Imágenes de páginas

to us highly probable that the American was the aggressor. The captain of the American frigate admits that he chaced the Little Belt for a considerable time, and at last came up with her; but maintains that he knew neither her force, nor her nation, until the engagement was over. This denial, however, is most completely falsified by himself; for in affirming that the first shot proceeded from the British sloop of war, he adds, that he was induced to fire in return, by supposing that the commander of the vessel had in view to obtain promotion from his own government by insulting the American flag. But how could he have formed such a supposition, and acted upon it, without being well aware of the nation at least to which the vessel belonged He admits, too, that one shot was fired from his ship without orders. The very occurrence of such a circumstance might have led him to suppose that the shot from his antagonist might have been equally unauthorised. But mo: that could have proceeded only from a design to insult America. There are several other inconsistencies in the account of the American, which takes away his title to credit, respecting the main point, the point of aggression. Captain Bingham's account, on the contrary, is perfectly simple, and consistent in all its parts; and is a modest, full, and clear statement. It certainly shewed no small degree of firmaness in him and his ship's company, to support with sixteen guns, a close action against a frigate of fortyfour guns, for three quarters of an hour. Captain Bingham states, that as he was proceeding along the American coast to execute the orders of his superior, he was chaced by a frigate, which he saw to be an American, and which gained on him so fast, that as night approached, he deemed it

right to heave to, and shew his colours, that no mistake might arise. Captain Bingham hailed, but was answered only by another hail. Captain Bingham again hailed, and was answered by a broad side. The action then commenced, and continued for three quarters of an hour, when the American ceased firing, appearing to be on fire about the main hatchway. The British ship also ceased. In the morning, Commodore Rogers sent an officer on board, to express his regret at what had happened, and that had he known the force was so inferior, he should not have fired at us. He said that the British had fired the first shot, which Captain Bingham positively denied. “Nor is it probable,” he observes, “that a sloop of war, within pistol shot of a large forty-four gun frigate, should commence hostilities." The orders which Captain Bingham had received from Admiral Sawyer, were to proceed with dispatches to a ship of war off Charlestown, and then to return to Halifax; and in the course of his voyage to be particularly careful to give no just cause of offence to the government or subjects of the United States. —A war with America is unquestionably to be avoided and deprecated on every principle of sound policy, no less than on every moral and humane ground; and on that account we very anxiously hope that such explanations may be afforded respecting this untoward affair, as may prevent all future collisions. In the East Indies our squadron has been, successful in the capture, not only of ships but of colonies from the enemy. The island of Banda, the principal of the Spice islands in the Molucca Seas; the Dutch possessions

on the island of Celebes; and the island of

Ternate, have all been captured, and it was expected that Batavia would soon fall,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

about worldly objects, and to engage in fashionable amusements, so far as consisted with moderation and with her love of the quiet occupations of domestic life. At the birth of her youngest child, 23 years before her death, she was visited with a paralytic attack, which entirely deprived her of the use of her left side; and confined her to her chair during the remainder of her life. This afflicting dispensation, doubly trying to one who had always been unusually active, she herself afterwards regarded as a most signal blessing, and as the beginning of a new existence to her. Indeed, it was soon permitted to her, even before her mind was opened to those views of divine things with which it was subsequently enriehed, to discover the Hand of mercy ordaining and mitigating her asfliction. For besides that her confinement, by withdrawing her from the world, enabled her to devote her time and attention more entirely to the education of her children, she was herself also gradually training in the study of that salutary lesson of adversity in which she afterwards became so great a proficient. In less than seven years after this event, she was called upon to sustain the loss of her husband, who was taken from her very unexpectedly, and under circumstances of a peculiarly distressing nature; and she was left in a state of great bodily infirmity, for some time almost inconsolable and incapable of directing her attention even to her young family. In this dark night of affliction, in a retired country situation, where, in appearance and in the estimation of her friends, she was sunk in the lowest depths of missortune, she had the first, though still an indistinct, view of the unspeakable love and mercy of God, through a Redeemer, of which a fuller discovery was shortly to be imparted to her. For the sake of greater advantages in the education of her children, she soon afterwards removed to Carlisle, where the great doctrine of redemption through a crucified Saviour began about this time to excite general attention. Of its ministration, she was aumong the very first fruits—the good seed was sown in a heart well cultivated and fitted for its reception, and its growth was in proportion rapid, and its produce abundant.— Having been humbled under the rod of af. fiction, and deeply convinced of her own weakness, and of the vanity of all human dependencies, she stumbled not at the doctrines which declared man's utter depravity and helplessness, and proclaimed his acceptance and salvation only through the merits

