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Early piety of Anna Amelia : her sickness. infancy. She indeed seemed almost like an unearthly being At the time of her baptism, Mrs. R appeared to realize à peculiar and unusual confidence in the divine promises. She felt the full assurance of faith in relation to this child, that God would regenerate her, and make her his own by adoption and grace. The manner in which her mind was at that time impressed, was afterwards frequently made the subject of reflection. Like Mary, “she kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” And when she saw this dear child growing up, with her affections apparently fixed on God, she could not but hope that the Lord had sanctified her, éven from her baptismal birth.
Several years had now elapsed since the death of Henry. Anna Amelia had nearly reached her thirteenth year.
She had for some time manifested such a love for prayer, and for reading the holy scriptures, and evinced such an apparent abhorrence of sin such a fear of offending God—such tenderness of conscience, and so anxious a solicitude to please her Heavenly Father, and to trust in his mercy through Christ, and her conduct was all so sweetly accordant with the spirit and requirements of the gospel, that her parents could no longer doubt, that God had taken her for his own child. Often did they converse with her about eternal things, and always were they more and more impressed with the certainty that she was truly born of God.
Can there be a more interesting being on earth, than a young, beautiful girl of thirteen, blooming in all the freshness of health—buoyant with all the sprightliness of childhood,and yet exhibiting the sweetness and loveliness of all the christian graces spread over her character in chastened and child-like simplicity.
Such a sweet and lovely one was Anna Amelia. She was growing up the delight and almost the idol of her parents' hearts. Suddenly the blight of disease fell upon this loved one. She sank under its power, and soon exhibited symptoms that were truly alarming. All of a father's anxiety and a mother's love could not prevail for her rescue, or compel the fell destroyer to relax bis grasp. Her brothers and sisters gathered around her sick bed with weeping eyes. She more than guessed its meaning !
The death of Anna Amelia : its effect.
At length she was plainly told that hers was a mortal sickness. After the first agitation had passed away, she exhibited great and unbroken composure, and sweetly said“I am willing to go wherever the hand of God shall conduct me.” Thus died Anna Amelia, at the early age of thirteen, full of faith and hope.
This seemed a dreadful stroke to the sorrowing parents and bereaved brothers and sisters. But still they had rich sources of consolation. Though God had taken away two of this baptized family, the departed had both left behind them the brighest evidences of their adoption into the divine family.
The death of Anna Amelia made a deep impression upon the hearts of her two elder sisters. By this afflictive event they were led to reflect upon their own unpreparedness to die. The awful truth became written as with a diamond's point, upon their consciences, that they were sinners guilty. and condemned before God: that they had never loved Him as they ought: that they had done nothing but sin all their lives. They began to sorrow after a godly sort. They went to the feet of the Saviour, and found joy and peace in believing. Mr. and Mrs. R were more and more strengthened in the belief that God would certainly fulfil his covenant prum. ises made to them in behalf of their offspring. Two of their dear children were now in the church triumphant, and two had become, as they hoped, living members in the church militant.
At the time that Anna Amelia fell sick and died, Gthe eldest brother, was absent. As we have already remarked, he had become the commander of a vessel, and his life was chiefly passed amid the perils of the ocean, Though he was surrounded with great and numerous temptations, the influence of early instruction, and the pious example of his parents, operated with sufficient power to keep him from open immorality. Many of the voyages which he made were to the West Indies, where he met and formed intimacies with many individuals from the European continent, who had em. braced those loose and sceptical notions which are so prevalent in France. The effect of this association was highly pernicious. Though G— had many serious reflections, he could not make
the natural heart existed in undiminished power. He therefore without scarcely being conscious of it, drank in the poison of infidelity.
