Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

6

no more.

strength gradually failed, her mind, even at that advanced period, exhibited few, if any, marks of decay. From the devotional meditations, wbich she has transcribed from her mother's papers, particularly one composed by her on her last birth day, upon entering her seventy-eighth year, it is evident, that the near prospect of departure awakened no painful forebodings, and disturbed in no degree the serenity and cheerfulness which formed such striking features in her character.

From the supplement, above-named, we derive the following account of her closing scene.

Having nearly concluded a letter* to the Rev. Dr. Channing of Boston, North America, [in which she had made affectionate remembrance of several of her American friends, who had either been introduced to her in York, or with whom she had corresponded] she writes, “ But my pen is now quite tired, and I can only...... The tired pen' says her affectionate daughter was resumed

Soon after it was laid down, the venerable writer joined her daughters at tea, and was cheerful even to playfulness. After tea she read aloud to them as long as day light lasted. She then took her usual slight supper, and about ten o'clock, after having herself conducted the family devotions, retired to that bed, from which she was never more to rise. She slept composedly till a little after twelve, when she awoke, and said to her maid who always slept in the room with her, “I am very ill ; call my daughters.” They went to her instantly: medical assistance was immediately procured; but to no purpose. She never spoke again, and in about a quarter of an hour expired as tranquilly, as if she had again fallen asleep. Thus gently closed a long protracted life, which had been devoted to the fear of God and the service of mankind, and blest with all the natural fruits of piety and virtue; a life, which as it had been carefully regulated by christian motives and principles was supported and cheered in every vicissitude by christian privileges and hopes.'

Our readers, we are sure, will thank us for these extracts, copious as they have been, and they will not need any illustrations of our own. Such a life speaks for itself;--and it is good to contemplate it. We cannot however but reflect on the distinguished happiness of Mr. Cappe, in having been upited to one, whose character was so congenial to his own ; and who, amidst the suspension of his public services and the infirmities of sickness, prov

а

[ocr errors]

a

* This letter is dated York, July 26, 1821, and, as we learn, was forwarded after her death to our friend Dr. Channing, by Mr. Wellbeloved, the highly esteemed colleague and successor of her husband. It is published at length in the supplement, and marks the lively interest she felt in the progress of religious truth, and the interests of humanity, in this country.

[ocr errors]

ed 80 eminent a blessing, not only by the assiduities of conjugal affection, but by the services few could have rendered, in the care of those invaluable writings, * by which, “ being dead, he yet speaketh.” For these, and for the beautiful delineation of his life, the religious world is indebted to Mrs. Cappe. And in adverting for a moment to the fond anticipations, with which she was accustomed to regard her re-union with her departed husband in a better world, it is reviving to reflect, how blessed in that heavenly state must be the renewal of friendships, pure and exalted, as theirs’; and with what superior joy they will con. template together those powers and virtues, to the progress of which it was, even here, their first care and pleasure to contribute. -We repeat, it is good to contemplate such characters; and we should bless God for their examples. They may serve per. haps to rebuke that presumption, which would exclude from the name and bopes of christianity whatever does not accord with the vain dogmas of man's invention. But they serve for much more. They show to us the beauty of holiness; the transcend. ant dignity and happiness of the christian life. They show what, under the inspiring influence of religion, may be done, even by a single individual, for the instruction and virtue of the world; and how efficacious is the simple truth, as it is in Jesus, when received into the heart and made the principle of conduct, to enlarge the understanding; to sanctify the affections ; to give birth to the kindest and most disinterested labours ; to scatter the thickest glooms of care and sorrow; and to irradiate the shadows of death with the hope that is full of immortality.

A

ARTICLE IV.

Address delivered at the seventh anniversary of the Massachusetts

Peace Society, Dec. 25, 1822. By Hon. Richard SULLIVAN.

This is a sensible and an elegant production. We listened to it on its delivery with unmixed satisfaction and delight; and of these feelings the perusal has brought no abatement. There

* We wish that the sermons of Newcome Cappe were extensively circulated and read among us. They are well adapted for the use of families; and many of them, particularly that “On the folly of undue anxiety;" on the duty of mingling gratitude with our sorrows; and those, which the author preached after a long confinement from his pulpit 6 on the improvement to be derived from severe illness;" are most valuable for instruction and comfort in the time of affliction. An edition of of this volume was not long since re-published hy Wells and Lilly in this city; and for a more particular account of them, see Review, Christian Disciple, Vol. 1. 1819. Mrs. Cappe afterwards edited another volume, entitled Discourses chiefly on Prac

is much originality in several of the sentiments advanced ; and the illustrations of them are appropriate. The writer throughout opposes the position, that a passion for war is an innate and incorrigible passion. He shows in a convincing manner, that from the violence so often exhibited in the physical world, and from the habits of animals, who live by preying on each other, we are not, as some would persuade us, to infer that man was designed to make war upon his species ; because man is a moral being; reason and religion make as much a part of his constitution as his animal appetites and passions, and were designed to govern him; and reason and religion are opposed to war. He refutes the position, that war is necessary as a corrective of a redundant population ; and he shows, that the principles of humanity and justice, wbich all acknowledge should govern men in private life, should likewise extend to every form of social intercourse. He maintains that although the history of mankind, which is little else than a catalogue of wars, would seem to prove that a passion for war is natural and incorrigible, yet that such an inference would be false, because in all countries offensive wars bave been the work of a few restless and unprincipled men; the great mass of mankind, in every community, if their sentiments could be fairly obtained, would be found always opposed to offensive war ; and the interest which is manifested on occasions of military parade in time of peace is not owing to any natural ferocity of temper, nor has it any analogy to a warlike spirit. He proceeds to show, that history does not do justice to buman nature, because it gives an account only of the vices of men; whereas there is a history of their virtues as well as of their vices. He remarks upon the evils of the condition of a country in which the people have no voice in questions relating to peace or war; but where they are permitted to enjoy their quiet, or are to be harnessed to the chariot.of war according to the caprice or passion of their imperial driver; and, in conclusion, he recalls the attention of his audience to the happy and privileged condition of our own country, " whose policy derived from the character of the people and the form of its institutions will invariably be in favour of peace.” In ail these sentiments we acquiesce; and we think they cannot be too strongly impressed on the public mind.

