flock he had promised to feed. He smiled, and treated all her admonitions with indifference, although he often admired the fidelity of her reproofs, and the sincerity of her piety. One Saturday evening, after having been out with the hounds the whole of the day, he returned to his beloved Maria, and observed, “I am so fatigued that it will be impossible for me to prepare two sermons for tomorrow, as you know I usually do ; I shall really be much obliged if you will write one for me for the morning, and perhaps I can get one ready in time for the afternoon.” “Are you really in earnest ?” “ I am indeed.” “But you would not preach mine if I were to compose one?” “ Indeed I would.” “Would you indeed, and upon your honour ?” “ Yes, upon my honour, Maria.” “ Would you keep it a secret ?” “Yes, that I will.” “Well, I'll try for this once.”

He retired and returned to the parsonage. After he had left, she thought seriously upon the task she had undertaken, and bent her knees, earnestly intreating direction in the choice of a subject, and that it might be made a blessing to her thoughtless friend, and to the people of his charge; she rose from her devotions, and her mind was impressed with a text on the “ Necessity of Regeneration." She felt the difficulty of placing before him a doctrine so entirely opposed to all his habits, and so strange to the congregation ; and tried to supply its place with another more likely to secure attention, but she could not, and, after some struggles, she wrote a sermon on the subject; but lest its novelty should induce him to lay it aside, she sent her servant to the parsonage to say, that the sermon should be in the pulpit ready for him at eleven o'clock. After reading the Liturgy he commenced the sermon, but his perplexities were great ; it was to him indeed a new doctrine; the people gazed and listened with marked attention and surprise ; he had given his word, and felt it his duty to read it through ; the afternoon sermon was, as usual, a mere moral essay.

The next morning, an old man called at the parsonage, and begged to see the minister; he was admitted. “Well, John, you are an early visitor this morning.” “ Yes, Sir, I am, but I am so distressed in my mind. Oh! that blessed sermon of yesterday.” “Which was it ?” “ The one which described regeneration, and told us how we might become new creatures, and how alone we can be saved.” “ You need not be distressed, I am sure; you were baptized in your infancy, you have been always very regular at church, and you never did any body any harm.” “Ah! but Sir, you told us that the application of water to the body alone would not do, that we must come to the Saviour for pardon, and that we must be renewed by the Holy Spirit.” “Oh, John, that was only intended for the reprobate.” “ But you said, Sir, that we must have a better righteousness than our own, and that by nature we are strangers to; you also insisted on a change of heart, and that without it we could not enter the kingdom of God.”

The clergyman's mind was now deeply arrested, and knew not how to get an answer for old John, and in the conflict burst into tears; but, recovering himself, said, “I am now in a hurry; will you call tomorrow ? but, in the interim, be not uneasy. You have been a good

liver, not a sinner like others; you have always attended at the sacrament, but we will converse together more to-morrow."

The clergyman now sat down, and thought that there must be a reality in religion, to which till then he had been a stranger. Distressed he waited on Maria, and told her all his feelings, and the converse he had just had with John, observing, “ that if he were sincere, there was more in religion than he yet knew.” “Yes, I have often told you so, and, that to be a blessing to others, you must yourself be a new creature in Christ Jesus.”

She urged him to seek the wisdom which cometh from above, and it pleased God to make him a humble faithful minister of the New Testament, and he became a burning and shining light in his parish. His poor parishioners soon observed the change in his preaching; his former moral essays were delivered without feeling, his new sermons they said came all from his heart; and although he takes his book with him into the pulpit, he does not care for it, and they come to our hearts now.

He next established prayer meetings in the cottages; he has a flourishing Sunday-school ; his church is crowded to excess, and a congregation of 1,500 now regularly attend his ministrations; a great number of whom, it is believed, will be his crown of rejoicing in the great day.

