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him at his decease to be scarcely less regretted by his flock than Edmund had been before him.
And here we conclude this narrative, imploring our readers ever to remember, that he who forsakes the paths of humility is in the highway of offending, sooner or later, against that commandment which saith—“ Thou shalt do no murder.”
As the history of the two ministers had not occupied so long a time as several others which had previously been read by the lady of the manor, she indulged her young people, by allowing them to make a few comments on what they had just heard. Most of her juvenile auditors were vehement in their praises of Edmund; while others expressed their strong dislike to Mr. Parnel, though they said it rejoiced them to find that the death of his friend had produced so good an effect on
Others spoke with seriousness on the view which had just been set before them of the nature of selfishness, and enlarged upon the sweet hope of being set free in a future state of being—freed from all selfish and angry passions; a sentiment in which their kind instructress most fully coincided. The evening was as usual finished with a prayer.
A Prayer on the Subject of the Sixth Commandment.
“O MOST BLESSED LORD GOD, who hast made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the face of the earth, and hast appointed unto all men the bounds of their habitation, bestow on us, thy humble servants, such a spirit of lowliness and contentment, as may enable us, on all occasions, and at all seasons, to be entirely submissive to thy blessed will, and perfectly resigned to thy fatherly pleasure, and ready, also, to fulfil all those duties which it may please thee to require of us, in whatever situation thou hast thought fit to place us. Remove from our hearts all envy, malice, and selfishness, by which we may be led to depart from that love of each other whereby thy servants are distinguished from the children of the Evil One. Let not, we beseech thee, any selfish desires of eminence and exaltation induce us to mar the usefulness of our neighbour, or to lament his superior
excellence, in whatever way thou art pleased to employ him. Let not a contracted spirit prevent our rejoicing in that good, in the promotion of which we ourselves may not have been instrumental; and, especially, preserve us from that dreadful sin of excluding or withholding the light of life from any who may be ready to perish, by refusing our countenance to those who belong not to our own party, or who may have failed to court our fa
“Preserve us, o heavenly Father, from spiritual pride, and from those high thoughts of self which are at variance with the love of our brethren, and which tempt us to sacrifice the everlasting welfare of our fellow-creatures to what we conceive to be our private interests, by which we are induced to the infiction of spiritual death, and brought in guilty of the murder of souls. As ministers or teachers, let us be contented, even though we might see ourselves excelled; and help us, as Moses did, to rejoice when others of our Lord's people are found among the prophets. Grant, that we may rather be desirous to use our single talent aright, than emulous to receive more talents; and expand our hearts with that most excellent grace of charity, which shall still flourish when faith and hope shall be no more, and which will be an essential constituent of our happiness when this earth shall be dissolved, and the heavens have passed away like a scroll. For charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
“ And now to Him who loved us ere yet the foundations of the world were laid, -to Him who prayed for his very
enemies at the moment when he was suffering the anguish of the cross,- to Him whose gentle influences can overcome the most stubborn heart, and turn the murderous thoughts of man into those of universal love,--be all glory and honour, now and for ever, world without end. Amen."
Seventh Commandment.— Thou shalt not commit Adultery.
WHEN the young people were once more assembled in the beloved apartment at the manor house, the lady of the manor remarked, that the seventh commandment supplied the subject which was on that day to occupy their attention; and one of the young ladies, at her request, having repeated this commandment, she herself then proceeded to the following effect. “ You are all, doubtless, aware, my
young people, of the tendency of this commandment, and that it was given at once to enforce and inculcate the sanctity of marriage. But, as I am now addressing persons in well-regulated and polished society, I deem it here wholly unnecessary for me to enter into any particulars relative to such breaches of this rule of life as are too often committed by persons avowedly immoral; but I shall improve the present occasion by giving you some few rules and directions respecting your conduct in society as it regards your intercourse with persons of the other sex, which instructions, I trust, may prove advantageous to you, not only in this life, but in that state of being which is to come: inasmuch as, although in the resurrection we shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but be as the angels that are in heaven, still, humanly speaking, we know not how our own future situations, as well as those of others over whom we may have intiuence, may be hereafter affected by our good or evil conduct in these respects.