and death of the Sou of God; and having been berest of her dearest earthly comforts, she had less difficulty in accepting the scriptural injunctions which required her to wean her affections from things below and to fix them on things above. The saving truths with which she thus became so fully and so experimentally acquainted, she laboured with a proportionate earnestness to impress upon the minds of her friends, anxious to remove their prejudices, and to persuade them to build on that sure foundation upon which her own hopes of present comfort and future happiness were now wholly established. In the mirror of the Gospel she now saw more distinctly revealed the gracious designs of Providence, the fainter perceptions of which had been her solace under her affirtions; and she could, with unmixed grati. tude and pious joy, retrace the successive events by which she had been called of from the world and led to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. The hours of solitary confinement she henceforth considered the happiest of her life, as they afforded her large opportunities of communion with her God and of meditation on his word and providence. Never was the power of religion in administering hidden support to the soul, more fully displayed than in her—she might truly be said to lice by prayer and by faith in the written word. She particularly delighted in the compositions of the Holy Psalmist; the records of whose experience were, indeed, in an eminent degree, the language of her own. In the exercise of an unshaken trust in God, under circumstances which often put it to the severest tridin a deep and realizing sense of his presence and of joy in the light of his countenance—in an habitual resort to him as her friend, her counsellor and her guide—in an humble conviction of her own weakness and of the necessity of constant vigilance and self-denial, she richly displayed the fruits of a careful study of the Scriptures, and of an experimental acquaintance with their divine efficacy. Of controversial religion, she hoppily knew, and desired to know, nothing; whatever is clearly revealed in the Bible, as necessary to salvation, she received in an honest and good heart, with serious self-examination and a practical application of it to her own heart and conscience. On the death of Christ she rested her entire hope of salvation—and to his life and conversation she studied, through the sanctifying aid of his Holy Spirit, to assimilate her ownNor were the exercises of her faith cenfined to the contemplative hours of her retirement. The holy flame, which her soul in secret caught from converse with God and celestial objects, shone forth with a mild and heavenly lustre in the narrow circle within which her duties were confined. It was her habitual aim to bring the minds of her children and servants under the practi. cal influence of religion, by serious admonition, by seasonable reproof, and by the improvement of ordinary occurrences to the purposes of edification. In the society of her friends, she displayed the same earnest desire to do good, and the same prevailing sense of the pre-eminent importance of etermal things. She delighted in praising God and speaking good of his name, and in inviting attention to the characters of mercy and wisdom which she saw distinctly impressed on the dispensations of his providence towards herself and others. To the poor she was a cohstant friend and a liberal benefactress; administering, to the utmost of her ability, to the relief of their bodily necessities, and promoting their spiritual interest by providing for their religious instruction and encouraging their attendance on the public ordinances and means of grace. Her own example most powerfully co-operated with these endeavours. Notwithstanding the infirmity under which she laboured, she was, for the last sixteen years of her life, a regular attandant on divine worship, being carried in a sedan chair, in which she sat during the service—and her children will never forget the effusions of pious gratitude in which she taught their minds to participate on the first occasion of her revisiting the house of God, after the lengthened absence to which she had been obliged to submit during the earlier part of her confinement. The language of the Psalmist was then pe. culiarly her own. “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts? My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord—my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God!" Ps. lxxxiv. 1, 2,

