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It would be instructive to these young people if you could favor us with some account of some such instances.
She smiled, and said, There is a girl of the last description who has stood in a remarkable situation. Her mother died when she was young; her elder sister married; and she was left to be the housekeeper, and servant, and child, and friend, all in one, of her father. And her father was a man without a sense of religion, of bad conduct, and morose temper, wasteful of his little property, and objecting to work, except when compelled by absolute necessity. The girl, whose name is Bella, soon felt the heavy weight and responsibility of her arduous situation, and the necessity of applying for her direction all the precepts of the Word of God. Many friends advised her to leave her father, and to let him feel her loss, that he might be induced to promise better conduct; but to this she could never yield, except when tempted to think of it by the bad company he sometimes brought into the house. She worked hard at a little trade which she had learned, and often through her own earnings has supported both of them and the respectability of their station for months together without any aid from her father. She not only felt her responsibility for his bodily comforts, and her duty to conceal his infirmities and sins as much as possible from observation, but she felt his soul to be her charge, and she watched over him with exhortation, remonstrance, persuasion, and pre
cept; and sometimes her own soul has been enlivened with hope, when she has seen a tear of conviction in his eye, or heard a word of promise from his lips.
From time to time she has been sustained by these little rays of comfort, and when he has afterwards returned into his usual bad habits, she has chided herself for being cast down, yet hoping in God; and from year to year has gone on in this way, desiring to honor her father, loving his soul, and succoring him in every way in her power, praying for him earnestly that he might be converted and live.
Besides this his health broke, and he became sickly and diseased ; he required nursing night and day, and she redoubled her exertions to meet the increased claims upon her duty. Every time there was a little amendment, he threw himself back by some act of intemperate indulgence ; and though her trouble was thus always renewed, she with unwearied patience resumed the duty which was again called for.
At length her father thought by taking lodgers into the house, he might gain a little income without personal exertion ; she submitted, and fulfilled the increased duties this plan brought upon her without a complaint; until he became so inattentive to her comforts, and to the conduct due from a parent to a daughter, that, regardless of character or consequences, he received into his house a set of people which rendered it not only distasteful to her pious mind, but also dan
gerous to her character. She now paused upon the step proper for her to pursue. , Here was a breach which interrupted her duty to God, and rendered her liable to the painful circumstance of being made to administer to sin, even of the most flagrant kind. She therefore first affectionately and solemnly warned her father, laid before him all the consequences, acquainted him with the necessity it would lay upon her to leave him, and with tears intreated him to change his conduct, and make it possible for her to remain in the situation of taking care of him; and if not, stating her determination to accept the offer of a situation, which for his sake she had declined for many years.
He was outrageous at this remonstrance, and at the impending consequences to himself, as he knew the loss he should sustain; but as he determined to make no change, she in her duty to God and her own soul, took her resolution : she left her father. The wages she earned she saved up, sending from time to time such assistance to him in small sums as helped to support him. In a few months his health again failed, his lodgers forsook him, he had no friends, and he lay destitute : then the dutiful Bella resigned her happy situation, hastened to her father's sick bed, and in unremitting attention nursed and supported him night and day, until she closed his
eyes. And this for a long time without the cheering hope of his soul's conversion, and without the grateful accents of parental love. But at length
the watchful eagerness for her presence, the ready reception of medicines from her hand, the tender tokens of love by the pressure of her hand between his, indicated that he felt her dutiful services, and acknowledged them. She comforted her soul by hoping that he acknowledged, as the spring of all mercies, and sought a refuge in, Jesus the Saviour of sinners !
The lady paused a few minutes, and then proceeded : I have watched this dear young woman with a solicitude and admiration not easy to describe, and beheld how the Lord glorified His grace by this instance of filial piety, through the power of that Spirit he in such a measure granted her. The whole of her conduct was founded on her love to the Lord, and a sense of the duty it became her as a child to endeavor for His sake to fulfil to her father : and earnest have been the meltings of her soul for sufficient portions of His grace to carry her on from day to day with strength according to her need ; and the Lord himself was sufficient for her.
Oh! how beautiful! exclaimed Louisa.
The lady seeing the young people much interested, and appearing to understand my intention to be chiefly their benefit, seemed willing to gratify us with another anecdote; and as our silence denoted our readiness to hear, and the fixed gaze of the young ones marked a great degree of expectation, she again addressed them with a countenance of peculiar sweetness,
There is a little girl who has imbibed much of
the spirit of Jesus, and has a constant thirst for religious instruction; she is of a rather peculiar turn of mind, and seems most to delight in being taught the practical evidences she can give of her love to the Lord. Her parents were kind and quiet people, but without the knowledge of God; they never attended any place of worship, never read the Bible, never spake of God, and perhaps never prayed to him.
of course, in entire ignorance of the simplest precepts of religion ; but the Lord opened her young heart to receive the Word. Whatever she learnt she seemed to try to practise, and her first attentions were directed to her parents. She used to take a little stool at night when they were finishing their labors of the day, and, seated beside them, endeavored to relate all she had learnt at school, and she generally concluded by saying, "Father, you ought to do so," or “ I will try to do so.' As she grew older, and began to discriminate more the faults of her parents, her lesson used to end in, " Father, you ought not to do so. Then she began to read well enough to take the Bible and read a chapter, and then say, “ Father, how Jesus loved poor sinners.” She then, when learning her proof texts ready to repeat them, used to say, “ Now hear, father, if I can say them;" and when she had said them," Now, father, you can say them,” and induce him to repeat them. She soon learnt to sing hymns, and her father, having a natural turn for music, was much delighted; he could play on the flute a little, and he used