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EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION. – A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. —
SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS CIRCLES OF FRIENDSHIP AND ENDEARMENT. — THE LOVE OF CHILDREN, THE LOVE OF NATURE, AND A REFINED AND CULTIVATED IMAGINATION.
THE subject of these imperfect sketches was
born in 1814, in Middletown, Conn., the daughter of Mr. Samuel Wetmore, who removed afterwards with his family, first to Providence, R. I., and thence to New York City.
From early childhood she was the subject of a deep religious experience, which manifested itself, at a later period and throughout her whole life, in a tender and affectionate solicitude for the Christian training of all persons who were thrown upon her care, or who might be brought within her influence. The simplicity and trustfulness of a little child were uninterrupted characteristics of her nature, and at the same time the tenderest sympathy with the sensibilities and helplessness of children, and especially a sense of their need of constant gentleness, and affectionate and watchful kindness. These lovely qualities endeared her to all, and at the same time were an unerring guide as to the right method of their education from infancy. In teaching them she became as one of them, as much their pupil as they each were hers, so that they were unconsciously receiving her example, and the radiance of her character, into their hearts; as unconsciously and unsuspectingly as if she were one of their own playmates. It was a fulfilment of the saying, “And a little child shall lead them.”
There was an equally kind and careful regard to the moral and religious welfare of the domestics attached to her own household, whom, as members of the family, she was accustomed to teach, as opportunity offered, by conversation, by the reading of instructive books to them, by religious lessons, and also by the cultivation of a sense of natural beauty, - leading them to notice and admire the landscapes, the sunsets, the flowers, the forests, and the heavens declaring the glory of God; thus awakening their attention and elevating their thoughts and affections, besides making them feel that the household was a home of mutual instruction, and of cheerful, willing service for all, as equal sharers in the mercy and love of our Father in Heaven.
In the place of her birth, as well as among the companions of her school days and studies, there were given from God the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit, attendant on the ministry of the Gospel, with the teaching of the children by the constant presentation of Divine truth. The life of President Olin, and his experience in the training of his students and his household, presented examples of the Divine blessing upon his faithfulness that were exceedingly animating and encouraging. We can never forget the impression made upon the mind by the remarkable death of his little child in infancy. President Olin was himself sick and feeble, and confined to his house. The babe, just beginning to lisp and understand the earliest words of childhood, was in the cradle, and the father was walking to and fro by its side. The babe had been ill, but was not imagined dangerously so. Suddenly the little one asked to be taken from the cradle into its father's arms. So the President took the child, and continued his walk to and fro, the mother all the while looking on with anxious feeling for both. Dr. Olin paused for a moment, when the little one whispered to him, looking up in his face, “ Papa,