They came into a room which, as appeared from the happy faces of the family which were beaming there, and from the preparations for supper which were going forward, was answering the double purpose of kitchen and parlor. The mother of the family and her daughter were busy together at the back part of the room; in the chimney corner, were two children with ruddy cheeks, amusing themselves by drawing pictures upon a slate; a third was sitting near them, reading aloud in a little book, and a fourth, younger than the rest, was frolicking with the dog and cat, in the middle of the floor. These several occupations were interrupted by the entrance of the stranger, and all seemed to be pleased with the interruption ; for if there is true cordial hospitality in the earth, it will be found at the fireside of an American farmer like this. The traveller sat down by the fire, and began to play with the children which he gathered around him, and warmth was soon restored to his limbs, and gladness to his heart.

The arrival of a stranger was, in their unvaried life, one of those remarkable events, which were deemed sufficient to occasion an alteration in the usual family arrangements; and a fire having been kindled in a front room, the traveller, together with the children and their father, resorted thither; the preparations for their evening's repast were soon completed; the children, in half suppressed glee, gathered to their respective seats; and the parents and the stranger went to their places. The blessing of heaven was affectionately but solemnly implored, and the little circle partook of their food in gratitude and love.

The short evening passed rapidly and pleasantly away, at this happy fireside, and, at an early hour, the father

gave notice that it was time for their customary evening devotions. The family collected their bibles and gathered around the bright fire, which was glowing upon the hearth.

The missionary was seated at one corner; at the other, was the united family head, looking into the same sacred volume, and in front, the children arranged themselves together in pairs, turning their backs upon the fire, that its strong light might

shine upon the books they were to read. At a notice from its father, the youngest commenced, and in a slow artless manner, read one verse of the chapter, the next, and the next continued,—the mother, the father, and the visitor took their turns, and thus they went round until the chapter was concluded. They then knelt in silence and solemnity together, while the missionary offered their evening tribute of penitence, thanksgiving, and praise. A few moments after the exercise was completed, the children came, one after another, to the stranger, and, standing before him, with their hands clasped in his, repeated some simple verses, and then the Lord's prayer, with much apparent seriQusness. They then bid him and their father good night, and with cheerful and happy looks followed their mother from the room.

“ You have a happy family," said the stranger, when he found himself alone with his host, “ and you appear 10 possess many sources of real enjoyment.”?

56 Oh yes, sir," replied the farmer, “I have every thing to make me happy, but it is to religion, to religion alone sir, that I am indebted for them all."

6 I have no doubt,” said the inissionary, " that religion is the source of your greatest and purest happiness, Lut you do not mean that religion has placed you in the prosperous circumstances and situation which you enjoy.”

66 Yes, sir, I owe every thing I possess, to the power which the Gospel has had over me. Ten years ago

I was without God and without hope in the world, and I may say, without joy too; for although I was engaged, with great earnestness, in the pursuit of pleasure, I was, in reality, the most wretched and miserable man alive. I was then on this farm, but it was very far from being what it is now. I was an idle, dissolute man, and my vicious course was fast makiog my farm a desert, my wife broken hearted, and myself a wretched vagabond. My wife has always since my acquaintance with her, been a pious.woman; and it is, through the grace of God, by her means, that I am not now a ruined man, ruined in soul and body.”'

6 But how did she exert so great an influence over you."

“ Oh, sir, by her whole conduct; every action, every word, every look was a meek, but powerful reproof to me. You cannot conceive how her eye would pierce my very soul, when I came home, late at night, from some scene of riot and dissipation. There she used to sit, in that corner, and when she rose to meet me, there was such an expression of grieved and saddened feelings, and yet such a look of mildness and forgiveness, that it always filled me with a momentary remorse and penitence. And sometimes, on the Sabbath, when I was sitting in a most melancholy mood, I used to hear her teaching some verses of the Bible to little William, and they seemed sometimes so pointed and full of meaning, that I was frequently disposed to be angry, from the suspicion that she designed to convey some rebuke to me in this indirect manner. But then I would soon reflect upon the perfect proofs which I had every hour, that she really wished my happiness, and then my unkind feelings would vanish away. I believe, sir, I could have borne any thing but this mild forgiving spirit; it made me constantly miserable ; conscience soon began to arouse itself, and, in short, sir, it pleased my Heavenly Father, as I humbly trust, to show me my guilt, and the way of salvation through a Redeemer.”

