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if, when Mason got of sufficient age to speak, such a plan should be pursued with respect to this dear child. It was the only time that any thing bordering upon anger towards myself ever fell from his lips. I left the room, and began a little more to understand the meaning of the word Prayer, which I had been speaking of. A few days after this, on seeing me suffering, and, with his usual feeling, lamenting it, I expressed the belief, that not only general circumstances were ordered for the best in my case, but every daily portion of suffering was particularly appointed and limited this was the substance of the remark-at whicb idea he laughed heartily; and, in a gentle and playful manner, spoke of my presumption, in imagining that all which concerned me was of as much importance, even to human creatures, as to himself. My own mind was, by God's mercy, preparing for the scenes which followed. I felt these remarks, of course, very deeply; and seriously requested, that if he could not feel the comforting truth himself, he would not attempt to take it from me. On my return to the room which I quitted, I found him, with all his usual kindness, waiting for me, but more thoughtful than before. God was about to manifest his mercy, when I was beginning to despair: then it was that the many years' fervent and persevering prayers of his pious mother were about to be answered.
Very shortly after the above remarks, in the usual evening reading to me, something led to the mention of the first chapter of Genesis; when,
to my surprise, he began attempting to prove to me, through all its parts, that the history of the creation, if inspired, was allegorical ; the work of the six days, and the rest of the seventh, &c., especially so. I could not argue; the conversation was short: was driven to one comfort, and
I state these circumstances, to show that the awful departure from God was becoming evidently and increasingly rapid.
The very day succeeding this discussion, after breakfast, my husband was seized with a slight hæmorrhage;-so slight, that, but for the evident terror I saw it produce in his mind, I should not have heeded it. The medical man who came confirmed me in this opinion ; said it was of no consequence, and ordered quiet and some slight remedies. Being in ill health at the time, by my husband's wish I prepared to take a short ride; but was grieved, on just going away, to be recalled, to wait till the servant should first get for him, from the circulating library, the last new novel of Walter Scott's ; or, if this was not to be had, some others. The man returned with two or three, which were placed on the sofa, and I went out. I did not go farther than the end of a short street, before I regretted having been induced to leave home; and returned more speedily than I had quitted it, after an absence not exceeding one short quarter of an hour. On entering the room suddenly and unexpectedly, words cannot express the surprise that seized me at the change so strikingly depicted in my husband's countenance, from fear and agitation to marked sorrow, but comparative placidity; and, as I thought, mental prayer. The first object which drew my notice, and against which I had nearly stumbled, as it lay at the entrance of the door of a large drawing-room, and at the furthest extremity of the room-the opposite end to that where my husband lay on the sofa-was the very novel I had left him reading, lying half-open ; as it had evidently been thrown there with considerable force, and by some one in great agitation. To avoid recurrence to this scene, I will here give you the explanation, which was never given to me till my husband's last sickness, when he felt it right to withhold it no longer. It appears that, fearing his sickness to be of the same nature, and perhaps likely to have the same issue with his brother's, he determined to put away thought; and endeavoured, with this view, to get interested in the story before him ; that he read the beginning, but in vain; turned over many successive pages, still in vain ; and found himself looking at the end blank-leaf, when, suddenly, a strong impression came across his mind, not indeed in the same way, but as forcibly, as if a voice were speaking to him, “ There is mercy yet!”-reiterating the expression, so that he could, as it were, see or hear nothing else. With unutterable indignation against himself for thus trifling, and unspeakable joy to feel persuaded of the truth of the suggestion, and that it was indeed sent in mercy, he threw with violence the book as far from him as possible; and could only, with thankfulness, determine to accept the offered mercy: and from this moment, to and through his dying hour, no doubt that he was one whom this mercy had accepted, ever really, or at all abidingly, disturbed his mind.
This firm apprehension of mercy is the more extraordinary, as it stands contrasted with a former remarkable experience which he passed through at the age of fifteen or sixteen; the particulars of which he also related to me, at the same time with the preceding statement, but a few weeks before his death. It is as follows. He became, at that early age, while under the roof of Mr. Simons, so deeply convinced of sin and its awful nature, and so feeling himself subject to the wrath of God, that he could scarcely endure his own thoughts. In extreme anguish he wrote to Mr. Scott, determining to abide by his advice, and take any comfort he should offer. No doubt, numerous engagements prevented this servant of God from attending to the statement so soon as he otherwise would have done; or, at least, so soon as the young and impatient sufferer expected. Days and weeks rolled over his head, and the anguish was increasing: he saw, as he thought, his doom ; and saw, strange to say! no means of escape; or at least could not lay hold of any. At last he determined to endure present suffering no longer,—to make up his mind to banish from it all thoughts of religion, and all care for his soul, and (to use his own expression to me) “ To live as I list, and die as I could.” Soon after this awful resolution was taken, Mr. Scott's answer arrived ; but the fear of being again called to think upon
the subject, and to endure a repetition of the anguish he had gone through, induced him to reject all thoughts of it, and to throw the letter in the fire; but I understood from him, that he was never able to persuade himself to scepticism ; he could not doubt the truth of the Bible, as being the word of God. His unblameable moral conduct was owing, through God's great mercy, in early life, to his love and fear of his mother; and, as he told me, the not being able to bear that she should hear of misconduct, restrained him from many evils at Cambridge. In later life his domestic habits were a barrier of a similar kind; together with a most unusual and self-denying kindness of disposition, so that he could not bear to wound the feelings of those he loved; and yet, as you may see from what I have already stated, these feeble barriers against scepticism, and its wretched consequences, might probably soon have been overleaped, had not sovereign mercy interposed one infinitely stronger.
From this detail of the secret workings of his mind, or rather of the gracious dealings of the Spirit of God, in his first serious attack of illness, I would now tell you something of their effects in his life; after stating an observation he made during the conversation just mentioned, that it was the especial mercy of God to deal with him according to his weakness, and to spare him a second time any views of sin apart from a Saviour; which, had they been at all akin to his former experience, his frame must have sunk under it. He saw, indeed, the awful nature of sin, his own