Mrs Whittelsey's Magazine for Mothers and Daughters - Volume 3
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The mother of Louise was said to have been a noble-minded woman, but always in delicate health. She early dedicated this infant daughter to God, but died while she was quite young. Unfortunately, poor little Louise was for a few years left to the care of ignorant and selfish relatives, who intermeddled, and often in the child's hearing, with a significant nod of the head, would utter the piteous inuendo, "Who knows how soon the poor thing may have a step-mother!"

From this and similar ill-timed remarks, poor little Louise very early fostered an inveterate dislike to her father's ever marrying a second time.

But he did soon marry again. Instead of at once taking this cruel sliver out of the flesh, acting on the sublime principle, "Duty belongs to us; leave consequences with God," the father of Louise very injudiciously and selfishly fell in with this child's foolish and wicked notions, and in order, as he thought, to remunerate this darling child for her great trial, allowed her to live almost entirely abstracted from the family circle.

She was allowed to have a room entirely by herself, which was the largest and best in the house, and in all respects to maintain a separate interest. No one might interfere with this or that, for it belonged to Miss Louise.

Her father said, at any rate, she should not be annoyed by any participation in the care of the little ones, as she left no one in doubt of the fact, that above every thing she disliked children, and especially the care of them. Certainly, he said, they should not interfere in any way with her in acquiring a "liberal education." And thus she lost the sweet privilege of acting the honorable and useful part usually assigned to an "elder daughter," and an "elder sister."

To atone for her isolated and unfortunate situation—made unfortunate by the contracted and selfish views of this ill-judging father—her father made another mistake under the circumstances, for, instead of sending her to a good select school, where she would come in contact with children of her own age, and her intellectual powers might be sharpened by coming in contact with other minds, he procured for her private teachers, and she had not even the benefit of a good long walk to and from school in the open air.

Thus was this mere child, day after day, and hour after hour, confined to the piano, to her drawing and painting lessons, and her worsted work. She became a proficient in these external accomplishments, and was by some considered quite a prodigy—possessing a rare genius, which often means nothing more nor less than a distorted character.

Her health for a time was sadly undermined, and her nervous system was shattered by too close attention to pursuits which imposed too great a tax upon the visual organs, and too much abstraction from common objects.

Who would not rather see a young daughter—the merry, laughing companion of a group of girls—out after wild flowers, weaving them into garlands to crown the head of some favorite of the party, making up bouquets as a gift for mamma, or some favorite aunt—cutting paper into fantastic figures, and placing them upon the wall to please children, or dressing a doll for little sister? Who would not rather see their young daughter a jumping delicate little romp, chasing a bird in mirthful glee, as if she verily thought she could catch it?

How could this young wife and mother, so differently trained, be expected all at once to judge and act wisely and impartially about the grave matter of infant training—a subject she absolutely knew nothing about, having never contemplated it? What do parents think, or expect when their young daughters marry and become parents? Do they suppose that some magic spell will come over a girl of eighteen in going through the matrimonial ceremony, which shall induct her into all the mysteries of housewifery, and initiate her into the more intricate and important duty of training the infant, so as to give it a sound mind in a sound body, so that it shall possess a symmetrical character?

The father of Louise saw too late his mistake in allowing this daughter the great privilege, as he thought at the time, of having her own way in every thing.

If this were a proper place to give advice to young men on the grave subject of selecting a wife, we should say, "Never marry a young lady merely for her showy, outward accomplishments, which, ten chances to one, have been attained at the expense of more valuable and useful acquirements—perhaps at the sacrifice of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Never select for a wife a young lady who dishonors her name and sex by the avowal that she dislikes children; that she even hates the care of them, and that she never could find pleasure in household duties. She could never love flowers, or find satisfaction in cultivating them."

A lovely infant is the most beautiful object of all God's handy works. "Flowers are more than beautiful;" they give us lessons of practical wisdom. So the Savior teaches us. If I did not love little children—if I did not love flowers—I would studiously hide the fact, even from myself, for then I could not respect myself.

But to return to the remark which Louise made to her husband, when he presented her with that good and useful book—a book which has elicited praise from many able writers, and called forth the gratitude of many wise and good parents.[D]

This remark was anything rather than a grateful acknowledgment to her husband for his thinking of her when absent; and it not only evinced a spirit of thoughtlessness and ingratitude to him, but manifested a remarkable share of self-sufficiency and self-complacency.

Just so it is with a head of wheat. When it is empty, it stands perfectly erect, and looks self-confident; but as soon as it is filled with the precious grain, it modestly bends its head, and waives most gracefully, as if to welcome every whispering breeze.

But was Louise wanting in affection and care to her own child? No; not in one sense, for she was foolishly fond of this little paragon of perfection. She one day said, boastingly, "My child has never been washed but with a fine cambric handkerchief, which is none too good for her soft flesh. Nothing can be too good for this precious darling, and while I live she shall never want for any indulgence I can procure for her."

It might be said, too, that Louise evinced a fondness for her husband; and she was proud of the attentions of a youth who was admired for his remarkable polish of manners; but she certainly had not at this time—whatever she might afterwards acquire—a warm and generous heart, free from selfish interests, to bestow upon any object on earth or in heaven.

Notwithstanding Joseph's elegant address and appearance, his character was in one respect vulnerable, as will be seen from a trivial act which I have yet to mention.

His mother was an occasional assistant in her son's family. He was her only son. She was in most respects a highly-educated woman, with no ordinary share of self-possession, having pleasing manners, unless it might be said that she evinced a kind of hauteur, which made her rather feared than loved. But it was apparent to every one that she was selfishly attached to this only son. Louise said one day to a friend—"I never had occasion to be jealous of Joseph's attentions to me, or of his affection for me, except when his mother was present."

No one could help noticing the greater deference this mother paid to her son, even when his father was present; and most fully did this son reciprocate his mother's respectful attachment. This love and reverence for his mother, on the part of this son, would have been right and beautiful if it had not been so exclusive.

In one of her visits in her son's family, when she was in feeble health, this son proposed to his mother, towards night, in the presence of Louise, but without conferring with her, that his mother should lodge in his broad bed, with Louise, in their well-heated nursery.

To this Louise objected, saying she would quickly have a fire made in the spare chamber, and there would be ample time to have it thoroughly heated; and if she did not choose to lodge alone, she would offer her a charming young lady to sleep in the room with her. The choice was again referred by Joseph to his mother. Louise now expostulated with her husband. She said, as she was not strong, she needed his assistance a part of the night, as usual, in the care of the infant. But still, without any regard for her feelings and her wishes to the contrary, Joseph insisted that his mother should make a choice; and, strange to say, she chose to lodge with Louise.

This unaccountable preference, unless it was because it was proffered by her son, it would seem, must have produced unhappiness and discomfort, on her part, on witnessing this daughter the livelong night restlessly turning from side to side, and her child restless and crying. But not one expression of regret was manifested the next day by either mother or son.

The day after the incident referred to above occurred, a kind friend whispered in Joseph's ear a truth, which, perhaps, till then had been entirely overlooked by him. This friend reminded him that when he plighted his vows to his young wife at the altar, he did most solemnly promise, agreeably to God's ordinance, "that he would forsake father and mother, and all others, and he would cleave to his wife, and to her alone; that he would take her for better or for worse."

We may laud the conduct of Naomi and Ruth in their beautiful attachment to each other, at the point of history where they are first introduced to us. But their love to each other was doubtless greatly modified by the circumstances into which they were now brought. They had a remarkable sympathy and fellow-feeling for each other in their sufferings. That son and husband, the bond of this tender and happy union, and the occasion had there been any strife between them when this loved object was living, was now forever removed from them, and not a trace of any thing to blame or to regret was still remembered by them.

I can never be sufficiently grateful for the oft-reiterated advice of my father to his children. "Never," he would say, "act a selfish part." In all your plans and purposes in life, do not have an exclusive regard to self-interest. If you do, you will find many competitors. But if you strive to render others happy, you will always find a large and open field of enterprise; and let me assure you that this is the best way to promote your own happiness for time and for eternity.

