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several children. Few men were ever more ardently attached to their families than Mr Lawrence was to his. Of course, the trial of being separated from them by death must have been proportionate to his attachment. Yet, the same cheerful spirit characterised him in sorrow as in suffering. Nor can it be otherwise with a person indulging such views of Providence as formed the basis of his reconciliation. From a letter to his daughter I extract the following :
“If the mind, from early days, be thus accustomed to look upon life as a school of preparation for higher services, then the changes and adversities to which we are all liable can only be viewed as necessary discipline to fit us for those higher services, and as such be considered as applied for our good, however painful they may seem at first. There is no truth better settled than this : that all the discipline of our Heavenly Parent, if rightly used, will eventuate in our good. How, then, can we murmur and repine at His dealings with us?”
If our space admitted, we might quote much from his letters to friends, written in the midst of the deepest sorrow, all of which are pervaded with the same happy view of life. As illustrative of his general spirit in view of his own sickness, the loss of friends, and all the adversities experienced, we make the following brief extracts from his letters
“I can see nothing but the unbounded goodness of our Heavenly Father and best Friend, in all that has been taken from me, as well as in all that is left to me. I can say, with sincerity, that I never have had so much to call forth my warmest and deepest gratitude for favours bestowed as at the present time. Among my sources of happiness is a settled conviction that, in chastening His children, God desires their good ; and if His chastisements are thus viewed, we cannot receive them in any other light than as manifestations of His fatherly care and kindness.”
It is clear from the foregoing what was the ground of that cheerfulness ever exhibited by Lawrence. It depended not at all upon his wealth or position, but upon the religious sentiments of his heart.
Perhaps the reader will still say, that he might not have taken this bright view, if he had been unfortunate in his secular affairs, and suddenly reduced to poverty. We reply, that the loss of property is a small matter in comparison with the loss of health and of dear friends ; and if Mr Lawrence was thus cheerful in the greater trials, why not in the lesser. Had it been left with him to decide whether to part with his riches, or his wife and children, gladly would he have seen his possessions take wings, that he might retain the objects of his strongest affections. We repeat, then, if he was so calm and triumphant when the greater blessing was taken, he would have been equally so when the lesser was no more.
Now, this spirit is necessary to eminent success in all spheres of effort. It is certainly reasonable that a man is better fitted to contend with the difficulties incident to every calling, if he does not yield to doubts and despondency. He will be more energetic and persevering, and put more heart into whatever he undertakes. Physicians tell us that this happy view renders the case of the patient more hopeful. If it exerts such a powerful influence in restoring the health of the body, it surely may be an important element of success in all those
avocations which require such virtues as we have discussed, to prosecute them.
It is believed that actual observation would shew that most of the eminently successful men are those who have taken this noble view of life. They are not the doubtful and desponding class, but the cheerful and resolute, those who look upon the bright side, wherever it exists.
History records many noble examples of firmness, growing out of this sublime view of Providence. We select one as related by Dr Cheever. “I remember the account of a pilot on Lake Erie, whose firmness saved the lives of a crowd of passengers on board a steamboat
The fire broke out in the hold about four in the afternoon, and ten miles from the shore. Old John Maynard was at the wheel, a well-known, faithful, and fearless sailor, and the secret of the power of his character was his love to God, his faith in the Lord Jesus. For a few minutes, by the exertions of all on board,--passengers and sailors,—it seemed as if the flames would be subdued, and a crowd of anxious women gathered around the helmsman with pressing eager questions as to the possibility of safety-how far from land ? how long it would take to reach it? did he think the fire would be conquered ? But he could not yet tell how far the fire had reached ; and, to speak truth,' said he,
we are all in great danger; and, I think, if there was a little less talking, and a little more praying, it would be better for us, and none the worse for the boat.' • Keep her south by west,' cried the captain ; 'we must go on shore anywhere.' But meantime the fire increased; and, catching the saloon, all the passengers and
crew were driven forward, and John Maynard was left at the helm alone, cut off from the rest by the smoke and flames that began almost to envelop him. But he held
on, and now they were only a mile from the shore, and boats were starting to their rescue. "John Maynard, cried the captain. 'Ay, ay, sir,' said John. Can you hold on five minutes longer ?' 'I can try, sir.' And he did try. The flames came nearer and nearer ; a sheet of smoke would sometimes almost suffocate him ; his hair was singed'; his blood seemed on fire with the great heat. Crouching as far back as he could, he held the wheel firmly with his left hand, till the flesh almost shriveled, and then he stretched forth his right hand, and still endured the agony. He could hear the cheers of the sailors to the approaching boats, and he heard the cry of the captain : 'Save the women first !' but his own strength was gone, and when the vessel, held to the last by his matchless firmness, touched the shore, and all were enabled to save their lives by leaping into the boats or into the water, it was too late for him. He had saved all by holding on even to the death. Had he attempted to save himself, had he been driven from his post, all would have been lost. And though he perished, he conquered. He heard the voice, Hold fast till I come !' He died as a Christian hero, and the whole transaction of his faithfulness was such an illustration as is rarely recorded in all history of the indomitable resolution and endurance which confidence in God inspires, and which only His Spirit can sustain."
We have seen that it is possible to carry religion into business, notwithstanding the opinions of some to the contrary. Amos Lawrence abided by religious principles as truly in the market-place as in the sanctuary. It was just as difficult for a person to discover faults in his Christian character in his counting-room as in the church. He appears to have thought just as much of glorifying God in traffic as in praying, and there is no reason why he should not. Religion is designed to reach and control the every-day transactions of the street and the office as much as the more serious acts of the vestry and house of God. It should go with the trader to his merchandise, with the blacksmith to his anvil, with the shoemaker to his bench, with the sailor on his voyage, with the statesman into politics, and with every other man to the minutest affairs of his calling. A religion that will not do this is not worth having. If a man regards the claims of God only on Sunday, or morning and evening at the family altar, excluding all thoughts of moral obligation from his mind while engaged in his daily business, toiling or trading as if no God were on the throne, and no future state of existence beyond the present, he has mistaken something else for religion. There are not two kinds of religion to suit our convenience, one for the sanctuary and another for the workshop and shop, although many act