Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

man triumphantly; "nor, William, hast thou an unbe

liever's heart. Say that thou believest in what thou 95 hast now read, and thy father will die happy!” I do

believe; and as thou forgivest me, so may I be forgiven by my Father who is in heaven.'' The Elder seemed like a man suddenly inspired with a new life. His faded

eyes kíndled - his pale cheeks glówed — his palsied 100 hands seemed to wax strong—and his voice was clear

as that of manhood in its prime. (.) Into thỹ hānds, O Göd! I commit my spirit;” and so saying, he gently sunk back on his pillow; and I thought I heard

a sigh. — There was then a long, deep silence, and 105 the father, the mother, and the child, rose from their

knees. The eyes of us all were turned towards the white, placid face of the figure now stretched in everlasting rest; and without lamentations, save the silent

lamentations of the resigned soul, we stood around the 110 DEATH-BED OF THE ELDER.

EXERCISE 72.

Benevolence of God.-CHALMERS It is saying much for the benevolence of God, to say, that a single world, or a single system, is not enough for it—that it must have the spread of a mightier region,

on which it may pour forth a tide of exuberancy through5 out all its provinces--that, as far as our vision can carry

us, it has strewed 'immensity with the floating receptacles of life, and has stretched over each of them the garniture of such a sky, as mantles our own habitation

and that, even from distances which are far beyond the 10 reach of human eye, the songs of gratitude and praise

may now be arising to the one God, who sits surrounded by the regards of his one great and universal family.

Now it is saying much for the benevolence of God, to say, that it sends forth these wide and distant emana15 tions over the surface of a territory so ample—that the

world we inhabit, lying imbedded as it does, amidst so much surrounding greatness, shrinks into a point that to the universal eye might appear to be almost imper

ceptible. But does it not add to the power and to the 20 perfection of this universal eye, that at the very momen

[ocr errors]

it is taking a comprehensive survey of the vast, it can fasten a steady and undistracted attention on each minute and separate portion of it; that at the very mo

ment it is looking at all worlds, it can look most point25 edly and most intelligently to each of them; that at the

very moment it sweeps the field of immensity, it can settle all the earnestness of its regards upon every distinct hand-breadth of that field; that at the very mo

ment at which it embraces the totality of existence, it 30 can send a most thorough and penetrating inspection

into each of its details, and into every one of its endless diversities? You cannot fail to perceive how much this adds to the power of the all-seeing eye. Tell me, then,

if it do not add as much perfection to the benevolence 35 of God, that while it is expatiating over the vast field

of created things, there is not one portion of the field overlooked by it; that while it scatters blessings over the whole of an infinite range, it causes them to de

scend in a shower of plenty on every separate habita40 tion; that while his arm is underneath and round about

all worlds, he enters within the precincts of every one of them, and gives a care and a tenderness to each individual of their teeming population. Oh! does not the

God, who is said to be love, shed over this attribute 45 of his, its finest illustration! when, while he sits in the

highest heaven, and pours out his fulness on the whole subordinate domain of nature and of Providence, he bows a pitying regard or the very humblest of his chil

dren, and sends his reviving spirit into every heart, and 50 cheers by his presence every home, and provides for the

wants of every family, and watches every sick-bed, and listens to the complaints of every sufferer; and while, by his wondrous mind, the weight of universal govern

ment is borne, oh! is it not more wondrous and more 55 excellent still, that he feels for every sorrow, and has an

ear open to every prayer!

EXERCISE 73.
Death of the Princess Charlotte.-ROBERT Hall.

Without the slightest warning, without the opportunity of a moment's immediate preparation, in the midst of

and weep:

the deepest tranquillity, at midnight a voice was heard

in the palace, not of singing men, and singing women, 5 not of revelry and mirth, but the cry, - Behold the

bridegroom cometh!” The mother in the bloom of youth, spared just long enough to hear the tidings of her infant's death, almost immediately, as if summoned by

his spirit, follows him into eternity. “ It is a night 10 inuch to be remembered.” Who foretold this event,

who conjectured it, who detected at a distance the faintest presage of its approach, which, when it arrived, mocked the efforts of human skill, as much by their in

capacity to prevent, as their inability to foresee it! Un15 moved by the tears of conjugal affection, unawed by

the presence of grandeur, and the prerogatives of power, inexorable death hastened to execute his stern commission, leaving nothing to royalty itself, but to retire

Who can fail to discern on this awful oc20 casion, the hand of Him who “bringeth the princes to

nothing, who maketh the judges of the earth as vanity;" who says “they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root

in the earth;” and he “shall blow upon them, and they 25 shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble."

