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These beauteous tints *, these peaceful scenes, I view,
Lamented maiden! pensive and alone,
Now see the Virtues weeping o'er thy grave !" Mrs. Smith, in a letter to Mrs. H. Bowdler, very feel. ingly observes: “I believe that the overlooking of my Elizabeth's papers has administered more comfort to me than I could have received from any other source: for it has strengthened my conviction that the dear writer of them must be happy. I regret her having destroyed many papers lately.. Those remaining are chiefly religious and moral reflections, translations froin the Bible, &c. I believe that her whole life had been one state of preparation for the awful change. Every paper, which I found, confirms this gratifying idea. On reflection, I have every thing to reconcile me to her loss, but my own selfish feelings. Having witnessed the sufferings of humanity in a beloved child,
- Though rais'd above
A inother's love, a mother's tender woe!' “ The gratifying conviction that my dear child is for ever happy; with the consciousness of having, to the best of my abilities, fulfilled my duty towards her; are consolations which I would not exchange for this world's wealth.”
* Her drawings in a rustic building beside the river Enont. + An affecting aceount of the pious African, Henry Granville Naimbanna, which she gave to the writer of these lines, as he took his last leare of her, a short time before ber death.
From the papers of Miss Smith a selection has been published by Mrs. H. Bowdler, in two volumes octavo, entitled, “ Fragments in Prose and Verse;" with memoirs of the author's life, from which the preceding account is taken. The fragments consist chiefly of a few short poetical pieces ; extracts from Miss Smith's Ictters; miscellaneous reflections; and a translation from the German, of the letters and memoirs of Klopstock. Her translation, from the Hebrew, of the book of Job, has been published, with a preface and annotations, by the Rev. F. Randolph, D. D. It was submitted, after her decease, to the examination of the Rev. Dr. Magee, of Trinity College, Dublin; who speaks of it in terms of high commendation: “It combines,” says he, “ accuracy of version with purity of style; and unites critical research with familiar ex position. I cannot but recommend the publication of the entire version; in full confidence that it will be received as a valuable present by the lovers of biblical literature.”
Miss Smith's reflections indicate great comprehension as well as originality of mind; and they afford a pleasing and very satisfactory evidence of her genuine humility and fervent piety. A few extracts from them may not improperly close this account of her:
January 1, 1798.—“Being now arrived at what is called years of discretion, and looking back on my past life with shame and confusion,' when I recollect the inany advantages I have had, and the bad use I have made of them, the hours I have squandered, and the opportunities of improvement I have neglected; when I imagine what, with those advantages, I ought to be, and find myself what I am, I am resolved to endeavour to be more careful for the future, if the future be granted me; to try to make amends for past negligence, by employing every moinent I can command, to some good purpose; to endeavour to acquire all the little knowledge that human nature is capable of on earth, but to let the word of God be my chief study, and all others subservient to it; to model myself, as far as I am able, according to the gospel of Christ; to be content while my trial lasts, and when it is finished to rejoice, trusting in the merits of my Redeemer. I have written these resolutions to stand as a witness against me, in case I should be inclined to forget them, and return to iny foriner indolence and thoughtlessness; because I have found the inutility of mental determinations. May God grant me strength to keep them.”
Perhaps there is nothing more difficult to guard against than the desire of being admired; but I am convinced that it ought never to be the motive for the most trifling action. We should do right, because it is the will of God: if the good opinion of others follow our good conduct, we should receive it thankfully, as a valuable part of our reward; if not, we should be content without it.”
" Humility has been so much recommended, and is indeed so truly a Christian virtue, that some people fancy they cannot be too humble. If they speak of humility towards God, they are certainly right. We cannot, by the utmost exertion of our faculties, measure the distance between him and us, nor prostrate ourselves too low before him : but with regard to our fellow-creatures, I think the case is different. We ought by no means to assume too much; but a certain degree of respect to ourselves is necessary to obtain a proportionate degree from others. Too low an opinion of ourselves, will also prevent our undertaking what we are very able to accomplish, and thus prevent the fulfilment of our duty; for it is our duty to exert, to the utmost, the powers given us, for good purposes: and how shall we exert powers which we are too humbleminded to suppose we possess? In this particolar, as in all others, we should constantly aim at discovering the truth. Though our faculties, both intellectual and corporeal, be absolutely nothing compared with the Divinity; yet, when compared with those of other mortals, they rise to some relative value: and it should be our study to ascertain that value, in order that we may employ thein to the best advantage; always remembering to fix it rather below, than above the truth.”
