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the time, immediately after an attack of paralysis, which deprived him for three months of the use of both his limbs. In process of time his impressions and researches terminating in an assured persuasion of the truth of Christianity, as revealed in Scripture, the last eight or ten years of his short life were spent in studying the sacred volume with profound delight. Some of the peculiarities of his church, as a Catholic, he might carry with him to the grave; but his “ Thoughts on Religion” will continue to be read with pleasure and profit too by Christians of every denomination.
Little did his Father think, when removing to Paris, and afterwards watching over the education of his son with such laudable assiduity, that this son would one day more than repay him for all his kindness; but so it was. The influence of Pascal's religious principles and character was very powerful. It prevailed with many, and was most affectingly acknowledged even by his beloved Parent. That same Father, who had been so bent on unfolding to his Child the ample field of literary and scientific knowledge, at last overcome by the still more powerful influence which divine truth had produced on the soul of his Child, was to be seen sitting at the feet of the very youth he had himself alone educated. Living consistently too, he at last died a truly Christian death, about eleven years before this extraordinary man, his son, fell asleep in Jesus.
CowPER.-Although beneficial influence on the public mind were not allowed to constitute one proof of a great and good man, fond partiality, arising out of great personal obligation to his writings, will not allow me to omit one other individual, by far the most useful of our poets, whether ancient or modern,—the amiable and immortal Cowper. Seldom has the power of maternal tenderness
been so illustrated as in his experience. Little did his Mother imagine, when wrapping up her Child in his little scarlet mantle, and sending him off so carefully to school, or when paying her nightly visits to his chamber, to see him safe and warmly laid, that all this would be remembered distinctly, and so celebrated, at the distance of more than half a century : little did she imagine that her very countenance, her manners, and treatment, would make impressions, such as all the dark scenes and mental depressions of many years should not be able to efface! but what says the Poet ?
6 'Tis now become a hist’ry little known,
Not scorn'd in heav'n, though little noticed here.” This interesting woman, his Mother, was descended through the families of Hippesley of Throughly, in Sussex, and Pellet of Bolney, in the same county, from the several noble houses of West, Knollys, Carey, Buller, Howard, and Mowbray; and so by four different lines from Henry
the Third, king of England. Distinctions of this nature can shed no additional lustre on the memory of Cowper; they are mentioned merely with a view to the introduction of the following lines, from the same poem :
“My boast is not, that I deduce my birth
The Son of Parents pass'd into the skies.” Before obtaining his Mother's picture, the occasion, it is well known, of these beautiful lines, Cowper used to dwell with great pleasure on her memory, and, immediately after receiving it, he addressed a letter to the donor, his cousin, Mrs. Bodham, in which he says—
“ The world could not have furnished you with a present sc acceptable to me as the picture you have so kindly sent me. I' received it the night before last, and viewed it with a trepidation of nerves and spirits somewhat akin to what I should have felt had the dear original presented herself to my embraces. I kissed it, and hung it, where it is the last object that I see at night, and, of course, the first on which I open my eyes in the morning. She died when I completed my sixth year; yet I remember her well, and am an ocular witness of the great fidelity of the copy. I remember, too, a multitude of the maternal tendernesses which I received from her, and which have endeared her memory to me beyond expression. There is in me, I believe, more of the Donne than of the Cowper, and though I love both names, and have a thousand reasons to love those of my own name, yet I feel the bond of nature draw me vehemently to your side. I was thought, in the days of my childhood, much to resemble my mother; and, in my natural ternper, of which, at the age of fifty-eight, I must be supposed a competent judge, can trace both her, and my late uncle, your father; somewhat of his irritability, and a little, I would hope, both of his and her I know not what to call it, without seeming to praise myself, which is not my intention, but, speaking to you, I will speak out, and say, good nature. Add to this, I deal much in poetry, as did our venerable ancestor, the Dean of St. Paul's (his Mother, too, he might have added, who, if not a poetess, was fond of poetry), and I think I shall have proved myself a Donne at all points.” To
another relative, about the same time, he says,—The portrait“I had rather possess than the richest jewel in the British crown: for I loved her with an affection, that her death, fifty-two years ago, has not in the least abated. I remember, too, young as I was when she died, well enough to know, that it is a very exact resemblance of her, and as such it is to me invaluable."
Cowper's case is one most affecting proof of the amount of loss sustained in the removal of such a Mother. Witness what happened immediately afterwards. Though much of his distress is to be referred, unquestionably, to physical causes, and the mistaken treatment of early disease, long, long before the alienation of his mind,* yet had she survived to train this tender plant, many a gloomy hour, and day, and year, might, humanly speaking, have been averted. At all events, one is pained in being obliged to ascribe so much of what followed to some sad oversight or mistake in tender and considerate training, during the rest of his boyhood; while it is pleasing to observe, that these first six years of existence afforded even to him a subject of frequent delightful reminiscence during his whole life.
To extend this list of eminent men, so peculiarly indebted to parental influence, would not be difficult; but when the names of Fenelon or Locke, of Huss or Junius, of Latimer or Jeremy Taylor, of Baxter or Flavel, of
* Between mind and body there is such an intimate connection, that, in many cases, the state of the individual may be conjectured. So, when Cowper was depressed, or under alienation of mind, his health, in general, was good; when unwell, his mind was better and comparatively easy: Indeed, as to its physical cause, the mental obliquity of this amiable man, it is now well known, was owing to his having, in very early life, unadvisedly checked an erisipelatous complaint in the face, which rendered him ever afterwards liable to depression of spirits.
Romaine or Chandler, are mentioned, let it not be forgotten how much we stand indebted to the Father of each, When Augustine or Luther, Lord Bacon or Bishop Hall, George Herbert or Halyburton, Hervey or Colonel Gardiner, Doddridge or Cecil, Swartz or Brainerd, are thought of with gratitude or admiration, let their amiable and interesting Mothers be also remembered, to whom, in a greater or less degree, they owed the rise and origin of all their future eminence. In almost all these cases, it is by no means intended to exclude the other Parent, who either assisted or sanctioned all that was done, when that parent survived; but to both Parents we are equally under obligation for John Howe and Jonathan Edwards, Witsius and Grotius, Bates and Henry, Watts and Dwight; for the family of Collins, mentioned by Fox in his Acts and Monuments, as well as the Mathers, and Cottons, and Mayhews, of North America. Nay, when deprived of the advantage of both parents, it is often to some other relative that we trace the early training of the mind, or the direction given to the genius of the Child. By his Grandfather, Melancthon was instructed; Beza and Ridley were indebted to their Uncles; while Archbishop Usher was trained up from infancy by his two Aunts, though they were born blind! Both persons of great piety, as well as of a remarkable knowledge of Sacred Scripture, they actually taught him to read, and until he was eight years old, he remained under their tuition alone.
Proof being now not so much my object as impression, and as the minds of Parents in general seem to be far from sufficiently alive to the power thus lodged in their hands, until it is too late, I hope I may be excused in noticing, though very briefly, a few of these names.
RICHARD BAXTER, the English Demosthenes, though at one period likely to prove only a grief to his parents,