« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
After breakfast, they were to be entertained with a different subject, which, though not so gay and sprightly, yet not less instructive and interesting. Just as they rose from table, a messenger arrived, informing them of the death of a tenant.
The news is not unexpected to me, said Mrs. Philanthropos; when I saw him yesterday, I was sure he could not long survive. He has endured a complication of allfictions ; but I trust his labors and sufferings are ended forever. I have good reason to hope he rests in the bosom of eternal love.
How, said Mr. P. was he, yesterday, in his mind ?
Very calm and resigned, and so he has been through the most of his sickness, and especially for some weeks past.
The story of our deceased tenant, John Orphanos, contains so many interesting circumstances, that I think, said Mrs. P. it would be entertaining to our friends to hear it..
You, my dear, replied Mr. P. are better acquainted with it than I am, having interested yourself more concerning it, and oftener heard it related, and are therefore the most fit person for a clear and just relation.
Without making any of the apologies of false modesty, she proceeded as follows:
The father of John, was, in the younger part of his life, wealthy and respected. He married much to his own liking, and showed a genuine affection for his wife, during her stay on earth. Before her death, he had been unfortunate by fire, and losses at sea, which impeded the progress of his business; and though he had some property remaining, he was obliged to lower bis manner of living, and curtail his expenses in every possible instance. Being a man of high spirits, it was extremely mortifying, and soon brought on a depression of mind. The melancholy of his soul might be read in his countenance, which his beloved wife endeavored to expell; but it had gained too strong an ascendency to be easily subdued. He discovered some propensity to intemperate drinking, but the tender regard he had for his wife and family, imposed a strong restraint.
At length, his wife was taken sick; her symptoms die not at first appear threatening, yet he was moved with sympathy, and did every thing his natural tenderness suggested for her relief; in the mean while, he seemed to bear up with a hope, if all earthly comforts beside should desert him, he should have continued to him a beloved wife. He had often said, if she were to be taken from bim by death, he should be
quite inconsolable ; the cup of his misfortunes would be full. This hour was now not far distant. Her symptoms grew more alarming, and shortly baffled all medical skill. concern and sorrowful state of her husband's mind, became apparent. No exertion was wanting for the purpose of arresting the disease, or to mitigate her sufferings during her illnes. He stayed constantly by her, often pressing her band in his, and weeping floods of tears, declared he had no Wish to survive her. She endeavored to console him, by saying, the ways of the Lord are all right, and it is our duty and highest interest to submit to the dispensations of God." Why (she would say) should you be swallowed up of overmuch sorrow ? Give yourself to the Lord, and he will sanctify all your losses and disappointments, to your present and eternal good.” But he had given himself up to think so much of his misfortunes, and to think of them with so little reference to the wise and sovereign disposer of events, that he had no cheerful moment; but the black cloud of melancholy gloom hourly overspread his mind, and this wore a more threatening aspect, till the hour of her dissolution.
When this arrived, he was not frantic in grief, but almost dumb with sorrow; and silent sadness seemed to have marked him for her own. At her funeral, he continued in much the same frame of mind, and for many weeks afterward; except when he embraced his children, and weeping for a while, would say-0, my motherless children-how my heart bleeds
Once you had a tender mother, who cared for you, but alas ! she is now no more! Here tears usually choked bis utterance, and he tore himself away from his dear little ones, to go by himself, and give full vent to his sorrows. In this way he continued for about three months, when, to drown his troubles, he daily became intoxicated; and though he was sometimes sober, and went home to see his tender babes, and weep over them, yet now, he was seldom seen there, and shortly, almost entirely neglected them. His vital system had been shaken by intemperate sorrow, and when intoxication came in to its assistance, it was soon evident he was on the verge of the grave.
His friends were concerned for him, and tried many ways to recover him ; but all in vain. He was told, religion would cure all his habits of vice, afford a balm to his wounded soul, give comfort and serenity ; and, that to drown the sorrows of his heart by inebriating draughts, was only aug.
menting his distress. He was directed to the words of the inspired penman-- Call on the Lord in the day of trouble and he will answer you.” He wept and owned his faults, but still continued his gloom and intemperance ; till, in a few weeks, he sunk, a pitiable object, to the grave.
As he had no nigh relations in the place, his children were left in a distressed condition. He had four, two sons and two daughters, of whom John was the eldest. Two of them were sent to the poor house, and the youngest, a daughter, was taken into the family of a gentleman, where she bas been well brought up.
