« AnteriorContinua »
marked passage in her Bible. About four years after, her pastor was more than usually strengthened for his labours ; his soul was richly fed with heavenly manna; and of this bread many of his flock partook with him. Not long after this season of refreshing, it was ascertained that Phebe had risen every night, month after month, at midnight, to pray for her pastor. Many were the individuals for whom she prayed. During the following winter a friend called to see her. # What is the good word ?” said Phebe.
is serious, and inquiring the way of life.” She arose at once from her seat, lifted her hands, and with tears of joy praised God aloud, and said, “For her I have been praying; God is a hearer of prayer."
Phebe's faith and confidence in God were practical, and availed her in time of need. When her mistress, Mrs. Allen, died, whom she loved more than any being on earth, and whose death was very sudden, in the dead of the night, causing great distress in the family, Phebe calmly said, “ Don't we pray 'Thy will be done'? and now it is done." She knew “in Whom she believed,” and that He was able to make all grace abound toward her. Grace was triumphant in her soul, and so continued, by her own testimony given at her last interview with her Christian friends. From this time, as she often said, “ she had never let her Saviour go; "" she had held Him by the hand;
» » He had come into her heart, and continued to abide with her.” “Satan is busy with me,” she would sometimes say, “but my Lord is stronger than he.'
“My little house,” she said, “this winter has become a palace; while sweeping my room to-day, I thought I must sweep softly, for He was here, my Lord King."
Phebe rarely if ever spoke first, yet was always ready to respond heartily to the greetings of her brethren and sisters in Christ. She literally and truly sought out the lowest seat. Down by the door at the evening meeting sat Phebe, with her head bowed, neither seeing nor wishing to be seen. Being urged to come up nearer, it was said to her, “ What will you do, Phebe, when you get to heaven?” “My Master will tell me where to sit,” she answered.
Phebe had no fear of death. She died as suddenly as her mistress; and now lies by her side in the Pinegrove cemetery, where lie so many of the loved and honoured. As she expected to die suddenly and alone, she had informed her nearest neighbour that when she saw no smoke from her chimney in the morning, she would know that she was gone. “When you hear that I am gone home,” she said to the writer of this, the Sabbath before she died, “praise the Lord.” “I shall go soon, very soon. If tomorrow you hear I have gone home to heaven, rejoice and give thanks, and remember it is well with me.” “Jesus, lover of my soul," she repeated at this our last Sabbath interview ; "yes, lover, LOVER, LOVER! How can I better express it? Jesus, lover of
my soul !” Being asked, " Are you not unwilling to be alone in your house?” she replied, with solemn earnestness, "I am not alone ; my Saviour is with me : He is my Keeper, my Shepherd, my All-in-all.”
The next morning Phebe's body was found in her bed, cold and lifeless; her eyes calmly closed, the mouth shut, her hands placed by her side, her candle burnt out, her Testament and spectacles by the bedside, the door of the house unbolted; no smoke ascended from her cottage, and Phebe was not-God took her.
A WELL-TRAINED CHILD,
characters are trained ?
When first the precious little infant was given to you, did you reflect on the immense responsibilities connected with the gift; that it was not a beautiful, innocent, animated toy, of your own for your fond hearts to doat upon; but a being born in sin, and likely to be lost for ever, unless you watched over it, prayed for it, and brought it as soon as possible to be laid at the feet of Jesus ?
As now the little creature is somewhat advancing in years, and its powers are developing, do you reflect that its conscious mind sees whether you yourself are selfish and self-indulgent, or selfdenying and noble-hearted; fickle or steadfast; harsh or kind; hasty or gentle; impatient or forbearing; vindictive or forgiving; false or true? And as your temper is, so, probably, will be his.
Notwithstanding the tenderness of his faculties by reason of childhood, and their corruptness by reason of birth-sin, yet he perceives more quickly and judges more correctly than you are aware of sometimes. And as his little character is constantly receiving its shape from the side-way pressure, so to speak, of yours, what need have you to take your own temper to task, and go to school to the same scriptural rules by which you would desire all your children to be moulded ! Early to do this is of the greatest importance, for peace never enters till strict and loving discipline enters; and many a grown-up person
finds himself a parent before he has well begun to master his own temper, so that he must lose no time in more perfectly learning self-discipline. Otherwise his children will overtake him faster than he thinks of; and his own evil tempers and habits, with theirs to boot, will fill his house with confusion before he has well looked around him.
Let me now venture on a few hints to help parents in this important work.
1. Rule by conscience. Not tyrannizing over conscience; which, after all, even the authority and love of a parent cannot absolutely reach, but guiding it that it may be instructed; and touching it that it may be tender: appealing in everything to that inward witness, and habituating children to feel the presence of God. That one simple sentence which we teach children affects my mind more deeply than I am able to express : "I cannot see God; but God can see me.” To rule thus is to teach Faith.
2. Win the affections.-What a pity it would be to let slip the age of affection,—the tender, impressible period of childhood and youth! Almost always, the only thing requisite to gain the affection of our offspring, is for us to love them. Enter into their little concerns, which to them are not small; and, so far as is proper, be open and confidential with them when speaking of your own affairs.
3. Influence them by a true sense of honour.--The true standard of honour is the Bible. What I mean by a sense of honour is a scriptural feeling of the credit which they ought very early to obtain with their companions, their family, the servants and household, and the friends who visit you. For “ favour with man” is a Divine principle, when rightly understood, no less than “favour with God." To this end get them good companions, such as it will be a credit to have.
