« AnteriorContinuar »
His conversation with him turned on some points in the Oxford theology, in regard to which he thought him in error; particularly he dwelt seriously, hut kindly, on what he conceived to be false notions of the eucharist, insisting especially that our Lord forbids us to suppose that the highest spiritual blessings can be conferred only or chiefly through the reception of material elements; urging, with great earnestness, when it was said that there might be various modes of spiritual agency, 'My dear lad, God be praised, we are told the great mode by which we are affected —we have his own blessed assurance—" The words that I speak unto yon, they are spirit and they are life."'
"At nine o'clock was a supper, which, on the last evening of the summer half year, he gave to the sixth-form boys of "is own house; and they were struck with the cheerful neS^and liveliness of his manner, talking of the end of the half-year, and the pleasure of his returning to Fox-How in the next week; and observing, in allusion to the departure of so many of the boys, ' How strange the chapel will look to morrow!'
"The school business was now completely over. The old school-house servant, who had been about the place many years, came to receive the final accounts, and delighted afterwards to tell how his master had kept him a quarter of an hour, talking to him with more than usual kindness and confidence. . . .
"It was between five and six o'clock on Sunday morning that he awoke with a sharp pain across his chest, which he mentioned to his wife, on her asking whether he felt well, adding, that he had felt it slightly on the preceding day, before and after bathing. He then again composed himself to sleep ; but her watchful care, always anxious e*ven to nervousness at the least indication of illness, was at onca awakened; and, on finding from him that the pain increased, and that it seemed to pass from his chest to his left arm, her alarm was so much roused, from a remembrance of having heard of this in connexion with angina pectoris, and its fatal consequences, that, in spite of his remonstrances, she rose and called up an old servant, whom they usually consulted in cases of illness, from her having so long attended the sick-bed of his sister Susannah. Eeassured by her confidence, that there was no ground for fear, but still anxious, Mrs. Arnold returned to his room. She observed him, as she was dressing herself, lying still, but with his hands clasped, his lips moving, and his eyes raised upwards, as if engaged in prayer, when, all at once, he repeated, firmly and earnestly, 'And Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen, thou hast believed; blessed are they which have not seen, and yet have believed;' and soon afterwords, with a solemnity of manner, and depth of utterance, which spoke more than the words themselves, 'But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.' From time to time he seemed to be in severe suffering, and, on the entrance of the old servant before-mentioned, said,' Ah, Elizabeth, if I had been as much accustomed to bear pain as dear Susannah was, I should bear it better.' To his wife, however, he uttered no expressions of acute pain, dwelling only on the moments of comparative ease, and observing that he did not know what it was. But the more than usual earnestness which marked his tone and manner, especially in repeating the verses from Scripture, had again aroused her worst fears, and she ordered messengers to be sent for medical assistance, which he had at first requested her not to do, from not liking to disturb at that hour the usual medical attendant, who had been suffering from indisposition. She then took up the Prayer-hook, and was looking for a psalm to read to him, when he said quickly, 'The fifty-first,' which she accordingly read by his bedside, reminding him at the seventh verse, that it was the favourite verse of one of the old almswomen whom he was in the habit of visiting; and, at the twelfth verse,'0 give me the comfort of thy help again, and stablish me with thy free spirit,' he repeated it after her very earnestly. She then read the prayer in the Visitation of the Sick, beginning, 'The almighty Lord, who is a most strong tower,' etc., kneeling herself at the foot of the bed, and altering it into a common prayer for theni both.
"On the entrance of the medical visitor, Dr. Arnold described his pain, which was ascertained to be spasm of the heart. The physician then quitted the house for medicine, leaving Mrs. Arnold now fully aware from him of her husband's state. At this moment she was joined by her son, who entered the room with no serious apprehension; and on his coming up to the bed, his father, with his usual gladness of expression towards him, asked, 'How is your deafness, my boy?' (he had been suffering from it the night before,) and then, playfully alluding to an old accnsation against hini, 'you must not stay here; you know you do not like a sick room.' He then sat down with his mother at the foot of the bed, and presently his father said in a low voice, 'My son, thank God for me;' and as his son did not at once catch his meaning, he went on saying— 'Thank God, Tom, for giving me this pain. I suffered so little pain in my life, that I feel it is very good for me: now God has given it to me, and I do so thank him for it;' and again, after a pause, he said, alluding to a wish which his son had often heard him express, that if he ever had to suffer pain, his faculties might be unaffected by it, 'How thankful I am that my head is untouched!' Meanwhile, his wife, who still had sounding in her ears the tone in which he had repeated the passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews, again turned to the Prayer-book and began to read the exhortation which occurs in the Visitation of the Sick. He listened with deep attention, saying emphatically, 'Yes,' at the end of many of the sentences. 'There should be no greater comfort to Christian persons than to be made like nnto Christ.'—' Yes.' 'He entered not into his glory before he was crucified.'—' Yes.' At the words, 'everlasting life,' she stopped, and his son said, 'I wish, dear papa, we had you at Fox-How.' He made no answer; but the last conscious look, which remained fixed on his wife's memory, was the look of intense tenderness and love with which he smiled upon them both at that moment.
