Page images
PDF
EPUB

captivate and ensnare the unguarded and inexperienced youthful mind. Naturally of a frank and obliging disposition, with a superior address and deportment—an intelligent countenance, a mind vigorous and sprightly, cultivated hy reading and observation, his company was courted and his friendship solicited. Thus flattered, he mixed in the giddy round of pleasure, while even the form of religion soon became irksome, the house of God neglected, prayer forgotten. Satan does not permit his servants to remain long stationary, for there is a progress in sin as well as in grace, and mostly a very rapid advance from one degree to another. Having now entirely thrown off the externals of piety, be sat down in the “ chair of the scorner.' Religion was designated nothing but delusion, the effects of an over-heated imagination ; a godly profession, mese hypocrisy; and zeal branded as fanaticism. He next became an ardent admirer of the writings of Thomas Paine, and authors of the same caste; associating with several young men for the profane purpose of reading that daring calumniator, and to ridicule all that is sacred and valuable to man's eternal interests. Thus elevated in his imaginary philosophy and on his own superior discernment; young and in the enjoyment of health, he was promising himself length of years ; the world was opening before his view, scenes of pleasure were in anticipation - and his sanguine mind was fondly counting on days and joys in perspective, which he was never to realize. But while thus smoothly gliding down the stream of time, he was suddenly arrested in his dangerous career, and laid on a bed of sickness. His disease baffling the art of medicine, eventually, after a period of twelve months, ended in his removal from time to eternity. During tbis protracted dispensation, he was frequently visited by some pious young friends, but they invariably found his sick-bed companion was either a novel or a play-book; and when the great truths and evidences of Christianity were urged upon his attention, he avoided them as subjects wbich were unpleasant to his thoughts, or attempted to overcome them by sophistry and evasion. The books which were lent to controvert his dangerous notions were generally returned with a mere opinion of their merits as compositions ; their arguments were avoided. But once, upon the writer of this contrasting the dying hours of the Christian and Iofidel-conviction flashed upon him and he could not conceal the real impression of his mind; he answered, “ I fear Christianity is true, and that my end will be miserable, “ that I shall die the death of the infidel you hare described.” Yet, anticipating recovery, he shunned meeting the truth, like Felix, putting off the consideration to some“ more convenient season.”

When a sudden and alarming change in his disease (February, 1829), gave the fearful token that his recovery was hopeless, his assumed courage failed him, and his fondly cherished deistical notions at once gave way beneath him,--the speculative o; inions of his creed could give mo comfort in the prospect of eternity ; conld cast no cheering light across the gloomy valley of the shadow of death. Upon his being again entreated to seek for pardon and peace through Christ as the Saviour he despairingly exclaimed, “ No, it is too late now; I must take my chance, I have advanced too far-I dare not think on the future." He was reminded of the folly and danger of taking a " leap in the dark;" but he declined the subject. He was evidently striving to buoy himself up that there might yet be no truth in the Gospel – -no eternity- no judgment-no heaven-no hell !

But the rapid approach of death extorted the unwilling conviction, which he in vain attempted to conceal. The appearance of his countenance bespoke the conflict that was passing within ; he appeared labouring under a burden which he was ashamed to confess. There was a “ fearful looking-fer of judgment and of fiery indignation' In this state of alarm a Wesleyan friend was introduoed to him, when, for the first time, he opened his mind, confessing his belief in the revelation of the word of God-a belief which he had long stilled, but which conscience ofttimes convinced him was true. He listened with eagerness to the offer of mercy through Christ, and joined with earnestness in the supplications to the throne of grace on his bebalf. Turning round to an acquaintance, he said, “() do not play the fool as I have. Look to your soul while in health-a sick-bed is no place for repentance.” Continuing to get weaker, the night before he died, he was again visited by the writer of this. He was surrounded by his mother, sisters, and brother. His motber, absorbed in grief, was employed alternately wiping the dying perspiration from his forehead, or gently moistening bis parched, quivering lips--the last sad token of a mother's love ; while his sisters stood weeping by, watcbing those struggles they could not relieve. Hope had fled ; and it was evident a few more beating pulses and all would be over. Upon the friend approaching the hed-side, he eagerly grasped his hand, and with a look, never-to-be-forgotten, he exclaimed—“. O my good friend, I am glad you are come you have come to see me die-to see my penitence; kneel down immediately; pray, pray earnestly !--for mercy, mercy for Christ's sake.” Then he broke out in affecting cries for pardon through that Redeemer whom he had so long rejected. “ Oh do not deceive me now-speak, tell me of mercy-this night I shall be in eternity. By our past friendship, I entreat you do not deceive. Tell me of Jesus and of pardon by his blood-of salvation by the cross of Christ. Say, can there be pardon for one so vile as l-is there hope? Oh, yes, you have often told me, ( he will not cast out any:' I believe-I trust-I cling alone to Christ-save me, O Lord.” He lay for a few minutes exhausted. His friend attempted to speak of the Saviour as able to save to the uttermost-and with breathless haste, spoke of the efficacy of Christ's blood to blot out all sin ; of the extent of the atonement ; of the prevalency of the intercession ; of his willingness and ability to save even in the last hour; while in rapid succession (for life was ebbing fast) was pointed out for his encouragement, the thief on the cross-a Paul, a Manasseh, and a Peter : he listened with deep anxiety-interrupted alone by earnest, pathetic exclamations for pardon. An interesting conversation followed : still grasping his friend by one hand, and with bis other holding his brother's, he cried, I cannot let you go-yet, I fear, from the dying sweat on my hands, I shall impregnate you with the fever ; I could wish to keep you here to see my last, but I may linger several hours yet. Again there was a pause, while in silence the hearts of the witnesses of this sad scene were lifted up in earnest ejaculation to the mercy-seat. Again and again did he groan for pardon. “0, way we all meet in heaven-never to part--saved through the precious blood of Christ.” In this state he continued until twelve o'clock the following day, in broken importunate cries for forgiveness, with occasional expressions of hope that all would yet be well-that he should be a “ brand plucked from the burning.” When a further change for the worse, and the acuteness of his pain, deprived him of his senses, and he thus lay in a state of insanity, till the following night, when death closed his eyes for ever, and his soul took its flight to appear before his God. “ And there in trembling hope we leave him till the judgment morn."

