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constantly, (Col. iv. 2;) with faith, (James v. 15;) and by the help of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. viii. 26.)
“ The parts of prayer,” continued the lady of the manor, “are invocation, adoration, confession, petition, pleading, dedication, thanksgiving, and blessing: But the composition of any prayer is of infinitely less importance than the spirit in which it is offered up. Hence learning and talents are not required in rendering a prayer acceptable to God, though they may render it more pleasing to the ears of
The lady of the manor then requested one of the young people to repeat the answer to this question, “ What desirest thou of God in this prayer?"
One of the young ladies replied, “ I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the Giver of all goodness, to send his grace unto me, and to all people, that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him, as we ought to do. And I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that be needful both for our souls and bodies; and that he will be merciful unto us, and forgive us our sins; and that it will please him to save and defend us in all dangers ghostly and bodily; and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlasting death. And this I trust he will do of his mercy and goodness, through o’r Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore I say, Amen, So be it."
The lady of the manor then proposed to read a story to her young people, containing some remarks on prayer, which she trusted might be pleasing to them. She accordingly unfolded a manuscript, and read as follows.
The Shepherdess of the Alps.
Ernesthus Muller was born at Geneva, about the middle of the last century. His father was the head of a respectable family, which had long resided in the canton of the same name; and his mother was of English parentage; but how this lady became united with a foreigner is not our present business to inquire.
Geneva is a name which must be familiar to every refined ear: the extraordinary beauty of its situation, on the banks of a charming lake surrounded with mountains
some of which are the most lofty in Europe, has rendered it the delight of every traveller in Switzerland, and will continue to distinguish it above almost every other city of Europe while the face of our globe retains its present form. The extraordinary beauties of its scenery, in the grandeur of the mountains, the refreshing coolness of its lake, the shadowy and fragrant walks of the vicinity, are not the only circumstances which have distinguished this city; for there are few places which have acquired more notoriety in history than this. The reformation in religion, which took place here, procured for it a very extended influence. As soon as this town, upheld by the success of its allies of Berne and Fribourg, had succeeded in obtaining its independence, Calvin and Beza formed within its walls a nursery of zealous preachers and theologians, which rendered it at one time the metropolis and the guide of almost all the reformed Churches in Switzerland. These were the happiest times which it ever knew; and well would it have been, had its sons continued to follow the steps of the first reformers—had they continued to retain the light of truth, as it shone in the pages of those venerable teachers, and rejected those principles of infidelity and death which were diffused by the blasphemous writers of the last age. For I must inform my young readers, that in the beginning of the last century, and towards the end of the preceding one, there arose certain persons, in different countries of Europe, who made it their object, in every possible way, but particularly by their writings, to subvert the Christian religion; and multitudes of weak, vicious, and ignorant persons were, by these means, conducted into the regions of infidelity, error, and awful destruction. Among these infidel writers, the two who did the most mischief were J.J. Rousseau and Voltaire. They were men of quick, subtle, impudent, and witty minds. The former of these was born at Geneva; and the latter spent many of the last years of his life in the little village of Ferney, between Geneva and Mont Jura. Their endeavours were too successful in destroying the good effects of the reformers' labours; so that, about the period which gave birth to Ernesthus Müller, the greater part of the young people in Geneva were decided infidels; puffed up with their own conceits, refusing to admit the validity of reve
lation, and questioning the wisdom of the divine government; while they maintained the sufficiency of human reason and human virtue.
After having given the above description of the state of Geneva at the time of the birth of the gentleman whose history I am about to report, and after having hinted that Ernesthus Muller differed in no essential points from his companions in general, my reader will not be surprised to hear that this young man, when about the age of twentytwo, was distinguished for little else than a handsome person, a good address, and much worldly cunning. He was the second son of his father; and, as there were several younger children, Ernesthus was educated for the mercantile line, and placed in the counting-house of a rich merchant in the city.
