Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

to see any distance because of the storm. It had covered the ground already to the depth of a foot; and we were obliged to take turns as to marching in front, to make the path. No one but a guide accustomed to traverse it could have told where it ought to be ; and when found it is, even in good weather, so steep and rough tbat Mr. Henry Dwight pronounced his journey over it the most fatiguing day's work of his life. You may well believe that even liis limbs would have quailed that morning, if after ascending continually three lours, he found himself as I was, up to my thighs in snow. Sometime we fell our whole length, and I rejoiced I had been disappointed at Nant Bourant, as to obtaining a mule; for no. thing would have tempted me to rest on any other feet than my own in those passes. I had soon after starting, become convinced that there was little chance of a clear view and fine weather at Aller Blanche. So I declared my intention to return; but the guide would not let me--saying I would certainly lose my way; and I doubt not he was right. However when we had just reached the summit of the Col du Bon Homme (not half the way to Cormayeur however,) we met three men conducting some cows and sheep. So taking them as companions and guides, I returned forth with to Nant Bourant; stopped only for my sack, and held on my way to the baths of St. Gervais, twelve miles farther. That valley, so smiling the day hefore, was then all clouds and rain--and my natural reflection was, how sudden and entire the changes of life.

I neglected to say that while I was breakfastiug at Nant Bourant, four Englishmen arrived with a guide; and I doubted whether to join them or the party of seventeen. We left ibe former to dry themselves and take breakfast. When rej turning I met them an hour from Nant Bourant. An hour afier I passed them they lost their way, near the spot where I turned back,--the storm thickened; one of them and the guide had to carry another of the four two hours, in snow up to the breast-then leave him to die: he was an Episcopal clergyman from Brighton, England. Shortly alter anoiher failed and was leli to die : while the two with the guide were only able, as night closed on them, to reach a chalet off the way, the only one within some distance.

The seventeen, whom I had left, and the guide, soon lost their way-could see nothing, and wandered for bours in the deep snow before they reached the chalet. Oh, may I, thus watched over--I, redeemed with blood-I, who at every turn in life have been a creature of grace; may I have returned to give glory to God!

We insert, next and last, the concluding paragraph of Mr. Douglas' private journal, dated Florence, Oct. 31st, 1830.

The mere consciousness of returning life, of elasticity and sensibility, in contrast to deadness and inertia, is enough for me; but it is not yet so entre and constant with me, but that when it comes for a day or an hour, it fills me with tears of tenderness, and sends my heart out of myself towards my friends and my God.

It was in such a state that I enjoyed our service-and especially the administration of the Lord's supper, this morning. It is the first time of my having an opportunity to receive the latter since my departure from America, -I mean in our own church. And the service never seemed to me so dear, so expressive, so like the soul communing on earth with its God and Savior.

The 146th Psalm, a part of the Psalter, I found in my bible marked “ Sept. 4th, 1825." But wbat a different being I was then ! how much more suited and necding and able to enter into it now! cspecially the 3d, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th verses. Oh !it is precions.

“Thy God, Oli Zion! SHALL REIGN FOREVER;" and we who believe in Je. sus are born and brought to " praise Him while we hare any being.

Oh! my Fatber in heaven-hallowed be thy name; iliy kingdom come; thy will be done here as it is in heaven. Give me my daily bread (with thee to provide we cannot want) forgive my sins, and amid all the temptations of the world, deliver me from its evil, and from the worse evils of my own nature. And then I will learn and hope to praise thee as the Infinite God, forever and ever.

