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excited fluenza, ealth as on would ing every assistance own where unavailing, ; the tomb, ing that imed within its
NUMEROUS and interesting have been the dezte-beli vil accounts presented before the readers of the Christian El En Lady's Magazine, and sweet are the recollections of 7-si those faded flowers in the garden of grace, of witch
those alluded to, from time to time, in that disin,
are so touchingly emblematical. And without me
woald introduce my readers once more inimene
the fruition of glory.
world, that those around then riction that of such is the
And this reminds me of and parental affection has langs
public, under the title work. I would take the commendir
: months, and
illness, when town of C--, · she was under en of her sins, ayers offered up enabled to cast foot of the Rele calm that perly did she anticiaiting to be gone,' ies about her state. to with which she e last few hours of ind her kind friend er bedside. She debe instantly released that he would pray iven her to await the might not be overcome He did so, and when und the bed, the suf
of consistent and established piety: and in old age, how valuable are their influence, their example, and their opinions to the church around them!
It was not permitted to Mary Nurton to shed that light, of which I have been speaking, far beyond the years of childhood, for she was scarcely sixteen when her heavenly Father called back the life he gave, and took her to himself. Mary was the child of pious and respectable parents living in the west of England; and losing her father at a very early age, went, with her widowed mother and the rest of her family, to reside with her aunt and grandmother, in the town where I saw her for the first time, a few weeks before her death. She was of a remarkably docile and amiable character, and it appears that even from infancy she preferred spiritual employments and Christian companions before any other. She had been indeed piously brought up, but her conduct plainly shewed that the work of the Spirit was at the same time vigorously progressing in her heart. Her favourite recreations were learning passages of scripture and hymns, which she would re'member and repeat with remarkable accuracy; while her distress of mind, if anything caused the omission of family prayer,-her uneasiness with, and distaste for unprofitable companions,-her love of conversing about death and eternity, and the glories of heaven, were so many indications that her affections were set on things above. At the early age of thirteen, Mary was confirmed, though her friends thought her too young, but she intreated them not to put it off, lest she should die without the comfort of receiving the Lord's Supper. She had always been delicate, but at this time particularly so : her pale and interesting,
though devout and earnest countenance, excited much attention ; and a severe attack of influenza, some time after, left her in such a state of health as to establish the conviction that consumption would bring her to the grave. And notwithstanding every care that affection could devise, and every assistance that her friends among the rich in the town where she dwelt could render, all efforts were unavailing, for any purpose but to smooth her way to the tomb, and to prepare her for the change awaiting that immortal soul which could not be confined within its precincts.
Mary Nurton had been lingering nine months, and was considered in the last stage of her illness, when a dear clerical friend, residing in the town of C--, was sent for to visit her. At this time she was under much conflict, feeling the heavy burden of her sins, and joined with many tears in the prayers offered up for her. But when she was once enabled to cast them all in humble faith, at the foot of the Redeemer's cross, how sweet was the calm that pervaded her mind, and how cheerfully did she anticicipate the expected change! Waiting to be gone,' was her frequent answer to inquiries about her state. * Jesus died for me,' was the motto with which she silenced all doubts. During the last few hours of her life she suffered intensely, and her kind friend the clergyman was called to her bedside. She desired him to pray that she might be instantly released by death, to which he replied that he would pray that she might have patience given her to await the Lord's time, and that her faith might not be overcome by the weakness of the flesh. He did so, and when they all rose from kneeling round the bed, the sufferer seemed to be dozing. The clergyman left the house, but their united prayers were answered, for she gave no evidence of a single pang afterwards ; but lying perfectly still for some minutes, with a smiling expression of peace on her beautiful countenance, she surrendered her spirit into the hands of her heavenly Father.
There was nothing remarkable about the circumstances of Mary Nurton's life, or the manner of her death. In this Christian country, bundreds (I wish I could say all) among the better sort of poor, are piously brought up; and hundreds are called to an early grave by lingering consumption, or other complaints. And yet as I gazed upon the silent corpse, which I did a few days after Mary's death, I could not help thinking that an useful lesson might be derived from her history, at least in one particular, which will be the more obvious when I allude to another case which has occurred to my mind by way of comparison. In this same town of C-, where I am still a sojourner, the same minister of God, some weeks before he was called to visit Mary Nurton, received an urgent appeal from the friends of a dying youth, to administer consolation and instruction, during what were supposed to be his last hours. My friend hastened to the bedside, and on asking the young man how he felt, the answer was, “ Not fit to die.' And although this youth bore an excellent character for morality and amiability of every kind, was beloved by all who knew him, and by none so much as the family with whom he was most intimately associated, yet, on being taken by surprise from a state of health and enjoyment to a near view of eternity, he declared himself ' pot fit to die.' About six hours after my friend's first interview with this awakened sinner, he was called into eternity; and having scarcely ceased to cry aloud for mercy from the first moment, his friends were not left without hope on his sudden removal. I have said his friends were not without hope, because we know that whom God calls at the eleventh hour, cannot but come unto him and have everlasting life; and mortals dare not set bounds to his mercy; but I say it with caution: for what an awful thought, that the work which, in this instance, seventeen years were allotted to perform, was crowded into the space of a few hours, while enfeebled by sickness and distressed with fears ! But why was not this amiable youth as well prepared to die as Mary Nurton ? Was it not that the latter had felt herself to be not her own, but bought with a price ? that she had been presented to God a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice; and her good works were the fruits and evidences of faith in Christ, and conformity to his image, wbile she was seeking a house not made with hands, and looking forward to death as the gate of everlasting life. While the former had been forgetful of his God, careless of his Saviour, and had been moral and amiable from education, and habit, and natural disposition—that he had not looked beyond this world for happiness, and was contented with its approbation, rather than his Maker's ? Well might death come upon such an one as the king of terrors, and force him to exclaim, “I am cut off in the midst of my days ;” for this world, he was leaving behind, and the next he had little thought of.