, compared with which all else is nothing. When David's infant child was dead, he arose, washed, anointed himself, and took refreshment: but when Absalom died, deep in sin and rebellion, his heart broke, and burst out in an irrepressible flood of grief,—“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
One of the bitterest pangs which a parent can experience when about to die, is the thought that he leaves his children in an evil and dangerous world, uncertain what will be their conduct and destiny. While with the utmost confidence he can leave all the temporal allotments of his fatherless children with God, he cannot but feel some sorrow and foreboding at heart, in view of the uncertainty which overhangs their future prospects as moral beings, who are to act, choose, and decide for themselves. That uncertainty he escapes, who, before his own departure, sees his children securely laid in their best home and refuge. Once he might have mourned, and said of him who he had hoped would have been his solace and joy, “How is the strong staff broken, the beautiful rod!"-But now as he thinks of the uncertain conflict to which he would have been exposed, with the temptations and dangers of a wicked world, he is grateful that the blessed Jesus holds the keys of life and death, and that, like the skilful gardener, whose experienced eye detects the approaching storm, and who knows when to hide the lily in its narrow bed, He knows when to put his little ones secure from the storm and tempest.
Weeping mother! is it not a balsam to your bleeding heart to believe that your infant child now rests in the bosom of that Saviour, who, when on earth, exclaimed, “Suffer little children ?" &c. So that you may now say over its sleeping body, smiling in its sweet repose, “ It is well with the child.” That infant mind which here on earth was folded up like a bud, expands and blooms in the light and warmth of heaven. It drinks in the pleasures of a rational, holy, and immortal existence. In many respects it must be wiser than any sage on earth. It is the companion of angels; it has seen God and his Son Jesus Christ. It hath entered before you on its exalted career. While you are left to struggle longer with doubt and danger, that infant child has spread its wings for its upward flight, nearer and nearer to the throne. You have a new relationship to heaven. There your offspring dwell. Surely you must discern a new and peculiar meaning in the beautiful words of the Psalmist" Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord-happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”
Be not rash, therefore, to speak of that infant which perished like a
blossom from your arms, as a fleeting and unimportant thing. How important doth the smallest being become when regarded as the commencement of that which is advancing into immensity. The little rill near the source of the Missouri, must be an interesting object to him who is apprized as he steps across it, that this is the stream which runs so far, and which gradually swells into só immense a flood. So, as a parent looks upon his child, and thinks of the solemn and unknown scenes through which it is to take its course, it loses that character of vanity and insignificance which would seem to belong to a train of fleeting, perishing moments, and assumes the dignity of a commencing eternity. He hath just begun to live, but he will survive the stars in the firmament. And will he not, throughout the ceaseless ages of his being, look to the circumstances of his birth and infancy with unutterable emotions? If consecrated to God in the germ of its being, and watered with tears and prayers, hereafter, as your reward, you shall hear it say in heaven, “ Auspicious day, in which I was born : blessed, for ever blessed be those parents who taught me the way to heaven. All the joys of my eternity I trace back to their fond, and early, and faithful instructions." Christian parents, will it not be a full and sufficient reward, to see those who were redeemed by your instrumentality, while praising their great Redeemer, often turning towards you, as from the sun to its image in the fountain, with secondary gratitude, and the permitted utterance of a human love?
THE NEW DRESS. As I was lately sitting in the nursery of an old acquaintance, she exhibited to me a dress just completed for her infant. After I had duly admired it, the mother turned and displayed it to her child, exclaiming, " Ann's new dress! Sweet little Ann's dress! Little Ann's pretty new dress !" while the little thing clapped her hands, and jumped, and crowed, testifying, assuredly, her admiration of gay colours,—if not the joy of her sex, in the prospect of becoming the possessor of such a prize, as a gay dress. I, too, participated in the pleasure afforded by the animation of the little one; but as I turned my steps toward my own quiet, and perhaps, at times, lonely home,-for I have no daughters to enliven my fireside,—I fell into the following train of thought:
The incident which I have this day witnessed, may exert an influence upon the character of this child, through time,-perhaps through eternity. She will soon understand the language of the lip, although she now only comprehends that of the feature; and from both will she learn, that to her mother, her dress is important. She will be arrayed in the new dress, to visit grandmamma, and the pride of displaying it will supersede the gratification which arises from the indulgence of the affections of the heart. When her mamma has visitors, she will be told to be very good, as she is to wear her new dress to see the ladies, thus making propriety of deportment simply an appendage to dress ; and connecting for life the idea of displaying herself, with the gratification of seeing her friends. The new dress will be prepared for the Sabbath, and the child will feel, that to display it, is the primary object for which she is taken to the house of God; and even upon her first entrance within the sanctuary, she may be taught a lesson of pride and vanity, rather than of humility and reverence. She must indeed have made an attainment which has been found too difficult for many now no longer children, if she can bow with devotion, when within the temple, although the adorning of her person had been that which most occupied her heart until she entered the sacred door. Children are apt scholars in the school of vanity, and she will soon become as vain, as heartless, as fond of display, as the most sanguine mother could wish, were it her only object to infuse pride, vanity, and the love of show into the heart of her child.
But although such may be the effect of my friend's mode of education, such has not been her design; and when the long cherished vanity of the daughter becomes too glaring, and visibly oversteps the rules of propriety and good breeding, I do not doubt the mother will be both surprised and grieved. She will wonder that one so young should attach so much importance to personal appearance, should think so much of dress; that a child so religiously educated should be so trifling on the Sabbath, so heartless in the sanctuary, so occupied in noticing the dress of others, so eager to display her own. She will feel it necessary solemnly to reprove her. She will say, “ Your personal appearance is of no consequence, - your Creator looks at the heart, and it is impossible for you to render the homage of the heart, while all your feelings are absorbed by your personal decoration ; such vanity degrades you, both as a rational and immortal being, and let me see no more of it."
My sisters, which will most influence the heart—the early habits, or the casual precept? Which lesson has this child most thoroughly learned, and which will she longest remember?
M. E. D.
THE HABIT OF TEASING. The habit of teasing or coaxing, is a fault very prevalent among children, which is strengthened and encouraged, often unconsciously, by a mother's yielding to the repeated importunities of her child, even after having once refused it. Let a child understand that you are decided, that your word can be depended upon, that you mean what you say when you refuse him any thing, and he will very soon learn that you cannot be coaxed out of what you have once refused him. As illustrative of this I will state a case that came under my own observation. A mother gave her two sons each an apple, when they returned one day from school. They went to play, but as soon as they had eaten them, one of the boys went to his mother, and asked for another ; she refused, and he did not repeat his request, but went to play again. His brother asked him to go again and coax her to give them another. “No," said he with much emphasis, “ William, don't you know that mother said no, and meant no!" A child very soon discovers whether his mother can be teased into a compliance with his wishes.
I once took tea with a lady, and while we were sitting at the table a little boy came round her chair and asked several times for a piece of