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"If the storm do not abate," said the sick man, after a pause, "it will be hard for my friends to carry me over the drifts to the kird-yard." This sudden approach to the grave struck as with a bar of ice the heart of the loving boy—and, with a long deep sigh, he fell down with his face like ashes on the bed, while the old man's palsied right hand had just strength to lay itself upon his head. “ Blessed be thou, my little Jamie, even for his own name's sake who died for us on the tree!" The mother, without terror, but with an averted face, lifted up her loving-hearted boy, now in a dead fainting-fit, and carried him into an adjoining room, where he soon revived: but that child and that old man were not to be separated; in vain was he asked to go to his brothers and sisters; pale, breathless, and shivering, he took his place as before, with eyes fixed on his grandfather's face, but neither weeping nor uttering a word. Terror had frozen up the blood of his heart; but his were now the only dry eyes in the room; and the pastor himself wept, albeit the grief of fourscore is seldom vented in
"God has been gracious to me a sinner,” said the dying man. During thirty years that I have been an elder in your kirk, never have I missed sitting there one sabbath. When the mother of my children was taken from me—it was on a Tuesday she died—and on Saturday she was buried. We stood together when my Alice was let down into the narrow house made for all living. On
the sabbath I joined in the public worship of God—she commanded me to do so the night before she went away. I could not join in the psalm that sabbath, for her voice was not in the throng. Her grave was covered up, and grass and flowers grew there; so was my heart; but thou, whom, through the blood of Christ, I hope to see this night in Paradise, knowest, that from that hour to this day never have I forgotten thee!"
The old man ceased speaking-and his grandchild, now able to endure the scene, for strong passion is its own support, glided softly to a little table, and bringing a cup in which a cordial had been mixed, held it in his small soft hands to his grandfather's lips. He drank, and then said," Come closer to me, Jamie, and kiss me for thine own and thy father's sake;" and as the child fondly pressed his rosy lips on those of his grandfather, so white and withered, the tears fell over all the old man's face, and then trickled down on the golden head of the child at last sobbing in his bosom.
Jamie, thy own father has forgotten thee in thy infancy, and me in my old age; but, Jamie, forget not thou thy father nor thy mother, for that thou knowest and feelest is the commandment of God."
The broken-hearted boy could give no reply. He had gradually stolen closer and closer unto the old loving man, and now was lying, worn out with sorrow, drenched and dissolved in tears, in his grandfather's bosom. His mother had sunk down on her knees and hid her face
with her hands. "Oh! if my husband knew but of this he would never, never desert his dying father!" and I now knew that the elder was praying on his deathbed for a disobedient and wicked son.
At this affecting time the minister took the familybible on his knees, and said, Let us sing to the praise and glory of God, part of the fifteenth psalm," and he read, with a tremulous and broken word, those beautiful verses.
Within thy tabernacle, Lord,
Who shall abide with thee?
The small congregation sung the noble hymn of the psalmist to "Plaintive martyrs worthy of the name." The dying man himself, ever and anon, joined in the holy music-and when it feebly died away on his quivering lips, he continued still to follow the tune with the motion of his withered hand, and eyes devoutly and humbly lifted up to Heaven. Nor was the sweet voice of his loving grand-child unheard; as if the strong fit of deadly passion had dissolved in the music, he sang with a sweet and silvery voice that to a passer by had seemed that of perfect happiness-a hymn sung in joy upon its knees by gladsome childhood before it flew out among the green
hills, to quiet labour or gleesome play. As that sweetest voice came from the bosom of the old man, where the the singer lay in affection, and blended with his own so tremulous, never had I felt so affectingly brought before me the beginning and the end of life, the cradle and the grave.
Ere the psalm was yet over, the door was opened, and a tall fine-looking man entered, but with a louring and dark countenance, seemingly in sorrow, in misery, and remorse. Agitated, confounded, and awe-struck by the melancholy and dirgelike music, he sat down on a chair --and looked with a ghastly face towards his father's death-bed. When the psalm ceased, the elder said with a solemn voice, 'My son-thou art come in time to receive thy father's blessing. May the remembrance of what will happen in this room, before the morning again shine over the Hazel-glen, win thee from the error of thy ways. Thou art here to witness the mercy of thy God and thy Saviour, whom thou hast forgotten."
The minister looked, if not with a stern, yet with an upbraiding countenance, on the young man who had not recovered his speech, and said, "William! for three years past your shadow has not darkened the door of the house of God. They who fear not the thunder may tremble at the still small voice-now is the hour for repentance that your father's spirit may carry up to Heaven tidings of a contrite soul saved from the company of sinners!"
The young man, with much effort, advanced to the bed-side, and at last found voice to say, "Father-I am not without the affections of nature-and I hurried home soon as I heard that the minister had been seen riding towards our house. I hope that you will yet recover-and if I have ever made you unhappy, I ask your forgiveness—for though I may not think as you do on matters of religion, I have a human heart. may have been unkind, but I am not cruel. forgiveness."
I ask your
"Come nearer to me, William, kneel down by the bed-side, and let my hand find the head of my beloved son-for blindness is coming fast upon me. Thou wert my first-born, and thou art my only living son. thy brothers and sisters are lying in the church-yard, beside her whose sweet face thine own, William, did once so much resemble. Long wert thou the joy, the pride of my soul-ay, too much the pride, for there was not in all the parish such a man, such a son, as my own William. If thy heart has since been changed, God may inspire it again with right thoughts. Could I die for thy sake-could I purchase thy salvation with the outpouring of thy father's blood--but this the son of God has done for thee who hast denied him! I have sorely wept for thee-ay, William, when there was none near me even as David wept for Absalom-for thee, my son, my son!"
A long deep groan was the only reply; but the whole