« AnteriorContinuar »
municate some religious truth, or to awaken some pious emotion, and thus lead the infant mind directly to its Creator and Redeemer.
It may here be remarked, that the feelings of his children towards him as a friend and a father, were of the most affectionate character. He fully secured their uninterrupted love, as well as their respect and confidence, The entire amount of the influence which he exerted in his family, can never be described. It was composed of a thousand ingredients, which sweetly mingled, arising from his personal appearance, his expressive countenance, his flow of generous feeling, his disinterestedness, and the elevation of his religious principles.
Some letters, written to his children at various periods of his life, are here inserted.
“ Augusta, Maine. “ My dear son E.,
“Your papa often thinks of you, and M., and T., and little E., as he goes about the country. He would love to live more at home with you, and see you, and talk with you, every day. But your papa hopes he is the servant of Christ, of whom you have so often heard him and mamma speak, and Christ says that we must love him and serve him above every one else ; and be willing to go anywhere, and suffer any thing, for his sake. Now you know, that there are a great many people in the world, who have no one to tell them about God, and that good Saviour; and your papa is trying hard to educate a great many ministers, who may go and preach as he used to do in Salem. This is the reason, my dear E., why your father cannot stay at home more, and why he sometimes has to travel all night, when you are asleep, and warm in your bed. But Christ is so great and good, and he has suffered and done so much for poor and sinful
men, that we can never do too much, or deny ourselves too much for him. Should you not like to have a good education, and one day, go and preach about Christ, and tell poor ignorant persons how they may be saved, and go to heaven when they die? Oh! how papa would love to have you. And now if you will be good, and love God and Christ with all your heart, more a great deal than you love any one else, you may be a minister, and do more good than you could in any other way. I hope you think much of God, and pray and read the Bible. I hope that you will set an example to all the other children, and help your mother by being very kind and obliging. I shall be happy when I come home, to hear that you have been a good boy, in school and out of school.
“Looking on the map, you will see where I now am. Augusta is a pretty town, on the bank of a beautiful river, called the Kennebec. I have been to Waterville, where there are two college buildings like those at Andover. You must read, and then you will know much about these and other places where I go."
“ James River, Virginia. “My dear son E.,
“If you will look on the map of Virginia, and then for James river, at the spot called Jamestown, where you remember the first settlers of North America came on the 15th of May, 1607, you will see where I am, while I write to you. I am in the steam-boat Norfolk, which is passing up the river to Richmond. I have just been on deck to see the place where the first trees in this great western world were cut down by white men, and where the first houses were built. You can ask your mamma to give you a book in which you can read again the whole history, so that you may tell me all about it when I see you, if I should ask you. The town is not so large as it once was. It stands upon a beautiful island in the river, which is here several miles wide. The island appears to be five miles long, and one mile, or more, broad. There are a few old houses in a state of ruin, and only one good house which belongs to a rich planter, and stands near the place where the first houses were put up. But what interested me most, was an old brick wall, said to be part of a house of worship, which was built soon after the first settlement was made. It is the foundation of the old steeple. It stands alone, near the bank of the river, in the midst of some old tall trees, without any other part of the meeting-house being left. If I knew how to paint, I would give you a picture of it, with the beautiful river which runs by it. Here these good people met to worship God, to thank him for bringing them safe over the great ocean, and to ask him to protect them and their little children from being destroyed by sickness, or what they dreaded still more, from being murdered by the Indians, Just behind this old wall, there is a small grave-yard, where they buried their dead. I could perceive it distinctly, with its little low brick wall, in the midst of the bushes which have grown around it, and under the large trees which I have mentioned. Here the bones of those who erected the first house of worship, have quietly lain for two hundred years! Here they will lie, my dear son, till the morning of the resurrection, when the trumpet of the archangel will sound, and you and I, and your dear mother and brothers and sisters, shall all come forth out of our graves, to go to judgment! Then these graves where the first settlers of America were buried, shall open, and the people who built this ancient church will rise, and you and I may see them, and perhaps stand beside them, before the bar of Jesus Christ. Or are you afraid that he will say to you, Depart from me into everlasting fire?' Oh! my son, these are terrible words! I hope you will never hear them from the lips of that dear compassionate Saviour, who once said with great tenderness, "Suffer little children to come unto me.' You remember what I have said to you about coming to Christ. It means to be sorry for your sins, because God is offended by them, to love him, to do what he commands you, to pray to him to forgive you, and to make you a good and holy child, and to give your soul to Christ, that he may save you forever. If you come to Christ in this way, you will not hear those awful words from his lips; but he will say to you, ‘Come thou blessed of my Father!' How happy this would make your parents, who pray daily for you, and M., and T., and E., that you may all be good children, be children of God, and be prepared to be very useful in this world, and go to heaven when you die. I hope you do not forget to read the chapter in the New Testament with me every day. Mark, 10th chapter, is the portion for to-day.”
“ Canal Boat Ontario, between Rochester and Utica. “My dear son E.,
“ Your letter was received by me at Buffalo, when I had not heard from home for more than three weeks. I was very glad to hear from you, and the different members of our beloved family. I had just returned from Ohio, and had sailed almost four hundred miles on lake Erie, in a steam-boat. If you could have travelled with me, how delighted you would have been to see the great wheat fields, from which our fine flour comes ; to see towns as large as Andover, where all was one wide wilderness a few years ago; to sail on the beautiful and wide lake Erie, and still more, to see where the waters of the great Niagara fall one hundred and fifty feet over the rocks which run across it. I hope you may yet see these fine objects. If you should be a good scholar, and obtain a good education so that you might be useful, and especially if you should be a good man, and preach the gospel, you might come into this great western country and accomplish much good. You must remember that if you are very diligent and study well, you can learn enough while you are young to fit you to be useful to a great many people. I am pleased to hear that you are doing well at the academy, and have been a kind and good boy at home. It is near your vacation I suppose. Be careful, my son, to behave well, and to improve your time through the vacation. Vacation is a period when good boys sometimes do very bad things. I enclose a letter to your sister M., which you will oblige me by delivering in safety. It contains some flowers which I plucked for her from the rocks of Niagara, with some pretty poetry which I met with. I have a sprig of cedar, and some little crystals which I intend to give you and T. when I go home.
“I have been thinking about the dog you wish to buy at Mrs. T.'s, and I must tell you about a dog which I had when I was young. He ran away one night, and got into bad company, and helped kill some sheep, with other dogs, and for this, he had to be killed himself. Then I cried, and was very sorry that I had ever owned a dog. I give you my advice, my son, never to own a dog. Besides, five dollars are a good deal of money, and if you will, you can do great good with it, much more good than by buying a dog."
“ Albany, N. Y. “My dear little M.,
“When I was at the falls of Niagara, I thought of you, and plucked a few flowers from the brow of a rock, lying one hundred and fifty feet above the gulf into which the river Niagara falls perpendicularly, with a noise like distant thunder, and with such dashing and foaming as you never saw. A great mist rises from the falling water,