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I repeatedly did, and with which she would join, with an ardençy and delight that melted the hearts of all around, producing a sphere of exalted piety I never before witnessed, evincing that it flowed entirely from the New Heaven, although the greatest number always present were members of the Old Church. As the excitement of her disease increased, her views of natural things were left behind, and she dwelt entirely on the great and beautiful realities of the spiritual world, and frequently in the pure language of the most exalted correspondencies. Seeing her mother's great anxiety, and fearing that some of her emotions arose out of a doubt of the correctness of her religious opinions, she made a great effort to detail a few of the striking features of our Church, in which she stated, 6 that the Lord was the Sun of Heaven”66 that God himself descended to redeem man, and that without He had so descended, none of us ever were, or could have been saved," closing with this emphatic observation : 6 You know, ma, there is but one God and one Saviour. There was something, however, still more interesting in her manner. There was an animating smile of sweetness and beauty resting on her countenance, as she spoke, that electrified all around her; and in the tears of the spectators you would frequently see smiles, and hear them exclaim, “She speaks like an angel !" " How beautiful !" & How fit for Heaven !" &c. Some of the most intelligent would rush out of the room, exclaiming, with uncommon ardency, “ If this is the effect of the doctrines of the New Church, never will I again suffer them to be aspersed in my presence !” 6 What an example of piety and wisdom !” “ Who would not envy such a death-bed!"
As the fever began to affect her head her restlessness increased, and a twitching of the tendons became troublesome. Every effort was made to keep her from talking too much, and to induce her to lie still, in hopes that sleep might be obtained, for as yet she had never closed her eyes. Knowing the divine power of the Word, I tried what effect it would have. I read an appropriate psalm, and, to my delight and astonishment, she became per fectly calm and attentive, exclaiming, occasionally, “how beau. " tiful! how true!" I asked her if she heard and understood me. She replied, “ most distinctly.” At one time she desired to read, herself, in the Bible ; but she could not keep her eyes fixed on one line at a time; she then had it spread before her, as she sat
thus resteda returned
ease appeared, “It is
up, on her pillow, and laid her two hands open on the leaves, and thus rested for some time. When the Bible was closed, her restlessness returned with increased violence. The Word was again read, and her disease appeared almost suspended. Every one felt astonished. Some exclaimed, “It is miraculous !” I clo. sed with the Lord's prayer. Every body prostrated themselves at her bed-side, and I never felt a purer sphere of humble piety than filled the room at that moment. One of the physicians (Dr. Lawrence) who attended her was greatly struck and delighted with it, and, being a pious man, he finally prescribed a chapter from the Word, every hour or two, which was used with the same happy effects, until her mind sunk under the disease.
On Tuesday morning it was evident, from the disease settling on her brain, that she would soon leave us. There was uncom. mon brilliancy in her eye, which appeared to be looking beyond external things, into the spiritual world, the benignity of her smiles increased almost to joy ; she spoke of 6 mountains, hills, and beautiful vallies;" she would exclaim, “ How beautiful! how enchanting ! what lovely dimples! give me my dress! my wedding garment! there's room for us all! come, come! more yet! father! father!" until she became exhausted, and she closed in a fainter and softer tone, “ I come! I come! I come !" She now appeared to be leaving us; her eyes closed; she became calm, and the disease appeared to have little more to act upon. Soon after, she was again somewhat convulsed, after which she opened her eyes, and gently said, “ Yes, Lord! yes, Lord!” and spoke no more. From that time she became perfectly calm and insensible, a sweet smile settled on her face, and she gradu. ally, in about half an hour, expired without a groan !
During the last two hours of her life, every word and every look was anxiously caught at. Every person in the room (and there were twelve or fifteen) was hovering close around her, sitting on the bed, kneeling around it, or hanging over it, that they might lose nothing in a scene so heavenly and uncommon. And when she breathed her last, they all, as it were with one impulse, knelt around, while the Lord's prayer was solemnly repeated.
Such, my dear Sir, is a faint outline of the uncommon circumstances, which took place during the last illness of this amiable and excellent girl, in no instance exaggerated ; the good effects of which, I trust, will long be felt by those whose happiness it was to witness them. That there was a particular Providence in the time and manner of her death, for the benefit of the New Church, I have no doubt. She had been confirmed in the doc. trines, and had openly, and on all proper occasions, avowed it; she had been the blessed means of introducing them to the affections of her brothers and sisters, and exciting the desire of others to examine; she had sown the seed. The tears of admiration and astonishment which flowed at her death, will do more to water and nourish it, than perhaps all the exertions of a long life. More prejudices against our holy religion were destroyed at that moment, than perhaps the reasoning of a life could effect. Although all my sensibilities were greatly excited during the whole scene, I thank the Lord that he wonderfully supported me, to have an eye and ear constantly to the New Church, in every thing that was connected with it. In no instance, I believe, did, any thing transpire, either in the weakness consequent on Lavinia's disease, or in the various devotions used during the time, but what appeared dignified and impressive to every one present; especially, at the close of all, the reading the funeral service, in which, during the prayers, nearly the whole audience knelt on the grass, contrary to the common forms of the place, evincing a respect and sympathy not at all expected. I closed that service by reading the 98th hymn, altering the first and last lines in this manner:
“O blest is she who dies in peace,” &c. . I was once or twice with Lavinia alone, when I took occasion, in a delicate manper, to draw from her, at that interesting moment, her opinions of the doctrines of the New Church. She declared her most implicit confidence in their truth, adding, " they were as clear as the light of day.”
I also desired to know if she had any anxieties about passing into the other world.' She said she had none. She was perfectly satisfied to submit to whatever the Lord deemed proper. At the same time she also submitted, with the most perfect patience, to whatever her physician recommended, although the prescriptions were frequently painful and unpleasant. In fact, she was the model of every thing that was excellent, and the admiration of her physicians, friends and relations.
In reviewing the interesting scenes that I have just passed through, and now described, however much I loved this favourite
sister, and however for the moment I regretted parting with her, I must say, there is now more joy than sorrow, in the mingled emotions which are produced, and I wou!i tot, call her back from the mansions of peace, so congenial to the purity and excellence of her mind.
In these views and feelings, I know you and our friends in Philadelphia will unite with me, more particularly when you are informed how dear and interesting to her heart was every recol. lection of you and them, in her last illness. How often she would speak of your sweet and impressive voice! of the pulpit and the temple of the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper! and of every thing connected with the Church; and even when her understanding was no longer able to guide her affections, she would dwell upon your name, and call upon you, as if you were present.
Farewell, my good sir, and may we all pray for an end so happy and so exemplary; may we all endeavour to become worthy of a blessing so enviable, and of an exit wbich promises such future and eternal felicity. ..
I remain, reverend and dear sir,
i J. M. ESPY. The Rev. Mr. Carll.”
1 Rich in mercy, Jesus reigns,
Heaven owns no other king;
While his matchless grace you sing.
Kindled from celestial fires;
Sweetly flow from silver lyres.