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going home, and begged that his friends might be told that he did not repent having remained in the city during the time of the pestilence, for that God had been with him in his abode. And then, he requested that his funeral sermon might be preached from these words," In thy presence is fulness of joy; and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore." Contrary to all human expectations, it pleased God to raise up this good man, and to restore him once more to life and usefulness.
And to those two boys, who actually did die under the stroke of the plague, death brought no terror. One of them told his father, that he was enabled to look beyond the present world, to the bright heaven above; and when the fatal plague-spots, the fore-runners of death, appeared upon him, he calmly said, he was ready for them, and bade his parents not weep, for he was going to their Father, and to his,and so he died.-The other boy lay full of peace and joy in the midst of his sufferings, for the sting of death had been taken away in his case also. And yet he told his mother, that, for one reason, he should desire to live. She asked him what that was. He replied, that he should like to remain until the days of persecution came back again, the days of fire and faggot, that he might die a martyr, and receive
a martyr's crown. It was indeed a singular reason for desiring life; but it showed what that boy felt; and how he desired to glorify God by his sufferings in death, as he had endeavoured to do by his actions during his short life. His mother reminded him that he would receive a crown, even if he died now. He smilingly said, Yes, he should, but not so bright, not so glorious a one as that which martyrs wear; and so, as his minister, who stood beside his dying bed, observed, "he went away with great peace to his father's house."
But I must not make this affecting story too long. I do not wish to weary or to sadden you, but I do wish to impress upon you some very important matters; and to lead you to see what it is that can give comfort and peace in the expectation of death, sudden and terrible as that by the pestilence itself; and to feel that such a visitation as this may become a mercy, a celestial benediction" from above.
Months passed away, and still the Plague continued to increase, until in one week the number of deaths reached the fearful amount of ten thousand! This was in September. As the cool weather of autumn approached, however, there was an abatement, and the deaths decreased gradually from thousands to hundreds, and from hundreds to tens; till, at last, in the beginning of December, the joy
ful news was announced, that seventy-three parishes were free from disease. The new year appeared, and health, and life, and activity were seen once again in the streets of London. The king and the royal family returned; the nobility followed; business began again, and all looked very much as it had done before the Plague appeared. But then, one hundred thousand persons, who, twelve months before, had walked those streets, as busy and as active as any who were to be seen in them now,―those hundred thousand persons were all swept away, and their place knew them no more. Thoughtful people would ponder over this, and rememper, that still "in the midst of life we are in death;" but as to the greater number, we may fear that they were so completely absorbed in their worldly cares and pleasures, as to retain no serious impression of the past,-none of those salutary lessons which that time of sorrow had so recently and so powerfully taught them.
But the calamities of London were not yet ended. Another trouble of a different kind was approaching,-one which would be as destructive of property, as the former had been of life. This calamity was the great Fire, vhich took place the year after the Plague. Suddenly and unexpectedly that fire broke out; and its cause, whether accident or design, was
never completely ascertained. One Saturday night, the people of London retired to rest as usual, unsuspicious of any danger. Very early in the morning, however, they were aroused by the cry of "Fire, fire, fire." The flames had broken out in a baker's shop, in a part of the city where the houses were built of wood, and they ignited so quickly, that before day-light, the fire had increased to a tremendous degree, and no engines, nor other means which were tried, would extinguish them. All that day it raged furiously. It was Sunday, but no sabbath of rest. Every one was running to and fro; people were to be seen rushing from their houses, and endeavouring to save themselves or their property from the devouring flames. In some parts of the city which the fire had not yet reached, the churches were opened, and farewell sermons were preached; for those who preached and those who heard, expected that, ere another sabbath, their city would be in ruins, and themselves scattered they knew not where.
Meantime the fire continued its progress. A violent wind drove it on at a rapid rate, and nothing could withstand its fury. Houses, churches, public buildings, all fell before it. And then night came,-and an awful night it was. No one thought of sleep. Some were vainly trying to extinguish the fire; others
were fleeing before it. And then, there was the sight of the lurid flames overpowering the darkness of night; and the sound of the cracking and the roaring of the fire as it rushed along, leaping from house to house; and the falling of the buildings, and the screams of the people, and the cry, from time to time, of Fire, fire, fire! That night was indeed one to be remembered as a night of terror and alarm. And morning came, and still the fire was rolling along. All Monday, all Tuesday, its fearful ravages continued; on Wednesday, there was a little abatement; for now the people had adopted the plan of blowing up the houses with gun-powder, in order to arrest the progress of the flames; and this plan was found to succeed, so that by Thursday the fire was entirely extinguished. But oh, what a scene of ruin and desolation presented itself then! Only six persons indeed had perished, for life had been wonderfully preserved: but 13,000 houses were consumed; 400 streets had been burnt down, and property of various kinds had been destroyed, to the amount of more than £7,000,000! Ah, here was another solemn lesson for the inhabitants of London! They might read, inscribed as it were on the burnt and ruinous heaps around them, "Riches make themselves wings, and fly away."
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