« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
of books: but women, even pious women, can talk of nothing but their neighbours affairs; and school girls, my dear Julia and Clara, lose half their opportunities of improvement by this foolish habit.'
" this manner she would often silence us, whenever we attempted to introduce any common topic of tittletattle; and when we attended to her advice on this head, it was remarkable what peace we instantly found.
“From the Christmas holidays which next followed after the deaths of poor Miss Chatterton and Miss Atkins, I spent two happy years at Palm-Grove, during the last of which a very decided change had taken place in the family. Mrs. Patterson having been persuaded to attend the ministry of the Rev. Mr. B-, had received such benefit from his discourses, the Lord being pleased to make him an instrument of good to her soul, that she effected, in consequence, a thorough reform in her family, having put a stop to many improper customs, introduced family worship, and determined no longer to allow either of public or private balls. She never suffered her young people to go out, unless their friends came in person to fetch them; and she increasingly devoted her time to the improvement both of their understandings and their hearts. The Almighty so greatly blessed her labours, that I was told by a person who visited the house some years after I had left it, that the little society there was become as lovely and holy as it had once been disgusting and profane.
Having now, my dear friend, recounted to you the most important particulars of my life, I shall conclude my narrative in a few words. I left Palm-Grove when I had just entered my nineteenth year; being in a feeble state of health. I was brought to England by my father and step-mother, both of whom behaved to me with the greatest kindness.
“I will not enter into any account of my grief at parting with Amelia, Julia, and little Flora, nor of the anguish that I felt in bidding adieu to my native shores; these things are more easily conceived than described. Suffice it to say, that the memory of Amelia is blended in my heart with all that is lovely, excellent, and admirable on earth; inasmuch as it pleased the Almighty to make her the most illustrious instance that I ever beheld of the power of religion, and of the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. I heard that she left Palm-Grove soon after me, and was married to a gentleman of high rank up the country'; where, no doubt, she diffuses peace and joy over all around her. She has several children of her own: little Flora, however, lives with her, and still retains a most tender place in her regards. Miss Beaumont is also married, and conducts herself, I hear, as a Christian female ought to do. Mrs. Patterson still resides at Palm-Grove, and, as I before said, is a new creature. Miss Crawford has long left her; but of her circumstances, or of those of Gabrielle, I know nothing. Madame de Roseau still lives with Mrs. Patterson, and conducts herself with propriety: but whether she had yet learned to speak plain English I have not heard.
“ And now, my dear friend, I conclude my history, humbly commending myself to the divine mercy through my dear Saviour, in whom I have learned to place my sole and entire confidence; being assured, that any
sinful creature destitute of this hope, can look forward, in death, to nothing but grief, and pain, and long despair."
When the lady of the manor had concluded the history of Clara Lushington, one of the young ladies remarked, that she thought Amelia was, in her sphere, fully
equal to Frederick Falconer.
Perhaps,” remarked the kind instructress, “the example of Amelia may be more useful to you even than that of Frederick; inasmuch as there are few situations in life, wherein a proper management of the gift of speech may not be exercised with advantage. There is also another reason why you may feel an additional interest in the history that I have just read, which is, that it presents a correct view of a variety of scenes peculiar to a very remote country; and many of these scenes are such as it would be difficult for any one to describe who has not witnessed something like them. Many of our places of education, even in this country, are, no doubt, far from pure; but I fear that the horrible picture which I have given you of Palm-Grove, is but a
faint sketch of what was the state of schools, some years ago, in our settlements in India. Things, however, are, we trust, now improving; and yet, perhaps, but little can be expected in societies of which more than one half of the members pass into them from the hands of heathen nurses, if not of heathen mothers.”
The lady of the manor then called her young people to prayer.
Prayer for Grace to use our Speech aright. “O ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, who givest wisdom and discretion to thy people, and hast promised to guide them, by thy counsels, through this present evil world; give us grace so to control and exercise that most excellent gift of speech, that it may be without offence to others, and not without profit to ourselves. Make us, O blessed Lord God, fully sensible of this important truth, that in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin ; and give us grace, as much as in us lies, to avoid all needless occasions for much talking; whereby time may be lost, and our responsibility increased; and wherein we may be tempted to injure the characters of our neighbours, to carry tales from house to house, or to misrepresent or falsify facts. Help us habitually to cherish that distrust of ourselves which may induce us to fly, rather than to seek, temptations of this kind; and, finally, when we may really be required to speak, give us grace to utter the words of wisdom, and to refrain from all communications which may tend to familiarize the ears of our auditors with sinful and corrupt ideas.
“O, Father, constrain us, by thy love, to give thee the glory whenever praise is due; and, as we would desire to have our own ears closed against the words of flattery, grant that no vain or earthly motive may induce us to pour them into the ears of our brethren. When we would speak of those who have injured us, put thy bridle on our tongues; and when we would speak lightly or unadvisedly, do thou restrain our lips. Keep us back from all unadvised intimacies, and from all interchange if unholy confidences, by which young persons too often irritate each other against their parents and elders, and mutually encourage and strengthen their own evil passions. Give us courage, also, O blessed Lord, to reprove that which is amiss in others, whenever it may fall under our observation; but grant, at the same time, that we may have grace to rebuke with gentleness, and in a manner becoming our sex and age; knowing, that the silent censure of an upright and holy example, ever falls with more weight than that which proceeds from the lips.
“ We desire, o incomprehensible and all-glorious Trinity in Unity, to place ourselves in thy hands; and, as thou, O Father, didst prepare our salvation ere yet we had learned to lisp thy name; as thou, O blessed Son, hast provided the means of our ransom, and hast already paid the price; so we desire, through life, to be guided and directed by thee, O Holy Spirit; whose admonitions we would constantly regard, whose regenerating and sanctifying power we desire to experience, and to whom we look for that glorification which is promised to all who are enabled to cast away all selfconfidence, and to seek salvation only in the promised Saviour.
“And now, all glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, now and for evermore. Amen."
END OF VOLUME IV.