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My companion had quite exhausted the little strength left him, when he had finished these words. I requested him to spare himself. He moved his head, as if consenting, and turned his face upon the pillow.
To every one present, besides my friend, it appeared to be a matter of great uncertainty, for many days together, whether the injury he had sustained would terminate fatally. The surgeon, whom I had desired to be called in on the occasion, did not, (for indeed he could not) speedily decide upon the question. The contusion was very great, from the violence of the blow; and the extravasation extended far around the region of the loins; but the surgeon only ventured to speak of it in a general way, as a case which must necessarily be attended with great danger. But however others thought, the patient himself had already formed his opinion; and the event proved, that that opinion was too justly founded. The period was arrived for his going down to the house' appointed for all living.'
For my part, my concern was so great, that I seldom, unless from necessity, left his chamber. He had been as a father to me; and I felt all that tender affection for him which a kind father might be supposed to excite in the mind
of his son. And, indeed, independent of all personal attachment, my small services, during his confinement, were abundantly recompensed by the spiritual good that I had gathered from the many precious observations which dropped from his lips. And although I had so highly profited from the great lessons on religion, which he had endeavoured to teach me while living, yet in his dying hours he favoured me with the sweetest instructions I had ever received. He had been as a kind taper,
burning with much brightness, to lighten me on in the path of grace. But, like a taper, the most vivid rays were those which were emitted while expiring in the socket.
The reader will forgive me once more, if I pause to remark, how exceedingly mistaken, in their calculation of the means of happiness, are the children of the world, who seek it in the various haunts of what is called pleasure, notwithstanding the constant and uniform experience of thousands, in every age, has determined that it is not there to be found. If my reader will give me credit for the assertion, (and I do most solemnly assure him of the fact,) never, till the hour of my friend's confinement when living in his chamber, did I know what that pleasure of the heart is, which arises from
all those solemn,but infinitely interesting reflections, which engage the mind under sorrowful dispensations: such, (I mean,) as considerations of the awful government of God; the rich discoveries of the importance of salvation ; the littleness of the earthly pursuits; the sweetness of the sympathetic feelings; and, in short, all that train of thought connected with those ideas, which a sick chamber is so admirably calculated to induce. Circumstances of this kind, no doubt, are solemn; but if solemn, they are only the more congenial to the soul's purest enjoyments. The countenance may be saddened, but the heart is made better*!
But to return :The stable-boy before mentioned, in whose spiritual interests my friend was so warmly engaged at the time when this provi. dence visited him, soon manifested the concern in which this affliction had involved him. It would indeed exceed all description to say what were his feelings. Every little portion of time which he could spare from the demands of the stable, was employed in running up to the chamber-door, to inquire after ny friend. One trait in his character of this kind was peculiarly affectionate. He was always found with the first dawn of the morning, watching at the door
• Eccles. vii. 3.
of the room, in order to gather the earliest information from the persons who should first come out, how my friend had passed the night.
Neither had the good man, amidst all his pains, forgotten him. He mentioned to me several times, with much pleasure, the hopes which he had conceived of serious impressions forming on the youth's mind, from the conversation which he had with him. And upon being told of the lad's frequent and earnest inquiries after him, it served to confirm him in this opinion the more ; and he very much wished to see him. The poor boy was soon introduced, and the interview was truly affecting. After frequent visits, the youth acquired some little confidence; and my friend found many opportunities of instructing him in that wisdom, which, under God the Holy Ghost, makethwise unto salvation.'
It was seemingly a long season of uncertainty for the exercise of my mind in waiting the Lord's will, respecting the final issue of my friend's state. Sometimes my hopes were high, and at others low, according as the symptoms appeared to vary. But, having acquired a little portion of that precious lesson in the school of grace, that the Lord's mercies are nearest unfolding, when our expectations of them are
nearest closing ; I felt, I thought, much sweetness in that scripture, “it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of t'ie Lord.'
It wis in the midst of these exercises the surgeon informed me, that his apprehensions were, that a mortification had taken place. He had, as usual, in his morning visit, examined my friend's bruised body; and then, for the first time, it was that he discovered the advancing gangrene. Our hopes now were all over. Whether my poor suffering friend, from our looks, or from the whispering of the surgeon, was led to suspect the cause, I know not ; but so it was, that he anticipated the question, by saying 'I believe, Sir, that you find a mortification hath taken place. I have been free from pain in the part injured for several hours.' The surgeon expressed his hopes that it might not be so. But my friend, with a look of complacency which I shall never forget, replied, • Why would
wish so? It is not the small. est reproach, surely, to men of skill and ability, when the ordination of the Lord baffles all the efforts of art. And with respect to my feelings, allow me to assure you, Sir, that it is an event more to be desired than dreaded. I have long been looking forward to this period, as to