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CHIEFLY DESIGNED

AS

PREPARATIVE OR PERSUASIVE

TO

PRIVATE DEVOTION.

BY JOHN SHEPPARD,

AUTHOR OF

“ ESSAYS FOR CHRISTIAN ENCOURAGEMENT ;” “AN AUTUMN DREAM," &c.

SEVENTH EDITION.

“La meditation n'est pas l'oraison; mais elle en est le fondement essentiel."

FENELON

LONDON:
WHITTAKER & CO., AVE-MARIA LANE.

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TO MY MOTHER. *

Oh thou, that in some far off realm of rest
With kindred spirits waitest, till the voice
Of Seraphim invite to loftier joys
And brighter mansions,-thou maternal soul,
Maternal as the form in which thou cam'st
With daily love to greet me, till the embrace
Of death, that welcome envoy to the just,
Withdrew thee gently from thy near abode -
Thou wouldst not have me dedicate my page
Save to that Lord whom all thy powers obey’d:
And mine-far less devoted-shall aspire

* Who marked, in the first edition, many passages which she preferred; and departed this life April 2, 1824.

To such true dedication ;—but 'tis meet, 'Tis the permitted solace memory claims; 'Tis in accordance with thy Lord's command; 'Tis but to honour feebly her whose crown Of righteous years would I had honour'd more, To inscribe the page to thee.

Though friendship seal These thoughts with her approval, and the mind Of good men yield a suffrage which perchance Nurtures too much the teeming root of pride, -Nay, had each plume that intellect and taste And pure devotion point, enhanc'd their praise,All ought to be less treasur'd than these marks, Trac'd with a simple pencil, by the hand Of a fond parent;—whose enfeebled sight And pious lips bent o’er the filial line Unwearied ; uttering praise for life prolong'u, Because, in its last wintry weeks, I bore This volume to her solitude; where oft Her pleased affection still its leaves review d; Till death, unclasping heaven's eternal book, Shew'd the deep indigence of earthly thought,

By that contrasted splendour quite reveal’d!

This hand enfolded mine, while helplessly, In mute instinctive fondness, yet I hung Upon thy bosom ; it sustain'd my course Yet unassurd and tottering; from the lips Of infancy it wip'd off many a gush Of fear and sorrow ; from the school child's eye, Oppress'd by tasks impos'd, with downcast gaze Foreboding inability and scorn, It dried the trembling drop, while soothing words Pour'd all a mother's comforts through the heart. -Nor less maternal as it feebler grew; For e'en in latest months its tender grasp Upheld the giddy steps and help'd the sports Of children's children, nor would own the toil.

True-'twas untaught to wake melodious wires,
And to compose the pallet's artful hues
With shadowing skill; but often, though unnerv'd
By long infirmity, would still transcribe
In lonely hours, with diligent delight,
The hallow'd numbers of some Christian bard;.
Or periods where the love of God and man
Had glow'd from consecrated tongue.

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