The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.
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The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|HONOR THY PARENTS.||1|
|BOYS BECOME MEN.||6|
|SUSAN’S REPENTANCE AND APPEAL TO HER ELDER SISTER.||7|
|THE OLD SABBATH SCHOOLROOM.||9|
|THE HUNTER, AND HIS DOG JOWLER.||10|
|TAKE CARE OF YOUR BOOKS.||11|
|DUTY OF PARENTS.||15|
|A SCHOLAR’S REMEMBRANCE OF THE PIC-NIC OF 1850.||15|
|OBEY THE RULES.||17|
|THE WAYS OF PROVIDENCE.||17|
|THE DISCONTENTED SQUIRREL.||18|
|SCHOOL STREET SOCIETY.||18|
|THE EXAMPLE OF THE BEE.||23|
|THE MORNING WALK.||23|
|A TALK WITH THE CHILDREN.||27|
|THE CHILD’S DREAM OF HEAVEN.||29|
|THE INFLUENCE OF SABBATH SCHOOLS.||30|
|A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.||32|
|THE SABBATH SCHOOL BOYS.||35|
|FEAR OF DEATH.||39|
|A SABBATH SCHOOL EXCURSION.||41|
|CHRIST AND DUTY.||43|
“Remember me!” How swift the tide
Of memory glideth o’er the past;
Those sunny hours so quickly sped,
Perchance a few with clouds o’ercast.
But memory hath more lasting flowers,
Which Time’s rude hand can ne’er efface,
The sweets we cull from friendship’s bowers,
The gems affection’s altar grace.
“Remember me!” In youth’s bright
Those simple words so lightly spoken,
Far into future years may reach,
And wake a spell which ne’er is broken.
A star to gleam in Memory’s sky,
A line on Memory’s page to glow,
A smile to offer at her shrine,
Or tears which from her springs shall flow.
“Remember me!” As one by one
The cherished ties of earth are torn,
The magic spell which Memory weaves,
Shall long in kindred hearts be worn.
And when the last farewell is said,
A solace to each heart shall be
The memory of that love which spoke
In parting tones, “Remember me!”
“Honor thy father and thy mother.”
“Well, Clara,” said Mary, as they left the church, “shall we go now and take a walk before we go home? Look, there are William Johnson and George Field waiting to see which way we shall turn, in order to accompany us.”
“Not this afternoon,” answered Clara, “I think we had better go home.”
They continued their way homeward until they reached the street where Clara lived, and were about to part, when Mary asked her companion at what time she would meet her the next morning to take a long walk, adding that William and George would go with them.
“I will ask mother,” replied Clara, “and if she is willing, I will meet you at six o’clock.”
“How is this,” said Mary, “you never used to say you would ask your mother; besides, there can be no possible objection to our going to take a walk.”
“True,” rejoined Clara, “there can be no objection to our taking a walk; but we have never told our mothers that William and George are in the habit of going with us.”
“Well, I don’t see any great harm in their going with us,” continued Mary, with a tone which indicated that she did not see any harm whatever in it.
“Perhaps there is not, and yet, Mary, I have thought that there might be; therefore, I prefer to speak to my mother about it.”
“And pray, Miss Clara, what has made you so conscientious all at once?”
“I will tell you, Mary. You recollect that on the last Sabbath, our pastor took for his text, the fifth commandment.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well, something which he said, caused me to think more about these words than I ever did before; and the more I think of them, the more convinced I am, that we do not consider and reflect upon them so much as we ought to.”
“Let me see,” said Mary, “Honor thy father and thy mother;”—“Well, I am sure I do honor my father and my mother; I obey them when they give me a command, and I love them with all my heart. What more can I do?”
“So I reasoned before, but when I sat down alone in my chamber, a good many things came to my mind, to convince me that I was wrong.”
“Well,” added Mary, “let me have the benefit of your reflections.”
“Why, in this very instance of going to walk, I had always asked my mother’s consent, and she had given it; but I never told her where we went, or who went with us, which now appears to me wrong. Our mothers are much older than we are, and have had much more experience than we have, and there may be wrong in doing what appears to us quite harmless.”
“For the life of me,” interrupted Mary, “I cannot think there can possibly be any harm in such a slight occurrence. However, say nothing to your mother to-night; but go with us to-morrow morning, and then you can mention it to her, and see what she says.”
“I beg your pardon, Mary; but you said just now, you could not see what possible harm there could be in so slight an occurrence, and yet your request to put off mentioning this to my mother, shows that you have some misgivings on the subject.”
Mary reflected for a moment. “Clara,” said she, “if you have no objection, I will go home with you, and hear what your mother will say.”
“I shall be delighted to have you,” was the answer.
Mary Winthrop and Clara Spaulding had arrived at the ages of fourteen and fifteen years, a time of life which is peculiarly critical for girls. At no age do they more require the advice of a mother, and at no age are they less inclined to seek it. This would seem to be a natural disinclination, so prevalent is it. These were both good girls, but, as may be judged from the conversation we have just related, Clara was the more thoughtful, while Mary was very apt to act without much reflection. She possessed, however, this noble trait; she was always ready to acknowledge her error, when it was pointed out to her, and would endeavor to avoid repeating it.
Mrs. Spaulding had reached home when the girls entered. She was a woman of excellent sense, and a mother indeed to her children. Mary frankly told her all the conversation which had passed between Clara and herself, and then waited for her opinion.
“It makes me truly happy,” said Mrs. S., “that you have come to me in this free and open manner; and I am very glad that my dear Clara has reflected so much upon the text. In itself, there is not much harm in taking a walk with William Johnson and George Field, and yet it is not proper for you to do so, without the knowledge and consent of your parents. William and George are not bad boys, and perhaps would be called by people generally, good ones; still, I have remarked a certain levity in their manner, which if only occasional, might be called good humor, but which, recurring as it does at all times and on all occasions, the Sabbath not excepted, makes me fear that their training at home is not what I should desire to have it. For this reason, Mary, I am not willing that Clara should be often in their company, nor do I think your mother would differ from me, should you ask her.”
“I wonder,” said Mary, “how Clara came to think of this slight circumstance of a walk, in connection with the commandment, ’Honor thy father and thy mother.’”
“I thought she had sufficiently explained that, herself,” replied Mrs. Spaulding. “I wish both of you, and not only you, but all young persons, would think a good deal more on this subject. I remember when I was of your age, that many things occurred which I omitted to mention to my mother, but which it would have been much better for me, if I had told her. Sometimes these concerned my bodily health, and I am sure that if I had informed her of them at the time, I should now have a much better constitution than I possess. At other times, I neglected to ask her advice about what I thought were small matters; but the result proved that I should have been saved much trouble had I consulted her.”
“In fact,” continued Mrs. S., “the command to honor thy father and thy mother, is far more comprehensive, and exacts many more duties, than the young, and, I am sorry to say, the old too, are willing to recognize. The young are too apt to think, when they get into their teens, that there are a great many things about which there is no need of asking their parents’ advice and counsel; that they know, then, about as well as their parents what they ought to do; and, by the time they get to be eighteen or nineteen years of age, a good deal better. But, my dear children, it is not so. And the young who reason and act thus, will soon cease to honor their father and mother. No! The Almighty Father, in giving this as one of the ten commandments to the children of Israel, knew the vanity of our nature. He knew how unwilling the young are to learn from the experience of the old, and he therefore proclaimed this command, that they might have it constantly before their eyes.
“I have said, this is a comprehensive command. To honor thy father and thy mother is not merely to show them outward respect. It embraces numberless duties, and among them this; the duty, while you are young, of doing nothing without their knowledge and consent, when you are in a situation to ask it.
“Be assured of one thing. If you are about to go anywhere, or do anything, and a doubt arises in your mind whether it is necessary to ask your mother’s permission, be certain that you ought to ask it. The very doubt in your own mind is sufficient evidence of the fact.
“Get into the habit of talking with your mother upon every subject; your diversions, your studies, your health. Never conceal anything from her. Is she not your mother? Did she not give you being? Who then shall you look up to, if not to her?”
“O,” interrupted Mary, “I have sometimes begun to talk to my mother about many things which I did not exactly understand, but somehow or other she was not willing to answer my questions.”
“Perhaps,” said Mrs. Spaulding, “you did not take a proper occasion, or she may have been very busy about something else. You ought always to endeavor to take a proper time for everything. At the same time,” she continued, “I am sorry to say that there are some mothers who think children cannot be talked to, and reasoned with, till they are of age. This is a mistaken idea. Children have reasoning faculties, and the sooner we begin to converse with them accordingly, the sooner will those faculties be developed. With this view, we ought always to encourage them to give us their confidence on all occasions, gratify their curiosity, and allow them to talk upon every subject to us. If we do not act thus, they will soon abstain from that frank manner with which children ought always to lay open their whole hearts to their parents.”
“O yes,” cried Mary; “there is Emma Woodbury,—I do not believe she ever asks her mother’s advice.”
“No,” said Clara, “and there is Jane Clifton’s mother,—”
“Stop, my dears,” interrupted Mrs. Spaulding, “these remarks of yours remind me that there is another subject, about which I should like to have a conversation with you; and if your mother, Mary, will give you permission to come home with Clara, after school to-morrow afternoon, I will tell you what it is.”
“O yes, I know she will,” replied Mary. “Indeed, yesterday, I should not have thought of asking her; but now, after what I have heard from your lips, I shall not do anything, or go anywhere, without asking her consent.”
“I am glad,” responded Mrs. Spaulding, “that you remember this lesson so well. Now, Mary, you had better go home; and may neither of you ever think otherwise than seriously, of the divine command, to ’honor thy father and thy mother;’ and remember that few persons have ever come to harm when they grew up, who in their youth obeyed it.”
“Cast out the beam from thine own eye, then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Mary’s mother cheerfully gave her leave to go home with Clara, the next day. She knew and highly esteemed Mrs. Spaulding, and was very glad that her daughter should be intimate with her family.
Mrs. Spaulding greeted the girls with a smile and a kind word; then said, “Mary, you began last evening to make a remark about Emma Woodbury. Will you tell me what you were going to say?”
“Certainly,” replied Mary; “I was going to say that Emma scarcely ever asked the advice of her mother, or her consent to do anything or go anywhere; and I know a great many girls who act in the same way.”
“And I,” added Clara, “intended to say that Jane Clifton’s mother was one of those whom you spoke of, as never conversing with children in a rational and reasoning manner.”
“I guessed as much,” said Mrs. Spaulding. “I told you,” she continued, “there was another point upon which I wished to say a few words to you. Can you think what it is?”
“I cannot,” said Mary. “Nor I either,” said Clara; “certainly, I see no harm in the words we uttered.”
“True,” responded Mrs. Spaulding, “there was no harm. It was not the words you spoke, but the tone in which they were spoken, that attracted my attention; as if you were glad to be able to point out somebody to whom the reproof could be applied. This failing is a common one, and our Savior may have had it in view, when he said to his followers, on the mount, ’Cast out the beam from thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.’ My object now, my dear children, is to caution you against a failing, which is almost universal, namely, of seeing distinctly and reproving faults in others, while we appear to be quite unconscious that we ourselves are in the practice of the same or worse defects.
“This blemish develops itself in a variety of ways. The pastor preaches an excellent sermon, wherein is contained some allusion to faults which ought to be corrected. If the people had treasured up in their hearts all his exhortations, they would not have forgotten one which he has often endeavored to impress upon their minds; I mean, the duty of self-communion, self-examination; and when he should have occasion to allude to faults, they would, one and all, ask themselves, ’Am I guilty of this wrong? Let me see; and if I am, let me correct it in future.’ Instead of this, how frequently do we hear such expressions as these: ’The remarks in the sermon this morning applied to Mr. A or Mrs. B, very well, and it is to be hoped they will see it, and profit by it.’ Now if such individuals, instead of trying to find others who are guilty of the wrong indicated, would only carefully look within themselves, ten chances to one they would find that they deserved the rebuke as much as any one else.