But the part of Mrs. Hodson's character which was most distinguishing, and which, in the short enumeration of her Christian graces above given, was omitted as requiring to be distinctly exhibited, was her resigua, tion to the Divine will. An unreserved submission to the will of God has justly been considered as the consumination of the Christian character. It is represented as characterizing the angels in heaven, and shines forth with peculiar brightness in the recorded actions and sufferings of Jesus Christ, Mrs H. had attained an eminent degree of it. She had learnt to adore and bless the designs of Providence, even in his severest

chastisements, and to receive, not only with patient submission, but with cheerful acquiescence, the bitter cup of affliction, which she was not unfrequently called upon to taste. She would even rejoice in her trials as necessary to maintain in exercise the spirit of watchfulness and prayer—and as most effectually calculated to confirm her faith and elevate her delight in the word and promises of God. A striking instance of her advancement in the spirit of resignation was afforded a short time before her death. . Her only daughter, and the sole habitual companion of her retirement, was visited with a very severe illness, from which she herself did not expect her to recover. In the midst of the solicitude and suspense which attended this event, she one day told an intimate friend who visited her, that she had been much employed in meditation upon that petition in the Lord's Prayer (which had been the subject of a sermon she had recently heard), “Thy will be done,’ &c.—and that she had been carefully endea. vouring to ascertain the state of her mind, in reference to it, by an examination of the feelings with which she regarded her daughter's present alarming situation; adding, as the result of her deliberate investigation, that she could say, she was prepared wil. lingly to surrender her, It will reasonably be expected that some account should now be given of the particular circuiustances which marked the closing scene of Mrs. H's, earthly existence; but this expectation cannot be satisfied—it pleased God in infinite wisdom to withold from her the opportunity, sometimes afforded to others, of glorifying in her death the religion which her life had so eminently adorned. Her constitution, enfeebled by so long a confinement, had not strength sufficient to struggle, even for a short time, with the illness which proved fatal to her—and though she lived nearly two days after its first appearance, she was throughout that time too weak to hold any conversation. From the few words which she uttered, it was evident that she was fully aware of the approach of death—and during the intervals of her pain (which appeared not to be of long continuance nor great intensity), and after it subsided, she shewed the clearest marks of being wholly occupied in prayer, and in contemplation of the unspeakably blessed change which awaited her. Nor will it be deemed presumptuous to entertain the firin conviction that she was permitted to experience the full measure of that divine support, for which, in the habitual anticipation of her departure hence, she was known fer

vently to supplicate, in the language of the following beautiful extract, which was found written in her own hand amongst other papers: “My last erigence will be the closing part of life; oh! remember me them, my God; thou who hast led me hitherto, forsake me not at last ! be my strength when nature fails, and the flame of life is just expiring, Let thy smiles cheer that gloomy hour: oh! then let thy gentle voice whisper peace and ineffable consolation to my soul!" Her last moments were unusually tranquil: not a sigh or struggle intimated her dissolution, nor can there be any doubt to those who knew her life, that the arms of everlasting love were spread beneath her, and that angels were appointed to convey her emancipated spirit from this vale of tears, to the eternal abode of peace and Joy. L.A. dy Go R. Don. On Sunday, the 2d of June, 1811, died, after a very short illness, Lady Gordon, wife of the Rev. Sir Adam Gordon, Baronet, Rector of West Tilbury, Essex, &c. A loss most deeply felt, by all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance, and could justly estimate her worth.-Among the many amiable qualities and engaging accomplishments that distinguished this excellent character, one prominent virtue was, the most rigid respect for truth. In such veneration did she hold this sacred property, that often, in attending even to humorous narrative, her apprehensions were painfully alive, lest casual embellishment should interfere with strict veracity. Towards her social and domestic connexions, her affability, and continual desire to confer pleasure, or convey comfort, became, among her intimates, quite proverbial. In the discharge of kindred duties, she was exemplary, beyond praise. In the display of Christian benevolence, she may have been equalled, but could not be excelled. Not even ingratitude could curtail her invariable study to befriend the needy. Forgiveness, that most lovely produce of religion's power, banished all resentments; and nothing but positive, persevering vice could interfere to check, or rather lessen, her unceasing bounty, Her uniform delight was to solace the afflicted, to make up unhappy differences, and prove the most genuine and unshaken friendship for those she thought deserving. no ostentation of superior talent, ever tarnished her excellencies, but a generous ardour to promote innocent hilarity, and the