* * * * *



How difficult a thing it is in the present day to find a well-balanced Christian! In this day of fits and of starts, of impulse and of action, a day of revolution both in thought and kingdoms, where is the man who is formed in all respects after the image of his Savior?—where the Christian, who, "being fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord?" Many of the followers of Christ seem to have forgotten that His alone is the example after which they are to pattern, and are looking to some distinguished neighbor or friend, or to their own selfish and sensual desires, to inquire how they shall walk in this evil world. Many appear to have made an estimate in their hearts how little religion will suffice them—how little humbling of the spirit—how little self-denying labor for Christ and dying men. It may be they "do justly," and, in their own eyes, "walk humbly;" but their religion is of the negative sort. They are "neither extortioners, unjust, nor even as this publican:" they give to every man his due, and take good care to obey the precept—"to look every man on his own things, and not on the things of his neighbors." But they forget that "Love mercy" was a part of the triad! that the religion of Jesus is not a religion of selfishness, and that the Master has said, "Go ye out into the streets and lanes, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled!" They forget His example who came down from heaven to suffer and die for guilty man; who went about doing good, and whose meat and drink was to accomplish the work which the Father had given him to do. They forget that one of his last acts was to wash his disciples' feet, saying, "As I have done to you, so do ye also to one another;" and, as if our selfish and proud hearts would rebel, he adds—"The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord."

This want of conformity to Christ is also shown in the speech of many of his followers. He who was the Searcher of hearts must certainly be expected to condemn iniquity, and condemn it severely; but how unwilling do we find him to pass sentence upon the guilty—how comforting and consoling to the sinner! To the offending woman he says—"Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more." For his murderers he cries—"Father, forgive them; they know not what they do!" And must vain, erring man be more harsh towards his fellow-man than his Maker? "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." "I came," says Jesus, "to seek and to save the lost!" therefore, who so lost but in Jesus shall find a friend? And shall it not be so with his followers, when they remember his words, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you"?

In this day of the multiplicity of good works, and of trusting to them for salvation, it may seem strange for us to urge their necessity. But in speaking of those who lack the beautiful oneness in character and conduct which distinguished Jesus, we would not omit many who, having been educated in the full belief of the doctrine of "justification by faith," carry it to such an extent as to despise good works, and almost to look upon them as heretical. They set them down in their religious calendar as savoring of ostentation, and thus run into the opposite extreme, neglecting entirely the command of our Lord, to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works." They take a one-sided view of truth and duty, forgetting that "he who shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so" (even by practice), shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. Could they but know, by sweet experience, the luxury of giving "even a cup of cold water in His name," they would never again refrain from the blessed work. Could they fully understand the words to be pronounced on the final day, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," no earthly inducement would be able to deter them from obtaining a part in that commendation and reward. Did they but read with divine enlightening the parable of the good Samaritan, and hear the Master saying, "Go and do thou likewise," what possible excuse would remain for them for not obeying his command? They little realize that they may read and meditate and believe, and still remain very selfish and un-Christ-like; for if Christ had been possessed of their supineness, he would still have remained in heaven, and we and ours yet been in the bonds of wickedness. Christian mothers have greatly erred in not training their children to a life of Christian self-denial and usefulness. In their visits to the poor and perishing, they should early accustom their little ones to accompany them, thus overcoming that sensitive dread of misery in its various forms, so common to the young. They would thus be laying up for them a good foundation against the time to come—training them in the way they should go—guiding their feet into the imitation of that blessed One whom they hope soon to see them following. Of how many delightful hours have parents deprived their children, who have never taught them, by precept and example, the luxury of doing good! How many gracious promises in God's blessed word are yet sealed to them—promises for time and for eternity! Mothers, awake! to know more of Jesus, of his life, his example, and of the high and holy inducements which he holds out to you in his word, to be conformed to his image.

* * * * *




It was a beautiful winter-morning. The new fallen snow lay light and fleecy about the porch and on the evergreens before the door, and cushioned and covered all the thousand minute branches of the trees till they stood forth as if traced in silver on the deep blue of the sky. A sparkling, dazzling scene it was, which lay spread out before the windows of that comfortable family parlor, where the morning sunshine and the blazing wood-fire on the hearth seemed to feel a generous rivalry as to which should be most inspiriting.

There were children in the room, a merry group of all sizes, from the boy of ten years old to the little one whose first uncertain footsteps were coaxed forth by a lure, and cheered onward like a triumphal progress by admiring brothers and sisters. It was the morning of New-Year's day, which had always been held as a high festival in the family, as it is in many families of New England, all the merriment and festal observance elsewhere bestowed upon Christmas having been transferred by Puritan preferences to this holiday.

It was just the weather for a holiday—brisk and bracing. Sleigh-bells were jingling merrily, as the deep drifts of the road having been overcome, one after another of the families of the neighborhood had commenced their round, bearing baskets filled with gifts and pleasant tokens of remembrance, with the customary wishes and salutations of the day.

The young mother sat in the group of happy children, but she did not smile on them. Her hand rested fondly on one little head and another, as they pressed to her side with eager question or exclamation. She drew the little one with a quick, earnest clasp to her heaving bosom. Her tremulous lips refused to obey the impulse of her will; she left Edward's question unanswered, and abruptly placing Willie in the arms of his careful nurse, she rushed away from the gladness she could not bear, to the solitude of her own chamber. There she fell upon her knees and covered her face, while the storm of sorrow she had striven so hard to stem, swept over her. Amid groans of agony, came forth the low murmur—"'Write his children fatherless, and his wife a widow!' Oh, my God, why must this be? His children fatherless, his wife a widow!"

Soon came the quick sobs which told that the overcharged heart which had seemed ready to burst, had found temporary relief in tears; then followed the low moans of calmer endurance, and the widow's heart sunk back into all it had yet found of peace under this great bereavement, though it had been months since the blow fell; the peace of submission—"Not my will, but thine, O God, be done!" This time it expressed itself in the quaint words of Herbert;

"Do thou thy holy will;— I will lie still."

Then came the mother's habitual recollection of her children. They must not bear the weight of this great sorrow in the days of their tender youth, lest the hopefulness and energy they would certainly need in after life should be discouraged and disheartened out of them. Edward is naturally too reflective; he dwells too much on his loss, and evidently begins to ponder already how so many children are to be taken care of without a father. Sensitive Mary feels too deeply the shadow of the cloud which has come over her home; her face reflects back her mother's sadness.

So, rising, the mother rang the bell, and gave directions that the children should be prepared for a visit to their grandfather's, and that the sleigh should be brought to the door.

"They must go," thought she, "I cannot bear them about me. I must spend this day alone;" and she bade Mary replenish the fire, and seated herself in the arm-chair by the window. What a sickness fell upon the sad heart as the eye roved over the cheerful winter landscape! Here were the hurryings to and fro of congratulation, the gay garments, such as she and hers had laid aside, the merry chiming of the many-toned sleigh-bells, all so familiar to her ear that she knew who was passing, even if she had not looked up. Here is Thomas with the sleigh for the children, and, preceding it, is Ponto in his highest glee—now he dashes forward with a few quick bounds, and turns to bark a challenge at Thomas and the horses—now he plunges into a snow-drift, and mining his way through it, emerges on the other side to shake himself vigorously and bark again.

Has Ponto forgotten his master? Ponto, who lies so often at his mistress's feet, and looks up wistfully into her face, as if he understood much, but would like to ask more, and seems, with his low whine, to put the question—Why, when his master went away so many months ago, he had never come back again:—Ponto, who would lie for hours, when he could steal an access to them, beside the trunks which came home unaccompanied by their owner, and which still stood in a closed room, which was to the household like the silent chamber of death. There had been for the mourner a soothing power in Ponto's dumb sympathy, even when, with the caprice of suffering, she could not bear the obtrusiveness of human pity.

Out trooped the merry, noisy children, well equipped with caps and comforters. Good Thomas arranged them on the seats, and wrapped the buffalo-robes about them, and encircling his special darling, a prattling little girl of three years old, with his careful arm, away they went, down the hill and out of sight.

With a sigh of relief, the mother drew her chair to the hearth, and resolved, for that one day, to give over the struggle, and let sorrow have its way. She dwelt on all the circumstances of the change, which so suddenly had darkened her life. She permitted her thoughts to run upon themes from which she had sedulously kept them, thus indulging, and as it were, nursing her grief. She recalled the thoughtful love which had been hers till it seemed as natural and as necessary to her as the air she breathed. She had been an indulged wife, constantly cared for, and lavishly supplied with everything that heart could wish. The natural sensitiveness of her temperament had been heightened by too much tenderness; she had been encouraged to cling like a vine, and to expect support from without herself. She was still young and beautiful. She was accustomed to be loved and admired by many, but that was nothing to her in comparison with the calm unvarying estimation in which she had been held by one faithful heart. How was she to live without this essential element of her life?

