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Noah Worcester recorded from time to time, of the state of his mind, and his religious experience. They were generally brought out by the recurrence of some interesting event, or the arrival of some era. He kept no regular diary of his religious life, for reasons which he has stated.
"There was a portion of my life in which I kept a journal of the exercises of my mind, and various occurrences of Providence. This I continued to do till I became impressed with the idea that the practice exposed me to temptation; I then discontinued the practice, and destroyed the journals I had kept. I had read diaries kept by others, some of which were very satisfactory and entertaining, in others I thought I discovered in the writers too great a desire to exalt themselves; .and I could not but fear that I should bo guilty of a similar fault. Even now I could state many things relating to the exercise of my mind while I was young, also many perilous situations in which I was placed, many temptations to which I was exposed, and many instances of the preserving mercy of God. But similar things have probably been common to thousands of others. I can recollect enough to excite in myself both wonder and gratitude, as well as contrition; and these perhaps are the best uses which can be made of such recollections."
1831.—" The month of November has again arrived. It has been a remarkable month in the history of my life. It was the month of my birth, and that of two of my brothers, and one of my sisters; the month of my first marriage, and of the death of my first wife; of the death of my oldest daughter, and of the birth of my youngest."
"If I am thankful for any thing, I think I am thankful that I was not called out of the world in darkness on the subject of war, and that my mind has been led to examine the subject with so much care. I have also reason to bless God that what I have published on this subject has been so well received by Christians of different sects ; and that there is so much reason to hope that the tracts will be extensively useful. I think were I now on my death bed, it would be to me matter of great joy that I was not called prior to my writing on that subjeot, one so intimately connected with the nature, the success, and the glory of the gospel. On no other account have I more desire to live another year, than that I may pursue my inquiries relating to the nature of Christianity, and its blessed tendency to reform as well as to save mankind. How great delusions I may yet be in I know not; but if my life shall be spared, I hope to be able so to pursue my inquiries, and to correct what is still erroneous in my views of religion, as not to live in vain, in respect to myself or my fellow men. But I feel a pleasure in the thought that
what I have written in the course of tbe past year, will not die with me. God I believe will raise up others to pursue and to improve the Bubject till it shall produce a powerful effect on the Christian world. My mistakes others will correct, and the hints which I have given others will improve, and tbe light will shiue brighter and brighter unto the perfect day."
April 20th, 1817.—" It is now nearly four years since I came to this place as editor of the Christian Disciple. In the course of these years I have experienced much of the mercy of the Lord, and have enjoyed much comfort in my attempts to correct what I have believed to be erroneous in my own past opinions, and in the opinions 'of others. It has been my aim to search out, and to publish the truth. Still it is probable that future inquiries will detect some errors in what I have honestly written. Perhaps also it will appear to. impartial minds, that I have not been always prudent in my manner of exposing what I believed to be error. I claim no exemption from human infirmities, although my conscience bears me witness that it has been my aim to promote peace on earth and good-will among men^f all descriptions."
Nov. 25th, 1817.—No year of my life has been crowned with more mercies than the last; none more satisfactorily spent with respect to myself; and I hope I have not lived in vain as to the good of others. By far the greater part of my waking hours have been employed on the subject of war and peace; and the more I reflect and examine, the more important the subject appears, and the more I wonder at myself and others that it was so long neglected. For all I have been enabled to do in so good a cause, I am indebted to Him who has the residue of the spirit—to Him be all the praise. May his spirit still guide me, uphold me, and furnish me, save me from error, preserve me from sin, and make my heart and my life conformable to the principles of justice, love, and peace, which his word inculcates, and ^hich I have endeavored to disseminate and enforce. Knowing my sun is going down, that my time is short, may I be more and more active to have my work done, and well done, before the night shall come which will put an end to my labors on earth. May I daily imbribe more and more of the spirit of him who was meek and lowly of heart; in this way may I seek and find rest to my soul. While I expose the wickedness of war, may I ever feel true compassion for those who are still bewildered by the custom. What scenes are before me, what trials await me, are known to him who cannot err. May his grace be sufficient for me, to preserve me from despondency and distrustfulness, and from the indulgence of any passion, or the adoption of any measure by which his name would be dishonored, or the cause of truth and peace injured. While I live mindful that my great change is at hand, may I ever derive comfort from the thought that God will live when I shall be laid in the grave ; that he can lay aside one instrument and employ another to carry on his work; that he can enable those who shall succeed me, to cdrrect my involuntary errors and supply my defects; and that he can.even promote the cause that lies nearest my heart by removing me from the world. *****
Nov. 5th, 1831.—"It is now some consolation to me, so near the close of life, that I have ever written on controversial subjects with a deep conviction of my own liability to err, even on those points on which I have most strongly expressed my dissent from others; and that it has been my aim to express this dissent with friendly feelings, and without calling in question their Christian character on account of their opinions. If in any instance I have failed of so doing, it has wholly escaped my recollection. Indeed, if such a violation of the laws of love should now be pointed out to me, I should feel bound to retract it as unchristian and indefensible."
