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I have addressed unto you; and I
your displeasure gives me greater pain than the cause of
my visit, inasmuch as it convinces me that your heart is not right with God. I have but a few years to live, and I may have only a few hours; and as I may not live to repeat a visit which is as unacceptable to you as it is painful to myself, I cannot leave you without giving you and Mrs. B. a message from the Lord,—Take heed, lest there be in either of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” “I have no doubt, Sir, but your motives are good," said Mr. Beaufoy," and that you deem the solemn admonition of the apostle necessary; but you will permit us, if you please, to form our own judgment on the propriety of its application.”
The venerable elder then arose, weeping as he rose he took his young brother by the hand, and wept aloud, as the elders of Ephesus wept when Paul bid them adieu, and after struggling for some minutes to subdue the mighty conflict of feeling which was agitating his hallowed breast, he then said, "My brother, I fear that thou hast departed from the Lord, and that his Spirit has departed from thee; but let us kneel down together at the throne of grace, as we used to kneel when the light of his countenance shone
for his return.” And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with him. It was a solemn and affecting prayer, offered up to God with great simplicity and earnestness, and which bespoke the fidelity of his affeetion for his brother. When he arose from his knees, he received the cool thanks of courtesy for his labour of love, and retired sorrowing most of all under a presentiment that he should see his face no more. And so it proved; for his feeble frame received a shock that evening from which he had not strength to recover.
He hastened home as fast as his tottering limbs would carry him-partook of his frugal meal-read the twenty-third Psalm, and, in company with his pious house-keeper, (for he had buried his wife about six weeks before this affliction came upon him,) knelt down, and closed the toils of the day in the hallowed exercise of communion with God. One petition he presented which he had never been heard to utter before ;—“And if, Lord, it should please thee to call thy servant this night, I thank thee that I am at last enabled to adopt the language of Simeon-Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” This petition was expressed with great animation and fervour, and with an energy of voice which indicated the strong pulsation of a mind feeling its near approach to the prize of its high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He retired to rest at his usual hour, but he was too wakeful to sleep; and about the hour of twelve he
the bell. His house-keeper entered his room, and on drawing aside the curtain of his bed she heard him say,
“Oh! the pain, the bliss of dying.". He requested her to fetch his pious medical friend, who resided near him, and to whom, after he had satisfied his enquiries respecting his seizure and the pains he felt, he related the particulars of his visit to their fellow-member, Mr. Beaufoy. “I know," he said, “I am dying, and that in a very few hours I shall see the King in his beauty; but, Sir, death hath lost its sting, and I have lost my fears. I have long waited for my salvation, and now it is come. I die in full and certain hope of a joyful resurrection to eternal life. Give my dying love to my dear, wandering brother, and tell him that the language of the prophet is so impressed on my mind, that I cannot leave the body without expressing, a desire that he will read it. Thiné own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove thee; know, therefore, and sec, that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts. He now gently waved his hand as he repeated the triumphant language of the apostles : O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ: and reclining on the bosom of his friend, he had one strong convulsive struggle, and then opening his eyes with a smile on his venerable countenance, he expired. Mark the perfect man, and observe the upright for the end of that man is peace.
“ As he was passing away from these scenes of confusion, he was assailed by the missile weapons of insult, and threatened, that if he dared enter the chapel again, he should not be permitted to escape with his life.'
THE PERSECUTED VILLAGERS.
" It is not religion nor charity, but blasphemy against the very nature of religion, for man to persecute his fellow man for worshipping God according to the suggestions of his heart, and the dictates of his understanding. It is not piety, but presumptuous arrogance, that prompts those who interfere between man and the dispensation of his Creator's mercy towards him."
A short time after the Village Chapel had been set apart for the worship of God, and the minister had commenced the discharge of his regular services, a spirit of opposition arose from a very unexpected quarter. Some of the more respectable farmers and two magistrates, waited on the clergyman of the parish, to express their astonishment that he should give his sanction to a measure, which, in their opinion, was calculated to endanger the Church; and to request that he would employ all his influence to prevent its succeeding:
“ Indeed, Gentlemen,” said the Rev. Mr. O I have not sanctioned it. When Mr. Holmes waited on me, to explain the motives and the reason of his conduct, I expressly stated, that, in my opinion, the step he was about taking was unnecessary, and that it would prove injurious to the peace of the parish, by the introduction of another religion, which would stir up the spirit of strife and contention among the people. It is true, when he said he expected to be able to reform the village, I expressed a wish that he might succeed in that particular, but at the same time told him that I did not think he would.”.
“Reform the village, Sir," said one of the magistrates, "" the village wants no reformation. The people are honest, industrious, virtuous, and happy; and what reformation do they require? I suppose these saints want to deprive the villagers of the few sports which they and their ancestors have enjoyed from time imme morial ; and which are as necessary to keep up the hardy and adventurous spirit of the country, as they are for the promotion of their happiness. I was present at the last bull bait, and must confess that I never enjoyed a day's pleasure more in my life.
“ Yes," said the Gentleman, who was the proprietor of the inn on the green,“ if we stand still, and let these new doctrines overspread the village, we shall have the sportive cheerfulness of the Sunday turned into the dull monotonous uniformity of a psalm singing Sabbath."
Rev. Mr.0“I certainly do not wish to see the poor peasantry deprived of the few innocent sports which they have so long enjoyed; nor do I think that our Maker requires that we should spend the whole of the Sunday in the services of devotion; but I must confess, that they have been rather too remiss in their attendance at church, and that I have sometimes heard of pastimes on the green on a Sunday evening, which I think ought not to have been tolerated.”
* Why, certainly, Sir, they do not attend the church quite so often as they ought to do; but as for the
pastimes on the green, I rather think, Sir, you must have received some exaggerated description of them; for I candidly confess that I never saw any.to disapprove of."
Rev. Mr. 0-“I have heard of their dancing on a Sunday evening; and of their frequent intoxications, which
you must allow, Gentlemen, are not very reputable engagements for a Sunday evening."
They are cheerful, Sir, and some of them may sometimes take more ale than their usual quantity ; but I never saw any thing amongst them to disapprove of. Indeed, Sir, I think the scene which the
exhibits on a Sunday evening is one of the most amusing which a country life can exhibit; and though it may display less of the grard and imposing than Üyde Park, or St. James's, yet in its various groupes and gambols, it throws open to our view' all the lights and shadows which tinge and adorn the rustic character. The young and old intermingle promiscuously together; and those who are too infirm to engage in the innocent frolics of their youthful days, look on, while others react the parts they once performed. The utmost degree of hilarity prevails amongst them-and they seem to forget the toils and cares of the week amidst their scenes of pleasure. I have often, when viewing their sportive playfulness, envied the bliss they have felt.