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GOSPEL FOR THE POOR.
The Lord Jesus, who went about doing good, has left us an example that we should follow his steps. Christians, on whom he has bestowed affluence, rank, or talent, should be the last to disdain their fellow-men, or to look with indifference on indigence and grief. Pride, unseemly in all, is detestable in them who confess that by grace they are saved. Their Lord and Redeemer, who humbled himself by assuming their nature, came to deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper. And surely, an object, which was not unworthy of the Son of God cannot be unworthy of any who are called by his name. Their wealth and opportunities, their talents and time, are not their own, nor to be used according to their own pleasure, but to be consecrated by their vocation as fellow-workers with God. How many hands that hang down would be lifted up ! how many feeble knees confirmed ! how many tears wiped away ! how many victims of despondency and infamy rescued by a close imitation of Jesus Christ! Go with your opulence to the house of famine and the retreats of disease. Go, deal thy bread to the hungry; when thou seest the naked, cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Go, and furnish means to rear the offspring of the poor, that they may at least have access to the word of your God. Go, and quicken the flight of the Angel who has the everlasting gospel to preach unto the nations. If you possess not wealth, employ your station in promoting good will toward men. Judge the fatherless; plead for the widow. Stimulate the exertions of others, who may supply what is lacking on your part. Let the beauties of holiness pour their lustre upon your distinctions, and recommend to the unhappy that peace which yourselves have found in the salvation of God. If you have neither riches nor rank, devote your talents. Ravishing are the accents which dwell on the tongue of the learned when it speaks a word in season to him that is weary. Press your genius and your eloquence into the service of the Lord your righteousness, to magnify his word, and display the riches of his grace. Who knoweth whether he may honor you to be the minister of }} to the disconsolate, of liberty to the captive, of life to the dead? If he has denied you wealth, and rank, and talent, consecrate your heart. Let it dissolve in sympathy. There is nothing to hinder your rejoicing with them that do rejoice, and your weeping with them that weep, nor to forbid the interchange of kind and soothing offices. A brother is born for adversity; and not only should Christian be to Christian a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, but he should exemplify the loveliness of his religion to them that are without. An action, a word, marked by the sweetness of the gospel, has often been owned of God for producing the happiest effects. Let no man, therefore, try to excuse his inaction; for no man is too inconsiderable to augment the triumphs of the gospel by assisting in the consolations which it yields to the miserable.
JOSEPH HOPKINSON, 1770–1842.
Joseph Hopkinson was the son of Francis Hopkinson, who was one of the patriots of the Revolution, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and eminent for his legal learning, wit, and general attainments." Joseph was born in Philadelphia, in 1770, studied law, and became distinguished for his profound and varied attainments, and as an advocate of singular eloquence and ability. He served for some time as a representative in Congress, and was a member of the Convention which re-modelled the Constitution of Pennsylvania. In 1828, he was appointed Judge of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which office he filled with great integrity and ability, united to singular urbanity and kindness of manners; and retained it till his death, which occurred on the 15th of January, 1842. At the time of his death, he was Vice-President of the American Philosophical Society, and President of the Academy of Fine Arts.
As a writer, Judge Hopkinson is chiefly known as the author of the popular song of
Hail, Columbia' happy land:
Hail, ye heroes! heaven-born band
! See pages 59–68 for Life, and Extracts from his works.
* The following account of the circumstances attending the composition of this song were communicated, a few months before his death, to the late Rev. Dr. Griswold. “It was written in the summer of 1798, when war with France was thought to be inevitable. Congress was then in session in Philadelphia, deliberating upon that important subject, and acts of hostility had actually taken place. The contest between England and France was raging, and the people of the United States were divided into parties for the one side or the other, some thinking that policy and duty required us to espouse the cause of republican France, as she was called; while others were for connecting ourselves with England, under the belief that she was the great conservative power of good principles and safe government. The violation of our rights by both belligerents was forcing us from the just and wise policy of President WAshingtoN, which was to do equal justice to both, to take part with neither, but to preserve a strict and honest neutrality between them. The prospect of a rupture with France was exceedingly offensive to the portion of the people who espoused her cause; and the violence of the spirit of party has never risen higher, I think not so high, in our country, as it did at that time, upon that question. The theatre was then open in our city. A young man belonging to it, whose talent was as a singer, was about to take his benefit. I had known him when he was at school. On this acquaintance, he called on me
And when the storm of war was gone,
Immortal patriots! rise once more;
Defend your rights, defend your shore;
Invade the shrine where sacred lies
Of toil and blood the well-earn'd prize.
- That truth and justice will prevail,
Sound, sound the trump of Fame!
Let WashingtoN’s great name
Let every clime to Freedom dear
Listen with a joyful ear.
