We were almost always together out of his college hours. My window commanded a view of the distant building, and when I saw the preparatory movement to breaking up, I rose from my desk, tied on my bonnet, and ran off in sufficient time to meet him very near the college. Both let loose from six hours' hard work, we were like children out of school, often racing and laughing with all the buoyancy of our natural high spirits. The garden, the poultry-yard, and all the little minutiae of our nice farming establishment, fully occupied the afternoon, while the children gambolled round, and Jack looked on with smiles, often telling me how much he loved "beautiful Captain B——," as he constantly called him. At ten o'clock we parted for the night, I to resume the pen till long after midnight; he to rest, whence he always rose at four o'clock, devoting four or five hours to study before we met in the morning. We visited very little, domestic retirement being the free choice of every one of us; and nothing could have induced my brother to banish his children from the parlor or drawing-room. Few things excited his indignation more than the nursery system: his little ones were the pride of his heart, the delight of his eyes, the objects of his fondest care. He often said he intended his boys to be gentlemen, and therefore would not allow them to imbibe the tastes and habits of the kitchen. The consequence is that his boys are gentlemen.
Thus dwelling in love, united in every plan and pursuit, our time fairly divided between diligent work and healthful recreation amid the delights of rural life, do you marvel that I call this period my two shortest years? Had no previous circumstances given tenfold brilliancy to these lights by casting a depth of black shadow behind them, or no menacing future hung over the present enjoyment, still there was enough to make it indeed an oasis; but it was more. I cannot doubt that the Lord mercifully gave me a foreboding of what was to come, in the intolerable anguish of what seemed to be but a very short parting, with a delightful prospect of renewed domestic comfort just beyond. Yet so it was: I almost died under the trial of that farewell; and for three weeks before, and as long after, I never had a night's rest. Visions of terror were constantly before me, among which a scene of drowning was so perpetually recurring that I have often started from my bed under the vivid impression. This was the more strange because we had always been so fearlessly fond of the water: in our early days we had a little boat, just big enough for him to row and me to steer, in which we used to take excursions on the river Wensum, and never thought of danger. At Sandhurst too we were frequently upon the lake, and had both become familiarized with ocean, until of all perils those of the water were least likely to daunt me, either for myself or him: yet in most imminent peril we had once been placed; and at this time it would recur to my memory with tormenting frequency.
I was about seven years old, and he though younger was much the larger of the two, a stout hearty boy, and I a very frail delicate little creature, thanks to the doctors and their pet drug. Our parents went out for a day's excursion with a friend, and of course we accompanied them. The place was one celebrated for good fishing, and the gentlemen having enjoyed a long morning's sport, remained in the house with my mother, sending us out to play. We had strict charge not to go too near the water, nor on any account to get into a boat, of which there were several on the river. We strolled about, and at last came to the brink of this river, to admire a barge or wherry which lay close to the little pier; for it was a public ferry, and the depth very great. A small boat just by attracted my brother's attention, who wished to get into it, until I reminded him of the prohibition, when he said, "I wont get into it, Char., but I will sit down here and put my two feet in the little boat." He did so: the boat moved, and in his alarm trying to rise, he fell and disappeared.
I perfectly remember the scene; I have also heard it described many a time by others, but I cannot understand how it was that I, stooping from the shore, with nothing to hold on by way of support, seized the little fellow by the collar as he rose, and firmly held him in my grasp. He did not struggle, but looked up in my face, and I down in his, and as I felt my puny strength rapidly failing, the resolution was firm on my mind to be drawn in and perish with him. There was not a question about it; I can recall the very thought, as though it was of yesterday, and I am positively certain that I should have tightened my hold in proportion as the case became more desperate. It pleased God that, just then, some men returning from work descried the figure of a little child stooping in a most dangerous position over the deep water: they ran up, and while one held me the other rescued the boy. My grasp was not unloosed until they had him safe on shore: he was then insensible, and I lost every recollection until I found myself still in the arms of the man who had carried me in, while my mother and the rest were stripping the rescued boy and chafing his limbs before a fire. It was much talked of, and many a caress I got for what they considered heroism beyond my years; but what heroism is like love? "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned."
