Page images
PDF
EPUB

puts up from the lake, between the you that setting sun? Though it may rugged mountain on one side, and set to-night in darkness, yet it will the southern skirt of the glen on rise again to-morrow, and rise perthe other. The clouds in a lower- haps in far brighter glory. But soon ing day are always seen to rest on my sun will set to rise no more.” It the summit of the mountains which may rise, said I, in eternity. The arise on each side of the ravine, poor Pensioner, for such I learned which stretches off to the east of he was, was silent; and I could see the cottage. Half way up these the tear standing in his eye, as with heights the eagle builds her nest, a worthy hospitality he invited me without fear of molestation, and into his cottage to remain for the seems to look down from her con- night. I could not accept the inviscious elevation in defiance of man tation, but promised to call on the below. The white-washed cottage, following morning. I then took my and the swelling mountains have a leave of him; and as we glided pleasing and imposing effect, when swiftly, down the lake, aided by a viewed from the water. It was here, stiff breeze, I could not avoid reone evening, I requested the boat- volving in my mind the adventures men to land me, as I was returning of the evening. Early in the folfrom the excursions of the day. lowing morning, I left my lodgings

There are seasons in the life of for the Pensioner's cottage. The almost every man, when he needs aged man was waiting to receive me, not the formality of an introduction and did receive me with all the corto a stranger to enable him to com- diality of an old acquaintance. I mence an acquaintance. The mind found in the cottage of this poor, is in such a state of buoyancy and but worthy man, all that neatness good feeling, that we feel every and industry could do to make him stranger whom we meet to be an comfortable and happy; for at best acquaintance, and every human be- his health was but poor, and he aping our brother. Such were my peared to be sinking to the grave, feelings, as I walked leisurely for- under the accumulated weight of ward towards an elderly and vener- infirmity and years. Though he able looking man, who sat beside seemed to possess an imagination his humble dwelling, enjoying the which could soar above the mouncalm pleasures of the evening. After tains which surrounded him, and the usual salutation of strangers he visit the busy abodes of man beyond invited me to take a seat beside him. them; yet he appeared like one insuI soon found that I had introduced lated, and shut out from the bustle myself to a plain, open-hearted, but and perplexities of the world, and, poor man, upon whose head proba- with few regrets, could have parted bly sixty winters had shed their with it for ever. There was, howsnows. His countenance was intel- ever, the love of one tender object, ligent, though there was an expres which attached him to life. Nothing sion' of sorrow upon it. He seemed could exceed the filial affection of to possess an intellect endowed his lovely daughter, over whom the with good sense, of a sober, medi- fond father had doated for seventative cast. He pourtrayed in lively teen years. Her mother had died colours the beauties of the scenery in her infancy, and to the bereaved around him, which shewed that he father had been left the sole care had not yet become insensible to and superintendance of the educathe charms of nature by the lapse tion of his infant child. His other of years. He adverted also to the children had been snatched away, , fast approaching hour when he one after another; and it was not a should no longer be animated by wonder that the affections of the these scenes. ~ Stranger," said he, mourning father had taken such firm with seriousness and emphasis, “ see hold of his daughter, since she was