“I have,” observed the lady of the manor, always considered, that those persons are greatly to be condemned who speak of matters relative to marriage in
any other than a serious manner; and when I consider, also, how much of human happiness or misery depends on the propriety of the female character as it respects the other sex, I cannot help being surprised whenever any expression even of a playful, not to say a vain, tendency on subjects of this kind proceeds, in my hearing, from the mouths of persons who are counted either pious or prudent. I think I may venture to assert, that those young people are the most happy who are least occupied with subjects of this kind; but, inasmuch as such matters must, at one time or another, come under the consideration of every young person, and as I cannot but think that most of you have already heard these affairs spoken of either in a light or serious way, I have resolved on this occasion to present you
my views on these subjects. And having at this time before me a little narrative which contains uch relative to our present purpose, I propose now to read it to you, my beloved young people, without further preface, hoping that you will find in the history of the amiable character which is there portrayed, an example which may prove beneficial in every trying circumstance which you may hereafter be called to encounter."
The lady of the manor then produced a manuscript, and read as follows.
The History of Sophin Mortimer. In the southern parts of Yorkshire, there resided, a few years ago, a gentleman named Mortimer. He had, early in life, been married to an exceedingly lovely young woman, whose merits he, however, knew not how to appreciate, being himself but a coarse and ordinary character, while she was a woman of highly cultivated intellects. The marriage had on her part been forced from interested motives; and, hence, she, as is the case with most persons who act as she did, was not happy. But Mrs. Mortimer did not live long to feel her own unhappiness. Before the second year of her marriage expired, she died, leaving one little girl, who inherited her mother's beauty. This little girl was named Sophia.
Mrs. Mortimer had a very intimate and dear friend, who was considerably older than herself, and who had liv
ed with her from her infancy to the day of her marriage; and she, therefore, as a dying request, entreated her husband that this lady might be intrusted with the sole charge of little Sophia, until she should have attained at least her twentieth year. Mr. Mortimer had po particular regard for Mrs. Fortescue, (which was the name of this lady:) but a man must be cruel indeed who, merely from prejudice, could deny the request of a dying wife; and as he had no stronger objection to make against Mrs. Fortescue, than that he did not like her, the old lady was accordingly sent for; and Mrs. Mortimer had the satisfaction, before her death, of seeing her infant in the arms of her friend, and received from her a solemn promise that she never would disregard the charge which she had been thus solemnly intrusted with.
Immediately after the funeral of Mrs. Mortimer, Mrs. Fortescue, who had no settled place of abode, consented to occupy two apartments at one end of Mr. Mortimer's large house, and from that period she became its constant inmate.
Little Sophia was not more than a year old when she was delivered up
to Mrs. Fortescue, and, of course, she had no recollection of any time before that in which she began to regard this lady as a tender and beloved mother.
Shortly after his lady's death, Mr. Mortimer, having provided every thing necessary for the comfortable establishment of Mrs. Fortescue and his daughter, set off to York, where he took a house, and, soon afterwards, married a gay young widow, with three daughters, hoping to have a son added to his family; circumstance which he earnestly desired, because the whole of his property was entailed on the heir male, with the exception only of his lady's fortune, which devolved to her daughter, and which it was calculated would be about ten thousand pounds when Sophia came of age, after the expences of her education had been paid.
We shall leave Mr. Mortimer to enjoy himself with his new-married lady at York and in Town, whither he afterwards repaired, while we now return to little Sophia and Mrs. Fortescue in Yorkshire.
Mr. Mortimer's house was a very noble building -so much so, indeed, that its owner, whose second wife was very extravagant, had an income scarcely sufficient to