Imágenes de páginas






He had recently come up from the chambers of death, where he had deposited the mother of his child. As he turned his eye to the seat where the dear departed used to listen to the Gospel, a tear issued, unbidden, from its spring, and his countenance seemed to say, O, Mary, Mary, would to God I had died for thee! But what kind bosom receives this motherless babe, and what soft hand wipes away its tears? These inquiries were readily answered. A blooming maiden, clad in deep mourning, followed the old pilgrim's footsteps. She was no sooner seated than she received the lovely infant to her arms, and bending, as if to escape obser

intently upon its playful features, and her soul grew enraptured by its smiles. Though deeply interested with the discourse which followed, I could not forbear, occasionally, to survey the countenances of that lovely and interesting group. Never did mother's countenance more vividly represent maternal tenderness, nor helpless infancy more clearly portray filial dependence, contentment, and affection. I had often seen the triumphs of a sister's love-I had often witnessed and experienced a mother's unfailing, intense attachment, but never before had I beheld the blended influences of a sister's and a mother's love. What, thought I, will be the affection of this pair, should Providence spare them until the infant ripens into manhood.

SEATED last Sabbath in the altar of a crowded church, and sympathizing with a large assembly which was rather impatiently waiting for the arrival of a distinguished preacher, my attention was suddenly attracted by a gentleman who advanced slowly up the aisle. Time had whitened his temples, care had ploughed his cheek, and affliction had evidently opened the fountain of his tears, and spread over his countenance that soft-vation, pressed it to her lips; and then her eye gazed ened expression on which the eye of the musing soul loves to rest. He bore in his arms an infant wrapped with unusual care. Throwing one covering after another over his arm, he at length disclosed the treasure so carefully concealed. It was a babe of extraordinary beauty. Its brow was of marble whiteness, its cheek of rosy hue, and its sparkling eye of almost unearthly lustre. How beautiful, thought I, is the human form! This is an abode worthy a new made angel-this is a temple fitted for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. How innocent the human infant! No unholy thought has disturbed this intellect-no unworthy purpose has agitated this bosom-no transgression has polluted this character; and though "engendered of the offspring of Adam," yet, thanks be to Jesus Christ, the "free gift" descends upon it, and, if translated to heaven, it could share the bliss, and swell the song of the upper sanctuary. Were the Savior in this temple, doubtless he would take it in his arms and bless it, saying, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." How dignified is the human infant! Here is but a little particle of perishing dust, yet who can tell what destinies it may wield. Within its bosom there slumber passions, whose outbursting may convulse the nations. Beneath its skull there lies an intellect that may illuminate the world, comprehend the universe, adore its Author, inseribe its name in eternal histories, and shine in everlasting and progressive glory among the highest order of the heavenly hierarchy. No wonder that it has an angel, who beholds the face of its Father in heaven continually. And can we, on earth, behold it with indifference? Blessed creature, thought I, I will pray for thee, that thou mayst be guided by a Divine hand through this world of sorrow to the realms above. How helpless the human infant! All other creatures have some ability for defense or escape, some judgment in relation to nourishment and danger; but man, the lord of the lower world, comes into existence entirely dependent upon the ministry of others.

The sermon being ended, the candidates for baptism were invited to come forward. The first who stepped within the altar was the aged patriarch, bearing his infant boy, and followed by his lovely daughter, who, instead of the mother, stood at the baptismal font. I involuntarily recurred to the mountain of Moriah, and thought of Abraham offering his son Isaac, and then my imagination advanced a little, and painted the sister of Moses watching her brother in the bulrushes; but the real exceeded the beauty of the imaginary picture. I had seen woman, lovely woman, at the hour of danger, and on the day of trial—I had witnessed her at the cradle of her first-born, in the chamber of the sick, and by the pillow of the dying--I had attended her as she followed the departed partner of her bosom to "the house appointed for all the living;" yet never did I behold her in a more interesting attitude than on that day.