What mingled feelings possess the mind while gazing on the corpse of a friend who has died under such affecting circumstances. Whilst we trace the lifeless features that were so often animated in unballowed opposition to the gospel of Jesus, we recall those hours when the kind voice of friendship, prompted by the value of the soul, attempted to combat those ruinous errors which had been imbibed, to raise the faithful warning, and to point to Immanuel as the source of life and peace; but how often has such solicitude been met only by the bitter sarcasm or taunting jest! But now how changed: the busy feverish scene of life is past ; death has summoned the soul to its solemn account. Fear creeps through the mind while we reflect on the equivocal nature of death-bed repentance, and trembling, we fear that the strong emotions of the dying hour were caused alone by the dread of death, and of appearing at the judgment bar. With holy indignation we execrate that libertine scepticism which deludes the soul while living, and leaves it belpless, hopeless in the hour of need. But still we gaze, and think we hear the voice of mercy, extending pardon even in the eleventh hour, leading the perishing soul to trust in Him whose power can know no limit, whose love is like his deity, transcendently beyond conception. In such a moment of reflection, how precious do those blessed truths appear which give us hope in life and peace in death, and enable even the dying young believer, reclining on the everlasting arms, exultingly to exclaim, “O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory ?" Kingsland Rond.

J. H.C.

POETRY.

JULY.

SUMMER bids her suns again
O'er the world resume their reign :
As in ages past they shone
On the generations gone,
So they shine to bless the race
Passing to man's resting place,
And will shine when others share
Earth with all our joy and care.
Avarice now dotes on gold,
Soon by others 'twill be told.
Pleasure, with her mirth and song,
Dances heedlessly along
Down the steep of life, as though
Gloomy golf yawn'd not below.
Honor's sons, with splendid fame,
Love to hear the titled name
In the loud announcement sound
Where its vot'ries flock around,
Mindless, wbile on rank they trust,
Man's last title shall be “ dust."
Wealth beholds her wide domain
Spread o'er hill, and vale, and plain,
Charm'd mid groves and woods and flowers
There she spends her pleasant hours,
Till a mist appears to rise
O'er her beauteous paradise ;
Faint and fainter grows the light,
Darkness now has quench'd her sight.

Summer spreads her glowing sky,
Now the trav’ller wearily
O'er the heath pursues his way
'Neath the sultry noontide ray,
Onward journies faint and slow
To the valley far below,
Where the shaded cool retreat
Tempts awhile his weary feet,
And by murm’ring streamlet there
Takes his humble scanty fare.

When the shades of eve are spread,
When the busy hours are fled,
Hours of care, or joy, or pain,
Never to return again;
Then let faithful conscience say
Whether thou hast lost“ a day:"
Listen, she will whisper truth
To the ear of age and youth.

W. D.

BRIGHTER DAYS.

Isaiah xxxv.

BRIGHTER days will come,
Clouds are disappearing,
Nature all in bloom,

Makes the landscape cheering ;
Hark! the silver trumpets sound,
" Peace” proclaims to nations round.

War shall be no more,
See! 'tis now retreating;
Love on ev'ry shore,

Each a friend is greeting :
Hostile nations now are friends,
At the cross their discord ends.

Brighter days will come,
Days of joy and gladness ;
Now farewell to gloom,

Sighs, and tears, and sadness,
Immanuel reigas--the tidings spread ;
He lives, He reigns, who once was dead.

See! what tribes appear,
In holy graces shining,
His viet'ries they declare,

In rapturous song combining;
One beart, one voice to Cbrist they raise,
In endless songs of grateful praise.“

Brighter days will come,
Christian! hear the shoutings,
Haste ye ransom'd home,

Freed from fears and doubtings ;
The Saviour's face you soon will see,
And share in heaven's felicity.

Wakefield.

R. C.

« PreviousContinue »