« AnteriorContinuar »
he waked and cried, Lucy was called; for what poetical young lady can bear to have her fine fancies put to flight by a child's screaming ?
Her mother beheld HELEN's conduct with more calmness than could be expected from so notable a lady; but she found Lucy so willing and able to be useful, that she soon gave up the difficult, and, as she thought, hopeless task, of attempting to make HELEN a housewife. She generally said, “It was of no use to try ; the girl had no turn for it.” There were times, however, when she could not take it so quietly, and would complain to her husband about it. His constant answer to her lamentations was, “O she is too young and gay for such things; she will soon learn them when she sets her mind to it.” Indeed it was evident that LUCY was the mother's, and HELEN the father's favourite. It was Lucy who made his tea so nicely, and handed it to him with so sweet a smile, and sat working for him, evening after evening, so patiently; but then it was HELEN whose eyes sparkled so radiantly while reading to him; it was HELEN who was for ever talking of lyres, lutes, and minstrels. He could not help admiring her the most, though he might love both equally.
I need scarcely tell you, after all this description, that neither of these sisters, or their parents, were pious characters. A circumstance occurred, however, which was ultimately of the greatest benefit, in a religious sense, to all of them. When LUCY was sixteen, and HeLeN a year younger, they were sent for twelve months to a boarding-school. By the recommendation of some religious friends, they were placed at one, the governess of which was a truly serious person; and, by the blessing of God on her kind, christian-like behaviour, and under the plain preaching of the Gospel, a most gracious change took place in their views and actions.
Lucy's soft and feeling heart was first opened, like LYDIA's, to attend to the things she heard spoken. She received the truth in love, though not without many painful reflections, as to her former waste of time and thoughts on trivial objects. She felt that, young as she was, she had been completely engrossed with the cares of this life ; and now her desire was, like MARY, to sit at the feet of Jesus. She did so, and she heard his 66 still small voice” whispering peace to her spirit.
The change in Helen did not occur till some time afterwards. When she first went to school, she expected to be as much admired by her governess as she was by her father; but instead of this, she was very little praised by her, and therefore thought herself slighted. In every thing she did, some other young lady excelled her. Helen found, too, that, pleasant as it may be to read or write poems, real study is difficult, and to trifling minds undelightful. Nothing seemed to be valued at this school but moral and intellectual excellence, and to either of these she had not attained. She did not even seek for them, but gave herself up to the bitter pangs of disappointed vanity. The sinfulness of these feelings was discovered to her by the teaching of God's word and Spirit, to which, when depressed by melancholy, she at last listened; but she found that this was not her only sin, -that her "whole head was sick, and her whole heart faint,”. and she was really humbled by the discovery. She told her sister of these sorrows, and Lucy's words of hope and comfort directed her to the only atonement for sin, “ the LAMB of God.”
The effect of these changes on the characters of the two sisters, was, as might be expected, very remarkable. Lucy was taught by religion, that “there is a spirit in man;" and that we must have “our conversation in heaven," instead of supremely, or entirely, “minding earthly things.” HELEN learnt, that a woman that feareth the Lord will also “lay her hands to the spindle,” and “ look well to the ways of her household;" that “she eateth not the bread of idleness, but worketh willingly with her hands;" and that she who liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” Had not piety thus renewed and purified them, it is most likely Lucy would have degenerated into a mere domestic drudge, and HELEN would have become a romantic being, unfit for any duty of common life.
6 But,” said FANNY L-, (as Jane finished her story,) why must women always go into such extremes ? ” “ I cannot tell you why,” replied JANE; “ but we always find that, uninfluenced by religion, they give too much or too little of their time to their own peculiar avocations; our grandmothers mostly resembled LUCY; we are all like HELEN; of the two, their error was the least baneful.”
It was for FANNY L-'s benefit this tale had been told ; for JANE had frequently observed in her too much of Ilelen's disposition, and she wished to impress her early with the importance of home-pursuits to a woman, and with the truth, so often repeated, but so little acted upon, that religion is as necessary
to form a finished female character, as to make a wise king, a just magistrate, a devoted minister, or a useful man.
To the Editor. In introducing the following communication to the notice of your readers, it may not be improper to make one remark. Let me, then, refer them to the contrast of our situation with that of the ancient Heathen. Their gods were a number of imaginary beings, to each of whom was attributed some one quality, by way of distinction. The object of our adoration is, the one true and living God, the Creator of the Universe, perfect in every conceivable attribute. They had no direct Revelation to guide them in the way to eternal happiness : we have the Word of God, written by the inspiration of his SPIRIT, which is able to make us wise unto salvation. Theirs was the gloomy system of Pagan Mythology: ours is the glorious Gospel of the LORD JESUS Christ. They worshipped they knew not what : we know what we worship. If, then, some of those whose moral and religious situation, in point of privileges, was evidently the very reverse of ours, on whom the Sun of Righteousness has risen, sometimes discovered sentiments so noble, and so far elevated above the general level of the dispensation under which they lived, as their history occasionally exemplifies, what may not, I ask, be expected from us? Reader, reflect, where much has been given, much will be required ; and on him who knew his master's will, but did it not, shall be inflicted many stripes.
CATO MAJOR. At one period in the Iristory of Rome, the term Cato was only applied, by way of eminence, to men of rare experience. In the lapse of time, however,
it became the surname of the Porcian family, and was placed high in the annals of fame, by the distinguished virtues of one of its inheritors, Marcus PorCIUS CATO. He was born at Tusculum, a city near Rome, whose modern appellation is Frascati. From his boyish years, he was almost exclusively occupied in martial pursuits, until, notwithstanding the many previous professions he had made of the severity with which he would discharge that office, should he ever be chosen to fill it, he was unanimously elected Censor. During his Censorship, he behaved with the utmost rigour and impartiality, and rendered himself famous by the strenuous opposition which he made to the introduction of the fine arts into Rome, apprehending that the learning and luxury of Athens would destroy the valour and simplicity of the Roman people. Though of respectable parentage, yet he was somewhat advanced in years before he applied himself to the Latin literature, and still further before he applied himself to the Greek. But, by means of great perseverance and extensive reading, he soon became the most eminent orator of his time, and was styled “ The Roman Demosthenes.” As an Agriculturist in theory, and a Commander and Statesman by practice, he was not less conspicuous; and shone a star of the first magnitude in the Roman hemisphere.
The manner in which he educated his song is well worthy of attention. Instead of cradling him in ease and effeminacy, he early initiated him into the use of
every manly exercise; and, with a view to prepare him for enduring the greatest hardships, taught him to bear heat and cold with equal indifference, and to swim across the most rapid streams with ease and boldness.
He was universally deemed so strict in his morals, that he is represented by Virgil as one of the judges of hell,--the legislator of the pious dead. He died in extreme old age, about 150 years before Christ, PLUTARCII and CORNELIUS NEPOS are his principal biographers.