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fine scenes of Scotland, both by day-light and moon-light, with poor Willy and myself at his side ; and we have sat down together on the sea-shore, or by the hedge-side, while he shewed us the image of his Deity in the beauty of his works : and whether he was contemplating the simple wild flower or the resplendent firmament, he would point to the hand of Omnipotence in both. But his enjoyments at this time greatly depended upon his dear boy's being able to participate in them : if Willy drooped, his spirits were gone, and nature lost its power to charm. I think he was gradually declining in his own health, though he did not complain. He was watching the decay of his beloved son, while his own frame was giving away.
“ We returned home in ctober, with no material benefit to our dear invalid : and in January 1825, after a happy and even triumphant experience of the power of religion, my brother breathed his last gentle sigh in the arms of his afflicted father, who had been, in God's hands, his sole teacher, comforter, and supporter. He was ever at the dying pillow of bis suffering child, reading, praying, and comforting him, by day and by night. Before us, he appeared composed and tranquil; but in his retired moments, I have heard him give vent to his feelings, with strong 'crying and tears. I remember, on the evening of Wilberforce's death, after he had yielded to the first burst of grief, he clasped the inanimate form to his heart, laid it down, dried his tears, and collecting us together in the study, he knelt down, and uttered only the language of praise and gratitude. For a little moment he seemed not only to follow, but to realize his child's flight and welcome to the realms of glory. His whole conduct seemed to express, “though I should see his hand lifted to slay me, yet from that same hand will I look for salvation.'
“ He was much comforted, at this time, in his parish, and in his own family. In the parish, there appeared a remarkable revival of religion, particularly among the young people. It might be truly said, there were added to the church daily, such as should be saved.' This dear boy's death appeared to be the life of many souls; and, in my dear father's own language, they were the spiritual roses, blooming around the grave of his Willy.'
At this time, his character as a parish priest shone forth most eminently. He was singularly blessed among his flock. His heart was always in his work ; but more particularly did he now preach the word, in season and out of season; “reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and doctrine.? increase of religious inquiry and anxiety among his people produced a corresponding increase of visiting and teaching on his part. He regularly met a party of his pious poor at a neighbouring cottage, on Tuesdays ; frequently a different set on Thursdays; and on Sunday nights, after his fatiguing duties in the church, he met those wh, had been newly awakened to spiritual life. His heart seemed particularly interested in this last little party, which he used to call his spiritual nursery.' I have looked at him with astonishment, when he came to us on Sunday nights. Unceasingly occupied, from ten in the morning till ten at night, he met us with his usual cheerfulness, and entered into animated and interesting conversation, as if no fatigue was felt. On Sunday evenings, after the administration of the sacrament, he met the communicants. On these occasions, he was happy in being surrounded by his spiritual children, dearly loved by him, and, on the whole, he could look on them with approbation and confidence, as his glory and joy.' He was earnest in enforcing upon them consistency of character, and uprightness in temporal affairs : anxious that the enemies of true religion should have no cause to blaspheme from the inconsistencies of its professors, but that his people should adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, and put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; shewing, that the doctrines of grace are the doctrines of holi
“ But not in his parish alone was the death of his beloved son rendered singularly useful ; his heart was yet more comforted by the hope of solid benefit to his own family. The seed which had been sown with many prayers, and watered with many tears, though it had hitherto lain dormant, began at this time to spring up to the consolation of his bereaved heart. With unspeakable tenderness he watched over the signs of religious anxiety in his children, weeping over them and praying for them with the most vehement affection.
“ It was a few days after Willy's death, that my own mind was in a state of agitating anxiety—thirsting for the knowledge of God and his holiness, yet feeling so ignorant, dark, and helpless, that I knew not where to look for encouragement or assist
My ignorance was my great burden. I felt as if I never could understand religion, and with these feelings I went into the study, where I found my beloved parent in deep meditation. He seemed to perceive at one glance what was the matter. In his engaging manner he took me on his knee, and folding me to his heart, begged me to tell him all I felt. This was the first time I had opened my mind to him on the subject of religion. I tried to tell him my feelings, dwelling particularly on my ignorance and total blindness in spiritual things. With striking humility and condescension, he replied, well, my 'dear child, we will begin religion together. We will set out in the first step, for I have as much need as you to begin all again. We must go to Jesus Christ to be set right. We will ask to be taught the first lesson in his religion, and wait in the ignorance of babes for his instruction.'
“ In the following winter, my dear father's failing spirits sustained another severe shock. We were expecting every week our eldest brother from India. He left home at the age of fifteen, and eleven years had now elapsed since his father had seen him. Many singular and affecting circumstances had occurred during this interval. He was thrice shipwrecked ; and on one occasion, with only a few others, he got safe to shore. In his early youth he had been a source of much sorrow to his parents, but in a far distant land his heart was turned to the God of his father; and we received the most satisfactory testimonies to his conversion.
My father's sensitive feelings were strained to the highest pitch in expectation of meeting his dear sailor-boy, who was on his return to visit us ; and he was preparing to welcome the
son who was lost and is found, was dead and is alive again, when the mournful tidings of his death reached us.