“Children insensibly contract the same bad habit of looking very sharply for the faults of others, never once thinking that they may have some, which, if not precisely the same, may be even worse. Thus if the pastor, superintendent, or one of the teachers, addresses the Sabbath school, calling the attention of the scholars generally to any fault, each scholar ought to ask himself at once, ‘Is it I?’ and not look round complacently and ask, ‘Who can it be?’ or say, ’I guess the speaker means to refer to Lilly A or Edgar B.’”
“Well,” said Mary, “I must confess that I have done this often, and without being conscious of any wrong feelings; some how or other, I did not consider that the reproof belonged to me; or ever ask myself if I had committed the fault which was exposed.”
“For this reason, I remarked,” continued Mrs. S., “that children insensibly contract this habit from their parents; and the defect extends to physical as well as moral errors. Not long since, I had an interesting conversation with Mr. R., a well-known philanthropist and physiologist, who is devoting his life to the alleviation of some of the ills of human existence. He told me that, a short time before, he delivered a lecture to parents on the physical training of their children, and pointed out the great mistakes which are often made. On retiring, said he, I overheard many remarks, but not one spoke as if I had addressed him. Every one could point to some one else who might well profit by the lecture; but not one would believe that I meant to say to each individual present, as Nathan said unto David, ‘Thou art the man.’”
“I am sure,” observed Clara, “I never felt the full force of this saying of our Savior before, although I have read it a hundred times. I shall read the whole chapter again, carefully, to-night.”
“And so will I,” added Mary.
“Do so, my children,” said Mrs. S., “and read in the same careful spirit the whole Sermon on the Mount, and all our Savior’s teachings. Many people, old and young, read the New Testament because they are told to, without thinking that there is an active, living principle in it, a thought to be treasured up and carried out in our daily lives, in almost every word the Master uttered. Those who do read it in the true spirit, find new pleasure and new instruction every time they peruse it.
“And finally, to come back to our subject, when you hear your schoolmates making uncharitable remarks about others, use all your influence, especially by your own example, to make them correct the habit. And when you hear a sermon in church, or an address in the school, where any faults are exposed, ask yourselves if the rebuke applies to you; and if it does, set about correcting the fault immediately. Do this always. ‘Cast the beam out of thine own eye,’ correct your own errors, then will you see clearly to ’cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.’”
Mary returned home that evening well pleased with the two conversations she had taken part in; and better still, she and Clara profited by them. I am happy to add, that their schoolmates are gradually correcting many evil habits by the good example of these two girls; and thus Mary and Clara have the double satisfaction of improving their own conduct, and of being instrumental in improving that of others.
If you were to be boys always, and didn’t need to know anything more than just enough to enable you to enjoy your sports from day to day, it would not be so necessary, perhaps, as it now is, to attend strictly to your every-day studies; though the influences of the Sunday school would be necessary, even then. Boys cannot enjoy their sports together, unless they are truthful, just, and kind; and it is in the Sunday school that these graces are most successfully acquired. But boys will become men; and all the knowledge they can acquire in boyhood will become serviceable in manhood. Therefore, boys should be diligent.
TO THE PORTRAIT OF FATHER BALLOU, HANGING IN MURRAY HALL.
O, much-loved features! Faithful counterpart
Of one we love, and cherish, and revere;
Thy gentle influence shed o’er every heart,
And be thy spirit ever present here.
Look from thy quiet resting-place on us,
With that familiar smile so dear to all,
Which ever seems to speak of happiness,
And every mourner would to hope recall.
Thro’ childhood’s sunny days and youth’s
Mid changes and mid sorrows, thou hast been
A light to guide, a hope to cheer and warm,
And to the heart bring joy and peace again.
And for thine honored form how fit the place,
Where childhood’s ear instruction would receive;
Preside o’er all, lend all our efforts grace,
To learn God’s love, and on his word believe.
Thy Master’s faithful servant! Who, in
Took little children in his arms to bless;
While looking down from his bright home above,
Through thee diffusing peace and holiness;
May his pure spirit ever with us dwell,
Shedding o’er all our thoughts its heavenly ray;
Our hearts attune the song of praise to swell,
And o’er our darkness pour eternal day.
And when thou’rt left alone, to bear the name
Of him whose faithful emblem thou art made,
May thou through ages still endure the same,
Though all around thee shall decay and fade.
May his dear memory, which through thee shall live
Long in the places which his love has blest,
Shine as a beacon, life and light to give,
And hope at last in God’s eternal rest.
I once knew two sisters, the only companions of a widowed mother, who, though they had no relatives and but very few friends, and should therefore have been the more closely united in heart, were in the habit oftener of harshly rebuking and blaming, than of encouraging, assisting, and comforting each other. I often wondered at this, as they both had many estimable traits of character, and could only account for it, not excuse it, by the fact, that they had been much separated in early life, and, since their reunion, had had to encounter many obstacles, and bear the weight of many heavy disappointments. I confidently hoped and believed that the good sense of one or both of them, would in time lead them to see their error, and the sin of thus fretting and irritating each other. Nor was I disappointed. The younger, whose conscience was the most sensitive, first made the discovery, and immediately began trying to remedy the evil, and to induce her sister to aid her in the endeavor. Imagining some of her thoughts and feelings, I have put them in rhyme.
We have done wrong, dear sister; and I’m very
For I have felt how far we’ve strayed from wisdom’s blessed way;
Have felt how much of angry strife hath dwelt within our hearts,
And how, when that has entered in, Life’s happiness departs.
We have done wrong, dear sister; for we have not patient
But answered often hasty words by hasty words again;
And when we should with gentle acts have soothed each other’s care,
We’ve made by cold indifference our lot more hard to bear.
We have done wrong, dear sister; I remember how we’ve
Our widowed mother’s anxious heart, so long of joy bereaved;
O, were we loving, good, and kind, and all our murmurings o’er,
Might not the smiles come back again and light her face once more?
I know our lot in life, thus far, hath not been smooth
That often much of toil and ill has fallen to our share;
But why, dear sister, why should we ourselves the load increase?
Why, by our jangling and our strife, shut out all joy and peace?
And more: we have offended God; this day I feel
We have forgotten his commands, and gained us nought but woe.
O join with me as, filled with grief, most earnestly I pray,
That he will yet be merciful, and take our sin away.
“Love thou each other;” “love all
men;” “and love shall make you free;”
Thus said the Savior, Jesus; and let this our watchword be;
Let us each other love; and pray that gentle thoughts may come,
And gentle words and acts may make an Eden of our home.
Forgive me now, dear sister, all the anger I have
And all my past unkindness, through the years already flown;
I’ll love thee faithfully and true, and lay all harshness by;
To be my loving sister, then, wilt thou not also try?
One Saturday afternoon, little Emma came into her mother’s room, and said to her, “Mother, may I go with Abba to her Sunday school? She says, they are all so happy there.”
“My child,” said her mother, “why do you wish to leave your own school and go to a strange one?”
“Because, mother, Abba has often told me what a good school they have, and how much she loves it.”
“Well, as you are very anxious to go, I will grant your request this once, on condition that it must never be repeated.”
The next morning, this pleasant little girl was up very early to make ready to go with her friend to the new Sabbath school.
She was delighted with all she saw and heard; and when the pastor took her by the hand, she said to herself, “I wish mother would permit me to come here every Sunday. I will ask her, at any rate.” After the school was dismissed, she went home, revolving in her mind what she should say to obtain her mother’s consent.
Her mother observed how thoughtful she appeared, and said to her, “Emma, how did you like Abba’s Sunday school?”
“Oh, mother! I was so happy; do let me go there. They sing so sweetly, and the pastor was so kind. He had an affectionate word for all. Their superintendent, too, was so pleasant, I know I should love him.”
Her mother said to her, with a very sorrowful countenance, “Do you know, my child, that they teach very erroneous doctrines there, in regard to a future life? They teach that all will be eventually holy and happy, both the good and the bad.”
“But, mother, I should think it would make us all happy to believe so. The minister told us that ‘God is Love;’ and that cannot be a bad doctrine. I am sure I would much rather think so, than that he would hate any of us, for you have often told me that hatred was very wicked. I cannot think that a good and wise being would do that which you have taught me is wrong. Then they all seem to love each other dearly. They are like a pleasant family of brothers and sisters. Do let me go, will you not, dear mother? I should be so happy.”
Her mother said many things to convince her that it was not right to change her school. But she was very unhappy, and said so often, “Do let me go,” that her mother consented to gratify her; thinking, perhaps, that she would soon tire of it.
Sunday came, and Emma was nearly the first one there; so anxious was she to be in season.
She entered the schoolroom with a bright and happy face, and when the superintendent came to her, she said, “I have come to join your Sabbath school. Will you receive me?”
To add to her joy, the superintendent gave her a seat in the same class with her friend Abba, who was a very kind and good little girl; and she found a number of others in the class who were very glad to see her there. One little girl lent her a book to study, and when the teacher gave her a lesson for the next Sabbath, she said, “I have a lesson now. Fanny lent me her book, and I have already learned a lesson from it.”
This pleased her teacher very much; for she thought that there were many little girls who would have been very glad of such an excuse to put off their lessons. Ever after, she was very constant in her attendance, always had her lessons very perfect, and never stayed at home, even if it chanced to be a rainy clay; for she would say, “My teacher will be there; and I am sure if she is there, I can go. Besides, I know it will make her very happy to see me always in my place.”
In this way did this good little Emma continue to go on, acquiring knowledge, and gaining the love and good-will of all who knew her. She was always happy and cheerful; kind to her parents, obliging to her brothers and sisters, ever ready to assist the poor and destitute, having a kind word and a happy smile for all. And this she learned from that one great and ennobling truth, that “God is Love.”
How dear to our hearts is that old Sabbath schoolroom,
Which each Sunday morning presents to our view;
The seats, the piano, the portrait that’s near it,
And ev’ry loved thing which our memory knew.
Our dearly-loved pastor, his wife who comes with him,
Our Superintendent, and dear Mrs. G.,
The teachers, the pupils, and faithful Librarians,
We each Sabbath morning invariably see.
That old Sabbath schoolroom, that dearly-loved schoolroom,
That blessed old schoolroom where all love to be.
That old Sabbath schoolroom we hail as a treasure;
For often, when weary and anxious with care,
We’ve found it the place of a heavenly pleasure
We seek for with ardor, but find not elsewhere.
How eager we enter, with hearts that are glowing,
And quick to our places,—we all know them well,—
And then with our song-books, and souls overflowing,
The anthem of praise we unitedly swell,
That old Sabbath schoolroom, that dearly-loved schoolroom,
That blessed old schoolroom where all love to be.
Blest truth,—from our teachers with joy
we receive it,—
That God is our Father, our Savior and Friend!
There’s nought so alluring could tempt us to leave it,
Though fraught with all pleasures the fancy can lend.
And when far removed to some distant location,
The tears of regret will intrusively swell,
As mem’ry reverts to our former vocation,
And longs for the schoolroom we all loved so well.
That old Sabbath schoolroom, that dearly-loved schoolroom,
That blessed old schoolroom we all love so well.
A famous hunter in the woodland country had a dog which was particularly fond of certain kinds of game, but exceedingly averse to other kinds of much better flavor. Now it happened that, whenever the hunter wished to give chase to moose or deer, Jowler was sure to scare up a woodchuck, or some still filthier game, leaving the deer to make good his escape.
Day after day thus passed away, leaving the hunter’s labors no suitable reward. It was in vain that the hunter expostulated with his dog. Neither threats nor blows were of any avail. When the master would hunt one thing, the dog was sure to be hunting something else.
