網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

tion by Dr. Arnold, of Rugby, on the character of his beloved and sainted sister. “I never saw,” says he, “a more perfect instance of the spirit of power and love, and of a sound mind, - intense love, almost to the annihilation of selfishness; a daily martyrdom of twenty years, during which she adhered to her early-formed resolution of never talking about herself; thoughtful about the very pins and ribbons of my wife's dress, about the making of a doll's cap for a child, but of herself, save only as regarded her ripening in all goodness, wholly thoughtless; enjoying everything lovely, graceful, beautiful, high-minded, whether in God's works or man's, with the keenest relish; inheriting the earth, to the very fulness of the promise, though never leaving her crib nor changing her posture; and preserved through the valley of the shadow of death from all fear or impatience, and from every cloud of impaired reason, which might have marred the beauty of Christ's spirit's glorious work. May God grant that I might come within one hundred degrees of her place in heavenly glory!” Who would not join in so ecstatic a breathing of prayer, in view of such a marvel of God's new creating and transporting radiance of grace and love?

From Mrs. George D. Phelps, an early and very

dear friend of Mrs. Cheever, and a most affectionate and ardent co-worker with her in the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, the following interesting recollections are especially in place. They are the grateful tribute of a long and delightful Christian friendship never to be forgotten, — the recollections of their earliest and most precious associations together. ;

“During my illness and seclusion in the house I have thought much of the dear friend of my younger days who has now passed into the heavens, - of my early associations with her, in the Church of the Puritans, in Christian work and in the sweet ties of friendship. I thank God upon every remembrance of her! It was soon after my marriage when our acquaintance was formed ; and I can truthfully say that her influence has affected my subsequent life. You know that when Mrs. Cheever resigned her place as manager in the Protestant Half Orphan Asylum, she recommended me as her successor, and then with her gentle power compelled me, as it were, to accept it, thus giving me a good part of my life work. In God's good providence I am entering my fortieth year of service there.

“That was in 1847. How well I remember her then, as my pastor's wife, and the interest she took in the New Church Enterprise, - how she opened her heart and her house to all, meeting every one on the same footing, and entering so heartily into all plans for the good of the church!

“I remember so well the impression she made upon me in her own parlor in Fifteenth Street; her gracious kindness of manner, her loving, winning ways, and her sweet simplicity made her very attractive. Above all, was to be noticed her unaffected, whole-souled piety, - her loyalty to her work and to her God. It was plain to see that she dwelt in the serene atmosphere of a loving child of God in close union with him."

“Though obliged to give up her place in the Half Orphan Home, from the pressure of more immediate duties, how well we all know that her interest in children never flagged ! It was not long before she began to express the sympathy that had been growing in her heart for the hitherto almost neglected boys of the New York streets. Somehow or other she seemed to hear of special cases, - now it was of one poor waif sleeping in a barrel, then of another found half frozen in a box, then of another and another. Their childish woes so appealed to her feelings; the hard, wan faces of the street boys seemed to rise before her, and the throbbings of her heart in their

1 In allusion to your parties in Fifteenth Street, and the pleasant evenings passed there, I recall the names of some choice spirits, in whose presence it was a delight to be thrown so infor. mally, - Alice and Phæbe Cary, Gajani, the Italian patriot, Pasteur Pilatte, and many others. Delightful gatherings were these, over which Mrs. Cheever presided so gracefully. On one of those evenings some seven missionaries from various parts of the world were present, and I believe the Lord's Prayer was chanted in seven different languages. The Rev. Dr. Goodell was present from the mission in Constantinople. These were occasions of very great and sacred enjoyment.

behalf could not be stilled. I think I can see her now pleading their cause, — with what pathos she would warm and glow; how her voice would tremble, and the tears would seem ready to flow; and how animated and joyous would she be, as she made others enter into her feelings, desires, and plans. On the first Sunday in April, 1849, through her means, a Boy's Sunday Meeting was opened in Wooster Street. One hundred and twenty boys were present, — a wild set, as I well remember. Soon it was found that a home must be provided, if any permanent good was to be done for these homeless wanderers. A well-organized society was formed in Mrs. Cheever's parlor ; a large, old, comfortable house was hired in Bank Street, and a superintendent engaged. The First Annual Report of the Asylum for Friendless Boys (the name given to the new Institute) says: “Through the exertions of Mrs. George B. Cheever, $1,258 were raised for its support.'

“As Recording Secretary of this Society, an office which brought me into close contact with her, I had the opportunity of seeing the beautiful traits of character brought out in this work, — her unselfishness, her retiring disposition, her loving nature, and her active zeal. Her joy and happiness at the success of this effort, I need not mention to you. Her impulses, so fresh and spontaneous, moved others; and the work went on and grew. You will know whether I am correct in saying that in point of time, side by side with this new Society, there was forming another for the same object, — the care of both boys and girls on a larger scale, – a bill being before the

Legislature for the charter of the New York Juvenile Asylum. Soon a proposition came to merge the two Institutions in one great and strong one, - a measure wisely acceded to. Our children gathered in the Bank Street Mansion, the superintendent, teachers, and all belongings, were taken under the broad wings of the new Society. From that day to this, the boys in New York have been cared for. The Children's Aid Society,* with its lodginghouses, Industrial Schools, etc., to say nothing of the homes in the West it provides, springing up soon after, need only be mentioned, in passing, as illustrative of this great movement. We who remember Mrs. Cheever then, cannot fail to give her the place we believe she filled; namely, that of the first human inspirer of this heavenborn work. So much for the early days, past and gone, the memory of which is very sweet to those who survive her whose record is on high.

“During the many years that have followed, owing to removals and absence from the country, and residence in different places, our meetings were often after long intervals. I remember, with pleasure, our crossing the ocean together in 1860, when I was impressed anew with her trust and hopefulness. She was so happy to be again revisiting the Old World, and strong in her confidence that the journey would be a prosperous one. Again, you know, we used to meet at Saratoga, where her greetings were always warm and hearty. But in your lovely home at Englewood she was indeed, as you say, 'the angel of the house. I shall never forget the impression her home life made upon me there ; it seemed

* To this Society Dr. Cheever left a legacy of $1000.

« 上一頁繼續 »