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and Frank was alone with a lifeless corpse. A grave was hastily dug for the deceased officer, with the aid of some of the others, and Frank then was taken to the ship, where he received a kind welcome from Mr. Arnmore.
As Frank had nothing to occupy him at present, he gladly accepted an offer to serve Mr. Arnmore, who had often occasion to send him short voyages; and as time passed, Frank grew far more prosperous, and often thought with pleasure of returning for a time to England.
One day, while residing in a town in India, he had a bargain to make for his patron with an old Jewish pearl merchant, who lived among natives of the lowest caste. The old Jew, after lighting Frank across the narrow street, left him; and at the same instant Frank met two or three men, in the garb of sailors, one of whom he recognised as the ringleader of the mutineers, by name Ned Armstrong. Both men knew Frank; and Ned began to swear at him, threatening that if he dared to give information of his being there, he would soon make him suffer for it. Frank said little, but disengaged himself from Ned, and went home, resolving to tell Mr. Arnmore of the late meeting, and beg his advice as to the course to be followed. Frank feared the very painful duty lay before him of informing the authorities; and, as he walked home, he wished his meeting with Armstrong had not taken place; but such a wish was foolish, he knew: his duty was to do what was right, not what he wished ; and he lifted up his heart in prayer, that he might have wisdom to know what was right, and strength to perform even the most painful duty.
Mr. Arnmore was out; but soon returned, accompanied by two gentlemen, one in nåval uniform, the other one of the highest authorities. Mr. Arnmore told Frank that the gentlemen had for some time been in quest of the mutineers, when one of them said, “I well know how painful you will feel it if your evidence is the means of condemning these men to capital punishment; but I am sure you will see that mutiny is a crime that needs to be punished severely."
Frank told of his recent meeting with Armstrong. “You are right,” said Mr. Arnmore, “ to tell us this; but do not think your evidence will be the only means of bringing these guilty men to justice; so many people are on the look out, that their escape is next to impossible."
When the place named by the old Jew was searched, it was found a smouldering ruin: the men had escaped, and left no trace behind. A few weeks after, Mr. Arnmore left home on a visit, leaving Frank in the entire charge of his household affairs. Cholera was at this time almost decimating the town; and, according to Mr. Arnmore's request, Frank supplied the sick poor with many requisite comforts. One night he was so fatigued with these labours of love, that a knock at his door was more than once repeated before he could be made to understand he was immediately wanted in the hall. There stood a man, whose dress and appearance were of a sort to denote poverty in the extreme. “ Mr. Wilton,” he said, “you do not know me; but I have seen you before. Will you trust yourself in my keeping for two hours ? No harm shall befall you; and a dying man bids me tell you, your presence may be the means of comforting him. He used to hear you talk to the men in the Royal Charlotte, ånd he now is dying. Will you come? Are you afraid ? I thought you good people professed to fear nothing but sin, and to do your duty in spite of all that hinders."
Frank could not hesitate. Hastily he ordered a few things to be put up for the sick person, and then departed with his strange guide, who led him on with hasty steps to a low part of the town, and knocked at the door of a miserable looking house. A black man opened it; and Frank's guide led him down a steep stair, into a kind of cellar evidently the refuge of smugglers, as was manifest by the bales of merchandise stowed in different parts. On a rude couch of old ship's ropes mingled with palm leaves lay a young man, evidently in the last stage of cholera. In a feeble tone he said his name was Henry Armstrong, nephew to Ned; and Frank remembered the little cabin boy he once taught to read, and of whose well doing he formerly entertained great hopes. Unfortunately for poor Henry, his uncle's authority and threats had made the poor boy join in the mutiny; but, unable to forget Frank's teaching, yet forced to see all that was going on, he had a sad life, till his health sank under it; and when his cruel uncle and the others left the town, to avoid being taken up, they left him in the care of a smuggler. He added, that in the midst of all his misery he had kept a Bible, given him by his friend Frank, and he now asked him to read again some of its promises. And the solemn words were repeated : “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ;" "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him ;” and many more consoling texts : and prayer was offered, that God's Holy Spirit might comfort the failing heart of the dying man.
He seemed not to hear at first; but then a smile played upon his features, and he whispered, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” “I can trust the Saviour's promise.
• I will; be thou clean.' I feel he will be 'merciful to me, a sinner.' These words were faintly uttered, and they were his last. Not soon did Frank forget that hour.
Nearly ten years had passed since Frank left England, and he joyfully heard that he was to sail in the next ship, in order to transact some important business for Mr. Arnmore.
“ Mrs. Martin,” said the old rector of the village where the widow lived, “I have some startling news for you. This is a letter from a solicitor in London, desiring me to give this bank note of five pounds to pay your travelling expenses to town; an old friend of yours is there waiting to give you something to make your old age
comfortable. Now, my old friend, what will you
do? I fear it is a hoax.” “ No, sir; the money tells that there is something in it. I am not afraid to trust now in that heavenly Father, who has kept me all my life long.
