Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

"I was in my thirteenth year when I lost my inother. This is one of the events which made a lasting impression. She had been, for a long time, gradually wasting away, and I had seen the anxious countenance and mauner with which my father watched her. But a boy, even of thirteen, is not likely to understand or realize such signs, and I remember I had no foreboding of the coming calamity, But, at length, I observed an altered tone in the morning and evening prayer of my father, which impressed me. I began to suspect the truth. I observed more narrowly, I discovered that the forın was wasted, the cheek had grown pale, the eye had sunk, and disease had made a fear, ful onset, while my childish eyes

had been blinded. And I do not wonder that they were blinded ; for the calm and cheerful manner of my mother was unaltered, and she spoke and smiled as she always had done. But I now saw the truth, aud every hour served to make me see it yet more plainly. My solicitude soon betrayed itself, and then my father sommoned resolution to speak upon the subject to his children. The others were younger than myself. They were frolicking in all the unapprehensive lightness of childhood, when he called us around him. There were

our of us. The youngest sprung upon his knee, and playfully put her lips to his mouth ;. while the rest of us, who perceived the emotion upon his face, gazed upon him, and gave bim our hands without speaking. As soon as he could command himself— My children,' said he, God has given you a good mother, but he is about to take her away

You will not see her inuch longer. She is visited by a disease which is burrying her to the grave, and we can do nothing but weep, and give her back to God. But we must not weep,' said he, bursting into tears,

for she is only going home ; going to be happy, which she has not been here. It would be wrong to mourn, for she is only going to sleep a sweet sleep, and we shall all, by and bye, sleep too, and then shall all rise together, if we have been good.'

“Not inany days after this, my mother called me to her, as I sat in the chamber, and, kissing iny cheek—You are old enough,' said she, to know what death means, and to learn a lesson from it. I am soon to die. "I have known

it for a long tiine, and have perfectly prepared my mind, to * meet the event. I have no lovger reluctance or fear. ` And

now, my dear son, while I speak to you, perhaps for the

from you..

[ocr errors]

last time, hear my parting counsel. I have tried to teach you your duty, and to fill your mind with religious principles. . Do not swerve from those principles. They are my support now, they always have been my support. You will need them as much as I do. And if you would cherish them, and have them strong, I charge you never pass a day without prayer.—Promise me this, and I shall fee easy,' I kissed her hand, and bowed my head; for I could not speak. She put her hand beneath the pillow, and taking thence a locket, containing a braid of her own hair, she gave it to me.

I do not know,' said she, that de. parted spirits are acquainted with what happens to the friends they have left on earth ; but if they are, I shall never cease to watch your life with maternal solicitude. Think of this whenever your eyes meet this memorial of my love. Reflect that, perhaps I see you, and remember the promise you have made me ; or, if not so':-she added in a voice of inconceivable expressiveness, reflect that God sees you, and bears witness whether you keep that promise or not. My dear son, farewell! a mother's parting blessing is on your head; and do Thou, O Father, bless him, and make him thine! She kissed me again, and sunk back exhausted.

" It seems as if I still heard her voice, and gazed upon her composed, but animated features. And it is one of the joyful anticipations of my approaching removal from earth, that I shall again see that face, and be united to her pure spirit, never to part again. I had no spirit, after this, to leave her side, or to engage in any occupation, suffered to remain near her ; to see the gradual approach of dissolution ; and to witness the tranquillity and cheerfulness with which Christian faith can await the appalling summons. She was too weak to say much, but sometimes gave a word of encouragement, admonition or blessing, to those who were near her, and after she became unable to speak, she still looked unutterable things, and smiled upon those who did her any little offices of kindness.-All was peace within and without ; and gently at last did she sink asleep in Jesus, without a groan or a struggle, and with an expression on her face as if she had already caught a glimpse of the glory to come.

There are some who would keep children from the chamber of death, and remove from their minds, as soon as possible, the impressions which sorrow may have made.

was

They little consider the natural buoyancy of the mind, and the tendency of all feeling to pass away from a young heart. My father was one of those who thought the solemn impressions of such a season should be deepened, and pains taken to make them lasting. He thought that much might be done to give right views of the value and purposes of existence, and to get ready that frame of mind which is best fitted to meet and endure the changes of the world. By his conversation, therefore, and instruction, for a long period, he kept fresh the feelings to which this sad event had given birth. He did not converse a great deal in the formal way; it was not his habit, and he rather avoided it, from a persuasion that it was not an effectual mode of addressing young persons. I do not think that he ever made a long harangue to his children upon any subject. His custom was to seize moments when their minds were cheerful and at ease, or when any remarkable event had excited their attention, and by a few concise, pointed remarks, soinetimes by only one single emphatic expression, convey the important lesson. He would then leave it to work upon their minds. And it would often happen that the words would sink down into their hearts, and never be forgotten. I can recall many examples of forcible sayings thus uttered, which were of great use to me afterward; but am certain that the same sentiment, diluted into a formal speech of fifteen or twenty minutes, would have made no impression and been altogether lost. “Upon the present occasion, be pursued his customary

He spoke seldom; but because seldom, I dwelt the more upon what he did say. I forgot nothing. And as he directed my reading, and the whole occupation of my time, I was, for a long season, prevented from returning to the sports of my childhood, or regaining the frolicksome dispositions of boyhood."

course.

