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she would warmly exonerate her mother from all blame; assuring me, that whatever had been her own sins--and she thought there were few which she had not committed - her parents were, if not religious, strictly honest and upright in all their moral conduct. But she told me, that it was not possible to detail-nor did I wish she should attempt it – the scenes of iniquity she had witnessed, and in which she had but too soon taken part, when young in service, as a kitchen maid, in one of the first families of wealth, residing in the west end of London; and from the examples of that service she dated all her after career of guilt. Although, when I left the Colony, she was married, and gave some evidences of reformation, I cannot say she was in any measure a converted character, nor did she manifest that shame which the remembrance of such a life must have awakened, in a heart not seared against all conviction of its awful consequences and tremendous doom. In justice to her, I must, however, so far add, that she never became either angry or sullen, hard to bear, as must have been the appalling truths of which she was continually, and faithfully reminded. She ever met me with smiles of welcome, and expressed herself grateful to those who took an interest in her wel. fare. This was a promising trait, and I would fain hope that, by the grace and blessing of God, she may yet be led to seek the " better part."
Another instance is that of a woman, now also a convict at Sydney, sentenced to transportation for life upon the charge of robbing, to a considerable extent, the lady with whom she had lived for many years, in the high and respectable capacity of ladies' maid. Her history, too, is replete with the lamentable results arising from an irreligious mistress ; but we will not detail more than a brief outline of her story. She was most respectably connected-entered service in her nineteenth year, and became exceedingly attached to her mistress, who deemed her worthy of unbounded confidence. But she totally neglected all her religious duties, was persuaded to believe it no harm to work on Sundays, which her inistress frequently required her to do; she rarely went to church : she never prayed ; nor did she even read her Bible. On returning to England, after an absence of some months on the continent, whither she had accompanied her mistress, she passed a short time with a sister who lived as upper servant in a pious family, and who, grieving to see the total indifference of poor Maria to all that concerned a future state, ventured seriously to expostulate with her upon the sin of remaining longer in a family, whose ungodly habits had so fatally influenced her own mind; earnestly reminding her, that no blessing could rest upon such an engagement, however lucrative it might be. But it was all in vain. She was happy and prosperous in a worldly sense, and scorning the affectionate, and, as she thought, the puritanical' counsel of her sister, she returned to where she feared neither God nor man, in her thoughtless course of impiety. Soon did that sister, whose warning she despised, see her again, but it was in a prison! She wept over her, prayed for ber, and, without a reproach, now patiently endeavoured to urge her
that she would have given all she possessed, could she have begun life again as the poorest and meanest of creatures, to be the humble, ho
nest, happy Christian which she was, whose religion she had so often ridiculed and denied! Vain was now alike the wish and the regret ! Allured by a bad man to commit a deed of most aggravated disho. nesty, and that too against a mistress, who, with all her faults, had loved and trusted her, she was about to suffer for life, the just but dreadful sentence of perpetual exile. Yet, it is a striking fact, that, softened and self-condemned as she was in many respects, she expressed a bitterness of remembrance towards her mistress, tracing all her own wickedness to the ungodliness in which, under her guardianship and example, she had been trained, both painful to hear and unprincipled in her to admit, against one who had been to her at least a kind and generous benefactress. True, it manifested the worst soil of human nature, untouched by divine grace ; but, would it have thus sprung up in weeds of such deadly and unballowed passions, had it been cultured, watered, and planted with seeds of heavenly instruction, by the hand of a christian guardian ? No; bad and ungrateful as the reproach was, uttered under such circumstances, what was it but the reaction of principles : evil, falling back upon evil; -" the grain reproduced, but with thorns around the ear ?” For, “ whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.” Here the mistress sowed the seeds of infidelity against God, within the mind of her dependant, and she reaped a harvest of infidelity and reproach against herself, from the treachery of that dependant !
One more history is worthy of our subject, as illustrative of the evils also arising from injudicious indulgence and careless extravagance towards servants, although without any direct want of religious principles on the part of the master and mistress. A woman, suffering great poverty, entreated assistance for an invalid child of a friend who frequently visited her, and from whom I received the following detail of circumstances which had thus reduced her from comparative comfort.
