He was neither in his own opinion, nor by profession, a religious man; but the teachings of a pious mother had laid deep in his young heart the foundation of faith and love. When torn from her by the savages, in the solitude of mighty forests, he had pored and prayed over them, till they ripened into a heartfelt love for Him "who causeth the grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the service of man."
His teachings were therefore of such a nature, that while divested of the stiffness generally connected with all attempts at advice or instruction, they deepened every good impression, and stirred the young heart to the quick.
A most silly and hurtful notion, often entertained by young people in respect to religion, is, that it has a tendency to make people narrow-minded, or, as they phrase it, meeching. Such a feeling was effectually repressed, as they listened to ideas of that nature from one who hesitated not to grapple with the fiercest beasts of the forest, and bore on his person the scars of many wounds. His influence over them was very much increased, for the reason that he seemed anxious to make them happy in this world, as well as the other; inculcated with great earnestness those principles which lie at the bottom of thrift, competence, and the well-being of society.
Religious discourse from their parents, the catechising of the minister, advice in respect to their conduct in life, might be quite dry and uninteresting; but with what power to attract and move were the same ideas invested, as they fell from the lips of the hunter and warrior, on a wild sea-beach, amid the roar of breakers; in some sunny nook of the hills, with the rifle across his knees, made juicy and attractive by his graphic language; not thrust upon them against the stomach of their sense, but, like the teachings of the great Parent of nature, in harmony with bursting buds, the springing grass, shading into a deeper green, or mingling in their ear with the brook's low murmur, and the music of summer winds among the foliage,--thus imperceptibly, as the increase of their strengthening sinews, growing up with, and moulding the very habit of their thoughts!