"The physician now returned with the medicines, and the former remedies were applied; there was a slight return of the spasms, after which he said, 'If the pain is again as severe as it was before you came, I do not know huw I can bear it.' He then, with his eyes fixed upon the physician, who rather felt than saw them upon him, so as to make it impossible not to answer the exact truth, repeated one of his former questions about the cause of the disease, and ended with asking, 'Is it likely to return?' and on being told that it was, 'Is it generally suddenly fatal?' 'Generally.' On being asked whether he had any pain, he'replied that he had none, but from the application of the external remedies; and then, a few moments afterwards, inquired what medicine was to be given, and on being told, answered, 'Ah, very well!' The physician, who was dropping the laudanum into a glass, turned around, and saw him looking quite calm, but with his eyes shut. In another minute, he heard a rattle in the throat, and a convulsive struggle—flew to the bed. caught his head upon his shoulder, and called to one of the servants to fetch Mrs. Arnold. She had but just left the room before his last conversation with the physician, in order to acquaint her son with his father's danger, of which he was still unconscious, when she heard herself called from above. She rushed up stairs, told her son to bring the rest of the children, and with her own hands applied the remedies that were brought, in the hope of restoring animation, though herself feeling from the moment that she saw him that he had already passed away. He was indeed no longer conscious. The sobs and cries of his children as they entered and saw their father's state made no impression upon him —the eyes were fixed—the countenance was unmovedthere was a heaving of the chest—deep gasps escaped at prolonged intervals; and just as the usual medical attendant arrived, and as the old school-house servant, in an agony of grief, rushed with the others into the room in the hope of seeing his master once more^he breathed his last.
"It must have been shortly before eight, A.m., that he expired, though it was naturally impossible for those who were present to adjust their recollections of what passed, with precise exactness of time or place. So short and sudden had been the seizure, that hardly any one out of the household itself had heard of his illness before its fatal close. His guest and former pupil, who had slept in a remote part of the house, was coming down to breakfast as usual, thinking of questions to which the conversation of the preceding night had given rise, and which, by the grea* kindness of his manner, he felt doubly encouraged to ask him, when he was met on the staircase by the announcement of his death. The masters knew nothing till the moment when, almost at the same time, at the different boarding-houses the fatal message was delivered, in all ite startling abruptness, that Dr. Arnold was dead! What that Sunday was in Rugby, it is hard fully to represent. The incredulity—the bewilderment—the agitated inquiries for every detail—the blank more awful than sorrow, that prevailed through the vacant services of that long and dreary day—the feeling as if the very plaoe had passed away with him who had so emphatically been in everr sense its head—the sympathy which hardly dared to con
template, and which yet could not but fix the thoughts
"' Is that a death-bed where the Christian lies?' *
I CAN'T EEPENT. *
One of the most solemn assemblies that I have ever seen was convened on the evening of the sabbath, in a private house. It was an inquirers' meeting, at which more than a hundred persons were present, most of them young or in middle life. There was a spacious hall, extending from the front door along the side of three parlours which opened into it, as well as into each other; and at the rear of this hall was a staircase extending to the second story of the house. Moveable benches were placed along each side of this hall, to afford seats for those who attended the meeting, and who could not be accommodated in the parlours. After the meetings had been continued for a few weeks, it became manifest that the hall was the preferred place. I was accustomed to stand, while addressing the assembly, in one of the doors opening into the parlour, where my eye had a full view of all those in the hall, on the stairs, and in one of the parlours. Besides a general exhortation, it was my ordinary custom to speak to each individual, passing from one to another; and all those in the hall and on the stairs could hear every word which I uttered in this conversation, and most of what any one said to me. I should greatly have preferred to converse with each one alone, as there would have been less restraint on their part, and on my own, more certainty that what I was saying would be truly applicable, and would not be applied by any one for whom it was not intended. And besides this, individuals would sometimes use expressions so erroneous, that I was unwilling others should hear them, lest they might be injured by it. To avoid this, I used to speak in a low tone of voice; and if the expressions of any individual were becoming such as 1 feared might be injurious, I usually broke tiff the conversa
* By Dr. Spencer of New York.