all that now remained of a once hope thou hast: sanctified mine. I numerous family. The war-worn know thou art able to save it. I deveteran gave me a minute history of dicate my child to thee. I leave it his life. He related his most inte. in thy arms. Thou wilt not. suffer resting adventures in the Revolu. it to perish from thy own arms. tionary struggle. He had been ad- Thou wilt remember thy ancient vanced to a station of some honour covenant and promise. I give my and trust in the American army, child to thee. Blessed Saviour ! was placed near the body of his accept my humble offering.”—Her general, and had served in many voice failed. These were her last daring and hazardous enterprises. words ;-she soon expired. Oh! He had cultivated the fields of this Mr. E., you know not how good a little glen, while he had been able woman my wife was. I have often to labour, and from them he had heard her in the thicket just by us, gleaned a scanty though comfort. or yonder, where once stood a little able support. In one corner of his hovel, earnestly engaged in prayer little farm, he pointed out the graves for me. If any are Christians, I have of his wife and children. My no doubt she was one. And my sweet Jane," said the old man with beloved Jane was not so like her tears, « is the very image of her mother as she is now, till two years mother, whom I laid here almost ago, when a Missionary called here seventeen years ago. She has the two or three times, and gave her same temper, and manifests the that little Bible you saw standing same assiduity to make me happy. upon her shelf. For a time I wishShe knows little of the mother she ed my daughter had never seen the has lost ; though often, as she has Missionary, she was so unhappy. sat on my knee in her childhood, She could do nothing but read her has she wept when I told her the Bible, and weep. But after a timre story of her mother. I used often her mourning was turned to joy, and to tell her of the virtues of her of she has been ever since beseeching whom both she and myself were me to be a Christian. She is just bereft, that I might, if possible, what her mother used to be, and ofform her mind upon the same model; ten have I heard her praying for me, for it was that very mother who in the same manner and place as taught me, that to be conversant her mother used to pray. I was with virtue is, in a measure, to be- once a disbeliever in the Christian come virtuous ourselves.” And was religion—thought it all to be the your daughter always assiduous to device of man; and, for a long time promote your welfare as now ? “ No, after I married my wife, I thought she was not always so. Though she was a visionary, under the influshe possessed an amiable temper, yetence of a heated imagination. But she used sometimes to manifest the upon a candid and impartial exawaywardness of youth. Never shall mination of her feelings and conI forget the prayers of my poor dy- duct, I was fully convinced that ing wife, that her infant child might they sprang from pure and steady be spared in mercy to its father, and principles, of which I had no expebe to me all that she would have rience. To witness, as I do daily, been, had her life been prolonged. how religion influences all the conNever shall I forget her last petition duct of my Jane, and makes her for her little offspring, as she press- happy under all circumstances, serves ed it to her expiring bosom, for the to make me believe how blissful is last time, and then holding it in her the lot of those who possess it." He feeble arms, she said, “ Blessed drew a deep sigh, and would have Saviour! I beseech thee to be the proceeded; for I perceived he was God of my child, as thou hast been interested in the subject. But the my God-to sanctify its heart as I approach of a boat to the shore drew our attention, and we walked make me as one of thy hired serforward to meet it. It conveyed a vants.” At this moment I heard a small party of young people, who had sobbing, and the old man burst into called to pay their compliments to tears. In a few minutes all was the Pensioner and his daughter. As hushed. “Father," said the daughthe day was far spent, I took my ter beseechingly, “ God will receive leave of the whole party, not with- you if you go to him as the prodigal out leaving a promise that I would went to his father." “ Kneel down call frequently. I had become but beside me, my dear Jane," said the little acquainted with that lovely Pensioner. “Oh! Thou, who didst daughter on whom the old man lean- cause light to shine out of darkness, ed for support. There was some shine into my benighted soul. Thou, thing so retiring about her, and yet who didst receive the repenting, reso winning ; so simple, and yet so turning prodigal, receive me, who elegant; so humble, and yet so ex- am worse than the prodigal." After alted, that I could not but admire a a pause-" It will not do I cannot character made up of such contrast- -Oh, Jane, pray for me." Jane did ed qualities. I had learned enough pray for him; and I could not but to know that she was intelligent weep as I listened to her earnest without ostentation, and modest supplications for her poor father, and without awkwardness. There was join my prayers with hers for his something in the character of the relief. She soon ceased, and I old man which I did not understand would have retreated. But I could He was frank and generous, but he not go ; for now was explained what seemed not to admit me to the had been so mysterious, and I dedeepest feelings of his bosom. He sired to learn what I had failed to was cheerful, but he was not happy. learn before, and if possible to ad. Something seemed to lie with weight minister relief. The old man openupon his mind.

