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“The remembrance of that must tend much to alleviate your sorrow." .“ It does indeed, sir, at times; but at other times I am ready to sink. My father's poverty and advancing age, my baby's helplessness, and my own delicate health, are frequently too much for my feeble faith.”
“Trust in God, and he will provide for you; be assured he will.”
By this time the coach was again in motion, and though the conversation continued for some time, the noise of the wheels prevented me from hearing it distinctly. I could see the dandies, however, exchange expressive looks with one another; and at one time the more forward of the two whispered something to his companion, in which the words, “Methodist parson,” alone were audible.
At Airdrie nothing particular occurred; but when we had got about halfway between that town and Glasgow, we arrived at a cross-road, where the widow expressed a wish to be set down. The young gentleman therefore desired the driver to stop, and springing himself from the coach, took the infant from her arms, and then along with the guard assisted her to descend. “May God reward you," said she, as he returned the baby to her, “ for your kindness to the widow and the fatherless this day!”
"And may He bless you," replied he, “ with all spiritual con solation in Christ Jesus !”
So saying, he slipped something into her hand; the widow opened it instinctively, I saw two sovereigns glitter on her palm; she dropped a tear upon the money, and turned round to thank her benefactor; but he had already resumed his seat upon the coach. She cast towards him an eloquent and grateful look, pressed her infant convulsively to her bosom, and walked hurriedly away.
No other passenger wishing to alight at the same place, we were soon again in rapid motion towards the great emporium of the West of Scotland. Not a word was spoken. The young gentleman sat with his arms crossed upon his breast; and, if I might judge by the expression of his fine countenance, was evidently revolving some scheme of benevolence in his mind. The dandies regarded him with blank amazement. They also had seen the gold in the poor widow's hand, and seemed to think that there was more under that shabby surtout than their “puppy brains" could easily conjecture. That in this they were right was speedily made manifest.
When we had entered Glasgow, and were approaching the Buck's Head, the inn at which our conveyance was to stop, an open travelling carriage, drawn by four beautiful grey horses, drove up in an opposite direction. The elegance of this equipage made the dandies spring to their feet. “What beautiful greys !” cried the one, “I wonder who they can belong to?” “He is a happy fellow anyhow,” replied the other ; “ I would give half Yorkshire to call them mine.” The stage-coach and travelling-carriage stopped at the Buck's Head at the same moment, and a footman in laced livery, springing down from behind the latter, looked first inside and then at the top of the former, when he lifted his hat with a smile of respectful recognition.
“ Are all well at the castle, Robert ? ” inquired the young gentleman in the surtout.
“ All well, my lord,” replied the footman.
At the sound of that monosyllable the faces of the exquisites became visibly elongated; but, without taking the smallest notice of them or of their confusion, the nobleman politely wished me good morning; and, descending from the coach, caused the footman to place his cloak and despised portmanteau in the carriage. He then stepped into it himself, and the footman getting up behind, the coachman touched the leaders very slightly with his whip, and the equipage and its noble owner were soon out of sight.
« Pray, what nobleman is that?” said one of the dandies to the landlord, as we entered the inn.
“ The Earl of H., sir,” replied the landlord; “ one of the best men, as well as one of the richest in Scotland."
“ The Earl of H.!” repeated the dandy, turning to his companion, “ What asses we have been there's an end to all chance of being allowed to shoot on his estate."
60! yes, we may burn our letters of introduction when we please,” rejoined his companion ; and silent and crest-fallen, both walked up stairs to their apartments.
“ The Earl of H.!” repeated 1, with somewhat less painful feelings ; “Does he often travel unattended ? ”
“Very often,” replied the landlord, “especially when he has any public or charitable object in view; he thinks he gets at the truth more easily as a private gentleman than as a wealthy nobleman.”
“I have no doubt of it,” said I, and having ordered dinner, I sat down to muse on the occurrences of the day.
This, however, was not the last time that I was destined to hear of that amiable young nobleman, too early lost to his country and mankind. I had scarcely returned home from my tour in the Highlands, when I was waited upon by a friend, a teacher of languages in Edinburgh, who told me that he had been appointed Rector to the Academy at B
“ Indeed !” said I, “how have you been so fortunate ?”
“I cannot tell,” replied he, “unless it be connected with the circumstance which I am going to relate."
