« PreviousContinue »
himself. And there, too, lay my mother !—the treasured object of our loving hearts !--there she lay, at his feet, receiving kick after kick, until she was kicked out of his further reach. When they were overtaken, she was found in a most distressing state, covered with blood and dust; and in that condition was forwarded, in a gentleman's travelling carriage passing by, to her sister's residence in the town, a few miles further on. When she arrived there, help was speedily obtained. Her left wrist was found to be partially broken, and her hip contused and strained, with many other injuries. She had also lost much blood; yet it was deemed necessary to bleed again ; and, in addition to this, most unfortunately, the bandage slipped, which was only discovered by the streaming of blood beneath the door. She was now with difficulty restored to life, being almost gone! My God! I extol thy goodness, which interfered to spare that precious life, and prolong her period of probation. For that I shall yet praise thee in an eternity to comethou forbearing, thou delivering, thou long-suffering God!
The voice of Him who died for her and rose again was crying, “ Spare her yet a little longer!” He had purposes of renewed mercies in store for her. He had arranged the machinery of his providence so as to bring the truth before her mind again, and yet again ; His heart of love yearned over her to save ; while He cried, as in the pangs of love's last throes, “How can I give thee up ? How can I deliver thee?” Beholding her, he loved her, and said, “ Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven! Thou weary and heavy laden soul-Come unto me, and I will give thee rest!” In the loud voice of this deliverance from deathtemporal and eternal death-He seems to be exclaiming, in awakening tones, “Turn ye, turn ye! for why will ye die ? ” and, sighing deeply in his spirit, to pray, “ Lord, let her alone this year also.”
"The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," turning towards the supplicating cry and uplifted hands of his Anointed, and beholding the prints of the nails, responded to the cry, saying, “As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die ?" And in the utterance of his full heart of yearning love he declared, “ He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied !”
The Angel of the Covenant, bending an attentive ear to earth, heard the echo of his supplications from the overwhelmed hearts of her husband and children, crying, “Spare-oh, spare her, Father!” and, ever true to His promise, “Lo, I am with you alway,” stood beside them, whispering in their inmost souls the consolation, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid; all things are delivered unto me of my Father!” And so they still “ Believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
“Awake! thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give
thee light!”—Ephes. v. 14.
My mother's failing health received a shock in the occurrence just described, which expedited the progress of her disease. And although she very slowly and partially recovered from the injuries of the accident, her general health, meanwhile, was gradually declining. My father's anxieties were now
inexpressibly agonising. He heard the unmistakeable tones of that racking cough; he marked the deceitful glow upon her cheek; and, shrinking from the unnatural brightness of her once soft blue eye, recognised in these the tokens of a gathering storm, which threatened to blast his most cherished hopes. The best approved medical aid was now summoned. A letter addressed to my father, from one of her physicians, who was also an intimate friend, now lies before me, in which he states, in sympathising language, the hopelessness of her case. In consequence of this, my father's exertions were now concentrated into the use of means to soothe her sufferings on the one hand, and on the other to awaken her from her dangerous confidence, and to make known to her the refuge-Jesus! Thus endeavouring, as the earth sank beneath her feet, to
. “Allure to brighter worlds.” It was about this period that my father had a dream of beautiful but most affecting signification, which, according to the best of my recollection, he thus described. He thought he saw a sort of pavilion, of classical design, with light and elegant proportions. It appeared to be built of the finest Parian marble; and as he walked round and round it, admiring the exquisite workmanship, and examining every point, he could distinguish no defect in its symmetrical beauty ; could detect no flaw in its chaste construction. Coming round to the front of the edifice, he found the portal open. Fascinated by its attractions, he was just about to ascend the steps and enter the vestibule, when his eye caught the base of the building, and lo!--the chief cornerstone of the foundation was wanting! On this discovery he awoke in alarm, to meditate, to weep, to pray.
It was at this time that a few scenes occurred, which are engraven on my memory in indelible lines. My father, who was about leaving home for a few weeks—compelled to this temporary absence by unavoidable circumstances on the one hand; and on the other, anxiously desirous to remain with my mother-suffered a distressing conflict in his mind. He had borne it with fortitude, could he but have left her standing upon the Rock of Ages. But to leave her thus,—the blackening gloom of an impending tempest gathering over her, and she standing unconsciously at ease, sheltering beneath an edifice of which the chief foundation-stone was wanting! Alas! my father! whither wilt thou flee for aid at such a moment? Now that thou walkest in darkness, and hast no light, upon whom wilt thou stay thy fainting spirit? This time that thou art afraid-ah! whither shalt thou go-but unto Him who is an ever present help in every time of trouble—thy God, thy refuge, thy fortress, and thy high tower! How didst thou make haste to "the Rock of thy Salvation !” Thou didst “ flee as a bird to her mountain !" Can I ever forget that morning when thou didst lead me into that upper room, and, shutting the door upon all the world besides, took me in thy arms, and told me—my mother must die! How did we weep upon each other's necks, anticipating the hours in which we should hereafter weer apart! We knelt side by side, and oh! how thou didst agonise in supplications for her whom thy soul loved. How thou didst wrestle in strong prayer for her whom thy soul loved so well. I listened to thee, and remembered Jacob. How often, too, in the long years that have since elapsed, have I thought of thee at that auspicious moment, and remembered Israel : for, ere the heavings of thy bosom had subsided, ere thy tearwashed cheek had dried, the sceptre was extended ; and there went forth from the mercy-seat the gracious behest, “ Thou hast prevailed. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt!”
Nor can I ever forget the scene in the afternoon of that day, to which this was only the prelude. The hour was fast approaching, that my father must leave. My anxious heart was heavy with mingled and indescribable emotions; but, alas! the ingredients of that cup were then all bitter, even as gall and wormwood.
My sweet mother! her eyes were already suffused with many tears, as she anticipated the fast approaching hour of separation. We now drew round the hearth, to receive my father's parting instructions, and to hear him give utterance to the theme which was the burden of his heavy heart. My father! can I ever forget thy earnest and impassioned appeal to our beloved one, to flee from the wrath to come! As thou didst pursue her from covert to covert, whither she had fled for refuge, thou didst pull down the strongholds of the enemy, and cutting away one false prop after another, discovered to her the unsafe foundations. I could imagine the very. tone of voice which betrayed her wounded feelings, as she vindicated her character in the performance of her duties as a wife, a mother, and a friend. “Did I ever injure any one ? Have I neglected my duty to you or to my children ? What have I done, that my soul is in such danger as this ? True, I have neglected public worship, and private prayer, but God is merciful. I am not worse than others. If I am not saved, what will become of thousands ?” And then she wept hysterically. I read, through my tears, the expression in my father's countenance ; but language fails me to describe the varied emotions which crowded to the indexual features for registration there. It was with difficulty that he