When my brother departed for Ireland, we left that sweet cottage and went to reside in the village, in one better suited to the size of our diminished family party. I had several young friends among the cadets, in whom I took a warm interest, and whose occasional visits I endeavored to make as profitable to them as might be. It is a sad thing to see a boy, perhaps most carefully brought up by tender, and even Christian parents, watched and kept as far as possible from all evil communication, then thrown at once into a large public institution, and exposed to every danger that can assail the youthful mind. A little insight into human nature must show any candid person the extent of mischief to be expected. Rarely do we find a case of conversion, with establishment in grace, very early in life; and where it exists as remarkably as in Jack, we may learn from his excessive dread of exposure to temptation how vigilantly the young plant should be guarded. Let us just suppose, what is indeed no sketch of imagination, but a slight sketch of acknowledged reality—let us suppose a boy at the age when they are eligible for those places, acquainted with the truth, accustomed to Christian instruction, taught to look into the word of God for daily direction, and to seek in prayer the daily supply of needful grace: consider him as having remained under the eye of Christian parents, or a schoolmaster who regards those committed to his care as immortal beings, for whose well-doing while under his charge he is responsible to God, and who therefore counsels them well, and banishes to the utmost of his power, vice and profaneness from among them; affording them the usual domestic means of grace, and seeing that they are not neglected:—thus prepared, the lad enters upon a new scene, where he finds himself surrounded by a large number of youthful companions, all busy in qualifying themselves for a future career, we will say in the service of their country. The first thing done is to try the mettle of the new comer by putting upon him some insult, which if he resents and offers to fight his way, he may be looked on with some respect; but if he appear timid, or reluctant to retaliate, he may be assured of becoming the object of a most harassing persecution for the amusement of the thoughtless and the gratification of the cruel. In either case, he passes an ordeal of great severity, particularly during the night, when nothing is deemed too rough or alarming for the poor stranger to encounter. I appeal to those who have passed it, whether this is not enough to turn the brain of a weak-minded youth, or to injure severely the body of a delicate one: I have myself known an instance, in a great public seminary, wherein derangement and death followed.
Supposing this well got over, the lad then finds that if there be any among his new comrades disposed to keep up the practice of reading the Scriptures and praying, they must do it as secretly as they would commit a murder, and find it more difficult to accomplish than any crime that could be named. There always will be a large proportion of ruffianly characters among many boys; some naturally so, others made so by example. These have the ascendency of course, and they will use it to check and to stifle whatever might shine in contrast to themselves; while, what with those unstable characters who always row with the stream, and prudent ones who will not provoke hostility, and timid ones who dare not, they meet with little if any opposition, but rule the whole mass for evil. The youth, we will believe, sincerely desires to preserve his integrity; but what can he do? Man in his best estate is a frail, inconsistent being, liable to be blown about by every breath of temptation, even when unfettered, and in full possession of all gospel privileges; and what are we to expect from a boy who has never yet been left to himself, or deprived of countenance and support? He sees none watching over him, he hears no kind admonitory voice inviting him to seek the way of peace and purity. His nature is corrupt, his heart is deceitful, his soul cleaves to the dust, and he finds that by following the bent of this perverse nature, by gratifying its lowest propensities, and revelling in unhallowed things, he shall best purchase the good- fellowship of those who have it in their power to make his life miserable if he thwarts their will. His conscience loudly protests, and calls on him to pray; but if he would do so, where is he to retire for that purpose? Alone he cannot be; he has no separate apartment, and let those who have tried it say what would be the consequence of his kneeling down publicly to worship God. He may do it silently and undiscovered in his bed; yes, if he can lift up his heart, and realize the presence of the God of heaven, while the language of hell resounds on every side. Even so, he has an enemy within, striving against the right principle, and responding to all that his better feeling repudiates. Then, too, wherewithal shall the young man cleanse his way, if not by ruling himself according to the word of God? And how is he to study that word? Does the parent who puts a Bible in his boy's portmanteau know that the most blasphemous tissue of ribaldry and all abomination, would be a more suitable gift, if it is intended that he should exhibit it? These are awful questions, to be well considered by those who are wavering as to the destination of a youth; and they apply very widely throughout the land.
