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CHAPTER XII.

LettersPoetry-Description of lake-scenery-Brief account

of his first tour to Scotland His sentiments on Oratorios Tribute to the memory of his mother.

It was usual with Mr. Richroond to mark with peculiar solemnity the birth-days of himself and all his family. These he kept as a kind of religious festival-writing letters to the different members of his family, and preaching to his parishioners on an appropriate subject. The following letter he wrote to his mother on one of these occasions.

“My dearest Mother,—The return of this day demands a return of affectionate regards to God, the author of my being, and to you, the instrument employed by him to convey life and existence to my unworthy self. Often do I reflect with love and gratitude on your kindness and watchful care over me, from infancy to the present moment. Your qualities of heart and head cannot be forgotten, any more than the name of parent-a title consecrated by every principle, divine and human. This being my birth-day, I propose to preach on Psalm cxxxix. verses 14-18. How suitable for such a meditation! What a miracle is the life of man, viewed naturally, spiritually, and eternally! How incomprehensible, from the first to last! from conception to the cradle—from the cradle to the grave--from the grave to the resurrection-from the resurrection through eternity! Then to consider the endless variety of frames, providences, events, souls, bodies, and spirits! Sometimes when I meditate on futurity, I am lost in inexplicable thought: I then see the importance of the mind's retiring into the consolations of the past and present, as they arise from the revealed plan of salvation ; and through that medium, even eternity assumes a solid and hopeful aspect.

“ If ever I felt it more than ordinarily due to a valued parent to express my gratitude, it is at a time when she has so kindly and so considerately met the peculiar circumstances of difficulty, in which a variety of events have conspired to place me. Between my last and present birth-day, many sorrows, many shocks to feeling, many heavy expenses have occurred; my heart has been tried to the utmost : but your affectionate unupbraiding, and liberal conduct, has proved a great cordial to me and my dear wife, in all our trials.”

The following letter will introduce to the reader a son of Mr. Richmond's, of whom we shall have occasion to speak more fully towards the close of this memoir. The name, as has been observed, was given to commemorate that remarkable event in his own life, arising from the perusal of Mr. Wilberforce's work on Practical Christianity. This boy was now in his twelfth year; and we insert this letter principally to shew the manner in which Mr. Richmond addressed his children at an early age.

“My dear Wilberforce,-Shall I have no cause for heart-ache at my return, when I inquire how my child has behaved? how he has attended to his learning? how he has adhered to truth in his words? Shall I be comforted with the glad tidings that your heart, and your conscience, and your ways, all seem to partake of a happy influence? That you shew your love to mamma by keeping her commandments ? That you pray to God to forgive you your sins, and hourly offences? Do the four walls of your little chamber bear witness to your prayers and supplications for yourself and me? Do the sun's rays, as they early penetrate your window in the morning, find you early and active to rise, to read, to labour, and to grow in grace?

“ I saw Litchfield cathedral, and attended divine service there. It is a much smaller one than York, but has great beauty; the organ notes rolled sublimely through the vaults, arches, pillars, and roof; and the exquisitely painted windows assimilated with such sounds, and rendered the effect very fine. It has three beautiful spires.

“One evening I travelled with a friend for three hours, amidst the most beautiful and never-ceasing distant lightning ; the whole western hemisphere was in a constant blaze; the flashes alternated from one point of the horizon to another, distant about forty-five degrees from it; sometimes the flashes were silvery, sometimes yellow, sometimes orange ; sometimes forked, sometimes sheet-like; sometimes so vivid, you seemed to have a peep into more distant regions of space; sometimes more faint; now and then you heard slight rumblings, then all was silent. At one point the flashes gleamed upon a distant view of a castle, which seemed all on fire, and was only rendered visible by the effect of the lightning. A dark forest lay behind, and formed a fine contrast. Sometimes the forked flashes hurried one another in a kind of playful progress ; at others, they dashed together

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as if in terrible combat ; all this passed between seven and ten o'clock, on the evening of June 28th. But what are these lightnings, compared with those which made Moses quake and tremble at Mount Sinai? or what were even the latter, when contrasted with those of God's wrath against sinners ? Thunder and lightning is a fine emblem of divine justice and threatenings. You have need to "flee from the wrath to come.' Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

• The wicked, and all the people that forget God, shall be turned into hell. Do you forget Him? if so, what shall be your portion? If you say you do not forget Him, how do you prove it?

video meliora proboque

Deteriora sequor ; is the character of too many nominal Christians; I would not have it to be yours. An enlightened, but unconverted mind, has

eyes and tongue to approve what is right; but the feet follow the paths of evil. A converted heart alone walks in the steps of Him who is the way, the truth, and the life.' Say

"To me, O Lord, be thou 'the way,'

To me, be thou 'the truth ;'
To me, my Saviour, be the life,'

