Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“You are right,” replied I; “then I pray you to read to me from the Bible.”

Susannah made no reply, but resumed her seat, and selecting those chapters most appropriate to my situation, read them in a beautiful and impressive tone.

Chapter LXIII

     Pride and love at issue—­the latter is victorious—­I turn Quaker
     and recommence my old profession.

If the reader will recall my narrative to his recollection, he must observe, that religion had had hitherto but little of my thoughts.  I had lived the life of most who live in this world; perhaps not quite so correct in morals as many people, for my code of morality was suited to circumstances; as to religion, I had none.  I had lived in the world, and for the world.  I had certainly been well instructed in the tenets of our faith when I was at the Asylum, but there, as in most other schools, it is made irksome, as a task, and is looked upon with almost a feeling of aversion.  No proper religious sentiments are, or can be, inculcated to a large number of scholars; it is the parent alone who can instil, by precept and example, that true sense of religion, which may serve as a guide through life.  I had not read the Bible from the time that I quitted the Foundling Hospital.  It was new to me, and when I now heard read, by that beautiful creature, passages equally beautiful, and so applicable to my situation, weakened with disease, and humbled in adversity, I was moved, even unto tears.

Susannah closed the book and came to the bedside.  I thanked her:  she perceived my emotion, and when I held out my hand she did not refuse hers.  I kissed it, and it was immediately withdrawn, and she left the room.  Shortly afterwards Ephraim made his appearance.  Cophagus and his wife also came that evening, but I saw no more of Susannah Temple until the following day, when I again requested her to read to me.

I will not detain the reader by an account of my recovery.  In three weeks I was able to leave the room; during that time, I had become very intimate with the whole family, and was treated as if I belonged to it.  During my illness I had certainly shown more sense of religion than I had ever done before, but I do not mean to say that I was really religious.  I liked to hear the Bible read by Susannah, and I liked to talk with her upon religious subjects; but had Susannah been an ugly old woman, I very much doubt if I should have been so attentive.  It was her extreme beauty—­her modesty and fervour, which so became her, which enchanted me.  I felt the beauty of religion, but it was through an earthly object; it was beautiful in her.  She looked an angel, and I listened to her precepts as delivered by one.  Still, whatever may be the cause by which a person’s attention can be directed to so important a subject, so generally neglected, whether by fear of death, or by love towards an earthly object, the advantages are the same; and although very far from what I ought to have been, I certainly was, through my admiration of her, a better man.

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Japhet, in Search of a Father from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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