At length, both master and dog seemed to tire of their constant conflict, and to desire some adjustment, whereby each might accommodate his own taste to some extent, and yet live in harmony with the other. With this view, a friendly conference was held, in which Jowler appeared so tenacious, that the hunter well-nigh despaired of any adjustment whatever.
It was, however, finally agreed, that Jowler should hunt game to his own taste five days in the week, and devote the remaining hunting day to such game as his master preferred. Jowler, however, was careful to stipulate that, if he chanced to find himself ill, or not in hunting trim, on the sixth day, he should be considerately dealt by, and not forced to go beyond his strength.
The arrangements being fully made, a paper was drawn up containing the articles of agreement, and both Jowler and the hunter affixed their names thereto. Jowler, no doubt, congratulated himself on having it all to his liking five days out of six; while the hunter, perhaps, flattered himself that the taste of venison one day in the week, would so improve the standard of Jowler’s tastes, as to bend him, at length, altogether to his own wishes.
For a while, things seemed to promise well, under the new arrangement. By and by, when the day for hunting venison came round, Jowler was sick, and told his master he couldn’t hunt that day. So his master very considerately excused him, according to the terms of their agreement.
It was not long, however, before Jowler refused to hunt for another reason. He said, he had followed his own game with such constancy and alacrity for the five days, that he was too much exhausted to hunt venison on the sixth day. He must rest from any farther fatigue; and claimed the continued indulgence of his master, by virtue of their contract.
The hunter urged in vain that Jowler had virtually violated the contract; for although it was stipulated that he should not be compelled to the chase to his personal detriment, yet it was implied, of course, that he should use the same precaution to be in hunting trim on the sixth day, as he did to be so on the other five. While the fact was, he purposely deprived himself of rest during the five days, that he might be compelled to employ the sixth as a day of rest, thus virtually appropriating the whole time to his own service.
Jowler, however, pretended not to be convinced of his wrong. Nor did his dishonesty stop here. His master soon discovered that, while he was pretending to be unable from his excessive fatigue to hunt venison, he was really continuing to hunt his own game, as on the other five days.
Thus did he go on, his old loves gaining strength day by day, and impelling him to a total disregard of his contract in order to indulge them, until his master would bear with him no longer, but drove him from his door.
Having deprived himself of the care of so good a master, he soon fell into still greater irregularities; and a neighboring shepherd, suspecting him of committing depredations upon his flock, killed him, thus terminating his vicious career.
Moral.—Excessive engagedness in worldly labors six days in the week, is no sufficient excuse for the neglect of public worship on the seventh; and a vicious love, continually indulged, is quite sure to root out even our good resolutions.
Suppose you loan a book to a friend, would you not consider it his imperative duty to take the best of care of it, as though it were his own, and return it in as good condition as it was when taken? Certainly you would. Then the same duty devolves upon you, as a member of the Sunday school. The school lends you books, and expects you to take good care of them, and return them early. This is no trifling duty. If you have a right to be negligent, every other scholar must have the same right, and the Library would be speedily ruined. Thus your negligence greatly wrongs others. Therefore, children, take care of your books.
I know a darling little girl,
With silky, chestnut hair,
Which falls in many a dancing curl,
Around her shoulders fair.
Her eyes are very dark and soft,
And round their curtained bed,
I’ve seen the fairy smiles full oft
Their radiant beauty shed.
Her very tears are like the rain
Which falls in summer’s hour;
Quick turned to glittering gems again,
As sun succeeds to shower.
This witching child is very small;
Her feeble, tiny hands,
Can scarcely tend the mammoth doll,
Which so much care demands.
Then, though her voice is very sweet,
She does but little more
Than simple childish songs repeat,
And prattle baby lore.
She cannot skip, for ah! she’s lame;
One soft, white foot denies
Its aid, her body to sustain,
And weak and powerless lies.
Yet, strange to say, a crown she wears,
Which claims our homage mute;
And in her hand a sceptre bears,
Whose sway we ne’er dispute.
From whence doth come the wondrous power
She never fails to wield—
Making strong hearts and wills, each hour,
To her light wishes yield?
If but a touch of grief appear
To veil that bright, pure face;
If sickness cast its shadows there,
Or pain its dark lines trace;
How anxious every means we take,
The ill to drive away!
And cheerfully, for her dear sake,
Would watch both night and day.
And when the light of coming health
Brightens that clear, dark eye,
What joy is ours! priceless wealth,
Earth’s gold can never buy.
She makes us cast aside our book,
Though filled with learning rare;
To work is vain, when fun’s arch look
Those beaming features wear.
Whence is this spell? I can but think
That, in sweet childhood’s hour,
E’er yet the soul has learned to drink
From knowledge’ fount of power;
Or felt what virtue is, or known
Life’s sins, not yet begun;
Or seen how thick life’s path is strown
With dangers it must shun;
A spirit pure doth come, to dwell
In these fresh-bursting minds,
Who weaves round them the powerful spell
Our hearts so firmly binds;
Our holier thoughts through them to wake;
Our earth-dimmed vision clear;
And through their purity, to make
All holy things more dear.
If so, where speeds that spirit, when
The soul has gathered strength—
The child, become with busy men,
A busy man at length?
Where has our childhood’s spirit gone?
How have we lost the charm,
Thus thrown around life’s early morn,
Keeping us safe from harm?
Ay! whither speeds it? Rather say
Is it not always by,
Though, through the dust of life’s noonday,
We may not see it nigh;
Nor when dark clouds of sin would veil
All glory from our sight;
And make both heart and hope to fail,
And brightness turn to night?
But when, midst virtue’s clearer air,
The eye no hindrance knows,
How radiant stands the angel there!
What holy gifts bestows!
My darling niece, whose form of grace
Has made these thoughts arise,
I’m sure this angel oft I trace
In those clear depths—thine eyes.
And bursting forth from my full heart,
My prayers to heaven ascend,
That earth’s dark changes ne’er may part
Thee and thy angel friend.
That purity may always be
The medium, clear and bright,
Through which may ever shine on thee
Heaven’s own unclouded light.
The Teachers’ Library connected with the School street Universalist Sunday school, was commenced in 1841, when 67 volumes were collected for that purpose.—Great care has been taken in selecting volumes for this library. At this time, 1850, it numbers 194 valuable books.
The foundation of the Scholars’ Library, connected with the School street Universalist Sunday school, was laid in the year 1835. The number of volumes, in 1840, amounted to 400, of which 100 needed repairing. Some 50 volumes were added during 1841. Additions continued to be made from year to year, till the spring of 1850, when the number was increased to 700 volumes.
Little Agatha was a Sabbath school scholar. She lived in a rural district of Scotland. Her father’s dwelling was surrounded by trees and flowers, and near by a little sparkling rivulet wandered onward, now murmuring along by its rocky bed and dancing over bright pebbles, and now wending its way silently through the valley, journeying onward to mingle with kindred waters.
Agatha loved to roam through these shady glens, and often would she stand upon the margin of the little stream, and, gazing down, fancy that she saw a beautiful little angel in the pure waters. She sometimes waited a long time, hoping it might speak to her, little dreaming that her sweet angel was but the reflection of her own innocent face and golden ringlets from the mirrored surface. She loved the little brook, and walked among the wild flowers upon its banks, herself as pure and innocent as Spring’s earliest blossoms. She was never lonely in her rural bowers; for the brook, the birds, and the flowers, ever spoke to her heart in tones of love.
But one day her teacher told her that wicked spirits were ever flying about, trying to lead away little children into their company, and make them as wicked as themselves. This much disquieted Agatha, for she had never learned before that aught existed save innocence and joy. At first, she feared to wander out alone, into the “great temple of nature,” as she was wont, lest she should meet some of those malicious beings. She dared not look into the pure waters, fearing that, instead of the beautiful angel which so often met her gaze, hideous forms might rise and drag her away into their bad company.
But her heart was soon quieted again; for her teacher also told her, that good beings come down from the Spirit-land, to watch over little children, and drive the wicked ones away. So Agatha no longer feared to visit her favorite haunts, for she besought the good spirits to be her guardians. And when at night she retired to her little couch, she prayed the kind angels to watch over and protect her from evil spirits. And her prayer was answered, for none but good spirits ever visited the heart of Agatha. She was always punctual at Sabbath school; and one day after looking around in vain for one of her mates, she was very much troubled to learn that she had been led a long way off, by a company of evil spirits. She longed to tear the unfortunate victim from their grasp; but her teacher told her, that the celestial beings alone could save her, and she must pray to them.
So Agatha went home, and walked out among the flowers, thinking the celestial spirits would delight to linger in so pure a spot, and kneeling amid a cluster of roses, she prayed them to fly to the rescue of her misled companion. And everywhere that Agatha thought pure enough for the abode of the good spirits, would she go and pray that her friend might be restored. At night she would look up to the stars, and entreat the same good beings to come down from their pure, bright dwellings, and lead back the straying one. Her prayers were soon answered, and when she next went to Sabbath school, she was almost overjoyed to find her little friend at her accustomed place. Little Mary (for she it was who had been led away) seemed very happy to get back again. She kissed her schoolmates, and said she would never leave them more. But she told them a sad tale of Sin-land; how the evil ones would not suffer her to sleep, lest, in her slumbers, the good spirits might visit her and take her away;—that they would not let her walk among the flowers, for good spirits are there. And for a long time they watched her very closely, and directed her steps in their pathway.
But, at length, when she become faint and weary, the ministering angels came to her assistance, took her in their arms, and folding her weary limbs in their white robes, bore her back to her anxious companions. No one rejoiced more than did Agatha, that the heavenly messengers had led Mary back.
Their teacher said that her school was a little garden of flowers, which she was rearing for heaven. But Agatha was the most innocent flower there, and ready to bloom in the garden of paradise. The kind heavenly guides thought her too pure for earth, and they would fain have her companionship in their purer regions. So they bore her away on wings of love to their heavenly home.
May every Sabbath school scholar be, like Agatha, led by celestial spirits.
That teacher alone, whose eye is open to the immense value of religious influences, and who perceives the importance of trifles in morals, can properly feel his great responsibility, or be qualified to guide the young in the way of life.
Parents should see that their children understand their lessons, and that they commit them perfectly. They will thus both aid and encourage the superintendent and teachers.
How bright, my dear mother, this sweet summer morning,
Does everything round me appear;
The sun the tall steeples with gold is adorning,
And lights up the skies blue and clear.
All freshly around me the west wind is blowing;
And, mother, I smell the sweet hay
Which was left on the Common from yesterday’s mowing;
How I wish they’d not take it away.
I’m sure ’tis too pleasant of school to
Its tasks this bright day I should hate;
Much better I’d like the fresh air to be drinking,
Than puzzle o’er book and o’er slate.
O if it were Pic-nic to-day, my dear mother,
How happy and gay I should be!
How joyful without any studies to pother,
Away in the woods to roam free.
I’m sorry ’tis over; how great was my
The whole of that beautiful day;
I jumped, and I danced, and I sung without measure,
But ah! it so soon passed away.
How well I remember the time of our starting!
How quick the large cars we did fill!
How screamed the shrill whistle, the signal for parting!
How we flew by town, river, and hill!
We reached the sweet grove which in stillness was
Its numerous guests to receive;
We rested one moment, while we were debating
What wonder we first should achieve.
“Let us make some green wreaths! let us gather
Said some; and they bounded away.
“Let us fill up with music and dancing the hours!”
Said others, more lively and gay.
And soon every part of the wild wood was ringing
With sounds full of mirth and of glee;
Some dizzily high in the free air were swinging,
While others climbed up the tall tree.
When called from our sports, to our dinner we hasted,
And sat on the green grassy ground;
How keenly we relished each morsel we tasted,
While fanned by the soft air around.