HE that has never suffered extreme adversity knows not the full extent of his own depravation; and he that has never enjoyed the summit of prosperity, is equally ignorant how far the iniquity of others can go. For our adversity will excite temptations in ourI perceived that this child had been clad with unu- selves, our prosperity in others. Sir Robert Walsual care-its unstained garments were as snow-its pole observed, it was fortunate that few men could head-dress evinced a taste and care quite remarkable- be prime ministers, because it was fortunate that few exhibiting a striking contrast with the coarse and care- men could know the abandoned profligacy of the less garments of the father. Alas! here is the father, human mind. Therefore a beautiful woman, if poor, and there is the babe, but where is the mother? The should use a double circumspection; for her beauty scarf of the old gentleman answered the question. I will tempt others, her poverty herself.




CONTENTMENT is often inculcated upon us, and never more frequently than when we are suffering under the pressure of accumulated evils. That we should submit to the consequences of our own ill course of imprudence, indiscretion or impatience, is but proper, as to the thing itself. That we should resign ourselves to inevitable evils, and most of all, that we should acquiesce in the decisions of Providence, is claimed at our hands both as an act of piety, and of common sense. Perhaps we may do all this, and yet not be essentially contented. That we are placid and resigned under annoying, nay, distressing circumstances; that we neither cherish nor indulge the thick-gathering humors of bile or of passion; that we make no resolve against our own self-possession, is, perhaps, as much as can immediately and at once be expected from the victim of disappointment and chagrin. And it is only those who have never suffered, or never suffered alike, the accumulated evils that follow in the train of adversity, who will urge the hard condition upon us.


[blocks in formation]


MRS. M'LEAN was born in South Carolina. Her father, Dr. Edwards, and also her mother, were natives of Virginia. While she was quite young her parents removed to Kentucky, and settled in Scott county. They were both members of the Baptist Church. Dr. Edwards, having a delicate constitution and being in feeble health, lived only a few years after this removal. After the lapse of some years his widow was married to Dr. Stubbs, an Englishman, of somewhat eccentric habits, but of great learning. He had been regularly ordained as an Episcopal clergyman, in England; but after his migration to America he was principally engaged in teaching the languages, astronomy, and the various branches of the mathematics. Under his direction Miss Edwards acquired an accurate knowledge of the English language, and of some other branches of

Mr. Stubbs removed from Scott to Boon county, and thence to Campbell, in the neighborhood of Newport. It was there, in 1803, that Miss Edwards became acquainted with Mr. M'Lean, her future husband. He studied the languages under Mr. Stubbs. At this time they were both young, he being eighteen and she seventeen years of age; but an attachment was formed which continued through life.

What is contentment? It is the satisfaction of our nature in her own proper enjoyments. And what is our nature? Firstly, most immediately and impera-education. tively, it is the claimings of physical existence of food and raiment and habitation, and so much of ease as exonerates us from continual, and fatiguing and disagreeable employments: these, as superadded to the common gifts of health, sanity of mind, capacity of advancement, &c. Next come the cravings of the moral sense, including the social, (which, indeed, is a half mixed principle of the former classification,) with friendship and fair appreciation as manifested by acts; and participation in all proprieties of intercourse, the interchanges of regard and beneficence, as also the equal dealing of business, and of the eligible and the expedient, without let or hindrance. Even leaving out the refinements of taste, which nevertheless do either thrill with delight, or grate harshly upon those chords near and about our hearts, with yet some more extended influence upon our mental perceptions also; either aggravating our sense of evil, or else inducing and affording a larger harmony of contentment. And the yet full demanding of an intellectuality, which at every accession of light, gives us substantially and vitally, a keener perception of whatever destitution exists within and about us.

