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On that same morning, a pious and zealous minister of the gospel, and one of the most popular preachers in the metropolis at the time,-received a note, which struck him as one of the most extraordinary he had ever seen. Written on coarse paper, and in uneven lines, it was in a very small and beautifully delicate hand, and was expressed in terms of the utmost pathos and elegance, requesting a visit to a death-bed.
He hastened to obey the summons, and having learnt from the decent-looking woman who brought the note, something of the writer and her circumstances, he called on a noble and benevolent lady of his congregation, to induce her to accompany him. She was one of those spoilt children of affluence, who are too apt to be ever dissatisfied with their own condition, and dream not how many children of greater sorrow there are, all around them. She was yet in the meridian of life, and had early lost a husband she had too much idolized. In the desolation of her heart, since this event, she was prone to melancholy and misanthropy, undervaluing the many blessings the Lord had left her, because His wisdom chose to withdraw the greatest of them. And yet she was charitable, and gave liberally whenever required to do so. Her pastor thought it would be for her improvement-and consolation too, perhaps --could she witness the scene he expected to meet, and which I have endeavored to describe. So the lady's carriage was ordered, and it drove to the dull old corner-too touchingly in unison with many a subdued wretched heart, that bid in its quiet recesses.
The patient was still asleep, when the minister and his friend entered the sick room. Seldom had the young servant of Christ, and never had the rich and luxurious lady, been present on an occasion so affecting. The minister's gaze was riveted on the sufferer's face fixed in calm repose, yet transiently glowing, as if with the rapture of dreams of heaven. The womanly heart, on the other hand, was attracted towards the sorrowful, desolate-looking infants, beautiful as might have graced a noble hall, and for the thousandth time, the lady sighed in unsanctified and impatient regrets, because God had given her none.
In a few minutes the invalid opened her eyes. Her short slumber had strengthened her a little, but her senses slightly wandered. She observed no strangers, turning her head only
to see if her blind girl, ever her first care, were safe beside her. Then she was heard to murmur, "Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them.” “The widow's trust is still in Thee, Lord.”
The minister then spoke, “I am thankful, my friend," he said "you seem possessed of the truest source of consolation in this trying hour?”.
“Mr. F.!" she answered “I have often heard you preach. God put it in my heart to send for you."
“I thank you for doing so," was the reply. “You seem very poorly.” And he took the clay-cold hand in his.
“Death is close by," she whispered solemnly.
A smile whose soft radiance was all unearthly, flitted over the rapidly marbling features, and Mr. F. seeing her exhausted, commended her spirit to the Lord Jesus, and the children to His compassions.
When the short but pathetic prayer was finished, the lady approached the couch. For a moment she shudderingly contemplated the mean appointments surrounding one, who seemed intended to adorn far other scenes, though in fact, that humble expiring Christian was now far above the utmost that earth could give. Then the noble visitor instinctively felt what must still be the pangs of a mother's anxiety for her orphans, and replying to the meek imploring look turned towards her, she said in tremulous tones,
“I too am a widow, but God has given me wealth and no children, your little ones shall be my own."
“Father of the fatherless, I thank thee!" clearly spoke the mother, and in that rapture of gratitude, the ransomed spirit took its flight. One short struggling sigh, and the over-wearied one was at rest.
Awe-struck and deeply affected, the visitor's first care was to remove the hapless blind child from her mother's body, and this could at last only be done by force; she could hardly be made to comprehend her misfortune, and indeed it required much of the tenderest soothings before the wild shrieking sorrow of any of the children could be stilled.
Of course every thing was done that was proper and respectful for the departed one, and the children were taken to their benefactor's home. To the eldest and most unfortunate, the benevolent lady devoted her especial tenderness, and could any price have purchased for her sight or happiness, it would have been ungrudgingly bestowed; but the little maid pined and withered, and longed so intensely to be “in heaven with her own blessed mamma,” that even those most deeply interested in the sweet intelligent child, did not, could not grieve, when she shortly afterwards had her desire, and fell asleep, sweetly as she had often done on that lamented mother's breast.
The little boy was afterwards liberally educated, and the girl became the beloved adopted daughter of the no longer pensive unhappy lady, who thus nobly redeemed her voluntary pledge to the departing mother. She found a sweet reward, and an abiding consolation in the filial devotion of both the orphans; and when in the society in which she moved, (though with Christian sobriety) and to which she introduced them, they met with the natural connections of her, who had been scorned and neglected in her poverty, they never shrank from avouching themselves the objects of Christian philanthropy, and the especial care of the orphans' God.