Then came a loud summons, the signal for choosing
Our Queen by the mystical ring;
We crowned her with flowers; nor feared her abusing
The honors her station might bring.
We sang some sweet school-songs, and then our loved
With other dear friends who were there,
Told us kindly of Jesus, the Savior and Master;
Of God, and his fatherly care;
Who planted the trees that were waving around us,
And the wild flowers growing below;
Who all our life long with rich blessings had crowned us,
And watched us where’er we might go.
Then, mother, I heard all around me a whisp’ring,
And soon I found out what it meant;
When to hallow our Pic-nic, the sweet rite of christ’ning
Its soft, holy influence lent.
Forth from the glad circle, their sweet infants bringing,
Came parents, with mild, thoughtful mien;
What deep, tender thoughts in all bosoms were springing!
How solemn, how sacred the scene.
And I could not keep back the hot tears, my dear mother,
Which came thick and fast to my eyes;
For those babes made me think of my own darling brother,
Now gone to his home in the skies.
When this service was over, my playmates came round
And drew me away to the wood;
No longer light-hearted and merry they found me,
For thoughtful and sad was my mood.
So on the soft turf I sat silently thinking,
Of days when dear brother was by;
While slowly and surely the bright sun was sinking,
Far down in the clear western sky.
Ring, ring, went the bell; and then, O, what a hustling!
All knew ’twas the signal to part;
What searching for bonnets and boxes! what bustling!
All hurrying, eager to start.
We left ere the shadows of evening were dimming
The broad fields and woods all around;
And with our swift steam-horse, again we went skimming
Through village, and meadow, and town.
We soon reached the city, and after the saying
Of cheerful “Good night,” to our friends,
We sought our own home without further delaying,
And the rest night to weariness sends.
’Twas a blest, happy day; and oft in my dreaming
That cool, shady grove do I see,
With its bright little spots where the sunlight lay gleaming,
And all that was pleasant to me.
And much do I hope, when again, my dear mother,
The summer shall come with its flowers,
Our teachers will kindly allow us another
Such Pic-nic, mid Nature’s green bowers.
“O mamma, how fast it rains! Do see those bright and sparkling drops, as they fall so rapidly on the green walks and beautiful flowers! Just see how revived that little fainting flower looks on the farther border. It was but yesterday I thought it would die. It drooped its head as if to avoid the rays of the scorching sun; but now it is as fresh as any on my little bed. Who was so kind, mamma, as to send this gentle shower, purposely, as I should think, to save my favorite flower?”
“‘Favorite,’ my child, did you say? I thought you loved them all.”
“Oh, I do; but this one looked so sickly and faint, and I have watched it so anxiously, that it really seems dearer to me than all the rest; just as when we are sick, mamma, you watch us the more constantly, and love us the more tenderly. But who did send the rain, mamma?”
“It was God, my child, who caused the gentle showers, not only to cheer your heart, by making the little flower revive, but to bless all his children. Have you forgotten your little verse, about God sending ’rain on the just, and on the unjust?’”
“O no; I remember it well. I think he is very kind to remember everybody. I am sure I shall always love him.”
“I hope you always will. He is a lovable being. He delights in those that are good, and is always ready to cheer and bless them.”
A careful regard to all the rules of a Sabbath school,—the rules touching the library, those concerning the time of entrance, the general exercises, the demeanor of the pupils and the recitations,—will greatly facilitate the business of the school, relieve the officers and teachers of much of their labor, and make the school itself beautiful for its order and harmony, and invaluable for its usefulness and success.
“God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.”
We may understand by Providence the all-providing care of God over his creatures. He is our staff. Without his aid and support, we should sink; all our efforts would be of no avail. Without his sustaining power, we could not endure the cares and troubles attending this life. He cares for us in the broad day, urging us to resist temptation. He watches us by night, that no harm shall befall us. Mighty was the power of our Savior at the marriage feast, when he turned water into wine, and many were the miracles he performed during his stay in this world, in healing the sick, the lame, and the blind. The ways of God appear mysterious to us, because we cannot understand his motives. We know that all he does is right, and for our good; therefore we should not indulge a murmuring spirit at anything that may happen to us. It is our duty, as we cannot understand His manifold ways, and all-wise purposes, to study deeply the Holy Scriptures, and be willing to be taught by those wiser and better informed than ourselves. We should confidently rely in God’s wisdom and knowledge, which are so much greater than ours; yielding all things to him; looking forward to that bright and happier world, where there is no sorrow, and striving to make ourselves worthy of his love, which is unbounded.
Philanthropy.—He is the wisest philanthropist who employs his energies and resources in the promotion of virtue.
Preparation For Death.—He who is prepared to live, is prepared to die. And he who thinks and feels aright, is prepared for both.
And thou art gone, Alberta,
No sound shall wake thee now;
The dreamless sleep thou sleepest,
Death’s shadow on thy brow.
Like a bright summer flower.
Borne by rude winds away,
Whose odors yet shall linger,
Though the fair form decay,—
So, long thy spirit, wafted
In fragrance back to earth,
Shall bloom in memory’s bowers,
Mid plants of heavenly birth.
We tune our harps to sadness,
And songs of sorrow sing,
And to the Father’s altar,
A mournful tribute bring.
No more thou strowest flowers
Of sunshine o’er our path;
Thy song forever silent,
Thy voice is hushed in death.
Yet not for thee we sorrow,
Thy sorrows all are o’er;
Thine earthly journey ended,
Thou’st reached that happy shore,
Where spirits blest are waiting,
To welcome thee above;
There evermore to lead thee
In realms of peace and love.
And hand in hand with angels,
Around God’s throne to stand,
Warbling sweet anthems ever,
Amid that heavenly band.
Farewell! we would not wake thee,
’T were vain to wish thee here;
A Father’s arms receive thee,
Sleep on, nor danger fear.
Rise! and in Jesus’ kingdom
Thy blissful station take;
A Father’s house is open,
To life immortal wake!
OBT. Alberta Richardson, aged 8 years and 4 mos.; a beloved member of the 2nd Universalist Sabbath school.
In a wood, pleasantly situated in the southern part of ——, there lived a squirrel. One day, as it was viewing the departure of some migratory birds from its neighborhood, it could not prevent the escape of a deep sigh, accompanied with the exclamation, “O dear! I wish some land fairy would make me a bird. I could then soar to a great height, or dart swiftly through the air. Even if I were a little fish, to play about in the water, I should be much better satisfied than in living here all my life, and having nothing to do but gather nuts and acorns.”
At that moment, a fairy, who was near, having heard the soliloquy of the discontented squirrel, immediately complied with its wish, and changed it into a beautiful bird. This amazed the poor squirrel very much, and when it attempted to call the attention of its companions by its customary chatter, its scream ended in a song.
The squirrel now thought its happiness was complete, and it concluded to make use of its wings by a visit to some distant land. It had not gone far before a storm arose, and it was obliged to take shelter in a tree. It now began to wish it was in its snug little nest with its former companions.
The storm was soon over, and our bird again started on its journey. But just then a hungry hawk, who had watched it for a long time, pounced upon it. Fortunately, the fairy, who was near, seeing the bird was sufficiently punished for its folly, took compassion on it, changed it into a squirrel again, and placed it safely in its own tree. The squirrel was ever afterward contented.
Moral.—Every one should be contented with his lot; for every station in life has its own ills.
This Society, which has exerted an influence in the Universalist denomination second to that of no other, was incorporated December 13, 1816. The meeting for organization was held at the Green Dragon tavern, on the evening of January 25, 1817. Major John Brazer was chosen the first Moderator. The Standing Committee consisted of John Brazer, Dr. David Townsend, Edmund Wright, Daniel E, Powars, Lemuel Packard, Jr., Levi Melcher, and John W. Trull, who were directed to ascertain where a suitable lot of land could be procured on which to erect a house of worship. After examining several lots, the one was selected on which the church now stands, in School street, and it was accordingly bought about the first of May following.
The original means for building the church, was a subscription for shares of one hundred dollars each; one hundred and thirty-nine shares being taken by forty-three persons. Of this number, after a lapse of nearly a third of a century, the following are still spared to us, as willing supporters of the Society and cause to which they devoted the meridian of their days, to wit: William Barry, Daniel E. Powars, Winslow Wright, Joseph Badger, Caleb Wright, John W. Trull, Samuel Hichborn, and Job Turner.
On Monday, May 19, 1817, the corner-stone was laid, and within it was deposited a silver plate, the gift of Dr. David Townsend, with this inscription: “The Second Universal Church, devoted to the Worship of the true God: Jesus Christ being the chief Corner Stone. May 19, 1817.” The building of the house was carried forward with energy, and on the 25th of August the Chairman of the Committee was directed to address a letter to Rev. Hosea Ballou, asking him if it would meet his approbation to be considered a candidate for the office of pastor. The house having been completed, it was voted to dedicate the same on Wednesday, October 15, 1817. The Rev. Thomas Jones was invited to preach the sermon, and Revs. Edward Turner, Hosea Ballou, and Paul Dean, to conduct the other services as might be mutually agreeable to them. In consequence, however, of the Cattle Show at Brighton taking place on that day, it was afterwards thought expedient to postpone the Dedication until the succeeding day.
On the day following the Dedication, the Society met for the purpose of selecting a pastor; and the Standing Committee were instructed, by a unanimous vote, to invite the Rev. Hosea Ballou to that office, at a weekly salary of twenty-five dollars. This vote was communicated to him in an appropriate letter from the Chairman of the Committee, to which the following reply was received:—
Boston, Oct. 24, 1817.
Sir,—The call of the Second Universalist Society in Boston, inviting me to the labors of the Christian Ministry with them, together with the liberal terms which accompany said invitation, has been duly considered. And after weighing all the circumstances relative to the subject, so far as my limited mind could comprehend them, I have come to the conclusion that it is my duty to accept their call on the conditions therein stated. I largely participate the “peculiar pleasure” afforded by the consideration of the unanimity of the Society, and entertain an humble hope that, with the continuance of this harmony, we may long continue to enjoy all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus.
The Society’s most humble servant in Christ,
To John Brazer, Esq.
He was publicly installed on Christmas day, December 25, 1817. Sermon, from John xx. 24, and the Fellowship of the Churches, were given by Rev. Paul Dean; Installing Prayer and Charge by Rev. Edward Turner, and the Concluding Prayer by Rev. Joshua Flagg.
At the annual meeting in May, 1818, the thanks of the Society were presented to Lemuel Packard, Jr., Esq., for his generous donation of a chandelier for the use of the church. The clock now in the church was the gift of John Brazer, Esq., probably during the time of the building of the church.
In the summer of 1822, Mr. Ballou received an invitation to become the pastor of the Second Universalist Society in Philadelphia, at a larger salary than he was then receiving. In a letter to his Society, Mr. B. states, that they are under no engagement to him beyond the term of six months; and that, his salary being barely sufficient to support his family, he felt bound to lay the invitation of the Philadelphia Society before them for their assistance, in any decision he might make in regard to it. The Society was accordingly called together, and by a unanimous vote his salary was raised to thirty dollars a week. This vote being communicated to him, he informed them in reply that the salary voted him was fully and abundantly satisfactory to him, and that he accepted it with pleasure.
During the year 1836, the Society built the vestry in the attic story of the church, and the following year, 1837, the interior of the church was altered by a new pulpit, ceiling, introduction of gas, painting, &c. at an expense of nearly five thousand dollars. And in the year 1840, the Society purchased the organ now in the church.
During the first years of the existence of the Society, the singing was considered of a superior order; and it may be interesting to some of the younger members of the Society to know that, in 1833, the Standing Committee approved of the selection, by the choir, of Miss Charlotte Cushman, as the leading female singer. Mr. Win. Barry, one of the original proprietors, and at present one of the oldest men of the congregation, conducted this part of public worship for several years.
