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qu'il coute. He was told even by a medical friend, that abruptly to discontinue the use of the powerful sedative, might occasion dangerous irritation of the nerves and spirits. “Be it so,” replied he ; "I am convinced of my duty; and I commit my
life and my reason to Him against whom I have sinned, by yielding to a habit prejudicial to both. He is rich in mercy, and he can preserve both; and if so, may his grace enable me to devote to his service, what has hitherto been shamefully alienated from it. But, should he otherwise appoint, the last energies of my life and reason will be best employed in an effort to forsake what I clearly perceive to be offensive in his sight : and may he graciously pardon and accept.' He was enabled to adhere to his purpose. There is no doubt that he experienced many struggles and much suffering, known only to that gracious High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. But the suffering gradually wore away, while the solid satisfaction remained and grew; and the individual was distinguished by high degrees of Christian consistency, enjoyment, and usefulness.
On the whole, it seemed pretty plain, that a bad habit, however inveterate, may be broken through, if it is but set about in the right way. “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength : but wisdom is profitable to direct,” Eccles. x. 10.
But there are innocent and rational indulgences to which persons have been long accustomed, and which they imagine they cannot live without, till change of circumstances convinces them, that
“Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long."
There was an excellent Christian lady, a friend of my uncle's, at whose house I often visited. When she was living in the first style of affluence and elegance, (a style to which she had been all her life accustomed, and which she very naturally thought she could not do without,) I recollect her being greatly disquieted at the loss of a favourite personal attendant, who married away. She could not find a new servant so expert and conformable to her tastes and habits as the old one had been ; and she thought it was impossible to live with such clumsy, awkward people about her. She could not endure herself in the country beyond a certain day in October, nor in London beyond a certain day in May. The lease of the town-house expired ; and she was absolutely distressed at the impossibility of finding another in which she could live. All she looked at she pronounced totally ineligible; there was not a room fit for a library, a drawingroom, or a best bed-chamber. Or, if the apartments were sufficiently capacious and elegant to meet her taste, there was a deficiency of some other convenience, which she could not possibly live without; and it would at that time have seemed to her like the sentence of death, to intimate to her that she must dispense with her carriage, or her conservatory; or put up with pleasure grounds less extensive, or a retinue of servants less numerous than she had been accustomed to.
“Mrs. W.,” said an eminent minister who visited the family, and who was also on terms of intimacy with my uncle—“Mrs. W. is a pious woman, but far too dependent on circumstances. That must have been a strangely erroneous educa
tion which could subject a woman of her native capabilities and dignity of mind to the dominion of such trifles as ought to have an ascendency only over the vain and silly. Our friend is not conscious of having her heart set upon money ; she is too liberal in the distribution of her property for such a suspicion once to enter her mind; but it is too evident that her heart is set on the indulgences which money procures.
“Even her charities, in which her kind heart delights, are among the number. They have never cost her the exercise of self-denial. But should a reverse in circumstances put it out of her power
to give at pleasure, or to spend at pleasure, I really think she would demented.”
“ Perhaps,” replied my uncle, “it might prove the
very occasion of rousing her energies, correcting her foibles, and elevating her affections."
- Such a reverse is not in her case very probable ; at least, I trust her character may be improved without requiring the exercise of any discipline so severe.”
The reverse, however improbable, was nevertheless experienced. Years afterwards, I had the privilege of meeting my uncle and the minister referred to in the house of the same lady. It was not the same house; neither the splendid residence in
square, nor the elegant mansion in Brookdale, surrounded with delightful gardens, verdant lawns, and extensive pleasure-grounds.
It was at a small house in a country town. The dwelling consisted of one parlour, about fourteen feet square, another much smaller ; a kitchen, and three bedchambers, with, I believe, an attic. The furniture was neat, but simple : there were a few,
a very few cherished relics of by-gone grandeur ; and there was a bookcase, with a few choice volumes of divinity, the remains of a library, which, years before, a room of thirty feet long was inadequate to contain ; and, instead of a train of domestics of every name and degree, there were two female servants : one, whose business it was to perform all the various duties of household service : the other, a girl, who, having been in infancy left a destitute orphan, Mrs. W., in the days of her prosperity, had compassionated and provided for, and who now requited her benefactress by rendering her voluntary services as personal attendant and needlewoman. And there sat the fine old gentlewoman, her aspect as dignified and majestic as ever; but her locks were now silvered with age, and her cheek wore an expression of placidity and mellowness unknown before. A few antique ornaments, an inlaid writing table and workbox, and a richly bound Bible, were recognized as having formed part of the furniture in the boudoir at Brookdale; and a beautiful Italian greyhound, which still crouched at the feet of his mistress, I well remembered to have caressed when a puppy
There was something touching in reflecting on the vicissitudes of human life : and I observed on the countenances both of my uncle and the minister, an expression of respect and sympathy. But it was soon dispelled by the easy, cheerful conversation of her whose circumstances had excited it. I do not know that I ever listened to a more interesting and instructive conversation, than that between the venerable lady and her two old friends. It seemed, indeed, to be on all sides the utterance
of the heart, mellowed and purified by deep-toned piety. Some hours elapsed without the slightest allusion to any change of circumstances, and, I believe, almost without a thought passing the mind of either party, whether their meeting was in of the splendid saloons in
square, or Brookdale, or in the humble parlour at The appearance of the servant to lay the dinnercloth, and the necessity of displacing the company to make room for lifting out the table, led to a brief apology for the small size of the room,
and the inconvenience of being obliged to employ the same apartment as dining parlour and drawing room. My mind reverted for a moment to the expression she had formerly uttered, “I could not live without it;" but there was no such expression now. It seemed as if she reproached herself for having even alluded to so trifling a grievance, or deemed it worth one passing sigh; for immediately, in a tone of cheerful gratitude, she spoke of her numerous mercies, and the comforts with which she was surrounded ; and invited us to walk in her delightful little garden. It was of a size corresponding with that of the house, scarcely a plot in comparison with those which its proprietor once owned; yet she showed us the few choice flowers, and two or three fruit trees, and pointed to a delightful view from a little grassy mount ; and all with an air of satisfaction and enjoyment, far more entire than she had discovered when súrrounded by more than heart could wish. There was a myrtle which at first sight appeared dead, but on a closer inspection, was found to be putting forth new shoots. “I am pleased at this,” said the old lady: “I really thought the winter had