To the poor desolate widow, and to the rich, yet childish oneto the Christian pastor, and to the protected and sheltered orphan, this little narrative is intended severally to say, GO AND DO THOU LIKEWISE.
ORDER. It appears to be a duty, and an imperative one too, to cultivate a love of order, and so to arrange things and engagements, that time may neither be wasted in seeking for the former, nor lost for want of an opportunity for the execution of the latter. Can any one dare to set a light value upon even a moment of time, when this no less than the breath we draw, is the gift of God ? Surely they are very reprehensible who, for want of arrangement in the distribution of their time, and from untidy habits in the varied minutiæ of private life, suffer it to glide by unvalued and unimproved. Time is a talent, and its right improvement is an imperative duty. No expression is more repulsive than that frequently heard from the lips of young men—“ Killing time.” How humiliating to think that a human creature, an immortal being, can be found so lost to the value of the boon bestowed on him by God himself for aims high as heaven and lasting as eternity! Slovenly and untidy habits bring their own punishment in the confusion and flurry which they involve. “A place for every thing, and every thing in its place,” is an excellent motto.
PRECEPTIVE BIOGRAPHY.-LA SALLE. We have several reasons for selecting, as a subject for our Preceptive Biographies, the life of La Salle. It is full of adventure and incident of which young people are always fond; it shows a spirit of enterprise and perseverance highly creditable, and is, above all, so admirably illustrative of the false philosophy of conquest received amongst most civilized nations, that we think it will furnish a few profitable hints to the abettors of warfare, by shewing how unfairly the accession of territory is in most cases achieved, and in what manner possessions thus obtained are held in perpetuity.
We have no record of the year in which Robert Cavelier de la Salle was born, though he appears to have been a native of Rouen, in Normandy. Before his arrival in Canada his fame or fortune attracted little attention, but on his going thither in 1667, he appears to have shewn something of that determination and industry which are always indicative of a certain kind of greatness. He was of good family, and had spent ten or twelve years of his earlier life in a seminary of the Jesuits, where he acquired an accomplished education, particularly in the mathematics and physical sciences as they were taught at that day. A career seems to have been marked out for him in the church, since he received no share in the distribution of his father's property. When he left the seminary, his superiors gave him testimonials of an unblemished character, and of their approbation of his conduct during the time he had been under their charge.
The objects which first led La Salle into Canada can only be inferred from his subsequent pursuits. For several years na
other aim is apparant than that of accumulating a fortune by the Indian trade, consisting chiefly in the barter of European merchandize for beaver skins and other peltries. Considering the means he possessed, however, his operations were on a large scale, and conducted with the same bold spirit of enterprise, which afterwards bore him through so many scenes of trial and danger. He pushed forward at once to the frontiers, where he erected trading-houses, and superintended in person the details of his business, freighting his bark-canoes and ascending the rapids of the St. Lawrence and other rivers, thereby acquiring a practical skill in the only kind of navigation which then existed on the interior waters of America. In this art the first settlers were everywhere the pupils of the savages. In pursuing his schemes of traffic, La Salle made excursions among the Indian tribes bordering on the shores of Lake Ontario, and among the Hurons further to the north, gaining a knowledge of their modes of life, manners, resources, and language.
While thus employed, his thoughts were roaming far beyond the sphere of his immediate occupations. Speculative minds in Europe had long been dreaming of a shorter way to China and Japan across the North American continent. The fervid imagination of La Salle was easily kindled by these dreams. The vast extent of the Great Lakes, which was then beginning to be made known, appeared to him a confirmation of this idea, as he did not doubt, that at their western extremities would be found the heads of rivers flowing into the China Seas, or perhaps a chain of other lakes, that would render the communication easy and direct. To commemorate these anticipations he gave the name of La Chine to his trading establishment on the Island of Montreal, a name it has borne to the present day.
Fortified by the countenance of Frontenac, then governor of Canada, he again crossed the Atlantic, and obtained from the French king the government and property of a fort at the eastern extremity of Lake Ontario, built by Frontenac, and named after him, he having " called a council of the Iroquois chiefs at the place, and so far prevailed over their simplicity as to gain their consent on the ground that this fort was to be