Imágenes de páginas

thought not consistent with the sobriety of dress that becomes a Christian-then she had heard she went into gay company; she did not know if

was true, but she supposed it was; she often saw her speaking to people of that sort—the Scriptures had required us not to be conformed to the fashions of the world. I thought the Scriptures had also commanded us not to speak eril one of another, nor to judge one another, but I did not make the remark.

I have heard,” continued Matilda—“I do not remember where I heard it--but I know I heard it from somebody—that she is not particularly strict in the observance of the Sabbath—it is impossible a person can be a child of God and break his positive commandments."

I thought it was one of the positive commandments that we should not bear false witness against our neighbours. But I made no remark, at this time not quite agreeing with my friend--for, if Matilda did not know what she said to be false, she did not know it to be true; and if it was true, she had only assumed what she began with asserting, that Miss N. professed what she did not mean. How did Matilda know what Miss N. professed? In our recent conversation, confessedly the first she ever had with her, I am certain she had not professed not to wear feathers, or not to go into company; and supposing Matilda did not profess to speak no evil, and bear no false-witness, I considered that however wrong I might consider them, both or either, I could not well apply to them my favourite word--a great disappointment to me.

Seated at tea in the balcony of our house, we were conversing one evening on a melancholy occurrence in a family of the neighbourhood, in which a young person had been reduced to a state of deep and morbid melancholy, by the effects of long-protracted anxiety, ending in severe and remediless affliction. It came to be considered in the course of conversation, how far such a result was consistent with religious submission to the will of Heaven.' It was very sapiently proved, that by a mind entirely de


tached from the things of earth, the loss of earthly things could not consistently be felt—that a mind entirely trusting in the wisdom and power of God, could not consistently suffer from anxiety-that a mind totally acquiescent in the will of God, could not consistently feel regret at the dispensations of Providence-and, above all, that where no loss, or anxiety, or regret could be felt, the mind could not consistently be deranged by them. These were truths beyond all controversy, and we were thence successfully going on to deduce the inconsistency of this helpless sufferer in particular, and of every body else in general, ourselves excepted, when the rolling of distant thunder in the horizon announced a coming storm, called off our attention, and turned the conversation. The storm arose. The young ladies became desperately frightened—they did not know for what, but lest some harm should happen to themselves, or somebody or something that belonged to them. When I endeavoured to sooth them by assurance that no ill would happen, they grew angry. How could I be sure of that? . Lightning often kills people—wind often blows houses down-people sometimes lose their eyes or their hearing in a thunder storm-in short, they thought it quite wicked not to be frightened when there was danger, and distressed when there might be suffering, to others if not to ourselves. The storm subsided—but not so the fears. They had now indeed a definite object; very considerable damage was supposed to have been done on a distant part of the coast, where they had property, and they might possibly be very material losers by the accident. Gloom, fretfulness, and anxiety pervaded the house through all that night and the succeeding day. With the hopefulness generally experienced by the uninterested spectator of others' anxieties, I represented to them every probability or possibility, reasonable or unreasonable, that their property might not have been injured-but they persisted in expecting the worst, in rejecting all palliations of the possible mischief. They would not eat—they would not

[ocr errors]

and engraven doubtless in many a grateful heart-but we did not like her, because she was not, as we said, altogether consistent-while engaged so much abroad, domestick piety was overlooked—while hurried up and down in perpetual activity of benevolence, private devotion must be neglected; there could be no time for reading or reflection; the religion of the closet was of more avail than all this bustle, and more consistent with the genuine spirit of the Gospel.

A fourth friend we had of an opposite character. She was never to be found taking part in the institutions of benevolence, or joining in public exertions for the propagation of truth. She was not known as the instructor of the ignorant or the comforter of the afflicted; she was not known to belong to institutions or societies; she was very seldom heard to speak upon religion, and was very seldom seen in religious society. In private only might her piety be detected—in the peace and holiness that reigned in her family-the devotion that seemed to have its favourite dwelling in her closet-the silent study of the truth-the firm abiding by its precepts—the regulation of her temper by its laws—the tone, in short, of her whole feelings, habits, and desires, perceived though untold, betrayed rather than exhibited. It was necessary to know her intimately to perceive all this-we knew it, but it did not please us. If she was pious in hearť and devoted in private, why did she not come forward? Why did she not join with others of like feelings, and do as they do? It was not consistent that one who really loved the truth should be supinely indifferent about its propagation-one who really feels must talk and act, must be anxious to impart what she knows and disclose what she enjoys--a barren and unproductive faith, so difficult to discover and so fruitless, could not be consistent Christianity.

There was a fifth, whom birth and circumstances had accustomed to all the elegancies and luxuries of life. A refined mind, a cultivated taste, and delicate babits, all con

spired to make these things valuable and needful to her; and it was evident they were valued and enjoyed. She was nice in her dress, expensive in her establishment, stylish in the arrangements of her household. Her we condemned at once: so much indulgence and display and care for things exterior, was not consistent with humility, self-denial, and renunciation of the world.

A sixth, who in a station of equal elevation and with equal means, was neglectful of appearances, homely in her habits, indifferent to the distinctions of society, whether from inclination or from conscientious selfabasement, received from us no kinder judgment. It was not consistent in people of rank to look like housemaids, to live like peasants, to contravene the arrangements of providence, by levelling the distinctions of rank and circumstance.

These, and such as these, are but instances of our ample success, in finding all our neighbours guilty of inconsistency In the full enjoyment of these discoveries, there came athwart me, Mr. Listener, the recollection of your paper, well-nigh forgotten, and of my wish to help you. After all our talk about Consistency, and the want of Consistency, and the beauty of Consistency, where was the idea the word had stood for? Within me and around me I began to search for it. In my own mind I could find nothing like an idea upon the subject—I had applied the word so indiscriminately, to such a heterogeneous multitude of things, from the careless dropping of an unweighed word, to the crime of grossest malignity, it was impossible for any definition of the term, or any one idea to comprehend the whole. Around me-alas! in reiterating the charge of inconsistency on others, had we not amply proved it in ourselves?

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

Rocks-their Characters and Classification. MATILDA.--I am impatient to proceed with our study, and to be informed what is the first known covering of the unknown Nucleus we were speaking of in our last conversation; for I see you are beginning at the centre and proceeding upwards. Is that the usual course?

Mrs. L.-Generally, but not always. In the excellent Geological treatise of Messrs. Conybeare and Phillips, with which you will hereafter be acquainted, the contrary method is pursued, and the various substances of which the earth is composed are traced from the surface downward. I preferred the other course as calculated to convey a clearer idea of the whole--the more internal substances seem to be the more simple, and, strictly speaking, the first, siqoe they are the foundatiop anú süpe port of all the rest, and, as we believe, the earliest formation.

ANNE.--You now, Mama, speak of Rocks, as distinct I suppose from Minerals and Earths- but I should like to clear my ideas upon the subject by having the term exactly defined.

MRS. L.That is not easy, The compilers of systems, as Macculloch observes, have been divided respecting the substances to which the title of Rocks should be applied. I have told you that Minerals are distinguished from Rocks by not forming large masses, but being dispersed among others: keeping this difference in mind, together with the popular meaning of the term Rock, which is very well understood, I do not think you can be much misled in the use of the word. “The characters by which Rocks are distinguished from each other, are their


« AnteriorContinuar »