While in this situation, he found means to obtain the affections of one of his master's daughters, whom he married in a clandestine manner; being persuaded that he should not be approved by her father. This union, as might be expected, was not a happy one. The young lady had as little religion as her husband. The tempers of both were haughty and unsubdued; and, within a few months after her marriage, the lady began to repent of her undutiful precipitancy; though she was by no means humbled in the sight of God, under a sense of the evil she had committed, so as to receive her afflictions as the due reward of her misconduct; but she added to them by murinurs and reproaches; and, having thus entirely lost the affections of her inconstant husband, she expired soon after having given birth to a son, to whom the father gave the name of Christopher.
Ernesthus Muller, being thus set free from a union which promised nothing but misery, and having given up his child to the care of its maternal grandmother, quitted Geneva and came over to England, to attend to some mercantile transactions in this country.
Mr. Muller, as we shall now call him, (because from that time he became more than half an Englishman,) soon settled in a mercantile house in London, being able to speak good English; and in this situation he remained for three or four years, maintaining intercourse, by letter only, with his family. At the end of this period, he became weary of
this employment, which did not suit his restless and ambitious mind; and, his father happening to die about this time, he gave up his situation and entered the army, as an ensign in a marching regiment; then he became a lieutenant by purchase; and, as soon afterwards as possible, a captain of a company of foot.
It was now that he was quartered for some time in a small town in Yorkshire, where the appearance of such a young man (for Captain Muller was not only remarkably handsome, but elegant and accomplished) excited no small sensation among such persons as had little else to do but to look about them for entertainment,
I know little of the course of life led by young Muller in this place, excepting that he spent much time in lounging about the streets, reading the newspapers, talking against the existing government, whatever it might be, and walking with the ladies; employing himself sometimes in music, of which he was excessively fond; and in drawing, for which he had a fine taste; and occasionally in reading, though this was of a kind less profitable than his other engagements.
After having been some weeks in this little town, Captain Muller had occasion to change his lodgings, and he was by this circumstance removed from a central situation, wbich had commanded a view of the coffee-room and à milliner's shop, to a very retired street, or rather lane, where he had no other prospect than the fields, and a small yet elegant dwelling, standing in a fragrant garden, and backed by a coppice. The house was occupied at that time by a widow lady of the name of Courtney, who possessed an easy fortune, and was blessed with one daughter.
It happened, however, that Captain Muller, who had by this time learned the names and histories of most the young ladies in the neighbourhood, had never heard that of Emily Courtney; for this attractive young person was rarely seen in the streets; and, as the family attended a small country church in the neighbourhood, the plain people there did not notice her, as the gay and thoughtless of a more fashionable assembly are apt to do. It was therefore not without wonder, as well as admiration, that the young soldier first saw her watering her flowers, at an open
window, as he was standing at the door of his lodgings. Whether she observed him or not, he could not tell; for, although he frequently took occasion to watch for her from the same place, he never afterwards saw her employed in the same way, and found it difficult even to obtain a second view of her on any occasion whatever. But, to be short, he was so well pleased with her when he did see her again, and was so delighted by the character he heard of her, that he was resolved to obtain an introduction to her mother; and, having succeeded in this attempt, he behaved with so much decorum, and laboured with so much success to appear what he really was not, viz. an amiable and upright young man, that in the course of time he won the affections of the young lady, and shortly afterwards became the husband of one of the most lovely as well as the most amiable of women.
Mrs. Courtney made it a condition, in bestowing her only child on Mr. Muller, that he would not separate her from her daughter; the consequence of which was,
that on his marriage, he was obliged to give up his connexion with the army, and content himself with residing in the obscurity of his mother-in-law's dwelling—a mode of life by no means suited to the generally restless state of his mind. Nevertheless, such was the ardour of his affection for his young, interesting wife, that he appeared not to regret the sacrifice; and if some symptoms of irritability in his temper would sometimes appear, his wife presently found means to allay the fever by the amiableness of her manner, and her gentle and modest attentions.
We may be assured, that Mrs. Muller, who, though young, was pious and penetrating, could not be long associated with her husband without discovering that he had not that respect for religion to which he had
pretended in the days of courtship; but how far she suspected his actual infidelity does not appear, and we hope that she was spared the anguish which a conviction of this kind would undoubtedly have inflicted.
The first exercise of her influence, after her marriage, was to induce her husband to send for his little son, who had lately suffered another loss of a parent by the death of his grandmother; and when the child arrived, there was no instance of maternal tenderness and maternal attention