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This was a close question, and the mention of town made George conveniently remember that it would be desirable to take some breakfast at once, that he might be in time for the morning stage. Mrs. Franklin took the opportunity of remarking, “We shall have a little quiet conversation about Anna's pursuits when you are gone, George; I assure you her papa and I feel the importance of the subject as much as you do.”
Anna.-" As much as you say you feel it, George."
“Ah! no doubt, mamma,” replied he, and just then his deep interest in the formation of Anna's character was suspended by the sound of a horn, which warned him and his father to prepare for a speedy departure.
In a few minutes they were whirled away, leaving the breakfast party at first comparatively quiet. Anna stood musing at the window, by the side of little Lucy, who, after straining her eyes to watch the travellers till she could see them no longer, sprang from the chair on which she was mounted, exclaiming, “ Mamma, is it not very tiresome of George to say that young ladies do nothing at all? I wish you would tell him not; because I am sure I am busy all day.”
Anna looked as though her own wishes corresponded with those of her talkative sister: Mrs. Franklin smiled and said, “George was not thinking of you, Lucy, when he mentioned young ladies ; you must remember you are only a little girl.”
“ Yes, mamma; but Anna is a young lady, and a very nice one too, is she not, mamma? I am sure she is quite as good as George, and quite as clever; and I cannot bear to hear her laughed at,” said the warm-hearted child, burying her little face in her sister's dress.
Anna possessed too much good sense to feel as warmly as Lucy did on the subject, bụt she was at an age when young minds are peculiarly alive to ridicule or censure from any quarter, and ridicule from her eldest brother she would gladly have taken means to avoid. Her mamma understood her feelings, and knew how to meet them.
“George was not wrong, dear Anna," she said, " in asking you how you meant to pass your time at home. It was exactly the question I was intending to ask you myself."
vol. IX. 3rd SERIES. S
Anna.—“ Oh! yes, mamma, I like you to ask me anything you please, but indeed I do not know how to answer you."
Mrs. F.-" Why not, my love ?”
Anna.—" Because, mamma, I have never thought on the subject; I have formed no plans; so I intend to do exactly as you advise me.”
Mrs. F.—“Well then, Anna, my first advice is, that you begin thinking for yourself on the subject : young people often seek the guidance of others merely to escape the trouble of exercising their own thoughts. You have been trained from infancy in the desire to improve yourself that you may be useful to others, and now I must request that you will at least try and devise some means of doing so.”
Anna had not expected to be thus thrown upon her own resources, but though rather startled, she was more pleased than otherwise at being called upon to shape a course for herself. She sat silent for some time, her thoughts busied and almost confused with various projects that occurred to her mind. At last she said, “ But, mamma, I see it will take me a long while to settle all my plans, and surely it will be losing a great deal of time to remain idle till I have considered as I ought what it will be better for me to do.”
“ Undoubtedly, my dear, you must employ yourself about something directly ; your thoughts will be assisted by a few experiments in real action. Remember, Anna, in advising you to reflect on this question, I am not urging you to bring me, in a day or two, a long and laboured discourse about it; but I only wish you to make use of your memory and observation, and apply what you can glean thence to your daily practice. Neither are you requested to determine what would form a desirable system for young people in general, or even for any of your friends; you have only to look around on your individual circumstances, and up to your heavenly Father, and to say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?' what are my personal responsibilities, and opportunities of gaining or imparting good.?"
Anna was just going to reply, but Mrs. Franklin was unexpectedly called away, and she obeyed the summons with a readiness of which her daughter had yet to learn the propriety. “How
provoking !” thought she, “ mamma and I are always interrupted in the middle of an interesting conversation.”
Anna might have been consoled by remembering that it was no small blessing to have a parent in whose conversation she was so much interested ; but in the present instance it was not, perhaps, on the whole, to be regretted that she was left to find society amidst her own thoughts, even to the exclusion of one so well able to direct them as her judicious mamma. She had been too well trained to think lightly of the value of time, and her mind was alive to the influence of motives derived from religión; she knew and felt that her days and hours were bestowed by one who would ere long require an account of them; and she was just now more impressed with this solemn fact than she had ever been before. Hitherto, the chief arrangement of her time had been committed to those who conducted her education, but now the case was different, and she felt, what it were well if all the unoccupied could feel, the responsibility of leisure.
It will not be worth while to follow the train of Anna's reflections throughout the whole of this day, but it is allowable to remark that they were such as to make the hour of evening retirement appear a most valuable opportunity of seeking direction at a throne of grace, from the words of unerring truth. Within that hallowed privacy we seek not to intrude, but rather turn to invite every gay and buoyant spirit, now rejoicing in its emancipation from early discipline, to remember the increased obligations which this newly-acquired freedom involves, and to lose no time in earnest application to the source whence alone strength for their suitable discharge may be obtained. That source is the Saviour's footstool; and there let the young heart, alike confessing its responsibilities, and deploring its weakness, seek in humble prayer those holy influences which are needful to preserve it from destruction. Left to its unassisted power, youth may faint and be weary, and its energies utterly fail; but experience has shown, and ever will show, that “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
THE DRUNKARD'S TREE.
To the Soul, a Thief to the Purse, the
is this all,
and hereafter to
from the root
AN APPEAL FOR INDIA.
(From a Speech delivered at the late Annual Meeting of the London Missionary
Society, by the Rer. Mr. Campbell, of Bangalore.) “I am greatly oppressed with the weight and responsibility which devolve upon me in standing forth, on this occasion, as a Christian and as a Missionary, to advocate the claims of idolatrous India. Long and lamentably was that land misrepresented to Britain and to the church. Did the great majority of her visitors find it their interest to represent her as the spies did Canaan of old? No. As a land good and fruitful, and flowing with milk and honey? No. As a land whose people are strong and warlike, whose cities are walled and impregnable, and whose giants are terrible as the Anakims of old ? No: it was a very good report that they brought, to deceive us, and to weaken our hearts and our hands. • That land,' said they, ‘is, it is true, like the burning plains, hot and inhospitable; it is the land of the cholera, the pestilence and the plague ; the land where disease and death spread their ravages on every side; it is, especially to Europeans, an Aceldema and a grave. But, withal, it is a good land: there is no need for missionaries there! The Hindoos, as a race, are sober, gentle, and industrious; they are meek, patient, hum. ble, and the most religious pouple on tħé face of the earth; their mytho. logy is suited to the country, and the country to the mythology; happy in their present state, it would be wicked and malevolent to disturb their repose.'
“But, thanks to the Calebs and the Joshuas who saw through the veil of imposture, who have dispelled the delusion, and who have described her to us in the language of truth. No; much as India is endeared to me by a thousand recollections, I must speak the truth, I must describe her as she is. I love her as an earthly Canaan, upon whom the God of nature has lavished his bounties and his riches in a wonderful degree; I love her as the sphere of the arts and sciences, the lustre of whose acquirements was once reflected back upon the western world; I love her as the theatre of my country's arms, where oppression and tyranny quailed under the banners of justice and truth ; I love her as the birthplace of my children, as the scene of my early labours, and as the soil where many dead souls have been born again, and raised to newness of life; but I love her more as the stage upon which the glories of Emmanuel are yet to be displayed, and where the divine attributes are to be rendered illustrious in the regeneration of all her children ; and I am loud to speak of her moral degradation.
“Alas! she is still the valley of the shadow of death; she is still like the mystical Babylon, the habitation of devils, the hold of every fou!