In early life Margaret entered service, with an excellent character from the national school in which she had been trained. Her first situation was in a nursery, for which her health proved unequal ; but, being a steady girl, she soon became engaged as housemaid in an affluent family, greatly beloved by all who knew them for kindness and benevolence. It was also considered a religious family, the servants being required by their master to attend domestic worship every morning; although, beyond this, he never interfered in the arrangement of his household affairs. The lady was one of those amiable and sweet-tempered persons, who loved to see all around her happy,-according to her own ideas of happiness; but, thoughtless and inconsiderate, her views extended no further than those of present enjoyment. Her children were spoilt; her servants allowed to do as they pleased ; both one and the other became most unreasonable in their demands for increased indulgence, and were dissatisfied if denied them. Hours were late and irregular; profusion was in every department, and the servants, taking advantage of their liberty, soon became equally improvident, wasteful, and careless in all their duties, and this without reproof, for their inistress disliked finding fault; and still more so, changing servants, however they might wrong and impose upon her. This was called ' a good place,' and a happy family! But the master died ! leaving his affairs, affluent as he had been, in a state of so much embarrassment, that his estate was sold, and the servants, for the most part, dispersed. Poor Margaret, thus cast upon the world again, sought other service ; but she was too much spoilt now to bear the restraints of a well-regulated family. She tried many places, but finding none like her last, was dissatisfied with all ; and at length, contrary to the advice of her friends, became bar-maid in a public-bouse, married a man of drunken habits, and confirmed herself in those of waste and idleness, she became, finally, a wretched wife ; her health destroyed by hardships and privations, to which she had been so unaccustomed, and her children pining around her, iv want of food and clothing, which she had now no longer power to earn ! Often was she heard to say, 'Oh, that I could gather but a fragment of what was wasted before my eyes! but I, too, helped to waste, and now I must justly want:' and once speaking of her little girl, she added, "If it please God she lives to go to service, never with my consent shall she enter the doors of a rich man's house! It does not do for a poor girl to get into such ways of plenty and extravagance ; they were my ruin, and the ruin of those who were by far my betters!'
Such, then, is the sad history of only a few individuals, out of thousands probably, whose happiness has been wrecked by the influence and bad examples of others! For where, let me ask, lay the greater guilt in each of these cases ? Look at the mistress of poor Amy, and at the mistress of Margaret. Kind and amiable, and admired as these ladies doubtless were in the society of the world, what were they as stewards of a high trust? If we consign to an agent, on whose affections we have strong claim, and on whose integrity we fearlessly rely, treasures of gold and silver-peradventure all that is valuable and necessary to us in life, that it may advance his interests-dependent as they are upon his agency, and increase our own by his skill and diligence; what should we think of that agent, who taking our treasure on such grounds, kept no account of it; but, using it only for his own pleasure, lost it, and that, too, through carelessness, apathy, and extravagance ? Let bim tell you, that he had been hospitable beyond his means; that he had been kind and generous to all under his control ; lavish towards others, as well as lavish in his own expenditure. Let the world speak well of his benevolence; of his hospitality, of his luxurious table, of his good taste, and generous disposition: would we, whose treasures he had lost, whose prospects were blighted, whose home was devastated by that loss; would we think him faithful to his trust, generous, benevolent, honourable, or wellprincipled ? Should we not rather justly deprecate bis base ingratitude, his selfish waste, his cruel carelessness, and pronounce him wholly unworthy of our further friendship and confidence ? ay, unworthy even of our presence? Then, how far, far more base and dishonourable, and ungrateful, must that mortal being be, who is all this to God, in the charge of His immortal treasures ?-treasures too of such price, that to reclaim them from the treacherous bankruptcy of human agency, Jehovah gave up his own Son to suffer and to die ; because, without such sacrifice, not one iota of that treasure could be found again! O! not the whole mass of precious ore--not every
jewel which is, and has been, and shall be embowelled within our unfathomable universe, could compare in worth with the value of one deathless soul, however mean the casket of mortal workmanship may be, in which it is to expand and fructify for the Eden of God's paradise ! No; what then must be their account to God, who have made wreck of one such jewel ? And when, at the coming of our Lord, to claim His own from the treasury of human stewardship, how many among the matrons of our highly favoured country will be found standing at His right hand, and looking round her on the multitude who, whether as servant, or friend, or child, on earth called her “ blessed,” can meekly and joyfully reply, “ Behold, Lord, I and the children whom thou hast given me.” Thy one talent multiplied to five; thy five multiplied to ten ? Or, what will it be to those who, having received largely of God's blessings here, give back none other than life abused ? but must, with that risen life, rather hide the shame of their unfaithfulness by charging it impiously on God ? “ Lord, I knew thee, that thou art an austere man,” and “ I hid thy talent in the earth : Lo, there thou hast that is thine." The answer to both is recorded, where no lie can find a place ! To the one, " Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” To the other, “ Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “ These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life.” Yes! God is not mocked.” He is just as He is merciful; true to His promises, whether for wrath or blessing ; and, while He graciously accepts the imperfect services of a sincere disciple, acknowledging, as done to Himself, every effort of Christian philanthropy exerted in behalf of “ the least ” among “ His brethren,"—will not spare one, who, reckless alike of His gifts and His commands, has lived for the service of the “world, the flesh, and the devil.” Oh! this is no language of exaggerated figure no cant of fanaticism to work upon the imaginations of the weak and fearful! It is a picture drawn from the sacred truth of Jehovah's revealed will,-that will, which, “ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," can never change in the counsels of Almighty wisdom !
