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proofs of their piety were so clear, that a kind and affectionate spirit was early breathed into their hearts, and that they were, through faith in a Redeemer, made ready for a higher habitation, and willing to ascend there. How often will the echo of their sweet accents revisit your memory, repeating as they were wont, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Often, also, will it dwell on your thankful recollection, that they can feel sorrow no more. This, to the heart of a parent, is an assurance of unspeakable value. You will no more see them racked with pain, or pale with weakness, or emaciated with lingering disease. You are no longer to watch their sleepless couch, or hear their dovelike moaning, and shudder with untold agony, that you have no power to arrest the pang, or to stay the footstep of the destroyer. Henceforth, by them, sickness and death are felt and feared no more.
From the many hazards of this evil life, from those temptations which sometimes foil the strongest, and the sins which may overshadow those whose opening course was most fair, they have escaped. To be for ever sinless, and at rest, is a glorious heritage. We, who bear the burdens of a weary pilgrimage, cherish, as our strongest consolation, the hope of at length reaching what they have already attained.
Their interval of separation was short. Scarcely had the parting tear dried on the turf covering of one, ere the other was summoned to the same pillow, “ ashes to ashes, and dust to dust." The drooping survivor was but a little while compelled to mourn, like a smitten and lovely blossom. You remember how they loved each other's society. If they had been separated longer than usual, how they would fly to each other's arms. If one had been absent from home, with what rapture her return was anticipated. But can you portray, or even imagine, their meeting in heaven? Here they met, but to part again. There, they are to be for ever with the Lord. They have joined an “ innumerable company of angels, and God, the Judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect.”
The felicity of glorified saints we may not comprehend. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” it. But we may prepare ourselves for it. We may daily cultivate those graces which will fit us to reciprocate the welcome of angels, when it shall please God to say to us, “ Come up hither.”
Afflictions have eminently the power of advancing spiritual welfare. Yours have been heavy and peculiar. May their heavenly fruits be equally visible and prominent. May time bring you that entire resignation and peace, so beautifully described by a poet,
" When the wounds of woe are healing,
When the heart is all resign'd, 'Tis the solemn feast of feeling,
'Tis the Sabbath of the mind."
In seeking comfort under this dispensation, reflect that your children are not only together, but they are at home. When they have at any time left you, to go among strangers, how many anxieties have possessed your bosom. You have feared that they might be ill, ere you could be informed, -that they might seek comfort and not find it, or be in error and heaviness, and need that advice and sympathy which none bat a parent can bestow. Now, they are where nothing dangerous or unfriendly can intrude. They feel no longer the helplessness and timidity of strangers. They are at home, in the house of their Father. Your family is commenced in heaven. There is a gathering together of your dearest ones, around the altar of immortality.
The time is short, ere you hope to enfold them in an eternal embrace. You will not yield to despondence, though loneliness marks your dwelling, when you realize that its beloved inmates are only gone a little in advance to that mansion which the Saviour hath prepared for all who love him. Therefore, my dear mourning friends, comfort each other by the way. Fellow-Christians, and heirs of the same inheritance, you can remind each other of “exceeding great and precious promises ;" and while you bless God for the tender sympathies with which you regard each other, will find that sorrow thus divided, loses much of its anguish. You will also bless him for the happiness of your children. While they were here below, to see them happy was your chief joy. But you were not sure of the continuance of that happiness for a single hour. Now you can give thanks for the fulness of their felicity, and for its fearless continuance. Their abode is where no rust corrupteth, where no robber may break through and steal.
Speaking after the manner of men, we are constrained to acknowledge that earth has no substitute for your loss. But you do not ask it of earth, you look to heaven. Still, in the meek bearing of a Father's will, and in the efforts of benevolence, there is a balm for the bereaved spirit.
Remember that you have given a gift to God. Though it was with tears, he will accept it. If you can do it without repining, you prove your love to him. To reveal its coinplacence by gifts, seems to be one of the native dialects of love. The little child presents its favourite teacher with a fresh flower. It hastens to its mother with the first, best rose in its little garden. In the kiss to its father, with which it resigns itself to sleep, it gives away its whole heart. Nor does love falter, though its gifts involve sacrifices. The wife willingly trusts to her chosen protector, her“ all of earth, perhaps, her all of heaven." The mother grudges not the pang, the faded bloom, and the many night-watchings, with which she rears up her infant. Why should parents yield with such bitter reluctance their children to that all-wise and beneficent Being, whom “not having seen, they love?”
Love rejoices to see its object in the most eligible situations. We are delighted when our children are in the successful pursuit of knowledge, in the bright path of virtue, in possession of the esteem of the wise and good. In sending them from home, we seek to secure for them the advantages of refined society, the superintendence of affectionate and pious friends. Were a man, illustrious in power and excellence, to take a parent's interest in their concerns, or were they admitted to the mansion of princes, should we not be sensible of the honour ? Why then, with an unreconciled spirit, do we see them go to
be angels among angels, and to dwell gloriously in the presence of the “ High and Holy One, who inhabiteth eternity ?".
You have added to the number of those who serve God without sin. You may not now see the dazzling of their celestial wings, as they unfold them, without weariness, to do His will. You may not now listen to the melody of their harps, attuned to unending praise. But perhaps, from their heavenly abode, they watch over you. Perhaps, with a seraph smile, they still hover around you. They will rejoice to see you walking with a placid brow and resigned spirit, to meet them; doing good, according to your power, to all around, and ever solacing yourselves with the thought that your loss is their eternal gain. And now that the God of all consolation, without whose aid all our best endeavours are nothing worth, may sustain and bless you, is the prayer of Yours, with friendship and sympathy,
L. H. S.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS. In the whole range of common expressions, there is none so indefinite as the term accomplishment. “Miss M. has just returned from a fashionable boarding-school.” “Is she handsome ?” “ I have never seen her-of course I am unable to answer your inquiry ; but report says she is highly accomplished, and how can it be otherwise, the three years that she has been absent having been devoted wholly to accomplishments?” And what meaning should we attach to the term ? Why, precisely that which our own mode of life, habits of thought, or those with whom we associate, choose to give it. If we have moved only in the world of fashion, we have adopted its ideas with its phraseology, and imagine the young lady who has endured two or three years' tuition, accomplished in mind; and she who has passed through the same term of fashionable dissipation, accomplished in manners. Let us analyze these acquirements. In what do they consist? She plays and sings, but so mechanically, that we in vain watch to see the voice accompanied by an answering feeling from the heart. She paints, or rather colours, setting at defiance all rules of shade and proportion. She understands the French and Italian, but will look at you with vacant surprise, if called upon to give the derivation of a word, or a single rule connected with the grammatical construction of a language she feels so much pride in exhibiting. And what has been her progress, if we advance into the higher branches of intellectual culture into those which demand persevering application and patient industry? These have never been thought of at all, deemed wholly subordinate to those which were to procure for her the envied distinction. The grand aim for which masters have been provided, and money lavished, was to make her accomplished.
I have been too often led to hope for elevation of feeling, purity of taste, and cultivation of mind, in those who have been termed accomplished, and too often been cruelly disappointed, not to turn from such eulogies, with suspicion, and with a sickening feeling to regard those showy branches of education which are so highly valued, to the exclusion of all which tends to raise the female mind above the mere trifles of a day.