He had naturally an amiable and affectionate heart, and felt most keenly the death of little Anna Amelia. He wept over her
with all the fond affection of a devoted and almost heart-broken brother. A strange conflict of emotions was awakened in his mind, when he heard how she was sus. tained in death by the christian's hope. But when he learned that his two eldest sisters had professed to have experienced a change of heart, an indignant feeling arose in his mind which he could hardly suppress. His respect for his parents, however restrained him from giving utterance to the loathing he felt for every thing that related to godliness. So great was the enmity of his heart at this time against the truth, as he subsequently acknowledged, that when he heard that his sisters were going to partake of the communion, for a moment he wished that some deadly poison were infused into the sacramental cup. Though he did not express these and similar feelings at the time, yet it was obvious to all his family, that he was utterly opposed to religion. Oh! what a dark hour was this to those bereaved parents ! Their firstborn-their eldest son-an infidel! The child that drew after him so much affection—that had been sacramentally washed in the baptismal water, and offered to God amid so many pravers—now ready to abjure Christ, and deny religion! What a trial was here for the faith of these christian parents! Would God indeed bring in this son? Would he make him one of his regenerate people ? Being not weak in faith, they considered not the apparent obstacles in the way, “ They staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but were strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was also able to perform.” They said very little to G—but sought continually to bring his mind imperceptibly under good and holy influences. — They believed that his infidelity was a disease of the heart, and that if he could be made to feel his sin. fulness, and the obligation he was under to God, he would be constrained to cast his scepticism away, and fee for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before him in the gospel. At this time he remained at home for several months.
The serious impressions made on J—'s mind: bis decided conversion. They were months of deep anxiety to Mr. and Mrs. RIn their solicitude for their living child, they almost forgot their sorrow for the one that had gone down to the grave. At the family altar G was ever particularly and affectionately remembered. Religious conversation was frequently addressed to the other children in his presence, though little was usually said directly to him. He became evidently troubled in his mind. It was manisest that he was not satis. fied with his present state. All this, however, seemed only to increase the opposition of his heart to the truth.
At length, he was induced to attend an evening lecture. In this instance, the preacher, though entirely unacquainted with G-, seemed to delineate his character with great accuracy, and to apply to him the truths of God, in a manner that stript him of all his excuses, and left him a naked sinner, trembling before the bar of divine justice. It was a barbed arrow that went to the very centre of his heart. Now as the light broke in upon him, and he saw his true character, and the wickedness of his heart, “the iron entered his soul, and he tasted the wormwood and the gall.” He went home, and shut himself up, and tried to pray. He passed the whole night in anguish unspeakable. He felt that he was an awful sinner. Thick darkness settled down upon his soul. He saw that he had merited eternal wrath, and that it would be an act of infinite mercy, if he was saved from going down to !he pit. All that he could do, was to fall, down before the divine footstool and cry, Lord have mercy on me. His voice went up and entered that “ear which is never dull of hearing.” The blessed Saviour appeared for his rescue. He became a most decided, devoted, consistent christian. Having become, by spiritual regeneration the child of God, he delighted in nothing so much as in doing good. It became his meat and drink to glorify God to point out to his fellow seamen the star of Bethlehem—to direct them to the Lamb of God that ‘aketh away the sin of the world. Who can conceive the feelings of the happy parents on this occasion ? The language of the Psalmist seemed an echo to the emotions that glowed in their bosoms. “ Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.” The only alloy to their present happiness was the recollection that all their children had not submitted to
the same regenerating influence, which had impressed such altered and heavenly features upon the whole character of G-. He was now about to leave home on a long voyage. It had been so arranged, that N and J-, his two brothers, next younger than himself, were to accompany him on board the same vessel. They went to New York with this intention. Their plan, however, was afterward altered, and each of the brothers went on different voyages in separate vessels.
Mr. R., however, before being apprised of this, addressed to J-, the youngest of the three brothers, the following letter:
“My Dear Son,
“ No circumstance has ever occurred since we have had a family, so interesting as that under which we now part from our three eldest children. When we look back, and consider the danger and the hardships that G has undergone, and that the kind Providence of God has al. ways watched over him, and, at last returned him home in safety, and so shed abroad His love in his heart, as to make him a new creature in Christ Jesus, we are astonished at the mercy that has done such great things for us, who are so undeserving
“ The same Providence is guiding and directing you now It is under His protecting care you will sail. If you confido in Him, He will preserve you. And I hope that this event wili result in the conversion of both you and N-. It certainly will, unless you wilfully reject the grace of God. God has so ordered this event, that your brother may be a minister to yout. And surely when you look back and think how he felt when he came home, and see how he is now, you can have no doubc of the reality of religion. But I feel assured that you do not doubt this-I fully believe that the Spirit of God has enligntened your mind. It is only necessary that you
be willing to devote yourself to God. It must be an act of your will. Your mind is not darkened, nor your heart harder than that of every unconverted person. But the will must be bowed in submission to God." He says, my son give me thy heart -seek ye my face. It is necessary that you should respond
• Here Lord I give myself away,