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“Sorrow is a sacred thing.” And that sorrow that lies deep in the heart—that breathes no sigh—sheds no tear—utters no complaint—is wonderfully affecting. Douglas never felt more respect mix with his pity, than at this period of Lefevre's uttermost distress. With the delicacy of Job’s friends, a delicacy he had often admired, he sat down without saying a word to sympathize with him in silence. Profound was the stillness that prevailed for many minutes. Lefevre seemed moved by his quiet and respectful sympathy: and appeared desirous of noticing it, in proportion as it retreated from notice and expression. He half raised his eyes in an effort to look on him; but they fell under him again. This rejoiced Douglas; and he was waiting for the second effort, expecting it to be successful, when Mrs. Lefevre broke the silence. She did not fully comprehend that communion of spirits which subsists, not only without words, but in scorn of them; and she was uneasy that he did not talk to her son. “‘Charles '' said she, “here is Mr. Douglas, you’ll speak to him, won’t you ?” “Lefevre evidently shrunk from this overture, and Douglas, scarcely knowing bow to act, said—“Charles' I am concerned to see you so unwell.’ “He spoke not. “If my speaking,” Douglas continued, “is painful to you, only raise your hand, and I will desist altogether.’ “The hand was not raised. Douglas was encouraged—“There is hope, Charles!” said he. “Lefevre shook his head slightly. “‘O yes, I do assure you there is hope' For the vilest returning sinner there is hope . The tempter may incline you to think otherwise, but remember he is “the father of lies.’ He is always tempting us either to presume or despair.’ “He was silent. Douglas alluded at intervals to the inviting language of scripture. “‘The Redeemer has said, ‘Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ + 3& x: #
the backslider—“Take with you words.
and turn unto the Lord, and say unto him, take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.” + + + * + “‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him ; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ + * # 3: “‘God has graciously assured us, ‘that he has no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn unto him Vol. I.
and live.” . And he condescends to expostulate with us—“O why will ye die.” Do not such scriptures afford you encouragement?” “Again he shook his head. “‘O Charles' continued Douglas much affected—" do not cast away hope. Think of what you are doing. The mercy of God is unbounded; the merit of the Saviour is infinite; the agency of the Spirit is almighty : to suppose then, that their influence cannot reach you, is to dishonour God in a point where he is most jealous of his glory. Surcly you would not wish this P’ “His frame seemed to shudder at the suggestion. “Then do not reject all hope" resumed Douglas. “Look to Him who looked with pity on his enemies—his murderers—who looks with pity on you !” “‘Do, Charles, do " said his mother. ‘Take comfort I entreat you!” “‘For your own sake—for the sake of your friends,’ continued Douglas. “‘For my sake—for your mother's sake!” cried Mrs. Lefevre, seizing his passive hand and kissing it. ‘ O Charles, my dear Charles, take comfort! Are you not my hope—my joy Do I not live for you only O Charles, pity your poor distract: ed mother!—Speak to us Charles' Tell us you will take comfort—that will comfort us /? “‘Leave me! leave me!’ said Lefevre, gently pressing her away.”
The recovery of this wandering prodigal is most feelingly described in his own words, in a letter to his friend Douglas, whilst on his voyage to America, with the regiment in which he was enrolled.
MR. LEFEVRE TO MR. DOUGLAS.