Behold the chief who now commands,
Once more to serve his country stands,-
one Saturday afternoon, his benefit being announced for the following Monday. His prospects were very disheartening; but he said that if he could get a patriotic song adapted to the tune of the ‘President's March,' he did not doubt of a full house; that the poets of the theatrical corps had been trying to accomplish it, but had not succeeded. I told him I would try what I could do for him. He came the next afternoon, and the song, such as it is, was ready for him. The object of the author was to get up an American spirit, which should be independent of, and above the interests, passions, and policy of both belligerents, and look and feel exclusively for our own honor and rights. No allusion is made to France or England, or the quarrel between them, or to the question which was most in fault in their treatment of us. Of course the song found favor with both parties, for both were Americans: at least, neither could disavow the sentiments and feelings it inculcated. Such is the history of this song, which has endured infinitely beyond the expectation of the author, as it is beyond any merit it can boast of, except that of being truly and exclusively patriotic in its sentiments and spirit.”
But, arm'd in virtue firm and true,
CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN, 1771–1810.
Charles Brocknex Brown, descended from a highly respectable family, whose ancestors emigrated with William Penn, was born at Philadelphia, January 17, 1771. He early gave evidence of his studious propensities, and at the age of eleven was placed under the tuition of Mr. Robert Proud, the author of the History of Pennsylvania. Under his instruction he went over a large course of English reading, and acquired the elements of Greek and Latin, applying himself to his studies with great assiduity. But his sedentary habits began to impair his health, and he was for a time taken from his books, and made frequent excursions on foot into the country. He left Mr. Proud's school, finally, before the age of sixteen, and soon after began the study of the law. But, when the time came for him to enter upon the practice of his profession, he felt his repugnance to it increase more and more, and he determined to follow his own tastes, and to devote his life to literary pursuits.
Having formed a strong and congenial friendship with two or three gentlemen of New York, he established, in 1798, his permanent residence in that city. The same year appeared Wieland, the first of that remarkable series of fictions which flowed with such rapid succession from his pen in that and three following years. They are of the intensely terrific school, and such as do not leave the most pleasant impressions upon the mind. The next year appeared Ormond, and soon after the first part of Arthur Merryn ; or, Memoirs of the Year 1793. This was the fatal year of the yellow fever in Philadelphia, and Brown transferred upon paper many of the scenes he himself had witnessed. The following is one of them :—
THE PESTILENCE OF 1798.
In proportion as I drew near the city, the tokens of its calamitous condition became more apparent. Every farm-house was filled with supernumerary tenants, fugitives from home, and haunting the skirts of the road, eager to detain every passenger with inquiries after news. The passengers were numerous; for the tide of emigration was by no means exhausted. Some were on foot, bearing in their countenances the tokens of their recent terror, and filled with mournful reflections on the forlornness of their state. Few had secured to themselves an asylum; some were without the means of paying for victuals or lodging for the coming night; others, who were not thus destitute, yet knew not whither to apply for entertainment, every house being already overstocked with inhabitants, or barring its inhospitable doors at their approach. Families of weeping mothers and dismayed children, attended with a few pieces of indispensable furniture, were carried in vehicles of every form. The parent or husband had perished; and the price of some movable, or the pittance handed forth by public charity, had been expended to purchase the means of retiring from this theatre of disasters, though uncertain and hopeless of accommodation in the neighboring districts. Between these and the fugitives whom curiosity had led to the road, dialogues frequently took place, to which I was suffered to listen. From every mouth the tale of sorrow was repeated with new aggravations. Pictures of their own distress, or of that of their neighbors, were exhibited in all the hues which imagination can annex to pestilence and poverty. My preconceptions of the evil now appeared to have fallen short of the truth. The dangers into which I was rushing seemed more numerous and imminent than I had previously imagined. I wavered not in my purpose. A panic crept to my heart, which more vehement exertions were necessary to subdue or control; but I harbored not a momentary doubt that the course which I had taken was prescribed by duty. There was no difficulty or reluctance in proceeding. All for which my efforts were demanded was to walk in this path without tumult or alarm. Various circumstances had hindered me from setting out upon this journey as early as was proper. My frequent pauses to listen to the narratives of travellers contributed likewise to procrastination. The sun had nearly set before I reached the precincts of the city. I pursued the track which I had formerly taken, and entered High Street after nightfall. Instead of equipages and a throng of passengers, the voice of levity and glee, which I had formerly observed, and which the mildness of the season would at other times have produced, I found nothing but a dreary solitude. The market-place, and each side of this magnificent avenue, were illuminated, as before, by lamps; but between the verge of Schuylkill and the heart of the city, I met not more than a dozen figures, and these were ghost-like, wrapped in cloaks, from behind which they east upon me glances of wonder and suspicion, and, as I approached, changed their course, to avoid touching me. Their clothes were sprinkled with vinegar, and their nostrils defended from contagion by some powerful perfume. I cast a look upon the houses, which I recollected to have formerly been at this hour brilliant with lights, resounding with