ed the door, and seemed surprised at With almost the dawn of the first seeing me ; but such was his salufair day, I betook myself to my tation that I knew I was not unboat, intending to take the cotta- welcome. He was aware that I was gers by surprise, and sit down with acquainted with his situation, and them to their' cheerful breakfast. did not endeavour to conceal it. I The sun had risen, and was begin- stepped forward, and took from the ning to pour down his cheerful beams shelf a neat little Bible which seemalong the ravine, between the high ed to have been preserved with care mountains, when I arrived at the though much used. The eyes of the glen. All was still, except the far- daughter, which lately had been sufoff whistling watermen, who were fused with tears, now beamed with urging their boats in various direc- joy and hope. I opened to the fiftytions over the clear, blue lake; and first Psalm, and read it. I commentI saw no living creature around the ed upon the nature, necessity, and cottage, except the large Newfound- reasonableness of true repentance. I land mastiff, which lay by the door. endeavoured to shew that repentance As I approached the dwelling I would be acceptable to God, through thought I heard a voice. It was the the sacrifice and mediation of Jesus clear, sweet voice of the daughter, Christ. The old man was moved, reading the parable of the Prodigal and the countenance of his daughter Son. I approached nearer. She brightened with joy, as she said, read with an emphatic but tremu- . “ Father, I know repentance to be lous tone of voice, “ I will arise, a happy feeling." The interest this and go to my father, and will say to little family manifested in my wel. him, Father, I have sinned against fare was much increased by this Heaven, and before thee, and am no morning's visit. I had been revealmore worthy to be called thy son ; ed to them in a new character; and

they regarded me not only as a to-night.” The shadows of evenfriend, but also as a Christian. I ing were fast falling. As we could learned from the daughter the descry nothing of the daughter, we history of her father's feelings for returned to the cottage. It was several months past. It was more not long before the portending storm than six months since he began to came on with great violence, and look forward, with seriousness, to a the waters were swept by one of future world; and for many weeks those terrible gusts with which he had been in much the same state Lake George is sometimes visited. of mind as that in which I now The heaving and white. foaming saw him. In my further intercourse billows of the lake made a gloomy with him that day, I was convinced contrast with the surrounding darkthat he was anxious to secure the ness. A deep dusk hung over the better portion ; but he was selfish. face of things, and we could disHe was deeply convinced of sin, cern only enough to see the havock yet he would not repent. His which the storm was making abroad. anxiety was not produced by fear, As we sat silently by the window but by conviction.

. looking out upon this scene, we For several successive days I was thought we heard cries of distress. a constant visitor at the cottage. I In a moment we .were upon the endeavoured to instruct him; but all beach. But it was so dark that we was to no purpose. Indeed it was not could distinguish objects only at a Decessary. He was well instructed little distance. All was again hushin his duty. But there seemed to ed, except the troubled billows, be an unyielding obduracy in his and howling blast, and we stood heart which endeavoured to reject listening in breathless silence. Again every offer of mercy. His obsti- we heard a cry. It was the last. Dacy was not so open and tumultu- The old Pensioner's heart died within ous as steady and persevering. He him, for he knew it was the voice knew it to be wrong, but he would of his daughter. The sound seemed not overcome it. The principles of to proceed from some one not far a depraved heart were in vigorous from the shore. At this moment and successful exercise.

