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ings of the parental heart, she knew what they could bear, and what it was inexpedient for them to receive; and with the greatest delicacy did she regulate her communications to the parents, always endeavoring to impart the word of comfort and gratification, and never withholding what it was necessary for them to know. On one occasion, she says, writing to a person who had a daughter at St. Joseph's, 'I have continually deferred answering your obliging letter, always hoping to say something consoling to the heart of a parent, and now with pleasure can assure you that your dear daughter has shown a considerable perseverance in her good determinations for some time past,' &c. Well could parents intrust their children to the direction of so wise and prudent a preceptress; for if she avoided, on the one hand, that weak condescension which overlooks, instead of correcting a fault, she understood, on the other, the necessity of training the heart gradually, and not forcing habits which must be the result of repeated and patient instruction. She thus wrote to a pious gentleman who had a relation at the school, whom he had lectured in too reproachful a tone by way of compelling her to her duty :-You and I speak for all eternity, but take a word of advice from your old mother. I am a hundred to your thirty, in experience, that cruel friend of our earthly journey. If you ask too much at first, you often gain nothing at last; and if the heart is lost, all is lost. If you use such language to your family, they cannot love you, since they have not our microscope to see things as they are. The faults of young people must be moved by prayers and tears, since they are constitutional, and cannot be frightened out.”
We could go on quoting instances to show the mingled strength and tenderness, which characterized this devoted servant of God, but perhaps enough has been shown to give an idea of the whole. A large heart and a sound head she must have had, and God saw fit to try her as silver is tried, till the earthy elements seem to have been wellnigh removed. Two beloved sisters, converted to her faith by her life and loveliness, were successively removed from her very arms; for they had joined her, and one had become a Sister of Charity. The next deep grief was the loss of her eldest daughter, the one who had shared the confinement and suffering at Leghorn, and who had ever given great promise of excellence. This young creature was tried by a painful illness, but shone brighter and brighter to the last — even to the point of rejoicing at the mortifying failure of a matrimonial engagement, which had, at one time, wholly absorbed her interest.
“ With all the devotedness that maternal love could inspire,” says Dr. White, speaking of Mrs. Seton, “she watched day and night by the couch of her dying Annina, bestowing every care, and administering every comfort, with the most unremitting attention, and exhibiting the most heroic courage and resignation to the will of God. Mother and daughter seemed to vie with each other in the display of Christian sentiment under this painful trial, and it would be difficult to decide which was the more worthy of admiration, the daughter pressing forward to her heavenly home, or the mother generously offering the sacrifice of her first-born child."
This expression reminds us that, in Mrs. Seton's younger days, and long before she became a Roman Catholic, she had, in a moment of agonized apprehension for the salvation of her father, Dr. Bailey, offered her infant child to God as a sacrifice for him. “Leaving her dying parent for a few moments, she went to the cradle where her infant child was sleeping, clasped it to her bosom, and, going out on the piazza of the building, she then raised the innocent babe towards heaven and appealed to the divine compassion, saying, Oh Jesus, my merciful Father and God, take this little innocent offering; I give it to thee with all my heart; take it, my Lord, but save my father's soul.” This incident shows that intense devotional faith was not, in Mrs. Seton's case, the development of any form of belief, but rather the instinct of her ardent and generous nature. The eldest daughter was evidently the inheritor of her enthusiastic temperament. In her dying moments, she desired that the young ladies of the school, fifty in number, should be called to her bedside in companies, according to their ages. “My dear girls,” she said, “ come and look at your poor Anna; see how I am reduced, who but a few weeks ago was as well, as gay, as playful, and as happy as you are. See me now in the arms of death; look at the state of my breast — the mortification has already commenced.” Here, uncovering her neck to let them behold its sad condition after her dreadful sufferings of the night before, — “ See," she continued ; “ the body which I used to dress and lace up so well, what is it now? Look at these hands, the worms will have poor banqueting here! What is beauty? what is life? Nothing - nothing. O love and serve God faithfully,
and prepare for eternity. Some of you, dear girls, may soon be as I am now; be good, and pray for me!” This young lady died at seventeen. And the mother says, in a letter to a friend, written on the occasion, — “You will believe me when I say, with my whole soul — Thy will be done, forever.”
Four years afterwards, another daughter, breathing the same spirit, died, after an excruciating illness of six months. The mother quails, but the Saint shrinks not.
