Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

God, however, that a spirit of submission was on this occasion bestowed on my father and mother, and we were all permanently brought to acknowledge that our heavenly Father would not have sent this affliction but for some purpose of mercy.

(To be continued.)

THE EVENING SERVICE. The deep tones of the church-going bell were inviting the weary and heavy-laden to the house of prayer. The last rays of the setting sun were reflected from the spire, and had crowned the tallest trees with a soft, golden light. A holy calm was breathed over the soul from surrounding nature, as when the evening gales are heard murmuring and dying away among the chords of an Æolian harp.

They were gathered to the house of prayer. The silent aspiration was ascending from many a pious soul, that the great Master of assemblies would vouchsafe his presence, and that the Holy Spirit would be there, to impress the careless sinner with the solemnities of a coming judgment.

There were many in whose bosoms the voices of the choir, and the rich notes of the organ found a response, as they breathed in melting numbers the heart-felt prayer, that earth and all its scenes, its noise, and its tiresome vanities, might be withdrawn, and stand at the foot of the holy mount while they went and worshipped. There was something in the appearance of that great assembly that impressed the mind with more than usual seriousness. They were all travellers to eternity; heirs of immortal blessedness, or of endless pain. Some of them had come to worship God. A few were there in the anguish of their spirits, to know what they should do to be saved, while the greater number had been attracted by the distinguished talents of the preacher.

He was a man whom God had blessed with a most superior mind, a feeling heart, and a persuasive eloquence. His prayer came forth from lips wet with Christian dews; while unconscious of the purity and the sweet simplicity of his language, he poured forth the deep emotions of his soul, and wrestled like the patriarch with God. He stood up to address the assembly, and a deep silence pervaded it. For a moment he looked round upon his hearers, that the sight of a multitude of dying men might awaken the sensibilities of his soul. The thoughtless and the gay were there, the man of the world, the infidel, and the veteran sinner. By his unaffected earnestness he soon succeeded in gaining their attention; and the whole assembly seemed bending towards him, as a field of grain is moved by the wind. Smiles of admiration were seen upon their countenances, as he advanced a convincing argument, or illustrated his truths by a striking comparison. He seemed to feel that heaven or hell were depending upon his words, as with a heart overflowing with love, he reasoned with the impenitent upon sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come. He told them that they were enemies to God, and under his wrath and curse: and soon the smile of approbation was changed for the blush of conscious guilt. The head of the thoughtless one had fallen in deep thought, and the streaming eyes of another were raised in prayer, and the broken sigh was heard, as if an arrow had reached the heart. He felt as if he was in Christ's stead, and prayed them all to be reconciled to God. He saw the fires of the last day kindling upon the world. The sensibilities of his soul were on fire; his thoughts fell with burning points upon the conscience, and the number of those who bowed that night in contrition gave ample proof that the gospel, in the hands of such a preacher, and sent home by the influences of the Holy Spirit, was indeed the power of God unto salvation. lence and luxury, which are subversive of the health, even the existence of a nation. They should be qualified to act as teachers of knowledge and of goodness. However high their station, this office is no derogation from its dignity, and its duties should commence whenever they find themselves in contact with those who need instruction. The adoption of the motto, that “to teach is their province,” will inspire diligence in the acquisition of knowledge, and perseverance in the beautiful mechanism of pure example.

FEMALE EDUCATION. [We copy the following article from the American Family Magazine. It was drawn up by Mrs. Sigourney, with several of whose works our readers are well acquainted, and was addressed to the American Moral Lyceum. We commend it to the careful attention of our readers.-Editor.]

The importance of education seems now to be universally admitted. It has become the favourite subject of some of the wisest and most gifted minds. It has incorporated itself with the spirit of our vigorous and advancing nation. It is happily defined by one of the most elegant of our living writers, as the “ mind of the present age, acting upon the mind of the next.” It will be readily perceived how far this machine surpasses the boasted lever of Archimedes, since it undertakes not simply the movement of a mass of matter, the lifting of a dead planet from its place, that it might fall, perchance, into the sun and be annihilated; but the elevation of that part of man whose power is boundless, and whose progress is eternal; the raising of a race, “ made but a little lower than the angels," to a more entire assimilation with superior natures.