Thou Guardian of my youth !
“So shall that way' be my delight,

That 'truth' shall make me free;
That 'life' shall raise me from the dead,

And then I'll live to Thee." “I sincerely hope you are beginning to be truly sensible of the danger of sin, and the necessity of seeking the Lord very early. Your life is an uncertainty, at best ; occasional indispositions should remind you that you may never arrive at man's estate. If you are to die a boy, we must look for a boy's religion, a boy's knowledge, a boy's faith, a boy's Saviour-a boy's salvation! Or else, a boy's ignorance-a boy's obstinacy--a boy's unbelief--a boy's idolatry--a boy's destruction! Remember all this, and beware of sin; dread the sinfulness of an unchanged heart-pray for a new one; pray for grace and pardon, and a soul conformed to the image of Christ Jesus ;-pray for wisdom, for the destruction of pride, vain conceit, and self-sufficiency. • Be not slothful in business; but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

“ Friends here inquire after you; but it is in the full hope that you go on well, creditably, obediently, industriously, humbly, and Christianly. Love to all, from Your affectionate Father,

" L. R.”

We here introduce a birth-day hymn, composed for bis son Wilberforce:

“My years roll on in silent course,
Impelled by a resistless force :
Awake, my soul ! awake and sing,
How good thy God, how great thy King!
"My years roll on : then let me know
The great design for which they flow;-
And as the ship floats o'er the wave,
Thy vessel, Lord ! in mercy save.
“My years roll on : the tide of time
Bears me through many a changing clime;
l’ve summers, winters-heat and cold,
Winds, calms, and tempests, ten times told.
“My years roll on : but here's my hope,
And this my everlasting prop :
Though seasons change, and I change too,
My God's the same--for ever true!

My years roll on : and as they roll,
Oh! may they waft my ransom'd soul
Safe through life's ocean, to yon shore,
Where sins and sorrows grieve no more!
“My years roll on : and with them flows
That mercy which no limit knows:
'Tis Mercy's current makes me glide,
In hope of safety, down the tide.
"My years roll on: my soul be still,-
Guided by love, thy course fulfil:
And, my life's anxious voyage past,
My refuge be with Christ at last!"

“L. R." The birth of another child induced Mr. Richmond to request a very endeared friend, Mrs. R., formerly of Kendal, to stand as sponsor. The request was made in the following letter :

Turvey, Jan. 23, 1818. " Will my dear friend, Mrs. R. allow me to enrol her name amongst the sponsors of my sweet little child at her baptism? It is my wife's desire, as well as my own : do not refuse us. Dear Mrs. F. of S-Castle, is the other godmother. Join her in this act of charity and friendship, and thus put a seal to valuable recollections of Kendal, Keswick, &c. &c. 'The hymn of our last morning, after breakfast, still echoes a sweet farewell in

my

heart. “ My babe is to be called Charlotte Elizabeth. Charlotte, as a memorial of the lamented Princess; and Elizabeth, as a me

my ear and

morial of the Dairyman's Daughter. A palace and a cottage here unite in my child's cradle : may she rock in peace, and ever be found in the arms of her Saviour."

The following verses, composed by Mr. Richmond, were sung at the baptismal font, iinmediately after the service was concluded.

Welcome, dear babe, to Jesu's breast,
For ever there securely rest;
Welcome to these his courts below
Here may our God his grace bestow.
“Lord, sanctify this solemn hour,
Thy spirit on our offspring pour!
Fulfil thy promise to our child
May she in Christ be reconciled!
“These holy waters now proclaim
Redemption free in Jesu's name;
Each sprinkled drop becomes a seal
Of that salvation which we feel.
“Behold th' affrighted infant weep!
Fear has disturbed her gentle sleep.
Weep not, dear babe, all others smile,
And love and bless thee all the while.
“Grant, Lord ! if spared, the time may come,
When, summoned to her heavenly home,
Though all around her weep and sigh,
In smiles triumphant she may die !
“ Receive the helpless child we pray,
And seal her to Redemption's day!
Mansions of bliss may she inherit-

The gift of Father, Son, and Spirit !" With the lady who stood sponsor to his child, during one of his tours in the North, Mr. Richmond visited the Lakes of Westmoreland. Among his papers is a very pleasing description of the Scenery of that rich and romantic country. We extract the following passage, on account of its beauty :-

“ There are numberless changes of effect produced in mountain scenery by the variation of sun, shade, mist, cloud, the state of vegetation, character of the atmosphere, and other causes, well known to every one familiar with such scenes ; and they constitute no inconsiderable source of that high gratification which the traveller experiences in the study of natural beauties. The same combination of objects, viewed under a change of external circumstances, forms completely a new scene, and possesses an appropriate charm; inasmuch as it is the same,

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