Page images

plaints which we hear, and know to be felt, that no more is done, are good signs. They are like the sounds in the ice in spring, which indicate that the sun and streams are breaking up the bonds of winter. Seed time and harvest must come. Prophecy, like the vegetative power of the earth, cannot be restrained. The embarkation of every company of missionaries, the death of every servant of Christ on missionary ground, is a repeated assurance that there is a spirit of determination and of self-sacrifice, divinely in. spired and guided, as we trust, which cannot fail to see its end accomplished.

Into this great work, the lamented subject of the memoir before us entered with her whole soul and strength. Her influence as a missionary, so far from being ended, is but just beginning. Great enterprizes when somewhat advanced, receive strength and excite enthusiasm, by the names and memoirs of their early founders. When the people for whose benefit the Syrian mission was established, begin to appreciate its efforts, they will revive its early history; the name and character of this missionary female will then be honorable and precious, and she will be to them a

_" star of Arcady, i “Or” Syrian “Cynosure."Several things constitute Mrs. Smith a good example in the missionary work.

She entered the missionary service for life. We have heard missionaries, who acted on this principle, say, that they had already experienced the “ hundred fold in this lite,” according to the promise. All who are supreniely devoted to this work, regard enlistment in it for life as es sential to the highest happiness as well as to the greatest usefuiness. It is a great means of posthumous influence for a missionary to die on the field of his lab ır. His tomb or head-stone, in coming years, will be moss-grown with hallowed associations. His bones will, in some spiritual sense, be like the bones of Elisha. A missionary who dies on his field, is like a plant that goes to seed on the spot where it grew, and scatters itself upon the wings of the wind. Christians at homne associate his name with the martyrs. There is a canonizing disposition in the human mind. The names

and memories of the faithful are tutelar influences to pious feeling and sacred efforts. This law of social influence may be one reason why the death of his saints' is precious in the sight of the Lord.' We cannot think of the death of a missionary in his field of labor, otherwise than as a most appropriate and desirable termination of his course. It gives the friends of missions confidence in their work, adds moral power to appeals, excites respect for the cause in the community, to know and feel that missionaries are missionaries for life. But this is to be viewed rather as a privilege than as a duty. Efforts to recover health and to prolong life by a return to one's native land are obviously desirable and proper, and are not inconsistent with the general principle in question. Let us hear the opinion and feeling of Mrs. Smith upon this point.

“An enlistment for life, as a general thing, is quite essential to the permanence of this great enterprize. If I anticipated returning in seven years, I should be thinking more about that event, I fear, than I ought. Now I try to realize that this is my home for life; that here are all my interesis. I do not wish to feel that I am a foreigner, but a denizen ; and I hope to live, if it please God, to a good old age, among this people. p. 184.

She had a professional enthusiasm as a missionary.

Before she left her native land, her love for missionary work led her to disinterested labors among the Mohegan Indians. When she entered the foreign missionary service, she was like a ship that spreads every inch of canvass to the breeze, and shows that its impulse is felt through her entire frame. liustrations of her enthusiastic love for her work occur on almost every page of her memoir. One fact will suffice as an example ;-we refer to her earnestness in learning the Arabic language. She had no special taste for the study of languages. Her time was much occupied by her school. Her husband was her only teacher, and his labors prevented him from giving her much time in this instruction. She often wept at the difficulties slie met with in acquiring the tongue, and would sometimes say in despair, that she should never learn it. There were excuses enough for relinquishing the study, had she been so disposed. But she was unwilling to live as a missionary amongst a people, and be ignorant of their language. This reason prevailed. In less than nine months after she learned the Arabic signs,

she began to pray in Arabic with the little girl whom she had taken into her family. In two months more she led in the devotional exercises of the native female prayer meeting. These efforts were extemporaneous. The last winter of her life, she began to translate an Arabic grammar, written in Arabic, (which had been her only written guide!) for the use of missionary females who might succeed her, hoping to make their task in acquiring this difficult tongue easier than her's had been.

The fact of her being without children of her own, gave her more time for her missionary studies and other labors. We refer, in these remarks, therefore, not so much to the amount of work accomplished by her as to her spirit as a missionary. She did not enter the missionary service mercly as a wife. She was a missionary herself, and she makes this to appear in all her plans and conduct. She might have considered it enough to be the companion and the housekeeper of a missionary. She was a companion, indeed, and a most excellent housekeeper, but still she was a missionary, and a noble instance of energetic, resolute industry joined with the delicacy and sweetness of a true lady. For though, in her character as a missionary, she was like a tree that has roots of its own, yet as a wife and companion, she mingled her branches with those of the tree which had received her to its side ; and they threw one shadow in that weary land.

