W1145 ESSAY BY MARGARETTE BARKER LERNED [MCQUESTEN]
Oct 6 1824
From: Adams Female Academy Londonderry, New HampshireTHE IMPERFECTIONS OF THIS LIFE
The dangers and sufferings by which we are surrounded in this life, may be compared to the tender plant, which springs up to day, flourishes tomorrow, and is then cut down. In every moment of our life we are liable to some disaster, which God has prepared to emancipate our feet from slippery places. When the Insatiate Archer1 overtakes us if we neglect the works of religion, instead of being seated at the right hand of God enjoying the society of friends & relatives with all those who have joined the angelic chair, eternal punishment will be our reward.
Many interesting objects are placed before us, such as will fascinate the mind & enliven the fancy; but to trace the hilarity of earthly follies, to the poor heathen in a more distant land, in which religion is unknown, government hereditary, and no society, will fill the mind with horror. The multitudes in a gregarious manner, worship images and objects of the most fastidious appearance; while God is trying to raise the wanderers from perdition, by offering them salvation, which they refuse to accept. Then let us put on the habiliments of mourning for that banished people, (and say with the poet),
Heaven wills our happinefs,2 allows our doom,
Invites us ardently, but not compels.
God in his great mercy forgeteth not the poor; but he giveth a burning lamp for the harbinger of eternal life, to all those who sincerely love, and believe in his holy word. He scattereth blefsings [sic] on all nations gratuitously, while man remains unmoved at his great sublunary offices; and indulges himself with garrulity, to free his mind from all that is celestial. But then blefsings [sic] are not bestowed upon us
fortuitously, for God knows who receives them with thankfulnefs [sic] of heart.
This life is short and evanescent & surrounded by hardships and sufferings, which all must share. Therefore it is expedient for us to be solicitous in gaining the affections of God, that hereafter our path may be purer than crystal, and covered with roses, which will send forth their odorous perfume, and exhale the whole air with its fragrance.
M. B. Lerned [Margarette Barker]
Adams Female Academy3
Londonderry, October 6, 1824. (1st sheet)
1 Edward Young (1683--1765) Poet: Attribution:
Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice, and thrice my peace was slain;
And thrice, ere thrice yon moon had filled her horn.
"Night Thoughts." Night i. Line 212.
"Insatiate Archer." Columbia Encyclopedia.
December 12, 2003. http://www.bartleby.com/100/224.7.html.
Margarette wrote several essays using this poem for inspiration, see W1104, W1145, W1147, W1150.
2 Margarette is using the now archaic "fs" construction for the "ss" sound. This occurs, especially, in her earlier essays and then becomes more sporadic.
3 For a note on Adams Female Academy, and on Margarette Barker Lerned, see W1100.