In 1840, the subject of an associate pastor was first brought forward; and, in 1841, commenced those unfortunate difficulties in regard to it, which continued with little interruption until the fall of 1845, when the proprietors were called together to act upon a proposition to sell the meeting-house and wind up the affairs of the Society. This proposition was, however, rejected, by a decisive vote of more than two to one, out of one hundred votes cast. During this period, the pulpit was supplied one half the time by Father Ballou, and the other half by Rev. T.C. Adam, from May, 1842, to May, 1843; by Rev. H.B. Soule, from May, 1844, to May, 1845; and the other two years by the Standing Committee.
That portion of the Society who voted against the proposition to sell, had, early in that year, taken counsel together in regard to the future prosperity of the Society. Father Ballou expressed a willingness to be relieved from all active duties as pastor of the Society, other than those he might choose to perform as senior pastor, and also to relinquish his salary if the Society felt that with their whole means they would be able to secure the services of one who would again unite them together. Accordingly, September 28, 1845, the proprietors were called together, and his proposition was accepted. They also unanimously invited the Rev. E.H. Chapin to become junior pastor, at a yearly salary of two thousand dollars; and on the 8th of November the following acceptance of their call was received by the committee through whom the invitation was tendered.
Charlestown, Nov. 8, 1845.
The invitation to become associate pastor of your Society, which you have extended to me, is hereby accepted. Preliminaries relative to the time when I can assume my connection with you must be the subject of future communications. And that God may bless this decision to your good, to mine, and to his glory,—is the prayer of
To the Committee.
Br. Chapin was installed January 28, 1846. The sermon was preached by Father Ballou, from I Peter iv, 10 and 11. Rev. Messrs. Cook, Hichborn, Streeter, II. Ballou 2d, Skinner, Fay, and Cleverly, took part in the services. At the annual meeting in May, 1846, a committee was appointed to express to Rev. Hosea Ballou the feelings of high regard unanimously cherished towards him by the Society, in consideration of his long and valuable services as their pastor; and to assure him that their prayers for his welfare were still with him in his relations as senior pastor of the Society. To this, the following reply was received by the committee.
Boston, May 25, 1846.
Messrs. Benajah Brigham,
Joseph Lincoln, and Bela Beal,
After having enjoyed so many years of pastoral connection with the Second Universalist Society in this city, and having served the same so long a time with constant solicitude for their spiritual prosperity and with a consciousness of my many imperfections, I find that words are insufficient to express the satisfaction I feel on the reception of the unanimous vote of the Society expressive of their approbation of my services, as pastor, and their prayers for my happiness in my present position as senior. You will, brethren, accept my thanks for the acceptable manner in which you have communicated the vote of the Society to me, and assure the Society of my fervent prayer for their spiritual prosperity under their junior pastor.
In the bonds of the Gospel,
At the annual meeting in 1847, the Standing Committee were directed to invite Father Ballou to sit for his portrait, and that the same, when finished, be placed in Murray Hall. This work was successfully executed, and Father Ballou expressed himself highly complimented by the action of the Society in regard to it.
Early in 1848, the Society were called together to act upon the following letter from Brother Chapin.
Boston, Feb. 5, 1848.
After, as I trust, deliberate and proper consideration, I have concluded to take up my connection with your Society, and accept of the invitation from New York. I might extend this letter to great length and yet not express the feelings with which I do this act. I can only say that I do so with the utmost kindness and with deep gratitude, and shall always cherish, with unalloyed satisfaction, the harmonious season we have passed together. I invoke God’s blessing upon the Society you represent, and to you personally tender the warmest sentiments of personal regard.
To the Standing Committee.
At the same meeting, February 20, 1848, Rev. A.A. Miner was invited to become the junior pastor of the Society, at the same salary which had been paid Brother Chapin, and on the 15th of March, the committee received the following letter, accepting the invitation.
Lowell, March 15, 1848.
The invitation which I received at your hands, to become associate pastor of the Second Society of Universalists in Boston, has been duly considered, and is hereby accepted. Although this decision seemed compatible with my duty, it has not been arrived at without a severe trial, both on account of the existing ties it will sever, and of my conscious unfitness for so responsible a station. Trusting, however, in Him who is always able to help us,
Yours in the Gospel,
To the Committee.
On the last Sunday in April, Brother Chapin preached his farewell sermon from the text, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among them which are sanctified.” Acts xx. 32. Brother Miner was installed May 31. Sermon, by Mr. Chapin, from John x. 10. The other exercises were performed by Rev. Messrs. Dennis, Mott, Ballou, H. Ballou 2d, Fay, Streeter, and Cook.
Under the ministry of Brother Chapin, the Society was united and prosperous; and under the present ministry of Brother Miner, that union and prosperity are unabated. May the favor of God grant them a long continuance.
The little bee, by instinct alone, is taught the necessity of faithful labor. In the summer, it collects honey from every flower, that it may have a supply of food for the approaching winter, when the flowers have all faded. But children have reason, instead of instinct, to guide them; and should be industrious in childhood and youth, in gathering the sweets of knowledge and virtue for spiritual sustenance in the winter of life.
Children, in the early morning,
When the sun’s first rosy ray,
Bright’ning on the distant hill-top,
Gilds the tall spire o’er the way,
Raise the heavy, sleepy eyelid,
Welcome cheerfully the light;
Nature’s time for rest and slumber
Passes with the hours of night.
While the air is freshest, purest,
And the city seems at rest,
Rise, and while the eye beams clearest,
Roam with me, an out-door guest.
And abroad we’ll gayly wander,
Till the hour for breakfast calls;
Passing through those streets that lead us
To our lofty State House halls.
Enter now our glorious Common!
On its beauty gaze awhile!
As the glowing sunshine greets it,
See the “face of Nature smile!”
On the broad, smooth walks tread freely,
Sentinelled by stately trees,
Whose green leafy boughs o’erarching,
Herald every passing breeze;
Casting, too, at brightest mid-day,
O’er these paths a pleasant shade;
Blessings on our City Fathers,
Who this wise provision made.
Here, just opposite the fountain,
On this block of granite rest;
While with eye and ear attentive,
Admiration is expressed.
See the living spray-drops leaping,
Crowned with dancing diamond light;
Midway hangs the bright-hued rainbow!
Is it not a dazzling sight?
And in what a gay confusion
Do the waters meet below!
Now compare this stone-paved basin
With the “frog-pond,” years ago!
Rustling leaves, and murmuring fountain,
Fill with melody the air,
Blending with the wild birds’ singing,—
Such sweet sounds can banish care.
Notice, how the grass is laden,
Thickly gemmed with sparkling dew,
Which at eve so gently falleth,
Thus its verdure to renew.
Viewing these fair works of Nature,
With the art of man combined,
Are our thoughts not tending upward
To the Author of mankind?
Yes, with grateful hearts we thank Him,
For our lives so truly blest;
Asking strength to meet time’s changes,
Faith to think them for the best.
We must learn life’s varied lessons,
Their deep meaning must unfold;
Sad or merry, they will yield us
More true wealth than mines of gold!
Hark! the breakfast bell is calling!
Hasten to your homes away!
Let us hope to meet here often,
Welcoming the early day.
To the faithful teacher, there is no greater pleasure than is afforded on each returning Sunday, by his labors with his class. Wielding Christian truth in the full exercise of human affections, he moulds the young heart as with a hand divine.
Punctuality.—One of the beauties of the Sabbath school is the punctuality of its scholars and teachers.
In ancient days female education was almost entirely neglected, and woman’s intellectual powers were left to slumber. Her mind was a barren waste, exhibiting no rich, luxuriant verdure, diversified only by a few outward accomplishments, which served to please the fancy of the stronger sex. The Spartan woman, distinguished for her sternness of character and warlike disposition, looked with shame upon a son who could return from battle unless victorious, ever teaching him, from his earliest infancy, “to conquer, or to die on the battle-field.” All the gentle and amiable qualities of the heart were repressed in their growth; and, while Sparta offered to her sons the rich boon of intellectual culture, her daughters were thought unworthy of the gift.
And Athens, that great and mighty city, exercising a most powerful influence over the civilized world, distinguished for her legislators, her philosophers, and her historians,—what was the condition of woman there? The slave, rather than the companion of man, she knew not that, were the storehouse of knowledge opened for her, she could come forward and stand on an equality with the “proud lord of creation!” Rome, too, the metropolis of the world, denied to woman her proper station in society, not dreaming of the hidden gems of thought which lay undiscovered beneath the thick incrustations of ignorance and superstition.
But now, all the precious gifts which learning can bestow are justly extended to her also; and man, with his increase of knowledge, has wisely learned to respect the mental abilities with which God has endowed her; has found that she may, like himself, ascend the steep hill of science, enjoy its pleasures, cull its sweetest flowers, and drink of the pure and living waters from the inexhaustible fountains of knowledge.
And what has caused this change? The bright star which appeared to the “wise men of the East,” eighteen hundred years ago, heralding a Savior’s birth, foretold also woman’s release from the thraldom which had bound her. It was to her a star of promise, telling her that the strong chains of ignorance and superstition which bound her, should be broken asunder by the gentle influences of the religion of the lowly Jesus. It is Christianity which has raised her from the degradation which was once hers, and induced man to acknowledge her equality with him.
Education exalts and refines the mind of woman, and enables her to contribute to the happiness of those around her. It is that which renders her the dutiful and obedient daughter, the kind and affectionate sister, the trusting and loving companion, and the fond and tender parent. The old adage, “woman must be ignorant in order to be useful,” has been long thrown aside among the rubbish of the past, and remembered only as a relic of the superstitions of other days. Home, with its duties, is woman’s sphere of action; and, to fulfil properly those duties, she must be educated; she must not be kept in intellectual bondage, but must be fully awakened to the responsibilities of her station. It is she who watches over our infancy, guides our childhood, presents to our infant minds the rudiments of knowledge, and cheers us in our progress by showing us the honors which attend those who acquire true wisdom, and therefore must her mind be early taught to comprehend the duties which devolve upon her.
A broad field is that of Education; and while she strives to make acquisitions in the various branches of knowledge, let her not forget that better education of the mind and heart. Talent, without virtue to guide, is like a ship without sails or rudder, exposed to the wild winds of the storm on the broad expanse of the ocean. What sadder spectacle can there be, than to behold a mind employing its talents and its learning in endeavoring to lead its fellow-beings away from the paths of rectitude, disregarding the laws of God and man, and refusing to acknowledge the Source that gave it birth? From such an example we turn with sorrow and disgust, and gladly look to those good and noble ones who have adorned their sex. The names of Hannah More, Maria Edgeworth, Felicia Hemans, Letitia Landon, Harriet Martineau, and a host of others, show what woman can do when properly educated; for they are equally distinguished in private, for their amiable and domestic qualities, as in public for their high intellectual attainments. Let woman follow their example, never failing to embrace all opportunities presented to her for moral and intellectual improvement.
We are all brothers and sisters of one great family, and should always treat each other as such. If you suffer provocation, let the remembrance that it is a brother who has injured you, prevent retaliation, and secure for him entire forgiveness. He who can forgive injuries, puts himself beyond the reach of harm, and secures a peace of soul more valuable than the gold of Ophir.
I suppose most of the readers of this little volume have been in the country the past summer. As you beheld the green grass, the fine spreading trees, and the beautiful flowers that sprang up in your pathway, perhaps the feeling came over you that you could be far happier in the country than in the city. We are very apt to suppose that change of place will produce a more delightful state of feeling; forgetting that in a little time we should become familiar with all these objects, and then we return again to our former selves.
Precisely so it is with children in the country. They come to this busy city, and eagerly gaze at the varied shows which attract the eye, and would prefer to exchange situations with you; but by and by they become wearied with sightseeing, and the home they have left rises before them as a pleasanter abode than any other dwelling, however rich or elegant. Thus they learn to be happy at home; and this is a most valuable attainment.