"What am I that I should assume the prerogative of God in judging the hearts of my fellow men? What am I that I should dare to censure thousands of fellow Christians as the enemies of God because they happen to differ from me in their interpretations of some ambiguous words or phrases which are used in the Bible! Most of these dissenting brethren are wholly unknown to me; many of them have probably bettertalents than I have, and better advantages than myself, and surely I do not know that they have been less careful or less humble in their inquiries than I have been in mine. What then is this self sufficient and censorious spirit which appears in sermons and in controversial writings, but the spirit of those Pharisees who 'trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.' If at this late period of my life, I should find evidence that such is the spirit with which my writings are imbued, I should shudder at the prospect of my final reckoning."
June 26th, 1832.—" Being now in my seventy-fourth year I must expect soon to follow my wife to the house appointed for all the living. But am I prepared for the event? These are important questions worthy of daily attention. How long God may see fit to prolong my life is to me unknown; nor should this be my greatest concern. I should indeed be willing to live as long as it shall be God's pleasure to preserve me; but in itself considered, I do not think it is desirable that old people should survive their usefulness. I cannot pray that it may be so with myself."
The biographer of Noah Worcester thus describes the closing days of tranquil and holy rest which terminated a life of unusual activity and progress. "The picture which it leaves on our
hearts is one of eminent beauty. Consistent, upright, conscientious, and beneficent, it displays the traits of the faithful Christian; and its example is one of adherence to duty, and devotion to truth. In such occupations as have been described, the few remaining years of his life wore tranquilly away. He went less and less abroad, and retreated more and more to the contemplative solitude of his study. His infirmities sensibly increased upon him. But he struggled on, and it was beautiful to witnessthe consistency with which he patiently waited, serene, tranquil, humble and grateful, thearrival of his summons to depart. See him then during these last years of debility and retirement. He lives humbly and almost alone; his daughter is with him to attend and cheer him; infirmity confines him much to the house, but he goes abroad for the little exercise of body which he can bear, chiefly walking in the neighboring grounds of Mr. Parsons. His mode of life in the highest degree frugal, simple, his habits moderate, his wants few ; and for the Providence which grants a supply to them, and the generous friends who contributed to his living, he never wants the luxury of a heart full of affecting gratitude. Subject to severe ill turns, liable at any hour to be eut off; burthened with the weariness of perpetuate languor; living on sufferance from day to day, ho sits serene, gentle, cheerful, occupied as ever with thoughts of others, with solicitude for the welfare of man, and cares for the kingdom of God. Shut out from the world, his spirit is in the midst of it; and his little study witnesses his labors still in its behalf. War, oppression, error, intemperance, slavery occupy his mind and his pen ; and sheet after sheet testifies to the lively sensibility and deep concern with which he still pursues the great interests of humanity.
His bodily presence was portly and dignified, and the expression of benignity and meekness in his countenance was very striking to strangers. The peculiar sweetness of his manners was in part a natural trait; but it was probably increased by the perpetual discipline he exercised himself to maintain over a temperament naturally hasty and irritable, and which he thus kept in such subjection, that few who knew him in his riper days suspected that his beautiful meekness was the attainment of a sharp struggle and laborious self control.
For about five weeks before his death, which occurred at the age of seventy-nine, his health rapidly declined. He was quite oonscious that he was failing, and said, " I think I may not be here long, and I know not why I should desire to be." He took his last meal with the family one month before his death, but continued able to sit up a part of each day till the last five days. His lungs were evidently diseased, and he suffered much, but bore his severe pains with admirable fortitude. He was most of the time conscious of his condition and was willing to die.
"Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God."
THE FIRST SIX VERSES OF THE NINETIETH PSALM.
O Thou, the first, the greatest Friend
Of all the human race I
Their stay and dwelling-place!
Before the mountains heav'd their heads
Beneath thy forming hand,
Arose at thy command:
This universal frame,
Was ever still the same.
Which seem to us so vast, >
Than yesterday that's past.
Is to existence brought;
Return ye into nought!"
lu everlasting sleep,
With overwhelming sweep.
They flourish like the morning flower,
In beauty's pride arrayed;
All withered and decayed. Burns.
THE TEAR OF GRATITUDE. There is a gem more purely bright,
More dear to mercy's eye,
First cheers the evening sky;
No sorrows now intrude
The tear ot gratitude.
But ne'er shall narrow love of wealth
Invite this tribute forth,
Appreciate its worth j
And give the orphan tood,
The'tear «tf gratitude.
Ye who but slake an infant's thirst
In heavenly meicy's name,
The sweet reward may claim;
With sweetest tlow'rets strewed,
The orphan's gratitude.
In glory are arrayed,
Their fragrance to the shade;
Upon the weary traveller's eyes, Like angels, spreading for his feet, A carpet tilled with odors sweet,
And decked with heavenly dyes.
A JOURNEY IN CUBA. Trindad and Havana again. A point of interest to the stranger in tropical latitudes is always found in the seashore. That of Trindad is visited by a half hour's ride to the mouth of the little river, at a point two or three miles east from the port of Casilda.
A short beach of sand lies near the estuary, and the pure waters suggest to every one the idea of bathing. This is safe, however, only in the shallows and within the palm-leaf sheds erected for the purpose, as sharks are abundant, and he who should essay a swim in.dceper water would be in danger.
The beach is strewn with small shells in considerable abundance, but larger forms are rare. 'Of those which are found, the more perfect | specimens have almost always been appropriated ! as residences by the little hermit crab, and the j collector will often be startled to find his treaj sures crawling out of the pocket in which he has I placed them.
Going eastward from the river, we at once come upon that most interesting object to the observer of nature, a coral reef. A broad belt of yellow rock, worn by the surf into hollows and little chasms, its upper surface dissolved until it stands up in thousands of sharp, rugged pinnacles, rough as lava, and sharp enough to cut any shoe rapidly to pieces, extends for miles along the shore. In it can be seen in abundance included corals, chiefly of the hemispherical or more solid forms, often of large size, and as far as I could tell, identical with the recent species existing in the sea close by and yet thrown up by storms. It includes also some fossilized shells, such as those of the large conch, remains of crabs and echini.
On its sides and in its hollows, washed by the slight yet unceasing swell, we found multitudes of small shells like ncvita, limpets and chitons adhering tenaciously to the rock, sea-eggs or echini snugly ensconced in its cavities, actiniae or "animal flowers," and aplysiae. The shells l^cast up from the sea during storms are soon worn out by the surf on this iron-bound shore, but a few days spent in dredging in a few feet or fathoms water would no doubt be richly rewarded.
In many little bays or sheltered spots along this reef are shiploads of recent corals, collected there by the action of the waves; and fifty yards within and twenty feet above the present sea line, among the mangrove bushes which fringe the inner margin of the bare shore, they lie in great quantities. Field walls are built of them, and in the little port town of Casilda we saw fences made of corals, any of which would have been prized as specimens at the North. Nearly all are, like those in the old reef, of the solid and hemispherical forms, such as the common brainstone coral; the largest are the size of one's head, and among a basketful we picked up on the morning of our visit, I distinguished readily a dozen species.
I had often, in geological rambles in the State of New-York, found fossil corals in great abundance, and in the limestones of the Helderberg, of Lockport and Williamsville, near Buffalo, they are preserved almost in the perfection and abundance of a modern coral reef. This visit to a tropical shore, where forms are now living so similar to those which existed in our part of the world in the old Devonian or Silurian ages, seemed like going back to the early periods of our planet; for one could here trace the same processes which formed so many of our rocky strata long before the territory now known as New-York rose above the waters, and while its hills and valleys were unformed from its one level expanse of sea deposits.