He then stated, that about a month before, he was teaching his classes as usual, when a young gentleman, dressed in a surtout that was not over new, came into his school, and politely asked leave to see his method of instruction. Imagining his visitor to be a schoolmaster from the country, who wished to learn something of the Edinburgh modes of tuition, my friend acceded to his request. The stranger remained two hours, and paid particular attention to every department. When my friend was about to dismiss the school, the stranger inquired whether he was not in the habit of commending his pupils to God in prayer before they parted for the day; my friend replied that he was ; upon which the stranger begged that he would not depart from his usual practice on his account. My friend accordingly prayed with the boys, and dismissed them ; after which the stranger thanked him for his politeness, and also withdrew. Nothing more occurred; but four or five days afterwards my friend received a letter from the Earl of H., in which that nobleman, after stating that he had satisfied himself as to his piety and ability as a teacher, made him an offer of the Rectorship of the Academy at B .
“Was your visitor fair haired,” said I, “and his surtout of a claret colour?"
“ They were,” replied my friend, “ but what of that?”
“ It was the Earl of H. himself,” said I, “there can be no doubt of it;" and I gave him the history of my journey to Glasgow.
“ Well, he took the best method certainly to test my qualifications,” rejoined my friend. “I wish all patrons would do the same, we should have better teachers in our schools, and better ministers in our churches."
“All patrons, perhaps, are not equally qualified to judge," said I, “at all events, let us rejoice that though 'not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called,' still we see one here and one there, distinguished by divine grace, to the praise and the glory of God the Saviour.”
ACCOUNT OF BAKEWELL, DERBYSHIRE.
( In a Letter from Charles Johnson to his Father.) DEAR FATHER,
Bakewell. I have scarcely time to tell you more than that I got down here safely yesterday, and hope I shall make a good use of my time during the holidays. I thank you much for having taught me the folly and danger of idleness, and will do my best to learn all I can every day and every hour of my existence. I am now at Bakewell, which I believe had its name from the baths in the neighbourhood, as it was formerly called Buthwell. I mean to make a collection of fossils and minerals whilst I am here, for there are few places which yield better opportunities. The remains of large animals are sometimes found imbedded in the soil, and I have just read of “ a tooth of wonderful proportion dug up in sinking a lead-grove near Bradwall,” about seven miles off, which, though partially broken, measured more than thirteen inches round, and weighed more than three pounds and a half ! Uncle calls me his little antiquary, and is very kind in directing all my enquiries. He tells me that these remains are " the medals of creation,” and have enabled clever men to learn the different ages of the deposits in which they are found. There is another class of antiquities which he helps me also in studying, and says, that he and I together may soon set about writing what he call a documentury history of the neighbourhood. First of all, there are the oldest strata of the earth, which speak of ages long passed away: then those deposits which are more recent, with the curious bodies found within them; then those works of art belonging to the
Romans, such as the altar, dug up in the grounds of Haddon House, a long time since: then those vestiges of the dark ages of popery, like the beautiful stone cross in Bakewell churchyard which he took me yesterday to see. It stands very near the church, and is richly carved with a sort of scroll-work pattern; but I will shew you the drawing I made of it* in a few months time, which may, perhaps, satisfy you that I am cultivating this delightful art to some purpose.
I should like to say much more if I could, but cannot find time at present. Give my kind love to all, and believe that I shall do all that lies in my power to come home a wiser and a better boy.
Your's, very affectionately,
Or all that this earth can afford. True religion is to be distinguished from that which is false and impure. It is a diamond clear and transparent, of inestimable value, and highly ornamental to its happy possessor. It is a principle fixed firmly in the mind. It is a power which influences the whole man, guides his thoughts, directs his affections, dictates his conduct. It is a celestial plant rooted in the heart by the spirit of God. It is a remedy for all the ills of life. It gives instruction to the young, and consolation to the aged. It comforts the afflicted, strengthens the weak, dries the mourner's tear, relieves the anxious penitent, recalls the backslider from his destructive wanderings, and presents to the view of the dying a state of immortality replete with inconceivable bliss and everlasting joy.
True religion is that which is so before God, “ unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hid.” Whatever appears so to men only, is unavailing and counterfeit, incompetent to stand the test of Divine scrutiny, and, consequently, will not receive his divine approbation, or be crowned by His eternal reward.
* See the l'ignette to the present volume. · VOL. IX. 3rd SERIES. Gg