Not long after the death of John's father, I was in town on a visit, and walking the street, observed a boy of about eight years, with an engaging countenance ; but in ragged dress, sitting on a door step and weeping bitterly. The tone of his sorrow indicated distress, and I thought I heard him say— Poor orphan boy, who will take care of me now ! Going up to him, I asked who he was, and what occasioned his weeping 6. Madam, said he, I have no father nor mother to take care of me now. My mother died about six months ago, and my father died last week. I have no clothes, and it is cold, I have had nothing to eat for two days; except a boy, to whom I told my story yesterday, gave me the biscuit his mother had given him to carry to school. ised to call me when he went home, and take me to his parents, for he said they would feed me and give me some clothes ; but some other boys drove out of the street where I was ; so, that I suppose he could not find me.
Last night I lay in a shed, chilled with frost, and can't live long, unless some body will have pity on me.”
I said to him, will you go home with me ? Smiling in tears he said, yes mam, if you will let me. I brought him home, determining to keep him, if he proved a good child. We never had cause to regret the kindness we shewed him. He chose to call us by the endearing titles of father and mother, and we never could find it in our bearts to deprive him of the privilege.
He had not been long with us, before he informed us, that a brother and sister, were sent to the poor-house, and desired that places might be sought for them. He was so importunate and tender in his entreaties, that they could not be resisted, without doing violence to the feelings of humanity. His wishes were complied with, and suitable places were
found for them; where they have received good instructions, and are decently settled in the world.
Soon after he arrived of age, he married an industrious and prudent orphan girl. Mr. P. fitted them up a little tenement, and rented him a small piece of land to cultivate, and otherwise assisted them to begin in the world.
It is now seven years since they were married ; during which time they have managed with so much prudence, as to be able punctually lo pay their rent, and lay by something yearly. They have three sprightly and engaging little children ; and have been patterns of conjugal affection and parental tenderness.
About one year ago he was seized with a violent cold, which brought on a consumption. Since that time, his cough and pain have been violent; which have rendered his sufferings uncommon. At first he was unreconciled to his condition, and often heard to say, ' what will become of my dear wife and children, if I am taken away by death? It however pleased God to convince him of sin ; and that he must be born again, or not enter into the kingdom of heaven. After some days of conviction and sorrow he found remission ; and was enabled to rejoice in God. From this time, he was uniformly resigned to his will ; joyfully gave up all to the disposal of infinite wisdom and goodness, and at last has died in peace. His funeral will be attended tomorrow by our worthy minister, who will probably preach on the occasion ; which he always does when requested. He has never been known to say, he is unprepared and CANnot preach; nor, that he did not agree to preach funeral sermons when he was settled. It is a maxim with him, that a studious faithful misister, can always find something appropriate to say on such occasions ; even, if he cannot preach one of his best meditatsıl discourses. Though he always chooses to meditate his discourses before delivery, and sometimes uses notes ; because he would avoid rhapsodies, or the more updigested thoughts of the moment; yet when special providences call, he has a store of truth at hand, and can address an audience on the important subject of salvation, in such a manner, that it is easily perceived, he is a scribe well instructed in the kingdom of God.
This relation opened the way for further discourse on the state of male orphans, and whether something could not be done for their relief..
The Gen. said, he had long thought on their condition, and had been of opinion, that an assylum might be provided for their reception. For the want of some institution, continued be, many are subjected to great sufferings, the morals of others are ruined, and society not a little injured. One can hardly visit our large towns, without witnessing one or more of these evils ; which cannot be witnessed by a feeling mind, without a wish that some exertions might be male in their favour. To see the rags and dirt of soine, to see and hear the tears and lamentations of others, and to notice others taking immoral courses; and then reflect, that most of these evils might be prevented by a charitable institution ; is certainly a loud call on the rich, to act the part of faithful stew. ards of God in their behalf. Though I am hy no means rich, when compared with others, yet I own, I have felt not a little uneasy, at the thought of leaving the world, and of making no efforts for such a necessary charity; or contribute nothing, of what my bountiful Benefactor has given me. I have had conversation with several on this subject, and all have agreed as to its utility ; but no one has as yet stepped forward in this laudable undertaking.
It is a subject, said Mr. P. which has for sometime occasionally occupied my mind; and I could heartily wish to see it engaged in, with that zeal which its importance and probable usefulness demand.
Were some wealthy, influential person to lead the way, an association might be formed, a fund raised, a corporation obtained for the security of the fund, and measures immediately taken to provide for the most distressed cases; and the means of providing might be increased, until all distressed orphans might be placed in a situation to be trained to regular business, suitably educated, and their morals guarded against those corrupting evils to which they are exposed; while cast upon a wide world, without any to care or provide for them. And at present, 1 am resolved, to converse with his honor the first op portunity, little doubting but he will be willing to lead the *When this article was written, the writer supposed no such insti
. tutiori for boys had been commenced; but learned his mistake before it went to press
But as the conversation here represented, in point of time, was before the institution, and as it serves to develope the views and feelings of those gentlemen who stepped forward in this very laudable undertaking, the writer hopes to be excused,
though he continues the paragraph unaltered.