The symptoms of retiring disease had long been so uniform, that Mr. Douglas felt his hopes of firm health progressively brightening;

and when again at Paris, in April 1831, he felt almost adequale to reassert his wonted vigor. He was not so well, however, for a few days previous to the 22d, which was the day of his arrival in Lone don. It had been his wish, after a short residence in that metropolis, and before embarking for America, to spend the interval in a brief tour througlı some parts of Scotland, and to arrive in New-York about the end of August. But now a serer and debility came over him; thought by some to have been a new and distinct disorder,-by others, only the terminating crisis of the old one. In either case, it fastened on a system shattered and incapable of vigorous resistance. Its violence was aggravated by excessive exercise, taken under a mistaken impression that the disorder was nothing more than a return of common and old symptoms. Happily there was present with him a friend of bis early years, Mrs. Willard of Troy, through whose counsel and watchful care, aided by other friends, he wanted nothing when laid low with sickness. The disease proved to be a stupifying fever, which threw over its subject a general insensibility, permitting only at times a clear perception of things around hiin. In a lucid interval he was told the apprehensions of his aliendants. He received the communication calmly, and desired that the physician should be made acquainted with bis character, and told that it would not startle him to know the worst. Being asked to mention a clergyman in whose spiritual offices he would most con 6de, he named the Rev. Daniel Wilson of Islington, with whose writings he was acquainted.

Mr. Wilson was spending tlie evening with some friends, when the note was delivered to bim stating the situation of Mr. Douglas, and his confidence in Mr. Wilson's spiritual character; and requesting him to call immediately on the sufferer, that prayer might be made at his extremest need, for one who could no longer pray for bimself. This note Mr. Wilson read immediately after family prayers, and the little band again prayed- not for themselves, but for the stranger in distress. Mr. Wilson then hastened to the chamber of his sick brother, and joined in prayer and conversation, which seemed to be received by him with satisfaction, though sometimes with inperfect consciousness; and which are remenibered with gratitude and gladness by all who loved the dead.

When Mr. Douglas was asked if he had any messages to leave for friends in case of his deail), or any directions about worldly concerns, he replied that he bad none. “In that case," said he, “it is impossible for a man to utter what is in the depths of his heart; but for months I have been writing to them, and been particular to write all.As to worldly affairs his expression was, "you will find every thing in a state of singular completeness.” And so indeed it was. Every article was properly disposed, every paper Labeled, every direction written, the work of life was fully done, its troubles ended, all its sufferings over. As a laborer, when his task is finished, goes weary and worn out to repose-as the stars in a misty night sink to their rest to rise again in the glories of the east, so did he rest from his labors and sink into the grave. His remains lie buried in the vicinity of London.

Some months after, the Rev. Mr. Nettleton, to whom he owed his first religious impressions, being in company with a number of clergymen of the English Church, was called upon to describe those revivals of religion by wbich God is doing so much for the church in America. He told them that he was taken unawares, that it would require many interviews like that to do justice to the subject; but that he would relate some incidents of a revival in which he was interested ten years before, at New-Haven, in which Yale College was situated. “One of its first subjects was a young man of promjsing talents, of an amiable disposition, of interesting manners, who afterwards entered the ministry of your own church. I watched his progress with much interest, for I considered him as one of my spiritual children. He was settled first at Georgetown, then at Rochester, where he lost his health, and was obliged to visit Europe for its restoration. I learned that he was improving not only in health, but in christian character, and was anticipating his return to his own country with increased desires and ability of being usesul, when he came to London—and died here. I have been from one end of this great city to the other-I have inquired of many if they had ever met him, but the name of SUTHERLAND Douglas was unknown to them all-can you tell me any thing respecting him ?”

Mr. Wilson came forward, his eyes full of tears—“My dear sir, I can tell you all about him: I attended on his dying hours, and he now lies buried in my family-vault.” There was not a dry eye in the room; and this circumstance was soon known and related in almost every religious circle in London.

And it may be added, that when this was told at home, there was one whose heart more than all others united, had missed his presence in the places which shall now know him no more ; who had wondered that at least his remains might not have been laid hy the side of his little babe,—but when she learned that he now lies a monument of the grace of God in revivals, to be read in other lands, to the glory of those spiritual wonders of which he was a fruit at home, she felt that even the spot of his grave was not unmarked by providence, and that not a hair of his head had fallen to the ground without his Father.

Art. V.-The RectorY OF VALEHEAD.

The Recios y of l'alchead. By the Rev. Robert Wilson Evans, M. A. Sixth

Edition. London, 1832.

