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affliction, it is because there is a needs-be for it. Not a single pain or trouble could be dispensed with. It is not sufficient barely to say that the affliction will ultimately do them no harm— this is but a negative kind of approbation. We must say more; it will do them, sooner or later, much good. And so infinitely interesting is the most minute circumstance in their life, that to prevent, (were it possible,) one trouble, or to add one prosperous event, would derange the whole plan of God's government. Oh! depend upon it, we are under a wise as well as a gracious superintendance. A synod of angels could not add, or diminish, without manifest injury.
'With respect to the present providence,' he added,' I know not what is the will of my God concerning me: but one thing I know, that 'all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies*.' And lifting up his eyes, he cried out, 'It is my mercy, thou dearest Lord of thy people, that 'my times are in thy hands 1' I have long been enabled, by thy blessed Spirit's grace, to commit my soul into thy keeping. Well may I then leave this body of sin and death to thy care!'
• Psalm xxv. 10.
My companion had quite exhausted the little strength left him, when he had finished these words. I requested him to spare himself. He moved his head, as if consenting, and turned his face upon the pillow.
To every one present, besides my friend, it appeared to be a matter of uncertainty, for many days together, whether the injury he had sustained would terminate fatally. The surgeon, whom I had desired to be called in on the occasion, did not, (for indeed he could not,) speedily decide upon the question. The contusion was very great, from the violence of the blow; and the extravasation extended far around the region of the loins; but the surgeon only ventured to speak of it in a general way, as a case which must necessarily be attended with great danger. But however others thought, the patient himself had already formed his opinion; and the event proved, that that opinion was too justly founded. The period was arrived for his 'going down to the house appointed for all living.'
For my part, my concern was so great, that I seldom, unless from necessity, left his chamber. He had been as a father to me; and I felt all that tender affection for'him which a kind father might be supposed to excite in the mind of his son. And, indeed, independent of all personal attachment, my small services, during his confinement, were abundantly recompensed by the spiritual good that I had gathered from the many precious observations which dropped from his lips. And although I had so highly profited from the great lessons on religion, which he had endeavoured to teach me while living, yet in his dying hours he favoured me with the sweetest instructions I had ever received. He had been as a kind taper, burning with much brightness, to lighten me on in the path of grace. But, like a taper, the most vivid rays were those which were emitted while expiring in the socket.
The reader will forgive me once more, if I pause to remark, how exceedingly mistaken, in their calculations of the means of happiness, are the children of the world, who seek it in'the various haunts of what is called pleasure, notwithstanding the constant and uniform experience of thousands, in every age, has determined that it is not there to be found. If my reader will give me credit for the assertion, (and I do most solemnly assure him of the fact,) never, till the hour of my friend's confinement when living in his chamber, did I know what that pleasure of the heart is, which arises from all those solemn,but infinitely interesting reflections, which engage the mind under sorrowful dispensations: such, (I mean,) as considerations of the awful government of God; the rich discoveries of the importance of salvation; the littleness of the earthly pursuits; the sweetness of the sympathetic feelings; and, in short, all that train of thought connected with those ideas, which a sick chamber is so admirably calculated to induce. Circumstances of this kind, no doubt, are solemn ; but if solemn, they are only more congenial to the soul's purest enjoyments. The 'countenance may be saddened, but the heart is made better.'
But to return :—The stable-boy before mentioned, in whose spiritual interests my friend was so warmly engaged at the time when this providence visited him, soon manifested the concern in which this affliction had involved him. It would indeed exceed all description to say what were his feelings. Every little portion of time which he could spare from the demands of the stable, was employed in running up to the chamber-door, to inquire after my friend. One trait in his character of this kind was peculiarly affectionate. He was always found with the first dawn of the morning, watching at the door • Eccles. vii. 3.
of the room, in order to gather the earliest information from the persons who should first come out, how my friend had passed the night.
Neither had the good man, amidst all his pains, forgotten him. He mentioned to me several times, with much pleasure, the hopes which he had conceived of serious impressions forming on the youth's mind, from the conversation which he had with him. And upon being told of the lad's frequent and earnest inquiries after him, it served to confirm him in this opinion the more; and he very much wished to see him. The poor boy was soon introduced, and the interview was truly affecting. After frequent visits, the youth acquired some little confidence; and my friend found many opportunities of instructing him in that wisdom, which, under God the Holy Ghost, makelh ' wise unto salvation.' It was seemingly a long season of uncertainty for the exercise of my mind in waiting the Lord's will, respecting the final issue of my friend's state. Sometimes my hopes were high, and at others low, according as the symptoms appeared to vary. But, having acquired a little portion of that precious lesson in the school of grace, that the Lord's mercies are nearest unfolding, when our expectations of them are