« PoprzedniaDalej »
not suffer sin upon him.”—“Let your conversation be always with grace seasoned with salt. Exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Finally, let us attend, with all seriousness and punctuality on the means of grace, and all those ordinances which God has instituted for the salvation of souls, and for the edification and comfort of his people. Laying aside all malice and guile, and envy, and hypocrisy, and evil speaking, let us desire the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby. Having given up our names to the Lord, we cannot neglect his service withoutapostacy and ruin. If any man draw back, my soul hath no pleasure in him, saith the Lord. If we find our love declining, we must have recourse to the same grace, that at first, enkindled it; the Lord’s arm is not shortened that it cannot save; nor is his ear heavy that it cannot hear: our sins have separated between us and our God. If we forsake these sins and return unto him, he will have mercy upon us, and manifest himself unto us, as he doth not unto the world. He will revive our languishing graces, strengthen our faith, brighten our prospect, and make us to triumph in Christ. Nay, more; if his truth be preached with fidelity, and be followed up with the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous, it will prove mighty, through the power of the Holy Ghost. We shall be blessed with the delightful spectacle of many turning to the Lord, and our ears shall hear the gladsome song of salvation to our God. The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the tongue of the dumb shall be loosed: the captive soul shall be made free in Christ; our youth shall become serious and mindful of their Creator; the house of God shall be filled with his glory, and Zion's children shall be joyful in their king. “Even so; come, Lord Jesus !” W. N.
JMrs. Sarah Ralston.
Departed this life the 26th of December, 1820, MRs. SARAH RALston, wife of Robert Ralston, Esq. of this city. The death of this distinguished female has been universally acknowledged to be a public loss. The community have lamented her departure. Gratitude for her services to society, and the worth of her example, demand some memorial of her valuable life.
The God of nature and of grace had bestowed on this woman gifts that qualified her for extensive usefulness. Her mind was strong and vigorous; her judgment sound and discriminating; her disposition lively and active. Providence had elevated her to a state of affluence. And to all his other favours, the Lord had been pleased to add the enriching gifts of his grace. Such personal endowments, placed in the most favourable circumstances,
could not fail to secure to her
great influence. Thus was she prepared for those works of charity and beneficence that will long remain as monuments of her worth and excellence of character. Mrs. Ralston was always ready to receive and entertain her friends and acquaintances. They were met with pleasure, and treated in a kind and courteous manner. In company she was dignified, yet cheerful and affable. Many, especially of the clergy, will remember the attention and hospitality they experienced from her, while abiding for a time in her family. Mrs. R., by the warmth of her natural feelings, was formed to embrace her particular friends with the kindest affection. Her friendship was uniform and steady. She was always ready to do its of. fices, by sympathizing with her friends in their afflictions, and participating in their joys. One in particular, who for many years enjoyed
when she found her already ac
quainted with, how deeply she sympathized with her, how tenderly she tried to sooth her anguish, and bring her mind to a state of composure adapted to that holy communion in our Lord’s supper, which was approaching. Her friend was so disturbed in mind by the affliction, that, deeming herself to be in a state unfit for participating in that sacred ordinance, she had formed the purpose of abstaining from it: but Mrs. R. warmly and affectionately remonstrated against such a purpose, insisting that it was the effect of a mistaken judgment, and a delusion of the great enemy of Christians, who wished to aggravate her affliction, by keeping her from the truest source of consolation. This was certainly correct. Affliction brought on us, not by our own folly, but by the wickedness of others, should urge us into the presence of our Lord, not keep us from it. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, when vexed and disturbed by the unkind and injurious treatment of her rival, did not, on that account, stay away from the worship of the temple, but went thither to find relief; and there, having unburdened her oppressed spirit, by pouring out her heart in supplication before God, she found consolation. She returned home, and “her countenance was no more sad.” Mrs. R. was charitable to the poor. She felt for their wants and distresses. Besides those visible monuments of her disposition, so well known in this city, there are many acts of private charity that have come to the knowledge of her friends. She was in the habit of supplying the wants of poor families by sending them frequently ar
ticles of food and clothing. Many other acts of kindness to the af. flicted, known only to the recipients of her bounty, are, we have reason to believe, registered on high. Shortly after her marriage, Mrs. R. made a public profession of religion, and became a communicating member of the Second Presbyterian Church in this city. Her profession she sustained ; being always, as far as her health would admit, punctual in her attendance in the house of God, and on the institutions of religion, as well as exemplary in her #. deportment. Hypocrisy was her abhorrence. She was averse to everything like ostentation in religion. In the performance of duty she was resolute. Many evidences of this trait in her character might be adduced from her conduct in relation to those charitable institutions of which she is regarded as the founder. But we select one connected with all the tender feelings of a mother. When her eldest son was on the eve of commencing a voyage to Canton, she was found one day by an intimate friend, busily engaged in making preparations for his