But, in order to be permanently happy, we must have something to do. There are other lessons to be learned besides those we commit in the schoolroom. The whole world, indeed, is a school, and we are daily committing our tasks. These teachings are preparations for our future happiness.
You have all noticed the growth of a tree. At first, only a little twig springs out of the ground. And so with the flower. You deposit only a tiny seed; but in a little time a shoot springs up, and by natural but slow processes the twig becomes a large shady tree, and the shoot a beautiful blooming flower. Though they grow very slowly, yet they never rest. Day and night the hidden processes are going on which help to promote their growth. Just so it is with the minds of children. They are daily acquiring those habits which will eventually make the whole sum of their characters. But then, great care is requisite how they form these characters; that they may spring up in fair proportions, making their possessors worthy members of society.
I will illustrate this by a fable, which occurred to me as I walked over the beautiful garden of a friend, with whom I spent a few weeks the past summer. We will suppose, for our present purpose, that the flowers have an articulate voice.
A stately dahlia grew in a cultivated garden. There were many of the same species of flowers, but no other had the peculiar variegated tints of this particular one. Every one, in passing by it, was attracted by its beauty. It seemed as if vain of flattery, although we know it had no ears to hear, for every day it seemed to increase in size and beauty. With its lofty head, it gained a supremacy above all its neighbors, and the heavy shower and furious wind failed to soil its petals or bend its graceful form.
Away off in the farther corner of the garden, under a hedge, bloomed a simple white clover. It was entirely unheeded by the multitude, although it gave a sweetness and fragrancy to the air, which made the invalid stop to inhale it. In its modesty it bloomed, in its lowly bed it sought no observation, and was passed by as a simple white clover. By and by the mower’s scythe passed that way and levelled it among common grasses. It was gathered in the general mass of hay, and became a part of the sustenance of the master’s cattle.
The dahlia was plucked by the horticulturist, and placed in a glass receptacle, among kindred flowers, where it was gazed at for a time; then it faded and was thrown among common rubbish. During their lifetime we will suppose them to have conversed together.
“I,” said the dahlia, “am queen of this garden. I attract every eye that passes; while you, little clover, are hidden by the tall grass, and liable to be crushed at any moment.”
“Well,” replied the clover, “let it be so now; but look at our final end. You will be placed in a glass, plucked from your native stem, where you will wither and die as a worthless thing; while I shall be felled by the scythe, after I have reached my maturity, and then a thousand tiny seeds will I strow around me; so that, another reason, I shall bloom all about the hedges, and my usefulness will be appreciated. And pray where will you then be?” The dahlia blushed, and hung its head for shame.
Here, children, is a fable designed to illustrate pride and humility. Which appears the most beautiful, because the most useful? I know you will prefer humility to pride. If so, you must remember that the peculiar traits you now cultivate are forming within you the one or the other. By a thousand little kind acts, you can diffuse happiness in your homes; and all the while you are disseminating these virtues, you are acquiring these lasting graces, in yourselves, which will spring up, like the violet and sweet clover, leaving a fragrancy and beauty wherever you have trodden.
Dear children,—although I am almost a stranger among you, yet I feel a true interest in your welfare. It gives me great pleasure when I enter the Sabbath school to meet your happy countenances and smiling faces. Children, you do not assemble together for the purpose of passing an hour that perhaps might pass unpleasantly elsewhere. It is for a higher and nobler purpose. It is to gain useful and religious instruction from the Bible, the best of all books. You should not be content with learning and reciting your lessons, but you should try to remember what you learn. And when you grow up to be men and women, you will never regret it. It is in the Bible that we are taught to love God, and all mankind.
When we enter the Sabbath school, may we learn to say, To-day is the Sabbath day, ever blessed and beautiful; welcome to its holy and happy influence! Welcome, thrice welcome, the day of sweet repose, and sweeter meditation. Spring is sometimes compared to childhood. In spring, when the brooks fall gurgling down the mountain side, when the earth begins to be covered with its verdant robes, when the birds are joyfully singing around, the trees gently waving in the breeze, and all is gay and gladsome, we sometimes wish that it could always be spring. So in youth, we sometimes wish we could always be young; but it cannot be. But as each season in its turn, spring, summer, autumn, and even winter, clothed in its robes of snow, has its own pleasures, so each season of life is wisely invested of God, with its own peculiar joys.
Though it is now spring-time, it will soon be autumn with you, when you must impart that useful knowledge you will have gained in spring and summer. Now is the time for you to store up that knowledge. If our childhood and youth are rightly employed, age will compare no more unfavorably, as regards its joys, with youth and middle age, than does winter with spring. Endeavor, then, to acquire that useful knowledge that will teach you so to live that you may set a good example to all around you. Children, this beautiful world we live in was made for you. It is filled with beauty, and when we look around upon it, our hearts within us say, how great and good is our God! How wonderful are all of his works! The beautiful in nature is all the production of his power. He spoke this world into being, and decorated it with sun, moon, and stars. Beauty and loveliness are stamped upon everything that he has made. But no scene in the outward world transcends in loveliness the Sabbath school, where the young come to receive Christian instruction. And now, dear children, make this wise resolution; to love your Sabbath school, your parents and teachers, all the world, and especially your heavenly Father, better than you ever have before; and you will be better and happier children.
It was Saturday afternoon. The boys were enjoying their sports, when one of them espied Uncle Jimmy coming towards them. “Look, boys,” said he, “Uncle Jimmy is coming. We will ask him to stop and tell us some stories.”
Now Uncle Jimmy was a very aged man, bowed down with years, and so feeble that he could not walk without the aid of his cane. When the weather was mild, he used to take short walks, and the children were always happy to see him. They all claimed the privilege of calling him Uncle. One little boy ran forward to assist him, and led him to a seat beneath a shady tree. Ball and hoop were soon forgotten, as they eagerly pressed round the old man, to show him their respect; for he always had a word for each of them.
“Do not let me interrupt your sports, boys; I am fond of seeing you at your plays. I had once as many playmates as yourselves, and enjoyed them as well.”
The little boy who assisted him to his seat, replied, “We had rather hear you talk to us, if you please, sir; for we have not seen you for so long a time.”
“True, true, I have been housed up, and it is rare, nowadays, that I walk so far as this. I’m glad to see you all so well and happy. If you wish to keep so, be always temperate, and do not neglect your duties. Whenever conscience whispers to you, ‘I have done my duty,’ you will enjoy the sports allowed you.
“I have now in my mind the memory of an old friend. It is indeed pleasant to think of him. He was remarkable for his industry, even when very young; yet at play he was as merry as the merriest of us. His mind and his heart were in it. He became a very superior scholar. Some of you may think that it was because he had superior talents, that he thus excelled in scholarship. It is true, he had rare talents; but by his industry he made every talent ten talents; and he always exercised his powers for the good of others, for he was benevolent in his disposition. I am proud to think of him, when in his prime. Young and old were benefited by his instruction, and he was universally beloved and respected; for he had become a useful preacher of the word of God, and a devoted minister. His example of industry and perseverance exerted an extensive influence upon others, and changed in some measure the whole face of society in the community in which he lived.”
Many more stories did Uncle Jimmy relate to the children, which I have not time to repeat now. The afternoon was far spent ere any of them wearied of hearing him; and many a good lesson did they receive, which I trust was as “good seed, sown on good ground.” I trust my little readers will as readily listen to the counsels of the aged, and as respectfully heed their advice, as did these children. In this way, you will give promise of becoming wise and good.
The children waited on Uncle Jimmy to his home; and, when they left him, he prayed God to bless them.
Mother, I dreamed of heaven;
And all around were choirs of angels, singing
Hymns of praise; and children joining hands,
And looking so bright and happy, that I wished
I could be always with them. And in their midst
The Savior stood and blessed them, saying,
“Suffer little children unto me to come.”
Then all around were flowers so sweet, dear mother,
That the whole air seemed filled with fragrance, and
The birds were warbling sweetest songs of love.
The sky was fairer than our sky, dear mother;
And the sunshine seemed more bright; and as it beamed
Upon the angels’ forms, they looked as though
All made of light. And then I looked for those
That left us, who, you said, had gone to heaven,
To join the angels round the throne of God.
There I saw sister, and my little brother
“Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined,”—is an adage as true as it is ancient. One’s character, happiness, and usefulness, during his whole life, depends, in no small measure, upon early education. The child taught to disregard the Sabbath, and lightly to esteem the instructions of the Sabbath school, grows to manhood devoid of aught that can entitle him to the society and respect of the good and virtuous. With a soul shrouded in midnight darkness, he gropes his way through life, and at the grave sinks into oblivion, “by none esteemed, by all forgot.” However we may hope for such a soul, through the mercy of God, as we surely do, it is not now qualified to enter upon and fully appreciate the purity and joys of Christ’s kingdom.
We seldom hear of the execution or imprisonment of one who regarded in youth the Sabbath school. Indeed, I think it impossible for one who has been successfully taught to reverence and to love the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, to become an outcast from society. It is true, envy, with its envenomed tongue, and malice, with its still more poisonous breath, may assail even such a one; but their shafts will fall harmless at his feet. The shield of his soul they cannot pierce. They cannot eradicate from the heart the influence of the high and holy lessons which it received in youth. Its many sources of enjoyment they cannot destroy.
Pleasant and important, therefore, are the duties of teachers. The directing of tender affections, and the development of youthful powers, are intrusted to their hands. If they perform their duties faithfully, they may have the satisfaction of seeing the pupils of their charge useful among men, devoted to right, and obedient unto God. Such an office is lovely. It is more than lovely, it is holy. It blesses him who fills it. It exalts his affections, ennobles his purposes, and enlarges his heart.
Do we not see the fruit of this labor in our own school? In the kindness and love of the children for each other, in their faithfulness in the duties of the school, and in their respectful and affectionate bearing towards their teachers and all others, do we not recognize some of the fruits of Sabbath school culture? And may we not expect that such children will be beloved, honored, and useful among men?
Do we not also see some of the fruits of these influences in the fraternal regard of teachers for each other, in their devotion to their duties as teachers, and in their distinguishing virtues as Christians? Have we not, especially, seen the fruit of these influences in the enduring patience, calm hopefulness, and cheerful trust, of one of our number whom we have just followed to her resting-place? The Lord make us faithful, that our end may be like hers.
“O Memory! thou wak’ner of the dead!
Thou only treasurer of vanished past!
How welcome art thou, when bright hope is fled,
And sorrow’s mantle o’er the soul is cast!
Back o’er those days too beautiful to last,
Thy gentle hand will lead the saddened thought;
And though the tears may trickle warm and fast,
Yet thy sweet pictures with such peace are fraught,
The heart, beguiled, exclaims, ‘This is the fount I sought.’”
Memory! Who has not felt its influence! Who of us would wish to part with its delights and quiet teachings! Beautifully adapted is the twilight hour to the cherishing of the recollections of the past. It is then that the hum of busy life is hushed, and all nature seems resting from its toil. Then, in undisturbed peace, rise before us the loved ones we have cherished, and whose memories, like guardian angels, always attend us. We recall every affectionate word and kindly deed, however trivial or little heeded at the time. And how sweet then are our thoughts, and our recompense, if we have never caused them an unhappy moment! Half the bitterness of affliction is removed by such blessed memories. Then let us make them ours. Let us so live that it shall be possible for us to cherish them. Then will they bring to us many happy hours, and sweet solace to the suffering heart. Each moment, as it flits by, enters its record upon the tablet of memory, to be read with joy or sorrow at some future moment.
