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glory!” And then she made it appear, in a manner which I thought most beautiful, although I did not fully understand it; how the moral qualities, and external and intellectual attainments, of the female sex, are all immediately ranged on the side of God and truth, as soon as the parties are regenerated and united to Christ; and she concluded by entreating her sons, if they hoped for peace and prosperity, to unite themselves only with such women as feared and loved God.
And, further,” I rejoined, " I would have you consider, my sons, how wonderfully the gentle influence of your mother has, at length, triumphed over all the machinations of those who opposed her. I am at this moment as one awakened from a long delirium; a sort of madness, in which I had nearly brought total destruction on my family. Had your mother given way, had she been carried along with the torrent of evil in which I was involved, what now would have been my situation ? You, my first-born, would, perhaps, long ago have been committed to the dust; my Laura-I tremble to think of it-would have been the wife of one who had murderous designs in his heart; vice would have haunted every cottage on my estates; and where I now behold order and peace, there would have been confusion and ruin. But now-now, owing to the persevering firmness of my wife,-now that my mind is enlightened,I have nothing to do but to seek repentance for my grievous offences; and to endeavour, through my future life, to make up for the misery I have occasioned."
I could add no more; we were all in tears; it was a moment never to be forgotten; and, through the divine mercy, it never was forgotten. Thirty years are passed since that period—thirty happy, thirty blessed years. Not one of those who were then together is yet dead, except Mr. Helmly.
My beloved wife still enjoys good health. She is the neatest and most lovely old lady I ever saw, or ever shall
Her hair, indeed, is quite grey; and she has lost every tooth: but her complexion is still fresh; and her cheerful piety forms the delight of all her children and of her grandchildren.
Augustus and Theodore having long been united in
the strongest bonds of holy friendship. They both married some five-and-twenty years since. They were blessed in their wives and in their children; and their union was cemented, about twelve months since, by the marriage of Lord Bellamy's eldest son to the eldest daughter of Mr. Westfield." And when my granddaughter brought her husband a son and heir, which happy event took place about two months since, my feelings of delight, of joy, of gratitude, of ecstasy, were such, that I immediately set to work to compile these memorials, that others might know what the Lord had done for me. Neither could I help saying to Theodore, when we came out of the church after the baptism, “Do you now wish that you had never had an elder brother, or that he had been suffered to die in his infancy ?"
But 0! what an elder brother, what an elder son, has that dear Augustus been! how did his character beam forth when he saw his father and mother reconciled and united in the bonds of affection ! how gay, yea, how playful, he became! He improved too, in his person as he became more happy.
He had evidently the essential qualities of a very handsome man; and, as he advanced in life, his defects became less remarkable, or were less observed, and his countenance was more and more pleasing. How did he, how does he still, doat on his mother! He would have no wife, but one of her choosing, and her adoption was guided by true wisdom ; for she prayed to be directed in her choice. Lady Bellamy is only not equal to her husband's mother.
It was long before Theodore was as steady as his brother; but his brother's friendship was the means of his salvation. And here again appeared the blessed effects of his mother's influence: for who had formed the mind of Lord Bellamy but Lady Roxeter? and thus, in the faithful discharge of her duty to the son of another, she, by the divine favour, saved her own child.
Dear Mr. Helmly lived to see my sons married; and died, blessing Lady Roxeter; whose happy illustration of Christian principles had been the means, through the divine mercy, of awakening him from his deadly dream of infidelity
My lovely Laura, whom I had almost forgotten to mention, married a very pleasing young gentleman, the son and heir of a baronet, to whom I presented Mr. Helmly's living. She is still the happiest of wives, and has a lovely family.
Thus are we blessed in every branch ; and to what, under Heaven, do we owe all these mercies, but to the influence of a virtuous woman? on which, as it ever will be found, the divine blessing eminently rested: while our fields have been made to flourish, and our valleys to stand thick with corn.
Of my poor sister and her son, I will say nothing, having little that is pleasant to relate respecting them. And of old Thomas Jefferies, I can only add, that he waited at Lord Bellamy's wedding, and that I closed his eyes not long afterwards. He died in peace.