“ It is very surprising that praise should excite vanity: for if wbat is said of us be true, it is no more than we knew before, and it cannot raise us in our own esteem; if it be false, it is surely a most humiliating reflection, that we are only admired because we are not known, and that a closer inspection would draw forth censure, instead of commendation. Praise can hurt only those who have not forined a decided opinion of themselves, and who are willing, on the lestimony of others, to rank themselves higher, in the scale of excellency, than their merits warrant.”
“ Pleasure is a rose near which there ever grows the thorn of evil. It is wisdom's work so carefully to cull the rose, as to avoid the thorn; and let its rich perfume exhale to
heaven, in grateful adoration of Hirn who gave the rose to blow."
“ The Christian life may be compared to a magnificent column, whose summit always points 10 heaven. The innocent, and therefore real pleasures of this world, are the ornaments on the pedestal : very beautiful, and highly to be enjoyed, when the eye is near; but which should not too long, or too frequently, detain us from that just distance, where we can contemplate the whole column, and where the ornaments on its base disappear.”
“ The cause of all sin is a deficiency in our love of God. If we really loved him above all things, we should not be too strongly attached to terrestrial objects; and we should with pleasure relinquish them all to please him. Unfor. tunately, while we continue on earth, our minds are so much more strongly affected by the perceptions of the senses than by abstract ideas, that it requires a continual exertion to keep up even the remembrance of the invisible world.”
“When I hear of a great and good character falling into some heinous crime, I cannot help crying, “ Lord, what am I, that I should be exempt? Oh, preserve me from temptation, or how shall I stand, when so many, much my superiors, have fallen ?""
“ Study is to the mind what exercise is to the body; neither can be active and vigorous without proper exertion. Therefore, if the acquisition of knowledge were not an end worthy to be gained, still study would be valuable on its own account, as tending to strengthen the mind; just as a walk is beneficial to our health, though we have no particular object in view. And certainly, for that most humiliating mental disorder, the wandering of the thoughts, there is no remedy so efficacious as intense study.”
An hour well spent condemns a life. When we reflect on the sum of improvement and delight gained in that single hour, how do the multitude of hours already passed, rise up and say, "What good has marked us? Would'st thou know the true worth of timne? Employ one hour.”
“ To read a great deal would be a sure preventive of much writing, because almost every one might find all he has to say already written.”
“ Hope without foundation is an ignis fatuus; and what foundation can we have for any hope, but that of heaven?"
“Great actions are so often performed from little motives
of vanity, self-complacency, and the like, that I am more apt to think highly of the person whom I observe checking a reply to a petulant speech, or even submitting to the judgment of another in stirring the fire, than of one who gives away thousands."
“ To be good and disagreeable is high treason against virtue."
“ A happy day is worth enjoying; it exercises the soul for beaven.
Happiness is a very common plant; a native of every soil : yet is some skill required in gathering it; for many poisonous weeds look like it, and deceive the unwary 10 their ruio."
“ When we think of the various miseries of the world, it seems as if we ought to mourn continually for our fellow-creatures; and that it is only for want of feeling that we indulge in joy for a single moinent. But when we consider all these apparent evils as dispensations of Providence, tending to correct the corruption of our nature, and to fit us for the enjoyment of eternal happiness, we can not only look with calınness on the misfortunes of others, but receive those appointed for ourselves with gratitude.'
THE HAPPINESS OF A FUTURE STATE.
All, all on carth is shadow;
WITHOUT society it is impossible for man, as a social being, to be happy. Place him in a region where he was surrounded with every pleasure ; yet there, if he found himself a solitary individual, he would only pine and languish. Not merely our wants, and mutual dependance, but our native instincts also, in some degree, impel us to associate together. The intercourse which we here maintain with our fellow-creatures, is a source of our chief enjoyments. But, alas! how much are these allayed by a variety of disagreeable circumstances that enter into all our connections ! Sometimes we suffer from the distresses of those whom we love; and sometimes from their vices or their frailties. Where friendship is cordial, it is exposed to the wounds of painful sympathy, and to the anguish of violent separation.