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The designs of Providence.

utter inattention to all preparation for a future and subsequent state of being.

It is very possible that some of our readers may not be prepared to admit the correctness of the preceding conclusion. In the blindness of their heart, and the ignorance of their mind, they may think, that if the bright rays of prosperity were unceasingly to shine upon their path, and no clouds ever to obscure their sky, they would be irresistibly drawn by considerations of gratitude to the love and service of their Creator.

Truly, in reference to this subject, “ God's thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his ways as our ways: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts." And in reference to the various afflictive dispensations of his providence, and to the bearings which those dispensations have upon the moral character and spiritual interests of individuals, it may with great justness be said, "that the foolishness of God is wiser than men.”

It is believed that in the narrative to which the reader's attention is about to be called, he will see an exemplification of the truth and correctness of several of the foregoing observations. I would here, however, offer the passing remark, that in all the inquiries which we institute in reference to the divine dealings with ourselves or others, affecting our present happiness, we should ever start with these two divinely revealed principles, as the foundation of all our reasoning-That the Lord doth not afflict willingly, or grieve the children of men. And that often, His way is in the sea, and his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known.

The design of every affliction is not immediately apparent; but the admitted principle-that it did not spring from the dust-that it came from God-and that he never afflicts willingly, will lead us to wait, in humble faith and perfect submission, till that design comes to be unveiled.

The object, therefore, I have in view, in directing the

The uncertainty of the future.

reader's attention to the sorrows and sad reverses which mark the history of this poor paralytic, is

"To assert eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to man."

The hope is cherished that these pages will convey light and comfort to some sorrowing heart-that they will prompt some, who are bowed down with grief, to pluck blessings from a smiting hand—that they will constrain the sons and daughters of affliction, into whose hands they shall fall, to look up amid all their sorrows, with an eye of adoring love, to that great and glorious Sovereign who reigns among the inhabitants of the earth as well as in the armies of heaven.

The afflicted eastern patriarch, when in the midst of his sorrows turning his thoughts back upon the bright, sunny spots of his past existence, remarks in relation to one of those periods, Then I said I shall die in my nest, and shall multiply my days as the sand. My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.

As I have sat in the midst of a happy family, and beheld the fond parents eyeing, with evident emotions of delight, the interesting group that were "like olive branches around their table," I have often thought, 'How little does that kind mother know the ills and reverses which await that child over which for many long years she has watched with so much tenderness and affection !'

And so when I have seen the young of either sex leaving the paternal roof where were passed the days of their childhood, and those early sunny years when the heart is free from care, I have been led to remark, How little can these young buoyant spirited beings calculate what will be their future lot!'

John Lewson, the subject of the present brief memoir, was a native of Philadelphia. His parents were highly

John Lawson.

Early life.

respectable people, and disposed to gratify their children in all their wishes. John had the advantage of the best instructors until he was ten years old. Whether his parents at that time were removed from him, or lost their property, I have never been able to ascertain. At all events he then ceased going to school; and taking it into his head that he should like a sailor's life, he was gratified in this wish, and in a few months found himself on the broad expanded with nothing but sea and sky around him. He soon became greatly attached to this mode of life, and pursued it for seven years. During that period he made many voyages, passed through many dangers, and learnt much evil.


Upon the breaking out of the war between this country and Great Britain in 1812, he determined to relinquish the seafaring life, and seek some avocation on land, by which he could obtain a respectable subsistence. He accordingly directed his course to New York, as the great metropolis of the Union. He was still but a youth, and the future appeared to him full of hope and brightness. He was willing to engage in any business from which he could derive a respectable livelihood. A good opportunity presenting, and some strong inducements being held out, he apprenticed himself to a respectable gentleman in the slating business. With him he continued until he had served his time, and became an expert and accomplished slater. His master still retained him in his employ as a journeyman, and at length sent him to Newbern, N. C., where his family resided. There young Lewson became acquainted with his employer's family, and ere he was aware of it found his feelings deeply interested in Clara Ann, a favourite daughter with her father. He did not stop to think of the difficulties that stood in the way, but pressed forward, until every obstacle was removed, and he found himself the happy husband of one worthy of his affections. She had been reared up with great tenderness and delicacy, and, as was the custom in her native town, had been attended by slaves, whose business it was to minister to her every want.

Residence in New York.


Never till she left the home of her childhood had she put her hand to household work, or been cumbered with care of any kind.

After their marriage they went to New York, where Lewson commenced business, and supported his family with ease, in a respectable manner. They lived well, but did not lay aside any thing against a time of need, little thinking their prospects would so soon change. And they were no less improvident about laying up treasures in heaven, than unmindful in reference to making any provision against a reverse of circumstances.

Mr. Lewson, after having been brought through the deep waters, and led to review this period of his life, remarked in relation to it: "At this time the things of religion were altogether neglected. We occasionally went to a place of worship, but it was from custom, or for fashion's sake. It was but seldom that I indulged in any thoughts of a future state. Sometimes, however, such thoughts would come into my mind, particularly when I passed a church or graveyard, or heard the bell ring. These things would then sometimes strike upon my heart, and lead me to think of death, and the unknown realities beyond. But these reflections were painful: they filled me with melancholy forebodings, and to escape from them, I sought to have my whole attention engrossed by my business; and this proved but too successful an expedient in banishing them."

It was while living in this state of alienation and forgetfulness of God, that a circumstance, which at the time appeared trifling, involved this family in irrecoverable disaster. One day being employed in putting a slate roof on a house, the weather became unfavourable. A drizzling rain came on, and rendered it imprudent and unsafe for him to continue at his business. But being anxious to fulfil his engagement, he continued his work, not regarding his situation, which was directly under the projecting eaves of an adjoining building. The constant dripping from this wet him through and through; and that very night he had a vio

Attack of palsy.

Rebellious feeling.

lent attack of palsy. He was completely benumbed, unable to move, and confined to his bed for many months. Days of suffering and nights of weariness were then appointed him; but no cheering prospect-no whisper of mercy came to pour its consoling balm into his bosom, because he turned away from the only one who could have relieved him—the Physician of souls. When he had so far recovered as to be able to sit up, he was urged to try the country air. He accordingly removed with his family to Newark, where they remained some year and a half. But not deriving the anticipated benefit from this change of residence, and feeling lonely and desolate among strangers, he with his family returned to the city. By this time their money was expended. Indeed, before this, they had been obliged to part with some of their furniture to bear their expenses. This they continued to do until all was gone. Even their clothing went to procure food.

Mr. Lewson at length recovered sufficient strength to walk with difficulty. About this time a gentleman, compassionating his forlorn condition, presented him with a quantity of little books and tracts. He carried these about the streets in a basket, offering them for sale. He would in this way get a sixpence or more in the course of the forenoon, and thus made out to subsist without being reduced to the necessity of begging. In a short time, however, another paralytic attack unfitted him for this, or any other employment.

All this time, so far from looking up to God for comfort, his heart was full of rebellion, and constantly inclined to murmur at the divine dealings. "I do not see," he would say, "why I am thus severely dealt with. Certainly I am quite as good as my neighbours. I have never injured any one. I have always done my duty. I am sure I have never done any thing to merit such punishment as this."

When at length his wife was able to procure work, and he saw her toiling night and day to earn bread for himself and children, all the feelings of his nature were stirred

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