Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Several others passed between them, but so much in the same style, that it is needless to repeat their contents. They hastened their courtship, that they might the sooner enjoy the golden fetters they had prepared to walk in through life. Their nuptials were celebrated, and he reluctantly gave the priest a dollar ; which was more than he would prize the most handsome and virtuous woman at, if he could not count high on her gold and silver.

On reviewing this whole affair, we are led to adopt the language of Watts :

66 So two rich mountains of Peru,
May rush to wealthy marriage too,

And make a world of love." It may suffice to say concerning them, they have lived tõi gether thirty years without quarrelling ; because their unremitting endeavors in their beloved pursuit, afford them no time to contend ; but they live as destitute of the endearments of friendship, as if they never existed.

They have two sons and one daughter, and the character of each is totally different from the other. Samuel, their eldest son, is a miser in the most absolute sense of the word. Should you meet him in the street, you would certainly take him to be a beggar. Clothed in rags, because he fancies he cannot afford money to get better garments-dirty as a swine, because he dares not be at the expense of washing himself, or of hiring his clothes washed; he will tell you it wears out clothes to wash them, and the washerwoman's bill is more than he can pay.

He buys the refuse of the market, and feeds stintedly upon it; he has been known to dispute a countryman half an hour, to save three cents in half peck of potatoes; and after all his prudence, he will tell you, with a sad face, that his provisions cost him twenty-five cents per week. A bed is a luxury he cannot afford, and he sometimes eats his victuals raw, because it costs him too much to cook it. Go into his apartment, and there may be seen his strong box, which contains immense sums of gold and silver; a block which he uses for a chair, an old iron pot, broken half way down, a wooden bowl and spoon, a knife and fork without handles, a pile of rags on which he sleeps, and a number of worthless old things he has begged-these compose his lurniture, He will call your attention to long and sorrowful discours.

es about the hardness of the times, the dearness of the necessaries of life. He will tell you how much he is insulted by beg. gars, who have the impudence to ask for a whole cent at once; and there is scarcely a subscription paper in circulation, or a hospital, or alms-house to be built, but‘I am to be teazed for money. And though I have no objection to being liberal when duty calls, having yearly given away not less than twelve cents on such occasions, yet I cannot afford to give all I possess, and bring myself on the town for a maiatenance. These are some of the most prominent features in his character, and shew how much he has improved on his father's plan.

If gold be God, the devotion of Samuel is not only consistent, but commendable; but if Jehovah be God, and the things he worships are to perish with the using, then is his conduct impious and detestable. Of all poor men in the world, those who do violence to nature and reason, and force poverty on themselves in the midst of plenty, are certainly the poorest.

In respect to the use they make of property, their conduct is more reprehensible, than that of the prodigal.

He may dissipate his money, and commit a thousand excesses; but he puts it in motion, and the poor in particular, and the community in general, are benefitted by its circulation.

Peter, the second son of Mr. Richton, was of a character just the reverse. He did not discover his prodigal disposition, till after his father had divided him bis inheritance; but it might always be seen, that he was not so parsimonious as his father, nor was he a niggardly miser like his brother. He married about the time he received his portion, to a person of good estate; though not the most handsome, nor the most agreeable in her manners. It was not long before he gave full proof of a volatile, prodigal, and licentious mind. He trusted his affairs to others, to free himself from care, 'ind to follow his inclinations without restraint. These men, like the unjust steward of the parable, embezzled his money ; but being wholly taken up in the pursuit of pleasure, he was igDorant of his losses.

He was rarely at home, but spent his time chiefly with gamblers, hard drinkers, and arnong lewd females. His health declined as rapidly as his estate, and he was repeatedly under the necessity of taking a certain oure, for a certain disorder;" nor did his wife escape the effrets of his illicit escesses; and his children are born to in

*4 the disease and disgrace of a guilty father.

In five years he had ruined his estate, and that of his wife. Finding himself reduced to poverty, and being unwilling either to.resort to any honest methods to supply his wants, or even to relinquish his pleasures, he connected himself with a company of counterfeiters, and passing undetected, for a while he was able to support his beloved indulgencies. But he could not long be concealed, and being taken up and convicted of the crime, was committed to the state's prison, for

five years.

Latrissa, the daughter, shewed from her childhood, an amiable disposition ; and in spite of all disadvantages, acquired a decent education and good manners. It was apparent, that she had a soul to feel for the poor, and would relieve their distresses if in her power. She was often reproached for her liberal disposition, and told she was unfit to be trusted with any thing, because she knew neither how to keep nor add to it.