Under circumstances of disaster, the accumulated evils of our manifold being throbbing in our nerves, beating in our hearts, and glancing its lightning rays athwart our mind, pointed as it is by the index of a self-love inwoven with all; shall not seem surprising to any one, or of any one, competent to entertain the whole idea, that with the light of truth in our bosom, upon these conditions only, that we disdain to name our suffering and our philosophy, by the blessed name of contentment. A name which is of regeneration-a name which, in its advent of peace, has no other sponsor than that of Jesus Christ the holy-the mediator

In March, 1807, they were married, and shortly afterwards fixed their residence in Lebanon, Ohio. Mr. M'Lean the succeeding fall commenced the practice of the law, and had no other reliance for the support of his family. At that time a more rigid economy was observed than at the present day, without any restriction on social enjoyments.

A few years after their marriage, through the instrumentality of that excellent and pious minister of God, the Rev. John Collins, they were brought to think seriously of religion. And they agreed with each other to seek for it earnestly and perseveringly, in the way recommended. This was no hasty decision produced by momentary excitement. It was formed most delib erately, after many conversations on the subject. Some weeks after this determination, in the fall of 1810, at the house of Mr. Anderson, in Lebanon, an invitation being given, by Mr. Collins, after sermon, they approached him together and joined the Methodist Church. On the same day another couple and several other persons joined. From this time a revival in Lebanon commenced, which increased the Church in that place, from a small class, to one of the most respectable societies in number and character in the state.

The days of this revival have long since passed, and many of its subjects have gone to their final account. Very few of them are now to be found in Lebanon.



ion. In the spring of 1829, her husband having been appointed to the supreme bench of the Union, removed his family to Cincinnati. Mrs. M'Lean left, at Washington, a numerous circle of warm friends, and, it is believed, not an enemy. The only pain which resulted from this change was the separation from her eldest and third daughters. They were both married; the former remained at Washington, and the latter in Philadelphia. But this pain was mitigated by the consid

But those of them who still live, can never fail to retain || her intercourse, she never compromitted the dignity and
the most lively impressions of this memorable period. circumspection which belonged to a professor of relig-
The members of the Church saw eye to eye, and were
truly as a band of brothers. Those who were not of
the Church took knowledge, that the members of it had
been with Jesus. Great numbers attended on the
preaching of the word, and many remained to pray.
More excitement may have been often witnessed, in a
revival, but such was the spirit of love and of faith, of
joy and of triumph, that no one could attend the relig-
ious exercises of the society without receiving the most
solemn impressions. Mrs. M'Lean engaged most heart-eration that she should spend her winters at Washing-
ily in the cause of religion and of the Church. From
the first, under no circumstances was she ashamed of
the Gospel of Christ; and it was not long before she
was enabled to say, from her own experience, "it is the
power of God unto salvation."

She was not enthusiastic in her feelings, but her susceptibilities were acute, and there was an unsurpassed depth of sincerity and firmness of purpose in her soul. At the time she became a member of the Church, almost all her associates were irreligious, and many of them entertained strong prejudices against the Methodists. But this had no weight with her on so momentous a subject. She deliberately counted the cost, and having taken the first step, she cheerfully and joyfully bore the cross. In the religious intercourse of her new friends she found a sweetness and consolation, which the world could not give, and to which she had before been a stranger.

The public duties of her husband, first as a member of Congress, and then as a judge of the Supreme Court of the state, left her nearly half the time alone with her little family, to which she was much devoted. But her religious associations cheered her solitude, and made her happy. At length in the spring of 1823, her husband having received an appointment at Washington, that city became her place of residence. Here a new and an interesting scene opened to her view. She was thrown amongst strangers, and connected with the highest political circles. And among those most distinguished, there were very few who had the form of religion, much less its power. They were generally gay, fashionable, and intelligent. Their entertainments were frequent and brilliant; and her position required that she should attend, and, to some extent, reciprocate! them. The ambition and aptitude of her nature soon placed her at ease in these associations, and she conciliated the good will and respect of all with whom she had intercourse. Her acquaintance thus formed, during a six years' residence at Washington, embraced the most distinguished persons of both sexes in every state of the Union, and all the ministers, their ladies and legations from foreign courts, resident at that city.