the mastiff, which stood beside us, One evening, as I was returning plunged into the waves. He was from the excursions of the day, I gone a long time, but at length rethought I would run my boat into turned bearing by his mouth the the cove by the Pensioner's dwel drowned girl. We made every efling. A heavy cloud was hovering fort to resuscitate the lifeless body, in the west, which seemed to pre- but all was unavailing. The soul sage a storm; and, as I was alone, I had left its earthly tenement, and scarcely dared to attempt the voy- flown to another and heavenly age homeward. On going on shore world. We carried the body of poor I found the old man; but his daugh- Jane into the cottage, and laid it on ter had gone. I was told she had the humble couch it had so often been sent for by a sick friend, whom occupied. The poor old man seemshe had been accustomed to visit. ed alive to all those heart-rending It was about sun-set when we walk- pangs which his forlorn condition ed down to the beach, to look out now made him realize. His feel. for the boat which should bring ings were the feelings of despair. home the sole comfort of her anxi He sat down by the bedside of her ous father. “I do not much like who lately was so lovely-hid his face that dark cloud yonder,” said the in both his hands, and burst into a old man as we stood upon the shore. flood of tears. I would have soothed “ Though my sweet Jane has never him, but I knew I could not. After slept from under the paternal roof, the first paroxysms of agony and I hope she will not attempt to return grief had subsided, by degrees he grew more calm. But I thought Here, Lord, I am - do with me as his calmness was incapacity to en- seemeth good to thee." - The Pendure such poignant grief, and that sioner ceased his heart was melted he was exhausted by the tempest within him. The thoughts of the of his feelings. I could see by his dead no longer occupied his mind. countenance that there was not peace There was a glow of fervour upon within. The cottage was still as his countenance. His soul seemed the mansion of death. While the to be elevated above this world, bereaved father sat, intently view. holding communion with its God. ing the inanimate features of his We were both silent; but I trust we child, the last ray of hope seemed both prayed.-I cannot tell all that to expire, and there was no longer happened on that night. It is sufa tieto bind him to earth. That ficient to say we spent the night in night was dreadful to us both. The prayer by the bedside of Jane. The storm was raging fearfully without, murmuring spirit of the father seemwhile all was hushed like the silence ed to be hushed into meek submisof the tomb within. The old Pen- sion. He could kiss the hand by sioner was the first to interrupt the which he was smitten, and thank stilness. “I did not think that the his heavenly Father for the chastiseflower, which bloomed so sweetly ment. There was a pleasing serein the morning, would be so wither- nity upon his countenance, even in ed and dead at night. Oh! Jane, the chamber of death, which seem. Jane! It is hard to part with thee ed to say, All is well.-for ever too !-in one short hour With the early light of the next torn from my aged arms!” His morning, I went out to visit the feelings were too big for utterance, neighbouring settlement, to invite the and his voice faultered. But he attendance of two or three female struggled hard for self-possession, friends, to perform their last offices and soon resumed : “ I was always of kindness for the deceased, and to poor-but never so poor as now. make the other necessary arrangeOh! Jane, how fondly have I nou- ments for her funeral. As I walked rished thee! Seventeen years thou along towards my boat, I observed hast been my sole companion ! How a little skiff stranded upon the beach. kind wast thou to me, my daughter! It was the same which conveyed

Thou art gone. Shall I never more Jane so near the paternal dwelling, hear from thee the fervent prayer for the preceding evening. This cirthy poor father-never more hear cumstance, and a hat, which lay at thy kind entreaty to be reconciled a little distance, told me that Jane to God? Ah never! Oh! that I Mandeville was not the only person might be what thou wast, when who had been the victim of a watery thou left thy father's dwelling ! But death. The melancholy tidings of there is no hope for me.” Here the the catastrophe of the preceding old man again burst into tears. After evening were soon spread wide ; and a short pause,“ Yes, I have one deep was the feeling excited in resource. I will arise, I will go to every breast along the shores of my Father, and will say, Father I Lake George. The next day was have sinned against Heaven, and be- the Sabbath ; and there was sadfore thee, and am not worthy to be ness upon the countenances of those called thine.-Oh! Saviour of sin- who convened at the glen. The ners ! let me come to thee-let me mourners were not relatives ; for call thee my Father! I have no friend old Mandeville had none-remaining. but thee.--I have abused thee. But they had known Jane in her abused thy mercy.--I am the chief childhood-had known her in her of sinners !-Oh! gracious Saviour, riper years; and many were the I come to thee ashamed, and guilty. tears wbich were shed that day If I perish, I will perish at thy feet. upon her coffin. The Missionary

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »