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was taken ill, he was almost perpetually with him ; seated at his bed side, night and day, he would wait upon him with the constant assiduity of a nurse; in short, if it had not been for him, I question, if Mrs. Merryman could have been supported, under the pressure of her fatigue.
Mrs. Wor. Oh! what a kind youth ! I shall ever love him for my daughter's sake.
Loveg. O madam, if ever you should know him, you would be delighted with him. Such a lively, pleasant, and animated disposition ; and withal, so truly devoted to God !--He is quite the counterpart of Mr. Merryman.
Mrs. Wor. I hope I shall soon be acquainted with him. But what had he to say of the frame of Mr. Merryman's mind, when he was first, taken ill ? .
Loveg. Upon the whole, from the very first he seemed to possess in a high degree, a resigned and submissive spirit. But it appeared, that the reflection of what he had been, came home at times to his recollection, with considerable remorse and grief; lamenting exceedingly how much he had to undo of the evils he had done by his light and frothy conduct, before the grace of God took possession of his heart. But one time in particular, with tears in his eyes, it seems he cried ; “Oh! what would I give if I could recal the time that is now for ever past, when as a wicked and careless minister, both in my life and doctrine, I was the cause of the ruin and delusion of so many souls. It was I, that persuaded poor Jack Trifler to go with me to the ball, where he first met with those who poisoned him with disease, that led him to the grave. What an awful charge against me, that precious souls should have been ruined by me! But now they are irrecoverably lost." And when Mr. Sprightly mentioned the free forgiveness he had preached to others, and which he had received
himself, he immediately cried, "Yes, yes ; I know that God has forgiven me; but for all that, I never can forgive myself.” And when Mr. Sprightly began to speak of the good he had done, since he had been blessed with the grace of God, and mentioned himself, as one among many others, that would have eternal reason to bless God for his ministry, he seemed to smile ; took him by the hand, and said ; “Yes, my dear Robert; and this is the only reason which makes me wish to live, that I may bring more sinners to Jesus Christ : though I am ashamed of myself that I have not been more earnest and zealous in the causc of the salvation of souls.”
1 At another time he said, “ I hope, my dear Robert, I shall not infect you with my fever, as I have infected others with my sinful ways; well, though the Lord has permitted me to run into sad lengths of dissipation, yet it may have been, that he might again make known his patience, forbearance, and grace to the very chief of sinners, who are enabled to come to him, who in no wise can cast us out."
Mrs. Wor. It seems, then, while he was in a humble frame, he was by no mcans in a desponding frame.
Loveg. I believe just the reverse ; for while he felt and lamented, that he had been such a sinner, he could still rejoice, that he was a sinner saved.
Wor. But, in saying these things, he did not speak, as though the fever had disturbed his recollection.
Loveg. By no means; but this was at the beginning of his illness, when there were some hopes, that his disease was about to take a favourable turn. However, it seems that soon afterwards, he became frequently incoherent; but in the midst of his reveries, his mind was still engaged upon the best of subjects. At one time he supposed himself to be preaching; and at another time, he would seem to imagine, that he was
praying with the people; while what he said, on these occasions, was astonishingly affecting and fine, even superior to what he ever said in the best days of his recollection and health.
Mrs. Wor. When did you first see him ?
Loveg. It was thought necessary that I should see him on the Saturday morning, to set his mind at rest about the supply of his Church: for on the Sunday before, it was entirely shut up, and the consternation of the people was inexpressible.
Mrs. Wor. Did you go up stairs with Mr. Lovegood?
Wor. O no, I was advised not, and I staid below with our daughter; for whenever he perceived her in the room, seeing ber much affected, it greatly increased his agitation : and again he had sad apprehensions lest she might catch the disease. It being necessary, that he should be kept as quiet as possible, Mr. Sprightly was the only person that went into the room with me, and he being then in a sort of restless doze, I stood by his bed side some time, before he took any notice of me, and while I was waiting till he awoke, I heard him repeat the following lines, which I could not have understood, if I had not known the hymn :
Thou sayst, thou wilt thy servants keep
Give me to find thy promis'd rest.
cannot sing, I wish I could.” Just then he opened his eyes, looked at me with the kindest affection, for a few seconds, and then said, “What, are you there, my dear Mr. Lovegood ? that precious man who saved my soul from ruin! Who was it that carried me over to Brookfield to see him ?" Being too much overcome to answer him, Mr. Sprightly said, “No, dear Sir, you are still at Sandover : Mr. Lovegood is come over to see you, and to supply the Church for you till you are better.” He replied, “ Dear man, how kind! I shan't be able to read prayers for him. Robert, lift me up in bed. I am very thirsty. Nurse, bring me some barley-water :" he partook of it, and cried, • Let him that is athirst come; yea, whosoever will, let them come and partake of the waters of life freely. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God !!” Then, perceiving I was in the room, he addressed himself to me, and said, “ Tell the people, o tell them all, how I long over them in the bowels of Jesus Christ. I hope there will not be one pew in the Church that will not have some sinner to feel as I did, when you preached your visitation sermon. I think I am clear from the blood of all them ; but if not, I beg their pardons ten thousand times." What he said so completely overcame me, that I was obliged to retire to the window to vent my feelings. He then broke out into a profuse perspiration, when he asked where I was gone. I returned and helped to wipe off the rolling drops from his head and hair ; and while we were performing the office, he cried, “If every hair of my head, and every drop that falls from my face, were to be turned into a tongue; and were I to live ten thousand years, they should all be employed in telling the salvation of Christ, and in singing his redeeming love;" and then added, “I can neither praise him as I should, nor yet as I would. I am so weak, lay me down again." This gave me an opportunity of saying,
" we will retire, that you may be more composed." You must think, Sir, this was quite as much as I could bear.
Mrs. Wor. But this seemed at least, like a short revival of his intellectual powers.
Loveg. Yes, madam, and what he said at such intervals was astonishingly delightful.
Mrs. Wor. How did you get through the Sunday services ?
Loveg. With the greatest difficulty imaginable. What the people felt, what we all felt, is not to be described. His fascinating and affectionate behaviour, highly enriched by the grace of God, has rendered him one of the most beloved and esteemed characters that can well be conceived. :- Mrs. Wor. What was your morning text ?
Loveg. “Behold I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, unless thou repent.” (Rev. ii. 5.)
Mrs. Wor. I fear on such a subject, and on such ail occasion, your own feelings and those of the congregation must have been sharply exercised. /
Loveg. Indeed, madam, they really were. It could scarcely be called preaching ; my mind was so overpowered by the event, that I could not help my feelings, nor could the congregation command theirs. They all seemed to feel, that the loss of such à minister would prove the greatest they could sustain ; but still I thought it an excellent sign, that they knew how to appreciate the labours of such an invaluable man.
Wor. I cannot wonder at their feelings: and as my daughter was so low, I thought it my duty to stay ať home with her; though I fear this added considerably to the people's alarm.
Mrs. Wor. What was your afternoon subject? "Loveg: “Prepare to meet thy God.” But I did all in my power to avoid all personal reference to the present