Then the darkened future of her life rushed over her like an overwhelming flood: the cares and duties which were henceforward to devolve on her alone; the children who were never to know any other parent but herself; never to know any stronger restraints from evil or incentives to good than she in her feebleness could exert over them. What would become of her boys as they grew older, and needed a father's wise counsels? She saw with grief that she was even less qualified than most mothers to exercise the sole government and providence over a family. She had been too much indulged—too entirely screened from contact with the world's rough ways.

How were the wants of her large family to be provided for with the lessened income she could now command? Pecuniary loss had followed close upon her great bereavement, and though this constituted but a small element in her sorrow, yet now that it came before her on the morning of this new year, it added yet another shade to the "horror of great darkness" which encompassed her. She knew that it must have a direct bearing upon her welfare, and that of her family.

Then she reverted to the New Year's Day of last year; the little surprises she had helped to plan; the liberal expenditure by which she had sent pleasure, for one day at least, into the dwellings of the poor, her generous gifts to her servants, which it had been a pleasant study to adapt to their several tastes and wants; the dependencies, near and remote, which she had used as channels for conveying a measure of happiness to many a heart. Now there must be an end to all this; she could be generous no more. Even her children, partly from her pre-occupied mind, had no gifts provided for them to-day. Was she not a "widow and desolate?"

"Desolate, desolate!" she repeated in bitterness of soul. She paused. A voice within her seemed to say—"Now she that is a widow and desolate trusteth in God." A moment after there came into her mind yet another verso, "And none of them that trust in Him shall be DESOLATE."

Could it be that she remembered the passage aright? Her Bible lay open on the table before her. She had that morning earnestly sought strength from it, and from communion with God before she could nerve herself to meet her children, and bear their reiterated salutations, heart-rending to her, "Happy New Year, mother"—"Mother, dear mother, I wish you a Happy New Year."

Now as she drew it towards her, and turned over its pages to verify the exactness of the words, it soon opened to the blessed thirty-fourth psalm, which has proved to many an anchor of hope when they cried to God "out of the depths."

"I will bless the Lord at all times;" Oh, surely not!—How could any one bless the Lord at such a time as this? Yet there it stood:—

"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." If others could do this, and had done it, God helping her, she would do it too. She, too, would bless the Lord, and speak his praises.

"My soul shall make her boast in the Lord." A feeling of exultation began to rise within her. Something was yet left to her. Her earthly "boast" was indeed broken; but why might not she, too, "make her boast in the Lord"?

Touched with living light, verse by verse stood out before her, as written by the finger of a present God. Humbled to the earth, overpowered by deep self-abasement and contrition of soul, she clung as with a death-grasp to the words that were bearing her triumphantly through these dark waves.

"They looked unto Him and were lightened." Was not her darkness already broken as by a beam from His face?

"This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles."

"The angel of the Lord encampeth about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."

"The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry."

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."

Who was this, that, under these comfortable words, looked peacefully upward? It was one who was learning to trust God; taught it, as most of us are, by being placed in circumstances where there is nothing else to trust.

It is not for us to portray all that passes in the human soul when it is brought into vivid communion with its Maker. It is enough for us to know that this sorrowful heart was made to exult in God, even in the calm consciousness of its irretrievable loss; and that before the sun of a day specially consecrated to grief had attained its meridian, the mourner came cheerfully forth from her place of retirement, while a chant, as of angelic voices, breathed through the temple of her sorrowful soul, even over its broken altar.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."

"Oh, fear the Lord, ye his saints; for there is no want to them that fear Him."

The group of banished little ones was recalled, but while the messenger was gone for them, the mother in the strength of her new-found peace, had brought forth from that closed chamber the gifts which the fond father had designed for each of his children, and had spread them out in fair array on the parlor table. So it was New Year's Day to the children after all.

The trust of that mother in the widow's God was never put to shame. Her children grew up around her, and hardly realized that they had not father and mother both in the one parent who was all in all to them. She was efficient and successful in all her undertakings. Her home, with its overshadowing trees, its rural abundance and hearty hospitalities, lives in the hearts of many as their brightest embodiment of an ideal, a cheerful, Christian home. The memory of that mother, dispensing little kindnesses to everybody within her reach, is a heritage to her children worth thousands of gold and silver. Truly, "they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."

* * * * *


A beautiful feature in the character of the Turks is, their reverence and respect for the author of their being. Their friends' advice and reprimands are unheeded; their words are leash—nothing; but their mother is an oracle. She is consulted, confided in, listened to with respect and deference, honored to her latest hour, and remembered with affection and regret beyond the grave.

"My wife dies, and I replace her; my children perish, and others may be born to me; but who shall restore to me the mother who has passed away, and who is no more?"

* * * * *




"Strength is born In the deep silence of long-suffering hearts, Not amidst joy."

The noblest characters the world knows are those who have been trained in the school of affliction. They only who walk in the fiery furnace are counted worthy the companionship of the Son of God. The modes of their discipline are various as are their circumstances and peculiar traits, but in one form or other stern trials have proved them all. They partake of the holiness of the Lord, because they have first endured the chastening of his love. They are filled with righteousness, because they have known the pangs of spiritual hunger and the extremity of thirst. They abound, because they have been empty. They are heavenly-minded, because they have first learned in the bitterness of their spirits how unsatisfying is earth. They are firmly anchored by faith, because frequent tempests and threatened shipwreck have taught them their need. The Master himself was made perfect through suffering, and with his baptism, must they who would follow him closely, be baptized.

While Hannah was undergoing at Ramah the discipline which wrought in her such noble qualities, there dwelt in Shiloh one of kindred spirit, who was called to endure even severer tests, inasmuch as that which should have constituted her happiness, was evermore the bitterest ingredient in her cup; what might have been her purest joys became her greatest griefs. She was a wife, but only in name. Of the serenity and bliss which attend on true wedded love she was deprived. Her bridal pillow was early planted with thorns, which henceforth forbade all peace. She was a mother, but her children were to be partakers of their father's shame, disgraced, and doomed to early death or lives of wickedness and woe. She seemingly enjoyed abundant privileges, but her trials as a child of God were deeper than all others. She dwelt on sacred ground, but alas! herein lay the secret of her sorrow. Had her home been among the thousands in the outer camps, it had not been so sadly desecrated. Her husband was the High Priest's son, and daily performed the priest's duty among holy things. Had he been a humble member of Dan or Naphtali, his crimes had not been so heinous. She lived under the shadow of the tabernacle; had her abode been farther from the sacred enclosure, she had not been daily witness to the heaven-daring deeds which made men abhor the offering of the Lord, and called for vengeance on her nearest and dearest. Her food was constantly supplied from the sacred offerings; had it been procured in ordinary ways, she had not been a partaker with those who committed sacrilege.

No trifling vexations, no light sorrows were hers; and as might be expected, her virtues bore their proportion to the purifying process to which she was subjected. Disappointed in her earthly hopes, she clung to her God, and fastened her expectations on Him. Humiliated in her human relations, she aspired to nothing henceforth but His honor and glory. Wounded in heart, her wealth of love despised, lonely, deserted, she sought in Him the portion of her soul, and her lacerated affections found repose and satisfaction, without the fear of change in His unchanging love.

It is often so ordered in the Providence of God, that those who have borne the yoke in their youth, live to see days of comparative quietude and exemption from trouble. Hannah, after the birth of Samuel, appears to have passed the remainder of her life in peace and prosperity. But the nameless woman whose memorial we record had no respite. Her life was a life of endurance, and she was cut off in the midst of her days by a most fearful and agonizing stroke.

Israel was as usual at war with the Philistines. The army had pitched beside Eben-ezer, "And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines." Alarmed and distressed by this defeat, the Israelites vainly imagining that wherever the ark of God was, there He would be also with his favoring presence, sent up to Shiloh to bring from thence the sacred symbol. With great pomp and solemnity it was borne by the Priests and Levites, and uproarious was the rejoicing as it entered the camp, but no account is given of the feelings of those who remained near the deserted tabernacle. Did the aged Eli forbode that the awful event which should signal the fulfillment of prophetic woe against his family was about to befall? Did the abused wife dream that she should behold no more her husband's face? We know not what of personal apprehension mingled with their trouble, but we do know that with trembling hearts these faithful servants of God awaited tidings of the ark of his covenant. How portentous soever might be the cloud which hung over their own happiness, they deemed it of small importance in comparison with the honor of Jehovah. The messenger came, but who shall portray the scene when he rendered his tidings!

* * * * *

In a darkened chamber, whither death, clothed in unwonted horrors, has suddenly come for the fourth victim of that doomed family, lies the subject of our meditations, panting under his iron grasp. The afflictions of her life are now consummated. The husband of her youth, his follies and faults against her, now are forgotten in the bitter thought that he is dead, has gone unrepentant to the bar of God to give account of his priesthood—her venerable father-in-law alone, with no friend to cheer his dying agonies, has also departed from earth—her people are defeated in battle, and worse than all, the ark of God is fallen into the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines—who doubtless glory as if Dagon had conquered the invincible Jehovah. What to her are the pangs and throes under which her tortured body labors? She heeds them not. Pitying friends endeavor to rouse her from her dying lethargy, by the most glad tidings a Hebrew woman could learn, "Fear not; for thou hast borne a son!" But she answers not. Shorter and shorter grows her breath—nearer and nearer she approaches the eternal shore. But she is a mother, and though every other tie is sundered, and she is dying of the wounds which the cruel breaking of those heart strings has caused, she feels one cord drawing her to her new-born child, and asks that he may be brought. It is too much! Why was he born? No cheering thought comes with his presence. Nor joy nor honor are in store for him. Call him Ichabod, (without glory) she gasps with feeble accents, "for the glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." A moment more and her freed spirit is in His open presence, who she deemed was forever departed from her people.

* * * * *

Christian friend, you who are walking through desert places, and perhaps fainting under the heavy hand of God, let not your heart fail you. Shrink not back from the path, though it seem beset with thorns. Some good is in store for you. Affliction, indeed, is not for the present joyous but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. If, like the mother of Ichabod, you learn to forsake the turbid waters of earth for the Fountain of eternal love—if you make the Lord your portion, you will not in the end be the loser, though wave on wave roll over you and strip you of every other joy. No, not even if at length your sun shall set in clouds impenetrable to mortal vision. A glorious cloudless morning lies beyond, and you shall be forever satisfied with Him who has chosen you in the furnace of affliction.

"Then rouse thee from desponding sleep, Nor by the wayside lingering weep, Nor fear to seek Him farther in the wild, Whose love can turn earth's worst and least Into a conqueror's royal feast; Thou will not be untrue, thou shall not be beguiled."

* * * * *




I have presupposed three things in reference to education. The field which it covers is also three-fold—the body, the intellect, and the heart.

The body is the living temple of the soul. It is more than a casket for the preservation of the jewel; it is more than the setting of the diamond; it is more even than an exquisitely-constructed dwelling wherein the soul lives, and works and worships. It is a living, sensitive agent, into which the spirit pours its own life, through which it communes with all external nature, and receives the effluxes of God streaming from a material creation. It is the admirable organ through which the man sends forth his influence either to bless and vivify, or to curse and wither. By it, the immortal mind converts deserts into gardens, creates the forms of art, sways senates, and sheds its plastic presence over social life. The senses are the finely-wrought gates through which knowledge enters the sublime dome of thought; while the eye, the tongue, the hand, are the instruments of the Spirit's power over the outer world. The soul incarnate in such a body, enjoys a living medium of reciprocal communication between itself and all things without. Meanwhile the body itself does not arrive here mature in its powers; nor does it spring suddenly from the imbecility of the infant to the strength of the man. By slow development, by a gradual growth, in analogy with that of a tree whose life is protracted, it rises, after years of existence, to its appointed stature. Advancing thus slowly, it affords ample time for its full and free development.

In this physical training, there are two points of special importance. The first is the removal of all unnatural restraints and the pressure of unhealthy customs; the second, is the opportunity, the motive and the habit of free exercise in the pure air of heaven. These, as causes of health and fine physical development, are interwoven as are their opposites. In the progress of society from barbarism to refinement, it has often been the case that men, in departing from what was savage, have lost that which was natural; and in their ascent from the rude have left behind that which was essential to the highest civilization. In escaping from the nakedness of the barbarian, they have sometimes carried dress to an extreme of art which renders it untrue to nature and productive of manifold evils. In ascending from the simple and rude gastronomy of the savage, they have brought the art of cookery to such an excess of luxury as to enervate society by merely factitious appetites. In the formation of habits of life, social intercourse and amusements adapted to a refined state, they have introduced many things at war with the healthful development of both body and mind. The manly exercises of swimming, skating, riding, hunting, ball playing; the bracing walk in storm and sunshine; the free ramble over hill and dale, all adapted to develop an independent, self-relying character; with the occasional reunion where wit, science, healthful industry and serene piety shed their benedictions; associating that which is free and bold with the refined and sacred; all these are, in many cases, displaced by frivolous and less healthful excitements. Our girls and boys, prematurely exalted into young gentlemen and ladies, are tutored by dancing masters; their manners disciplined into an artificial stiffness; and the free developments of an open nature formed under the genial influence of truly polite parents—the finest discipline in the world—arrested by the strictures of a purely conventional regimen, in which the laws of health and the higher spiritual life seem never to have been consulted.

With such a physical training, associated with a corresponding education of the mind and heart, they are ripe for the customs and fashions of life in harmony therewith; and totally averse to the purer, manlier and nobler duties and pleasures of a better state of society. To dress and exhibit themselves; to crowd the saloon of every foreign trifler, who, under the abused name of art, and for the sake of gold, seeks to minister to us those meretricious excitements which associate themselves with declining states and artificial forms of life; to waste the most precious hours of night, set apart by the God of nature for repose, in dancing, eating, drinking, and revelry, follow naturally enough upon such training. Then in the rear, come disease of body and mind, broken constitutions and broken hearts; and last of all, with grim majesty, death, prematurely summoned, avenges this violation of the laws of nature upon the miserable victims, and quenches the glare of this brilliant day in the darkness of the tomb. How utterly different is such training and such modes of life consequent upon it, from those which are dictated by a thorough understanding of our nature and the great purposes of our existence. For in all these things we shall find there exists a connection sufficiently obvious between the right education of the spirit and the body; and that so strong is their mutual influence as to render it of great importance to care for them both in harmony with each other. Then shall we regard the perfection of the form and the vigor of our bodily powers. Casting away whatever did not consist with the health and finer developments of the physical system, we should pursue that course of education which best prepared the body for its grand work as the living agent of the spirit.

In considering physical training it is allowable for us to look both at beauty and intellectual power. A noble form in man; a fine, beautiful, healthful form in woman, are desirable for their outward influence. Created susceptible of deep impressions from external appearances, it is neither religion nor good sense to undervalue them. That men generally have over-estimated their worth, is a reason why we should reduce them to their true position, and not sink them below it. The palace of the soul should befit its possessor. And as God has taken pleasure in scattering images of beauty all over the earth, and made us susceptible of pleasure therefrom, it is right that in the education of our children we should seek for the unfolding of the noblest and most beautiful forms. Shall we beautify our dwellings; adorn our grounds with plants, flowers, and trees of various excellence; improve the breed of our cattle, and yet care not for the constitutions and forms of those who are on earth the master-pieces of divine wisdom and the possessors of all this goodly heritage? Most of all, however, as the agent of the spirit, should we seek to rear our children in all healthful customs and invigorating pursuits. It is possible, indeed, that a mind of gigantic powers may sometimes dwell in a feeble frame, swayed to and fro by every breath of air. But we are sure that such a physical state is the source of manifold vexations, pains and loss of power. It is a state which the possessor never covets; which oppresses him with the consciousness of an energy he is forbidden to put forth, and a force for moving the world crippled by the impediment of a frail body. For the full discharge of all the duties of life; for the affording to our mental powers a fair field for their action; and especially for the education and advancement of succeeding generations, it is indispensable the vigor of the body should correspond to the vigor of the intellect, so far as to constitute the one the most efficient agent of the other. It has rarely been taken into view, that, aside from the personal benefits of health in the greater power of present action, the intense intellects and feeble frames of one generation are a ruinous draft upon both the physical and mental powers of that which succeeds. A race of overwrought brains in enfeebled bodies must be recruited from a more healthful stock, or their posterity will, in time, decline into idiocy or cease from the earth. The process of degeneracy, by an infallible law, will pass from the body to the intellect; and the descendant of a Luther or a Bacon go down to the level of the most stupid boor that drives his oxen over the sands of southern Africa.

* * * * *



I called on a friend a few months since, who for a full year had been watching with maternal solicitude over an invalid daughter still in the morning of life, upon whom had been lavished all the fond caresses of parental love and tenderness. Every advantage which wealth, and the means of education could impart to qualify her for happiness in this life had been hers—nor had her religious culture been entirely overlooked.

