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· Letter from a Servant.
LETTER FROM A SERVANT.
(Containing Remarks on "A Servant's Complaint” in the October
Number, page 462.)
To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
SIR, I am a constant reader of the “Cottager's Monthly Visitor," and, together with some of my fellowservants, always look forward with pleasure to the new Number that my master is kind enough to send out every month for our amusement in the kitchen. In last month's Number, there was however a letter from a servant, which I could not read without pain; he seems to be some well-disposed steady-minded young fellow, who it grieves me to think should be discouraged in the performance of his duty by the malicious jests and unchristian behaviour of those who, united with him in the same family, ought to have considered that it was for their common interest to live on terms of harmony and kindness with each other. I wish I could see the young man; for, having been in service myself upwards of thirty years, I think I could help him with a friendly bit of advice, and I long to eheer him with a word of comfort into the bargain: but not knowing where he is to be found I resort to this method of addressing a few lines to you, Sir, hoping you will pardon the liberty I take, and have the goodness to forward them to him, or to print them as you think fit. What I want is, to persuade him to persevere with unshaken firmness in the path of duty, notwithstanding the obstacles that may stand in his way. I will answer for his finding his account in it ;—the mere consciousness of acting uprightly must be a constant source of present consolation to every man, however great the difficulties he has to contend with. And besides you know, Sir, he has Scripture on his side. King David, in the thirty-seventh Psalm, and the thirty-eighth verse *, tells us, that such conduct shall also “ bring a
man peace at the last” besides, I never knew it fail of its reward in a worldly point of view sooner or later : but then I would advise him at the same time to cultivate the good-will of those around him, by a ready compliance with their wishes in things indifferent, and' by all the kind offices it is in his power to render them.' An overbearing temper, a sullen countenance, and disobliging manners, are sure of making enemies at every turn, whatever a person's good qualities, in other respects, may be; while conscientious behaviour, joined to a gentle forbearing spirit, never fails of commanding affection as well as respect, and of softening, in time, the ill-nature and malevolence of the most untoward disposition. I write this with confidence, because I have seen instances enough to prove the truth of it; and I cannot help fearing your correspondent may have failed a little in some of these particulars, which are apt to be considered of less importance than they deserve ;-for one likes to do justice to all parties, and where contention and ill-will exist in families, I have generally found, on examination, that there were faults on both sides. Do, Sir, recommend to him to consider carefully what his past behaviour has been in these respects, and if he finds it has been faulty, to try a contrary method in his next place, and I am much mistaken if we don't soon hear that he is comfortable and happy in it. I know how hard it is for a servant, especially a young one, to stand without anger the provoking laugh of an irreligious or wicked companion, but it is nevertheless possible, and a
* Prayer Book version.
Letter from a Servant.
547 true Christian spirit will, I am persuaded, enable any man so far to acquire the mastery over his own temper, as to avoid shewing any outward symptoms of irritability on such occasions. If the offender has unfortunately missed the advantage of a religious education, he ought to be an object of pity rather than of anger. A little advice and instruction kindly offered, would in such cases often have a good effect; and if not, by thus returning good for evil he would have the happiness of feeling that he was walking in the steps of Him, who, "when he was reviled, reviled not again," and whose blessed example in passing through this evil world we are expressly commanded to follow. And what can be more gratifying to a pious mind, than, by such means, to endeavour at least to become the instru. ment of good to others, who in point of early instruction may have been less fortunate and less happy.
I am, honoured Sir,
JAMES WHITE. A. Z. Oct, 6th, 1827.
We have printed James White's letter, because it contains much good sense and prudent advice. The “complaint,” however, of the servant did not require notice, merely on account of the personal injustice which he himself received, which will always be amply recompensed by the consciousness of acting rightly, and the great and final happiness which will be the portion of those who "hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering ;"—but we were glad to introduce it as a warning to those who are guilty of the great sin of endeavouring to check the progress of religion in the hearts of others, and of exercising a sort of persecution towards them, for no other reason than because they are better than themselves. It is true that the want of right instruction may often account for this hostility to religion,—but still it becomes us to state decidedly who is on the right side. We do not however suspect for a moment, that James White, in the good advice that he gives to the complaining servant, would attempt to justify the conduct of his fellowservants. Cain hated Abel ; ‘and Scripture tells why, “because his deeds were evil, and his brother's good ;”—and people have naturally a dislike to those whose good conduct is a reproach to themselves. Still, however, we agree with James White, that discretion often goes a great way towards disarming opposition, and sometimes even is the means of drawing over an adversary. There is no need to make a man dislike religion more than he naturally does, by our awkward manner of exhibiting it. ED,
VOLCANOES, OR BURNING MOUNTAINS.
The burning mountains, called Volcanoes, include in their bowels sulphur, bitumen, and matters which serve to feed the fire which is under the earth, the effect of which is more violent than that of gunpowder, or even of thunder. A volcano is like a cannon of an immense size, the width of whose mouth is often more than half a league: this mouth vomits forth torrents of smoke, flame, rivers of bitumen, sulphur, and melted metal, clouds of cinders and stones, and sometimes it throws out large masses of stone, like rocks, to many leagues distance. The inward fire is so terrible, and the quantity of burnt and melted matters which the mountain throws out is so plentiful, that they enter cities and forests, and cover the fields an hundred and two hundred
549 feet in thickness, and form sometimes hills and mountains. The action of this fire is so great, and the force of explosion so violent, that its re-action has been known to shake and move the earth, agitate the sea, overthrow mountains, and destroy the most solid towns and edifices, even to considerable distances.
In Europe there are three famous volcanoes, Mount Etna, in Sicily; Mount Vesuvius, in Italy, near Naples; and Mount Hecla, in Iceland. Mount Etna has burned from time immemorial; its eruptions are very violent, and the matters it throws out are so plentiful, that they may be dug out to the depth of sixty-eight feet, where we meet with marble pavement, and the remains of an ancient town, which, ages ago, was destroyed and buried under the thickness of matter thrown from the mountain. New mouths of fire were formed in 1650, 1669, and at other times : we see the flame and smoke at Malta, which is 60 leagues distant from it. In 1537, there was an eruption of this volcano, which caused an earthquake in Sicily for twelve days, and which overthrew a great number of houses and structures: it ceased only by the opening of a new mouth, which burned every thing for five miles, in the neighbourhood of the mountain. The cinders thrown out by the volcano were so abundant, and sent out with such force, that they were driven as far as Italy; and vessels out at sea, at a considerable distance from Sicily, felt the effect of it.
The ancient towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii, which were buried for ages, one under the ashes thrown from Mount Vesuvius, and the other under the melted matter, or lava, which flowed from it, have in modern times been opened to the view, and numbers of ancient coins, statues, pictures, and different sorts of Roman furniture found in the houses. The work of clearing away the rubbish is still going on at Pompeii, and the ancient town is