Imatges de pÓgina

joining his hands and looking up," thou bleeding Lamb! save us miserable sinners from hell."

Little Charles spoke this prayer with so much earnestness, that Henry looked at him ; and now he saw, what he had not found out before, that Charles, who used to be a fat, rosy-cheeked little fellow, was very pale, and much thinner than he used to be. “ Charles,” said Henry, "are you well? You look very white, I think, and thin too."

“ Master Heary," answered Charles, “ I have vever been right well since about the time when poor Miss Augusta Noble was buried. I was well enough before that time, and since that I have been falling away; and yet nobody can say what ails me. My mother sent me, about a week back, to my grandmother Bush's, to try if it would do me any good to be here; but I am none the better: yet I like to be here, because I am quieter here than I can be at home, and my grandmother is very kind ; and then this wood is so very sweet to walk in, and tu read in, and to sing and pray in, all by myself, excepting only God. I have no mind to go home, and my mother says I shall please myself; and I think, God being willing, I will stay and die here."

“ Die!” cried Henry.

“ Yes, Master Henry," answered Charles, “I shall die soon: I know it very well, I felt that I should die when I was first taken ill; and I then told my brother so, but he did not believe me. "

“ But why did you think that you should die ?" said Henry.

I will tell you, Master Henry: I was quite well when I went with my mother and all the rest to church, to see Miss Augusta buried. All the way we went my mother cried very much, to think what a pretty blooning miss she was, but a few days before, and how she was cut off, no time given her for turning to God : and then she put the matter home

to us children, asking us, If we should be called away

in a week's time, whether we were fit to gom. that is, whether we trusted in our Saviour, and loved him, and felt ourselves to be miserable sinners, worthy of hell fire. My mother's words sunk like lead into my heart, and, as I went along, 1 began questioning myself in this manner: • Charles Trueman,' said I to myself, ' how should you like to die ? Do


Saviour? Do you trust in him? Do


hate your own sinful nature ? And do you wish for a clean heart through the help of the Holy Spirit ?' These questions were running in my mind when I came to the church; and I felt very oddly all the time Mr. Somers was reading, and more especially when the coffin was let down into the vault. When the funeral was over, and the people were gone, John Barnes, the bricklayer, and Samuel Hill, our old parish-clerk, begged iny father to stop and help to brick up the vault; for it was Sir Charles Noble's orders that it should be done that night, though it was to be done by candle-light:

my father staid, and my brother and I staid with him. When every thing was ready for bricking up the vault, old Samuel said, 'Let us go down and look into the vault before it is bricked up: maybap we may never have such a chance again. So Samuel took the lantern, and they went down, my brother and I following.”

“ And what kind of place is that vault?” said Henry:

" I should like to have seen it, if my papa had been with me.”

“ It is like a very large room under ground, quite dark, only from the lantern which the clerk held. In the sides of the walls were holes in which the coffins were placed.”

“ Were there many coffins ?” said Henry.

“ Yes," said Charles, “ a great many, and some of them so old that they were tumbling to pieces.


Old Samuel shewed us the coffin of Sir Charles Noble's grandfather, and said, he was at his funeral when he was a very little boy, and that he died from hard drinking. He shewed us the coffins of Sir Charles's father and mother, and of Sir Charles's sister, who was, he said, the finest young lady in all the country round. He took us to one part of the vault where the parsons and their wives lay, and shewed us old Parson Best's coffin, and several of the coffins belonging to parsons whose names I forget. So we came out of the vault; and I was very glad, for it was the most dismal place I ever was in ; and when the place was bricked up we came home. • Ab! father,' said my brother, as we walked home, death, after all, is a very liorrible thing. My father answered, that death was sent as a punishment for sin, and was, and always would be, frightful to flesh and blood; but,' says he, our dear Saviour has taken away all that is really to be feared in death, to a believing soul. Do we not read,' said he, • of Lazarus being carried to Abraham's bosom by angels ? so, no doubt, the souls of those who die in Christ are no sooner out of the body but they are received into happiness: thus the faithful never know the bitterness of death, as the Lord hath promised in Hosea xiii. 14: 'I will ransom them from the power of the grave: I will redeem then from death : O death! I will be thy plague.'— Then our dear father," continued Charles,

put it home to us, as our mother had done before, that it behoved us to look well to our ways, that we might come to a better knowledge of our own sinful natures, and being humbled, through the power of the Spirit, we might be more anxious to seek after the dear Saviour who died for us. He then talked about our Saviour, and of all he had done for us, and of the holy life that he had led in this world, and of his humility, and of his gentleness, and of his love to little children, and of his glorious death, until I felt my heart within me all burns ing with love for the dear Saviour. I never felt any thing like it before;, and I had so eager a desire upon me to be gone from this world, and to be with him, as I cannot describe. So we went home, and went to bed; and when I got up in the morning, I felt the same, only not, perhaps, quite in: $0 lively a manner. And it was well I had this love for my dear Saviour, and trust in him also, for about this time it pleased God, by the Holy Spirit, to shew me, even more than before, the evil vature of my own vile heart, so that I saw many things in myself which I had never dreamed of before. Oh, Master Henry! we talk of our own wicked hearts, and our sinful natures : but God must touch us before we feel these things as we should do.: our hearts are desperately and horribly wicked; and I thank God, who has caused me to feel this before be takes me out of this world. Now if I had not known who to Ay to when I felt myself to be such a miserable fellow, I should have been very un, happy," continued little Charles : “ but I had a dear Saviour to fly to, who could save me, I knew, and who would save me, for he never turns his back on any poor sinner who comes to him; as it is written, Whosoever cometh upto him, he will in no wise cast out. At the same time," said Charles, “ that I became so full of these thoughts, I became siek, and have been wasting ever since, and yet no one knows what is the matter with me; but I know that it is the will of God that I should depart hence, and be no more seen.

Henry looked hard at Charles, and said, "I don't like to hear you talk of dying; and yet I know it is wrong, because I know that you will be happier in heaven thạn you are bere."

“Oh, Master Henry !” said Charles, “I never was so happy before in all my life, as since I have been ill, and have thought of going to my Saviour."

“ But did you never think of these things,” said Henry,“ before you were at poor Miss Augusta's funeral ?”

“ O yes, sometimes," said Charles, "My father and mother love God very much, and as soon as we can speak, or understand any thing, they try to lead us to God; and I also received much instruction from Mr. Somers. I had often, when I was a little child, some very sweet thoughts about our Saviour. I remember once, a long time ago, I went to take care of some sheep for Farmer Harris, on Breezy Down--you know the place, Master Henry: the Down faces the west, and is covered with thyme. It was at harvest time, for I remember seeing the people at harvest work in the fields below. There, as I sat watching the sheep, I had some of the sweetest thoughts I ever had in my life: they were about our Lord Jesus Christ being the Good Shepherd : and then I thought of the care which a good shepherd takes of bis flock; and then this sweet verse came into my head, ' And the Lamb shall take them, and lead them by living fountains of water; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'

Whilst the little boys were talking together in this manner, they saw Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, and Lucy and Emily, walking towards them, for they were taking their noon-day walk. As soon as Henry saw his papa, he started from his seat, and looked this way and that way, as if he was frightened, saying " Oh Charles ! what shall I do? "

“ Go to your papa, to be sure, Master Henry," answered Charles, " and fall down on your knees þefore him, and beg his pardon.'

But I am afraid," said Henry. I will go with you,” Master Henry, said

« AnteriorContinua »