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when flattery is silent. If any doubt it, let them look at the septuagenarians of folly, nodding the plumes upon their palsied heads, as it were, in insane mimicry of those that to-morrow will nod upon their hearse. Death and judgment, imagination's plaything now, as they approach, will become hideous phantoms, which must be either dreaded or forgotten. A rigid observance of exterior forms, and equivocal profession of religion, perhaps, will take place of extinguished sentiment. And when the secrets of Amelia's heart are opened, that moment so confidently challenged, and the reckoning is demanded for her talents—for fifty years' exercise of physical and mental powers—for the use of prosperity, the influence of beauty, the abundance of domestic blessings, there will be nothing found for God but a few pious sentiments, a few poetic feelings, a few convictions of conscience, just enough to prove she knew the worthlessness of that world, whose service she preferred to his. The rest has been expended upon earth and
herself. If I have not drawn the character of my correspondent, I have drawn that of thousands. Let it stand as theirs, not hers. If any parent would gather such a harvest, let her sow the ungodly seed. Perhaps I should have said, that Hodge omitted to consult the tenure by which he held his field, and the forfeiture under which he was bound to cultivate it properly. I can anticipate but one other result of early introduction to the ways of vanity and folly. It has been come to by some--would it might by all! When the harvest-time of maturity has come, and the children of godliness have been seen gathering in their store, the Spirit witnessing with their spirit that they are his children; the near prospect of a blissful immortality; the soul's peaceful eleva
tion above the changes of the world; and the sufficiency of bliss without its smiles. While with treasures like these the followers of Jesus are seen filling their garners, the disappointed, dissipated child of folly has sometimes looked into her bosom, and found it empty: without present good or future expectation, has looked back upon her past life to see what fruits it could produce, and found none. Now she perceives the cause, and now she embraces the remedy. But, oh! the poverty of these moments; the bitter retrospect of wasted years; the burden of accumulated sin; the inveteracy of habit, returning in spite of every effort to eradicate it. The chains of the world are broken indeed, but they hang clattering about the neck with scarcely diminished weight. Folly takes advantage of its intimacy to gain access to the bosom, and wins with the accents of our native tongue. After a life of thoughtlessness, how difficult to think: how difficult to feel, after the feelings have been blunted and expended—to act, after a life of indolence! Not only can the past years never be recovered, but many a one to come will be expended in painful contention between inveterate habit and determined principle, in joyless and vacillating faith, unsanctified and inconsistent conduct. Such is not the harvest a pious mother desires for her child.
A few things I would say to my correspondent before we part, in affectionate desire for her welfare. She shrinks from every plan of education, because of its imperfections. Here is a system that has no imperfections—“ Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." I know of no "safeguard from the wish to err.” On the contrary, I know that the whole tendency of the heart of man is to evil, from his birth
time to his dying hour; that he can be turned from it only by supernatural power; and if, by wilfully exposing himself to temptation, he provokes the withdrawment of that power, he will return to evil as to his own element. I know of no nature of ours which it is our duty to exalt and refine-though I have heard of one we are to mortify and put to death. With respect to "stretching nature on the cross of Christ,” I am not sure that I know what it means. But there is another sentence that sounds something like it—this I understand—“ The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.” The religion of Jesus requires the subjection of all earthly and selfish preference, and the conformity of every feeling and faculty to his holy will and service.
It was the law of Egypt, that every subject of the kingdom was, under pain, I think, of death, to follow the calling of his fathers. Whether this was a wise law, I know not. But there is another kingdom, wherein all is wise, of which it is a law, if I mistake not the statute-book, that every one should follow diligently his own calling. Of course it could not be in either of these kingdoms the following events occurred, as taken in short-hand by a Listener, from the lips of the uufortunate narrator.
“When I first became sensible of religious impressions, I was eighteen years of age. I had been politely brought up, had learned a great deal, and knew but very little—least of anything did I know myself. Next to myself, what I knew least of was my fellow-creatures. I had always resided with my grandmother, and had little intercourse but with my governess, a few distant relatives, and two or three genteel girls of my own standing in society. My grandmother was an old-fashioned Christian. That she was one, the more I learn of religion the more I am convinced, though at one time I doubted it. She had become so at a time when they were indeed the despised few, or only not despised because they were unheard of: when all they could do for the world was to sit apart and pray for it, and all they could do for themselves was to withdraw from its influences. I speak of a Christian of sixty years ago.
knew her, she was too old to receive any new impressions. Her mind had but little cultivation. I never saw her read any thing but the newspaper, Baxter, and the Bible. She seldom talked of religion, but she lived it every moment. Of the public demonstrations of piety, so prevalent in our time, she contented herself with saying, “There were no such things in her day.' This retired piety, beautiful as it appears to me in the retrospect, was attended with considerable disadvantage to myself. Very little pains were taken to instruct my mind in the principles which hers reposed in. Having received them without human agency, she, perhaps, con: ceived it impossible to impart them. An education distinct and separate from the world, was among the things not heard of in her day. I was brought up like other girls, and by other people. Her care was but to pray
which that she did with unwearied earnestness, in holy trust and confidence, I know most certainly; and to her prayers, perhaps, the blessings that I received were granted. In her journal I found many an earnest petition for the correction of faults she never reproved in me, and pardon for
my iniquities at the time that she seemed to think me all perfection, and allowed me to think myself so.
When, therefore, I became, on my approach to womanhood, strongly imbued with religious feelings, not having received the impressions from my grandmother, it was not to her I looked for example or advice. I doubted, indeed, the reality of her religion, because it was of a character so different to what I saw elsewhere. Elsewhere, therefore, I sought for counsel. She allowed me to go on unthwarted in good, as before in folly ; and I began my course in all the confidence of a spirit yet untried, and all the