In her father's family there had been little effort made to instill into the minds of their children the principles of holy living, and it was felt that there was but little necessity to give them habits of self-denial or self-reliance.

This daughter, notwithstanding her happy childhood in having all her wants anticipated, and upon whose pathway the sun had shone most brightly, was now, like an unsubdued child, under a most painful infliction of the rod of God.

Two years previous to this time, during a revival of religion, she publicly covenanted to walk in all the statutes and ordinances of God's Word and house, blamelessly. Thus was she married to Christ, and she then felt, and her friends felt, that she had chosen Christ to be the guide of her youth.

But how could she be expected, never having had her will thoroughly subdued, or been called to bear any yoke or burden, fully to understand, or to realize what was implied, or required in becoming a disciple of Christ, so that she could at once fully adopt the language,

"Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow thee, Naked, poor, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be."

Just one year from her espousal to Christ the village of —— was all excitement, on an occasion which had called the young and the middle-aged to the house of her father,—the wealthy Mr. G——, when this lovely daughter was to be united in marriage to the accomplished, the graceful, the pious Mr. L——, a universal favorite with persons of all ages and ranks. A short time previous to his union to the young and beautiful belle of ——, he had, under most favorable auspices, commenced a lucrative business in the city of ——.

Immediately after the nuptial ceremony, Mr. L—— accompanied his bride to the Falls of Niagara, that favorite place of resort on such memorable occasions. They were now all the world to each other. Alas, how utterly, for a time, did they overlook the injunction, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Nor did they for once even dream how insensibly the streams of God's bounty and goodness were withdrawing their hearts from the fountain of all blessedness and perfection.

On their return from this delightful excursion, this envied young husband was soon found at his post of business, surrounded by numerous friends all eager to aid and encourage him on in his preparations to welcome to his home and his heart, his darling "wife." Oh, how sweet to him did that treasured name sound, when greeted by his young friends, and the question was asked, "How is your wife?" "When do you expect your wife?" Never, he felt, was there another more truly blessed.

How sudden must have been the transition, for the summons came, as it were, in a moment, "The Master has come, and calleth for thee." Young Mr. L—— had been in the city but two days, when retiring to his bed, he was suddenly siezed with a bilious attack, and in a few brief hours, even before his friends could reach his bed-side, he was wrapped in the habiliments of the grave. His last faint farewell was uttered in hurried and broken accents, just as he expired, "Tell her that Jesus makes me willing"—"makes me willing."

In his ready, cheerful, and manly willingness to obey the Master's call, though so sudden, we see the blessed influence of early parental discipline—absolute unconditional submission to parental authority.

Truly this was a most sad and unexpected reverse for that youthful and happy bride. Her face at once became as pale and almost marble-like, as the icy hand of death had made that of her husband's. No wonder if this world should now seem to her as a barren wilderness. No wonder if her thoughts, for a time, should brood mournfully over the words, "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness." No wonder if to her desolate heart, solitude, and gloom, and the grave, should, for a season, be her chosen themes of contemplation. She does well to grieve. There is nothing wrong in the mourner's tears. We have the example of Jesus in such an expression—tears are Nature's own sweet relief. It is safe—yes, it is well to bleed when our limbs are taken from our side.

But let such as mourn remember, in all cases of bereavement, it is God, whose discipline is strictly parental, hath done it, and "He doeth all things well." How sad it is when the bereaved, who are not called to mourn as those who have no hope, allow their thoughts to find a lodgment only in the grave. How widely different had been the condition of this youthful mourner, if, instead of shutting herself up in her chamber, taking to her bed, chiefly, for a full year refusing to be comforted—had she dwelt more upon that touching "farewell" to her, receiving it as a beam of light and love from the spirit land, inviting her to the contemplation of heavenly themes. Had she rather considered her departed companion as favored in this early call to glory,—had she considered the passage in Isaiah 57:1, "The righteous are taken away from the evil."—why did she not meekly and penitently reflect, that as God does not willingly afflict, he must have had some special design in this severe chastisement upon her. Had her mind been open to conviction—had she been bowed down under a sense of sin—would she not have inquired whether the blessed Saviour, perceiving the lurking danger there was to this young couple, from a disposition to find their heaven upon earth, to seek their chief happiness in each other, had not with the voice of love and tender compassion said to her husband, "The Master hath need of thee, come up hither." Had her heart been right with God, as she contemplated her departed friend in his new-born zeal to honor and glorify his Redeemer, flying on swift wings to perform Heaven's mandates, would she not resolve, by the grace of God, to emulate him in his greater efforts to save lost souls, for whom Christ died? Were not the same motives set before her, by his death, to seek a new and holy life? Was not the same grace—the same strength proffered to her, which, if accepted and improved aright, would have enabled her to deny herself—to take up her cross and to follow Jesus whithersoever he might see fit to lead her?

But, alas, this was in nowise her happy experience. On the contrary, she turned away from the consolations proffered to her in God's blessed Word, and by his Holy Spirit, and in the teachings of that last touching "farewell."

May we not suppose that her husband, on finding himself liberated from the trappings of earth, from sin and temptation, as his thoughts would naturally revert to the friends he had left behind—finding his chosen, bosom friend, a mere clod of clay, sunk down in a state of hopeless misery and sorrow, at his loss, having no sympathy with him in his new and blessed abode, and in his more exalted employments and purer enjoyments, would he not rather bless God, more ardently, that he was so quickly removed from such chilling, blighting earth-born influences as she might have exerted over him?

Oh, that this youthful mourner might now hear that voice of God to his chosen people, "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough—turn you northward." God grant that the past time of her life may suffice that she has "wrought the will of the flesh." We most earnestly commend to her prayerful contemplation the last words of our blessed Saviour to his disciples, "In my Father's house are many mansions." I go to prepare a place for you—just such a mansion—such a place as each ransomed soul, by improving the discipline of God—by holy and self-denying efforts in this life, to do his will, is fitted to fill, and enjoy.

And so it will ever be with the heirs of salvation, while they remain in a world of sin and temptation. They are daily and hourly working out their salvation with fear and with trembling, while God is working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. The improvement which is made of afflictions has a great deal to do in this process.

And thus, too, will it be with those who wilfully, or even thoughtlessly neglect the great salvation—those who reject the overtures of pardoning mercy and salvation by Christ. They will hereafter know and acknowledge that "they knew their duty but they did it not." It is said that "Judas went to his own place"—and that "Dives made his bed in hell." And herein will these words of the poet be strikingly fulfilled in every human soul—

"'Tis not the whole of life to live, Nor all of death to die."

* * * * *



While visiting in the family of Rev. Mr. F——, one morning as we were quietly seated at the breakfast table, his two little boys, Willie and Georgie were seated between their father and mother. All at once Georgie, the youngest, a child of five years, reached his head forward, and in a half-whisper said to his brother, "Willie, Willie, if you were going a journey, which would you give up, your breakfast or your prayers?"

Willie replied, "I should want both."

"But," said the little fellow, still more earnestly, "What if you couldn't have both, then which would you give up?"

"I would give up my breakfast," said Willie.

The little urchin said in an undertone, "I think mother would take something along in her bag." There was certainly a good "look out" for two worlds.

A mother who resides near me, and has a large family of small children, related to me the following circumstance of her eldest boy, when quite young. From the time her children began to talk, she accustomed them, each in their turn, to kneel by her side, on rising and retiring each morning and evening, and repeat to her their little prayers.

One day when her eldest boy, as she thought, was old enough to comprehend her, she said to him rather seriously, "My son, there is one kind of prayer to God to which I have not directed your attention. It is called 'secret prayer.' The direction and encouragement for this kind of prayer is found in the passage, 'Enter into thy closet and shut to thy door, and pray to thy Father which is in heaven, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.' Now do you not desire to obtain this open reward. If you would like a closet of your own, there is a little retired place near my bed-room—you can go there each day by yourself, and shut your door as directed."

One day, not long after, the child was gone some time; his mother did not like to accuse him of having trifled on so serious an occasion, for he was a remarkably conscientious and honest boy—and she said to him, "Frank, you have been gone so long I fear you may have been using 'vain repetitions.'"

The color mantled at once in the little fellow's cheeks, and almost ready to cry, he said, "Mother, when aunt Mary left us yesterday, she said that she and the children would be exposed to many dangers during the voyage, and she asked me to pray for them, and it took me a good while."