Then let each moment find some worthy deed to perform, or kind word to be spoken, that shall cause a glow of pleasure and satisfaction when memory recalls it. All memories are not alike pleasing; yet each may have its mission to perform. Past sin may bring pain with its recollection. It comes as a warning, lest we should transgress again. If, then, we would treasure up for ourselves pleasant memories for the future, we must guard well the present moment.
It is equally cheering to feel that we ourselves have a place in the memory of our friends. What a motive it should be to us, then, to live in such a manner that their memory of us may be as “the memory of the just,” which the Scriptures declare to be “blessed.”
The selfish man wrongs himself in attempting to wrong others. In filling his pockets unjustly with gold, he drives away joy from his soul. He forgets his relationship to angels, and only remembers his affinity to brutes.
Worldly trouble is the tonic of the soul. Affliction at once humbles us and gives us a relish for spiritual food. Those providences which teach us the insufficiency of earth, make us lean on heaven.
Revenge is the putting out of one’s own eyes for the sake of putting out the eyes of another.
In admiring the virtues and moral excellence of one who holds a high rank in society, who fills a distinguished place in the State, or occupies a responsible seat in the halls of science or in the church, we are liable to be swayed in our judgment. His social position is a kind of magnifying lens, through which all his virtues are viewed. But when a comparatively obscure individual from the humbler walks of life claims our attention, we are better able to estimate his virtues at their true value.
Such a one we meet with in the subject of this brief sketch. Miss Hannah S. Shedd was born in Boston, February 5, 1826. The death of her father, preceded as it was by the death of her mother, left her an orphan at the age of eight years. She was the second of three surviving children by their father’s second marriage, all of whom were left in charge of a half sister, who was the eldest of five children by a former marriage, and who was all to them that a mother even could be.
One of the parents was an Episcopalian in sentiment, the other a Universalist. The elder children were attendants upon Universalist worship in the School street Church, while the younger attended one of the Baptist churches of the city. Hannah, the subject of our sketch, continued under the influence of Baptist doctrines and worship until about fifteen years of age, when at her own earnest solicitation she was permitted to attend the Universalist church, and become a member of the School street Universalist Sunday school.
The influence upon her feelings of the change in regard to a place of worship, was very marked. She was naturally inclined to religious meditation and reflection, but was never satisfied with what she had been accustomed to hear. Nor can she be regarded as singular, in this respect. However true it may be that Christianity is adapted in its simplicity to the susceptibilities of the young—and I believe this is eminently true—it is equally true, that the ordinary partialist interpretations of it are not thus adapted to their susceptibilities. The young are not satisfied with these. The clearer their perceptions, and the more comprehensive their thought, the greater is their dissatisfaction. It was so with Hannah, even when but a child.
But when the hungerings of her soul found their appropriate aliment in the ministrations of the venerable Hosea Ballou, then the sole pastor of the church to which she turned for peace, the change was in the highest degree salutary. Her satisfaction was very great. She also found great pleasure in accompanying her eldest sister to the Rev. Mr. Streeter’s Friday evening meetings; and so highly did she prize these religious privileges, that she could scarcely submit to be deprived of them for a single evening or Sabbath without shedding tears.
Her natural amiability and generosity of disposition—a generosity especially marked in her demeanor towards her eldest sister, who had become a mother to her—made the Universalist interpretation of Christianity to be to her indeed the “bread of life.” Not only did she seek for this spiritual nutriment in the regular ministrations of the sanctuary and in the conference meeting, but she turned also to the Sabbath school with the same fond devotion to Christian truth.
During the connection of the Rev. Mr. Soule with the School street Society, he established a Bible class, of which Miss Shedd became one of the earliest members. She has often spoken to the writer of this of the great profit she was conscious of having derived therefrom. She was also one of the earliest members of the class formed by the present junior pastor of the Society, Rev. Mr. Miner, and in the discharge of her duties in that capacity she showed uncommon clearness of perception, and not a little vigor of thought.
At the age of fourteen she left school and took up the needle that she might aid her sisters in gaining for the family an honorable maintenance. She has been known to ply the needle with all diligence till ten o’clock at night, and then turn to her Sunday school book to make preparation for the Sabbath. If this is an example of too severe application to toil, it shows at the same time a devotion to spiritual culture in the highest degree commendable.
Strict integrity and a strong sense of justice characterized her even in her childhood. A little circumstance bearing upon this point I will relate. She had been to an apothecary’s shop for some medicines, and on reaching home found that she had received back more change than was due. Of her own accord she proposed to return it, nor would she willingly delay for a moment the performance of so manifest an act of justice. She received from the apothecary the highest encomium, and a reward for her integrity. In all her transactions she showed the same scrupulousness in matters of right, and thus became a bright example for all children to imitate.
She was not less remarkable for her obedience to the wishes of her sister, than for her regard for justice. She not only obeyed, but obeyed readily and cheerfully. And so sensible is that sister of her great excellence in this respect, now that she has passed away, that she cannot speak of her but with the deepest emotion.
She seemed to have very little power to bear disappointment. Her feelings were very tender, and her sensibilities great. Disappointment, therefore, brought the ready tear to her eye; and solicitous affection, if possible, removed the pressure which had caused it. But some of the later revelations of her life indicated rare ability to endure disappointment, and to cherish hope even in the audience-chamber of death. Thus will it appear in the end that her heart was full of Christian confidence and holy trust.
In the course of June, 1850, it was observed by her friends that her health was manifestly declining. She was advised to leave her employment at once, and seek in relaxation and change of scene the reestablishment of her health and the restoration of her accustomed vigor. Accordingly accompanied by her brother, she spent some three weeks of the month of July in various parts of Maine; but health did not come back to her. Disease was too deeply seated to be beguiled away.
She returned to her home but to languish and die. When the news of her mortal illness reached the Sabbath school, in which she had now been a faithful and beloved teacher for about a year, it produced the most intense interest and solicitude. All felt that a dearly beloved sister had become the victim of the destroyer. That, however, which was a source of unmingled grief in the beginning, became a sanctifying power in the end.
When first informed that it was feared her disease would terminate fatally, she betrayed the deepest emotion, with scarcely the utterance of a word. Her natural sensibility made the weight upon her spirits seem insupportable. But when the first shock was past and her powers had had time to rally, she was found equal to the trial that awaited her. That truth which she had long loved, and which had produced very little of that Christian display by which the world judges, had wrought silently but powerfully upon her understanding and her heart. It had begotten hopes in a naturally hopeful spirit, stronger than death itself.
When her pastor from time to time spoke to her of the labors and sacrifices of Christ, of the love of the Father and of the blessedness of immortality, leading her sometimes to meditate upon the highest forms of Christian truth, the smile of satisfaction that played upon her countenance, showed not only that her powers were equal to the effort, but that her heart was satisfied with its fruit.
Her disease, which was consumption, was of a very painful character, especially as regarded difficulty of breathing. She was compelled to sit up continually, almost to the hour of her death. Yet in the moment of expected dissolution, so generous was her nature, her heart was yearning for blessings on others rather than herself. At one time just before her death she requested her pastor to remember in his prayer an absent sister, that she might recover from a critical illness; and in one of his last interviews with her,
Thus died an excellent young woman, Oct. 2d, 1850, aged 24 years and 8 months. The strength of her trust and the depth of her Christian experience could be seen in her meek submission to suffering, in that remarkable patience which allowed not a word of murmuring to escape her lips through the whole progress of her disease, and which enabled her to believe that every providence of God is ordered in perfect wisdom.
Humble in her outward position, her spiritual attainments were of the most exalted character. The stores of excellence treasured in her heart were made manifest in the hour of great trial, and the Christian instruction to which she was accustomed to apply herself, begat the holiest resignation and the most confident trust.
The fact that this good was in no small degree wrought in the Sabbath school, should lead the Sabbath school teacher to understand the dignity and importance of his office, the opportunities he enjoys for directing the affections of the young heart, and the necessity of a large measure of Christian attainment to qualify him for the successful discharge of so great responsibilities. May the example of our departed sister be sanctified to the good of all thus employed.
“What do we go to the Sabbath school for?” asked a little boy of his companion who was some years older than himself, and who had, as I discovered by their conversation, attended the school for a long time, that is, compared with the time which many children, boys especially, think it of any use to go to the Sabbath school. Some boys when at the age of twelve or fourteen years, think they are too old to receive any benefit from Sabbath school instruction. Hearing the question of this little boy, and observing the look of intelligence and sincerity in his companion, and being desirous of knowing what answer would be given, I remained within hearing of their conversation, and will try to present to the scholars in our school, through the medium of “Our Gift,” the good reasons which he gave to his little companion, (who was his younger brother,) why he went to the Sabbath school.
Eld. B. I go because I like to go, and I like to go because I always enjoy myself there better than I do anywhere else. I find pleasure in the singing, in the prayer, and in the lessons. The lessons are not hard to learn when I understand them, and the learning of them is even a pleasant task; for my teacher has a way of making our lessons interesting to us, in hearing us recite. He asks us questions about the subject of the lesson before using the book, and he generally finds some interesting matter relating to it, and we become so much engaged that the time is gone before we are aware of it, and we have to stop and wait for the next session of the school.
Young. B. I like the school too, though I have been only twice. How old was you when you first went to the Sabbath school, brother?
Eld. B. I was seven years old, and I am now fourteen; and I mean to continue till I am able to take a class myself. I want to have the pleasure of being a teacher in our school, and I hope soon to do so, for the school is increasing very fast in numbers. There are a good many small children coming into the school, and I think that I shall be wanted, for I observe that there are not male teachers enough. Sometimes one teacher has to attend to two or more classes, and the time of a session in the school is not sufficient to do this with much advantage. What did you learn in twice going to the school? tell me that, and then we shall know, at least, what you went to the Sabbath school for.
Young. B. I will tell you. After I had said a short lesson, my teacher gave me a little piece called “The Child’s First Hymn,” which she said she found in a paper published in England. It was published for the children of the Sabbath schools of Old England. She said it would do for us, the children of New England, and wished me to learn it.
Eld. B. Well, brother, I am sure you have improved the few times that you have attended the school. Have you learned the hymn? and how do you like it? Let me hear you repeat it. I should like to know what the children are taught in the Sabbath schools of Old England. Will you please to repeat it to me?
Young. B I will. I did as well as I could. I have learned the hymn, and am much pleased with it. I think of it the last thing when I fall asleep at night, and awake in the morning with it on my mind. But I will repeat it to you, and you will see that I have not been to the Sabbath school, though for so short a time, for nothing.
The Child’s First Hymn.
Listen, Father, to my prayer,
Guard me with thy tender care;
Teach a humble child to know,
The path of duty here below.
Set a watch upon my heart,
Lest an evil thought should start;
Make me gentle, kind and good,
Through the Savior’s cleansing blood.
All I have, and all I see,
Ever comes, great God, from thee;
Help me from my earliest days,
In thankful hymns to sing thy praise.
Bless my parents with thy grace,
On my kindred turn thy face;
Through the darkness of the night,
Give me rest till morning bright.
Teach me day by day thy will,
With pure love my spirit fill,
Till I’m fitted for that rest,
In the mansions of the blest.
Eld. B. It is indeed a very pretty hymn, and I am glad you have learned it so well. I hope you will never forget it. Here comes my teacher; and as it will be ten minutes before the school commences, we shall have time for conversation.
Here the teacher drew near and spoke to the boys:—
Teach. Good morning, my boys; how do you do, this fine morning?
Eld. B. Good morning, sir; we are well, I thank you.
Teach. You are in good season this morning, and I am glad to see that you are. It is so much better to be before our time, than to be a little late. We get along so much better with the business of the school, and have time to converse together. Besides, to be in school at the opening of the exercises, shows that you value and wish to improve its privileges.
Eld. B. We were talking about the school, and why we go there. I told my brother that I went because I like to go. Will you please to tell us the advantages of attendance on the Sabbath school?