**Our God! Our God!' she exclaims; to wait one hour for an object every moment expected — but poor Rebecca's hours and agonies are known to you alone! her meek, submissive look, artless appeals of sorrow, and unutterable distress ; the hundred little acts of piety; that All-Soul's Day, so sad and sorrowful; the fears of the poor mother's heart - her bleeding heart — for patience and perseverance in so weak a child; the silent, long looks at each other -- fears of interfering in any way with the designs of Infinite Love! O that day and night and the following day !' In full union of her soul with God, and with words of comfort to those around her, her head sank upon the bosom of her mother, while her spirit took its flight above. This,' says an eye witness, 'was the moment of victory over nature. When Mother Seton had helped to lay the little corpse on the bed, having embraced it with the tender words —my Rebecca, my darling!' She turned towards one of the Sisters, saying, 'my dear sister, bring me a change of linen ; now that my chains are broken, I will bless the Lord.? Raising her eyes and arms in a holy transport towards heaven, she exclaimed — O my Lord! my darling is with you ; she will no more be in danger of offending you. I give her to you with all my soul.'”
But we must not linger thus over scenes which, though thus isolated they may seem overstrained, are yet quite in keeping with the tenor of a whole life. Mrs. Seton's dying days carried out the beautiful consistency of her character. Her constitution had become completely shattered, and, by greater exposure than her delicate health would permit, she contracted, in the summer of 1820, a pulmonary disease, which confined her during four months to her room, and finally put an end to her life. “ Notwithstanding the painfulness of her situation, she was ever cheerful, ever ready to receive the visits of the Sisters, and to give directions relative to the affairs of the community. As to the children of the academy,
she delighted to hear them at their innocent sport, and to call them into her room to give them some token of her maternal kindness." She alone possessed fortitude, and peace, and joy, when the last hour came, for all else were overwhelmed with grief at such a loss. When all was over, they bore her body to its resting place, “and there planted the Cross, the emblem of her virtue, and the rose-bush, as her immortal crown," says Dr. White, who gives his account with much sympathetic feeling; and who is there that will not say the nunc dimitlis and the amen, to such a life and such a death, without asking in what particular form of Christian faith this pure soul received the divine influence ?
How cool, after this glowing picture, comes over the ima
ation and the heart the spiritual image of Mary Lovell Ware, “ a perfect woman, nobly planned ;” a submissive and unshrinking servant of God and duty; one who loved and followed the Saviour with the docility of a child, yet never, perhaps, addressed to him one impassioned, endearing name, or shed even one of those " floods of tears” with which Mrs. Seton poured out the joys and sorrows of her heart at the foot of the cross. Considering that the two lives had one and the same aim, a stronger contrast can hardly be found than is presented by these striking exemplifications of the power of religion over the soul, nor, surely, a deeper lesson of toleration; but when shall we be as tolerant of uncongenial sectarian peculiarities as we find it easy to be of the sin, against which all sects unite in warring, each after its own natural, inseparable genius? Mrs. Seton would have mourned for Mrs. Ware as for a lost soul, — all the more surely lost for those deluding virtues which would soothe the conscience that needed rather wounding; while Mrs. Ware, calm, reasonable, and self-governed, would look with a tender pity, scarcely consistent with respect, on the dramatic virtues and ecstatic devotions of the more tropical Saint. Can even we critics contemplate, with strict impartiality, the double exhibition of what seems almost like two religions, - passion and reason, dogmatism and induction, statement and inference, feeling and philosophy ? We shall content ourselves with attempting to show the reader a saintly character, so different from
the one we have been looking at, that it is probable they agree in scarcely any thing beside strong affections and a determined devotion and self-consecration each to her own idea of Christian duty.
The biography of Mrs. Ware has been so widely read and remarked upon, that we shall attempt no labored abstract of it as a history, but simply recapitulate a few of the leading facts, with their dates. Mary Lovell Pickard was born at Boston in 1798, twenty-four years later than Mrs. Seton, - a very significant fact, considering that the Revolution intervened, and that the great protest of Unitarianism took place after the latter had been withdrawn from the shifting scene. Who knows to what degree the character of either might have been modified, had she been brought up under the same roof, and the same influences with the other ? Dr. Bailey, the father of Mrs. Seton, whom her filial piety endowed with “ every virtue under heaven," had undoubtedly many good qualities and no little professional skill; but he has come down to us traditionally as a rough and violent man, of somewhat reckless character, noted for profane language and a life of no great carefulness, even in exteriors. Mark Pickard, on the other hand, the father of Mrs. Ware, was a quiet, rather proud and shy English merchant, of literary tastes, and somewhat delicate and feeble in mind and body, as we judge from incidental mention in the memoir of his daughter. His wife was the daughter of James Lovell, and granddaughter of “ Master Lovell," a teacher of the classics, a man of intellect and influence, often mentioned in Revolutionary letters and records. This lady possessed those sterling qualities which have power to shape whole families; but in her case, all interest was concentrated in Mary, her only child, from the first a little marvel of sweetness and good behavior. Mrs. Pickard was one of those women of whom we are apt to say, " she looks as if she were born to be an empress," — an expression which usually indicates qualities of mind and person which few empresses have possessed, and which are, perhaps, quite as well bestowed on the little empire of home. She was literary, tasteful, musical, and skilled in all household matters, and found her highest pleasure in imparting to her docile