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loved with a tenderness I feel at this day the heir of very large fortunes, he prized
when I was about thirteen years of age, When I was five years old, he was enjoying the calm serenity of the season, seized with an inflammation of the lungs, and the beauties of creation, which were so which carried him to the grave in a few richly displayed in the scenery of the weeks. Great was our grief on this first county in which we lived, when suddenly invasion of our great enemy: but my
bro. we came to a beautifully romantic dell, ther gave evident signs that he had been down which my companion proposed that called to partake early of those joys we should walk together. I immediately “ where with a stranger intermeddleth not,” assented, and, leaving our horses with the in the blessed world beyond the grave. servant, we proceeded down its rugged I well recollect that when I was led to see pathway : we soon came to a part, where him in his little coffin, I was struck with the sun was no longer visible, owing to the the unruffled calm which sat upon his height of the rocks on each side of our young brow; and I put my hand for an path, together with the thick foliage of the instant on his cheek--that chilling cold trees which grew on the top of this lovely touch I shall never forget ! For some abyss. We heard no sound save that of short time I thought that I should not again the melodious birds : and a soft low murbe happy:
mur, as of falling waters : and we soon But soon to childhood's wayward heart,
came in sight of a little fantastic cascade, Does crushed affection cease to smart; which fell from the top of the rock, and and, ere a twelvemonth had elapsed, I had descended in short falls, through a narrow almost ceased to recollect that I once had, a passage it had worn for itself, till, on reachbrother.
ing the bottom, it poured along in a clear There was a gentleman of the name of limpid stream, and presently crossed our L who lived so near us, that his park path in a pure sparkling torrent, which adjoined that of my father : he had an only flowed through a craggy aperture in the son, about a year older than myself, with rock on the other side of the way, and we whom I had been acquainted from my very saw it no more. infancy : he was a beautiful boy; the pride Theophilus seemed rather deeper in of his father, and justly the admiration of thought than was usual with him, on this all who knew him. He had been educated day, and we had walked on a considerable like myself under the parental roof, under distance, ere he broke the silence. the eye of a tutor, who felt fully the im- “ Charles," said he at length, in accents portance of the charge which he had un- I shall never forget, “ do you love me?" dertaken, and endeavoured to lead his I gave no answer : there was something pupil not only up the steep hill of learning peculiar in his manner, which made me to the temple of Wisdom, but also 'up the hesitate concerning his meaning ; he remore steep hill Difficulty, to the gate of the peated his question, and added, “ I have eternal city. In neither of these was he two requests to make you; solemn requests, disappointed, for while his pupil far out- which I trust you will not refuse me. stripped all his companions in the former He then paused, gathered strength, and contest, his heart seemed possessed with continued : “My master has called me, the richest graces of the Holy Spirit: his and I trust I am prepared to follow him. name was Theophilus, and truly was his It may seem strange to you, but I feel conname the index of his mind; for while he fident that my hour is at hand. And entered with spirit into the plans which his though I have done little tu deserve tutor proposed for his advancement in remembrance of any one here, I cannot worldly wisdom, as well as into the help hoping that you will not forget me, amusements which his companions de- but faithfully perform these two requests, lighted in, his heart seemed wholly set on when I am laid in silence, in my cold the things of eternity; and though he was grave. O Charles, I beseech you, by the
my stead ?
love which I bear you, and which I think reposing. It was a heavy stroke indeed you also have for me, seek the Lord while for her poor husband ; and had not the he may be found; otherwise we part now, everlasting arms been underneath him, he to meet no more for ever : I conjure you, must have sunk under it soon : as it was, meet me at that day, at the right hand he lingered on, a solitary man; one who, of God."