But she did not give her heart to these things. They were submitted to from a sense of duty, and this would not admit of her falling behind the courtesies of others; but in the bosom of the Church she found her chief enjoyments. These were cherished with a sacredness which nothing was permitted to violate. And in all

ton, with her husband, at her daughter's; and pay an annual visit to her daughter in Philadelphia.

In December, 1829, the first stroke of death was felt in her beloved family. Being of a delicate form and constitution, she had experienced, in her own person, much affliction, which she uniformly bore with uncommon fortitude and resignation. But her children had generally been healthy, though not robust. Her youngest son, near nine years old, contracted a severe cold, which fell upon the brain, and which the skill of physicians could not remove. He died after an illness of little more than a week. The hearts of his parents were bound up in this boy. He was exceedingly promising and amiable, and their hopes were fixed upon him. The hope of meeting him in heaven, after his death, was the only consolation left to them. Mrs. M'Lean in this, as in every other trial, showed a firmness in her nature and a confidence in God which could not be shaken. Like David, the child being dead, she restrained her sorrow and submitted with a calm resignation to the afflictive dispensation.

In the course of a few years the health of Mrs. Weed, her eldest daughter, of Washington City, became very precarious. In a short time her disease assumed a pulmonary character, and her physicians advised travel as the best means to protract her life and afford any hope of improving her health. With this view Mrs. M'Lean remained with her, and spent the spring and summer in travel, and at the Red Sulphur Springs of Virginia. These means may have prolonged the life of Mrs. Weed for some months; but as the cold weather of the fall and winter approached, she became worse, and died late in December.

Through all her sickness, night and day, Mrs. M'Lean was with her, administering to the comforts of the body and the instruction of the soul. The body sunk under the pressure of disease, but the soul triumphed. While dying, Mrs. Weed retained the full vigor of her mind, and was perfectly calm and collected. She sent remembrances of love to her friends, and consoled her distracted husband: "Why," said she to him, "do you mourn at my loss? I am happy. I shall soon be in heaven. If you could feel as I now feel, you would not fear death. O seek religion!" Her last hours were thus employed.

This heavy affliction was borne by Mrs. M'Lean, as she had borne the loss of her youngest son. The destroyer had taken her first and last child. He had

[ocr errors]


247 broken the family circle, and left a vacuum which || was blooming with hope. It is thus that sorrows come neither time nor circumstances could fill. when joys are anticipated. How wisely is the future After the death of Mrs. Weed, Mrs. M'Lean's jour-covered from our view. Could we see events in time neys to Washington were discontinued. The delicacy to come as in time past, we should have little or no of her health and the unavoidable exposures in crossing relish for life. Our social enjoyments would be marthe mountains, in the winter, rendered this necessary. red, by the certainty of an approaching separation. In the course of a few years her third daughter, Mrs. The beauties of nature and the gayeties of life would Richards, having removed from Philadelphia to New be shrouded in the gloom of death. York, became ill, and was threatened with the same disease of which her sister died. In hopes of arresting the progress of the disease, she sailed in the fall to the West Indies, and spent the winter at Santa Cruz. Her health was greatly benefited by this voyage and residence; but on her return the vessel encountered, in the bay of New York, a storm which continued several days, from which she contracted a severe cold. This brought on a relapse of the disease, with increased violence. Hearing of her return and illness, her parents, in great haste, visited her. They found her wasting by disease, but cheerful and resigned. After the lapse|| of some days, the public duties of Judge M'Lean required him to return to the west, but Mrs. M'Lean remained.

The lovely and afflicted little grand-daughter entwined herself closely around the heart of Mrs. M'Lean. Her disease rendered respiration difficult, so that her life was a continued struggle for existence. But her sufferings and her most endearing qualities, took hold of the deepest affections of the soul. Her extraordinary precocity and beauty of countenance, excited the admiration of all who saw her. But she, too, was des tined to fall by the hand of the spoiler. Ere the bud had unfolded its beauties, it fell into decay.

In the summer of 1841, whilst Judge M'Lean was absent on his circuit, this beloved child took the measles, which in a short time proved fatal.

