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MOTHER OF JOHN FREDERIC OBERLIN.
The mother of John Oberlin was a pious and highly accomplished woman; and her son often attributed his love for the things that are excellent, and his future usefulness to her early instruction, and Christian example,
The family circle presented a beautiful scene of harmony. They were in the habit of assembling together, in the evening of the day, when the mother read aloud from some instructive book, whilst the children copied drawings, which their father-who took a principal part in their education-sketched for them. Before the little party broke up for the night, there was generally & request for "one beautiful hymn from dear mamma," which was always cheerfully complied with ; and they then all kneeled down in prayer, It was this lady's chief desire to train
her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, nor did she labour in vain.
Her son, John Frederic, says" During my infancy and my youth, God often vouchsafed to draw me to himself.” It was not, however, until after he became a student at the university, that he was decided for God. His conversion took place under the preaching of Dr. Lorentz, whose ministry he was induced to attend in consequence of his mother's earnest solicitations. She lived to see him an ornament to his Christian profession, and a public benefactor.
MOTHER OF THE REV. EDWARD PAYSON, D. D.
GRATA PAYSON was the wife of the Rev. Seth Payson, D.D., Pastor of Rindge, New Hampshire. They were distantly related, their lineage, a few generations back, being the same. They were both eminently pious, and their son Edward gratefully attribnted the usefulness of his life, and his hopes of eternal happiness, to the instruction he received from them. His father's public duties necessarily prevented his devoting so much time and attention to his children as he desired ; besides these duties, he eked out his small income by managing a little farm ; but his mother had more opportunities, and she endeavoured to make the most of them, by turning even trivial occurrences to advantage-drawing from them a useful and moral lesson. Edward assisted (with his brothers) in the labours of the farm-especially in busy seasons; but he embraced every opportunity, however short, of taking out a book, which he read with avidity. He was possessed of an enquiring mind, and he was constantly applying to his mother to explain to him the causes of things, or the meaning of difficult passages he met with in his reading.Her children felt for her all the respect due to a parent, though her manner was so gentle and unreserved, that they came to her in all their childish frolics, as well as to seek counsel in every case of perplexity. She was desirous that they should receive a liberal education, but her chief concern was for their souls,—and to this end all her prayers and efforts were directed.
Her son Edward was under serious impression, whilst very young; when only three or four years old, he would call her to his bedside, to ask her questions about God and heaven. His mother thought that he was converted in childhood, but his father was not quite satisfied on that point. The boy's conduct was, however, exemplary, both as regarded his filial affection and moral rectitude; and his religious feelings were strong and sincere. His father desired to see him in the Ministry; he assisted him in his studies, preparatory to going to college, but he did not feel justified in sending him there, until he saw stronger evidences of piety, and on this account he was kept at home still engaged in the farm, for some time. Such caution reflects the highest credit on the Christian character of the father; for the glory of God, and the salvation of our fellow-sinners, ought to be the sole aim of every individual who enters the Ministry.
An observation on this subject, made by the Rev. Mr. Winter to his pupil, Mr. Jay, of Bath, when he first entered the Ministry, is just and convincing. “If you are not really converted yourself,” he said, “you will talk very awkwardly about conversion to others. If you do not love Jesus, you will want a most powerful constraint to preach him as the only Lord God and Saviour.”
A constant and affectionate correspondence was kept up between Mrs. Payson and her son, which
was only terminated by death. Many of these letters are preserved, and they form a valuable and interesting portion of the life of that eminent minister. In one, Dr. Payson says :
Why cannot other parents learn your art of mixing the friend with the parent ? of joining friendship with filial affection, and of conciliating love, without losing respect ?—an art of more importance to society, and more difficult to learnat least, if we may judge by the rareness with which it is found-than any other; and an art which you, my dear parent, certainly have in perfection.
In another letter to his father, he writes :
“ Is it not some satisfaction to reflect, that to you and my mother I shall be indebted, under God, for everlasting felicity, and that if I am made the instrument of doing any good in the world, it will be owing to your prayers, precepts, and example."
He made it a point of conscience to return to his parents the amount they had spent on his education, though it was by no means their wish that he should do so.
The following letter is from Mrs. Payson, to her son, on the birth of his first child :
“ MY EVER DEAR Son,
6 Your last was indeed fraught with precious tidings,—and we are now to view you and your dear Louisa as sustaining a new
and very important relation in life. May gracious heaven look with benignity upon this dear object of your mutual affection, and realise your best wishes in its behalf! Precious babe! already do I clasp it in my affections, and implore the blessing of heaven upon it. Great is the fatigue, the care, the anxiety of rearing a family,—but if it is performed aright, it is a blessed work. You have yet to learn how difficult the task, and how much patience, prudence, and grace, are requisite to qualify us to be faithful to the sacred trust deposited in our keeping. Yet, for your encouragement, and as a debt of gratitude due to our most gracious Parent, I freely acknowledge myself amply compensated for all I have ever suffered or done for
Alas! I have been exceedingly deficient in my duty to my children; but with what ineffable goodness has God pardoned my unfaithfulness, and noticed every sincere attempt to discharge, in any measure, the important duties of a mother, and, in some instances, done more for them than I ever thought or asked. May He enable you to receive this little one from his gracious hands, and as he requires, bring it up for him.You were very kind
to write to me so soon. It a proof of affection for which my heart “May you be guided safely amidst the innumerable snares which await you at every step, and your path, like the rising light, shine more and more unto the perfect day. Thus prays “ Your affectionate mother,
u G. P.”