I was told by a friend, of a group of little boys when visiting a little companion, all seated on the floor near each other, looking at some pictures. They came to one representing Daniel in the den of lions. It was noticed that the lions were not chained, and yet they were in a reposing posture. None seemed to understand how this was. One little boy said to another, "Ah, wouldn't you be afraid to be put into a den of lions?" "Oh, yes," was the reply. And so the question went all round, eliciting the same answer. At last the youngest of the party reached himself forward and pulled his brother by the sleeve, saying, "Johnny, Johnny, if lions are afraid of praying people, they'd be afraid of mother—wouldn't they? And she wouldn't be afraid of them, for she says we needn't fear anything but sin."

I was acquainted with a family where the following circumstance occurred. The two youngest boys in the family were often trusted to take long walks, and sometimes they were permitted to go over, by themselves, to N——, a distance of nearly four miles, and make a call on their aunt and cousins, who resided there.

One day they came and asked their mother if they might take a long walk. She told them not a very long walk, for that day they had not been as studious and dutiful as usual. They took hold of hands, and without designing to do so at first, it was believed, they ran on very fast till they reached the village of N——, where their aunt lived.

On going to the house, their aunt thought, from their heated appearance, and hurried and disconcerted manner, that they were two "runaways." She, however, welcomed them as usual—invited them to partake of some fine baked apples and new bread and milk—quite a new treat to city boys—but N——, the eldest, declined the invitation. She then proposed to them to go to the school-house, which was near by, and see their cousins. This, too, N—— declined. He said to his brother, "Charley, we must go home." And they took hold of hands and ran all the way as fast as possible, and immediately on entering the house, their faces as red as scarlet, N—— confessed to his mother where they had been, and asked her forgiveness. This being granted, N—— could not be happy. He said, weeping, "Mother, will you go up stairs with us and pray with us?" She did so, with a grateful heart, and sought pardon for them. N—— did the same. When it came Charley's turn to pray, he made an ordinary prayer—when his brother repeatedly touched him, and in a low whisper he said, "Charley, why don't you repent—why don't you repent?"

A very little child, not two years old, always seemed delighted to hold her little book at prayer time, and when her father said Amen, she always repeated it after him aloud. One day she seemed very uneasy during prayer time, and though she made great resistance, she was taken out of the room. She insisted on going back to the drawing-room, and the chairs being still in the order in which the family had been seated during prayer time, the little creature went by the side of each, and folding her little hands, she repeated "Amen," "Amen," until she had been to each one. Thus we see it is not so much for want of knowledge, as for a right state of heart, right teachings, right examples, that children do not live and act, speak and think and pray aright.

* * * * *



In the letters of John Adams to his wife, Sept. 10, 1774, we have an account of the First Prayer in Congress. What an instructive and encouraging lesson is here taught to all religious persons, always unhesitatingly to obey all holy and good impulses.

Had Mr. Cushing, who moved the resolution, held back,—or had Mr. Samuel Adams refused to second this resolution,—or had Rev. Mr. Duche declined, when called upon to lead on that occasion, our nation might never have presented the sublime spectacle of uniting, as a body, in calling upon God at the opening of their Congressional sessions.

And who would dare to predict the loss which this omission might at that time have occasioned to this infant Republic!

Mr. Adams's account is as follows:—

"When Congress first met, Mr. Cushing moved that it should be opened with prayer. This was opposed on the ground that the members, being of various denominations, were so divided in their religious sentiments that they could not join in any one mode of worship. Mr. Samuel Adams arose, and after saying that he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was a friend to his country, moved that Rev. Mr. Duche—an Episcopal clergyman, who, he said, he understood deserved that character—be invited to read prayers before Congress the next morning. The motion was passed; and the next morning Mr. Duche appeared, and after reading several prayers in the Established form, then read the Collect for the 7th of September, which was the thirty-fifth Psalm. This was the next morning after the startling news had come of the cannonade of Boston;" and, says John Adams, "I never saw a greater effect upon an audience: it seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning."

"After this," he continues, "Mr. Duche, unexpectedly to everybody, struck out into an extemporaneous prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced. Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervor, ardor, earnestness, and pathos, and in language so eloquent and sublime, for America, for the Congress, for the province of Massachusetts, and especially for Boston. It had an excellent effect upon everybody here," and many, he tells us, were melted to tears.

* * * * *



Within a cradle, still and warm, There lies a little gentle form, Just look beneath the coverlid, And see the tiny sleeper hid!

Then peep beneath the cap of lace, Behold his rosy happy face; The velvet cheek, so pure and white, Didst ever see a fairer sight?

His dimpled arm across his breast, His chubby limbs composed to rest, The gentle curls of waving hair, Falling upon the pillow there!

The drooping lashes shroud his eyes, Blue as the tinge of summer skies, His damask lips like tints of rose Which garden buds at twilight close.

Art thou a form of human mould, Or stray-lamb of the heavenly fold? A little herald to the earth, Or cherub sent to bless our hearth?

Must evil spirits intertwine And lead astray that heart of thine? And must thou be with sin defiled, That seemest now an angel child?

Oh blessed Lamb of God! to thee I come, and with my baby flee Within thy fold, and sheltering care, I lay my child, and leave him there.


* * * * *



Night was coming on. The tall elms which beautify the little village of G—— were waving to and fro their pendent branches, heavy with the evening damp, and as the boughs swayed against the window panes of one of the largest mansions in the town, the glass was moistened by the crystal drops. But heavier and colder was the dew that gathered upon the forehead of the sufferer within; for extended upon the couch lay a dying woman.

The trembling hand of an aged man wiped the forehead, and the tears that stood in his eye told that his remaining days on earth must be uncheered by the kind voice and radiant smile of her who had been a mother to his children. Those children, grown to full age, were there, and if need be could have borne clear and convincing testimony that sometimes, at least, the connection between a step-mother and her husband's family is only productive of good. But where were her own offspring? Three noble looking men, and as many matrons, owed their existence and education to her, and she had hoped, ere she died, to behold once more their faces.

Soft and gentle were the hands that smoothed her pillow; low and sweet were the voices that inquired of her wants, but dear to her as were these, they were not her own, and the mother's heart yearned once more to trace their father's likeness in the tall dark-eyed sons who but a few years ago were cradled in her arms. And can these feelings cause the pang which seems at once to contract the face? So thinks her step-daughter, as she says, "They will be here to-morrow, mother." "It is not that, my dear," murmured the sick one, "but when I was just now enjoying the blessedness of committing my soul to Him who died for me, when feeling my own unworthiness of one of his many mercies, I had cast myself on the mercy of the 'Sinner's Friend,' like a wave of agony rushed in upon me the thought that my dear sons have denied the divinity of the Savior, into whose name they were baptized, and who laid down his life to redeem them. Oh! could I be assured that they would be led back to their fathers' God, I could die happy." There was stillness in this chamber of death. The invalid's pale lips moved as if in prayer, and soon the lids were raised, and the brilliant black eye was lighted up as of old, and triumphant was the strain that burst forth. "I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed to Him, my most precious treasures, my children, against that day. I know Him—I rest in His faithfulness." The smile lingered on her features, but the spirit had fled.

* * * * *

The Green Mountain range in Massachusetts presents a series of most magnificent scenery, and in the villages which nestle among its summits, dwell some of the noblest hearts and sturdiest frames of New England.

Mountains have always been the rugged nurses of independence of thought and action, and the grand chains of our own land form no exception to the rule. Nor is this all—none who have not dwelt among our rural population know the strong sympathy which pervades the inhabitants of the same settlement—long may it continue! Each takes an interest in the welfare of all about him, and though there are some things disagreeable in the minute surveillance to which one is thus exposed, yet it is more than compensated by the affectionate interest which is manifested in the weal or woe of each neighbor. Not there, as in the crowded city, may a man be laid in his grave, while the occupant of the next dwelling neither knows nor cares concerning his fate.

The intelligence of illness spreads from house to house, and who can number the kind offices which are immediately exercised by neighbors far and near. The very schoolboys lower their voices as they pass the darkened windows, and there needs no muffling of the knocker, for who would disturb the invalid? And when the bell solemnly announces the departure of a soul, sadness settles in every heart, and the cathedral hung in sable is a poor tribute to departed worth, compared to the general mourning of the whole village, when the long funeral procession, whence old and young unite

"To pay the last sad tribute, and to hear Upon the narrow dwelling's hollow bound, The first earth thrown."

Oh! who would not exchange the pomp and hollow pageantry of the metropolis for such attentions?

