« PreviousContinue »
coaches, filled with fine folks, lolling at their ease, and men in gaudy liveries running before them. I suppose
there is a feast at the house with a golden front, for to that many of them are hastening.
Mr. M.-It is true the houses are very fine, and so are the gentry; but the orchards, beautiful gardens, fine wooded country, and herds of well fed cattle, engage my attention.
Mrs. M.-But see how the people crowd this way, some singing, others dancing; I suppose this resembles some of the routs which we have heard of, or perhaps the VANITY FAIR of modern times. Sir, you have changed the picture! what a different one you have now presented—what does this mean?
Ex.—It is to point out the nature of earthly enjoyments. Mrs. M.Then I
you are-vanity of vanities, all is vanity; is it not, Sir ?
Ex.-Something like it, Madam.
Mr. M.-It is the very thing, Sir. You have hit upon it, Mary; for instead of what
were looking at just now, here are houses in ruins, broken carriages, withered trees, and not one of the gay company is now to be seen; and this sudden change from gay to grave brings to my recollection that worldly pleasures are not only transient,
but are all. vanity and vexation of spirit. Ex.-True, Sir. Now again oblige your
observations. Mrs. M.-This is not in the least like the picture which you have just taken away. Here is a lady with a lovely boy upon her lap, his face in her bosom, and his hands together as if he were saying his prayers.
Is this from Scripture, Sir ?
Ex.-Not immediately; but it is a scene from nature, introduced not with the design to ascribe vanity to domestic enjoyment, or the earliest parental instruction; for the former can scarcely be too highly appreciated, to the latter : too sedulous attention never has nor ever can be paid. But it is intended as a hint to my visitors to endeavour to hold their highest lawful enjoyments, and even the present life, with all its important connexions, with a loose hand, and to place their supreme affection upon that eternal state, where grief is not known, and where bliss is coeval with spiritual existence. At the same time to introduce to their notice (and respectfully to their imitation) the practice of the late accomplished and pious wife of a minister, who thus writes concerning her attention towards their beloved son. “From the age of five, his mother was wont, on the Sabbath evening, to take him alone upon
her knee, to cause him to repeat what he could remember of the sermons which he had heard, and to pray over what he had recollected.” *
Mrs. M. From the attitude of the child I supposed he was saying his prayers, but I had no thought about the dear little fellow repeating sermons !
Ex.—He was not taught merely to say his prayers,
but his mother would take him upon her knee, and say, “Now, my dear, think how good God has been to you to-day, in continuing to you your dear papa, and me and aunt and other friends; in giving you
* Rev. T. Durant's Memoirs of an only Son.