having been bereft of all that could make I could listen calmly no longer : I had life pleasant, “now only looked for worlds never contemplated the stroke which my beyond the grave,”—he lived for two years, friend now so confidently anticipated, and and then he also was laid beside his parthis solemn but kind tone of voice so com- ner and beloved son, and the name of Lpletely overcame me, that I burst into was heard no more ! tears. He embraced me tenderly, and con- Thus had the great foe to mankind been tinued: “The wish I have most at heart busy in the family of my dearest friend, I have already expressed : but another till he had left ihem neither root presses heavily on my mind : when I am branch : there is now no remnant left of gone, and my parents have no longer a this once happy family, save one tomb, son to administer to their comforts, will where their ashes all quietly repose : on it you put yourself as much as possible in are inscribed the names of Charles, Sophia,
O grant me but these two and Theophilus L -; but it is now fall. requests, and I shall have settled all my ing to decay, and presents me with a meearthly affairs." Here the thought of his lancholy relic of a friendship so inviolable parents pressed too heavily on his feelings that death itself has not yet dissolved it, for him to bear, he fell upon my neck, and his next stroke will unite it indissoand wept most bitterly. At last he roused lubly and for ever! O Lord, enable me to himself, dried his tears, and bade me do wait thine own good time for that glorious so likewise, and added, “I feel assured event, when I shall no longer be a sojourner the Lord will comfort my dear parents and a pilgrim upon the earth! when I am gone.”
Well, time rolled on; and I had attained His forebodings were, alas ! but too pro- my twenty-first year : my sister was ninephetic : his health, which had long been teen; and as yet our family was unbroken, but weak, now rapidly declined, and, be- save by the death of my dear brother, when fore the autumn, he was no more. my sister gave some signs of consumption.
Even six-and-forty years after it, my My parents carefully and tenderly watched heart still bleeds at the thought of that her, and all was done that might allay and strong band which was then severed for so arrest the course of the disease, but all was long a time: it will now soon be united! unavailing : the hand of death had infixed I cannot describe the forlorn and melan- an arrow there, which was now rankling choly feelings which swelled in my heart, in the wound, and gradually, but surely, when the cold earth received into its bosom undermining the springs of existence : but the relics of one so dear : but, oh ! Lord, I cannot dwell upon a subject so painful ; thou dost all things well; thou didst by ere six months had elapsed, my sister this stroke call me to thyself: bless the was in the house appointed for all living. Lord, O my soul !
Blessed be God, he had long before led her A severe illness succeeded to this violent in the right way, and her death-bed was grief : in which it pleased the Lord to one of a triumphant Christian: we shall soon look down upon me, and lead me in the meet, to part no more for ever. arms of his love to seek him, and I sought The ways of the Lord are mysterious : not in vain !-Froin that time, though but he that has his heart set aright can many have been my falls, my doubts, and entertain no doubts : for the Lord cannot my fears, I have, blessed be He, endea- fail in his promise to his people : oh! no : voured to set the Lord always before me, then, oh ! my soul, cease thy strife, doubt and now I shall shortly meet Him, and see no more : in that day, when the secrets of Him face to face !
all hearts, and all hidden things, shall be The office which my beloved Theophilus laid open, wilt thou see the wise purposes had left me, I endeavoured to fill with the of Jehovah, and blessed will be the regreatest anxiety : however, the same foe trospect. which deprived me of a friend I almost This last bereavement cut very deep: I idolized, did not long suffer me to enjoy feel even now the effects of the long and this melancholy pleasure ; the mother of painful illness which followed ; and never my dear friend never recovered the blow; shall I forget the anguish of soul which it and in a few months she also was laid in caused my dear parents, in conjunction the long home where her son was quietly with the late trying providence. I recovered, however, again to experience the put their trust in Him, I commit the souls goodness of the Lord, and bless him that of your father and yourself into his gracious I had been afflicted, for before I was af- keeping; and never did he lose any that flicted I went astray.