In the benefits of an improved system of education, the female sex are now permitted liberally to participate. The doors of the temple of knowledge, so long barred against them, have been thrown open. They are invited to advance beyond its threshold. The Moslem interdict that guarded its hidden recesses is removed. The darkness of a long reign of barbarism, and the illusions of an age of chivalry, alike vanish; and the circle of the sciences, like the shades of Eden, gladly welcome a new guest.

While gratitude to the liberality of this great and free nation is eminently due from the feebler sex, they have still a boon to request. They ask it as those already deeply indebted, yet conscious of ability to make a more ample gift profitable to the giver as well as the receiver. It seems desirable that their education should combine more thoroughness and solidity, that it should be expanded over a wider space of time, and that the depth of its foundation should bear a better proportion to the height and elegance of its superstructure. Their training ought not to be for display and admiration, to sparkle amid the froth and foam of life, and to become enervated by that indo

[ocr errors]

It is requisite that they who have, in reality, the moulding of the whole mass of mind, in its first formation, should be profoundly acquainted with the structure and capacities of that mind ; that they who nurture the young citizens of a prosperous country, should be able to demonstrate to them, from the broad annals of history, the blessings which they inherit, and the wisdom of preserving them; the value of just laws, and the duty of obeying them. It is indispensable that they, on whose bosom the infant heart is laid, like a germ in the quickening breast of spring, should be vigilant to watch its first unfoldings, and to direct its earliest tendrils where to twine. It is unspeakably important, that they who are commissioned to light the lamp of the soul, should know how to feed it with pure oil; that they in whose hand is intrusted the welfare of a being never to die, should be able to perform the work, and earn the wages of heaven.

Assuming the position that females are by nature designated as teachers, and that the mind, in its most plastic state, is their pupil, it becomes a serious inquiry, what they will be likely to teach. They will, of course, impart what they best understand, and what they most value. They will impress their own peculiar lineaments upon the next generation. If vanity and folly are their predominant features, posterity must bear the likeness. If utility and wisdom are the objects of their choice, society will reap the benefit. This influence is most palpably operative in a government like our own. Here the intelligence and virtue of every individual possesses a heightened relative value. The secret springs of its harmony may be touched by those whose birth-place was in obscurity. Its safety is interwoven with the welfare of all its subjects.

If the character of those to whom the charge of schools is committed has been deemed not unworthy the attention of lawgivers, is not her education of consequence, who begins her labour before any other instructer, who pre-occupies the unwritten page of being, who produces impressions which nothing on earth can efface, and stamps on the cradle what will exist beyond the grave, and be legible in eternity ?

The ancient republics overlooked the worth of that half of the human race which bore the mark of physical infirmity. Greece, so exquisitely susceptible to the principle of beauty, so skilled in wielding all the elements of grace, failed to appreciate the latent excellence of woman. If, in the brief season of youth and bloom, she was fain to admire her as the acanthus-leaf of her own Corinthian capital, she did not discover, that like that very column, she might have added stability to the temple of freedom. She would not believe that her virtues might have aided in consolidating the fabric which philosophy embellished and luxury overthrew.

Rome, notwithstanding her primeval rudeness, and the ferocity of her wolf-nursed greatness, seems more correctly than polished Greece, to have estimated the “ weaker vessel.” Here and there, upon the stormdriven billows of her history, the form of woman is distinctly visible, and the mother of the Gracchi still stands forth in strong relief, amid that imagery, over which time has no power. Yet where the brute force of the warrior was counted godlike, the feebler sex were prized, only in their approximation to the energy of a sterner nature, as clay was held in combination with iron, in the feet of that mysterious image which troubled the visions of the Assyrian king.

To some of the republics of South America, the first dawn of liberty gave a light which Greece and Rome, so long her favoured votaries, never beheld. Even in the birth of their political existence, they discovered that the sex whose strength is in the heart, might exert an agency in modifying national character. New Grenada set an example which the world had not before seen. Ere the convulsive struggles of revolution had subsided, she unbound the cloistered foot of woman, and urged her to ascend the heights of knowledge. She established a college for females, and gave its superintendence to a lady of talent and erudition. We look with solicitude toward the result of this experiment. We hope that our sisters of the “ cloud-crowned Andes," may be enabled to secure and to diffuse the blessings of education, and that from their abodes of domestic privacy, a hallowed influence may go forth, which shall aid in reducing a chaos of conflicting elements to order, and symmetry, and permanent repose.

