Imatges de pÓgina

was Charles Trueman, John Trueman's second son ; one of the most pious little boys in all that country, and a great favourite of Mr. Fairchild, and of Mr. Somers, who had himself taken great pains in his education.

“Good morning, Master Henry,” said Charles, getting down from his seat, and putting his book into his pocket. “ But what is the matter?


look very white—and you have been crying! I hope nothing amiss has happened."

“Ah, Charles," said Henry, "I am very unhappy, very unhappy indeed!” He then told "Charles ali that had happened : how obstinate he had been, and in what way his father had punished him; and that he was still shut out from his father's company, and from his mamma's and sisters'. And, oh! Charles,' he said, “you cannot think how miserable I am! Nobody looks at me, nobody speaks to me! The very trees, and hills, and fields, seem to be changed ! This pretty coppice, in which I used to delight so much, looks pleasant no longer! And last night I was so frightened by the wind! I thought there was something on it coming for me, I can't tell what I thought, I shook so !”

“Ah! Master Henry,” said Charles, “it is because you are under your father's displeasure, and have deserved to be so, that you feel all these fears, and are so miserable. Whilst we are little, our parents, if they are holy people, stand in the place of God to us : when they smile and are pleased with us, we are happy: all the good things, victuals and clothes, and house and teaching, come through them to us : and when they cast us off, we feel a little like those miserable wretches who are cast aside by God ?”

“What do you mean by being cast aside by God?” said Henry.

"Why,” answered Charles, “when people have for a long time been very hardened in their sins, and


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set their faces against God and our dear Saviour, refusing and perhaps mocking at the Holy Spirit, then God forsakes them; he takes away all comfort and happiness from their hearts; and then all the riches and grandeur and pleasures of the world are unable to give them ease; no nor can they draw comfort from their friends, be they ever so kind, or from any

other earthly good.”

Henry said nothing, and Charles went on—“My father," said he, “tells of one 'Squire Collins, who lived many years ago not very far from Hill Top: he was the most desperate wicked man of all the country, a great cockfighter, and one who spoke more oaths than other words. Well, this man had everything his heart could wish for of earthly goods-lands and house, wife and children, health and strength—but he was so very miserable, that, at last, in a fit of despair, he shot himself dead! My father knew him very well. Oh, Master Henry ! it is a dreadful thing for a child to be under the anger of a good parent; and still worse to be under the displeasure of the blessed Lord God; for who can dwell with everlasting

l burning ?

Whilst the little boys were conversing together, they climbed upon the tree, and sat down together in the place where Charles was when Henry came up. “My father,” said Charles, “ has often talked to us children about hell, as we have been sitting round the fire on a Sunday evening, till we have been in a quake. The Bible speaks of it as a lake burning with fire and brimstone: as it is written, The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that do offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.' (Matt. xii. 41, 42.) But the chief misery of the damned, my father has told us, will be the absence of God. I dare say you would not much mind having only bread

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and water, and not having your papa's comfortable parlour to go into, Master Henry," continued Charles, “ if you thought that your papa was pleased with you.

“No, indeed,” answered Henry; “if my papa would but forgive me, and love me again, I would go without my dinner for a month to come, with all

“ Then if a father's anger is so hard to bear,” said Charles, “what must the anger of God be, and the hidings of his face for ever and ever and ever?-0 Lord Jesus Christ,” added the little boy, 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 Henry,” answered Charles, “I have never 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 than I can be at home, and my grandmother is very kind ; and then this wood is

1 so very sweet to walk in, and to read in, and to sing and pray in, all by myself, excepting only God. I have no mind to go home, and ту.



I shall please myself ; and I think, God being willing, I will stay and die here.

** Die !" cried Henry.

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“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 blooming 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 go—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 sank like lead into my heart, and as I went along, I began questioning myself in this manner : Charles Trueman,' said I to myself, how should you like to die? Do you love your 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 my 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; so my father stayed, and my brother and I stayed with him. When everything was ready for bricking up the vault, old Samuel said, 'Let us go down and look into the vault before it is bricked

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up; mayhap 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 a 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 showed 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 showed 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 showed 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 was ever in ; and when the place was bricked up we came home. “Ah! father,' said my brother, as we walked home, death, after all, is a very horrible 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

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 than they are received into happiness: thus the faithful never know the bitterness of death ; as the Lord has promised in Hosea xiii. 14, 'I will ransom



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