SIR,

British and Foreign Unitarian Association.

Lynn, Sept. 14, 1826. The contents of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association Report will, I flatter myself, afford satisfaction to most of our friends who have an opportunity to peruse them

;

and I am still further pleased to observe the evident wish on the part of the Committee to obtain publicity for their proceedings.

VOL. XII,

2 #

Perhaps the mode which, in my situation as minister to the Unitarian Congregation at Lynn, I adopted to make them known, may not have suggested itself to some equally anxious with myself to arouse the attention of those with whom they are connected : with your permission, then, I will briefly state it for their consideration.

After perusing, with considerable pleasure, a copy of the Report, my next desire was that all the friends to the cause connected with us at Lyon, should also know what was in progress and what had been done. Could I have given a copy to each, I concluded want of time, or of inclination, or even in some, want of ability, might have prevented perusal ; had I requested the attendance of the congregation on a week night to hear the contents of it read, business and various engagements might have kept many away. I therefore determined to incorporate what I regarded as the most interesting portions in my usual service on the evening of a Sunday. In consequence, I read to the congregation, with a few introductory and occasional explanatory remarks, the proceedings of the Committee, the extracts from the Missionaries' journals, the correspondence of Messrs. Adam and Roberts, and the proceedings of the friends to our cause in British India. With the plan thus a' pursued several expressed themselves pleased, and whatever may be the effects of the endeavour, I feel satisfaction in having endeavoured to arouse the attention of my friends to this important institution; or whatever may be the conduct of those of them who are able to support it, at any rate, iguorance of its existence, its objects, or its means, cannot be their excuse.

My proceeding will of course be differently viewed by different people, they who, like myself, feel the necessity for all classes in our body being interested in our success, will, perhaps, see nothing in it to disapprove, while some may adopt a similar plan. And if any regard such a plan as intrusive, injudicious, and unlikely to be productive of good, I only beg of them to be fully assured, that nothing but an ardent desire for the success of the “ British and Foreign Unitarian Association," and, as I firmly believe, through that, for the happiness of my fellow-créatures, the kingdom of Christ and the glory of God, led to its adoption, by

WILLIAM SELBY.

The late Major Cartwright. THERE are multitudes who know the character of this gentleman as a Parliamentary Reformer, but few probably who are acquainted with his exemplary domestic and social virtue and his truly Christian piety. These are brought before us in his “Life," just published' by his Niece ; * brought before us, not in declamation and panegyric, but by a series of facts, and by extracts from the correspondence of more than half a century.'

Major Cartwright, though bold and adventurous, as became his profession--that of a seaman-was naturally of a serious disposition. He writes, for example, in 1773 : “ I have met with few works better calculated to promote the cause of religion thận Locke's “ Reasonableness of Christianity as delivered in the Scriptures.". I never once heard it quoted or spoken of; but I think it the most satisfactory book of the kind I ever met with in my life, and the best key to the inspired writings of the New Testament." Vol, I. P. 50.

About the same time, he expressed himself as follows:

My friend *** could not have flattered me more suc-' teessfully than by attributing to me a disposition for making

the best of every thing; as I take it to be one of the essentials in religion of erery one who believes in a Providence, and of a Christian in particular ; for I have no doubt but that it is our business to turn every hour and every

minute in life to our advantage, whether it be prosperous or otherwise. I have always thought it extreme impiety to repine at the evils of life. I. 51.

His amiable and sensible biographer says, (I. 64, note,) that he “ always'affirmed in conversation as well as in his writings, that both the Jewish and Christian dispensations were (when not perverted by the inventions of men) so remarkably favourable to human liberty, that there scarcely needed any other proofs of their divine origin."

He gave a signal proof of integrity in refusing to accept an appointment in Lord Howe's fleet, offered to him by his Lordship, when the American war broke out : he was on many accounts extremely anxious to be engaged in actual service, but believing the Americans to be right in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* The Life and Correspondence of Major Cartwright." Edited by his Niece, F. D. Cartwright. In 2 vols. 8vo. Colburn. 1826.

« AnteriorContinuar »