Page images

ence is the same, whether in great or little things, but you only look at the consequences to yourself which are different, so you are as selfish as she is. And when your child shall be running headlong in all the sins of her nature, do you think she will then turn when you say, “ I wish you would, Hannah”—“Do, then, Hannah, do ?" Or will she think of disobedience as a sin when you offer excuses and say, “Oh! when she's not a bit stupid, she'll be better ?Foolish woman, remember the word of God," A child left to himself, bringeth his mother to shame." I should like to see your husband; when will he be at home?

At dinner time, she answered.

Tell him, when he comes in, that I wish to speak with him, if he will keep in the way ; but not to wait, if I should be prevented by anything from coming.

Very well, Sir, she answered ; and I took leave.

I thought I might be allowed the liberty of speaking a little seriously to Mrs. Evans, as she had taken an interest in our conversation, and with this hope directed my steps to her house. She received me very courteously, even in a friendly manner, and immediately sent a servant to inform Mrs. Graham that I was there.

You find us quite alone this morning, she said ; we have sent all our young people on an excursion of pleasure, which will keep them out the whole day; and Henry is to be the father of the party. I have made this use of our instruc


tion, and invested him with authority for the day; they all promising obedience to him, and he promising to observe all the directions I gave him by which to conduct them, and I really hope this little manœuvre, in a playful way will be of use, and they will all return home safe, and happy, which is not often the case in these parties of pleasure.

Mrs. Graham entered the room, and seemed pleased to see me.

I will tell you how I was engaged when I was informed of your visit ;-I was actually endeavoring to make memorandums of the subjects which interested me most at our last meeting, and sending them in a letter to my friend.

As their importance consists in their being according to the counsels of God, I am happy to find you are so engaged. At the moment you entered I was listening to the method Mrs. Evans has adopted this niorning for the safety and happiness of the young party, and I could not help being stuck forcibly with its analogy to the ways of God Himself.

Mrs. Evans looked exceedingly pleased, and with a sort of expression of self-satisfaction, as if she received the remark as a high compliment, she said,

Oh! you will see, when you know us better, we are not so ungodly as you supposed; I know you think us all sad sinners!

I gravely said,- It is too true, but as I include myself in the sad number, you will not be so much offended that I confess the truth.

She shrugged her shoulders, and with a half smile said, --You are at present a sort of privileged man, therefore I shall make no answer.

May I inquire how you will feel, supposing you find in the evening that Henry has failed in his delegated authority, and the young people have all disobeyed the rules laid down, and have fallen into the mischief likely to ensue, of accidents, as they are called, wearied bodies, torn clothes, colds caught, and a thousand nameless evils, all resulting from want of obedience ?

Oh! very justly, I should be exceedingly indignant, both with Henry and the whole party, for turning what was meant for pleasure and happiness into an event of pain and distress.

Enough! I have obtained a concession from yourself, which is sufficient for our present purpurpose. You, my dear Madam, stand exactly in the situation of Henry. Your authority is a delegated one, given for a temporary period, and you will have to appear at its close with your charge; the state in which it will be presented will speak much for the method in which you have endeavored, or not endeavored, to discharge the responsibilities laid upon you. that Henry is expected to act. It is in reference to your charge upon him, that the young people are expected to obey, and it is to you they are all to return.

You are so quick, my dear Sir, in turning these things to your own advantage, that it is in vain to think of making an escape.

It is for you But, dear Madam, I intreat you to suffer the perpetual desire you have for that turn in conversation which shall tend to amusement, to be subjected at present to the most serious and important application I wish to be permitted to make. Compare your own situation with that of our young friend, Henry. You are a real mother : the Lord himself has given you the authority of your station ; upon his own supreme authority he has deputed you the guardian instructer and protector of your children, giving you certain positive rules in his written Word, by wbich to discharge the duties of your appointment. 1. fear you have not thought of this as you ought, but finding yourself a mother, are contented to ocupy the station without regard to its peculiar duties, as respects the Lord, not reflecting whence you derive it, for what purposes, or to what end. Should you continue so to neglect it, what can be the consequence, but a deplorable return of you and your children to the Lord, without the benefits obtained which are pledged on promise, and with all the superadded miseries of personal transgression upon the sin of your natural condition ?

My dear Sir, pardon me; but you forget we have the intercession of Jesus Christ, to whose mercy I trust.

Alas! it is a sad evidence of our interest in that blood, when it is not sought in its sanctifying effects, for the gracious purpose of walking in His ways, and training your dear children in the way they should go. Let me entreat you to combine in your view of the mercy of God, privilege, grace, and duty; and to bear in mind, that as you designed that your chidren, in this day's grant, should find pleasure and happiness, so hath God himself shown us how all our paths may be pleasantness and peace.

She was silent, and Mrs. Graham, as if to relieve her friend, took part in the conversation by saying,- I do assure you that you have awakened in my mind some alarming reflections, concerning my own responsibilities; and some heavy pangs we are now suffering from the froward conduct of one child, and the almost reprobate turn of my eldest son, have sharpened those convictions with a double edge. She sighed in bitterness of soul.

I have often told you, Mrs. Evans said, that your plan was a bad one ; you have always left your children to others, and I knew they would never love you. For my part, I have always kept mine at home, and sought their pleasure in every thing; and so they know that it is through me that they derive all their pleasure. I dare say this is not exactly what our friend would approve, but it is the better plan of the two.

We can make no favorable comparisons, when in both plans the will and command of God is left out of the question. In such cases, sooner or later, the misery must come.

I have opened my case to many friends, whom I thought capable of advising or comforting me,

« PreviousContinue »