came unto him : I have given you to Him; Time passed away : yet we never reco- and now one part remains; give yourselves vered that cheerfulness which we had to Him; body, soul, and spirit, to his serknown before my beloved sister's death : vice : and having done so, be not desirous my parents, however, bore it as Christians, to quit it before the time : he knows and my father especially seemed to acquiesce does all things best : he is one on whom more fully in the divine will, and had you may rely with confidence. Our Lord begun to interest himself in schemes for has appointed two ways, whereby those of the good of mankind, and the benefit of his servants whom he has left in the world, the surrounding neighbourhood ; which had may prepare themselves for his coming : been in a manner laid aside, when the O my beloved Charles, endeavour always depth of our grief was an all-absorbing to have your loins girt, and your lamp feeling : but my dear mother was never burning, so that whether your Lord call able again to resume those village cares you, early or late, slowly or on a sudden, which had been her chief delight when my you may be found ready: and then shall beloved Maria was her assistant: it over- we meet again in happiness in heaven !" came her so much as materially to injure Exhausted by this effort, she fell back, her health, at every new atteinpt, and she and ceased to speak; when she recovered, at last wholly gave up. I could not but she added more, which I do not distinctly remark, that her health had been gradually recollect, but it was of the same tenor as on the decline, and a severe winter realized that I have already recorded ; and truly my my worst fears : she was taken alarmingly soul was filled with a peace that passeth all ill, from a violent cold caught during a understanding. long snowy ride, and was confined to her In the middle of the following night, I bed. From the first moment of her illness, was called up to behold the dying agonies she expressed her conviction that it would of my beloved parent: 0 could the doubt. be her last; and so, alas ! it proved. She, ing, despairing Christian have beheld the however, bore up through the winter, and triumphant faith which held her up through till the spring we did not see any material the gloom, and illumined her path in the change for the worse : during that time dark valley, how would all his fears have she had been every day growing more and been put to flight, and his hands strengthmore spiritual in her desires, and frequently, ened to continue that warfare, which for during her conversations with me, I have her was now so victoriously closing. We felt my heart glow with a joy so divine, so could not weep, while one to us so dear, peaceful, that it almost seemed heaven be- was so joyful: we could not imbitter her
dying couch with tears of sorrow : nay, I One morning she sent to desire me to can hardly call the feeling which swelled spend a few hours with her, as she wished in my bosom by the name of grief; it parto say something particular to me. On the took so largely of that holy joy which was first sight of her emaciated countenance, I so eminently the comfort of this expiring could perceive she had changed for the saint : yet when all was still, the happy worse ; and in a voice of alarm I asked soul fled, and the tender cord snapped her how she felt. She replied, “Very which united us; then did sorrow burst weak, but very happy.” She then bade me forth in unrestrained tears : we knelt down, sit down, and thus began :
and implored the guidance of our heavenly “My beloved Charles, I am now about Father, who had so calmly led my dear to depart and to be with Christ, which is parent into the mansions of bliss above: far better : I have yet two bands left, which yes, on that solemn night, around the bed unite me to earth, which I shall soon be of death, did we pour out our very souls in called upon to sever. 0
it be only prayer. for a time. But I do not despair : for I A week after this, the mortal remains of have a strong band which is not severed, my beloved mother were laid between those and by which I have long endeavoured to of my brother and sister; there to await draw you, and not in vain, after me: it is the sound of that last trump which shall prayer, which I have long made for you ; awake the dead, open the graves, and and that prayer seems to me to be an- gather all unto the great judgment-seat of swered : and let me not be mistaken ! Christ! But, no: I cannot be mistaken: for trusting How lonely did we return to our dwellon Him who never has forsaken those who ing, and behold the place where she used