departure. Observing the composure manifested on the occasion, her friend expressed surprise, that she should be able so completely to command her feelings, when her eldest son (the first child that was absent from the parental roof for any length of time) was about to sail on a long and tedious voyage. Mrs. R. replied, “I endeavour to ascertain what is duty, and having discovered this, I try to keep down my feelings.” In reference to the death of this son, who was suddenly removed from the world by a very rapid and distressing malady, she exhibited uncommon submission to the divine will. Her composure was generally noticed by her friends. But it was known only to her intimate friends, how completely the grace, of the Christian triumphed over the feelings of the mother. A female friend, on entering her room, while her son was laying a corpse in another, bean to weep. To compose her Mrs. #. said, “My dear , why should we weep? Has not the Lord set a hedge around us, as he did about Job 2 I have been looking out for some affliction. It has come. And now I bow to the sovereign will of God. He had a right to do what he has done. I acquiesce. If by a wish I could recal my dear son, I would not do it contrary to the will of God.” She then, in all the dignit of Christian submission, and wit sweet composure, which nothin but the grace of the Almighty coul produce, led her friend into the room where lay the mortal remains of her beloved child. Mrs. R. was the mother of a numerous offspring. Eleven are now living. While her children were young, she found her time fully occupied in attending to them. She felt the great importance of preparing them for the duties of life, and especially of educating them in the fear of God. It cannot be reasonably expected that a mother surrounded by a large family of young children, should devote much of her time to the concerns of public institutions. The cultivation of the vineyard in which the Lord has placed her will furnish ample employment; and no pretence of greater usefulness will warrant her in neglecting the duties that pertain to her station as a mother. These duties prefer an imperious claim on her attention and time, and cannot be omitted consistently either with the dictates of nature, or the precepts of Christianity. If a mother can fairly redeem time, after the due discharge of these duties, she may bestow it in attending to duties of a public kind. What an inspired writer has said in reference to public worship, is applicable to this subject: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” As the family of Mrs. R. grew up, she found herself disengaged from
that ceaseless attention, which is demanded, while children are young and dependent on maternal solicitude. Her daughters were now arrived at an age that fitted them to share with her in the management of family concerns, and in attending to the younger members. She could, therefore, consistently with the duties of a Christian mother, appear in a more conspicuous character. Her time and her talents could be lawfully applied to the advancement of any scheme of public utility coming within the sphere of female enterprise. The first institution of a public nature which particularly engaged her influence and talents, was the FEMALE BIBLE SocIETY of PHILADELPHIA. The Bible Society of this city having conceived the opinion that the establishment of such female societies would greatly promote the Bible cause, appointed a committee to invite the co-operation of ladies in the benevolent work. In looking round for a female of influence on whose benevolence reliance might be placed, the committee soon selected one from whom every exertion might be expected. A letter was addressed on the subject to Mrs. R. She immediately accepted the invitation, and ardently engaged in effecting the establishment of the contemplated institution. She found the ladies to whom she applied ready to unite in the benevolent work; and in the course of the year 1814, THE FEMALE BIBLE SocIETY of PHILADELPHIA, was established, of which Mrs. R. was chosen president. This society, vomposed of ladies belonging to almost every denomination of Christians, deserves much raise for its active exertions. It as proved a powerful auxiliary in the common cause. Besides an extensive distribution of the holy scriptures, and giving $500 to the American Bible Society, it has made frequent and liberal donations
to the funds of the parent society of this city. The active and benevolent mind of Mrs. R. was next occupied with the plan of an establishment for orphans. This she had long contemplated as highly desirable. After mature deliberation on the subject, she communicated her plan to a number of ladies; and although it was not received with that general approbation it certainly deserved, yet she persevered through much discouragement; and by the blessing of the Almighty on her zealous exertions, she had the pleasure of seeing her hope realized in the institution of the ORPHAN SocIETY. It was established in the year 1814; and Mrs. R. was chosen first directress of the board of managers. The next year she made a visit to New York, where she saw the Orphan Asylum erected in that city; when the idea of a similar building for the accommodation of the children under the care of the society presented itself to her mind. Shortly after this a large and commodious house” was erected; which now contains NINETY orphans, who are fed and clothed and educated by their benevolent patrons. Among charitable institutions an Orphan Asylum must always be allowed to hold a distinguished place. When conducted on Christian principles, it is a mode of dispensing charity, against which no objection can lie. We are happy to state, that in the management of this institution, the ladies have not forgotten, that the little dependants on their charity have souls as well as bodies, spiritual as well as temporal wants; and that in their education they are to be considered as young immortal creatures accountable to God for their conduct, as well as members
* The ORPHAN House covers an area of 50 by 53 feet, on a lot of 130 foss by 134; situate on the corner of Cherry and Fifth street from Schuylkill. It is a brick building, three stories high, with a basement story.
