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OLD HUMPHREY IN DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE.
THE character and personal dispositions of an author
may be the reverse of those which appear in his writings. The moralist on paper is not of necessity a moral man in practice, nor does the philosopher always exemplify his principles in daily conduct. Genius may play about the head, while it is uninfluential on the heart. The author of the “Night Thoughts" was a volatile wit in private life, and the rugged-tempered Johnson wrote on the importance of good-humour and courtesy. It may, however, be declared, without undue praise, that the man and the Christian, as depicted in the writings of Old Humphrey, were seen in reality in the life of the author. That a feigned character was so well sustained for more than twenty years may be explained by the fact that he therein represented and embodied—though unwittingly, yet with much truthfulness—his own feelings and habits. The sentiments he expressed were not alien to his heart. He did not act a part, except in assuming old age before it had quite cast its snows upon his head. In the relations of a husband, a father, and a
friend, he was the same gentle, generous, loving, and loveable being as the one he sought to portray in his sketches.
The sunny temper and consistent conduct of Mr. Mogridge diffused an air of cheerfulness through the family circle; and to him his children looked, not only with the respect due to a parent, but with that confidence and freedom which belong to a companion and a guide. As they rose into life, he encouraged them in a free epistolary intercourse, and in the exercise of their powers of composition. To one of his sons he acted the part of a literary cenThe
prose and verse of the young author were duly submitted to the father, who, assuming the name of “Sir Christopher Caustic," made the style and sentiments pass through a critical ordeal, after the manner of a modern reviewer; then, changing his character into that of “Sir Francis Fairplay," he took a more hopeful view of the pieces, pointing out any passages which were worthy of commendation. In this manner he became acquainted with his children's aspirations and modes of thought, which he could either end age or correct, as appeared to him wise and best.
The opposite conditions into which he was led in the path of life—now bright and then overclouded -tended to develop his moral character, and to exhibit him in the varied lights and shades of the Christian life. In early manhood, prospects of com
petence, and even wealth, were before him-not only on his own side, but on that of the second Mrs. Mogridge, whose father was at one time a man of considerable fortune; but Mr. Mogridge did not live long ere he found that it is not the language of poetry only, but of experience also, that
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.” Shadows overcast his path; riches took to themselves wings and flew away; the hopes of life seemed to fade from his view; yet in the midst of his trials he was enabled, through the power of divine grace, to comfort himself with pious resignation and confiding trust in God. He touchingly refers to the losses which he was called to endure, in his paper
“On the Merciful Admonitions of Divine Providence."
“Bound to the earth, as we are, by ten thousand ties, we ought to be especially mindful of those occasional admonitions of divine Providence which set forth the fading nature of all that is earthly— those merciful remindings that the time of our sojourning here is short, and that the fashion of this world passeth away.' Some require these remindings more frequently than others: I speak feelingly. It is long since my hat has been without crape round it, and my fears often tell me, that while I am permitted to remain here, a monument of God's forbearance and mercy, I shall often wear this symbol of sorrow and affection. An old man's personal friends must of necessity get scarce; it is so with mine; and if I were of a desponding disposition, I might fear, from the inroads that death is making among them, that I should be left almost without any. Even this view, however, is not without comfort; for if, through divine mercy, we ever enter heaven, (and we need not doubt, while we are in the right way,) why, the more friends we have to welcome us the better.
“ Again, then, I say, that among the first and foremost of the favours bestowed by our great Redeemer are the merciful remindings of their short tenure on earth; the notices given us to quit our present crazy habitations, a better being prepared for us above.
“A look on ourselves, as sinners, brings a thundercloud over our heads; but a look at the Saviour puts a sunbeam in the sky. It converts the wrathful denunciation, Depart! into the loving invitation,
Come!' And death approaches, not to cut down the barren fig-tree, but to gather the shock of corn fully ripe into the garner of God.”
One of the heaviest trials of Mr. Mogridge was the sickness and death of an only and beloved daughter, under circumstances calculated, at the time, to cast a deep shadow on his spirit. After the most manifest proofs of talent and piety, with a maturity of Christian experience rarely possessed by one of her years, her mental powers became too vigorous for her physical nature. The mind was, for a season, darkened, so that she no longer, as she was wont to do, in her soul magnified the Lord, and in her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour. In reference to this event, he wrote to the late Rev. R. Shepherd, of Chelsea :
“My dear Friend :-I have for some time been walking in the shade. You well know that this is necessary to us all, and I will tell
the cause of my disquietude. Not only have I been very far from well, and still remain so, but a daughter, who for some time has been absent from me, and whose literary talents and true piety were sources of satisfaction and joy, has returned to me, the shadow of what she was. Her bodily affliction is great, but her mental malady of extreme despondency is a much greater trial; we are heavily afflicted, but, discerning the hand that holds out to us the bitter cup, we drink it without murmuring. Oh, the blessing of being able, strengthened from above, meekly and unrepiningly to receive the heaviest affliction it pleases our Heavenly Father to lay upon us ! For this blessing I cannot be too thankful. We have found it necessary to request our friends to act the friendly part of passing by our melancholy dwelling, for my poor afflicted child requires continual attention. Add to these troubles the circumstance that I have before me a letter from the phy