Or, if we reason merely upon the ground of common sense, and venture, for a moment, to bring Almighty thought down to the measure of our thoughts, or God's ways to the low standard of our ways, let us ask, for what purpose are good gifts bestowed ? Would a parent bequeath to a beloved child a legacy of wealth, or endow him with all the advantages of education and power and influence, for the purpose of doing evil ?-of bringing disgrace and ruin on himself and others ? Would it not rather be, to honour that childto make him worthy of his name and his inheritance ? " If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,” how much more must the rich gifts of our heavenly Father be bestowed for purposes of good, upto the “ sons of men ?” But, alas ! how are they, in too many cases, received ? How is wealth disposed of? How is honour honoured ? How is influence exerted ? Go to our prisons- to our penitentiaries—to the factory at Paramatta, and there learn the answer ! there see the fruits, and weep over the histories of wealth abused, of honour dishonoured, of influence accursed! Yes ; go and look upon the dreadful ravages of peace, virtue, and affection --of all the better principles-all the kindlier feelings of hearts once happy in moral worth at least, and see the human wretchedness—the never-ending wretchedness, perhaps, of thousands who, seduced by fair promises, by the allurements of unhallowed pleasures, or betrayed by the yet more cruel, if less offensive wrong of ill requited and deceived affection, must linger out the long residue of a young life in unavailing sorrow and needless remorse, so far as this world's happiness is at stake : for, when woman falls, she falls to rise no more an honoured link of social life. No; the chances are that she sinks yet lower in disgrace and shame ; her seared heart, callous even to the appeals of reason or religion. Or, if not that-if through Divine grace she goes like another Magdalen to weep tears of a contrite spirit at the feet of Him who will never “ break the bruised reed," por bid a penitent “ depart;” still her joy of heart is gone for ever; and though she may, indeed, rise up in peace, believing that her sins though many are forgiven, she must henceforth walk, self.condemned, among ber fellows, an alien from woman's best rights: the praise of humankind her reproach, and their reproach a probe she cannot brook! " Her sorrow is continually before her ;” and did she not, in the meek submission of humble faith, both“ hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord,” life would be to her a burden heavier than she could bear! But, oh! if such be the mournful history of one who still has a hope beyond the grave, which “ maketh not ashamed,"ma portion in the blessed promises of the redeemed, what must be life's evening to her, who is not thus converted from the error of her transgression ?- who, lost to all that woman holds most dear on earth, goes on in her sin, from evil “ to yet deeper guilt, to die at last in her despair ? I could not, if I would, depict her appalling career !--the fearful end of thousands who are thus depraved, and yet even these are born to better hopes,—they were created for a glorious inheritance.
Such, then, are the sorrows arising from the sins of real life; but, for these things, God will surely visit those from whose selfish influence they spring. Yes! “ Woe unto the world because of offences !” and, “ though it be impossible but that offences should come, woe unto him through whom the offence cometh.". Better had it been, “had that man never been born." This is strong language-language which, if spoken by mortal lips to mortal ears, might be censured as “ uncharitable,” as wronging the mercy of a merciful God. But it is God himself who speaks them ! they are words indited by his own spirit, and written by a pen which dared not write a lie. They are words taken from the “ Book of Life,” inspired by the Divine will, as the consummation of Divine wisdom-a wisdom which cannot err, and will not, must not, be doubted or denied. Then tenfold is the woe on him who ventures to do the one, or dares to do the other. Ob ! rather let us listen to them and obey, hear them and believe, and so lay these things to heart, that by the mighty power of “ a still, small voice,” they may “ refrain our feet from every evil way," and enable us meekly to do the will of God in all things, with a conscience void of offence, both towards God and towards man !