“‘I) EAR Do UG LAs, “‘ Believe what you see This is indeed my hand writing.... I am still in the land of the living. Will this news give you any pleasure!, Yes, it will!, I have first abused your friendship, and then cast it away, but you are still my friend. O, Douglas! my folly has caused those, who were most fit for friendship, gradually to forsake me; but you will not be of that number. Let me have the consolation of thinking, that I have one friend left to me; and that that friend is he, whom of all others, I have loved. “After the lapse of somuch time, I hardly know whether I should have written merely to inform you, that I exist; but, since I hopé I can say I live to better purpose, it is my duty to inform you of it, as some o T
compensation for all you have suffered on my account. Yes! I trust I may assert, that the awful visitation of the Almighty, which you witnessed upon me, was not in vain' I resisted it as long as possible, but at length my proud heart was compelled to yield. It was softened, I hope into penitence; and, I would believe, I am an instance of the truth of your maxim, that every returning penitent shall be forgiven. “‘Forgiven O, blessed be that mercy which forgives me !—but I can never forgive myself! The very sense I have of the divine forgiveness, aggravates every transgression I have committed. Have I, with a knowledge of the will of God, refused to do it? Have I, professing to regard religion, grossly dishonoured it? Have I opposed the preventing hand of Providence, till my obstimacy made it necessary to that hand, in Saving me, to shake my reason and my life, and give me for a season to ‘the buffeting of Satan o' Have I pierced the bosom of the best of Fathers, with the arrows of ingratitude and rebellion Have I despised the gentle voice of a pitying, bleeding, dying Saviour O, what a sinner am i !—As perverse as Cain—as treacherous as Judas—as profane as Esau —as apostatizing as Peter—as worldly as Demas—and am I forgiven Yes, I must believe, that the grace which has changed my heart, has pardoned my sin—but I cannot forgive myself/ O that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, then would I weep day and night for my transgressions ! + x
“‘How wonderful are the ways of God! It was when I had put myself beyond the entreaties of friends and the ordinary means of grace;—it was when he had permitted me to weary myself with my own folly, and to taste the fruit of my own doings;–it was when my heart had settled down into an awful state of sullen indifference to time or eternity—that, with a naked and outstretched arm, he did the work alone —What grace —What love —What forbearance!—What wisdom'—I never think of it but I weep, and it is scarcely ever absent from my thoughts. ‘Surely his paths are in the sea, and his footsteps are not known.” “He hath brought me up out of the horrible pit and the miry clay; and hath set my feet upon a rock, and hath established my goings; and hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise to my God!’ O, if I am saved it must be as ‘the very chief of sinners.’ I have merited the lowest place in hell, and I desire nothing more than the lowest place on earth —the lowest place in heaven
“‘There is one thing, however, that presses heavily upon my mind, and often renders me truly unhappy. It is the injury
I have done to my companions in wickedness. I too well know, that my revolt from religion confirmed them in infidelity; and that my daring in sin made them the bolder. I have done them a mischief which I cannot undo. I am, I hope, reclaimed; but I cannot reclaim them. I may and will admonish and pray for them; but alas! they may still obstinately continue in a course, that will probably ruin their temporal, and certainly ruin their eternal interests. O Douglas'—It is only when I think of this that 1 shed tears of bitterness and gall! “‘One of this number, I believe, you know. Have you not occasionally seen Wilson with me And did you not once express yourself pleased with him Poor Wilson ' It is for him, of all the rest, I am most affected. He is affectionate and gentle; but easily led—alas ! too easily led for me. He was, when I first knew him, a regular professor, and I think a real Christian; but I led him astray, step by step, and he became nearly what I was. He has an amiable young wife, and one child; and if he continues what he was, they and himself will speedily be ruined—ruined—O, how can I say it!—by me /–Douglas, my beloved Douglas, if he is living, find him out, for the sake of your friend. Think that I am the guilty cause of all his guilt. Tell him what I have suffered—tell him how I repent. Pray for him—warn him— entreat him in your name—in my name— in our dying Saviour's name—to return unto the God he has forsaken O, I cannot endure the thought of his sinking into perdition through my shameful example!”
If our readers are not fatigued with the length and number of these extracts, we will indulge ourselves with one other; which feelingly pictures the visit of Lefevre, on his return to England, to the dying Wilson, mentioned in the above letter.