4. Adapt punishments to their age.-When they are very young, to mortify their palate, to abridge their liberty, or to inflict bodily chastisement, may be needful; as they grow older, your countenance abating somewhat of its wonted kindness, or an hour of banishment from your company, or a visit abroad denied them, will tell more effectually upon their feeling mind. And remember, it requires much moral courage thus to punish.
5. Let one of their encouragements arise from your setting them to do what they can do. Education is necessarily a force upon the dormant faculties, rousing them to effect what previously was not done; and if this force be not applied, they will make little progress in learning new things. But sometimes, or rather pretty often, set them easy tasks. Going over the ground a second, third, fifth, tenth time, if it be done with spirit, will be pleasant to them. And having at length found out their peculiar talent, work by that.
6. Mark their characters singly. You will probably be often reminded by them of your own natural disposition ; you will see tendencies, aversions, talents, infirmities, etc., just such as you once have experienced, or are now experiencing. Let this be a motive with you to be forgiving, gentle, and wise.
7. Observe the characters of your children when they are together. Keep them together, and see to it that they walk in love. Teach
them to respect one another. Do not expect much good to arise from spiriting them up to rivalry; harm of the worst sort often comes in this way. Avoid favouritism and needless comparisons, such as make one vain and another envious.
8. Carefully guard them when with strangers, visitors, etc.; and be backward in letting them go into new company without yourself. For a good while, or rather as long as possible, let them be ignorant of the affectations, improprieties, and proofs of undisciplined temper that abound in society. For it will become your duty, when they see such faulty models, to point out (but discreetly and without sarcastic bitterness) the blemishes of some whom they may have seen too closely. But especially when they have left company, notice to them some excellence in the behaviour, temper, or conversation of one or more of the party. This is one of the advantages of being with them.
9. If any of the family-circle be sickly, infirm, or in any way afflicted, turn it into an advantage. Love and serviceableness may thus be practically taught the children and other members of the family ; telling them that then “trouble" should be a word unknown, yet taking care not to overburden the young and the weak. Lessons of this kind are the best of all—they feelingly lead us to imitate the Great Pattern : “for even Christ pleased not Himself;" but“ Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
10. Still let the first great principle, of ruling by conscience, pervade all. If, therefore, you should be so far favoured as to be able to lead them to use private prayer, you are indeed blessed in them, for you have led them to the Fountain of blessing! And, to this end, reflect on the inexpressible importance and value of family prayer. I find it impossible to conceive of education going on well without nursery hymns and prayers for the little ones ; or without family worship for the whole household. For Christian education is not mere rational and intellectual mechanism, however important the external system may be. A good education is all this, with religious teaching and a Divine influence added to it,which influence is not to be had unasked for. Family praye. should be impressive and instructive, quiet and simple. All in the family need to have their hearts touched and their minds richly stored. As this is one of the “greater mysteries ” of education, let me here copy a passage from the Memoir of my friend, the Rev. C. Neale, in which Mrs. Neale thus faithfully records one of his solemn parting charges to her. She writes,
“But of all the subjects of his conversation with me, there was none that he dwelt upon with more frequency and earnestness
han the importance of Family Prayer, particularly as to the manner in which it should be conducted ; often saying, 'Depend upon it, there is just as much religion in a family as there is of seriousness and reality in family prayer.' Upon one occasion, about this time, on my noticing the joy and peace which some one who had
just left the room possessed, he replied, 'Yes; he is an old servant of God; it is His usual dealing in grace as in providence: The hand of the diligent maketh rich. Oh ! live near to God; make much of family prayer ; be punctual in the time for it; do not let it be a form ; pray always for a blessing on it. Read the Bible; read it much; do not let little portions satisfy you. Oh, that I had read more !'»
The preceding remarks not having been designed, in the least degree, as a treatise on education, the reader will observe that the cardinal virtue, obedience, has been everywhere implied rather than expressed. How to win that obedience from the gentle, how to require it of the dull and irregular, and to enforce it upon the obstinate, would be topics worthy of a very copious discussion. It may briefly be noticed that when children are brought to the point of obeying, without parleying, and without needing to be spoken to twice, the happiness of such children is not a little secured; the wisdom, firmness, and kindness of the parent or teacher are honourably attested; while the blessing cannot be too gratefully acknowledged in thanksgivings to Him who thus answers prayer, and crowns persevering endeavours.-W. Jowett, M.A.
THE FAMILY A DIVINE ORDINANCE.
NSTEAD of the human species being consigned to solitary separation on the one hand, or being congregated into large promiscuous companies or herds on the other hand, we find them allotted along the surface of this wide world
into little communities, living under the same roof, and connected by a thousand gentle offices which they discharge one toward another, and to which they are prompted by interesting ties of feeling and affection. The system is in admirable adaptation to our state and nature. We come into the world, not like the young of some animals, able to act for ourselves, but in utter helplessness, and we find that God has provided for us kind parents who delight to minister to our infirmities, and who feel as if the infant's smile was a sufficient reward for all their toilsome days and waking nights. The heart responding to heart, the reciprocal tenderness expressed in a thousand practical ways, are fitted beyond anything man can devise or conceive, to draw forth the feelings and train the affections of the infant and juvenile mind. The memory, guided by the heart, here comes to the aid of the judgment, and renders all lengthened argument unnecessary; for, as far as our memory goes, it calls up scenes of unwearied watchfulness and melting love, and tells us that no nature could be so bountiful, and none could be so pleasant, as that which takes place under the dews of a mother's kindness and the shelter of a father's counsels.