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THE SEA CAPTAIN AND HIS SON. OUR captain was of French origin, a catholic in his earlier religious education, but a decided sceptic in his maturer years, tolerating, with affability, the religious opinions of others, but utterly reckless of his own.
Mrs. L., his pious wife, consecrated her house to God; she erected the family altar, and guarded its hallowed fire with fidelity. Even her infidel husband was compelled to admire her christian integrity, and during his stay at home, as well as his absence on the seas, she faithfully gathered her little ones in daily domestic worship. Sceptic as he was, he felt that that family altar had shed a cheering and hallowed light on his hearth-stone; that it was a moral mooring of his household during his frequent and long absence-an affecting remembrance of their early home to his children, when, in after years, they might be dispersed in the world. Nay, often, in foreign ports, amid the dissipated scenes of a sailor's life, did strange and affecting images of that same worship, the supplications and tears of his wife and little ones for their wandering father, pass over his memory; and often, in the perilous extremity of the night storm, did the trembling unbeliever bethink himself that the evening prayer had gone up from affectionate hearts for him, and that well might it be with him if there should be a God to hear.
Home, how salutary are its memories when sanctified by virtue! How do its dear images—the faces of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, though long since in the grave --follow the wanderer over the world, like the presence of the blessed angels, ever and anon revealing themselves to his view as they hover over him with looks of sweet complacency or tender rebuke. Melancholy is the privation of those who have no such ministering memories, the record of whose homes, written on their heart, is only of estrangement and sorrow.
Mrs. L. believed not only in the moral influence of domestic religion, but in the direct answer, sooner or later, of her prayers in behalf of her husband and children. Years passed away without the realization of her hopes ; but she persevered, humbly and hopefully, at her altar, till God answered her, though in a way she could not have anticipated. He blessed her by misfortune. She had occasion to correct her son one day by confining him to his chamber. The boy escaped by a window, and could not be found. Days passed away, weeks and months elapsed, and no intimation of the missing child was
THE SEA CAPTAIN AND HIS SON,
heard. The mother, wrung with anguish, still clung to the domestic altar. Misgivings, painful misgivings, met her there during these anxious months. Had she not had reason to expect a different effect on her children from her efforts in their religious education? Had God disregarded her supplications? Was it in vain that she planned and prayed, and wept before him for them? Ah! who has not had such assaults of the adversary in dark hours ? But “trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Know ye not that adverse providences are God's most common means of blessing? that he has led the church through the world, and his individual saints up to heaven in triumph, by them? Her boy was wandering, she knew not where: but God's providence was following him, leading him to his salvation.
He had embarked in a vessel, and after a long voyage arrived in Charleston, South Carolina. Here he remained, destitute and dependent, several weeks; but at the moment of his extremity his father arrived unexpectedly in the harbour, from Havre, France. The boy, subdued by reflection and sorrow, flew to the arms of his parent, confessing his misconduct with tears. The juvenile romance of adventure had died in his bosom, but the tender remembrance of his home still lived, melting his young heart, and disposing him to return to its deserted altar, and mingle there his tears with those of a mother's anxiety and love.
The vessel sailed for Havanna. It arrived at a time when the yellow fever raged in the city. In a few days the poor boy, predisposed perhaps by his anxieties and grief, was attacked by the dreadful malady. And now revived, in overpowering force, the recollections of his early religious instructions. The confused reveries of a fevered brain could not dispel them. The atonement, the duty of repentance and faith, the terrors of death, judgment, and hell, were ever present to his mind. Ah! even in this extremity the prayers of the desolate mother were prevailing in heaven. One day, when all hope of his recovery
the father, a man of strong feelings, entered with a broken spirit the chamber where he lay. The dying boy, with his tears dropping upon the pillow, was sobbing the name of his mother. “My mother! my dear mother! Oh, that she were here to pray for me as she used to do!”
The father bent over him, unable for a time to speak, but mingling his tears with those of his son. Clasping his trem
THE SEA CAPTAIN AND HIS SON.
bling hands, and casting a look of appalling earnestness at his parent, the boy exclaimed, " Father, I am dying with my sins upon me! I shall be lost in my present state! Send, oh send for some one to pray for me!"
“My child,” replied the father, trembling with emotion, there are none but Catholic clergymen on the island, and they cannot help you.”
• Oh, what shall I do, then, father?" exclaimed the son. “Pray for yourself, my dear child,” replied the father, unwilling to repose the destiny of his son on his own infidel views of the future.
“I do,” replied the boy ; “but I need the help of others. Oh, can you not, will you not pray yourself for your perishing son, father?"
The captain felt as if the earth shook beneath him. He had never prayed in his life; but his heart melted over his child; he felt, as by consciousness, the necessity and truth of religion. He felt that none but God could meet this terrible emergency
As if smitten down, he fell on his knees by the bedside of his son.