“The first glance on Wilson's present circumstances, affected Lefevre by contrast. He had formerly occupied good apartments to which cleanliness and order gave a nameless charm; and Lefevre had, at first, been accustomed to find him, receiving and reflecting the affectionate Smiles of his wife and child, as the evenings passed happily away, in light employments, or domestic recreations. Now he saw him and his family driven, for a last refuge, to a wretched garret, low, dirty, and unfurnished; and even here, it was evident the scourge of poverty was on them. A clean cloth lay in one corner of the place, as if to cover their scanty provisions. Two damaged chairs and a broken table, stood towards the centre of the room. Within the sooty chimney-piece lay a few coals, between half a dozen bricks; but at so much distance from each other, that the flame of some, in vain attempted to communicate itself to the remainder. By the side of the fire, on a stool, sat the little child, stretching out her chilled hands and feet, desirous of a warmth she could not obtain ; while the smoke puffed out repeatedly by the wind, had given a sallow cast to her dejected, but healthy countenance. “The wife and mother rose at the en
trance of the visiters to receive them, with
out salutation, without complaint. She stood like a picture of wo. Nothing seem"ed to remind Lefevre of her, but a certain neatness of appearance, which, though it cannot be described, often serves alone to distinguish one female from others; but this very neatness sat on her shabby attire, like the spirit of departed comfort on existing misery, and seemed to say—‘I have seen better days.” “On a worm-eaten press bedstead was Wilson himself. His eyes wandered without observation; his flesh had sunk from his features, and given them an awful prominency; and an unwholesome yellowness tinctured his skin. His liver was consumed, and his end was rapidly approaching ! “‘Ah!’ thought Lefevre, as he moved towards the bed, ‘I have done all this '' He spoke to the dying man. He was insensible.—He turned away with agitation to his afflicted wife, and inquired the state of his mind. Her reply was just what he dreaded to hear. “Unhappy, Sir,’ said she —‘very unhappy!” “‘Is he penitent?” “‘I trust he is, Sir!” “‘Has he hope * “‘Alas! no Sir. Had he but hope in his death, the bitterness of death would be past to me!’ “ . He must hope ’ cried Lefevre, losing the command of his grief for a moment. Then recovering himself a little, he inquired, whether he was likely to be sensible again: and, on learning that he was, and that it was most probable towards evening, he begged permission to attend him that night. “The friends walked home in silent reflection. Lefevre knew not how, either to conceal, or express his concern...Dou: glas remarked it, and said—“Poor Wilson' I have seen him many times; and, though he is without comfort, I would believe he is truly penitent.” “‘ so you think solo exclaimed Lefevre, with momentary satisfaction— but he has no hope / Can there be real contrition where there is no hope—no faith * “He may, replied Douglas, ‘have hope enough to raise him above despair; and
yet too little to produce sensible comfort— there may be faith enough to rely on the Saviour, but not enough for an assurance of his favour.” “‘Ah! may be / but at best it is doubtful. O my dear friend, you cannot know what I suffer at this instant! You have never ruined a fellow creature Poor Wilson . His temporal distress is nothing —but his soul Douglas !—Indeed, if he die without some evidence of his hope in the Redeemer, I shall never hold up my head in this world!' . “Strong emotion scarcely allowed him to finish the sentence. He hastened to his chamber, to repent afresh of those transgressions, which had carried their influence beyond himself; and to pray ardently for the pardon and acceptance of his former companion, that his guilt might not rest on his conscience. “Early in the evening he renewed his visit, as he had proposed. Wilson was still insensible, and the hand of death was evidently upon him. Lefevre determined not to leave him; and prepared to remain with him the whole night, should he live through it. Hour after hour elapsed, leaving him little to do, except to count the slow minutes on his watch, or to feel the dying pulse, which by turns throbbed— trembled—and stopped' midnight came and went without any glimpse of reason; and the patient was waxing worse. Lefevre was greatly distressed; he feared that no opportunity would be afforded, to exchange even a word or a sign with him. About one o’clock, however, the heavy film on his eye dispersed—his senses were collected—he could see—he could speak. His eye caught Lefevre He had no expectation of seeing him. He became confused. He made an effort to recover himself. His eye brightened, and still dwelt upon him. Lefevre could not endure it. He spoke to relieve his feelings, “‘Wilson'—said he, “do you know me?’ “‘ Know you / O Lefevre' * cried the dying man, with alarming agitation. “These words, associated with his own reflection, went, like a lancet, to the bottom of Lefevre's soul. Had he inclined to his feelings, he would have fled from the pain of his presence; but his mind was now disciplined. He had a duty to discharge—he desired to lead him back to the fold whom he had led from it—and he cared not what he suffered, if he might but accomplish it. “what is your state of mind?” he resumed. “Dark—dark—miserably dark.” said he, shaking his head. “Do you doubt the goodness of God? said Lefevre. “‘O, no' impossible —impossible—but to me——to me and his voice failed him. “He regained it. He pointed to his wife, who sat at the foot of the bed absorbed in wo—“See there !” said he, “I have ruined her—my child—I have ruined my child '' “‘Think not of us.” exclaimed the af. flicted wife. “They shall never want friends!” said Lefevre. “‘Dear Lefevre' said he, extending his hand to him.—‘Where's the child f’ he continued—‘Where’s my. Ann o' . “He was told she was sleeping. He desired to see her. They took her from the corner of the room where she was reposing, and, without awakening her, bore her to her father. He passed his bony and faltering hand down her little fleshy arm. He motioned for her to be lowered to him. He endeavoured to lift his head a little, and pressed his livid lips on her half-opened and smiling mouth. The effort and emotion were too much for him—he fell back and fainted. The unconscious child was laid hastily on the foot of the bed, while they sought to revive him. “Lefevre felt that he had been diverted from the subject, which lay nearest his heart. He feared the life was now departing; and he shuddered to lose his friend, without some evidence of his return to God. ‘O,” said he to himself, “his guilt will be upon me!’ “On the application of volatile salts, however, to the nostrils of Wilson, he once more revived, but it was without the power of utterance He tried to speak and could not! The attempt only convulsed the lifeless jaws. He looked on his wife and Lefevre, with indescribable anguish. “‘O Wilson'-cried Lefevre—“cannot you speak to us?—Make a sign—Are you not happy ' “He endeavoured to shake his head; but, having inclined it one way, he could not turn it in the opposite direction. They understood his awful, half-expressed negative, and wept. “Do you not,’ continued Lefevre, ‘repent of your sins, and renounce them — if you do, lift up your hand'—and his eye fell upon the nerveless hand, as though the sentence of life or death were within its power. “It arose!—An insupportable weight fell from Lefevre's heart. “‘Are you,” he resumed, “enabled to cast yourself, as a perishing, condemned sinner, at the feet of the divine Saviour * “He had lost the power to raise the hand; but he slowly raised both his arms, while the feeble hands hung dangling upon each other. “‘Oh! thank God!’ cried the wife. “‘Oh! thank God!’ cricd Lefevre. “This burst of joyful gratitude over,
their attention was fixed in sympathy with the sufferer. A few moments would now end his sufferings. The blood had retired from his clay-cold extremities. The light of his eye was quenched. His breath was short, spasmodical, and rattling. Convulsions, like the fangs of death, writhed his whole body. An attack severer than the former came on. It terminated in a deep groan. Lefevre thought it announced the departure of the soul—he sunk on his knees exclaiming—‘Lord Jesus receive his spirit!”—He paused to listen for his breathing—nothing was heard' He held his watch glass over his mouth—its surface was not steamed ! Awful was the moment! Awful was the stillness that succeeded. Neither Lefevre nor Mrs. Wilson dared to interrupt it, by word, or sob, or movement. You might have thought, that death had not only triumphed in one instance, but that his seal was set on every thing in this chamber of wo. The neglected taper was flickering away its last light in the socket. The exhausted cinders on the hearth were, as the fire forsook them, crackling like the death-watch. The child lay at the feet of the exanimate body of its father, breathing so softly, that it seemed to respire not at all. The mother and Lefevre were so pale—so motionless, that you might have questioned whether they had power to move, or to think. And the room itself, with its low arched ceiling, blackened by the smoke of numerous years, and containing only light enough to reveal the darkness, was much more like a sepulchre for the dead, than an abode for the living.