During the winter of 1841, Mrs. M'Lean had a severe cough, and was greatly reduced. Indeed, for some years before, during the cold weather, she had had a cough which was attended with more or less debility. Still she was not depressed under her sufferings. And although her frame was slight, yet in her nature there was so much buoyancy and firmness, that some of her friends persuaded themselves she would be spared many years. But those who knew her best and

The disease continued to advance, and in the course of a few months, Mrs. Richards became its victim. She died as her sister had died, in great peace and triumph. She left a most interesting little daughter about two years of age, which she consigned to the care of its grand-mother. A sudden indisposition of this child, and the entreaties of its bereaved father, induced Mrs. M'Lean to return to the west without it. Mr. Rich-loved her most, saw with the deepest anxiety and apards engaged to bring her to the west in a short time. But this child was destined to be, indeed, a child of affliction. She was the most beautiful and fascinating little creature that the writer ever beheld. She was as delicate as the flower that grows in the shade. In a short time after the death of her mother, she was seized with a disease of the spine, which for many months prostrated her, and from which she never recovered.

About a year after the death of his wife, Mr. Richards ruptured a blood vessel; and so great were the discharges of blood that his system gave way, and in a few weeks he was numbered with the dead. His afflicted little daughter, as soon as she was able to travel, with a careful and affectionate nurse, was brought to the arms of her grand-mother. For a year or more|| this beloved child seemed to acquire strength; but the ravages of the disease continued, and greatly injured the beautiful symmetry of her form.

In the fall of 1840, Mrs. Hayward, the fourth daughter of Mrs. M'Lean, and who resided at Boston, was suddenly attacked by a disease which proved fatal in some eight or ten days. In May preceding, this daughter, having spent a year with her parents in the west, left them for home in good health and spirits. This blow was the more distressing as it was so unexpected. The last words of Mrs. Hayward were, "I leave all suddenly, but I shall be happy."

Thus four of the beloved children of Mrs. M'Lean were cut down in the morning of life, whilst the future

prehension that her system was sinking. Of this she was fully sensible. As the warm weather approached in the spring of 1841, her cough gradually subsided, and in the summer it entirely left her; but her strength did not much improve, and she was impressed that her end was nigh. This did not affect her spirits, and she uniformly exhibited her usual cheerfulness to her friends.

For the last two years of her life she was prevented from attending public worship, regularly, by her infirm health and the remoteness of her residence from the church. But this did not deprive her of communion with her God. In her last illness she remarked, "Last winter I was always anxious for the return of night, that I might retire early and in its silent watches, on my bed, hold communion with my own soul and with God."

As the cold weather approached in the fall Mrs. M'Lean's health became worse, and her cough returned with increased violence. Palliatives were used, and it was thought that the symptoms of her disease were somewhat mitigated. But a little exposure made her decidedly worse. On Monday week preceding her death, while at breakfast, she was seized with a severe chill, which lasted nearly two hours. She drank but part of a cup of coffee, and, with her husband, retired to her chamber. This was the last time she filled her seat at the family table. The last time-what weighs more heavily on the heart than this! And yet there must be a last time to us all. The last time at



church-in friendly intercourse-in family worship-|| of her grand-children, were standing around her bed, at table. with hearts broken with unutterable sorrow. To her eldest son, who stood near her pillow, she said, "My son, my dear son, I have endeavored to make my calling and election sure: and through the assisting grace of God, I have accomplished it. I am prepared to die. I have no doubt of my acceptance. And now, my dear son, will you promise to meet me in heaven? Four of my children, I have every reason to believe, are now in heaven; and I shall soon be with them. But I feel deeply for the three I shall leave behind me. I want to meet you all in heaven. Seek religion, my son, and God will bless you. Without the religion of Jesus, what would now be my situation?"