No envy,

most hospitable exertions (with a sweetness of disposition, and demeanour, peculiarly her own,) endeared her instantly, and equally, to the stranger as to the friend. In short, extreme caution not to hazard censure, and not to give offence, formed a line of conduct that could not fail to exact esteem, and to ingratiate her with all who could appreciate merit; and rendered her beloved, in every place, and by every order in society.— Judgment, dispatch, and correct arrangement, even in business of intricate concern marked also her native vigour of mind, and alertness of apprehension. To a happy talent in the epistolary style, she united the valuable attainment of most clear, impressive reading, in every kind of composition:—And, to close the list of these attractive acquisitions—no one who ever heard, her voice, as melodious as powerful, will easily forget her exquisite taste in the execution of Handel's sublimest works; the captivating force she gave to those exalted strains, that called forth his transcendent genius, and stamped the general testimony of her own. Such was the choice companion of hin, who gratefully attempts this slender sketch of her combined endowments; this bounden tribute to her memory;-thankful for the treasure lent him, and dutifully resigning it to the gracious, supreme Proprietor of the blessing.—And should it now be asked,—did no one bleumish mingle with this description of a mere mortal being 2 The reply is brief, and in no degree detracts from the still higher attainments she derived from unaffected piety, and the grace bestowed upon her from above. Comparatively, her failings were as shades in painting, rendering the shining parts more beautifully conspicuous—they were as specks in snow; the entailed inheritance of a fallen state; of which the very best, while in this life, must partake, or otherwise the creature would exhibit that perfection here which liberated spirits only can attain to in the realms of bliss. It is natural, it is incumbent, to mourn for such a loss—a loss irreparable to him, so long experiencing the value of the possession—who, to the grave, must feel the sore privation, but who, bowing submissively to the correction, humbly receives it, as a symptom of parental love, from the unerring hand that hath appointed it for good, and consoled by the cheering prospect of an endless re-union, through the mercy, merits, and power of the *::: - A. G.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

For the Christian Observer.

some Account of the Life and charactert OF THE REW, QEORGE Herbert.

TÉ memory of this extraordinary man ought to be cherished by every member of the Church of England. He was a burning and a shining light, and though dead he yet speaketh. It is the #: of this paper to exhibit a brief view of his excellencies both as a Christian and a minister of the Gospel, in the hope that the example may prove useful. In doing this, the materials will be derived chiefly from his life by Walton, those parts being selected from the mass which seem best adapted to the end proposed.

George Herbert was born on the 3d day of April 1593, near to the town of Montgomery, in a castle bearing that name and belonging to his family “, a family, which ‘. long been distinguished for patriotism and benevolence. His father was Richard Herbert, and his mother Magdalen Newport, the daughter of Sir Richard Newport. His father died in 1597, and left his mother with seven sons, of whom he was the fifth, and three daughters. His eldest brother was the famous Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who may be considered as the first deistical writer who appeared in England. His mother continued for twelve years in a state of widowhood, and then married the brother

.* This castle was levelled with the ground during the civil wars in the reign of Charles the First. Christ. Onstay. No. 116.

and heir of the Earl of Danby, with whom she lived very happily. During the time of her widowhood, she devoted herself to the care of her family. She even accompanied her sons to Oxford, that she might the better superintend their education, and watch their progress in useful learning as well as their moral conduct. She laboured to endear her society to her children, and she succeeded. They spent much of their time with their mother, which was to her a source of great satisfaction. She appears to have been esteemed as a person of great piety and worth by Dr. Donne and many other learned and excellent men of that day. George Herbert spent the first twelve years of his life under the eye of his mother, and under the instruction of a clergyman who was tutor in the family. He afterwards became a king's scholar in Westminster school, at which he continued till he became well acquainted with the learned languages, especially the Greek. During his stay at Westminster, he was no less remarkable for his piety than for the rapidity of his improvement. In 1608, being then fifteen, he was removed to Trinity College, Cambridge, where his mother, anxious for the preservation of the purity of his mind and manners, induced Dr. Nevil, the master of that college, to take him under his particular care. In the first year of his residence at Cambridge, we find him lamenting, in a letter to his mother, that so many poems of that day were consecrated to Venus, while so few looked., towards God and heaven; and

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »