Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Me rains and dews of Heaven watered their fruitful fields they needed not the tears of anguish, tears shed for the loss. of freedom, the loss of country, the loss of friends.

No litigious lawyer. got his living by writing half dollar Kines, blowing. the coals of strife, and by carrying on needlessand self-willed law suits, that he might filoh away the earnings of the industrious. It is true, a lawyer resided among. them,, but he was governed not by the law of.avarice, but of: Gotland of reason. He was no fop, and did not think threeor four cornelian seals, hung at the end of his watch chain,, were of so much consequence as to cheat an honest neighbor.. out: of sixteen dollars; in order to purchase them. Being a son: of peace, he neither. stirred, up litigations, nor sought after petty causes, made out of sic penny, debts ;. that by adding ten. dollars of.cost, he might empty another’s purse to fill his own. Being the possessor of a farm,, he loved his garden and his fields; the growing corn, the luxuriant wheat, the lowing herds, the bleating flocks, and the sight of a well filled grana-by;, afforded more true pleasure, than a purae full of gold, the fruit of quarrels and ill blood.

When, advice was asked by an industrious neighbor, he was never known. to be possessed by a dumb devil ; which could be cast out only by a five dollar bill. Ready to advise,and always ready to prevent unnecessary cost-every petu: Jant rascal was not ins;ired with confidence that he would: CERTAINLY get his case. Aiming to be an honest man, he wished to take up on the side of justice ; but if he sometimes erred; he never-believed himself bound to tell fifty lies, nor. to distort, obscure, or undervalue good evidence, under pretence of being true to his clienti. In: short, as strange as it may seem, he was a Christian lawyer !?

They, bad both a minister and a house of public worship.. The house was as unadorned and as neat as a quaker's coat. Lhe-minister lived in a neat modest dwelling just by it.--. Contented with a moderate salary, he had never set himself up at: public sale; nor threatened to leave his people if. they did. not increase his wages. Willing to suffer and rejoice with his flock, he gladly shared with them the fruits of their pros. perity, and submitted, without. murmuring to the pressures; ofiadversity. The most homely, cottage in the distant parts. af his parish, and the richest dwelling in his beloved village Were-ahjects of equal attentiona. The fatherless and the wil:aw to their abilietiou, were visitect, and the house of afdictioni

and sorrow heard words of consolation drawn from the God pel; and were often carried to the throne of grace in the arms of faith and prayer. The poor fed. on his bounty, the naked were clothed with a garment, and the orphan found an asylum. The careless were apprised of their danger, mourners were pointed to Jesus, and believers' strengthened in holiness. When he spake, the law of kindness was on: his lips, and the suniles of friendship glowed in bis face. The aged embraced him as a brother; the young revered him as ai father. In his pulpit addresses he neither read with the school boy's coldness, nor scolded with the bigot's fury, nor whined with enthusiastic affectation. His sermons were manly, clear, pathetic and powerful---equally distant from fatness and pedantry.

At a little distance was seen seen the cupola of the vil.. lage school house, shaded with tall poplars. The master was a man of religion and learning. The morals and education of his pupils, were equally subjects of care and assiduity; there he found. employment summer and winter. His hours of vacation were spent, in summer, in the cultivation of a little garden, and in winter. preparing fuel, and feeding a cow and a few sheep. When his pupils-were let loose from school a stranger was not assailed with quarrels and oaths ;--they were not convulsed with bows, nor did they stand so uprighty, to gaze at him with clownish awkwardness, as to lean a little the other way!

If a traveller. happened not to suit their fancy, he was never pelted with stones or snow balls ; or hooted out of the village with savage insolence.

If deform ed or mean, in. appearance, he was pitied ; if dignified, he: was respected..

This whole scene so attracted the attention of Charlesi, that it removed his agitation of mind, and gave bim the pow-er of calm reflection. And though he was not thirty miles from home, he resolved to stay a week, to see farther, and make remarks He was now at the village inn, where eve. ry thing pleased him.. The landlord was not his own greatest customer; nor did the landlady drink bitters every morning -He was satisfied with the quality and cooking of his food ;: it was neither burnt nor. raw-nor was a dollar. exacted for a dinner. On going to bed, he found his chamber was not covered with dirt, feathers, and straw; nor were the sheets glazed with grease and dirt;,nor. inhabited by fleas, and, bed: hugs, the too. common: pests of country inns. Charles. suon

fell into a sound sleep, aud slept quietly till morning : For he was not disturbed by half a dozen drunken, raving, swearing townsmen. Quietness, cleanliness, industry, frugality, and conteniment, seemed to have taken up their residence under that roof.


[ocr errors]

CHARLES had slept so sweetly, the sun shone into the chamber before he awoke. He sprang out of bed, dressed him, offered thanksgiving and prayer to God, and walked out. On a second survey of what had so much delighted him the day before, he found he had been under no essential mistake. The mechanic was in his shop, the laborer in the field, the milk maid sung beside her cow, the house wife was spreading her frugal board, and the plough boy whistled over the plain. Soon the sound of the horn was heard, young and old gathered round at the ready report and Charles himself sat down with his host, at a clean spread and wellfurnished table.