66 What was the guilt which you then saw in yourself? the vices and crimes of which you spoke ?”

“ Yes, sir, I had a much stronger and deeper sense of these, but I soon found that these were not at the foundation of the evil; they were rather the signs of the guilt in


heart than the guilt itself. It was my heart, sir, that wanted purifying. I had before thought, that, although my actions were often very criminal, I could at any time abandon my evil courses, and I should then be as good as my wife, whom I always considered a pattern of excellence. But I soon found that there was something fundamentally wrong in the state of my affections towards Go !, and that, unless these were changed, I should never be holy or happy. I cannot describe what was my distress, when I found that the control of

my soul.”

these was utterly beyond my power. I was, however, at last brought to the Saviour, where I found peace and joy; and I hope he has commenced a work of grace in

“ But how did you recover your affairs from their embarrassed condition.”

“Religion, sir, and industry, can accomplish any thing. I made the text, Diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, my rule, and every thing soon began to go well, and you see how happy a man I am now."

Here the good wife of the farmer came in, and gradually joined in the conversation; the hour passed rapidly, but profitably away, and the stranger was then shown to his place of rest.

The wind was roaring, and the rain descending in torrents without, as the Missionary knelt down at his bedside, and poured out his soul before the Author of his being, in grateful remembrance of the mercies he was then enjoying; and as he arose from his knees, and prepared to retire to rest, he thought that all bis labours, his dangers, and mortifications would be amply recompensed, could he occasionally become an inmate of such a family as that, whose roof was then protecting him from the storm. He was soon, like the other inhabitants of this mansion, sunk in forgetfulness; and the dwelling was like the soul of the good man in this world of disorder and wretchedness, surrounded with storm and tempest without,-perfect peace and tranquillity within.

The night and the storm passed together away, and the eyes of the Missionary opened upon the beams of a delightful morning. The wind was hushed, and the sun was breaking forth from the clouds, and sending his animating rays through the windows of the apartment. The traveller arose from his resting place, repaired to the family fireside, and joined in the morning devotions ; he sat down once more to the hospitable board, and then betook himself to his journey. All nature was alive and vocal in the loveliness of spring, and the Missionary went on his way rejoicing.


(For the Monitor.)


Dear C.,-You will recollect my former epistle was on filial obedience. This duty I endeavoured to urge upon you by the consideration of your own personal happiness. Perhaps you felt at the time a secret resolution that this happiness should be yours. But when I reflect on the importance of this duty, and the temptations to which children are exposed, I feel that this duty cannot be too frequently nor too forcibly impressed on their minds. It deeply concerns you, my dear friend. Allow me to present another consideration to incite you to a constant and cheerful obedience to your parentsa consideration which perhaps you have seldom thought of. Should I ask you, if you loved your parents and wished them to be happy, I know you would answer, yes. Now, have you ever asked yourself the question, how you can render thein happy? You say you desire them to be happy. What can you do to effect this? You cannot increase their property. You are not able yet to take care of yourself. You cannot instruct them-they know far more than you do. You cannot provide for them—they provide both for themselves and for you. What can you do, my dear C., to promote their happiness? One thing you can do. You can render them the most cheerful and cordial obedience. In doing this, you will not only find the highest enjoyment and satisfaction yourself, but you will render them exceedingly happy. What can be more gratifying to the feelings of your tender and affectionate parents, than to receive from you a ready and hearty compliance with all their wishes ? In doing this, you will amply repay them for all their care and anxiety for you.

And this is the only way in which you can repay that debt of love and gratitude you owe them for all their kindness. If then you have one spark of love in your bosom, one emotion of gratitude for their constant and unwearied kindness to you, how strong is the inducement for you to yield a ready obedience to all they require of you. Such a course of conduct will greatly endear you to your parents, and

« VorigeDoorgaan »