His spirit was broken; his tears flowed like rain, and, with agony, he called upon God to save himself and child. The family and servants of the house were amazed ; but he prayed on, and, before he rose, his child's prayers were heard, if not his own. The suffering boy had found the peace which passeth all understanding,
He died trusting in his Saviour, and full of tranquil hope.
Oppressed with sorrow, the father did not cease to pray for himself; he was deeply convicted of sin, and before long found peace in believing.
He returned to B.; his child a corpse, but himself a new man-the one in heaven and the other on the way. He brought to his wife the first news she had received of her missing son, She wept, but with tears of gratitude as well as sorrow, acknowledging that, in affliction, God had blessed her. Her prayers had not failed. Providence had overruled the misconduct of her child for his own and his father's salvation,
Captain L. lived several years after this incident, a devoted christian, and died praising God aloud for his mercy to him in Cuba.
The impressions of childhood, how ineffaceable are they ! How, amid the confusion and dissipation of latter life, do they still abide, though concealed-like burning coals, smothered, but not extinguished, amid the rubbish that afterward they
THE BLACKSMITH'S DAUGHTER.
consume! Search the records of christian biography, especially of the christian ministry, and you will find that a striking proportion were the children of christian parents, or, at least, of christian mothers. If there are any prayers which, more than others, must prevail with God, they are those of the devoted mother pleading for her wandering child.-Sketches 8 Incidents.
THE BLACKSMITH'S DAUGHTER, In the suburbs of a small fishing town, on the coast of Cornwall, Roger was one evening sitting by the door of his cottage, smoking his pipe. The sun was fast sinking beneath the waves of the mighty Atlantic. Roger's eye was lingering on the departing luminary, whose fading glory was beautifully reflected on the bosom of the distant waters; when, suddenly, his little daughter, a fine, rosy faced girl, appeared before him:
' Father," said she, “will you go with me to the chapel to night? There is to be a funeral sermon.”
No," replied Roger: "you know I never go to such places." “But the funeral sermon is for Uncle Sam, and I have heard you say you always thought him to be a good man."
“ And so he was: though he made rather too much ado about his religion."
“ I have several times heard him reprove you for spending your Sundays at the Plough tavern: and do
think him on that account?”
“I dare say his meaning was good : but I like people to mind their own business." “Come, father, lay down your pipe, and go with me this
I am sure you will be pleased with the service." “No, Nelly, you must go without me.”
The poor girl's eyes now began to moisten with tears; and, casting an imploring look at her father, she murmured," Do go with me this once; and if you do not like it, I will never again ask you to go."
After a momentary pause, he consented, and in a few minutes father and daughter were on their way to the sanctuary. But, with a view to avoid being seen by his neighbours, Roger chose the most retired path ; and having crossed several fields without meeting a single person, he was just getting over a stone stile (for most of the stiles in Cornwall are of stone,) when he recognized one of his pot-companions.
THE BLACKSMITH'S DAUGHTER.
“How now, Roger ?” he exclaimed: “I thought of meeting you at the Plough.” “I will be there presently,” said Roger. “ But father is going with me to the chapel,” cried Nelly, so you must not take him away."
"O! I see how it is; Roger is going to be a Methodist ; and in a short time, I suppose, he will be holding forth in his blacksmith's shop, and thump the bible as he beats his anvil. Good luck to you, Roger! You will make as good a parson as ever shod a horse."
The singing of the first hymn had already commenced when they entered the chapel. A feeling of deep solemnity, to which he had hitherto been a stranger, instantaneously came over the spirit of Roger, during this interesting part of divine worship. But when the text was announced by the officiating minister,
Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his," his attention became fixed; and he listened with breathless attention to the affecting discourse. Presently the tears of genuine contrition began to flow down his swarthy face; bis heart was melted under a consciousness of his guilt ; and he inwardly groaned for mercy.
On returning home, after the close of the service, Roger was unusually thoughtful; for the important subject of religion entirely engrossed his mind.
“Nelly," said he, “I wish I had gone to the chapel before. But I am thankful that you persuaded me to go this time. I never attended such an interesting service in my life.”
"I thought, father, you would not regret going. It seemed to me like being in heaven. You will go again father, will you not ?** “That I will
, Nelly; and I will never again spend my Sundays at the Plough."
From this time Roger became an altered man; and this change he attributed, instrumentally, to his little daughter, whose importunity had first induced him to go to the House of God. Through faith in a bleeding Saviour he obtained an assurance of his acceptance with God, and subsequently became a local preacher. In this capacity he was eminently useful : and though he now rests from his labours in the paradise of God, the villagers still cherish his memory with affection: and are often heară facetiously to exclaim, in allusion to the prediction of his old companion, “ He was as good a preacher as ever shod a horse."
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