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nounced the name of " Theodore! my generous injured Theodore!"
The same messenger, that brought me the heavy tidings of her death, saw my pious hands closing the eyes of my indulgent mother, worn gradually out with age and its concomitant infirmities. Oh! severe destiny! what was the world to me now, and all it contained, since that for which I chiefly lived in it was fled-forever fled from my sight! what could I do?
« ........................ In hallow'd earth,
These last offices discharged, I resigned myself to grief total and extreme;--grief that refused consolation, and grief that felt no pause! I secluded myself from the face of day, and knew no change of time nor of place, save when at eve I paced darkling along, through graves, and shades, and sickly damps, to mingle woes with the bird of night.
Thus did I pass my hours, and saw many a moon rising and setting, waning and waxing, beneath my sorrow. But time, at length, with lenient hand, began to infuse his balm, and a pensive sadness succeeded in the room of anxious despair. Reason gradually resumed her throne, and lifted my eye to the sovereign dispenser of all good“ Wretch that “I am!” said I! “Have I been repining against the
righteous judge of heaven and earth? have I been
“ arraigning his wise dispensations who cannot err, “ and still does what is best on the whole? will my
grief be of any avail to reverse the will of fate? can " it affect his unalterable decrees? can it recall the
past, or bid the clay from the tomb resume its “ ancient form? Oh! no: most awful heaven!—Then “ to submit to thy dread providence (alas ! too long “ neglected) be now my whole care! That heart, “which thy chastenings have weaned from the “ world, be it henceforth forever devoted to thee! “ Receive it back as a distressed wanderer, return
ing at length to its only refuge and hope! It has
now but few avocations to lead it astray! To live “ and to die, dependent upon thy most holy will, is « all I have left to do, in the state of my pilgrimage here."
A mild and pensive melancholy, fruitful of wisdom and philosophic thought, succeeded to these reflections. I immediately began to consider how I should best wear out the remainder of my days, agreeable to the resolutions I had taken. I had now laid aside all thoughts of the ministry. For to bear the scoffs and insults of wicked men, to struggle against the torrent of vice and infidelity, and to be at continual variance with dissimulation and folly; were offices, however honourable in themselves, which would have but ill suited with that retired thoughtfulness and mild serenity of soul, to which I had been so lately restored; and from which I was determined never to suffer myself to be drawn aside any more. Besides this, I had observed that a conscientious discharge of duty, and a bold publication of the everlasting truths of the gospel, were not of themselves sufficient to recommend the teachers of Christianity to public regard. I had seen men of the most shining qualities and acknowledged superiority of parts, exposed to the very martyrdom of their good name, for acting agreeably to their conscience and character; while I have known others as unreasonably extolled, who had nothing to recommend them, but a species of low craft, added to a fawning and time-serving disposition, unworthy of honest men.
For these reasons, I thought it adviseable for me, not only to desist from my intention of becoming a public teacher, but also to retire at once from every thing that might engage me in the strife and bustle of the world. But, at the same time, it was my purpose, if ever I should have an opportunity, to communicate my instructions to the public, in a method that would not expose my name or person to the scorn and censure of the wicked and ungrateful.
I, therefore, converted my little patrimony into cash, and bought a few acres of ground in a most romantic and retired spot, not far from our metropolis. The smallness of the place agreed well with the moderation of my wishes, and the singular gloom of its situation corresponded exactly to the temper
my soul. As I formed it with my own hands from its rude state of nature, it would savour too much of vanity in me, were I to give you a description of the place, and its various little improvements; which have gradually opened it into romantic prospects of land and water, delighting the eye with variety, ever pleasing and new. It is sufficient to say that, as I had bid
adieu to the world at the age of twenty-seven, where others begin to engage most deeply in it, I have since that time spent seven of my best and happiest years in my little retreat, observing the seasons as they go, and the various faces of nature in each; gathering lessons of wisdom all the day long, and at night lulled to gentle repose by a good conscience, and the continual murmurs of sweet water falls. My only wish was for such an opportunity, as is mentioned above, to communicate to the world the fruits of my contemplations for the common benefit of my species. And this I hope at last to enjoy by the favour of your magazine, in which I rejoice to hear that you intend to set apart and keep sacred a few pages for propagating the knowlege, and furthering the practice and veneration, of our boly and undefiled Christianity. Through this channel, I propose to convey to the public my reflexions on subjects of the most serious nature, and to recommend the universal practice of religion and goodness, in opposition to the growing degeneracy of the times.
In doing this, I can have no views nor attachments in the world to render my doctrines suspected. I would have what I write considered in the nature of a monthly sermon, for which I am to receive no recompense in this life, and which I think it my duty to offer to my fellow-creatures in this manner, as I know of no other method so effectually to comply with my dying father's injunctions, and at the same time not depart from the plan of life which I have so solemnly vowed to observe. In composing these occasional lectures, I shall be animated with the thoughts that
they are not to be delivered to a single auditory, and in the presence of persons among whom there might be many scoffers and enemies; but to this whole continent, and in a manner that can never create prejudices against my person or performances, as I am to be for ever concealed.
In carrying on this great work, I hope to obtain frequent assistance from the preachers of the blessed gospel, of every denomination and degree, with whom I am embarked in the same glorious cause for propagating righteousness; and who may always convey their pious productions to be inserted in the hermit, by means of the publisher of the magazine. Whatever they may offer of this kind cannot fail of having a just preference; for as these zealous champions of christianity are abroad in the world in the bold discharge of their duty, they will probably, on many occasions, be better acquainted with the reigning vices of it than their sequestered friend and brother,