Elizabeth Fry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 232 pages of information about Elizabeth Fry.

None but a parent whose spiritual life was pure, true, and deep, could feel such a constant solicitude about the spiritual progress and education of her family.  Nor was this solicitude confined to the membership of her own circle.  All who in any way assisted in her special department of philanthropy were councilled, wisely and kindly, to act rather than preach the gospel of Christ.  In communications of this sort we find the newly-appointed matrons to the convict-ships advised to show their faith more by conduct than profession; to avoid “religious cant;” to be prudent and circumspect; to have discretion, wisdom and meekness.  So she passed through life; the faithful friend, the patient, wise mother, the meek, tender wife, the succorer of all in distress.  Everyone felt free to go to her with their troubles; a reverse of circumstances, a sick child, a bad servant, or turn of sickness, all called forth her ready aid, and her wise, far-seeing judgment.  And even in the last months of her life, when, worn out with service and pain, she was slowly going down to the gates of death, her children and grandchildren were cut off suddenly by scarlet fever, she bowed resignedly to the Hand which had sent “sorrow upon sorrow.”  And when she who had been as a tower of strength to all around her, was reduced to the weakness of childhood by intense suffering, the survivors clung yet more closely to her, as if they could not let her go.  So as physical strength declined, she actually grew stronger and brighter in mental and moral power.  The deep and painful tribulations which characterized her later years, but refined and purified the gold of her nature.



It must be remembered that Mrs. Fry’s goodness was many-sided.  Her charity did not expend itself wholly on prisons and lunatic asylums.  It is right that, once in a while, characters of such superlative excellence should appear in our midst.  Right, because otherwise the light of charity would grow dim, the distinguishing graces of Christianity, flat and selfish, and individual faith be obscured in the lapse of years, or the follies and fashions of modern life.  Such saints were Elizabeth of Hungary, around whose name legend and story have gathered, crowning her memory with beauty; Catherine of Sienna, who was honored by the whole Christian Church of the fourteenth century, and canonized for her goodness; and Sarah Martin, the humble dressmaker of Yarmouth, who, in later times, has proved how possible it is to render distinguished service in the cause of humanity by small and lowly beginnings, ultimately branching out into unexpected and remarkable ramifications.  One can almost number such saints of modern life on the fingers; but for all that, their examples have stimulated a host of lesser lights who still keep alive the savor of Christianity in our midst; and towering above all her contemporaries in the grandeur of her deeds and words, Mrs. Fry still lives in song and story.

Project Gutenberg
Elizabeth Fry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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