« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
And the victim was given to God, in old time,
Then weep not !-Ah me! as I say it, I weep;
Dear mother ! I turn to each birth-day of thine ;-
Yet murmur not, murmur not: His the decree
Hannah Neale married, in early life, John Dalton, Esq., of Peckham. Possessing a natural strength of mind, very much akin to that of her brothers, and a warmth of affection which
especially manifested itself in unremitting care and watchfulness over her children, she lived only to see her eldest son attain his sixteenth year, and died May 5th, 1822, but a few days after the birth of her twelfth child, leaving nine to mourn their loss. Her affection for all the members of her family was strong; but for her youngest brother, Cornelius, it was ardent indeed ; and she was most sincerely beloved by him. Death separated this brother and sister but one year and a quarter.
Samuel, the second brother, received his education, as well as the others, at Paul's Cray; and in October, 1806, commenced his academical career, having entered at Queen's College, Cambridge. He was a regular student, but of excessive and even painful shyness, so that he kept very little society in college. He took his degree of A. B. in 1810, and was eighth wrangler. Soon after leaving the University, he entered on the curacy of St. Martin's, Leicester ; where, for the best part of two years, he laboured, with a zeal beyond his strength, in the service of that Master whom he had early learned to love. He was (according to the testimony of his brother Cornelius) an indefatigable visitor of the sick and poor. By his sermons, which were long, and delivered with a loud voice, added to his other exertions, he brought on, in the course of the year 1812, a cough, which, in a short space of time, assumed all the regular appearances of pulmonary consumption. His brother Cornelius came to Leicester, and for many months attended upon him; and finally brought him up to London, to their sister's residence at Camberwell, where he died December 30th of that year.
Cornelius, the subject of this memoir, was, as has already been stated, the youngest son in the family. But, before entering upon a further account of him, a few more particulars are worthy to be recorded concerning his venerable mother, who had so considerable a share in forming and directing his character.
This excellent person, previously to her marriage (which did not take place till the thirtyseventh year of her age), was in the habit of large correspondence with some eminent Christians and ministers. One of her confidential friends was Mr. Fletcher, of Madeley, Shropshire. Afterwards she was acquainted and corresponded with Mr. Newton, Mr. Romaine, and Mr. Cecil: with the last-mentioned she consulted upon important occasions, especially previously to placing her sons at school. Before her death she ordered large packets of letters to be destroyed, or helped to destroy them herself. These were known to be, many of them, from the above-named correspondents. Her son Cornelius often expressed his wonder at this decision; but thought it like her, to wish to avoid ostentation. It was, also, in accordance with a temper which, as she advanced in years, became remarkably reserved, and averse to speak of her own spiritual experience, perhaps to a fault: but her favourite Benjamin was gone, as were all her old Christian friends; and her spirits were latterly much depressed.
A few passages, selected from her letters, may have a useful tendency in exciting parents to the great duties of watchfulness and prayer on behalf of their children. It will be seen here with what earnestness, simplicity of mind and perseverance, she bore upon her heart the spiritual interests of her family ; and though her intercessions on behalf of this her youngest son were the last answered, and did not indeed receive their desired accomplishment till after her death, yet the answer, when it came, was indeed full and overflowing. Besides writing letters, she was accustomed, also, on some of the birth-days of her children, to give utterance to her feelings in verse. Several of these compositions still remain. They are characterized by simplicity, feeling, and an easy-flowing harmony; but sometimes deviate so far from the ordinary rules of verse that they will not bear transcription at any length. In her lines on Cornelius's birth-day in 1796, when he completed his seventh year, referring probably to his recovery from some severe illness, she acknowledges the mercy
Of dire disease rebuk’d, and health vouchsaf’d;"
More than ten years after, she alludes to these verses; and quotes some of them, in the course very
affectionate letter to her son ; from the opening of which it is to be inferred that he was in the habit, generally, of greeting her birthdays with poetical epistles. She thus writes to him.
“ December 9th, 1806. “My dear Cornelius,
“I was not willing one day should elapse, without thanking you for your remembrance of me, and the affection expressed in your verses, &c. Will you permit me to say, I like these
better than your former ones.
. I do not now allude to the poetry; I do not think myself a competent judge of that; but I view with real pleasure more seriousness in them. I have been watching over my dear children's minds from their early days, (I will not say as those who watch for the morning,) to see when I could discover any streak, which could give me the pleasing prospect that the day was beginning to dawn, and the day-star arising upon the tender mind. This, through the superabounding mercy of my God, I have seen. On my dear Benjamin's birth-day in 1796, I wrote a few very poor humble lines in imitation of blank verse.
This I have no doubt is accomplished : the dawn in his dear mind has given way to the perfect day; his path is, indeed, like the path of the just, shining brighter and brighter. And may I not indulge the pleasing thought, that my dear Cornelius begins to see men as trees walking ?—that some bright spot indicates the break of day?
“ That same year I wrote upon your birth-day, and find at the conclusion these lines :
O hear the breathings of thy feeble dust!
“ I should not have quoted these poor lines, but as an indication that I was praying, and looking to discover some change in the state of my dear offspring.
“ () what can equal the importance of a divine