But, before I conclude my history, I must add a few observations on myself, lest I should be the means of leading my reader into error. It must not be supposed that everything went smoothly with me, after the time of those very dreadful events in my family, which so suddenly awakened me to a sense of my misconduct. The truth ought to be told.
I was scarcely recovered from the illness I had at that time, when I began to feel the force of old bad habits, and was actually deliberating cn a journey to town; but Theodore was taken ill, and we were in apprehension for his life. He was no sooner better than I was attacked by a fit of the gout, and remained an invalid for several years; being sometimes a little better, and sometimes much worse. I suffered excessively from pain; and also from violent nervous attacks, which made me excessively peevish. Moreover I was helpless, and very dependent on others, and whimsical too. I fancied that no one could do any thing for me but Lady Roxeter, or my sons and daughter. And this was, in the end, the first of blessings to me; because Providence thús afforded to Lady Roxeter and my eldest son occasions without end of leading me to an increased knowledge of religion, and of that wonderful scheme of man's salvation, which infinite wisdom conceived, infinite love carried on, and infinite power completed.
Long did my worldly wisdom contend with divine conviction; and long did my guilty conscience continue to tremble at the remembrance of perfect holiness and perfect justice. Long did I feel the terror inspired by these divine attributes; and even years passed away before I could satisfactorily comprehend how mercy and truth had met together, and righteousness and peace had kissed each other. But at length the Son was revealed to me through the medium of the word and Spirit; and the Father, being beheld through the Son, appeared no longer an object of terror to my mind. Then did the clouds roll away from my benighted mind; while the angel of the covenant shone forth on my soul with a brilliancy and glory which turned my night into day, my hell into heaven, and my despair into joy:
I was fifty-four years of age when this happy change took place; and, since that time, I have been as one travelling through the land of Immanuel, and keeping the glories of the Celestial City in view continually.
The lady of the manor here ceased to read, and, closing her manuscript, she entreated her young people to join her in prayer. And, as the young ladies imagined that this was to be their last regular meeting at the manor house, there were few among them who did not express their regret by their tears. The Prayer on Occasion of the last Meeting at the
“O HOLY LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, glorious and mysterious Three in One, hear the prayer of thine unworthy servants. Hear my prayer for these beloved young persons now assembled in this place; and, not only for these, but for all young females now about to enter into more public life. Make them the happy partakers of the benefits of the Christian dispensation in all its extensive bearings; that, being chosen before the foundation of the world, according to the infinite love of the Father, they may be justified by the Son, and called, regenerated, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit; and that they may be enabled so to act, as to prove blessings in
their generation; imitating the spirit and conduct of her, of whom the Saviour said, "She hath done what she could. And, inasmuch as Scripture and experience have taught us that the influence of the female over the stronger sex is such as tends either to much evil or to much good, grant that they may be assisted so to use that influence as to promote what is right in those with whom they are connected; whether as wives, friends, sisters, daughters, or parents. Restrain them, O Lord, within the becoming bounds of modesty, discretion, and silence; and cause them to instruct others, not by empty words and noisy exhortations, but by the fair and gentle influence of lovely deportment and consistent conduct. Grant that their adorning may not be that out. ward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
“O Holy Father, assist them to be truly the helpmeets of those for whom woman was created; their domestic friends and companions through the weary pilgrimage of this life; their comforters in the hour of anguish; the careful stewards of the worldly goods of those with whom they dwell, and the jealous guardians of their honour. Let them share in all the benevolent acts of their fathers and husbands; and be ready to give up their own pleasures and comforts at the call of duty; and, having done these things in the strength of the Lord, may they cheerfully give all the glory to Him to whom alone it is due; to Him who ordained them to good works before the earth was formed; who had thoughts of love towards them ere yet the breath of life had been vouchsafed them; and justified them by his obedience and death; and to Him who calls, regenerates, and sanctifies them; and promised assuredly to bring them in the end to glory and honour; such as eye, hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man to conceive."
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