In our own country, man, invested by his Maker with the “ right to reign,” has nobly conceded to her, who was for ages a vassal, equality of intercourse, participation in knowledge, guardianship over his dearest possessions, and his fondest hopes. He is content to “bear the burden and heat of the day,” that she may dwell in plenty and at ease. Yet from the very felicity of her lot, dangers arise. She is tempted to rest in superficial attainments, to yield to that indolence which spreads like rust over the intellect, and to merge the sense of her own responsibilities in the slumber of a luxurious life. These tendencies should be neutralized by an education of utility, rather than that of ornament. Sloth and luxury, the subverters of republics, should be banished from her vocabulary. It is expedient that she be surrounded in youth with every motive to persevering industry, and severe application ; and that in maturity she be induced to consider herself as an ally in the cares of life, especially in the holy labour of rearing the immortal mind. While her partner stands on the high places of the earth, toiling for his stormy portion of that power or glory from which it is her privilege to be sheltered, let her feel that to her, in the recesses of the domestic sphere, is intrusted the culture of that knowledge and virtue, which are the strength of a nation. Happily secluded from lofty legislation and bold enterprise, with which her native construction has no affinity, she is still accountable to the government by which she is protected, for the character of those who shall hereafter obtain its honours, and control its functions. · Her place is in the quiet shade, to watch the little fountain, ere it has breathed a murmur. But the fountain will break forth into

a stream, and the swelling rivulet rush toward the sea; and she, who was first at the fountain head, and lingered longest near the infant streamlet, might best guide it to right channels; or, if its waters flow complaining and turbid, could truest tell what had troubled their source.

Let the age which has so freely imparted to woman the treasures of knowledge, add yet to its bounty, by inciting her to gather them with an unremitting and tireless hand, and by expecting of her the highest excellence of which her nature is capable. Demand it as a debtsummon her to abandon inglorious ease. Arouse her to practise and to enforce those virtues, which sustain the simplicity, and promote the permanence of a great nation. Make her answerable for the character of the next generation. Give her this solemn charge in the presence of “ men and of angels ;” gird her to its fulfilment with the whole armour of education and piety; and see if she be not faithful to her offspring, to her country, and to her God !

L. H. S.

A FAMILY SCENE. Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.—Burke. I HAPPENED, not long since, to call at a certain neighbour's, for the purpose of friendly conversation ; when on a sudden, half-a-dozen boys and girls pushed into the room, and, with a boisterous sound of words and loud laughter, confused and almost drowned our conversation. The father reddened with seeming resentment, and said, in a soft tone, “Don't, my children, be noisy.” He might as well have been silent; for they had been too long acquainted with this irresolute and unsteady government, to pay the least attention to what was said. They continued their noise till one, a little out of breath, drew off from the rest, to listen to a story his father was relating. Presently he bawled out, “ Father, you don't tell that story right." “ But do you not know, my son, it is not good manners to interrupt your father, when talking ?” “But I vow, father, you don't tell that story as I heard it.” His father was silent, and his son went on with the story; the old man was as tame as a whipped spaniel, till it was finished. He then said, “Come, my son, come, my son, fetch some wood and put it on the fire." "Can't; let Sam go; great lazy lout, he han't done nothing to-day.” “ Yes, I have done more than you have too: you may go; father told you first.” “Don't say so, Sammy; come, John, you are father's best boy ; run and bring some wood." "Yes, I am always the best boy when there is any thing to do ; have to do every thing under the sun; great lazy Sue stays in the house, and can't do nothing: let her go.” In the end, the father went and got it himself. In his absence, as one was sitting down in his chair, another pulled the chair away, and let him fall to the floor. He scrambled up in a rage, and fell upon his brother with his fist and teeth, and began to cry, “Father, John is biting and striking me.” “Well, Sam pulled the chair away, and almost killed me." "Sue has got a pin, and pricks me,” screamed

« VorigeDoorgaan »