Teach. I will, my dear boys, so far as I can. It is well to know what we are doing, how we are accomplishing our work, and what is to be the result of our labors.
Eld. B. I am very often asked what I learn at the Sabbath school, and I sometimes answer that I learn what there is in the Bible, and that my lessons are subjects derived principally from that book.
Teach. You answer rightly so far. You might add, also, that you learn by the example of others. Do you see punctuality? You will learn to be punctual. Do you see system in the arrangement of the school, in the method of instruction, in the library department, and in the general discipline of the school? You will be orderly and correct in your deportment.
Eld. B. As I am almost old enough to be a teacher, and desire to take a class as soon as I am wanted, I should like to know the best way to make my scholars interested in their studies, so that they will attend and be correct with their lessons.
Teach. It is often the case that children feel no interest or pleasure in the school, because they do not understand its object. They may recite well, so far as to repeat the words of the lesson, yet if it be above their capacity, they will not be benefited.
Eld. B. This has been the case with me sometimes. After I had recited my lesson correctly by the book, I have felt that I did not know much about it, and did not understand what I had learned to repeat.
Teach. It is of great importance in teaching that the subject should be presented to the pupil in the simplest form possible, that he may be profited by his instructions. I read an anecdote the other day which illustrates this matter, and I will repeat it to you. “It is related of Dr. Green, of Philadelphia, that in early life he was one day returning from the services of the sanctuary, and was accosted by a woman in the humble walks of life. She found difficulty in understanding him, and took the liberty of giving her youthful pastor a hint. ’Mr. Green,’ says she ‘what do you think is the great duty of the shepherd?’ ‘No doubt, to feed the flock, madam,’ was the reply.
Eld. B. What are the results of attendance on the Sabbath school?
Teach. That question we answer, partly in faith, and partly by knowledge. Faith is good;—and we know that our school is a good school; we know that we enjoy ourselves there; and we know what is learned there is good. It is there that divine influences and joyful communions fill with gladness the hour. We enjoy them, and if we could say no more, we think that this would be sufficient.
Eld. B. That is true.
Teach. But that is not all; the results go still further. They are not confined to the hour passed in the schoolroom. The scholar is better and happier for having been there. Is it not so with you?
Eld. B. Yes sir; I always feel better when I have been to the school. When I have said my lesson, conversed upon the subject of it, and obtained my library book, I am always glad to have been there.
Teach. Your answer is full of hope and promise; for if you now find your enjoyment in learning the things of the Kingdom of God, those evil days will never come to you, when you will say you have no pleasure in them. The Sabbath school scholar who is prompt in his duty is in a safe path,—one which, while affording happiness by the way, results in the fulness of joy. To him the example of Christ is an example of love and goodness, drawing him to the Father by these divine influences and attractions. “He sees God, not only as the Creator, but as he is manifested in the world, by his providence, which shows us that he not only made the world, but that he makes the world; that he is the same in the creation of the flowers and streams as in the creation of storms and tempests; that he is not far off, but near, ever blessing us with the favors of his parental providence; that his power is over everything; that motion is his power, for there can be no motion without mind; that God is present in the child. It cannot live by bread alone. Communion must be held with God—spirit with spirit.”
It is recorded of our Savior that he was led into the waters, and was buried in baptism; the Spirit descended upon him; he heard the encouragement of that voice which proclaimed his Sonship to the Most High, and in the enjoyment of that holy time he came up from the river. Then came the tempter; in the strength of the spirit of the baptism, he resisted the temptation, and was victorious over all its forms. So with the object and mission of our Sabbath schools. You are led to the river of divine truth, that you may be baptized in its pure waters. You are there shown the Father, and we trust that when you go out into the world, you will, in the strength of your Sabbath school baptism, resist and overcome all temptation to wrong, and being always engaged for the right, and living in the light of the gospel, you will pass through life undefined; thus may a Christian character be the result of your attendance on the Sabbath school.
He who rightly understands life, will not fear death, he who has learned to trust, will never cease to hope. He who always cherishes a love of right, will never be without God in the world.
Treasures.—Knowledge and virtue are the greatest treasures in the universe.
Gratitude.—Every faithful Sabbath school teacher has the unfailing gratitude of his class.
Faith is the eye with which the mind surveys the future.
It was the season of vacation, when children’s minds are given to play, instead of study. It was during this interval, that a little girl, whom we will call Jane, came from a neighboring town to visit one of her school-mates, another little girl, whose name we will call Emily.
The disposition of Emily was very different from that of Jane. She was always pleasant and kind, willing to confer favors upon others, even though she should not receive the same in return. Jane was ill-tempered, told wrong stories, and did many things which rendered her a very disagreeable companion. Her parents could see no fault in her, therefore she was permitted to give way to her temper, which was the cause of her losing friends and gaining enemies. When she was in these violent fits of passion she would accuse her companions of things which would wound their feelings very much. During vacation, Emily accepted an invitation which had been given her to spend a few days with Jane.
She enjoyed herself very much while there and invited Jane to come and see her. Soon after Jane went to visit Emily. The first part of the time, she enjoyed very much; but as her visit was drawing to a close, she gave way to a violent fit of temper. She took this opportunity to relate to Emily many things her parents said about her after she had left them. She told her that if she knew what her father and mother said about her, she would never visit them
In my experience, both as teacher and scholar, I have observed among the young those who read a great many books, but at the end appear but little wiser. They may have a confused and indistinct recollection of events and characters, and may be able perhaps to follow out the plan of a story. Out of the mass that they have read they may have retained a great many facts; but being without connection or object, they are nearly useless. Bad habits are formed, their reading is to no purpose, and their time, therefore, misspent.
I fear there are too few among those whose years should enable them to understand and appreciate the objects for which we live, that do appreciate them. There are too many who suppose that reading is only a very pleasant amusement. They think of printing as a very ingenious invention, and have no thought higher. They may look about and see a great deal of misery and unhappiness; but its alleviation is nothing to them. “The great mission of life” is something that is very well to be talked of in the pulpit, and ministers and reformers will accomplish it, no doubt. But life has no responsibilities for them.
One of our first duties is to seek our own moral and intellectual culture. Let both these portions of our nature be cultivated together. Do not separate them, for by so doing both are threatened with danger. Heart without mind is generally weak, but mind without heart is always dangerous. Do not suppose because you have left the schoolroom and no longer have lessons set, and are no longer reprimanded if they are not committed, that your education is finished. Rather regard the school as the place where you shall learn to study, life as your term-time, and consider your education finished when there is nothing more for you to learn. It is not necessary that study should be confined to books. Accustom yourself to study actions and their influences and effects. Public lectures, conversations, in short, every event of your life, will present questions, and your own mind, with a little reflection, will present the answers. If it does not, do not let the fear of ridicule prevent your asking.
But it is through books, chiefly, that we are to look for improvement. Every person should appropriate some part of each day to reading. Young persons should early be taught the advantages of a method for appropriating their time. Let each duty have its time. In this way much time is saved. Let the time you appropriate to reading be one that will be the least liable to interruption. Defer it not, if it can be avoided, till late in the evening, when you are wearied with the fatigues of the day.
At the present day, when books are so easily obtained, there is no need of the excuse of inability to procure them. Circulating libraries are easy of access,—though caution should be used in selecting from them,—and each Sabbath school has a library open for all. There has been much said, and much written about books of fiction, whether they may be read with safety by the young. Fiction as such need not be condemned, though works of fiction should be sparingly read. But if read at all, let them be selected by persons of experience. There is much in the current fiction of the day that is pernicious and unfit for publication.
But if we set aside the light reading, there are standard works enough to furnish reading for one generation. The better newspapers of the day should be carefully read. The newspapers of this week are the history of the world for this week. In each particular branch of literature there are books without number, not only worthy of perusal, but deserving of careful study. In history we have Rollin, Hume, Smollet, Prescott, Macaulay, and Robertson. Philosophy, theology, and science, each in its turn, brings names as illustrious.
But there is one book above all others. Never complain for want of reading while we have such historians as Moses, poets before whom Shakspeare dwindles into insignificance, philosophers of a higher and holier school, and truths that exceed the most astonishing fictions. Where has Scott a heroine that can compare with Ruth? Grand as are the beauties of the Bible, life-giving as is its wisdom, and imperishable as are its truths, it is too frequently left unread.
As a general thing, too much is read; more than can be well retained. One page well read is more beneficial than a whole volume merely glanced over. Never read the second line until the first is fully understood. Make the author’s sentiments your own. In reading history it is highly important you should have a clear idea of the locality where the events occurred. I have found by experience that the best method deeply to impress what I have read, is to have at hand writing materials, and after each reading write out as fully as possible whatever new idea has been presented. But in all that you read, keep in view the great object of your reading,—Self Improvement.
The morning breaks. A hundred voices rise,
In shouts of gladness echoing to the skies.
The happy time draws near, the day is fair,
To festive scenes and rural joys repair.
Bright expectation gleams from every face,
And lighter footsteps bend with eager pace;
Children and parents, pastor, people, all
With one accord obey the welcome call;
And hand in hand, along the path they wind,
As heart responds to heart a greeting kind,
To hold in verdant temples high and broad,
Commune with Nature and with Nature’s God.
It is profitable for us to meditate on such a character as Christ’s, if by dwelling upon it we become even in one respect like him. The more we know of him, the more we shall love him; for his character is love. We should imitate the example of Mary, who was first at the door of the sepulchre where Jesus was laid. She had great love for him, and her faith in him was as strong as her love. She was not a stranger to the miracles which he performed while here on earth. She had seen him, and she knew that in him perfection dwelt. So we should try to be first in doing any act of kindness or benevolence, not in a spirit of unholy emulation, but from a love of doing good. By cultivating this spirit we shall be happy in life, and prepared for death. We shall be far happier than those who seek worldly honors; and more than all, we shall leave a name behind us more precious than fame or wealth can bestow. When I was young as are many of you to whom I am now speaking, I had not the privilege of worshipping God as we now do. I was taught that a greater part of the human family will be destroyed, and will have no part in the heavenly kingdom. But thanks be to God that he has now opened the eyes of many to see him a Father to the fatherless, and a sure help in time of need. When such thoughts take possession of the heart, we view him in his true character.
In order to serve him as we ought, we should commence in youth. Christ said, “they that seek me early shall find me.” The whole life is short, if happily spent in his service. We have every encouragement to trust wholly in his kind care and keeping, for his watchful eye is ever over us. If you seek Christ in youth, nothing will be lost, but much will be gained. When I look back upon the early days of my life, I regard them as lost to the true service of Christ. It was impressed upon my young mind, that God was filled with anger and wrath; and still I was told that I must love him with my whole heart. I am sorry to say it, but I fear I had no true love for him at that time. If the path in which I have walked has been desolate and dreary, I do not desire that others should walk in it. If God is seen in his true loveliness, the young, as well as the old, will love his holy name.
In this regard, I think much good can be done in the Sabbath school, and many profitable and lasting impressions may be made upon the young mind. I cannot think we meet together every Sabbath in vain. The blessing of God will surely rest upon us, and we shall be profited by our assemblings. We must not be forgetful of God, for he is not forgetful of us. When we lie down on our pillow at night, we ought not to close our eyes to sleep without thanking him for his kind care of us through the day; and in the morning we should thank him for his watchful care through the night.
In time of sorrow and trouble we at once fly to him. This is right; but still it is our duty and privilege to call on him in time of prosperity as well as in time of adversity, never forgetting to seek his divine blessing. Without this we cannot enjoy life, or be prepared for death. And when the days on earth are all passed, and we are called to lay ourselves on the bed of death, if we can but look back upon a life well spent, it will smooth the pillow of pain, and make even death itself sweet.
Salvation is the right direction of all one’s powers and activities.
Hope is the sunshine of the soul.