But is it now any subject of regret, think you, to this amiable Princess so suddenly removed, “ that her sun

went down while it was yet day,” or that, prematurely 30 snatched from prospects the most brilliant and enchant

ing, she was compelled to close her eyes so soon on a world, of whose grandeur she formed so conspicuous a part? No! in the full fruiticn of eternal joys, for which

we humbly hope Religion prepared her, she is so far 35 from looking back with lingering regret on what she

has quitted, that she is surprised it had the power of affecting her so much;—that she took so deep an interest in the scenes of this shadowy state of being, while

so near to an “eternal weight of glory;” and, as far as 40 memory may be supposed to contribute to her happiness,

by associating the present with the past, it is not the recollection of her illustrious birth, and elevated prospects, but that she visited the abodes of the poor, and

learned to weep with those that weep; that surrounded 45 with the fascinations of pleasure, she was not inebriated

by its charms; that she resisted the strongest temptations to pride, preserved her ears open to truth, was impatient of the voice of flattery: in a word, that she

sought and cherished the inspirations of piety, and 50 walked humbly with her God.

The nation has certainly not been wanting in the proper expression of its poignant regret, at the sudden removal of this most lamented Princess, nor of their

sympathy with the royal family, deprived by this visita55 tion of its brightest ornament. Sorrow is painted in

every countenance, the pursuits of business and of pleasure have been suspended, and the kingdom is covered with the signals of distress. But what, my friends, (if

it were lawful to indulge such a thought, what would 60 be the funeral obsequies of a lost soul? Where shall

we find tears fit to be wept at such a spectacle, or, could we realize the calamity in all its extent, what tokens of commiseration and concern would be deemed equal to

the occasion? Would it suffice for the sun to veil his 65 light, and the moon her brightness; to cover the ocean

with mourning, and the heavens with sackcloth; or, were the whole fabric of nature to become animated and vocal, would it be possible for her to utter a groan

too deep, or a cry too piercing, to express the magnitude 70 and extent of such a catastrophe?

EXERCISE 74.

Remarkable Preservation from Death at Sea.

PROF. Wilson. You have often asked me to describe to you on paper an event in my life, which at the distance of thirty years, I cannot look back to without horror. No words

can give an adequate image of the miseries I suffered 5 during that fearful night; but I shall try to give you

something like a faint shadow of them, that from it your soul may conceive what I must have suffered.

I was, you know, on my voyage back to my native country, after an absence of five years spent in uninter19. mitting toil, in a foreign land, to which I had been iy

en by a singular fatality. Our voyage had been most cheerful and prosperous, and, on Christmas day, we were within fifty leagues of port. Passengers and crew

were all in the highest spirits, and the ship was alive 15 with mirth and jollity.

About eight o'clock in the evening, I went on deck. The ship was sailing upon a wind, at the rate of seven knots an hour, and there was a wild grandeur in the

night. A strong snow-storm blew, but steadily and 20 without danger; and, now and then, when the strug

gling moonlight overcame the sleety and misty darkness, we saw, for some distance round us, the agitated sea all tumbling with foam. There were no shoals to

fear, and the ship kept boldly on her course, close reef25 ed, and mistress of the storm. I leant over the gun

wale, admiring the water rushing past like a foaming cataract, when, by some unaccountable accident, I lost my balance, and in an instant, fell overboard into the sea

'I remember a convulsive shuddering all over my body, 30 and a hurried leaping of my heart, as I felt myself about

to lose hold of the vessel, and, afterwards a sensation of the most icy chilness, from immersion into the waves, but nothing resembling a fall or precipitation. When below

the water, I think that a momentary belief rushed across 35 my mind, that the ship had suddenly sụnk, and that I

was but one of a perishing crew. I imagined that I felt a hand with long fingers clutching at my legs, and made violent efforts to escape, dragging after me, as I thought,

the body of some drowning wretch. On rising to the 40 surface, I recollected in a moment what had befallen

me, and uttered a cry of horror, which is in my ears to this day, and often makes me shudder, as if it were the mad shriek of another person in extremity of perilous

agony. Often have I dreamed over again that dire mo45 ment, and the cry I utter in my sleep is said to be some

thing more horrible than a human voice. No ship was to be seen. She was gone forever. The little happy world to which, a moment before, I had belonged, had

swept by, and I felt that God had flung me at once from 50 the heart of joy, delight, and happiness, into the utter

most abyss of mortal misery and despair. Yes! I felt that the Almighty God had done this, that there was an act, a fearful act of Providence, and miserable worm

that I was, I thought that the act was cruel, and a sort 55 of wild, indefinite, objectless rage and wrath assailed me,

and took for awhile the place of that first shrieking ter

« ForrigeFortsett »