Page images

concern, none of you is unimportant to his country, none of you but may in a greater or less degree contribute to its great interests; endeavour then to feel your own importance, and be assured that every accession to your personal virtue is an accession of safety and honour to the great whole, whereof every individual, however mean and obscure, is a part. I cannot help sometimes considering our national force in the light of Samson's invincible locks, to which each particular hair lends its proportion of strength, and of course possesses its proportion of value: and ye are that to the body politic, which Samson's celebrated hairs were to him, at once its glory and its strength.

But your importance, great as it is, may be increased a thousand fold: if, as Britons

you have hitherto been invincible, as christians you should ever be so; if as men and sailors, you are already become a wall of iron and brass to your native land, O were it our happiness to see a spirit of true godliness diffused over you, these walls would be rendered more impenetrable than the adamantine rock, and devouring as a wall of fire, should emit destruction upon every enemy of our religion and liberties; God himself should then be


wise and affectionate father, and the tears and intreaties of a tender anxious mother. Dost thou not remember, my young friend, what a severe struggle it cost them to part with thee; how their bowels yearned over thee; how their' hearts, and lips, and eyes overflowed with tenderness and grief? It may be thou art the son, the only son of thy mother, and her a widowthe expected prop and comfort of her solitary old-age--and hast thou already forgot a mother's parting prayers, and blessings, and requests?-I hear, I see her thus expressing the anguish of her melting soul, at the killing moment of separation "And wilt thou then leave me, son of my

care, son of my hope, son of my love? Wilt « thou thus bereave me of the only remaining

pledge of an ever-to-be regretted husband's “ love? Wilt thou thus tear thee from these

arms, which so often ached under thee in thy helpless infancy, which never declined the de

lightful burden, which would enfold thee for « ever? Must thou now become the author of my

sorrow, who hast hitherto been the spring of

my joy? must I give up so soon, what my fond “ heart would not be separated from for a sin

gle moment ? and O! hadst thou no way but “ this to crush a mother's sinking spirit? thy de

parture and thy death are the same thing to

me; for I shall never, never behold thee more. Tempestuous seas, barbarousmen, unwholesome climates, all conspire to rob me of my soul's darling. I see thee smitten with disease in a

strange land, no fond parent nigh thee to “ soothe thy pains, to tend thy bed, to watch thy “ sluinbers, to bear all thy troubles, to sweeten « the bitterness of death with maternal sym“ pathy, to close thy eyes, and die beside « thee.

“O! that thou couldst yet relent! O! that “this last entreaty might prevail ! O! that thou “wouldst yet take pity on her who loves thee as “ her own soul, who would cheerfully go to “ death, if it could make thee happy! Ah no! " I see with horror how fixed thy purpose is ; " thou art then determined to bring down my

grey hairs with sorrow to the grave: and what

sorrow is equal to my sorrow?-Parting with “ thee now, parting with thee for life, is not the “ thousandth part of my grief, and of my terror.. “ Could I but hope thou wert one of God's chil“ dren, an heir of eternal life, how cheerfully “would I resign thee, how cheerfully submit to " this determination of the divine will !-But “ when I consider, dreadful thought ! my soul “ shrinks back, it is dissolved within memy

[blocks in formation]


. “ dear chid in the broad way that leads to de“ struction! my child an heir of heil! about to “ be separated from me for ever.-Father of “ mercies, deliver me from this most dreadful of “ curses' spare, O spare my son, my hope, my

life-save, save him from perishing eternally! “ In mercy to him, in mercy to me, prolong his “ life; give him space for repentance; be not “ proroked to cut off his days in the midst, while “ his sins are unrepented of, while he continues “ “ to be thy enemy. But O! stop his fatal ca

reer, bring him back to the shepherd and bi

shop of souls, to whose service I early devoted “ him, make him thine own, and then take him “ to thyself whenever thou wilt.

“ Go my son, with mine, with God's blessing, may thousands of angels minister unto thee, may God himself be thy safeguard by land and by sea, by night and by day-be wise, be vir

tuous, be a christian, and give heavenly joys to “ this bleeding heart. Farewell, we shall meet

no more on this earth: but I will, I must en“ tertain the dear, the delightful hope of meeting “ thee in the kingdom of God; my soul springs “ forward to the blessed day, when I shall find “ thee again, to enjoy thee for ever in a happier << and more exalted state."

Suffer me, my dear young man, to join my wishes, and prayers, and blessings to those of such an anxious and such an excellent parent: I trust she has not put many petitions in thy behalf, in vain: even now they are going to be answered, even now they are about to take effect: I know thou art determined to grant, at least, one half of her desire; I do not advise thee to quit thy profession, for an all-wise God, it is to be hoped, has over-ruled thy choice for good; it

may proye useful to thy country, and profital to thyself: but thou canst not, surely, refuse compliance with her ardent wishes for thy immortal soul, especially as thy own interest is here so deeply engaged. Surely thou art not already hardened; thou art not as yet got beyond all feeling, beyond remorse—thy habits of vice cannot have so soon taken full root. But I tremble to think of thy going to sea again in thy present condition, to a way of life not altogether friendly to religion, among companions no better, or worse than thyself. I should tremble for thee, even were I assured of thy being founded, established in principles and habits of virtue, for I well know the danger which arises to young, inexperienced minds, from bad advice, bad example, and the unfavourable circumstance of standing alone in the midst of many wicked: but when I add to all these dangers and disadvantages, thy own fa

« PreviousContinue »