Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Her advice to her young friends.

Last visit.

I went into her chamber. Despair was pictured more deeply than ever upon her flushed and fevered countenance. I was surprised at the strength she still manifested as she tossed from side to side. Death was evidently drawing near. She knew it. She had lived without God, and 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 heavier woes which were thickly scattered through that endless career which she was about to enter. All her conversation was interspersed with the most heartrending 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 to lead her to the Savior-but no Savior cast his love on this dying bed-no ray of peace cheered the departing soul. Youth and beauty

were struggling with death; and the eye which but a few days before had sparkled with gayety, was now fixed in an expression of despair.

"By many a death-bed I had been,

And many a sinner's parting seen,
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 her reason was gone, and in restless agony she was grappling with death. Her friends were standing around her, but she did not recognize them. Every eye in the room was filled with tears, but poor Louisa saw not, and heeded not their weeping. It

Her sufferings.

She dies at midnight.

was a scene which neither pen nor pencil can portray. At the present moment, that chamber of death is as vividly present to my mind as it was when I looked upon it through irrepressible tears. I can now see the disorder of the dying bed-the restless form-the swollen veins the 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 history, and who knew that this delirium succeeded temporal, and perhaps preceded eternal despair. Louisa could no longer listen to my prayers; she could no longer receive the precious instructions of God's Word. And what could be said to console her friends? 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. At length, and in silence and sadness, I went away. Early the next morn

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Her feelings at last.

she was almost gone, and we could hardly understand what she said."

"Did she seem any more peaceful in her mind?"

"Her friends, thought, sir, that she did express a willingness to depart, but she was so weak and so far gone that it was impossible for her to express her mind with any clearness."

This is all that can be said of the eternal prospects of one who "wished to live a gay and merry life till just before death, and then to become pious and die happy.”

Reader! "be wise TO-DAY-'tis madness to defer."

Almost a Christian.

Louisa's case a common one.

CHAPTER V.

ALMOST A CHRISTIAN.

"Ye will not come unto me."

THE melancholy story related in the last chapter is not an uncommon one. It is the story of thousands. All that is necessary, reader, to make the case your own, is that you should feel such a degree of interest in religious duty as to open your eyes clearly to its claims upon you, but yet not enough to induce you cordially to comply with them,— and then that death should approach you while you are thus unprepared. The gloomy forebodings and the dreadful remorse which darkened Louisa's last hours, must in such a case be yours.

It was not my intention, when forming the plan of this work, that it should present religious truth and duty in gloomy or melancholy aspects. Religion is a most cheerful and happy thing to practice, but a most sad and melancholy thing to neglect; and as undoubtedly some who read this book will read it only to understand their duty, without at all setting their hearts upon the performance of it, I ought to devote one or two chapters particularly to them. The case of Louisa, though it was a melancholy one, was real. And what has once occurred, may occur again. You will observe, too, that all the suffering which she manifested in her dying hour was the work of conscience. The minister Examine all

did all that he could to soothe and calm her.

Neglecting duty when it is pointed out.

the conversation he had with her at her bedside, and you will find that it was the language of kind invitation.

Sometimes such a dying scene as this is the portion of an individual who has lived a life of open and unbridled wickedness. But, generally, continued impiety and vice lull the conscience into a slumber which it requires a stronger power than that of sickness or approaching death to awaken. Louisa was ALMOST A CHRISTIAN. She was nearly persuaded to begin a life of piety. In just such a state of mind, my reader, it is very probable you may be. Perhaps since you have been reading this book, you have been thinking more and more seriously of your Christian duty, and have felt a stronger and stronger intention of doing it, at least at some future time. You ought, after having read the first chapter, to have gone at once, and fully confessed all your sins to God. When you read the second, you should have cordially welcomed the Savior as your friend, and chosen him as your Redeemer and portion. You ought to have been induced by the third to begin immediately a life of prayer, and to have been constant and ardent at the throne of grace since you read it. But perhaps you neglected all this. You understand very clearly what Christian duty is. It is plain to you that there is a Being above with whom you ought to live in constant communion. You understand clearly how you are to begin your duty, if you have neglected it heretofore, by coming and confessing all your sins, and seeking forgiveness through Jesus Christ, who has died for you. Thus you know what duty is. The solitary difficulty is, that you will not do it.

But why? What can be the cause of that apparent infatuation which consists in continually neglecting a duty which you acknowledge to be a duty, and which you know it would increase your happiness to perform? Were I to ask you, it is very probable you would say what I have

« AnteriorContinuar »