« PreviousContinue »
The true Patriot.
he Apostle Paul, after using arguments to persuade the Christian converts at Rome to overlook small differences of opinion, respecting the observation of days, and abstaining from particular meats, lays down one truth as uncontroverted by all of them, « None of us liveth to himself.”
This is the motto every Christian must adopt and act upon, and it is no question with him, shall I be public spirited? but how shall I best promote public good? The poor, the humble, and the diffident may not suppose themselves included in the list of benefactors to the world at large, but the fact is, every individual is more or less, a friend or an enemy to the nation to which he belongs. For as in a large machine every wheel and spring has its appointed place, from which it cannot be separated without injury to the whole, so do the rich and the poor, the wise and the simple, the
strong and the weak, the old and the young, meet together in the world, either by their happy union to the parts allotted them, to spread harmony or confusion in it. From this view of the subject, the Christian who laments his inability to aid his country by his counsel, may be satisfied that he is serving it by his orderly conversation ; and while, as respects our depravity in the sight of God, we cannot think too meanly of our naturem-wecannot think too highly of it, as placed in the scale of mutual dependance on each other. This is the only equality which Providence admits, an equal share in promoting the good of the whole; and this is the public spirit it is both an honour and duty to exhi. bit. Every peasant and labourer I met, seemed raised in my estimation by the reflection, that it lay in his power to spread the glory of the British name, for, says the Scripture, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." It is therefore the height of folly for any to boast of love to their king and country, who neglect to fulfil the duties of their own private stations, and vain will prove the attempts of the best and wisest ministers to advance our national interests, if they are not aided by a general disposition in all to maintain order, subordination and good morals.
The reader may suppose I lost no time in sending the promised Bible to the Mason's cottage. I ac
companied it with a church prayer-book, and another book of prayers adapted to private and family
The zealous minded barber, as well as myself, being anxious to hear the proceedings of the club, soon visited the spot to make enquiries. On passing the church-yard, he perceived a funeral just arrived, and a number of mourners attending. Mourners they seemed only by name, for not a single countenance betrayed any symptom of grief. This proved to be the funeral of farmer Grumbleton, who fell ill of a fever, a few days after the accident of the fire, occasioned by his over exertions to extinguish it, and greatly increased by his intemperate habits of life. The few intervals of reason, which the violence of his disorder allowed, were employed in settling his worldly affairs, and to the surprise of all who knew the irreligious tenor of his conduct, he was insensible to any fears of the consequence. Some were ready on this occasion to be envious of the wicked, who have no bands in their death, but those persons did not consider, that the gift of an awakened conscience would have been the greatest blessing to the dying farmer, and its accompanying terrors far preferable to false peace.
This awful and unexpected breach made in their assembly, would probably have occasioned its dissolution if other causes had not. man, while assisting to extinguish the fire, had
But the nursery
his pockets picked of his political papers, which the disappointed thief found he could turn to no better an account than by an exposure of them to the magistrate, for which he obtained a small reward, and Mr. Spade a summons to give an account of them. As they were enclosed under a cover directed to himself, it was evident an accomplice was concerned, and the dread of some months imprisonment, prompted him to betray the seditiously disposed person, who in reality deserved more to suffer the rigour of the law; for his superior rank in life, education, and means of information, should have taught him the duties he owed his country. The miller thought deeply upon the hint thrown out by the nursery-man, on the expediency of destroying mills, to decrease the price of bread, and dreading the idea of the hint transpiring in public, resolved to avoid any interference for the future, in questions which might lead to observations on the high price of that article. The blacksmith seemed inclined to wait the return of the French gentlemen, in order to learn the full particulars of our national grievances, which he acknowledged he was at present ignorant of; since speaking by experience, he had never known better times for shoeing horses and blowing a forge. The wary justice, however, penetrated into the haunts of these ungrateful sowers of sedition, in a country where they had found unmerited kindness, and used proper means to silence them and destroy their schemes.
With the exception of the melancholy end of the farmer, Humphrey related these particulars to me with high satisfaction, and added, “but the best of all, Sir, is to come, for calling on my cousin, the Mason, I found him reading in the Bible you sent him, and willing to hear me talk about spiritual concerns, which he never used to be. He says too, that he is resolved to go to church, and kcep away. from public-houses. His wife told me that he seemed quite altered, ever since a poor old man, as she ignorantly called your honour, happened by chance to lodge at their cottage. Don't call it chance, said I, he was doubtless sent by Providence to do you both good, and you are rewarded for your hospitality, in being like Abraham of old, careful to entertain a stranger. He has done the work of an angel for you. I staid (continued Humphrey) a long while with them, and we talked a little of worldly matters, and strange as it may seem to you, Sir, I really thought that John's head was as light again as it used to be."
This discovery did not seem strange to me, for I had made correspondent observations on several persons of naturally weak understandings, after they had yielded themselves to the influence of that word, “ the entrance of which giveth understanding to the simple." This effect is easily accounted for, since it is chiefly by a suitable exercise of the mental powers they become improved. If the