We all know the case of him whose heart has been swept and garnished; and how much the last state is worse than the first, when Satan reenters with his seven new companions. The very checks of conscience render the fretted mind more restive; and the longer restrained, the more headlong is the wild gallop into which the chafed spirit at last breaks. He who trembled at a profane word, becomes an accomplished swearer; he whose modesty was most retiring is foremost to glory in early depravity; he whose hand was ever ready to relieve the poor, while his heart sympathized in their sorrows, becomes the wanton spoiler and marauder for the sake of a bold vaunt; he who shrunk from the approach of profligate misleaders, now volunteers to harden new comers in the ways of sin. The youth who with noiseless step trod the courts of the Lord's house, and bent with lowly reverence in prayer, and listened with fixed attention to the teacher's voice, now delights in shaming others out of the semblance of devotion, and feigns, if he does not fall into it, the profound sleep of a wholly uninterested actor in the tedious show of public worship. Perchance some friend whose proximity to the place admits of it may stretch out a helping hand, or lift an admonitory voice, or proffer a little encouragement to strengthen the things that remain, and which are ready to die: if so, both the helper and the helped will be marked out for ridicule and reviling, if for nothing worse.
Honorable men, after this world's course, who are themselves wholly in the dark, verily believing that religion would turn a youth's brain and unfit him for the active business of life, will feel it a part of their duty to oppose every possible obstacle to such attempts at reclaiming the young wanderers under their charge. I knew, and knew right well, an instance wherein a lady who strove to do good to the souls of some young lads whose parents she knew to be praying people, had a sort of ban put upon her, by the publication of an express order that they should not be again permitted to visit her; and when a nobleman who well knew that she had not done any thing to merit such public condemnation, asked the principal of the institution the reason for so harsh a proceeding, he received this answer: "My lord, I was sorry to do it; I felt it a painful duty, but an imperative one. The fact is, she got hold of some of the most promising lads under my care, and so infected them with her own gloomy notions that, I give you my word, they were seen walking alone, with Bibles in their hands." So much wiser are the children of this world in guarding those committed to them from the entrance of spiritual good, than are the children of light in protecting their dearest treasures from the contamination of most deadly evil.
But to return to my cadets at Sandhurst. I had two young friends there, both Irish, who were known to me from childhood; both greatly attached to my brother; both loving me dearly; and many a happy hour we passed, strolling over the wild heath, or enjoying the cheerfulness of my cottage home. On those two, among many, I looked with especial solicitude as to their future course; and I have had to rejoice, in different ways, over them both. One was early taken to his rest; he died in the faith, looking simply to the Lord Jesus, and finding perfect peace in him. The other was long away on foreign service, and when next I saw him it was as the deliverer, under God, of a whole town, and probably through that of the whole kingdom, from a scene of revolutionary carnage. He commanded the gallant little body of troops at Newport who, on the 4th of November, 1839, quelled the Chartist insurrection, and broke the formidable power that menaced a general outbreak. I cannot pass over this event, it was so delightfully gratifying to me.
A third of those in whom I took a lively interest was Alexander Count Calharez, the eldest son of the Duc de Palmella. He was a most elegant youth, of fine mind, delicate feelings, and the sweetest manners possible. Devotedly attached to Romanism, he constantly attended mass at the house of the old abbe, who added to his professorship in the Royal Military College the duties of a Popish priest. It was a sore grief to me to see Calharez pursuing his solitary way to that house, while we took the road to the college chapel, and met him half-way. I longed to enter a solemn protest against his delusion, but I never did it in direct terms, though very often dwelling, in his presence, on the peculiar truths of Christianity, opposed as they are to the lie in which he trusted. I hoped to have enjoyed many future opportunities of conversing with him, for he always sought our society in preference to many things that appeared more attractive, and took a lively interest in Jack. But the college did not suit his taste; he left it soon and accompanied his father to Portugal. He died at the Azores; and I have been told that his hope at the last was one which maketh not ashamed. He was the subject of many prayers; the last day will tell whether they were answered.
But I cannot hasten through the heaviest part of my task; it is the rending open of a wound never to heal until the leaves of the tree of life shall be laid upon it; and if by any means I do attain to that resurrection from among the dead in which none but the Lord's children shall partake, surely the dear object of all this sorrow will be there beside me.