But with all her enthusiasm as a missionary,
She was free from extravagant, radical views and feelings.

Her labors of love were joined with the patience of hope. She expected that when she had reached a good old age, she should see changes in the population around her. That this feeling was not the result of idleness, but of calm and sober views of the intrinsic difficulties of the missionary work, is evident from her incessant industry and exhausting labors. She was like a faithful husbandman that hath long patience for the latter rain.

We nowhere find in her writings impatient rebukes of the churches at home for their want of zeal.

She gives us solemn and faithful admonitions and reproofs which no Christian mind can resist ; but they are noiseless and impres. sive as the twilight. They make us think of our duty and of our neglect of it, and not of the irritation and fretfulness

of our reprover. Her manner, as in all cases, was the transcript of the heart. No great and permanent work can be accomplished with an irritable, impatient spirit. Mrs. Smith's spirit and manner in her work, remind us of what Foster says, in his Decision of Character, when speaking of Howard. She “ had an equability of manner, which scarcely appeared to exceed the tone of a calm constancy, it was so totally the reverse of any thing like turbulence or agita. tion. Ii was the calmness of an intensity kept uniform by the nature of the human mind forbidding it to be more, and by the character of the individual forbidding it to be less."

She was remarkable for her private religious habits.

Incidental facts in her letters and journals and the remarks of Mr. Smith in his sketch of her character, present her to us in this respect as worthy of love and imitation. She made her circumstances yield to her desire to be alone with God. We see in her uniform habits of private prayer the secret of her devotedness to arduous and self denying la. bor, and of her uniform tone of religious feeling. Solitary prayer seems to have been her great and constant source of enjoyment since her conversion. She was not fully aware of the influence she was exerting by this means; for the good she accomplished is as much the result of her being good, as of her active employment. By the religious character she was thus assisted to form, as well as by the indirect influence of her private devotions, her Father who saw her in secret, is rewarding her openly.

Though in a land of exile, she conscientiously cherished the feelings and private observances of cultivated life.

We should infer from the history of her foreign residence, that, while abroad, she regarded every thing that affects the manners and character, as scrupulously as in her native land. , She yielded to no neglectful spirit of indolence; she made order and beauty spring around her path ; she did not degenerate, by comparative seclusion, in any of those things which, though trivial in themselves, greatly affect the moral feelings. Herbert says,

! Affect, in things about thee, cleanliness,

That all may gladly board thee, as a flower.' While the motive here offered, was necessarily weakened by the circumstances of her seclusion, we should infer from

the Life before us, that she aimed at the highest propriety in all her domestic arrangements, from principle, and for its effect upon her own character. She also cultivated a love for the works of God. In the midst of a shipwreck, the evening star, just sinking below the horizon, caught her eye, and gave her a sensation of hope. On the wild and precipitous places near Mount Lebanon the passion flower,' and the dragon's mouth,' attracted her observation.

" Thus pleasures are spread through the earth, " In stray gifts, to be claimed by whoever shall find,"

and she kept her eye and heart open, and cherished the influence of a love of nature in refining and elevating the moral feelings. By this and other means, she is now exerting, through her published Life, an influence upon the cultivated part of the community, and 'them of reputation, who are attracted by her good taste and refinement joined with ardent feelings. The memoir, we are happy to see, is extending its circulation amongst this part of the community. We cannot resist the reflection, in view of this: How important are the private habits, and the private hours of one who is placed in a situation of extensive usefulness. Their influence, as in the present case, may have no limits. It is a great thing to act in private and hidden life, upon high moral principle, and when no eye sees us, as well as at other times, to walk with God.

We are aware that we have spoken of the subject of this memoir with unqualified praise. To some it no doubt appears inexpedient ever to do so. We hope we shall do it, however, whenever we have as good an opportunity as the present. We think it cynical and evil-eyed to seek for detractions and qualifications in speaking of the good. Defects and sins, of course, they all have in their measure. We are for reversing the sentiment of the sly Mark Antony ;-for it is also true that

[ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

We love to think of a certain example of praise, in the
Bible, spoken of a man of like passions with us; “ Hast
thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him


« PreviousContinue »