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TO MY DOG. '
(Occasioned by a paper in the last number of the
Christian Lady's Magazine.)
My faithful dog ! come let me see
No--for thou meekly wilt sustain,
O bright example, teach me how
A CHAPTER FROM THE LIFE OF A YOUNG
BY THE AUTHOR OF “ SABBATH MUSINGS.”
•One fact,' saith the proverb, • is worth a bundred arguments :' and inasmuch as we are all more or less creatures of imitation, an example held up to our eyes has often more effect in attracting our notice and influencing our conduct, than the most elaborate essay or dry dissertation on the same subject.
Now I have no taste for composing elaborate essays or dry dissertations, and therefore must have recourse to the simple narration of an occurrence, which may perhaps accomplish my object. It may shew the expediency and possibility of so improving natural talents and rectifying natural defects, as to increase to their utmost usefulness the gifts which God has given us to glorify him,
Horace Fleetmore was one of those whom it pleased the Almighty Disposer of events to call at an early age into his service. He was introduced into Christ's flock by that which has heralded the adoption of many a believer-the baptism of bitter tears; those ‘waters of the heart,' that soften, when blessed, the stony soil, and prepare it for the sanctifying dews of the Spirit, and the springing up of the good seed. DECEMBER, 1839.
At the age of sixteen, the morning of Horace's life was clouded by the sudden death of an only and beloved sister. This unexpected blow gave a new current to his entire existence, and brought home so forcibly to his mind the transitoriness of all earthly things, that he resolved henceforth to make the concerns of eternity the chief object of his being. Nor did this resolution, as, alas! so many do that are formed under the agonies of bereavement, fiee away like the early dew and the morning cloud, when time has assuaged the bitterness of those first pangs, and the son of prosperity again shone out. The resolve to choose the better part remained stedfast and abiding.
A proud and a happy and a solemn day it was, an era in his life, the impression of which was never to be effaced, that in which Horace Fleetmore entered holy orders, and attained the goal of all his wishes, the long-coveted honour of being an ambassador for Christ.
About a year before this event he had been introduced by his Oxford friend, Charles Grey, to the family of the latter, and an attachment had sprung up between him and the sister of his college companion. The young people had not very many opportunities of being together, even after Horace's ordination, their homes being in distant counties, and the young man much engaged: but where there exists congeniality of feeling, and especially on the one point of only real and surpassing importance, religion, intimacy soon ripens. The image of Anna Grey began almost insensibly to mingle in all Fleetmore's projects of future usefulness. His imagination pictured her as the active fellow-helper in his. parochial labours, the gentle dispenser of those
sweet charities' which are peculiarly a woman's province; and he felt thankful for the Providence that had brought him acquainted with such a one, and preserved him from the anxiety and distraction from his duties, which the search for a wife after he had entered on his ministry might occasion.
As for Anna Grey, her affection for her brother, and deference to his opinion were such, that long before she saw Horace her admiration was excited, and her interest awakened, towards a character which was the constant theme of her dear Charles's praise. The young man was never tired of descanting, with all the glowing enthusiasm of friendship, on the perfections of Horace. “How you will like bim, sister!' was the conclusion which invariably wound up every fresh eulogium. They met-and Charles Grey was right.
It was spring, and London was fast filling with the busy multitudes that throng its crowded streets, and thunder over its echoing pavements, and sweep round its noble parks and squares. The eternal din of the great metropolis—that hoarse rumbling roll that all day long resounds,
like the loud roar
and ceases not to vex 'the drowsy ear of night,'had fairly set in. Mr. Grey had a house in town, where he always removed with his family for three months in every spring, and during these three months on former occasions there was a suspension of intercourse between the Greys and Horace Fleetmore, who seldom visited the capital.
Now, however, the 'case was altered. The young clergyman had been offered the cure of a large and well-attended chapel in the west end, which he decided on accepting, until the living destined for him by his uncle, the Bishop of —, should fall vacant. Charles Grey was overjoyed at having his friend so near him, and his sister, in the frequent opportunities which increased intimacy afforded, became more and more convinced that her brother's glowing descriptions were but faint sketches of a character, so rare and excellent in every respect. The more she knew him, the more fervently did she return the affection he expressed for her.
Horace Fleetmore had been upwards of a month in London before the person he was appointed to succeed resigned the duties of his curacy, and he had therefore not yet officiated at the chapel. None of the Grey family had ever heard him either preach or read prayers, and it may be imagined they looked forward with no little interest to the first Sunday on which he was to do so. The religious feelings of Charles Grey were ardent and sincere. He was proud of the talents of his friend, and of the gifts and graces with which the latter was so richly endowed; but it was his zeal for the glory of God far more than the partiality of affection that gave these gifts their paramount value in his eyes. Whatsoever things were lovely and of good report, all that was graceful, and attractive, and fair, Charles Grey earnestly coveted to adorn and beautify the cause he had at heart. Everything that was calculated to make religion winning in its aspect, to recommend it to others, and cause it to be loved and admired, he would have pressed into the service.