Six months had passed since my brother's departure to Ireland, and all his letters were full of cheerfulness and pleasant anticipation. On the subject where I most wished to know his feelings, he was silent; but a passage in one of his letters struck me greatly. I had been suffering from a slight local pain, which one of my medical friends erroneously pronounced to be a disease of the heart; and in communicating this to him I had noticed, that I must live in momentary expectation of sudden death. His reply was very affectionate. He said it had given him a great shock, but on a little reflection he was convinced of its being altogether a nervous sensation; adding, "If not, why should you shrink from sudden death? For my own part, I should desire it, as a short and easy passage out of this life." A tremor came over me as I read these words; but again I thought, "Surely there is something on his mind to brighten that passage, or he would not so express himself;" and the thought of many perils surrounding him quickened me to redoubled prayer that God would set his feet upon the Rock of ages.
It was on a bright Sabbath morning at the end of June, that having rather overslept myself, I found, on awaking, the letters brought by early post lying on my pillow. I took one: it was the Horse Guards envelope, in which his letters usually came; and in my eagerness to open one from him, I did not even put up a prayer. Full of smiling anticipation, I unfolded the enclosure, which was from a most dear and valued friend at the Horse Guards; and after some tender preparation, which the sudden reeling of my terrified brain prevented my comprehending, came the paralyzing sequel: A letter had been received from Mullingar—he was on the lake fishing—the boat overset. I could not understand the meaning of the words; but I understood the thing itself.
I sprung to my knees to cry for mercy on him—but Oh, that dreadful, dreadful thought that pierced through my inmost soul—"He is beyond the reach of prayer." I fell back as if really shot. But what avails it to dwell on this? I bore it as God enabled me; I felt crushed, annihilated as it were, under the fierce wrath of the Lord; for to aggravate the blow, I had no power to believe or to hope. It was a light thing to have lost him, my all in this cold, dreary world, who from early infancy had been as the light to my eyes, and the life-blood to my heart—him who had so very lately been restored, as if to show that while he remained all I could desire of earthly happiness was within my reach—him who had been to me instead of every other mortal blessing, and to whom I looked for all that I dared hope of future comfort. It was a light thing to have lost him, and to look upon the anguish of his widowed mother, to whom he had ever been more of a ministering angel than a son, and upon the tears of his little daughter, who had lost a father indeed. All this was a small matter compared with the overwhelming horrors of that fearful thought, that he had lost his soul.
I had fallen much into the common, dangerous error of looking to my own faith rather than to the object of it for salvation; and I did in my heart, exceedingly glory in this supposed faith of mine. The dreadful dispensation under which I was laid showed me at once, that of faith I had not to the value of a grain of mustard-seed; and now I felt the desolation of spirit which none can know who have not been so compelled to make such a discovery. I did not rebel; I owned the justice of God: nay, the very first words I could find breath to utter broke forth in the confession, "Righteous art thou, O Lord; just and true are thy ways, O King of saints!" But it was a fearful trembling beneath the hand that had smote me; and as for being contented to have it so, I was not: I do not wish that I had been contented to believe my brother was lost; I do not understand that feeling, nor wish to understand it; for surely while we remain in the flesh, we cannot divest ourselves of what God has interwoven with our very nature, nor cease to feel for the spiritual, the eternal interests of those most fondly endeared to us—a solicitude as great, aye, much greater, than what we, in our unconverted state, once knew in regard to their temporal concerns. I speak of those instances where, after being ourselves brought to know the Lord, we have labored and prayed perseveringly for others, and then have suddenly lost them. I was not content to think that my prayers had been cast out: I wanted some token that they had been answered. Blessed be the God of all mercies, I was not disappointed. * * *
Meanwhile, what a tenfold recompense for all the care bestowed on him did I reap in the beautiful sympathy of the dumb boy. When I came down stairs that dreadful morning, he met me with a face of such wild dismay as even then arrested my attention. He uttered an audible "Oh!" of most touching tone, and thus expressed the impossibility he felt of realizing the tidings: "Jack what? Jack asleep? Jack see, no—think, no. Jack afraid, very. Beautiful Captain B—— gone?—dead? What?" and he stamped with the impatience of that fearfully inquisitive what. I answered, "Captain B—— gone; water kill—dead." Tears stole down his loving face as he responded, "Poor mam! Mam one;" meaning I was now alone in the world. "God see poor mam one; Jesus Christ love poor mam one." With a feeling of bitter agony I asked him, "What? Jesus Christ love Captain B——?" "Yes," he replied, after a moment's solemn thought on the question, "Yes, Jack much pray; mam much pray; Jesus Christ see much prays." This was true comfort; all the eloquence of all the pulpits in England could not have gone to my heart like that assurance, that Jesus Christ had seen his many dumb prayers on behalf of that lost—Oh, I could not, even in the depth of my unbelieving heart, say, "lost one." I again asked the boy, "Jack much prays?" He answered with solemn fervency, "Very, very much prays. Jack pray morning, pray night; Jack pray church, pray bed. Yes, Jack many days, very, pray God make"—and he finished by signs, that wings should be made to grow from my brother's shoulders, for him to fly to heaven, adding, Jesus Christ must make the wings; and then, with a burst of delighted animation, he told me that he was a "very tall angel, very beautiful."