What is the meaning which the well-informed and cultivated attach to the term accomplished ? With them it implies the whole range of female acquirements, thoroughly, but modestly understood. Nor is this all ; with them, mental culture alone is not sufficient. The conversation may be classically elegant, the memory stored with the treasures of ancient and modern literature ; and the mind, enriched by reflection, may be clear in its views, and vigorous in its decisions; and yet a void may be felt, a painful void, which the highest intellectual attainments alone can never fill. And from what source can this knowledge be obtained? What can purify and perfect the character, complete the work, and give a finish to the fabric which has been constructed with so much beauty and proportion ? Mental culture has failed in its highest object, reflection has but half completed its work, if it has never been employed in raising the mind to the source from whence the intellectual spark at first proceeded ; if it has never dwelt with feelings of the deepest interest on religion, as woman's peculiar province; the truths of which she should make her dearest study, the practice of its duties her constant aim. Religion has done more to elevate woman in the scale of being, than every other circumstance combined. To be sensible of this, we need only dwell upon the situation of the female sex, as universally exhibited eighteen centuries ago, or as now seen among the degraded females of Asia, who, occupied with childish sports, and ignorant of any higher source of pleasure, are valued only as they may furnish the amusement of a trifling hour, while their thoughts can never rise even to assimilate with those of their effeminate lord, who, while priding himself on his high prerogative and his acknowledged superiority, declares, “that Allah, who but denied to woman the possession of a soul, has recompensed the defect by bestowing upon her an angel's form.” Let us turn from such degrading scenes—turn from the favourites of an hour, whose influence is powerful only while their beauty is dazzling, to the enlightened, refined, and pious females, who have claimed the homage of the heart and the understanding. Look, then, at a woman in the scenes of domestic life, mingling in the social circle, kneeling at the domestic altar, ardent in the pursuit of knowledge, and scrupulous in the performance of duty, and say if mere accomplishments can give her that moral grandeur, can procure for her that high respect which she now attracts.
Shall we wonder that men of sense, so often deceived by finding a vacant head, an unfeeling heart, or a disgusting pedantry, where common report had prepared them for all that was estimable in the female character, shall we wonder they turn, with an incredulous smile, from the accomplished female; and while they admire at a distance the few gifted minds, whose talents, as displayed in their writings, have charmed, and whose reputation has borne even the ordeal of criticism, believe them a sort of intellectual phenomena, rather as the exceptions, than as what their sex in general may approach ? Shall we wonder that they at last turn to the simple, unpretending being, whom they at least imagine will not wound by pretension, disgust by pedantry, or call forth the smile of derision, by her far-famed accomplishments and real ignorance ? But is it to those whose highest praise is the mere absence of evil that we are to look for the guides of the youthful mind? Is it from such that we are to expect a beneficial influence to be exerted on society ? Will their families be illuminated spots on the intellectual map of the world? If it is the mother who gives the first impressions of the heart, how great is her responsibility, how sacred her duty to be all that nature and Providence designed her!
I would not lessen the value of those lighter acquirements which render the well-educated woman still more attractive; I would not take from her a single resource which might serve to divert the attention in moments of weariness, or to unbend the mind after severe application. I would say that these are valuable, but only so long as they retain their proper place, as secondary to higher attainments, and more important duties. Not until accomplishments are weighed in the balance of reason, not until this hackneyed word, so comprehensive and yet so indefinite, shall be understood to express the highest degree of mental and moral superiority; not till the education of a woman renders her unwavering in the performance of duty, elevates her mind from the trifles of the passing moment, places it on permanent objects of interest, and animates her heart with the pure sentiments of devotion,—not until then can she assume the higher station she was destined to occupy, and not till then will it be a boast to say of a lady that she is accomplished.
THE VILLAGE GIRL. I sat, lost in thought, on the bank of a little rivulet that came murmuring down the hill side, and flowed away to the broad river that spread its blue surface beyond the plain towards the setting sun. A dew-drop, scarcely perceptible to the human eye, faintly sparkled on the leaf that bent from an overhanging bough; and in my halfwaking, half-dreaming reverie, I thought I saw myriads of these little drops collecting and descending on the hills and in the valleys, forming the bubbling rivulets that flowed, one after another, until their united streams swelled into mighty rivers, and the rivers sweeping on through the deep valleys of the land, hundreds of miles, and terminating in fathomless oceans that rolled their resistless currents round the world.
From amidst the mist that rose above the mingling of the waters, there came to my side an old and venerable man, wrapped in a seagreen cloak, and while with one hand he pressed the moisture from his flowing hair, with the other he held to my eye a curiously wrought tube of glassy transparency, and bid me mark the lesson it would unfold.
I looked, and beheld before me a pleasant village in the midst of a rich and teeming landscape, in the sweet and mellow season of June. The bells are ringing, and groups of children are gathering to the school-house-it is the Sabbath, and that the Sabbath-school. Yonder, at the end of the lane, is a village girl ; she stops to look a moment at some boys at play; she approaches, hesitates, turns away, and then again approaches. Now she speaks to a little ragged, noisy boy, that has quarrelled with his playmates, and picked up all the marbles