In a few minutes after they entered the chamber Mrs. M'Lean observed to her husband, "I have been looking for this. Last winter when I was extremely ill I felt some reluctance to die, on account of my beloved and afflicted little grand-daughter, who looked up to me for protection and support; but a wise and merciful God has taken her to himself, and by this he has opened the way for me. I am now perfectly resigned to his will. I am safe in Jesus. I have no doubt of my acceptance."


Her chill was succeeded by a high fever, which remained for many hours. The skill of physicians was exerted with but little effect. As the fever subsided, To her son's wife, Mildred, who stood next to him, she suffered under extreme debility. In a conversation she said, "My dear daughter, I love you much. Earnshe again remarked, "I know in whom I have believ-estly seek religion. God is merciful. He will pardon Jesus has pardoned all my offenses; he is my your sins, and at last take you to himself. And my surety; in him I am safe, and in this I rejoice." A dear Eva, my precious daughter, will you promise to remark being made to a friend who had called to see meet me in heaven? Let nothing hinder you in makher, that she had no fears beyond the grave, she observing a preparation for death. You must die—and you ed with emphasis, "No, not a fear." To her physician she said, "Doctor, I am not afraid to die. My way is bright. I rejoice in my Savior." When all had retired from her chamber one night, except her husband, she observed to him, "This is a sacred place. I hope, my precious husband, that you are determined to urge your way to heaven."

She made her arrangements in regard to giving memorials of her affection to her friends with as much minuteness and composure, and as free from any excitement, as if she were only about to take a journey. Nothing seemed to escape her memory on the occasion. She observed, "I was astonished while sitting near the death-bed of our dear Arabella, (her eldest daughter,) to see how she could with so much calmness distribute various articles of property among her connections, and send to them messages of love while dying; but now I understand it." To her husband, who was deeply affected by her conversation, she observed, “You must not give way to such feelings; man up; our separation should have been looked for. You have too much sense to sink under this trial. God is wise in all that he does, and we should submit to the dispensations of his providence. It is much better that I should be taken than you. You can be of great service to our dear children, but I, if spared, could do them but little good."

On the abatement of her fever a trembling hope was cherished, that the crisis of her disease was passed; but it returned, and it was apparent that there was an inflammation of the stomach, which, unless arrested, must prove fatal. But the skill of her physicians was exerted in vain.

Early on Monday evening week after her first chill, she observed, "This is my last night:" and it was at a late hour on that night, that one of the most solemn and impressive scenes took place which has ever been witnessed. Her three children, (a daughter and two sons,) her husband, the wife of her eldest son and two

cannot die in peace without religion. Seek the Lord and he will be found of you." To her other son she observed, "And you, too, my son; will you promise to meet me in heaven? God will pardon your sins and bless you, if you will only approach him as your Bible directs. O seek religion, and persevere until you obtain it." To her little grand-daughter she said, "Read your Bible, and ask instruction from Miss Mary, (her teacher.) She will explain many things which you cannot, of yourself, comprehend. Don't suffer your attention to be withdrawn from the subject of religion. It will enable you to live well and to die in peace." Her little grand-son she addressed in the same affectionate manner, asking him and his sister to meet her in heaven.

These are substantially her remarks; but they are far less pointed and affective than the words used. They were spoken in a slow, distinct, emphatic and affectionate tone of voice, that would have melted a heart of stone. Every word was most appropriate, and seemed to fall from the lips of inspiration. The eloquence appeared to be angelic.

Sometime after this, a person came into the room nearly connected to her, and in whose welfare she felt a deep interest. She took him by the hand and said, "This is probably the last visit you will ever pay me. I love your soul. Will you not promise me to meet me in heaven? I have taken Jesus for my portion. In him I have peace, and I have no doubt of heaven. Seek religion: it is the only thing worth living for, and it will be hard dying without it."

These scenes were so solemn, so deeply affecting, that they can never pass from the memory. Her remarks were concluded by a prayer that God would give the desired effect to every word spoken. She had taken some medicine to remove the phlegm from her throat, but she had not strength to throw it off. An opiate was administered which afforded some relief. She perfectly understood from her own feelings and

« AnteriorContinuar »