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The kindness of Clarissa did but heap coals of fire on the head of Isabella; who, in reply to this affectionate address, said, “ Finish your work of triumph, Clarissa. To build your reputation on my disgrace and shame has ever been the object of your desire; and too well have you succeeded in your views. You have desired to witness my disappointment and ruin; and now, now you see it, and stand by complacently smiling upon it, heaping obligations upon me, for which the world will praise you, far and near, while my name will be held up to the detestation and contempt of the whole neighbourhood.”
“Dear Isabella,” said Clarissa, “O that you could but understand the motives on which I act! I trust, in that case, that your feelings towards me would be very different. But think of me, dear sister, as you will, only accept the home I offer you. This apartment, if you please, shall be yours, and all the inhabitants of this house will delight to do your pleasure."
Isabella looked as if she would almost have chosen death rather than a retreat in her sister's house: yet, bereaved and desolate as she found herself, she was forced to accept the offered asylum, hoping thereby to escape all further insult from her daughter-in-law.
The remark was, indeed, never made in the presence of Clarissa; yet there were not wanting many who observed how wonderfully the daughter, who had driven her afflicted mother from her house, was now requited in kind, and even made to suffer more from her own son than her mother had endured from herself.
Although Isabella, as I before said, was forced to accept an asylum in the house of her sister, it very soon appeared that her mind was in a state which would admit of no comfort whatever. Mr. Melville used every exertion to bring her to the knowledge of her Saviour; but his opportunities with her were fewer and shorter than any one had apprehended: for, after passing a few months in the indulgence of excessive grief, she was seized with a disorder which shortly brought her to the grave; and when she died, it was without giving any evidence of that saving change which her sister so anxiously desired to witness. Mrs. Danzy lived to an extreme old age, growing con
VOL. III. C C
tinually, it was hoped, in piety and in the knowledge of God; though her mind, in other matters, still discovered the same deficiency, which has been so often noticed in the course of this narrative.
Mr. and Mrs. Melville were much blessed in their children; and this favoured family, for many years, presented a scene of as perfect peace as can well be found in this world of sin and sorrow: for the elder parts of the family were willing to accommodate themselves to the younger, while the younger were taught to consider, that respect and kindness to their elders was a duty most agreeable in the sight of God. And as these amiable tempers were, in both, the effect of grace, they partook, in some degree, of the unchangeable nature of Him by whom that grace was bestowed.
The lady of the manor, having thus concluded the history of Clarissa, called upon her young people to unite with her in prayer.
A Prayer to be enabled to fulfil the Duties enjoined by
the Fifth Commandment. "O ALMIGHTY Father and Creator of all mankind, thou who hast constituted all the various orders and conditions of men, who hast appointed us to enter into life in the weak and helpless condition of infancy, making us, in our early years, entirely dependent on those who have the charge of us, whether our natural parents, or others standing in their place, and receiving authority from them;-grant us grace to conduct ourselves towards these directors of our youth, with that obedience, respect, and tenderness, which are agreeable to thy holy will, and conformable to the lovely example set before us by the holy child Jesus.
Youth is naturally proud, insolent, and self-sufficient; and the present age is an age of insubordination and contempt of elders. Many of the young people of the present day carry themselves high and haughtily, withholding all due respect from the hoary head, o blessed Father, take from us, we beseech thee, this spirit of pride and self-sufficiency. Make us to know and feel the depravity of our nature, with all the usual follies at
tendant on the state of youth. Grant that we may be ever ready to give honour to our elders, and ever prepared to receive the admonitions of the aged. Make us obedient to our parents and teachers, and lowly and respectful to all that are in authority.
“ If our parents are weak, or old, or sick, enable to bear their infirmities with tenderness, remembering how they bore with our weaknesses in a state of infancy. If they are unreasonable or unkind, let us recollect, that it is the Lord who hath said, “Honour thy father and thy mother,' and that the obligations of the child cannot be cancelled by the unworthiness of the parent.
And now, O holy Father, inasmuch as we can do no one thing well without thine assistance, pour upon us, we humbly pray thee, the gifts of thy Holy Spirit; so that, as the offences of our past lives have, we trust, been pardoned through the death of our blessed Saviour, our future days may be preserved from sin, and especially from that sin which consists in the contempt of those powers which thou hast appointed, whether they be exercised by parents, teachers, magistrates, guardians, ministers, or rulers.
“ And now to God the Father,” &c.
END OF VOL. III.