« PreviousContinue »
He was hurrying to the brink of the precipice, or rather was in the very act of falling with accelerated motion and increased velocity to the bottom-when the arm of God arrested him.
On the last evening of the year, he and his companions were engaged in playing cards, in firing shots for the mere purpose of making a noise, and in drinking. In this latter, however, Gabriel did not join to any excess. When he took up his hat in order to go away, his entertainer pressed him to remain, but George peremptorily refused. Upon this, the former seized a fowling-piece, which he thought unloaded, but which contained a double charge, and lodged the whole contents in Gabriel's body. From the commencement it was clearly a hopeless case; and no doubt could be entertained that the wound was mortal. The best medical assistance was soon at hand; but all that devolved upon the physicians was to mitigate his present sufferings, without tempting to parry the assaults of death. It remained for them to tell him faithfully his real state, and, in the solemn language of the prophet, to say,
s. Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.” Though many had previously endeavoured to buoy him up with hope, he took the announcement with the most entire composure. When his kind pastor arrived, he found him in great pain of body, but in full possession of his mental faculties.
“I never," he says, saw penitence so bitter. It was observed by those around him, that though constantly engaged in prayer, and often supplicating for faith, and strength, and patience to bear his sufferings; he never once asked for life, nor for the mitigation of his pains. He seemed to feel that the one was justly forfeited, and the other “the due reward of his deeds.” Anxious, however, that in general he might be “ set forth for an example,” both in his sufferings and his repentance, to those especially of his own age in my parish and congregation, I said, “ Have you any objection to my publicly proclaiming the bitter sorrow and contrition which you have now expressed ?" He seemed to hail the proposition, and replied with stammering voice “ None-a warning to all young men to shun bad company.” Thus did he “worthily lament his sins, and acknowledge his wretchedness." Yet he knew tbat he had an Almighty Saviour, and, through Him, a pardoning God. He believed and felt, that though the Lord had chastened and corrected him, He had not given him over unto death. Never have I known a more glorious exhibition of the power of faith. During the sixteen hours that intervened between his death-wound and his death, it appeared as if a life had passed. The Lord put away his sin.” He fled to the bosom of his Saviour, and was comforted. His sorrow was turned
into joy. There was a re-action which seemed to bring back more than his brightest days, and to realize in him the delightful picture of the once afflicted patriarch—“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, and gave him twice as much as he had before. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning."
“I asked a pious friend who had visited him, what had passed in the interview between them. He said that he had simply inquired whether he was trusting in the atonement,—and the only words which he could distinguish in answer were—“All peace within." On one occasion, I said to him, “If you had your choice, would you recover ?” He replied, "I would rather go to my Saviour.” At another time, some one near him said, “Which would you rather-return to life, or go to your blessed mother?” He answered—" I would rather go to my mother ; but not my will, O Lord, but Thine be done."
It was a most affecting circumstance that sometimes when hymns were repeated, or prayers offered, or the things of heaven spoken of,– such was his intense anxiety to listen and not lose a word, that he would struggle against the pangs of nature, and use such efforts to quell the throbbings of pain, and suppress his own involuntary moans, as would almost stifle him."
As the subject of this memoir drew near his close, and while the group I have already described were collected round his bed, I said :“George, I know the happy state of your mind, and have no doubt how matters stand between a merciful God and you; and therefore for myself I want no satisfaction. But for the sake of the friends you are leaving behind, and of those whose ears the report may reach-if you feel that you are resting upon the Rock of Ages,—that Christ is precious to your soul, and that the glory of God is opening to your view, lift up your hand.” Never shall I forget the solemnity with which the signal followed. I have read of such instances, but never seen one so exhibited. He elevated his right arm with a power which, in his circumstances, seemed almost supernatural, to the utmost height to which its fullest stretch could reach, while acclamations of wonder and of praise to God ascended from the anxious circle who watched around him.
“And here,” says his biographer, I would close the scene, and let the curtain drop, while we contemplate this returning penitent in the very act of upraising his hand to heaven, and pointing to tho abodes of purity and peace, which his soul was so soou to enter. Nothing after this occurred which calls for special notice.
Nature rapidly declined, the glass of life ran out, the sharpness of his agony abated, the storm ceased, and there was a great calm :-it was the calm of death!
QUESTION XI.--Entrance on the world. Dear Sir,- I have been kindly and religiously brought up; but have now quitted home, and am engaged in a large mercantile house in the city, where I am thrown into the society of others about my own age, none of whom have any regard for their spiritual interests. I find it, consequently, extremely difficult to resist their frequent solicitations to join them in pleasures which they assure me are harmless, but which do not consist with my own ideas of what is right. I cannot therefore conscientiously accede to them, though I am often afraid that by refusing, I give them an unfavorable opinion of the character and tendency of christianity by evincing what they may suppose to be an unhappy, morose, or sullen disposition.
As an isolated individual in the great metropolis, you may imagine that I am peculiarly liable to other temptations too numerous to be minutely specified, and I shall therefore feel obliged by any advice you can offer under such circumstances.
I am, dear Sir,
Your's gratefully, To the Editor of the Youths' Magazine.
HINDOO PROVERBS. There are many to push a man up the tree, but none to help him down,
Meaning, that numbers are found ready to urge one on to quarrels and disputes; but the real friend is rarely met with who will strive to settle or allay them. Ink-stains may be removed by washing ; natural disposition disappears
only in dying A bad man's vicious inclinations cease but with his death.
Where the corpse is, there will the vulture be. Meaning that where there is anything to be had for love or labour, many will present themselves, in the hope of participation.
Dripping water will eat through a rock. Intending that deliberate and patient perseverance will overcome all difficulties, and effect all objects.
When the heart is impure, all a man's deeds are so. Teaching that the life is ever regulated by the inward disposition and principle.
A FINE OLD HYMN,
We bless thee who hast made the things which were not
The first-born undefiléd from their birth,
The prophet-souls, and spirits just, of earth!
In joy and awful reverence bear along
Ever, that perfect and perpetual song-
To utter prayer; to bow thee, the heart's knee,
UNDYING Father! and sink inwardly
Earthward; I lie a suppliant, and weep free,
Unto thy singing heav'ns! but may'st thou be
O GRACIOUS FATHER ! pitiful to me-
Froin death's dark jaws ; make pure my thoughts; and never,
That I, with heart and lip may praise thee ever !
Grant me a life as clear, as pure an end,
And all the sins my youth did comprehend,
“ WE PART TO MEET AGAIN.”
Since our last meeting here !
The hour to part draws near !
The meadows soon will bloom,
To greet the strangers home.
Each day at mercy's throne;
Though kneeling all alone.
Pervades each hallowed heart !
Or when we meet, or part-
May each that blessing share,
Nor one be wanting there,
home! oh, were it but a home with thee,