Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

and revelation of the righteous judgment of God! Of this we have a mournful illustration in the life of the notorious and profane infidel, Thomas Paine. He himself thus recites some of the events which happened to him during the reign of terror in France:

" I was one of the nine members,” he says, “ who composed the first committee of constitution. Six of them have been destroyed; Sièyes, and myself, have survived—he, by bending-I, by not bending: the other survivor joined Robespierre, and with him signed the warrant for my arrest. After the fall of Robespierre, he in his turn was seized and imprisoned.

- Herault Séchelles was my suppléant as member of committee; that is, he was to supply my place if I had not accepted or had resigned it. He was imprisoned in the Luxembourg with me, was taken to the tribunal and to the guillotine; and I, his principal, was left.

“ There were but two foreigners in the convention, Anarcharsis Cloots and myself. We were both put' out of the convention by the same vote, arrested by the same order, and carried to prison together. He was guillotined, and I was again left.

of me.

“ Joseph Lebon, one of the vilest wretches who ever lived, who made the streets of Arras run red with blood, was my suppléant for the department of the Pays de Calais. When I was put out of the convention, he came and took my place; when I was liberated from prison, and voted again into the convention, he was sent to the same prison, and took my place there; and he went to the guillotine instead

He supplied my place all the way through.

Que hundred and sixty-eight persons were taken out of the Luxembourg in one night, and a hundred and sixty of them guillotined the next day, of which I know I was to have been one; and the manner I escaped that fate is curious, and has all the appearance of accident. The room in which I was lodged was one of a long range, the doors of which opened outward and fell flat against the wall, so that when it was open the inside of the door appeared outward. When persons, by scores and by hundreds, were taken out of the prison for the guillotine, it was always done by night, and those who performed that office had a private mark or signal by which they knew what rooms to go to, and what number to take.

“ We were four, and the door of our room was marked with that number in chalk; but it happened, if happening is the proper word, the mark was put on the door when it was open and flat against the wall, and thereby came on the inside when we shut it for the night,--and the destroying angel passed by me. A few days afterward Robespierre fell. During the whole of my imprisonment there was no time when my life was worth twenty-four hours' purchase.”

And yet thus warned, and thus marvellously preserved, he continued insensible to the kind and gracious Hand which had sustained him ; and he died, as is well known, with his mouth filled with alternate blasphemies and supplica

tions for mercy.

CHAPTER II.

FAITH AND PRAYER REWARDED BY SIGNAL DELIVER

ANCES FROM IMMINENT PERILS.

THOUGH “the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works,” yet the promises of providential care are made, the pledges of it are given, to the righteous exclusively. With them it is a matter of express stipulation and covenant, that "all things" shall “work together for their good.” “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy." His

eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect towards him.” The ultimate design of universal providence is, the welfare and safety of “ them that love God, who are the called according to his purpose.” Just as a kind and affectionate father regulates his household, and manages his estate, with a special reference to the interests of his children; 80

does «

our Father who is heaven” make the noblest interests of his adopted family the end and purpose of his providential government.

Scripture furnishes us with innumerable instances of this. When the swollen clouds and the heavy bursting earth were ready to pour forth their torrents, they must wait till Noah had entered the ark and God had shut him in, “and on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” When the tempest of fire was prepared to destroy the doomed and guilty cities of the plain, and the ministers of vengeance had waited through the night whilst Lot lingered, they at length hurry him from the city toward the place of refuge, saying, “ Haste thee, thither; for we cannot do anything till thou be come thither." Our Lord sets the same truth before us in the parable of the householder, to whom his servants come to say that tares have sprung up in his wheat, and to ask permission to uproot them; but he refuses “lest ye root up also the wheat with them.” The presence, too, of Paul and his companions in the storm-tossed vessel saved the mariners and their fellow-passengers from a watery grave. We shall find abundant con

« PoprzedniaDalej »