to sit 'now empty, the cares in which she cease of the last member of my family. had busied herself, now performed by unac- But, above all, the peace of God, which customed, disregarded hands! We were passeth all understanding, was an evernow reduced from five to two; and yet we present joy, and one that I would not were not two, for Christ was ever present, have parted with for worlds. At the end and, oh! what a bosom friend is He ! of this time we were blessed with a son,
About this time also died mine only and many and fervent were the prayers cousin, an amiable girl, an orphan, a few that we offered up in his behalf, that he years younger than myself: when the intel- might become the adopted child of God. ligence of her death reached me, and I When my boy was about two years old, recollected that I was now the only one left my dear wife was called to part with her in that generation : Then I am now alone, mother; one who, since I became acsaid I, as I wept over the letter that brought quainted with her, had inspired me with a the sad tidings : oh! no: almost all my love truly filial, and, though not united to earthly ties are now dissolved, of all on her by ties of blood, I felt almost as much earth am I forsaken, and yet I am not as my dear wife on her death. She died, alone, for the Father is with me! Blessed however, in the full assurance of hope, comfort, to have a friend that never dies ! and I have no doubt of meeting her with
Well, sir : three years now passed away : the rest of my sainted relatives, around the and I had reached my twenty-seventh year, throne of God in that day. when my dear father, who had survived all Our thoughts were now turned to the his family and relations except myself, paid care of our son's education, and having the great debt of nature. But, oh! how felt the advantages of one under the pa. few have such blessings as I had : I could rental roof, not only in my own case, but look back on all these broken branches of also in that of my beloved Theophilus, I my family circle, and say, “These all died determined to direct it myself, till such a in faith.”
time should arrive, at which a tutor might I was now left in the wide world without be desirable. I cannot now help weeping a relation, among all that throng the busy at the anxiety which we then felt for his scene; and standing by the graves of all future welfare in the world : but, oh! how my earthly hopes and loves, I was tempted full of mercy are thy ways! how deep and to think myself alone : but my heaving unsearchable thine ordinances ! heart still responded to those words, “Nay able me to have faith, that in whatever way but we are seven,"-once we sat round our thou shalt direct my path, I may acquiesce cheerful table; my beloved parents, my without a murmur. dear brother, sister, cousin, my adored We called our son, Theophilus, in meTheophilus, and myself! Six, are now mory of that dear friend, whose likeness sitting at a better, a more cheerful table, will never be erased from my mind : and even at the marriage supper of the Lamb: he was remarkably like him, when he and though to sight invisible, yet by the reached the age of boyhood ; so much so, eye of faith are they clearly seen, and often that he often made me weep over the have I held a communion in spirit with recollection of past days. His talents were them, oh! how blessed, how peaceful, none very great : which made me the more can tell !
anxious that they should be directed in a I lived for a year in solitude and seclu- right course; for those talents which it sion : but as it did not seem likely that I pleases the Lord to commit to any one, should sink under my sorrows, and my will, if misemployed, rise up in judgment general good health precluding the idea against him at the last day, and awful will that I should meet with an early dismissal, be their testimony. I sought the hand of a lady, the daughter Blessed be God, our endeavours were of a deceased gentleman, who had pos- crowned with success; he seemed to have şessed considerable property about twenty a reverence and fear of God always before miles from my own residence; she was one his eyes, and we often indulged the hope, well calculated to soothe the sorrows of my that he would be a chosen instrument in heart, and fill the fearful gap which had so the hand of the Lord, for the good of his early been made in my family : and I ob. fellow-creatures. But that was not to be : tained her. We lived for a year, mutually the rapid progress he made in his studies enjoying each other's society, and tasting shewed a strength and maturity of mind, of that heavenly bliss, and that sweet com- which we feared would, as it often does, munion “ with the glorified spirits above, bring on a premature death : our fears that encompass yon heavenly throne,” that were too well founded. He was, however, had been so much my solace, on the de- uncommonly active in person and dispo
