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and fervent prayers may yet be continually offered, that this unhappy family may indeed be brought under the power of real religion, which begins, not in loud profession, but in deep contrition, and which exerts a universal, sanctifying, and saving power.
MR. NORTH, THE CABINET-MAKER-THE CHANDLER'S SHOP-THE LODGER.
No. 8, is a house that I frequently visit, and always with very mingled feelings; for there I behold the transgressors, and am grieved, Psa. cxix. 158; and there also I see with delight an aged saint of God glorifying the Lord in the fires, Isa. xxiv. 15, and amidst pain, privation, and turmoil, enjoying “the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” Phil. iv. 7, and diffusing in his conversation a holy and edifying savour of Divine truth.
I will first introduce the reader to the family occupying the principal part of the dwelling, and then to the pious inhabitant of the garret. The board over the door bears this announcement:
North, Dealer in Tea, Coffee, Tobacco, and Snuff,” and the lower squares of the front window are filled with small boards or papers, proclaiming sundry other articles of traffic-Second-hand Clothes," “ Superior Ginger Beer,” “ Children's Books in great variety, " Good Dripping at Fivepence a pound," "Old Rags, Glass Bottles and Phials, bought or exchanged," “ Fresh Sausages.” All these articles may be honestly traded in; and it is pleasant to see people attending to any honest means of obtaining a livelihood, and ingeniously multiplying contrivances, from which to obtain the means of supporting and educating their family in comfort, credit, and honest independence. But then there is great need of caution, lest, under a plausible guise, that insidious principle should creep in, is the love of money,
» which " is the root of all evil,” 1 Tim. vi. 10, and under the influence of which every species of unjust gain is pursued. In the house of my neighbours, it is evident that gain is the god of their idolatry, and to it integrity, peace, and safety are continually sacrificed.
“And who art thou that judgest another ?” Rom. xiv. 4, is a question that often suggests itself to the mind of the writer of these sketches; but the consciousness is cherished that principles and conduct, not individual character, are exposed, and that, not with feelings of malignant or impertinent censure, but with self-application of the admonitions suggested, and a benevolent desire that they may be also profitably applied by the reader. We are to gain instruction from our observations of human character, as well as from the direct inculcation of precept. And though, when the actions of others are fair, we are not censoriously to pry into motives, and assign a worse motive when the case would bear a more favourable construction; yet, when actions are palpable and unequivocal, we are not to sacrifice
truth to a spurious charity, and hope that people may be very good at heart, when their works are notoriously evil. “ Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” Matt. vii. 16–20. Let not the writer, then, be accused of harshly judging others; but may both writer and readers be cautioned, and preserved from putting forth even the first buddings of evil dispositions.
The traffic at No. 8, is conducted chiefly by Mrs. North : her husband and sons being employed at their trade, that of cabinet-making ; at which Mr. North is a journeyman, and his two sons apprentices. The only daughter of the family resides at home, but is seldom seen assisting either in the shop, or in domestic affairs; her mother having declared and maintained the determination, as this is the only girl, to make a lady of her. In order to this distinction, she seems to have considered three things necessary and sufficient; namely, that she should wear fine clothes, do nothing useful, and be able to boast of a boarding-school education. Miss North has discovered no disinclination to fall in with her mother's views in these particulars. Whether, however, she has failed in accomplishing the object precisely in the manner designed, or whether she occasionally goes beyond it in the ladylike particular of extravagant expense, it seems the
point is not exactly attained to the old lady's satisfaction, as loud altercations between the mother and daughter may frequently be heard, in which this form of upbraiding never fails to occur: “You ungrateful, disobedient vixen, when I have been toiling and scraping all these years to make a lady of you!
That Mrs. North has toiled and scraped, all the neighbourhood can bear witness. Those who get up earliest in the morning are sure to hear her already at work, beating her sausages, or knocking down the corks of her ginger-beer; or to see her scrubbing the pavement in front of her door; or in the garden hanging out her daughter's dresses. But they may see, too, indications of a more exceptionable character. Early in the morning servants, among whom are most of her customers, from different parts of the town, slink in with baskets or bundles, which they hand over to Mrs. North, and receive in return a portion of her tea and sugar, or tapes and thread; and this barter, there is no reason to doubt, is carried on at the expense of their employers. Mrs. North is scarcely ever known to purchase meat for her sausages, nor has she any fair means of obtaining the dripping and many other articles in which she deals so largely; but it is known, that in many instances she has encouraged dishonest servants, and entrapped such as were weak and unsettled in principle, and drawn them into a system of fraud and deceit. I tremble when I see a young servant enter the shop, and have made some efforts, I hope not altogether without success, to rescue such from her snares. I have seen several