« VorigeDoorgaan »
very unfeeling manner, because the girl was disabled, by sickness, from doing her work properly. "You shall pack off to the hospital,” said she, “or home to your mother.” I am afraid Mrs. Brownlow has a lesson or two to learn, that can only be taught her in the school of affliction ; but, perhaps, something had ruffled her temper, and I judge her too harshly.
I had not seen Mrs. Simmons for some time, and it might have been better had I not called just when I did ; for, while waiting a minute in the sitting-room, Mr. Simmons left the house evidently in anger. I heard a few words that passed before he went. “This is always the case,”' said he, petulantly, “ though I particularly requested you, this time, to attend to it.” “Do not make yourself angry about such a trifle,” said Mrs. Simmons, “it may be done in a minute." “ Trifle, as it is,'s replied Mr. S., "you knew that doing it would add to my comfort, and that neglecting it would give me pain.” What the neglect might be, I know not; perhaps it was, as Mrs. Simmons said, a mere trifle ; and perhaps Mr. Simmons is a little whimsical and hasty ; but however this might be, if it could have been done “in a minute,” to say the least of it, it was neither kind nor prudent in Mrs. Simmons to neglect it.
Mrs. Rollins appeared as glad to see me as if I had come from a far country; but, somehow, her two children required so much of her attention to manage them, that it a little interfered with the comfort of my call. First, she had to stroke down their hair, which was certainly rather rueful; then, to drag them forward to me, as unwillingly on their part, as if I had been their schoolmaster. “Why don't you make a bow to the gentleman ?” said she, “ I am quite ashamed of you—where have you been, and what have you been doing to rumple your collars so ? Charles, keep your fingers out of your mouth; Robert, hold up your head.” Then I was treated with hearing both of them make a vain attempt to repeat some verses, which she assured me they could say very prettily. In my next call, I shall drop a word or two that may be useful. Had the poor lads been taught to make a bow when strangers came in, to keep their fingers out of their mouths, to hold up their heads, to avoid rumpling their frills, and to repeat what they learnt correctly, it would not have been necessary to have gone through so much drilling in my presence. Mrs. Rollins seems, however, to be an affectionate parent, and though I could not admire her management of her children, I did admire the love she manifested for them.
I looked in on Mrs. Horton, too, and sat down to dinner in a plain way; but her son, Harry, tried my patience a little. Not that it was
correctilling in my vd though
Harry's fault, O no! it was the fault of his mother. Before I had been in the house five minutes, turning round rather suddenly, I caught Harry making a face at me; now I like young folks to be full of life and merriment, and thought but little of Harry's prank, though it was by no means to be approved of, but his indulgent mother fairly tittered again, saying, “That is one of the drollest boys in the world.” With such encouragement as this, no wonder that Harry pulled another face at me soon after. While Mr. Horton reverently asked a blessing at the dinner table, Harry spread out his hands, and kept slowly shaking his head, mimicking his father, for which I naturally expected his mother, who saw him, would send him away from table, with a sharp reproof; instead of which, turning to me, she said, “Is he not a droll boy?" I felt sorry that a serious father and mother should be so blind to the sad consequences, that some day must follow their injudicious treatment of young Harry. When the fowls were cut up, Harry stuck his fork in the wing of one of them, and held it above his head. “ Put it down, this minute, you droll boy,” said Mrs. Horton. Harry, however, was not easily persuaded to do this; for he saw that his mother was laughing. When he replaced the wing in the dish, Mrs. Horton observed to me in a whisper, loud enough to be heard by any one at the table, “I do think he is the most comical boy that ever was born."
Harry had not been out of the room ten minutes after dinner, before a noise was heard in the kitchen : while the two maid-servants were having their dinner, Harry had emptied the vinegar cruet into the plate of the one, and pulled off the cap of the other. The girls were, of course, not a little angry, when Mrs. Horton told Harry, that she would not have such pranks played with the servants. “But, bless you,” said she, turning to me, in Harry's hearing, “he can no more help it, than I can help breathing; he is of so comical a disposition.” I took an opportunity of pointing out, in as kind a way as I knew how, my mind on such comicality ; but I saw that Mrs. Horton was far from being pleased with me. Poor lady, she is rearing a thistle, whose points will get stronger and stronger every day. She is stuffing a pillow with thorns, that will, by and by, affect her head and her heart.
Mothers ! Mothers! you have cares enough with the most tractable children; what a pity it is that your ill-timed indulgence should, in any case, add to the weight of your solicitude !
But if I go on at this rate, you will think Ephraim Holding a spy in the camp, an interloper, a listener, a talker of scandal. No! no! I should hate myself if I deserved such a suspicion. Not willingly
would I trespass on the peace of any one: to see a family live in harmony, is a delight to me; but if there be one member more than another that I honour, and that I should regret to wound, it is an affectionate, a prudent, and a pious mother.
FEMALE PIETY. The gem of all others which most enriches the coronet of a lady's character, is unaffected piety. Nature may lavish much on her person —the enchantment of her countenance—the gracefulness of her mien, or the strength of her intellect, yet her loveliness is uncrowned, till piety throws around the whole the sweetness and power of its charms. She then becomes unearthly in her temper-unearthly in her desires and associations. The spell which bound her affections to things below, is broken, and she mounts on the silent wings of her faith and hope, to the habitation of God, where it is her delight to hold communion with the spirits that have been ransomed from the thraldom of earth, and wreathed with a garland of glory.
Her beauty may throw its magical charm over many—princes and conquerors may bow with admiration at the shrine of her riches—the sons of science and poetry may embalm her memory in history and in song--yet piety must be her ornament, her pearl. Her name must be written in the “Book of Life,” that when mountains fade away, and every memento of earthly greatness is lost in the general wreck of nature, it may remain and swell the list of that mighty throng, which have been clothed with the mantle of righteousness, and their voices attuned to the melody of heaven.
With such a treasure every lofty gratification on earth may be purchased ; friendships will be doubly sweet; pain and sorrow shall lose their sting, and the character will possess a price above rubies. Life will be but a pleasant visit to earth, and death an entrance upon a joyful and perpetual home; and when the notes of the last trump shall sound, and sleeping millions awake to judgment, its possessor shall be presented “faultless before the throne of God, with exceeding joy, and inherit a crown of life that shall never wear away.”
Such is piety: like a tender flower, planted in the fertile soil of a woman's heart, it grows, expanding its foliage, and imparting its fragrance to all around; till, transplanted, it is set to bloom in perpetual vigour and unfading beauty in the paradise of God.
Follow this star ; it will light you through every labyrinth in the wilderness of life, gild the gloom that will gather around you in a dying hour, and bring you safely over the tempestuous Jordan of death, into the haven of promised and settled rest.
THE MADE-UP QUARREL. Placed by the Great Shepherd in a retired country town in the west of England, it has always been my custom to visit my flock regularly
every Monday morning. In these weekly rounds I have never passed by the door of the meanest cottager; for I must be accountable for the souls of the poor as well as for those of the rich. My Lord and Master would not have scorned the thatched roof and the unpaved floor, and why should I, who constantly preach, that “he hath set us an example that we should walk in his steps ?”
One morning I opened the batch of a dwelling I had frequently visited. Two of the excellent of the earth lived there, but they were not “ without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." I heard a noise, but it was not " the voice of joy and praise,” which ought to be heard " in the tabernacles of the righteous.” They were both over head, and I went to the foot of the stairs to call them, when Betty vociferated some violent reproaches at her husband, which he most provokingly returned. I called again, “Stap,” said Betty, “La, sos! good now, if there beant our measter!" Betty descended, and looked rather ashamed, for sin and shame always accompany each other. “ Loving heart, sos!" said Betty, “I be glad enough zure, vor zee you, for my man is in zitch a cruel passion this morning, he is one of the obstanest men that ever lived !" At this moment Will descended. “Hold thy tongue, Bet," said he; “ measter, it's all her vault, she hath tried my temper so as never was the like on't, gude Lard vorgive her!” “ And thee too, Will," said Betty,“ vor thee needst it as much as I do, not no one can live wi thee. Hold thee tongue,” added Beity, “thee art a most provokingest creature. I wish I had ne'er been wedded to thee.” Will cried too; I supposed out of sympathy. This, thought I, comes of unequal matches, for Betty was about thirty, blooming and hearty, and Will about seventy years of age, meagre, lame, and half blind. I could not get a word in edge-ways, and was still obliged to wait my opportunity, hoping that this volcanic eruption of the bad passions of nature would the sooner be over, from the rapidity of the explosion. Betty's last sentence had touched Will to the quick, who probably thought he had done her an honour in making her his rib. He had on a greasy red night-cap, which in his wrath he seized, and with a circumlocutory motion of the arm hurled it furiously to the ground, repeating at the same time his accusations against Betty. At that instant down came their only teapot from the chimney-piece, the spout of which had been caught in the rapid passage of the night-cap, and both lay sprawling on the floor, but not both equally uninjured, for the pot was now a heap of fragments. This was not the worst, for Betty, seeing her only piece of real china in such danger, hastily rushed forward to save it, and in her progress upset the round oak tea-table, on which were several articles of crockery, which also shared the fate of the tea-pot. “La!” said Betty, “there Will, this comes of quarrelling.” I now thought this a favourable time to add, " Ah, Betty! you see where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. Betty,” I continued," why, the Devil is in your house.” “Aye, zur, zure enough be be," answered Betty. “Well,” said I, “and the best way is to get him out. Now - ou know that he neither likes prayer nor the Scriptures, suppose we read a chapter, and then pray for the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” “O zur," said Betty, “I am not in a vrame to pray.” “I fear you are not, Betty,” said I ; “but that must be a great evil, which makes us unfit to pray." Betty began by this time to cool, as she and Will had picked up the fragments, and felt the effects of their ungoverned tempers. I got them to sit down, and lectured them on the bad consequences which would result from such fracas, both in the after-feelings of their own minds, and in the influence which such an example must have upon those ungodly neighbours within hearing, who could not do worse than fight and quarrel ; and I often asked them if this was like the followers of the “meek and lowly Saviour ?" The lions were now changed into lambs. They both melted into tears ; I joined their hands together. They met yet with some degree of reluctance, but I insisted upon the necessity of a most cordial union. I then read to them the third chapter of the Epistle of James, and by this time found them inclined to join me composedly in prayer. I then put their hands into each other again. They met without reluctance, the storm was hushed into a calm. I saw the blessed effects of religion in quelling the most ungovernable evils of our nature, and instead of the angry words that saluted me on my entrance, on my crossing the threshold of the door to depart, Betty exclaimed with clasped hands and a smiling countenance, “ Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
R. M. B.
HANNAH. It is sometimes a difficult thing to know how to act when unjustly accused of a fault. It is by no means difficult to know how one ought to feel. And in general, the impression is very correct, that when one is reproved, and manifests bad feeling, there was ground for the reproof. If one is perfectly innocent, the consciousness of it is a good security against any outward manifestation of anger.
A case once occurred, in which a pious person was most unjustly suspected and accused of a heinous crime. The circumstances of the accusation were, in some respects, peculiarly aggravating. Yet the perfect purity and innocence of the accused, the calmness and meekness with which she met the charge, affords a lesson for those who may be justly or unjustly charged with sin.
It was Hannah in the temple. And her case is indeed a beautiful exemplification of the spirit with which unjust accusations should be received. She was engaged in the most fervent petitions, when Eli, the priest, suspected her of sin. Her venerable, and doubtless much loved Pastor was her accuser, and that too of the most disgraceful and debasing crime. How mild and affecting is her reply! “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not thine hand-maid for a daughter of Belial, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.”
This is a description of a Christian's conduct under a false accusation. Her heart, as it here exhibits itself, is a lovely example of what is enjoined upon us throughout the gospels and epistles of the New Testa