sition; and though so eminently gifted in shall I rejoice when you also are released mind, he enjoyed those relaxations which from your mortal load, and join me before required bodily exertion only. Thus he the throne ! Blessed Jesus, how unspeak. went on until he was about thirteen years able are the joys that thou dost give to of age; when he suddenly became more those that trust in Thee : I never felt peace thoughtful and fond of meditation than be like this before." had hitherto been : wbich, with other “ And can you then, my son,” said I, symptoms, very much alarmed us. On “tread on the brink of eternity, with a firm consulting a physician, our worst fears conviction that your sins are washed away were fully realized; he gave it as his in his blood, and atoned for by his sacri. opinion, that it was a rapid decline; and fice ?” “I can," he exclaimed, a heavenly that unless he was removed to the sea, he joy lighting up his whole countenance; would go off in a few months. We imme- “ for though my sins, in thought, word, and diately repaired thither, to the beautiful deed, are as scarlet, yet is his blood suffi
. village of — in the south of the cient to atone for all
. He has heard my county in which we resided, and for sereral cry for mercy; and has answered it, I am months he continued to improve so much, sure he has, in this strong assurance that I that we had fixed the day for our return to feel of his pardon, yet am I most unworthy: the hall : but, oh! how short-sighted is for could my heart with all its most secret man : he underwent a severe relapse, and thoughts be laid open, how full of the became so alarmingly ill, that we could not basest ingratitude, blasphemy, and sin, but see that his health was rapidly declining, would it appear! But they are all washed and his end approaching.
away, blessed Saviour, in thy precious We were accustomed to walk with him blood.” “ Precious blood,” exclaimed I, on the sea shore, and were, one delightful "oh, how inestimable a price did that dear afternoon, pacing as usual the smooth hard Saviour pay for us !" He seemed now to sands. The sea was as still as a plate of be engaged in mental prayer, till we reached glass ; excepting that, near the land, a slight home, and I could hardly refrain from ripple grew stronger and stronger as it ap. breaking out into a triumphant song of proached the shore, where it at length broke praise for the great grace which the Lord in a little wave. Nothing was seen on the had poured out so abundantly on my dear vast expanse save one ship, which on the A short time after this, he was ad. farthest verge of the horizon was pursuing mitted into the realms of eternal bliss : and its solitary course, and a few fishing-boats; left us alone again in this sickening world. and here and there a grey sea-gull was Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is riding in calm security on its surface, or within me, bless his holy name! hovering over its prey, and, now darting His beloved remains were removed, and down upon it, disappeared. On the top interred with those of my revered parents, of the lofty cliff, a few jackdaws with and dear brother and sister. their hoarse rough voices broke the stillness, My wife never smiled again to the day but all beside was peace.
We walked of her death , O sir, did I not know that along for some time in silence, till, glanc- these trials were from the Lord, I should ing at my dear son, I perceived his cheeks be almost tempted to murmur that I have wet with the tears he in vain endeavoured so long survived these broken branches of to restrain. I said to him, “My dear my family : but it is thy hand, O Lord, Theophilus, is your trust reposed on the that hath brought all these troubles upon Rock of ages ?” “I hope so," he an- me; it is Thy will that hath done all this; swered : “I have no wish to live, but, and Thy will be done. but for you,” with a heaving sob, which Six months after this, the last, very last almost made my heart break, “My dear tie that bound me to this world, was burst son,” said I, “be calm;" at the same asunder, in the death of my dear wife: and time vainly endeavouring to restrain my never will any other bond lead me to cling self: “God has willed that you should to earth, and its heart-sickening follies. precede us your parents into eternal glory : “ Vain pomp and glory of the world, I and you should rather rejoice, though we hate you,"—what allurements can ye hold must for a season mourn : for it is an out for one, whose every hope is now in unspeakable blessing to be taken away from heaven! No, none : I have done with the evil to come.
thee, earth : and now, “ the less of this “O my dear father,” said he, "we shall cold world, the more of heaven; the briefer not be separated long : and, if the happi- life, the earlier immortality.” ness which God hath prepared for them Well, sir : my beloved partner was laid that love him, be capable of measure, how with her son : and her name was entered