There are several passages in this address, which we consider as singularly just and striking; and we shall do honour to our pages by the quotation of them. tical subjects,” which are also highly interesting for their familiar and eloquent illustrations of christian truths and duties. Her first literary effort, “ if such" she says, “ it may be called," was the abridgment of “ Farmer Trueman's advice to his daughter ; by Mr. Janeway”

Unhappily for the only valuable use of history and a just view of human nature, political annals, in displaying the successful fortunes of warlike rulers, do not bring into notice, with sufficient prominence, the sentiments of the intelligent and virtuous on the character of a war policy-nor are we often enough permitted to see in one connected view, the glory of the warrior, the sacrifices by which it was obtained, and the consequent misery of the nation, which has been required to make them. What portion of the young, who follow with their admiration the Macedonian Alexander, reflect, that the character, which is so full of attraction to them, was lamented by the good among his subjects, as a mistortune to their country? The spoils of vanquished nations, it is true, were brought home to enrich the people. It was however but for a moment- they were to be corrupted and rendered worse than poor by their vices. Families were broken up to supply the ceaseless demand of new levies for the army, the passions were pampered, and every indulgence permitted to make excess habitual, the more easily to dissolve the ties of domestic life by creating a disrelish for its sober enjoyment. While some rioted in a momentary abundance, others were mourning in despair the loss of friends, who had perished in arms; and wise men bemoaned their country, as no less the victim of their moparch's ambition, than the nations, who perished by his sword. Such is the character of the scene, which with more or less colouring, will always be exhibited in the bosom of his country, however imposing may be the conqueror's successes, and the show of benefits attending them.' pp. 10, 11.

We are accustomed to speak in terms of adıniration of men, who have fought for the liberties of their country ;-we dwell with enthusiasm on the spirit of our fathers. But it is not their valour or military skill which causes the emotion we feel. No! these have their proper place in our esteem; but it is the virtue, the moral grandeur, the disinterested love of country, which fixes our admiration. We recall the scenes of their achievements, not to retrace the details of their battles ;-other men have fought as well, and their names have perished with them ;-we recall these scenes with pleasure, because they have witnessed exhibitions of high moral excellence, and a spirit in no degree at variance with the spirit of peace and good will to men. Did their actions compel us to think less highly of their virtue than of that of Aristides and the Athenian people, who rejected with disdain a scheme oť Themistocles, because, though highly advantageous to Athens, it was unjust in itself, their names might form so many brazen links in the chain of history, but their memories would never live in the hearts of their countrymen.' pp. 12, 13.

If ambitious war, besides its injustice, is always unfriendly to the interests of the people, by whose government it is waged, and is felt to be so, it is certainly allowable for good men to wish, that in all countries, the body of the people may obiain such an influence in

6

a

public affairs, as effectually to check abuse of power by rulers. It shocks all our just notions of political economy and of government to suppose, that rulers can have one set of interests, and the people another;—that a monarch can be said to have advanced his own interest, and established his glory, by a course of policy burdensome, if not ruinous, to his subjects; that he can enrich himself by a measure which will impoverish them-that he should be authorized to view them, if he so will, as senseless weapons or instruments, by which he may annoy other nations for bis amusement, and gather spoil, rather than as fellow beings, endowed with the same feelings and capacity as himself, having the same wants, and, each one, rights and interests of his own, which he has a fair claim to have respect. ed and preserved inviolate by the power of the prince.

Surely the time cannot be far distant, when the principles, on which purely arbitrary government rests will cease to have an application in civilized countries. When it will no longer be thought necessary to submit to the absolute rule of one man, and to legalize all his intirmities and vices, as the only means of accomplishing the objects of government, and of preventing anarchy among the people. When all that is most brutal in human nature will not be expected of the people, and all that is corrupt and licentious tolerated in the prince - when his humours and passions will not be thought to have as fair a claim to a seat on the throne as his virtues—when it will be discovered that there is, and ever ought to be, a moral tie between the monarch and his subjects ;- when it will be understood that there is a better measure of right than his absolute will, and a more just measure of duty, on the part of the subject, than unquali'fied obedience. When, in fine, the natural relation between government and the people shall be fully recognized, " and kings,” to use the words of an ancient biographer, “ will no longer be ambitious to be styled takers of cities,-thunderbolts,-nay, eagles and vultures; preferring the fame of power to that of virtue. If this were once so throughout the world, we might desire no surer guarantee that men would cease from war.'»

pp. 18, 19. The Peace Society has always had our best wishes ; and nothing can be more correct than the sentiment with which this address is concluded;

I should fail in justice to the occasion, did I not avail myself of it, to say to those, who either doubt the soundness of your views, or the efficacy of your labours, that if, as Christians, they desire that the spirit of Christianity may rule in the world, then are they with you

in heart and mind." We are aware that many persons are in the habit of speaking contemptuously of the designs and expectations of this association ; and others, who have felt most deeply the abominations and guilt of war, and have entertained the highest veneration for the pious and benevolent views of its founder and his associates,

66

« ForrigeFortsæt »