In one of these same homes of virtue and happiness dwelt a family, who, contented with their lot, sought no wide sphere of enjoyment. With a good education, fine talents, with a strong constitution, the father had commenced his career about forty years before, and by his own exertions had risen to wealth, respectability and honor. Having often represented the interests of his fellow-townsmen in the assembly of the State, the county in which he resided had deemed that they could commit to no safer hands the senatorial dignity.

His gentlemanly bearing, his benevolent smile, his tall and commanding appearance won all hearts; while his calm judgment, his energetic course of action gained respect and demanded admiration. In public and private life he was a pattern of excellence. Surely his mother must have looked upon such a son with feelings of gratitude and even pride. As you enter the door, from which no poor man was ever turned empty away, and crossing the hall, advance into the elegant parlor to greet your host and his amiable wife, you can fancy a smile of satisfaction upon the lips of that mother's portrait, which hangs in the place of honor on the wall, a smile which seems to say, "this is my eldest born." But, alas! it was for this son that that mother had put up her last prayer—for him it was, she had poured forth her soul, and now years have passed since he stood by her helpless remains, and her petition is still unanswered.

* * * * *

It is a May morning, two years later, and cheerily does the sun shine upon the village of ——. The pine forest at a little distance, sheds forth after the last night's rain that fragrance which is so delicious, the fields are gay with dandelions, the brooks yellow with the American cowslip, close beside which peeps forth the lovely veronica, while yonder slope is enameled with bright blue violets, and the little white Mayflower. But no children are seen plucking them. The very herds in the field low in a subdued manner, and the birds warble their gladsome spring song with a depth which belongs only to sacred music. None are moving about the streets. The church doors are open, however, for it is the Sabbath. Come with me to yonder mansion—the tasteful shrubbery, the vine-covered window, the well arranged garden bespeak for its possessor wealth and luxury. Enter with me, but tread lightly as we ascend the staircase. Upon that white curtained bed, raised by pillows, reposes one who has numbered more than sixty summers. His brow is scarcely furrowed, though his face is thin. His clasped hands are emaciated, but he does not look old. The fever spot burns in his cheeks, and his eye is lighted up with a heavenly ray, which shows that now at least the soul is triumphing over the body.

A small table, covered with damask of snowy whiteness, stands near, on which are placed the emblems of the broken body and poured-forth blood of our Redeemer. A few Christian brethren and sisters are kneeling around, and the pastor is blessing the bread. Methinks "it is good to be here." The great Master is present, and "his banner over this little company is love." One can almost see the ministry of angels as they bend to watch the scene.

The rite is done. The softly murmured hymn which concludes it, has died upon the balmy evening air. The partakers of the Lord's Supper have departed. The pastor has for the last time pressed the hand which has so recently subscribed to the covenant of the church, and he, too, has taken his final leave. Relations alone remain in the chamber of death. Solemnity broods over the spot. The brothers who through life have looked to this now dying brother, as a father, guide, and friend, sit gazing on him in mournful silence, the tears slowly chasing each other down their manly cheeks, with something of the feeling of the prophet when it was told him, "Know thou that your master will be taken from your head to-day".

The sisters watch and anticipate his wishes, till first one and then another is overcome by her emotion, and steals away to give it vent. The wife, like a ministering spirit, silently wipes the clammy brow and moistens the parched lips. But now the sick man speaks: "Brother, will you bring mother's portrait! I would take my leave of that—O, how soon shall I join her now." It is brought, and the heavy window curtains are thrown back, and it is placed at the foot of the bed with reverend care, which showed the veneration in which the original was held.

"Look, brother: it smiles upon me!" and observing the astonished expression of his friends, the dying man continued in a less excited tone, "Do not suppose that my mind is wandering. I assure you on the word of one who must shortly appear before a God of truth, that ever since my mother's death the picture has frowned upon me. I knew what it meant, for you have not forgotten her last prayer, and every time I have looked upon it I felt, while I continued to deny the divinity of our Savior, I could not expect my mother's approbation or blessing. For years I fought against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, till I examined the subject more thoroughly, and to-day I have sealed my renunciation of that error, and have testified my faith in the atonement made for sinners. The cross of Christ has drawn me with cords of love. I wanted to see that portrait once more, and, lo, the frown is gone—and my mother beams upon me the same sweet smile as when at sixteen years of age I left home a fatherless boy, to make my own way in the world. Thank God I die in peace."

My sketch is finished. Shall I make the application? Has not every mother's heart made it already? asking the question, "Is my influence over my children such that when I am gone my portrait shall have such power over them for good?"

Cowper has embalmed his mother's miniature in lines which will touch the heart while our language is preserved. But this picture is hallowed by strains which are poured forth from angelic choirs, as they tune their harps anew "over one sinner that repenteth."

The likeness of Cowper's mother led him to mourn for past delights, but this picture led the son to look in humble joy to that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.


* * * * *



During a recent tour in search of health and pleasure, I was surprised and pained at seeing the amount of light reading indulged in while traveling, by old and young of both sexes and all classes. I observed, while rapidly urged over our railways, many thus engaged—many purchasing eagerly the trash offered at every station, and could but regret they had not provided with the same care food for the mind, by placing in the satchel that contained sustenance for the body, some valuable book, some truthful work.

Lake George, with its clear waters and lovely islands, its majestic, untrod mountains and historical associations, had not attractions sufficient to win the lovers of fiction from the false pages of life, to the open, beautiful book of Nature. It was a bright July morning when I stood upon the deck of the "John Jay."

"The beautiful sun arose—and there was not A stain upon the sky, the virgin blue Was delicate as light, and birds went up And sang invisibly, the heavenly air Wooed them so temptingly."

Now the mountain-tops were radiant with the golden light, now valley, lake, and green islet, rejoiced in the morning sun. Yet, at such an hour, amid such scenes, ladies and gentlemen were engrossed with the mawkish sentimentalities of fictitious narrations, their eyes closed to all the beauty of the time and place, their ears deaf to the delicious harmony of awakening nature.

Lake Champlain, with its romantic ruins ever dear to the heart of an American, its verdant shores and rural villages, nestling in the valleys or crowning the hills, could scarce obtain a passing glance from those enraptured with the improbable if not impossible pictures of life.

When upon the St. Lawrence, gliding swiftly through the charming scenery of the Thousand Isles, that like emerald gems adorn the bosom of that noble river, now passing one with cultivated fields and quiet farm-house, another low and level bathed in the rays of a setting sun, others rocky and precipitous, crowned with cedar and fir; again a little quiet spot where one would like long to tarry, or one with shrubbery and light-house so peaceful in its rural beauty you almost envied the occupants their retirement; even here, as I turned from the scene at the whispered exclamation of a friend, "O, how beautiful!" my eye fell upon two ladies bending over the pages of newly issued novels, their countenances glowing—not with holy emotions awakened by the enjoyment of a summer's sun-set upon the St. Lawrence, but with feverish excitement, kindled by the overwrought pictures of the novelist. Fair, young girls, how could you linger over the unreal when passing through such scenes of God's own work? How could you shut out that gorgeous sunset, turn from all the pure and heavenly feelings such scenes must awaken, to sympathize with imaginary beings and descriptions?

And now I tarried at Niagara, wonderful, sublime Niagara—

——"Speaking in voice of thunder Eternally of God—bidding the lips of man Keep silence, and upon the rocky altar, pour Incense of sweet praise."

Rambling along the shore of Iris Island, every step presenting a new scene, impressing the mind with the greatness of God and the insignificance of man, while "the voice of many waters" proclaimed to erring reason "there is a God:" also, here, under the shade of a noble oak, in full view of the great Cataract, sat a small group of ladies; in their midst, a gentle girl reading aloud from one of the many works that "charm the greedy reader on, till done, he tries to recollect his thoughts and nothing finds—but dreamy emptiness." I lingered, and learned this was the tale of a young authoress, whose writings are now winning golden opinions from a portion of our religious press. Yet how unsuitable the place for delighting in the extravagant and improbable blending of truth and fiction, though it may have a moral and religious under-current. At the side of that young reader sat her mother. The favorable moments for impressing that immortal mind committed to her guardianship, with right views of the Infinite Supreme, were swiftly passing away, the opportunity of awakening in her young heart while beholding His wonderful work emotions of humility and reverence was alike forgotten; with the daughter just entering upon womanhood she gave all thought and feeling, alone to the ideal. Could I have aroused that parent to a sense of her obligations, of her neglected opportunities, of the priceless value of her child's soul, stranger though I was, I would have earnestly besought her, to take away that romance, to step with her to the point but just before them—open the "Book of books," and let her read of Him "who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span; who hath compassed the waters with bounds until the day and night come to an end; whose way is in the sea, and his path in the great waters. The Lord, whose name alone is excellent, his glory above the earth and heaven."