A PRAYING CHILD AND HER FATHER. A LITTLE girl belonging to the Sabbath-school in B. became hopefully pious, when she was about nine years old. During the next winter she attended the district school. When the school was dismissed at night, she was in the habit of lingering behind, till all the scholars had left; and then returning to the school-house, and spending a little time in prayer. The father was an irreligious man, and infidel in sentiment ; but he was very kind and affectionate to his little daughter. One day, when the weather was extremely severe, and the wind high and piercing, the father was afraid she would perish with the cold. So he set off to meet her, as she returned at night. He met the scholars, on their way home, but the dear object of his search was not among them. With all the earnestness of an anxious parent, he hastened to the school-house. When he arrived, all was gone and all was silent, except the piercing gusts of wind, which whistled around the school-house. He cautiously opened the door and entered. At that moment a voice, indicating the greatest earnestness, fell upon his ear. He stopped and listened. It was his beloved child pleading with God to have mercy upon her dear papa.

The father's emotions were too strong to be suppressed; his soul was filled with agony and bitterness. He drew near and embraced his child, and then accompanied her home, deeply convinced that he was a sinner. In a few weeks he accepted Christ as his all-sufficient Sa. viour, and his only hope of eternal life. He is now a devoted, active Christian.

What an encouragement does an incident like this afford to the faithful Sabbath-school teacher. If instrumental in the conversion of


a child, you may also, through that child's instrumentality, convey the blessings of salvation and eternal life to a parent ripening for despair.

Dear youthful readers, have you a father or a mother who fears not God, nor obeys his commands? You can here learn what you can do to save them. If you have learned to pray with the sincerity and earnestness with which this little girl prayed, you can retire alone and pour out your anxious desires for them into the ear of God, who will delight to hear you cry. If you have never learned to pray with right feelings, will you not, as you read this affecting story, be persuaded now to begin? Oh, you must learn to pray, if you would be blessings to your parents or blessed yourselves.


THE DECISION. (From the American Mother's Magazine, for June.) My Dear Louisa,—Were I for a moment disposed to shrink from, the task you have assigned me, the memory of your beloved mother, the duty I owe you as her child, the lively interest I have ever felt in your welfare and happiness, and the danger to which I now see you exposed, would combine to overcome every feeling of reluctance to advise in a case so important-so momentous, when one step may involve you in misery for life!

My maxim has ever been, “never, under any circumstances, encourage the addresses of one whose purity of principle admits of a doubt;" and observation for years has fully satisfied me that there is no safety in any other course.

Independent of the loss of that high tone of moral feeling-of all that is excellent, refined, and noble, which must result from habitual profligacy, motives of merely a prudential nature, should leave not a moment's hesitation what course to pursue ; for, however kind and affectionate a husband may be, the bare suspicion of infidelity to his plighted faith, would at once destroy that confidence and respect, that charm which binds in virtue's bonds congenial minds; harrowing suspicion and corroding jealousy must wither the heart, when it enters; but let suspicion become certainty, and the creations of jealousy, realities, and what must be the condition ! I cannot possibly conceive, in this life, a state more wretched ! and that condition must be endured without the possibility of relief, or the privilege of complaint : and besides, what security have you in the affections, when once that holy principle, which was implanted in the heart for the wisest purpose, is destroyed ; is such a heart capable of love? I, for one, do not believe it; for what is love, but a most exalted esteem and regard, founded on virtue, ardent, pure, passionless; an affection of the heart, which ennobles the mind, elevates the soul, and leads it nearer to heaven?

You ask, “Is there any hope of a reform ?" I answer unhesitatingly, none, save in the grace of God. I look upon a youth who is prone to dissipation, who has probably been drawn into the vortex by improper associates, with painful regret and commiseration, mingled with a feeling of horror at his strange infatuation-at his impending ruin. And

while I lament his delusion, a hope, however forlorn it may be, arises, that he may still be arrested in his course, may yet return to the path of rectitude; but when a man of mature age, coolly and deliberately pursues such a course, when he virtually declares to the world that he “ fears not God, nor regards man," what, I ask, are we to expect? and even allowing the possibility that he may reform, could you, my dear girl, love a heart which is not the seat of every virtuous affection ? surely not, unless your affections have been drawn forth, and rivetted too firmly to allow you to withdraw them. Should this be the case, I am well aware that a powerful effort will be required to overcome it. Therefore examine yourself carefully, deliberate, consider how far your feelings should actuate you in the decision, how far the responsibility, especially when you consider that probably, not alone with yourself will the importance of such a decision rest,weigh the subject well, and decide for yourself, that your decision once formed may be firm and unwavering, and not a cloud of regret ever shade the future.