We took up this book with a kind of foretaste of the pleasure we were to derive from perusing it, when we learned that it treated of a christian home. What idea is more delightful to those who have enjoyed the reality, or in itself is more beautiful and touching, than that of so hallowed a place. In respect to ourselves, our minds kindle in contemplating it as the best representative of heaven upon earth—as the seat and source of pure thoughts, heavenly charities, gentle cares, lively joys, or softened regrets. In its happiest condition we cannot but view it as the birth-place of whatever is fair and great—as an epitome as well as nursery of the church of God.

Home, however humble its character, or uninteresting its external circumstances, is proverbially delightful everywhere and among all men. It is the one blessed spot where the fancy loves to linger, and to which men look back in after life with the deepest interest. Tbe picture of Goldsmith need not be applied to the dweller on the Alps alone,

"Dear is that shed 10 which his soul conforms,
And dear the bills that lift him to the storms.'

How often has the smile of the cosmopolite been provoked at hearing the praises of some rude and lonely home, on the part of one who thought there was nothing better in the whole world! We have known persons, almost all whose claim to respect, rested on their attachment to the house of their fathers. Even io families where the curse of ebriety, or some other curse, has been experienced, and where the joys of home have been mingled with great evils, the strongest domestic love has been felt, and the mind at a subsequent period has reverted rather to the brightness than the gloom with which its early dawn had been associated. Home being thus generally an object of pleasing recollection, even under unfavorable circumstances, what must not a christian home be to those who have known its blessedness! It is so superior to the ordinary domestic condition, in all the attributes of good, that it may almost be said with the author of the volume under review, the christian alone possesses a home ; and this remark would seem to be confirmed by the fact, that the least religious people in Europe, are also the least domestic. Christianity, which has found here its fittest field of influence, has indeed given it a worth, a sacredness, a purity, which never attached to it under any oth

er religion. If it has not made it altogether a new thing, it has remodeled its form and imparted to it a loveliness worthy of its original design.

There is a natural curiosity in men to become acquainted with the domestic life of others. The passion is universally felt in regard to our neighbors, since few things please us more than the family legends and anecdotes of the circles around us. In the history of man in every situation, it constitutes a powerful charm. It is the first thing that attracts our attention in the accounts of foreign countries. How eagerly, also, do we seize every intimation which comes down to us concerning the domestic life of the ancients ! It is delightful, when the opportunity is presented, to catch the old Greek or Roman at his fireside with his family around him, that we may learn their habits, appearance and employments, even the utensils which they used and the furniture of their dwellings. Considering this feature of the human heart, the conception was a happy one of describing a christian home, not so much in its outward circumstances, as in its internal arrangement, its intellectual and spiritual training, its solid pursuits, solemn relations, aud diversified trials. Among the many new contrivances of the times, this fancy-piece is by no means the least deserving of notice. It promises not a little aid to the cause of household religion, the prosperity of which is its express object.

The author of the Rectory of Valehead, if we may judge from the number of editions through which his book has passed in England, has been fortunate enough to secure the patronage of the reading public-a circumstance, of course, gratifying to the feelings of a writer, if not always an indication of the superior merit of his performance. The work, however, is in itself quite a happy attempt, well timed, and suited to the wants of the church. He had observed, as he says in his preface, “amid the crowd of books which are daily issuing forth directed to individual conduct, how few there are which notice the peculiarity of the christian home, essential element though it be of the great body of Christ, and cradle of the christian's social graces.” He, thereTore, took occasion to treat the subject, not in the way of a regular dissertation, which he conceived ill-suited to its nature, but by giving a miscellaneous detail of circumstances; “ since the best part of the history of home is made up of a multitude of minute and irregular incidents.” On this ground also, he has ventured on the intermixture of prose and verse, as either form of composition seemed best adapted to the different scenes he wished to portray. But though the author has thrown his thoughts into so peculiar a form, and given the volume a very miscellaneous appearance, it is destitute neither of connection nor unity of design,

« EdellinenJatka »