* * * * *




All gone—yet 'mid this heavy loss A ray of light behold; If thou art parted with the dross, There's left for thee the gold.

A name unsullied—conscience clear, From aught that man can prove; And, what must be to thee most dear, Thy children's changeless love.

The visions of the world so fair Are fading from our sight; Yet hope sinks not in vain despair, But points to one more bright.

Oh, may misfortune's chilling blight, But bind us closer here, Till we behold the dawning light Of yonder blessed sphere.

And O, my father, linger not, In exile, from our hearth; Ah, this has been a cherished spot, To make us cling to earth.

'Tis where the youngest of the seven First drew his fleeting breath, Sweet cherished flower, the gift of heaven, To fill our blooming wreath.

And saddened memories linger not Around each faded year; Oh, let it never be forgot Death hath not entered here.

The shrine of many a fervent prayer, More loved than words can tell, Is passing to another's care, And we must say, Farewell.

But O, my father, hasten home, 'Tis in each loved one's heart; Thy wife, thy children, bid thee come, And ne'er again depart.

For me, my love shall ever twine Around thy future years; And my most fervent prayers be thine Amid this vale of tears,

That when life's busy cares shall cease— Its feeble ties be riven; Thine honored head may rest in peace, Thy soul ascend to heaven.

* * * * *



It is generally admitted that there has been a lamentable declension in family government within a few years. I propose to show some of the causes of this growing evil, and to point out the remedy.

1. Inattention and blindness to the faults of children.—As a matter of course we cannot expect parents will restrain their children without observing their faults. They must see an error before they can correct it.

It would not be strange if affection or love for our children should sometimes hide their faults, or that others should sometimes notice them before we do. They are often, too, looked upon as trivial, as of small importance. The mother of pirate Gibbs might have thought it very trivial that her little son should kill flies, and catch and torture domestic animals. But it had its influence in forming the character of the pirate. The man who finishes his days in state-prison as a notorious thief began his career in the nursery by stealing pins, or in the pantry by stealing sugar and cake, and as soon as old enough to look abroad, to take a little choice fruit from a neighbor's garden or orchard. The finished gambler began his career by the side of his mother, by taking pins stealthily from her cushion. Children cannot do great things when young. They have not the power. Their powers and views are too limited to perform what may be called great deeds of wickedness. Yet the grossly immoral usually begin their downward course in youth. The germ of wickedness is then planted. Time only matures what is thus begun. Those trivial things which you suffer to pass without a rebuke, constitute the germ of all their future depravity. The wickedness of youth differs from that of mature age rather in degree than in kind. The character of the man may often be read in the conduct of the child. Thus bad government originates in overlooking the faults of children, or in wrong views of their conduct. The deeds of childhood are considered of small moment. Childhood with them has no connection with manhood. The child may be anything, and make a giant in intellect, or a professor in morals. But it should be remembered that the very essence of good government lies in watching the connection of one act with another, in tracing the relation between the conduct of mature age and the little developments of childhood and youth. Good government respects not only the present good of its subjects but their future. It takes in eternity as well as time. A great many parents are totally blind to the faults of their children. They see none when they are even gross. Everybody else can see them, and is talking about them, and they know not that they exist. Like Eli, of ancient days, the first that they know of the wickedness of their children they hear it from all the people. It is a sad thing when others have to tell us of the depravity of our children. And it is then generally too late to correct them. The public do not know the first aberrations of childhood and youth. They can only be learnt in the nursery. If parents are blind to them, and they are suffered to become habits, it is generally too late to correct them. It is in the form of habits that neighbors become acquainted with them. Woe to that child then, whose faults are rebuked by every one else, but not by his parents! His faults are in every one's mouth, but not in theirs.

2. The interference of one parent while the other is endeavoring to enforce rightful discipline.—Nothing has a more injurious influence upon family government than such a course. It presents the two, in whom the children should place the most implicit confidence, at variance. As a matter of course, the disobedient child will throw himself into the hands of the one interfering, as a kind of shield from the rod. In such a case it is almost utterly impossible to maintain government and support discipline. The child justifies himself, and stoutly persists in his rebellion while he receives countenance from one of his parents. This, if I mistake not, is often done. Many a family has been ruined in this way for time and eternity. Government was entirely disobeyed in the outset. The father undertook the correction of the child, but the mother threw her arms over him—she pleads that he is a little child—that he knew not what correction means, as for what he is corrected—or the rod is applied too severely. The child cried most unmercifully, when perhaps he only cried because he was rebellious and stubborn. This repeated a few times, and the one who is determined to maintain discipline becomes discouraged, and silently the management, or rather the mismanagement of the family passes into the hands of the other parent, and for peace sake.

The above is a fruitful cause of bad management. In truth no one is prepared to govern others unless he governs himself. A fretful spirit and an impatient manner can do but little else than awaken opposition in the breast of the child. Such a course can never secure confidence and love. Every parent is here exposed to err. We are never prepared to administer discipline without possessing the spirit of Christ. It would probably be a good rule to adopt never to correct a child until we have been upon our knees before God in prayer. It would be a great preventive to a spirit of impatience.

3. A want of decision.—One reason why some find so much difficulty in the management of their families, is owing to the manner in which they address their children. They never speak with any degree of decision. The child judges it doubtful whether the parent means what he requires. He therefore hesitates and hesitates before he obeys. He foresees this habit, and hence he neglects obedience altogether. For the want of decision, he is under the necessity of repeating his commands again and again. What a wretched practice! No one should think he governs his children without they obey him at once. He should never expect to repeat his commands, and he should speak in such a manner as to lead the child to infer the parent expected him to obey. Manner has great influence. Expression is more than half.

Where submission takes place under such circumstances, it is generally of the genuine kind. There is no spuriousness about it. And there is not often any more trouble about discipline after that. The question is decisively settled. It is not every child that manifests its rebellion so much all at once. They manifest it little by little, daily, as opportunity offers, and then they will appear more easily to yield. It is to be feared, there is but little genuine submission in many such instances. At least there is but one course for the parent—to keep up the discipline so long as he manifests the least particle of rebellion. If he shows rebellion in any particular way, you should not try to avoid it, but meet it, and effect the work of entire submission.

4. Correcting with an improper spirit and in an improper manner is another cause of bad government.—Some never chastise except in a rage, and then no one is prepared to do it. They must get very much excited before they undertake to correct the child, and then perhaps when the child is not in the least to blame. He lets a pitcher fall, or breaks a plate, the parent flies into a passion, and begins to beat the unlucky boy or girl. Perhaps no positive correction was deserved. Such a spirit can never benefit a child. Some never think of reproving a real fault. It is only when an accident occurs, or some unintentional mishap is done, that the rod is ever used. To be sure there might be blame, but nothing compared with some acts of deliberate and willful transgression, when no correction is given.

Parents, your children cannot purchase at any price what you can give them; I mean a subdued will. To effect this it is necessary to begin when a child is very young. The earlier the better, if you can make yourself understood. You need not fix upon any particular age when to begin; let this depend on circumstances, and different children will show their rebellion upon different points.

5. Coming short of attaining the object when you make the attempt—leaving discipline half completed.—When a child is corrected, every reasonable object should be attained. No point should be evaded. The parent should not stop until perfect and entire submission is effected on every point of dispute. And first I would invite your attention to instances by no means rare, where the child shows rebellion on some particular point. At such a point he stops; you cannot move him. He will do anything else but just the thing required. He may never have showed a stubborn will before. You have now found a point where you differ; there is a struggle between will and will; the stakes are set, and one or the other must yield. There is no avoiding it; you cannot turn to the right nor to the left; there is but one course for you. You must go forward, or the ruin of your child is sealed. You have come to an important crisis in the history of your child, and if you need motive to influence you to act, you may delineate as upon a map his temporal and eternal destiny—these mainly depend upon the issue of the present struggle. If you succeed, your child is saved; if you fail, he is lost. You may think perhaps your child will die before he will yield. We had almost said he might as well die as not to yield. I have known several parents who found themselves thus situated. Perhaps they possessed a feeble hand, their strength began to fail, but it was no time to parley. They summoned all their energy to another mighty struggle. Victory was theirs—a lost child was saved. Some are contented with anything that looks like obedience in such instances. The occasion passes. It soon, however, recurs with no better nor as good prospects. Thus the struggle is kept up while the child remains under the parental roof.

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