*** Both the mind and body of my dear father was shattered by this intelligence. But though suffering most acutely, he was, in the former bereavement, the comforter and stay of his family ;-concealing his own feelings, to mitigate theirs.
“ He used to be much alone at this time, communing with his own heart, in his chamber, in silence : and no doubt it was his fervent and frequent devotion which strengthened and enabled him to comfort those who were in trouble, by the comfort wherewith he himself was comforted of God.'
“ He had shut himself up for six weeks, and never appeared in public, except on the Sunday ; but when he heard of the anxiety of the people to see him, and share the sorrows of their beloved pastor, he desired them to assemble in the school-room; and he went there to meet them. It was evidently too trying and exciting for his weak frame. For some time he could not speak; but when he recovered himself, his address was inexpressibly touching, and yet comforting. The people wept with him, and felt his sorrows as their own. He told them, that, conscious of their interest in him, and of their anxiety to know his state of mind under this afllicting rod, he had come on purpose to tell them what God could do for the soul that looked to him
for help; that they might magnify the Lord with him, and exalt his name together. He said, that while he had been shut up in the solitude of his study, for the last six weeks, in silent communing with God, he had learnt to feel, it is good for me that I have been afflicted,'--that the experience of his soul during that trying season had been in the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts have refreshed my soul.'
6. He then expounded the 107th Psalm, with reference to poor Nugent's case; and expressed himself with more than ordinary energy and freedom. He had been tried, but he came forth as gold. His heavenly Father seemed to say to him, • My.son, give me thine heart;' and the answer of his soul was
- There is none upon earth I desire in comparison of thee.' While fainting beneath the heavy load of suffering, he tried to say, like his blessed Master, the
Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?'
“ He now resumed his usual cottage meetings; and though his constitution was evidently sinking, and he was labouring far beyond his strength, he could not be persuaded to relax or lessen any of his pastoral engagements. We earnestly pressed him to retire for a season from his duties ; but, contrary to his usual yielding temper, he remained inflexible ; adding either it does not injure me;' or ' I shall suffer more in my mind, by giving them up, than in my body, by attending to them.' The last year of his life he had a constant irritating cough, which finally settled upon his lungs ; and was no doubt much increased by such frequent talking and exposure to the night air.
“I was his constant companion in his visits to the cottages ; and he often looked so worn aud fatigued, and his spirits sometimes so much affected, apparently with thoughts which he did not express, that I have turned away to weep, and felt undefinable sensations of dread, as the idea crossed my mind, that he was meditating on the final separation.
“ His public discourses at this time were particularly awakening, as well as confirming. While he warned his flock, with deep solemnity, - lest any man fail of the grace of God,' he enharged on the divine promises, the glory of the Saviour, and the blessedness of the redeemed.
A poor woman remarked to me — Your dear papa preaches as if he was near home.'
6 What he was in his family during the two last years of his life, my pen can but faintly describe. Since Nugent's and Willy's death, his affections were more concentrated on those who were left ; and he had also a more endearing tie, for he could now look on some of his family as his spiritual children.
In conversation and reading, he could find companions in them. Very pleasant is the recollection of the happy and profitable hours spent in my father's study.' He used to awake me at six o'clock every morning, and I read to him till breakfast. He was fond of this early hour, and kept up the plan eyen through the last winter. But it was injurious to him ; for when his cough was bad, and his health sinking daily, he would still rise before the servants were up, call me and my brothers, and then light his own fire, that all might be ready for the reading to commence. He made many valuable remarks as we went on. The last winter months, he wished me to read to him the Cripplegate Lectures. Archbishop Leighton, who was a particular favourite with him, was the last author we read together. Sacred is the
memory of those hours : bis health was declining, but his soul was ripening for glory; and while listening with interest to the deep experience and triumphant victories of these holy men, he was probably anticipating the near approach of that time when he should join their company,
“ His mind was often for days peaceful and tranquil. At such times he never spoke of Wilberforce's death, but in terms of gratitude and praise for his happy end : but at other times, the vivid remembrance of his bereavements seemed to overwhelm him, and to occasion new conflicts. I have heard his convulsive sobs and his heart-touching prayers, as I sat in the room beneath the study. I remember on one day in particular, he had been a long time alone, wishing to be undisturbed ; and when I went to him, I found him in deep sorrow, Willy's papers were lying before him, and he appeared in great agitation of mind. In what followed, I was struck with the deep humility of his feelings. He said, “it was not unmingled grief for Wilberforce which was then uppermost; he knew he was safe in heaven, and that to him death had been victory : but that the thought painfully harrassed him-shall I ever meet him in heaven? shall I indeed ever get there? Friends try to comfort me, by saying, (as if they took it for granted,) that sorrow is unnecessary ; for the separation is very short, and we shall soon meet again in heaven. But, alas ! there is that inward consciousness of sin, and that perplexing conflict, that I cannot take it for granted ; and the thought is now sinking me in the very dust, shall I indeed meet him in heaven ?-am I sure eternity will unite us ? And I often shudder, and fall down confounded, at the possibility that, after all, I may come short, and our separation be eternal.'
“ This was an affecting and important lesson. I saw that the