On revisiting Havana, we went to the shore east of the Moro, and found there a reef almost equally characteristic, though its included corals were less distinct. The recent ones thrown up by the waves, however, are there very perfect and beautiful, and, to a considerable extent, appeared different from those on the southern coast. These sea-beaches are lonely spots, of ill Tcpute as being favorable to the plans of rogues and robbers, and those who wish to examin them will do well not to go alone, or if so, not defenceless.
The cemetery of Trindad is probably a fair specimen of those of the island. An area of nearly two acres, in the outskirts of the town, is enclosed by a high wall, through which a large iron gate gives access to the burying ground. In the center a circular, domed, summerhoiaselike building, we presumed was used as a chapel, though it had no resemblance to the usual form of such edifices.
On one portion of the ground lay many heavy marble slabs, covering vaults, and not unfrequently sculptured with the armorial bearings of the families to whom they belonged, the inscriptions mostly in Spanish, but some in Latin, the terse vigor of which contrasted strongly with the polysyllabic redundancy of its modern offspring. Old as Trindad is, we saw no inscriptions of longer standing than about thirty years. They generally give little information of the deceased, the usual form simply signifying that " this is the tomb of A. B. and his family." The only vault of which we saw the construction was a simple oblong box of brick or stone, its cover lost, its interior half full of weeds and sticks, among which lay bones belonging to several individuals.
The commoner graves were marked by no head-stones, and the single attempt at decoration visible in the enclosure was a little green shrub planted at the foot of one of the vaults. The area occupied by ordinary graves is dug over and over constantly. A new and unoccupied
grave which was open was only a couple of feet deep to the coral rock, and in its earthy wall the whole length of a skeleton was visible. Disjointed bones were lying here and there in all directions, and a negro sexton carried on his head a box full of them, and threw them over a wall into a corner of the inclosure, where was accumulated a pile of probably three or four cords of such sad relics of mortality. I believe no coffins are used, except to carry the corpse to the ground. In a corner of the cemetery the garments of the deceased persons are thrown and consumed by fire, with the idea of avoiding contagion.
The whole place was the most wretched and f neglected of its class I ever saw, and certainly a disgrace to any people pretending to civilization. There are elsewhere, as in some English parishes, occasional instances equally discreditable; but in no other land does the condition of the cemeteries seem so generally and uniformly bad as it is said I o be in Cuba.
The island is said to be free from venomous reptiles. We saw one snake six feet in length, and they are said to be found twice as long, but are harmless. Among insects, however, there 1 are some sufficiently formidable. I caught a wasp not less than two inches in length, with a bulk of body like a large humblebee, and the scorpion is very common. Ladies at our hotel repeatedly found half-grown ones secreted in the folds of their dresses, and once or twice in beds. Their sting, however, is by no means as severe as it is reputed, a very temporary pain and feverishness being its worst usual consequence. Centipedes are found, but their bite is not dreaded like that of the Central American species.
Trindad, like other Cuban towns of which we have heard, obtains little or no good water from wells. Cisterns are attached to the good houses, but the little River San Juan, at this season about the size of a moderate trout brook, is the chief source of supply. It flows about 100 cr 150 feet below the level of the town, and is reached by a crooked, paved road through an open ravine or " barranca,'' up and down which are walking all day long the mules of the watercarriers. These bear on huge pads or packsaddles, made of straw and palm-leaf, each four earthen jars holding two or three gallons, without handles, and with an ample mouth. On the rearmost mule, whose nose is tied to the tail or saddle of his predecessor, sits above the jars a negro, whistling, singing, joking and shouting all the way down the hill. Arriving at the stream, he stops his mules in the center of a still pool, rolls up his trowsers, gets off into the water, and, putting two fingers into the month of each jug, proceeds to fill them by immersion. I noticed that they generally did this on the down stream side of the mules, which effects slightly the excellence of the fluid secured. The jugs filled, the mules and negro set off together up the hill again, the biped sometimes walking, but frequently adding his own weight to that of the water-jars. The contents of a jar are sold for a medio, or sis cents, in Trinidad, and in this way are a great portion of its 20,000 inhabitants supplied with water. If ablution is not liberally practiced, it is no wonder.