of society, who will have to perform the duties of their several stations. Attention is paid to their instruction, not only in morals but in religion. The society have been peculiarly happy in the selection of a MATRoN; who is admirably qualified for the management of the Asylum, and has been very successful in maintaining order and discipline in the house, and in superintending the teaching of the children. This society does not contemplate more than giving the children a common education, sufficient to fit them for the humbler stations of life. Among the number that may come under their care, it is probable will be found some among the male children possessing minds of such superior order as would qualify them, under a proper course of instruction, to become extensively useful both in church and state. Such gems should not be lost; they should be sought for and polished for use. A mind capable of directing the great concerns of a nation, ought not to be doomed to spend its days in guiding a ploughshare. A mind so highly gifted with natural talents and enriched with grace, as to fit it for adorning the pulpit and dispensing the word of life with great effect, ought not to be confined for life to the mechanic's plane and chisel. We therefore take the liberty of suggesting to the managers of the Asylum, the propriety of looking for such superior minds among their children; that when found they may procure patrons for them, who will give them a liberal education, sufficient to elicit, expand and cultivate their mental faculties, and thus qualify them for some high, honourable and useful stations in church or state, to which the providence of God may call them. The mind of a Franklin or a Rittenhouse, of a Rush or a Wistar, of a Watts or a Martyn, may be placed under the care, and at the disposal of the Orphan Society. Before the society for providing an asylum for indigent widows and single women came into existence, Mrs. R. had long contemplated an establishment of the kind; and had often, in her family, expressed the satisfaction she would feel in being able to provide such a retreat for a class of females who ought always to be distinguished from the common classes of poor people. For years she had been in the habit of selecting such as objects of her charity; and affording them great relief, by paying their rent, and supplying them with the necessaries of life. “THE INDIGENT AND SINGLE WoMEN’s SocIETY,” was established in the year 1817. In forming this institution and in superintending its concerns, Mrs. R. received the aid particularly of one whose retiring merit shrinks from public view. This society was designed for the relief, not of widows and single women of all descriptions, who may apply for charitable aid, but only of such individuals as are reputable in their character, and have seen more propitious times. For such the society wished to provide a home, in which they might spend the remainder of their days free from the distractions of poverty, and enjoying all the necessaries, together with some of the comforts of life. Over this institution too Mrs. Ralston presided till her death. A house for the reception of the objects of their bounty was provided by the society. The family commenced with ten members, and has been increased to , thirty-seven. Many of these females have been entirely dependent on their funds for support. In maintaining a few they have received aid from other sources. Such success has attended the exertions of this meritorious society, that they have been enabled to erect a very large and commodious dwelling, near to the build
ing reared by the Orphan Society for the residence of their dependent and interesting family. To the support of these three institutions Mrs. R. devoted much of her time and attention. . They occupied her thoughts by day and b night. She watched over them wit the tenderest solicitude, and was ever devising means for advancing their interests. The weight of her character, and the influence of her name were great; and these she cheerfully applied to foster and cherish the objects of her most ardent affection. The management of the Widow’s Asylum was attended for a time with difficulty and perplexity. The age and infirmities of the inhabitants will naturally occasion more trouble in maintaining order and harmony, than the docility of children. Owing to this cause, and some particular circumstances, Mrs. R. found it necessary to spend much of her time in superintending its affairs ; visiting the house once, and frequently twice a day, for the purpose of inspecting, in a very minute manner, its order and economy. It was on these occasions, we are informed by one who often accompanied her, that grace appeared in her temper to peculiar advantage. There, frequently, while her temper was tried much by unpleasant occurrences, she was enabled to meet them with composure of mind, and, with sweet humility united with becoming firmness, to correct what was amiss among the aged and infirm. Thus this excellent woman continued, with the most persevering industry, and with increasing reputation, to prosecute the beneficent work in which she was employed, till death came to remove her to a higher and nobler sphere of action. And we are authorized to state, as an evidence of her humility of mind, that although she had
* The WIDow’s Asylux1 is a brick building, 64 feet square, three stories
high, with a basement story, on a lot of 74 by 134 feet.