Remember that you are acting for time, for eternity!—for who can say how extensive may be the influence of such a decision ? I am well aware that there are those who may advise with a view only to future aggrandizement; but beware! could you draw aside the veil with which magnificence has decorated its victim, how many hearts could testify that there is, in this world, much splendid misery! - And after all, my dear friend, I do assure you most seriously, that it is hazardous for a lady, particularly a Christian, to select, as her companion for life, a man of the world. I was myself early led to a serious consideration of this subject, in consequence of a similar application ; and the result was a firm decision never to marry a man who was not a Christian, and I have ever found reason to bless God for thus directing my course.

New-York, May, 1834.

LETTER TO CHILDREN. “ More, MORE.”—The other day, I was spending a few hours in a family where there was a group of little children. And as I love to talk with children, I sat down among them. They were not afraid of me ; so I watched them. I very soon fixed my eyes on a little child, I should think fourteen months old. Her skin was white, her forehead high, and her eyes were round and black. She appeared lively as any of them. All the children tried to please her because she was the babe. She would reach out her little hands for playthings, and say, “ More, more." Can she talk, said I ? " Yes," said they, “ she can say more, and that is all.” And is that the first word she ever spoke ? said I. “Yes," was the answer. So I watched her again. Soon she got one hand full of toys. But she reached out her other hand, and very earnestly said, “More, more.” They filled that hand, and she contrived to hold that toy in her mouth; and then with one handful pressed to her side, and her mouthful, reached out her other hand again for another; and spoke “ More, more," through her nose; and her eyes sparkled with more earnestness than before.

Well, thought I, here is a picture of man. When I go home I will write you a letter on the word “More, more.” Look here now, children. That God, who made us all, made us very much like that babe. He gave us a soul ; and God made that soul so that it is never contented with what we now have. In this respect the soul is well made. God did right to make us so. But the parent of that little girl must begin very soon to take care of that “ more more,” or the child will be ruined. If the child grows up, she will think of “more" money; more of something that will burn up when the world is on fire. But I hope her praying mother will take her child to the infant-school, and the sabbath-school. I hope she will begin to love God and the Bible. And when she has learned one thing, she will want to learn “ more.” When she has prayed once, she will want to pray “more." The little girl will want to read the Bible “more." She will wish to be "more" like Christ-nearer heaven. Just so, dear children, it will be with you. At present you know you can never be satisfied. When you went to see the shows once, you were very much pleased, but you were not satisfied. The boy that swears will not be contented; he will grow worse and worse. The boy that drinks rum will want “ more, more.” Men that have all the money they needed, will want “more.” But that is a wrong use of what God has given us. Be a christian. Get your soul to going out after God and good things, and then you may say “ more, more," as much as you please.

And then when you die you will go up to heaven; and there I suppose you will still be reaching on for “more," "more" knowledge, “ more” like Christ, “more” happy.

But oh! if you are wicked, and die wicked, you will find that your more money and more knowledge will give you more and more pain for ever. Think of this, ye who forget God.



THE FATHER. The following beautiful article we extract from a most admirable volume of " Sketches, by Mrs. Sigourney," which has just been reprinted in this country by our publishers. Very seldom, indeed, have we met with so much beauty, simplicity, and pathos, combined with ardent piety, as in the volume before us. We anticipate, we confess, that it will have a very large sale. This narrative is but one, and that by very far the shortest, of six ; but it is a fair specimen of the volume, and entirely adapted to the character of our work, EDITOR.]

" Yes, I am he, who look'd and saw

decay Steal o'er the lov'd of earth,--the ador'd

too much It is a fearful thing to love what Death may touch."

MRS. HEMANS. I was in the full tide of a laborious and absorbing profession,-of one which imposes on intellect an unsparing disci. pline, but ultimately opens the avenues to wealth and fame. I pursued it, as one determined on distinction,- as one convinced that mind may assume à degree of omnipotence over matter and circumstance, and popular opinion.


« VorigeDoorgaan »