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him to the children of his congregation. “I now address myself to little children.-You must go to church, but you may look about you; and if you have a book before you, you need never look at it; and you may move about all the time you are at church, and not remember one word that was said. This was the way I did when I was a little boy, and I do not remember ever feeling sorry for doing so.” The boy felt the keenness of this irony, and seemed much ashamed of his conduct. This talent of faithful yet mild reproof, was not confined to her children; but was also extended to her friends, and to all that were about her.
The exercise of self-denial and mutual kindness was constantly and earnestly pressed upon the minds of her children; and as their understandings improved, the various duties of life were urged upon christian principles. The following extracts from a letter to one of her daughters will further shew her manner of conveying instruction to her family. While attentive to the least deviation in them from the path of duty, her constant aim was, to lead them to a right faith in the Redeemer, that they might not depend upon any righteousness of their own for pardon and acceptance with God.
as it has pleased God to deprive me of the power to converse with you, I have determined to take up my pen, to point out one or two things that may be of use to you. You are now arriving at an age when religion should appear of the first consequence to you. If you do not begin now to be serious about your soul, there is a danger of your growing more and more indifferent to it. In Scripture this work which we have to do is called a warfare, which implies that we have enemies to fight against ; but these enemies vary in different persons, so that I would have you set about an examination, what are the things in you which you know to be displeasing to God. There are some things which your friends can see; but there are more, I have no doubt, that are known only to God and yourself. By way of helping you to set about this duty of self-examination, as a kind mother, I will point out one or two things in you which I have observed, and which will be something to begin with in this good employment. It is said in the Bible, • Be kindly affectioned one towards another;' and, “Let brotherly love continue.' We should ask ourselves, Am I striving to keep this commandment? Do I ever give up my will, or any little self-indulgence, to make my brothers and
sisters happy, and to please them? At one time I had very great pleasure in seeing you exercise this beautiful system of self-denial, more than you do at present. Now, to-day, you had a hassock which I observed you kept to yourself, while your sister was left without one. I cannot myself find out where the enjoyment was of doing this. You know that frequently on a Sunday, I have invited you to use part of mine; and it was more pleasure to me than having it all to myself. In little things which occur every day, the strife is,—- Let me have it ;' whereas it should be,-- I have more pleasure in gratifying you than myself.' This would be pleasing to God, and would also make you happier.”
After giving some directions respecting the books she should read in the intervals of divine worship on the Lord's day, and recommending particularly the perusal of
Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul,” Mrs.J— proceeded," I think
-" I also that you ought to take more time for your private devotions.” She then earnestly advised her retiring to her room before bed-time, that she might have an opportunity of reading the Scriptures by herself, and thinking over what she had done in the day, and then added, " It is not the length of your prayers that will recommend them to God, but faith in Christ, which alone can procure for us those things of which we stand in need. That is, it is Christ who procures them for us; but it is through faith that we receive them. Whatever we ask for, depending upon him, we shall receive. But as, on the one hand, we must not expect to recommend ourselves to God by our much speaking ; so, on the other, we are to leave ourselves sufficient time, not to hurry over our prayers.
These little details may perhaps appear to some readers to possess scarcely interest sufficient to render them worthy of being so particularly recorded; yet I cannot but think that such familiar instances of religion, in quiet and domestic life, may oftentimes furnish a lesson of useful instruction, or a pattern for ordinary imitation, beyond what is derived from memoirs more replete with brilliant incidents or sentiments.
As it was her constant practice to speak evil of no one, so it was her delight to set before her children the example of any person with whose piety and good conduct she became acquainted. An instance appears in a letter to another of her daughters. “ We are now at
Mrs. S is a pattern for all ladies to follow. If I and all my daughters were like her, we should be one of the best families in all shire. You can see by her conduct that the Bible is her guide. She has not the affectation of any grace, but the reality. Self seems in her to have no place. I believe she has habituated herself so long to act from higher principles, that it is very little self-denial to her to give up to others, and study their comfort rather than her own.'
“ I have looked into Miss Hamilton's work lately, and have been much pleased with her sentiments on self-denial. She points out very strikingly its beneficial effects, when it is exercised even in little daily occurences. It brings the mind into a state of subordination, which enables us to resist temptation, and prepares us for disappointments in life. I have myself frequently observed the different effects of disappointments on persons who are exercising themselves in this way, and those who are not. We can never be too young to begin this salutary employment. Indeed, I hope you do exercise it sometimes, for you have often had its advantages pointed out to you. I want it to be more a system with you. Had you omitted to take your meals, you would feel the want of them: let this principle then become more and more habitual