But the scene was soon to be changed; and to give place to afliction and sorrow. It was so affecting-such an air of sadness appeared throughout the village, that our young adventurer himself could not forbear taking a part. At three in the afternoon, a black cloud appeared in the west. Soon the distant thunder was heard to roar-the vivid lightning caught the eye-the cloud approached, stored with thunder, fire and storm. The sun was veiled in deep shade-the heavens were black-redoubled peals of thunder rent the concave, the forked lightning hissed along the ground. The angry cloud poured from its dark bosom, impetuous gusts of wind and the driven hail swept with the besom of destruction.

Just before, were seen the aged sire, the sprightly youth, the active boy running for shelter to the nearest roof. But human power cannot escape the stroke of death, when Heaven directs the blow. A youth of eighteen fell a victim to the lightning's rage.

The best constructed edifices trembled on their strong foundations--the roofs of others few like the

driven leaf-athe lofty elm and stubborn oak let go their strong holds and tumbled to the ground. The hardy ox bellowed for pain---the inhabitants of the pasture in vain sought refuge from the storm. The fruits of the earth were mangled with unsparing strokes, famine and desolation were written on the field, destruction seemed to mark it for her own.

When the fury of the storm was past, Charles left his shattered habitation and walked abroad, to witness the distressing change. O how changed indeed! he had not gone far, before he saw the afflicted father carrying the lifeless youth---for he had seen him fall. He walked up, kindly offered him his assistance, and helped him to the house. Till this moment the mother knew not the fate of her son. And is he dead ! she cries.--. Yes my dear, the father meekly said---Was. it for this I bore thee, for this that I watched thy infant days, that I stood by thy bed in sickness, and fed on thy smiles in health, added the fond, weeping mother. But Heaven is just, and I will not complain. Here her grief choaked utterance ; she was not frantic, but her sorrow was deep. The surviving children gathered'round, they fell on his neck and wept. Bubber is asleep, said a little stammering boy---do wake biin papa. My little dear, said the father with a sigh, brother will awake no more: The sight was too affecting... Charles turned away, and went to the inn. Pensive and sad, he thought a thousand things, but his thoughts were irregular and broken Heate with little appetite, and retired to his ehamber with a depression of spirit hitherto unknown. After which he fell into the following train of thoughts.

How incomprehensible are the ways of God! Clouds and darkness are round about his throne ! His footsteps are in the great deep ! Tell me, O my soul ! what can be the meaning of this unheard of calamity! Why has: vengeance fallen on this people! Never did a people seem more deserving of divine favor and protection, and never were a pean ple more afflicteil. What does. Heaven design by this-stroke! How many places devoted to luxury, debauchery and profaneness, are spared year after year; whiłe this place, almost a paradise, is smitten with an unsparing hand. Why are not the wicked marked out as victims of divine wrath, and the righteous distinguished by constant care and protection ?--Can God be unjust ? Alas, I dare not say it, nor even in-. dulge so impious a thought. But how can sugh providences be reconciled with the equity he claims to himself?. Does Gods

exercise a universal government, or are some things left to the power of chance ? Or do the good experience no advantage over the impious and profane ? Alas ! whichever way I turn my thoughts, I see a great deep I cannot fathom ---once indeed, I hoped I saw God in his right character, and loved him for his infinite loveliness. But I fear, alas ! I was deceived ; my faith staggers, my hope trembles. Lord what shall I do.

Here he fell on his knees and prayed he might not be given up to despair, nor to dishonor the God he had professed to love and serve. His mind become a little composed; but still the burden lay heavy on his heart. A thick cloud seemed still to surround him. In this state of mind he went to his bed; but his sleep departed from him. The darkness of the night, and his sleepless imagination, placed a thousand objects before him; not one of them removed the doubts of his 80 il. The hours of the night moved slowly away ; he watched the approaching morning; he said, when will the light appear. The eastern hemisphere was streaked with the grey twilight; he left his pillow to prepare to look over, a second time, not the picture, but ruin in reality. If possible, it ap: peared more distressing than the day before ; because his mind was prepared to magnify every object, by the doubts and unsatisfactory reasonings by which it was filled. Wbatever course he took, or wherever he turned his eyes, scarcely a single object presented, which could afford any relief to his gloom and anxiety. Eager to find something pleasant, he walk. ed hastily into every part of the village, and ranged through the field;

but he read destruction in every place, and what was still more afflicting, for the first time, he was almost irresistably tempted to infidelity—so deeply had his doubts clouded the sunshine of his soul.

But learning that the young man was to be interred that afternoon, he retired to his chamber, and continued under his anxious gloom, reasoning, doubting, and fearing, till the fut Beral hour arrived.

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »