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him until the following Wednesday, when Mrs. B. called to know how he was. She found him very poorly, but took leave of him hoping that in a day or two he would be able to come up to the institution. But this was not the case; he gradually grew worse, and never left his parents' roof, except to be taken in a fiy to the physician, who pronounced him in a precarious, although not hopeless state: yet it was with difficulty he got home. We were anxiously waiting to know the result, when his father, full of grief, came to inform us of the serious nature of his complaint. We went immediately to see him, and found him very ill, but composed, cheerful, and animated.
We must now follow our dear boy to his humble but clean and comfortable sick room; and as we glance over his sweet remarks, and see the joy with which he could anticipate death, let us learn indeed to know that Saviour whom he found so precious to his soul, and to feel assured that he who hath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
April 23rd. On being asked by a friend, whether he prayed, he said, “ Yes, I pray to God, first to make me better, or secondly that I might die and go to heaven.” She said, “ You will be happy in heaven; you will see Jesus." He answered “ Yes, much happy; it is not very long before I see him." She said to him, “You are very weak: he asked her if she knew the hymn,
“Rock of ages., cleft for me." &c. She shewed it to him ; and after having read it over, he returned the book, and said, “ All power belongs to Jesus; but once He was weak, in the garden of Gethsemane, and an angel was sent to strengthen him. He gave himself up for us. When the wicked men were seeking him, he said, 'I am he.'"
On the 24th of April, Mrs. S. and myself, visited him. We asked him if he prayed. He said “Yes, but I cannot now spell my prayers; I think in prayer, and I feel God with me. the devil tries to make me think amiss: the devil is very cruel, he wants to make me unhappy, very unhappy; but Jesus is stronger than the devil, and I am happy in him.” Mrs. S. then signed to him a verse of a hymn:
“ Jesus, on thine arm relying, &c. which delighted him very much; and he said he should like me to pray with him. One of his school-fellows, whom we had taken with us, asked him if he were happy. He said, “Yes, I am very happy ; you must pray for me."
When I pray,
A few days afterwards, two ladies visited him. They told him that they had lost a dear brother, a christian, and a faithful minister of Christ; and asked him if they were right in mourning for him. He answered, “Yes, madam.” They asked him why? “ Because Jesus wept.” One of his school-fellows, who had gone with these ladies to interpret his signs, was standing by his side, and in the interval between the questions he turned to him and signed, “Do you love Jesus ?" they remarked that it seemed as if he could not bear to lose a minute that could be spent for good. This boy, to whom he was much attached, and who often visited him during his illness, a few days afterwards took him a book on geography, which he had left at school; and when he gave it him he returned it, saying, “ You may have it; I have done with geography and arithmetic, and I want no book now but my Bible.”
A minister, who had for a long time taken a great interest in him, called to see him, and was affected even to tears to find him in such a sweet state of mind. He asked him two or three questions,- What do you think of Jesus ? ' He is the eternal Son of God, sir.” What is sin? “It is all disobedience to God's holy law.” Are you a sinner? “Yes, sir.” How do you hope to be saved ? “Through Jesus Christ; he is my precious Saviour.”
On the evening of the 20th of May, I called, hoping to see him once more alive ; but his mother told me that he was much altered, and she thought that I had better not go up stairs, as he was not now able to converse, adding that he had expressed a wish to be alone, and had said he should soon die; that he was very, very happy, and was going to glory. I left the house, feeling sure that I should never see the dear boy again in this world. I walked home, with feelings not easily to be described, and I trust never to be forgotten. The reality of the fact that this dear child of God had been entirely under my care and instruction burst upon me in all its fulness. I felt that if I had neglected in any way to assist him in arriving at a full understanding of those blessed truths which he so much loved, the opportunity of doing so was now for ever gone. Still, on reflection, I had the assurance that he was indeed a child of grace, saved by the precious blood of the Redeemer. His whole life shewed the the truth of this, and his death proved it. Oh, may the Lord enable us to feel sufficiently thankful for such an exhibition of his love and mercy, so visibly extended towards him.
He was quite sensible to the last; and about an hour before his death, he signed for all in the room to kneel round his bed and pray; after which, he took his mother's hand and spelled soul on her fingers, and looking steadfastly upwards, he pointed to heaven and signed, “ Glory, glory." Such was the joy with which he stood on the brink of death, and all was peace to the very end; for on the night of the 20th, he spelled to his mother that he had very much peace in Jesus; and at four o'clock in the morning of Sunday, the 21st, his happy spirit took its flight to the bosom of his Saviour, without a struggle. Such joy and such peace were his, as rarely fall to the lot even of God's most eminent servants here below. The Lord, in rich mercy to his soul, never that I am aware of, permitted for one moment the enemy to harrass or perplex him with a single doubt or fear in his last hours. His was indeed a simple, settled faith in the Lord Jesus. At the same time, he was possessed of a full and clear knowledge of the whole plan of man's salvation, and of the rich atonement made by the sacrifice of Christ, in which alone he humbly put his trust.