Being married at eighteen years of age, to a man of industrious habits, but of small property, her parents gave her nothing but reproaches to begin life with; for no other reason than that she had chosen a poor man for her husband. But she inherited a portion better than gold and silver, in his prudence, economy and kindness. They live in mutual friendship, striving which shall be the most kind and ready to oblige. They are thriving in the world, and what is better, enjoy a religious sense of their dependance on God, and obligations to gratitude for his daily bounties.

When Mr. P. had finished the foregoing relation, Charles said, when I see such rare virtue growing up amidst circumstances so unfavorable, I think it more to be admired, than that which seems to be the mere effect of nature, or a good education. And when I behold young persons abandoning themselves to the most hurtful vices, in opposition to the best advantages enjoyed at home, in the house of God, and under other favorable circumstances, I feel not only a mixture of pain and pity for them, under the evils they bring on themselves, but acquiesce in the just punishment of their crimes, whether inflicted by God or man. Whatever such may think concerning their rebellion against the best of precepts and instruction, it is certain, they incur a much higher degree of guilt, than those who not only have no help to virtue, but are hindered by every precept and example before them.


On the following Lord's day, at the request of Charles, Mr. P. went to town, to attend public worship. They started early in the morning for the benefit of the cool air, and to dispose of the horses and carriage in season to walk to the house of God.

When Charles knew that Prudentia was to make one of the party, he said within himself, I shall now know how far she is in love with the vanity of dress ; for if ever she appears

like a gaudy butterfly, it will be on such an occasion. When she came from her dressing room he was pleased with her appearance ; but not with an admiration of the creature, to the neglect of the Creator. He still remembered it was. the day for Christian worship; that no creature object should damp his affections towards God. He had therefore, no other view in observing her, than to satisfy himself, whether her heart was most set on the outward adorning, or the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. He had learned that she professed godliness, and knowing that the inspired writers had repeatedly condemned superfluity of dress; he was anxious to know, whether she could so far deny herself, in the midst. of affluence, as to conform to the teachings of the gospel.

He was now more than ever convinced, that this was the same Prudentia his father had described to him the evening before he left home. All her manners exactly corresponded with the description. The nicest care, the most scrupulous neatness, united with the most pleasing simplicity, reminded Charles of what he had read of the dress of primitive Christians. She seemed not to suppose, that her white cambric gown should be made a yard and a half longer than was necessary, for the purpose of sweeping the streets ; nor did she imagine it was any addition to her beauty, to cover her face with curls which should cost her an hour's work on the Sabbath to execute ; nor, that her ears needed the burthensome ornament of round tires like the moon.

On their way to town, the conversation turned upon the observation of the Sabbath. This was occasioned by observing a great number of carriages going into the country. Charles asked, if people usually attended public worship, in such large numbers, at the country meeting houses. Mr. P. replied, I am sorry to say, these persons are chiefly riding

for pleasure. I am astonished at this, said Charles, for I have often heard it said, that the people of the metropolis were very observant of the Sabbath ; and from hence concluded, that such things were neither allowed nor practised. It was once so, answered Mr. P. and there are yet a gooilly number who regard the day to the Lord; but since the revolutionary war there have been an increasing number, who have made it a day of recreation and pleasure; to the shame of Christianity and the dishonor of the town. It is said, more horses and carriages are let for pleasure taking, and they command a higher price on ibe Sabbath, than on any other day of the week. Tythingmen and other officers, whose duty it is, to notice and prevent this evil, were once active and strict in their duty ; but now they either violate their oaths, with open eyes, or shut their eyes on purpose not to see the breach of the laws; lest they should feel bound to take notice of the offenders.

And sabbath breaking is also rendered a growing evil by some, who pretend, that the fourth commandment is abrogated; because, according to their mode of arguing, it is a part of the cerimonial law. However sincere they may be in their belief, they are certainly under a mistake. The fourth commandment no more made a part of that law, than the commandment, thou shalt not kill; and the injunction, to remember the sabbath day and keep it holy, never was more binding than at the present time. It may, however, be admitted, that under the Jewish dispensation, there were certain cerimonial observances, which made a part of the duties of the day, while that dispensation lasted, which are not now binding on christians. But what is implied in the word holiness, in keeping the day, remains unaltered, and will to the end of the world.

It is objected, there is no thus saith the Lord for keeping that day, in the New Testament. But this is no proof the commandment is abrogated; for when once a law is passed, it remains in force, till the same authority which enacted it, make and publish a repeal. But in the New Testament there is no repeal, nor the most distant intimation concerning it; hence, we think we stand on safe ground, when we demand of them a thus saith the Lord, for their neglect of the sabbath.

It is also a fact, that all types remain, till the substance or thing signified comes; and it is equally an undeniable fact, that St. Paul to the Hebrews, makes the Sabbath a type of

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »