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What could I say? Every word she said was true. Her

eyes were opened to her danger.



Sickness was upon her.

There was cause for

Delirium might soon

Death might be very near; and her soul was un

prepared to appear before God. She saw it all. She felt it all. Fever was burning in her veins. But she forgot her pain, in view of the terrors of approaching judgment.

I told her that the Lord was good, and that His tender mercies were over all His works;-that He was more ready to forgive, than we to ask forgiveness.

"But, sir," said she, " I have known my duty long, and have not done it. I have been ashamed of the Saviour, and grieved away the Spirit; and now I am upon a sickbed, and perhaps must die. Oh, if I were but a Christian, I should be willing to die!"


I told her of the Saviour's love. I pointed to many of God's precious promises to the penitent. I endeavoured to induce her to resign her soul calmly to the Saviour; but all that was offered was unavailing. Trembling and agitated, she was looking forward to the dark future. Spirit of the Lord had opened her eyes to the truth, and, by her own reflections, had led her into this state of seasonable alarm. The interview was indeed an affecting one; anxiety was depicted upon her flushed countenance; and she was restless, and groaning under the accumulated ills of body and of mind. I knelt by her bedside, and fervently prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide her to the truth, and that the Saviour would speak peace to her troubled soul. Oh! could they who are postponing repentance to a sick-bed have witnessed the mournful suffering of this once merry girl, they would shudder at the thought of a death-bed repentance. How poor a time to prepare to meet God, when the mind is enfeebled by disease, when the body is restless or even racked with pain, and when mental agitation frustrates the skill of the phy

sician! Yet so it is. One half of the world are postponing repentance to a dying hour. And when sickness

comes, the very knowledge of being unprepared for death hurries the miserable victim of delay to the grave.

The next day I called again to see Louisa. Her fever was still raging, and its fires were fanned by mental suffering. "Poor girl!" thought I, as the first glance upon her countenance shewed me the strong lineaments of despair. I needed not to ask her how she felt. Her countenance told too powerfully her feelings; and I knew, that while her mind was in this state, restoration to bodily health was out of the question.


And can you not, Louisa," said I, "trust your soul with the blessed Saviour who died for you? He has said, 'Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'


"Oh, sir, I know that the Saviour is merciful; but, somehow or other, I cannot go to him: I do not know why. Oh! I am miserable indeed!"

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Do you think, Louisa, that you are penitent for sin? If you are, you are forgiven: for God, who gave his Son to die for us, is more ready to forgive than we to ask forgiveness. He is more ready to give good gifts to His children than any earthly parent to give bread to his hungry child."

I then opened the Bible to the 15th chapter of Luke, and read the parable of the Prodigal Son. I particularly directed her attention to the 20th verse: "But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him.”

“Oh, sir!" said she, “none of these promises seem meant for me: I can find no peace to my troubled spirit. I have long been sinning against God; and now he is going to take me, to render up my account; and, oh! what an account have I to render! The doctor gives me medicine,

but I feel that it does me no good; for I can think of nothing but my poor soul. Even if I were perfectly well, I could hardly endure the view of my sins which God has given me. If my sins were forgiven, how happy should I be! but now-oh!" her voice was stopped by a fit of shuddering, which very much agitated those around her bedside with the fear that she might be dying. Soon, however, her nerves became more quiet; and I kneeled by her bedside, to commend her spirit to the Lord.

As I rode home, her despairing countenance was unceasingly before my eyes. Her lamentations, and her mournful groans, were continually crying in my ears. As I kneeled with my family at the domestic altar, I bore Louisa upon my heart to the Throne of Grace. All night I tossed restlessly upon my pillow, dreaming that I was urging consolation by this sick-bed.

Another morning came. As I knocked at the door of her dwelling, I felt a most painful solicitude as to the answer I might receive to my inquiries for her.

“How is Louisa, this morning?" said I to the person who opened the door.

"She is fast failing, sir; and the doctor thinks she cannot recover. We have just sent to her friends, to come and see her before she dies."


Is her mind any more composed than it has been?” "Oh no, sir! she has had a dreadful night. She says that she is lost, and that there is no hope for her."

I went into her chamber. Despair was pictured more deeply than ever upon her flushed and fevered countenance. I was surprised at the strength of body she still manifested, as she continually turned from side to side in her restlessness. Death was drawing nearer :-she knew it. She had lived in the world without God, and she felt that she was unprepared to appear before Him, A few of her young friends were standing by her bedside. She

warned them, in the most affecting terms, to prepare for death while in health. She told them of the mental agony she was then enduring, and of the woes which were thickly scattered through that endless career she was about to enter. All her conversation was interspersed with the most heart-rending exclamations of despair. She said she knew that God was ready to forgive the sincerely penitent; but that her sorrow was not sorrow for sin, but dread of its awful penalty.

I had already said all that I could say, to lead her to the Saviour. Indeed, her understanding seemed to be sufficiently enlightened; but the Lord had come to her, and shewed her the sinfulness of her unreconciled heart. Who could stand and witness such a scene as this, knowing that the trembling immortal was soon to be ushered into eternity, and not pray, almost with an agony of earnestness, that God would have mercy upon her soul? And how evident must it have been to any one, that there was no power but divine power which could liberate her mind from the gloom and darkness in which it was enveloped. It was God who had opened her eyes to a view of her situation it was God who had rolled over the mind these surges of despair and it was God who alone could say to them, "Peace, be still."

"Jesus can make a dying bed

Feel soft as downy pillows are."

But no Saviour was shedding peace upon this dying bed. No rays of hope beamed upon that departing soul. Youth and beauty were struggling beneath the strong arm of death; and as that eye, which but a few days before had sparkled with gaiety, as it now gazed forward to eternity, it was fixed in an expression of despair.

"By many a death-bed I had been,

And many a sinner's parting scene,
But never aught like this."

There was nothing that could be said. The moanings

of the sufferer mingled with the prayer, which was almost inarticulately uttered, from the emotions which the scene inspired.

Late in the afternoon I called again. But reason was disenthroned; and as I looked upon her restless movements, I was forcibly reminded of the lines of Watts:"So when a raging fever burns,

We turn from side to side by turns;
And 'tis a poor relief we gain,

To change the place but keep the pain."


The senseless moanings of delirium shewed the distress even of her shattered mind. Her friends were standing around her, but she did not recognise them. Every eye in the room was filled with tears; but poor Louisa saw not, and heeded not, their weeping. It was a scene which neither pen nor pencil can pourtray. At the present moment, that chamber of death is as vividly present to my "mind's eye" as it was when I looked upon through irrepressible tears. I can now see the disorder of the dying bed-the restless form-the swollen veinsthe hectic burning cheek-the eyes rolling wildly around the room—and the weeping friends. Who can describe such a scene? and who can imagine the emotions which one must feel, who knew her previous history? Louisa could no longer listen to my prayers; she could no longer receive the precious instructions of God's Holy Word. And what could be offered as consolation to her friends? Little, or nothing. Be still, and know that I am God," was all that could be said. I could only look and listen with reverence, inwardly praying that the sad spectacle might not be lost upon any of us. For some time I lingered around the solemn scene in silence. Not a word was spoken. All knew that death was near. The friends who were most deeply affected struggled hard to restrain the audible expression of grief. In silence I had entered the room, and in silence and sadness I went away.


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