It was indeed a falling asleep in Jesus. And oh! who couldsee him stretched upon the bed of death, patient, calm, submissive, meekly waiting his precious Saviour's call, without a single doubt to harrass his peaceful breast, without a wish to disturb the calm repose which his happy spirit found in the bosom of his Lord,-and not be led to admire and adore Him whose strength is perfected in weakness, and who has mercifully written for our encouragement, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”
INDIRECT INFLUENCES. When we called attention in our last number (at p. 500) to the “Pearl of Days” and the numerous Essays on the “Observance of the Sabbath,” sent in to the adjudicators, by our working men, we overlooked one great benefit likely to accrue from such a movement—that which is indirectly at work in the mind of the Essayist when compelled to shape and mould, and digest and sit in judgment on his own thoughts, with a view of placing them in some definite shape before the public. Literature, it has been said, is its own exceeding great reward ; and certainly no mind can be rightly, or at all events completely, disciplined, till it has learned how to embody its thinkings, and communicate them to the world at large.
That much good has been done in this way will be doubted by none who read the following extracts from communications made by the Prize Essayists to the “Working Man's Charter” for October.
“The originators of the Prize Essays,” says one, deserve, and must command, the unbounded thanks of all orders of men, and especially those who recognize in every man a brother, and who are anxiously solicitous for the elevation and salvation of their fellow-men. I see in the advertisement the names of gentlemen eminent for philanthropic zeal and benevolent effort, throwing in their weight of influence, and subscribing towards giving additional prizes to working men. This is one of the signs of the times, and a pleasing one, -it takes up the poet's song, and trumpets forth, ‘There's a good time coming.' I was induced to become one of the 950 competitors for the Prize Essay on the Sabbath, and I, for one, cannot sufficiently thank those gentlemen who brought it forward; it opened me to a world of thought,-a world that I had never, till then, had the good fortune to enter. It opened the way to further things I saw the Sabbath in a light that I had never before seen it, its beauty and adaptation to our condition, and the great, incalculable importance of preserving it inviolate from all immolation and spoliation."
“You may believe me,” writes another, “when I say, that I hardly consider myself a competitor, although the writer of one of the MMS. I had not vanity enough to suppose that I shoul succeed in producing anything that would merit a prize, and gave the matter up several times, thinking it would answer purpose; but in this I was deceived, for it has had a beneficial effect upon my own mind, and has given me clearer and higher views on the Sabbath question, which have not rested with myself, but have been imparted to others; and I shall be glad, in my humble way, either by tract distribution, speaking, praying, or any other means, to show to those around the importance of the Sabbath, which is, indeed, the working man's charter.”
Another.—“My Essay is a very imperfect production, but it was written under disadvantages. I knew nothing of the advertisement offering the prizes till within about a month of the time, when they had to be sent to Glasgow; consequently, the snatches of time which were at my disposal were by far too short to do justice to the subject. But did I find the task an irksome one? No; on the contrary, it was to me a labor of love; the more I contemplated the subject, the more was my heart impressed with its vast importance.”
A third. -- "There is too often to be seen an indifference to that noble cause amongst the class to which I belong; this I think arises in a great measure from ignorance, which I hope your Charter will be instrumental in dispelling. This I have to confess was my own experience ; I have never experienced anything else but the free enjoyment of the Sabbath, and I never thought on the value of the blessing I possessed, till I saw the advertisement for the Essays; this set me on considering what the working man would have done without the Sabbath; then the conviction that many of my fellow-workmen were deprived of the blessing, pressed upon me. I was thus led to make inquiries on the subject, and the result was, from being indifferent on the subject, zeal was enkindled in my breast, and the Essay was produced."
Another—"With respect to the Essay, it has been the means of very much improving my knowledge on the temporal advantages of the Sabbath to the working man; it has found full occupation for my thoughts, so as to exclude many indifferent, inferior, and trifling subjects from my mind; it has caused me to peruse the sacred rolume of Holy Writ, with a greater degree of attention and rererence, for the purpose of investigating all the passages of Scripture relating to that Sabbath which God had made for man, and has enabled me to make a complete concordance of the word Sabbath, that will no doubt be of service to my young family. As for expecting any remuneration as a prize, I did not; being fully aware that there are many well-educated working men; myself not having been taught the common rudiments of education till I was twenty-three years of age, in a Mechanics' Institute. In writing the Essay I am amply paid, and fully remunerated, (for the trifling expence of postage and paper,) by the information obtained, by the knowledge derived, by the pleasure enjoyed,--by the temptation avoided, - and by the satisfaction of having spent several hours of my time in endeavoring to advance so good a cause. And further, if I have only given one hint that may be of the least service to the Sabbath cause, I am more than doubly compensated, in being able to render some service to the glorious cause which I have endeavored to advocate, and still continue to do."