“Mrs. Wilson was the first to show signs of life. She arose, and moving to the head of the bed, closed the eyelids of the dead body. This act of delicacy to the deceased stirred all her grief; she sunk on the bed, and, kissing the pallid forehead, wept aloud, without seeming to have power to arise. Lefevre did all that Christian sympathy could suggest, to console her beneath the affliction. He tarried with her till break of day; and then, taking his leave, assured her, that he would wholly relieve her from the painful duties connected with his funeral.
“Poor Wilson' thought Lefevre as he went towards the residence of Douglas— “Poor Wilson thy sun is gone down at noon –and behind a heavy, impenetrable cloud!—But I trust, by the grace of God, it shall arise on the morning of the resurrection, bright with glory, and changeless as immortality ('''
As we have perhaps, trespassed too long upon the patience of our readers, we will dismiss these volumes, with the hope that they will be generally and carefully perused.
They forcibly delineate the danger
of forsaking God in our youth, and
of casting aside that divine protection which is so necessary to shield us from the influence of our natural corruptions, and from the contamination and curse of ungodly companions. And most forcibly do they pourtray the peril and fearfulness of apostacy from God. It is indeed no light matter, to renounce a Christian profession; to trample under foot the blood of the covenant, on which we have once professed to rest our hopes for eternity; or to pour contempt upon the cross, which we have once professedly
elevated as the only object of our
The Treasurer of the Trustees of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church acknowledges the receipt of the following sums for their Theological Seminary at Princeton, JW. J. during the month of June last,
Q: t2Z. Of Rev. John E. Latta, from New Castle and Christiana Bridge for the Contingent Fund - - - - - - - $24 Of Rev. Dr. Alexander, from Rev. Elias Harrison, the donation of Col. Ritchie, of Fredericktown, Maryland, for same fund - - 10 Of Mr. Thomas Fassitt, from Mr. J. S. Christmas, subscriptions collected by Rev. Thomas Barr, of Wayneborough, Ohio, for ditto - - 15 75 Of Rev. Samuel S. Davis,” in full of the advances made to him at the commencement of his agency, for ditto - - - 17 Of Mr. John Lawrence, three quarters rent of the stable back of No. 81, South Second street, which he has given up, for ditto - - 30 Of Rev. Dr. E. S. Ely, from Rev. A. G. Fairchild, George’s Creek, Redstone Presbytery, for ditto - - - - - 10 Of Rev. Dr. W. Neill, in full for the subscription of Mr. James Nevins, on Rev. Dr. Green’s paper for the Permanent Fund - - - 50 Of Alexander Henry, esq. on loan, for discharging the debt on the Professor’s house - - - - - - - 3000 Of Rev. Dr. John M*Dowell, the donation of a female friend in Elizabethtown, for the professorship to be endowed by the Synod of New York and New Jersey - - - - - - - . 50 Of Rev. John Goldsmith, Newtown, Long Island, for the scholarship to be endowed by the senior class of 1819 - - - - 120 Of Thomas H. Mills, esq. six months interest in advanee on a scholarship to be endowed by a lady in the vicinity of New York - - 62 || 50 Received payment of the drafts received of Rev. Shepard K. Kollock, mentioned in the statement for May, viz. for the professorship to be endowed in part by the Synod of North Carolina - - - - - - - 871 and for the scholarship to be endowed by the Presbytery of Orange 285 Total 4545 25
* The Rev. Samuel S. Davis has generously relinquished to the Seminary, not only all remuneration for his services, for the year in which he was employed as an agent, by the General Assembly, but he has also declined accepting anything for his expenses, which must have been very considerable; so that he has returned what was advanced to him for this purpose when he entered on the work.