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A SPECIAL PROVIDENCE.
On reaching Ilartford at the close of one of her school terms, she found that her purse, which contained all the pecuniary profits of the term, and with which she had anticipated the pleasure of making her friends glad, was lost. She was sorely tried, for it seemed improbable that it would ever be found. “The gentleman who had escorted her was, however, expecting soon to return by the same road, and promised to find it, if possible.
“ As he passed on his way, he came to a certain place where a general muster was held ; and it occurred to him that some one in the great crowd assembled there might have found the lost purse.
“No sooner had this thought entered his mind, than he stopped his horse, arose, and calling aloud, inquired if any one there had seen such a purse, (describing it,) containing such a sum of money? After a moment's pause, a small boy from the midst of the crowd cried out, “My daddy found it;' and the gentleman had the happiness soon after of placing it in the owner's hands.
" Another incident, more noticeable still, should here be mentioned. While Miss Seymour had many warm friends in Sharon, there was one person who, wishing to establish a rival school, circulated reports to her injury. His opposition to her was for a time very bitter and determined, and a source of much annoyance.
In the midst of it he went to Hartford, to attend a meeting of the legislature. While there, he took occasion to speak against her, among her old friends and the friends of her father. Perhaps he might have succeeded in creating a prejudice against her, since it is easy to do mischief, had it not been for that watchful Eye which was ever about her steps, “to establish her goings,' and to 'set her feet upon a rock.'
“It so occurred that her kind friend, Governor Smith, went to Hartford also, at about the same time, and the malicious remarks of Mr. were reported to him. His noble spirit was stirred with a just indignation, and he resolved that the truth should appear.
"Accordingly one day, in the court-house, as the lawyers lingered after session, he related to them Miss Seymour's history since she had been in Sharon, and spoke of her character and conduct in a way that drew tears from all eyes. When he had finished, the venerable judge Trumbull took him aside, and weeping, told him of his great affection for the dear young lady, whom he still regarded as a daughter.
'It is perhaps scarcely necessary to add, that the unmanly efforts of her calumniator were throughout unsuccessful.
" Miss Seymour continued her school, retaining the confidence and affection of her pupils, and the regards of her numerous friends, until called by Providence to act her part in another sphere.”
By this varied discipline in youth and early womanhood, sometimes genial as summer twilight, and sometimes rongh and searching as the wintry blast, tasking her inventive energies and fortitude to the utmost, and forcing her to associate with people in different ranks and conditions of life, she became familiar with human nature in its varied workings; as developed in the fashionable and intelligent society of the city, and in the less cultivated, though not less kindly associations of the country; as well as in the changing moods of childhood and youth, gathered in the school-room.
She not only learned to mingle with accomplished ease in different circles, but attained that insight into human motives, which gave her a nice discernment of character, fitting her to meet the varied tastes, and acquired habits of a large parish, so desirable in the wife of a clergyman.
As Providence had qualified her for her sphere before he called her to fill it, she at once entered upon her work with energy and discretion.
She gave herself wholly to her duties, that her husband might give himself wholly to his. She assumed the econom
MRS. WOODBRIDGE'S EFFICIENCY.
ical responsibilities of the family. She made the arrangements for the table and the wardrobe. She paid every bill with promptness and exact integrity. She was careful of pecuniary interests, but never parsimonious. She always prudent, yet always generous. For this domestic task she had special capacities. The fact that she managed on a small salary to feed, clothe, and educate nine children, and to entertain a large circle of visiting friends, is proof sufficient of her economical skill. The spiritual interests of her children were her chief concern; and she had the satisfaction of hoping that they were all with her heirs of the heavenly kingdom. She was self-denying, bold, heroic, yet mild, persuasive, genial. She had a kind word and smile for all. She always made herself agreeable in the different families of her husband's parishioners, and won their esteem and affection. The children, as well as the parents, loved her. She carnestly sympathized with her husband in his investigations of religious truth, entered warmly into his theological discussions, shared even his enthusiasm in elucidating and enforcing the great doctrines of the gospel. In his several rencounters for “the faith once delivered to the saints" she always stood firmly by him, and when others withdrew from his side, cheered him on to further conflict. She had no patience with those who are prudent through cowardice, or are intrepid and chivalrous in defending the good and the true only when popularity is to be achieved by the effort. She had the rare merit of daring to be singular. More mild and more uniformly genial, with more blandness of manner and much more tact than her husband, she was equally brave and determined.
Thus with words of comfort and of hope, ever a co-bearer of burdens, she cheerfully went with him in bis ministerial, literary, and controversial labors, till she saw him full of days retiring with honor from his last affectionate charge. Then, after forty-four years of co-operative work with one of the ablest New-England divines, just beginning to feel that
Providence miglit permit her to rest a while in the mild sunset of age, surrounded with long-tried friends, she was summoned to a higher sphere in the sixty-eighth year of her age. Dr. Edward Hitchcock preached the sermon, replete with beauty and pathos, on the occasion of the funeral.
We cannot compare Dr. Woodbridge and his wife, the one to the massive and towering oak, and the other to the tender flower shedding its fragrance and beauty in its shade. Both alike had the fragrance and the beauty of the flower and the iron texture of the oak, though in different proportions; and in consequence of this difference of proportion, differently developed. She could appreciate his decision and firmness; and he could appreciate her womanly graces, her refinement of feeling and gentleness of manner, covering an indomitable energy in the cause of virtue and of truth. As there was a sympathy of spirit and co-operative work between them here, so we cannot doubt that the rays of their respective crowns will be interwoven in one unfading wreath of glory, showing forth the riches of grace in Christ Jesus through eternal years. They were emphatically helps meet for each other. In tracing in our future pages the influence of one, we shall trace the influence of the other. Without such domestic aid, it is more than conjectural that Dr. Woodbridge, with all his abilities, would never have reached the summit of spiritual power which he gained.
HIS EARLY MINISTERIAL AND PASTORAL WORK IN
The work of the gospel ministry lies in the spiritual realm. Its effects are radically invisible. Its implement, " the sword of the Spirit," is spiritual truth ; the subject on which it operates, the unseen spirit. Its primary aim is to awaken thought, reflection, religious emotions, desires, volitions, decision. Its progress is the production of increasingly elevated trains of thought; of more spirituality of affection; of more purity of intention ; of more fixedness of purpose ; of more exaltation of character. It seeks alone the advancement of “the kingdom of God," which the Saviour declares “is within you.” Hence the real success of the Christian ministry is by no means always apparent, especially to the superficial, who look very much on the outward, seldom the inward, the clock-work of wheels which move and guide the pointers of human action. Its progressive workings are always consonant with the workings of the IIoly Spirit. They reveal themselves only as his indwelling agency reveals itself in words and actions ; the product of hearts made vital by his transforming power. After the most careful investigations, the shrewdest conjectures, the most far-reaching calculations regarding the success of a laborious pastorate, unnumbered influences of it will never be seen or estimated this side the grave. The ages of eternity alone will be sufficient for their full comprehension. * Trifles lighter than straws are levers in the building up of character."