A pool on this stream just below the watering place serves as a laundry for a large share of the Trinidad people. The display, when I passed it one afternoon, wag remarkable : 20 or 30 negrcsses, each attired in a single garment, and having that reefed or bound up to show their •5 full length of limbs—which were indeed generally straight, and well made enough to bear any criticism—were knee-deep in the stream and squatted on its margin, rinsing, splashing, and raising a perfect tempest of mingled work and merriment. The negro indeed seems here noisy and jolly on all occasions, those whose scarred faces point them out as native Africans quite as gay as any. The blacks on the plantations do not seem as merry as their town-bred fellows.
We were well satisfied to leave Trinidad on the 7th of March. The heat had been perceptibly increasing during our stay, and one or two evenings had been " close" and sultry without the usual breeze. I should advise travellers to visit Cuba, and especially the southern coast, early in the Winter or in January. The heat is then less intense, and the lapse of the whole dry season has not destroyed so much of the general verdure of the country as at this later season.
Trinidad has not been visited by Americans to any considerable extent, and the Hotel Grand Antilla has been opened, for the first time, during the p^st Winter. Remembering this, we must allow that it has been made "as comfortable as could be expected," though there is yet ample room for improvement to meet English or American views. Not a word of English was spoken by any belonging to the house, except a single old negress; and there were from morning to night constant calls for " Lu-i-sa !" to come and interpret some guest's demands for some simple thing. Horses and volautes were scarce, poor and expensive. The table was abundant, but the attendance of two waiters on thirty or forty people was somewhat inadequate, and their costume, a flirty shirt and trowsers, with a dirty towel tucked in at the waistband or hanging over the shoulder, was hardly suited to the demands of elegance. One cannot complain of the want of privacy in sleeping apartments, and the want of any door fastenings other than a lock and hook and staple; for in no Cuban house that we saw was the former annoyance any less, and we saw but one spring catch or door latch in the island. The improvements made during the Winter at the suggestion of American
visitors were so many, that it is fair to presume that another year will find most of the remaining annoyances removed, when we may safely recommend the Cuban tourist to make Trinidad a leading point in his plan of travel or residence in the island.
Returning to Havana by the same route followed on our outward trip, we spent a few days more in and about the city.
The "general cemetery" is an interesting place. Its plan seems to have been suggested by the old Roman columbarii; only provision is made for the deposit of bodies, instead of mere urns of ashes. An area of perhaps three acres is surrounded with a wall about fifteen feet high and eight feet thick, which is, in fact, a mere mass of stone arches, like so many pigeon-holes, in which oven-like receptacles the corpses are placed, and the openings closed, each with a marble slab, which bears an epitaph. The whole is very neatly kept. The area of ground inclosed is, like the cemetery at Trinidad, partly occupied by vaults and partly by graves, the bones of the tenants of which are at intervals disinterred to make room for others. By some newly-opened ground, bones and fragments of coffins were exposed, but there was nothing like the general neglect and wretchedness of the Trinidad cemetery.
The public hearse arrived while we were at the gate, its driver, a stalwart negro, who, like Hamlet's grave-digger, " had no feeling of his occupation," for he grinned and laughed as if his calling were the jolliest imaginable. His hearse contained two bodies, the one we saw taken out was that of a man not attained to middle age, clad in shirt and pantaloons, and carried in an open box.
We visited two gardens near the city, widely different from each other—the Bishop's garden, and that of Count Hernandines. The former is now comparatively neglected, the grounds, however, beautiful with their stately palms; and the house injured by a hurricane about ten years since, has gone to rapid decay. Trees or bushes of twenty feet in height are growing from the roof at the angles, their roots spreading down and along the wall to the ground; the walls themselves are cracked, the doors and shutters gone or flying loose in the wind; birds have taken possession of the chambers, and the whole melancholy aspect of the place recalls to mind Hood's impressive poem, The Haunted House." The other garden is a perfect contrast to this—a beautifully kept pleasure ground, not large, but filled with all the most interesting plants and trees of Cuba, with many exotic species. Eighteen palms are here growing, comprising several singular African species, and some from South America. The hedges and screens of evergreen shrubs, and the profusion of roses now in full bloom, were especially attractive to us travellers from the now frozen North.