« PreviousContinue »
affection for one he so dearly loved. Though the rumour of Mr. Merryman's dangerous illness was now become general; and though the looks of Mr. Lovegood, all the while he was reading the service, confirmed the same; yet the strength of his feelings was, in a measure, suppressed, until he got into the pulpit. It was from thence, that the embossed tears which floated in his
eyes, were seen to trickle down his cheeks in large abundance, while with a faltering voice and extreme difficulty, he uttered these appropriate words for his
Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick.” It shall be left to the reader's imagination to paint, what words can ill express. No wonder that the highly respectable family of Brookfield Hall, were heard to sob with silent grief; and as for Farmer Littleworth, next to the death of his beloved Henry, he seemed to dread the dissolution of this excellent man; while his son Henry, that monument of the grace and power of God, what he felt beyond most others is not to be described under the apprehension lest he should never see that delightful minister of the word of life any more; whose conduct at the commencement of life, in some instances, so much resembled his own.
Others also of Mr. Lovegood's congregation might be brought forward, while, thus their weeping minister began his sermon on this distressing event; but for the present I forbear. Alas! the same feelings are still to be exercised, when disease had actually accomplished its work; exhibiting, at the same time, an exit, the most painful among all those who loved him, and yet the most animating to such as believe in “ the glory. that shall be revealed," and live under the expectation of that blessedness, which“ eye hath not seen, which ear hath not heard, and which hath never entered into the heart of man to conceive." At present I must forbear to narrate all that Mr. Lovegood advanced on this subject;
even a short hint is as much as the design of these Dialogues will admit. With the most solemn reverence, he vindicated the justice of God; that we have forfeited all his mercies, and merited all his displeasure. That though the removal of the godly was a great calamity : yet, even under the most awful displays of a béreaving Providence, his restoring mercies might be favourable to such as humbled themselves before him. That though our Lord loved the family of Lazarus, yet even they were to have the common lot of affliction with others. And that if we should dare to murmur, with silent submission we should correct our rebellious feelings, and bring our minds to say with the prophet, “Why should a living man complain ; a man for the punishment of his sins ?” But when he came to his final address, believing from the scriptures " the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much ;" and feeling how brightly that lovely light shone, which he was the instrument of kindling in that dark town of Sandover ; he affectionately requested the prayers of his congregation, and the siuices of his affection were again so powerfully opened, that he could say no more. Oh ! what were then the sensations of this delightful, country congregation, from which all these Village Dialogues took their rise, when such a man as Mr. Lovegood gave such a display of that sympathetic love, which unites us all to him, and in him, towards each other, for his tender mercies' sake!
But the reader must be further informed, that no favourable tidings having been sent from Sandover, respecting a hope of Mr. Merryman's recovery, Mr. Worthy and Mr. Lovegood went with sad and sorrowful hearts, according to the plan already settled, while circumstances prevented their return, according to their first design.
As it was deemed necessary, that Mr. Lovegood
should continue at Sandover another Sabbath, he applied to the venerable Dr. Orderly on that occasion, who readily consented that his curate, Mr. Sedate, should lend his aid; and though the goodness of the man was admired by all, if he did not altogether express himself in a strain so evangelical as Mr. Lovegood, yet, being far superior to many others, whose preaching and practice are alike heathenish, his kind services were gratefully and thankfully received. The result of Mr. Worthy's and Mr. Lovegood's visit, will be communicated immediately upon their return.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
BETWEEN MR. AND MRS. WORTAY, AND MR. LOVEGOOD.
MR. Worthy and Mr. Lovegood were absent full a
fortnight, attending upon Mr. Merryman at Sandover. Upon their return, after a few introductory salutations, the Dialogue thus commenced.
Mrs. Worthy. (To Mr. Worthy.] I was rejoiced to hear by your last message of the improved state of our beloved son-in-law's health.
Mr. Wor. He is indeed considerably better, and I trust by the blessing of God he will yet live, and continue to be a blessing to us all.
Lovey. But, madam, we should not be too sanguine in our expectations. Though he has passed the most dangerous crisis of the fever; yet the Doctor has his apprehensions, how far he may yet recover from the consequences of such an alarming attack. There are some symptoms, he does not like.
Mrs. Wor. Let us hope, a little good nursing may yet restore him to his friends, his family, and his Church. But do let us hear all that has passed while you were at Sandover.
Loveg. O madam! I have seen, heard, and felt more than I can express.
Mrs. Wor. But tell me how has my dear daughter borne the shock.
Wor. Her distress has been astonishing; yet she has been astonishingly supported. But Mr. Lovegood had better tell you all that has passed from the beginning.
Loveg. On our first arrival, we found Mrs. Merryman in the greatest perplexity and distress, as you may well suppose ; and as for Mr. Merryman, instead of finding him better, he was evidently much worse. He lay almost in a perpetual stupor; what little he said, was frequently incoherent, though always upon the best subject; and sometimes the things he said were most delightful. But by the particular request of Dr. Skillman, neither of us went to see him that night, nor the next day. Nor would it have done him any good, as the fever had rendered him remarkably deaf.
Mrs. Wor. I should like to hear some of the good things he said during his illness.
Loveg. Yes, and I should like to tell you of them. But as it was a task, far beyond what Mrs. Merryman could perform, I feel myself obliged to Mr. Robert Sprightly, for recording some things, which I shall endeavour to repeat.
Mrs. Wor. Who is Mr. Sprightly?
Lovey. One of the most pleasant and amiable youths I ever met with in all my life. In Mr. Merryman's gay days, they were the gay and giddy companions of each other. But when Mr. Merryman became an altered character, this young man was one of the first fruits of his ministry; and this greatly added to the surprise of the whole town, when, in an infinitely better way they became closely united for better purposes. Like Jonathan and David, their hearts were one and they were one with each other, in every design that was profitable, kind, and good. And immediately as Mr. Merryman