So Mrs. Martin took her seat in the coach, and was duly met by the solicitor, who conducted her to a quiet family hotel. A gentleman rose, as she entered a well furnished room, and, grasping her hand, said, “My dear old friend, is it possible you forget me?" Frank soon explained that his circumstances were very prosperous ; and his first thought, on returning to England, was to express his hearty thanks for her kindness to him, when a poor wayworn traveller, and to beg her to accept an annuity of twenty pounds. “I must soon leave London," he continued ; “ but I hope we may meet again, even in this world. I have much, very much to thank you for; you first led me to my Saviour. When I have been in danger and distress I have remembered the blessed words you read in the Bible, and often they made my heart quiet and still, when all around was gloomy. “I was a stranger, and ye took me in,' not only to give me bread for the body, but you taught me how to ask for the bread of heaven.' May our God bless and reward all this kindness! But I must not tire you.
We will have tea now, then this annuity shall be settled ; and to-morrow I will spin a long yarn of my strange ups and downs the last ten years, and
you will see how gracious our God has been to me; and we will praise together his abundant, unceasing goodness. May his holy name be praised henceforth, and for evermore !”
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
J. & W. RIDER, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close, London.
“ How deep implanted in the breast of man
The dread of death! I sing its sovereign cure."-Young. “ There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war."- Eccles. viii. 8.
How tenaciously do men in general cling to life! Even in circumstances where it appears almost a burden and a grief, when pain and sorrow seem as if they were the birthright of the sufferer, and but few intervals occur of cessation from disease, yet if the last mortal conflict seems approaching, the spirit recoils from the struggle, and would fondly retain its grasp of life, even with all its attendant sufferings.
How multiplied are the ways in which men strive to ward off the approach of death! Everything which care can do to remove disease, to build up the failing strength, to recruit the wasting powers, is resorted to with untiring earnestness, and with fond hopes of success. Man clings to the world as his home, and would fain live here for ever.
See that aged man, as he slowly drags along his wearied limbs :—to the onlooker he seems on the very verge of the grave; yet speak to him, and you will find that he is looking forward with hope to the coming spring, and to a change of scene, as if they were to restore him to the vigour of youth and enjoyment. Year after year his powers of life have been giving way, and yet he has hope remaining, after hope has been so often disappointed; and he will hope on, even to the last.
You may have seen the picture of Wellington contemplating the remains of Bonaparte lying in state ! There is all that is left of the man that made the world to tremble; whose ambition blighted the hopes of so many millions, and consigned them to a premature end; who himself felt the approaches of the last enemy, and yet was consciously as impotent as the feeblest in that mighty contest, for even he “ had no power over the spirit to retain the spirit.” And look at that veteran warrior himself, who had faced the mighty conqueror, and checked his march of triumph, and turned his victories into defeat, now himself overcome by Death, the conqueror of all, for neither had he "power in the day of death : and there is no discharge in that war.”
Look again at that feeble youth, with his hectic cheek, and his emaciated frame, going forth to breathe the balmy air of a summer's day amongst the mountains, or wandering along the shore of the sea, and listening to the sounding waves, as they break upon the beach, and ask him whether he has hope of recovery ? and he will tell you that the air he breathes is putting new life into his frame, and he will soon be restored again, to run the race of life with the strongest.
See once more that poverty-stricken parent, with his group of half-fed, sickly children around him, struggling on amid the darkness and the gloom of an almost hopeless toil, and yet hoping against hope that better days are coming, and that the well-springs of life will revive again, and it will be long ere he has to wage the last conflict, or to relinquish a life which has hitherto been to him one only of disappointment and toil.
We look around, and see the mark of death on multitudes : some, by their own infatuated folly, numbering their days too soon ; others stamped with death's effigy in their enfeebled powers, or silvered over with the hoary head that is bending to the grave, or wearing the livery of diseases in their thousand varied forms, that are hurrying them along, with accelerating step, to the house appointed for all living. We see all this, and yet how seldom do we think that neither is there power with us to retain the spirit, nor power to ward off the approaches of death, nor any discharge for us, any more than for others, in that fearful conflict !
We may, by the aid of medical or surgical skill, retard the advances of disease, or remove its threatening symptoms; we may, by temperate diet and living, avoid many diseases brought on or aggravated by excess; we may, by carefulness, shu posure to dangers which threaten the extinction of life prematurely; we may surround ourselves with the conveniences and the comforts of life, so as to extinguish the anxieties and sorrows of daily toil for daily bread, and thus may pass easily along life's journey, without those distracting cares which often hasten it to a close. But the end must come—the final conflict must be waged-death must be encountered; for no one is discharged from that war.
Reader, whoever you are, at whatever period you have arrived in life's history, no dispensation is given you from death, no power of yours will lengthen, by one day or one hour, the time allotted you on earth. Your final conflict with the last enemy is coming ; slowly it may seem to be, yet surely. Death is coming upon you; it may be with noiseless tread, yet the conqueror is on his way, and whether you hear now his footsteps or not, by-and-bye he will certainly be at your door. Let me, then, in no unfriendly tone, and with no unfriendly aim, ask you what preparation have you made for the approach of that visitor, who will either prove to you a blessed friend, or a bitter foe ?