« AnteriorContinuar »
was ning the Hvis foli
actors, who enticed him to join their parties at the ale-house. At first he was shocked at their profaneness, which one of them observing, he was assailed on all sides by scoffs and jeers, and laughed out of every better feeling:-in short, in an evil hour, they drew from him a promise to join their company and travel with them to different parts of England. When James reflected on what he had done, and the grief he was about to occasion bis parents, he did all he could to break his engagement; but bis wily companions stifled his resolutions; he was not proof against their ridicule ; and, on the following day, he left his native village without trusting himself to take leave of his family.
When day after day passed away, and James did not return, the fears of his parents were confirmed. Andrew Gray shuddered when he thought of the dangers to which his child was exposed, and when he assembled his family, for morning or evening devotion, he never failed to entreat the Heavenly Shepherd to bring back the lost sheep to his fold, and to guard him amidst the dangers of an evil world. In this season of affliction, no one more sincerely felt for them, than their worthy pastor, Mr. Carlton: he often called upon them, and encouraged them to trust in the never failing mercy of God.
The unhappy James was absent, more than a year, from his father's house; often, during that period, did he long for his peaceful home; at length he met with a severe accident, which rendered him so burdensome to his companions that they gladly gave him the means of returning to his native village. The joy with wbich he was welcomed by the parents whom he had so unkindly deserted, went to his heart; the watchful solicitude of his mother, and the kind attentions of bis brothers and sisters, touched him more than the keenest reproaches could bave done; and he would often exclaim in the bit.
terness of self-reproach, -"How could I ever have resolved to make them unhappy ?”
- James had received so severe an injury in his knee, that a very long confinement was absolutely necessary to his recovery. This was at first, very irksome to bim; his late thoughtless conduct had rendered reflection painful, and often would be gladly have escaped from the cottage, to drown, in mirth and gaiety, the anguish of his feelings. .
In the course of a few months, he became more reconciled to his situation. The cheerful piety of his family had no small share in producing this change. He saw in them none of that “ melan. choly,” which his former. companions had ridiculed, and which, in their opinion, always clouded the enjoyments of the Christian. The religion of the Gospel was the spring of all their actions. Affliction had drawn them closer to God, under the shadow of whose wings they had taken refuge in the season of calamity. Every day's experience convinced them of their need of a Redeemer, and of the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit, to aid their endeavours after holiness. Of course, these fruits of a right faith were not equally evident in every member of the family, but varied according to their different ages, or other circumstances.
James had many opportunities of conversing with his father, when his mother and sisters were engaged in their domestic occupations; and sometimes Mr. Carlton paid them a visit: he hoped that the good seed sown in early life, though it had for a time been choked by the deceitful pleasures of the world, would, in due season, bring forth fruit. Mr. Carlton observed, with pleasure, the sorrows with which James called to remembrance the error of his ways,- the sabbaths which he had broken,- the warnings of conscience which he had trifled with, and the many sinful pleasures he had shared with his companions. He acknowledged that he had not known
what it was to be happy from the time that he had left his father's house: for, as he had been blessed with religious parents, and had attended the village school, he knew that he was doing wrong, and he could not quiet his conscience, though he refused to listen to its reproofs. When Mr. Carlton saw that James was truly humbled, under a sense of his sinfulness, he read to him such encouraging portions of Scripture, as are particularly addressed to the returning penitent.
After some time, James regained his bealth, he · returned into the world quite another character;
and always had reason to bless God for the affliction which had been the means of checking his progress in a course of sin. . The history of James Gray may instruct us all. It is to be feared that too many of us are led away by the force of example, and have not courage to stand the laugh of our companions ; but let us meet this attack of our spiritual adversary with firmness; not indeed in our own strength, but let us arm ourselves with the “shield of faith,” wherewith we may " quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one:' and let us pray earnestly and frequently for the grace of God, to enable us to overcome “ the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.
O Thou whose goodness, with the breath of power,
We feel thee only in thy terrors, blind
LETTER FROM ARCHDEACON WRANGHAM TO MR. RIVINGTON --ON VILLAGE LIBRARIES.
DEAR SIR, I HAVE had great pleasure in promoting, to the utmost of my power, the circulation of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor, which I consider as one of the most valuable productions of the day. To this character it is fully entitled both by its practical econoinies, and its pure and simple theologies. If your Editor thinks the enclosed tract worth reprinting, it is much at his service.
ON VILLAGE LIBRARIES, - It is the duty of the Christian Minister, by every
possible means, to communicate to his flock the doctrines and the precepts of the Gospel. This will, perhaps, not least effectually, be accomplished by supplying them with judicious selections of books. Hence, the establishment of Village-Libraries seems highly desirable; and the principles, upon which such an Institution may best be conducted, as well as the publications in which those principles appear most happily exemplified, become important topics of inquiry.
If its shelves are to be loaded with the County Agricultural Reports, Gregory's Cyclopædia, Dick. son's Agriculture, Systems of Geography, Mavor's Universal History, Johnson's Dictionary, Hume's and Belsham's History of England, The Monthly Magazine, The Annals of Agriculture, The Oxford Review, and The Journal of Modern Voyages and Travels * ; a clergyman may pardonably hesitate to solicit subscriptions for their purchase, or to lend his vestry for their reception: because, however re
spectable some of these compositions may be, in I other points of view, they have nothing to do with
the promotion of Religious Improvement, which ought always to be his first object.
Mr. Riddel's plan, reported in a letter from Robert Burns to Sir John Sinclair †, seems little better adapted to the true interests of the students under contemplation. What, indeed, are we to think of the following selection ; Blair's Sermons, Robertson's History of Scotland, Hume's History of the Stuarts, The Spectator, The Idler, The Adventurer, The Mirror, The Lounyer, The Observer, The Man of Feeling, The Man of the World, Chrysal, Don Quixote, Joseph Andrews, &c. ? We see in it, along with some of the constitutional cha
* See the Monthly Magazine, xxiv. 28, 29,
+ See his Works by Currie, ii. 272; and, for an interesting account of the Scottish Parochial Schools, &c. ibid. i. 4. and Appendix, No. 1. note A.