I have repeated this conversation to show the broken language carried on between us; and also how powerfully he expressed his thoughts. Soon after, when I was nearly fainting, a glass of water was held to my lips. I am ashamed to say, I dashed it down, exclaiming, "That murderer!" Jack caught my eye, and echoing my feelings, said, in a bitter way, "Bad water!" then with a look of exulting contempt at the remaining fluid, he added, "Soul gone water? No!" This idea, that the soul was not drowned, electrified me; so good is a word spoken in due season, however trite a truism that word may be.
That night I pretended to go to bed, that others might do so too; and then I left my room, went to my little study, which was hung round with Jack's sweet drawings, and sat down, resting my elbows on the table, my face on my hands, and so remained for a couple of hours. Day had scarcely broken, brightly upon me, about two in the morning, when the door opened softly, and Jack entered, only partially dressed, his face deadly pale, and altogether looking most piteously wretched. He paused at the door, saying, "Jack sleep, no; Jack sick, head bad—no more see beautiful Captain B——." I could only shake my head, and soon buried my face in my hands again. However, I still saw him through my fingers; and after lifting up his clasped hands and eyes in prayer for me, he proceeded to execute the purpose of his visit to that room. Softly, stealthily, he went round, mounting a chair, and unpinned from the wall every drawing that contained a ship, a boat, or water under any form of representation. Still peeping at me, hoping he was not observed, he completed this work, which nothing but a mind refined to the highest degree of delicate tenderness could ever have prompted, and then stopping at the door, cast over his shoulder such a look of desolate sorrow at me, that its very wretchedness poured balm into my heart. Oh what a heavenly lesson is that, "Weep with them that do weep," and how we fly in its face when going to the mourner with our inhuman, cold- blooded exhortations to leave off grieving. Even Job's tormenting friends gave him seven days' true consolation while they sat silent on the earth weeping with him.
But God put into the dumb boy's heart another mode of consolation, which I must recount as a specimen of his exceedingly original and beautiful train of thought. He used to tell his ideas to me as if they were things that he had seen: and now he had a tale to relate, the day after this, which riveted my attention. He told me my brother went on the lake in a little boat, and while he was going along the devil got under it, seized one side, pulled it over, and caught my brother, drawing him down to the bottom, which, as he told me, was deep, deep, and flames under it. Then Jesus Christ put his arm out of a cloud, reached into the water, took the soul out of the body, and drew it into the sky. When the devil saw the soul had escaped, he let the body go, and dived away, crying, Jack said, with rage, while the men took it to land. The soul, he continued, went up, up, up; it was bright, and brighter, "like sun—all light, beautiful light." At last he saw a gate, and inside many angels looking out at him; but two very small angels came running to meet the soul; and when he saw them, he took them up into his arms, kissed them, and carried them on towards the gate, still kissing and caressing them. I was amazed and utterly at a loss, and said, "Two angels? What? Mam not know; what?" He looked at me with a laugh of wonder; pointed to my head and the wooden table, and replied—his usual way of calling me stupid— "Doll mam! Two small boys, dead, Portugal." My brother had lost two babes in Portugal; and thus exquisitely, thus in all the beauty of true sublimity, had the untaught deaf and dumb boy pictured the welcome they had given their father on approaching the gate of heaven.
A day or two after, some kind, sympathizing relations and friends being assembled at the dinner-table, something cheerful was said, which excited a general smile: Jack was in the act of handing a plate; he looked round him with a face of stern indignation, set down the plate, said, "Bad laughing!" and walked out of the room, stopping at the door to add to me, "Mam, come: no laughing! Gone; dead." I had not smiled; and this jealous tenaciousness of such a grief, on the part of an exceedingly cheerful boy, was the means of soothing more than any other means could have done it, the anguish of that wound which had pierced my very heart's core. These were a small part of the munificent wages that my Master gave me for nursing a child of his.
My first act had, of course, been to adopt my brother's son—the "baby boy"—now five years old, who had been since he first showed his little round face in England, my own peculiar treasure. I begged him as a precious boon, and for his sake bore up against the storm of sorrow that was rending me within. Jack fell into a decline, through the depression of his spirits in seeing me suffer; for to conceal it from one who read every turn of my countenance was impossible; and I should have been well content to sink also, but for the powerful motive set before me. Under God, who gave him to me, you may thank your young friend for what little service I may have rendered in the cause you love, since 1828; for the prospect which by the Lord's rich mercy is so far realized, of seeing him grow up a useful, honorable member of society, with right principles, grounded on a scriptural education, was what enabled me to persevere against every difficulty and every discouragement that could cross my path. I set up a joyful Ebenezer here; and I ask your prayers that the blessing may be prolonged, increased, perfected, even to the day when we shall all meet before the throne of God. * * *
How is it that Christians so often complain they can find nothing to do for their Master? To hear some of them bemoaning their unprofitableness, we might conclude that the harvest indeed is small, and the laborers many. So many servants out of employ is a bad sign; and to obviate the difficulty complained of, I purpose showing you two or three ways in which those who are so inclined may bestir themselves for the good of others. What a blessing were a working church! and by a church I mean, "the company of all faithful people," whosoever and wheresoever they be.
In the village where I lived, there was a very good national-school, well attended; also a Sunday-school; and the poorer inhabitants generally were of a respectable class, with many of a higher grade, such as small tradesmen, and the families of those in subordinate offices about the Military College. I always took a great interest in the young; and as love usually produces love, there was no lack of affectionate feeling on their part. It occurred to me, as the Sunday was much devoted by most of them to idling about, that assembling such of them as wished it at my cottage would afford an opportunity for scriptural instruction; and without any thing resembling a school, or any regular proposal, I found a little party of six or seven children assembled in the afternoon, to hear a chapter read, answer a few questions upon it, and join in a short prayer. Making it as cheerful and unrestrained as possible, I found my little guests greatly pleased; and on the next Sabbath my party was doubled, solely through the favorable report spread by them. One had asked me, "Please, ma'am, may I bring my little sister?" and on the reply being given, "You may bring any body and every body you like," a general beating up for recruits followed. In three or four weeks my assemblage amounted to sixty, only one half of whom could be crowded into the parlor of my small cottage. What was to be done? The work was rather arduous, but as I too had been complaining not long before of having little to do for the Lord, except with the pen, I resolved to brave a little extra labor. I desired the girls to come at four, the boys at six, and allowing an interval of half an hour between, we got through it very well. A long table was set across the room, from corner to corner; round this they were seated, each with a Bible, I being at the head of the table. I found this easy and sociable way of proceeding highly gratified the children: they never called, never thought it a school—they came bustling in with looks of great glee, particularly the boys, and greeted me with the affectionate freedom of young friends. A few words of introductory prayer were followed by the reading of one or more chapters, so that each had a verse or two; and then we talked over the portion of Scripture very closely, mutually questioning each other. Many of the girls were as old as sixteen or seventeen, beautiful creatures, and very well dressed: and what a privilege it was so to gather and so to arm them in a place where, alas, innumerable snares beset their path. We concluded with a hymn; and long before the half-hour had expired that preceded the boys' entrance, they were clustering like bees at the gate, impatient for the joyous rush; and to seat themselves round their dear table, with all that free confidence without which I never could succeed in really commanding the attention of boys.
Our choice of chapters was peculiar. I found they wanted stirring subjects, and I gave them Gideon, Samson, Jonathan, Nehemiah, Boaz, Mordecai, Daniel, all the most manly characters of Old Testament history, with the rich gospel that lies wrapped in every page of that precious volume. Even in the New Testament I found that individualizing as much as possible the speaker or the narrative produced, great effects. Our blessed Lord himself, John the Baptist, Paul—all were brought before them as vividly as possible; and I can assure those who try to teach boys as they would teach girls, that they are pursuing a wrong method. Mine have often coaxed an extra hour from me; and I never once saw them willing to go, during the fifteen months of our happy meetings. If the least symptom of unruliness appeared, I had only to tell them they were my guests, and I appealed to their feelings of manliness, whether a lady had not some claim to forbearance and respect. Nothing rights a boy of ten or twelve years like putting him on his manhood; and really my little lads became gentlemen in mind and manners, while, blessed be God, not a few became, I trust, wise unto salvation. Their greatest temptation to disorderly doings was in the laughable, authoritative style of Jack's superintendence. He was now rapidly fading, but in mind brighter than ever. Seated in a large chair, a little to the rear of me, he kept strict watch over the party, and any deviation from what he considered correct conduct was noticed with a threat of punishment, conveyed by pinching his own ear, slapping his own face, kicking out his foot, and similar indications of chastisement, with a knowing nod at the offender. But if he saw an approach to levity over the word of God, his manner wholly changed. Tears filled his eyes, he looked all grief and entreaty, and the words, "God see," were earnestly spelled on his uplifted hands. No one could stand the appeal; and very rarely had he occasion to make it. I am sure his prayers helped forward the work mightily. It was wonderful to see thirty-two robust, boisterous fellows, from nine to seventeen years old, sitting in perfect delight and perfect order, for two and even three hours, on a fine Sunday evening, never looking dissatisfied till they were told to go.
I cannot help recording an event on which I look back with great thankfulness, though it was a terrible trial to me at the time. Two of my boys had a quarrel one week-day. One of them was very teasing, the other very passionate. The latter ran to a butcher's window close by, seized the large knife, and plunged it into the left side of his companion. Most mercifully the wound was not dangerous: the keenness of the knife was in his favor; it penetrated to within a short distance of the heart, but separated no large vein, and within a few days the boy was out again. The Sunday after it occurred my party were exceedingly moved; they expressed great anger, and not a few threats were, uttered against the culprit, whose parents had locked him up. On the following Sabbath I resolved to make an effort to avert bad consequences, and also to arrest the poor boy in his dangerous course. He had rather justified himself than otherwise, and had shown a spirit sadly unsubdued, and unthankful for his escape from a deadly crime and its awful consequences. I sent word to him to come to my party: he replied he would not. I repeated the summons, saying I should be exceedingly hurt if he did not. No answer was returned. The place next but one to me belonged to the wounded boy, that below it to his assailant; and the former was present, pale, indeed, but well. I lost no time in announcing to them that I expected P——, which occasioned a burst of indignation, some saying they would not stay in the room with him, and the rest seeming to assent. "Then," said I, "you must go, for he wants instruction most: and the very feeling that makes you shrink from associating with him proves that you are better taught. So if you will leave me, do; I must admit him." Just then P—— was seen coming down the little garden: he entered, his walk very erect, his eyes unflinching, and his dark brows knitted. The looks of my young lads were very eloquent; his bold bearing exasperated them much. My heart seemed bursting its boundary with the violent palpitation of alarm, and other emotions which I could scarcely suppress; but I motioned to P—— to take his usual place, and instantly rising offered up the usual prayer, with a petition for the spirit of mutual compassion, forgiveness, and love. I ceased, all remained standing, and certainly it was a period of most fearful interest. I looked imploringly at the wounded boy; he hesitated a moment, then suddenly turned, and with an air of noble frankness, held out his hand to P——, who took it directly. I then offered him mine; he grasped it, and burst into tears. A delightful scene followed, each pressing to seal his forgiveness in the same manner, while Jack's countenance shone with almost heavenly beauty on a spectacle so congenial to his loving heart. We had a most happy evening, and I could not but tell my dear boys how much I rejoiced over them. Whatever may have been the effect on the characters of those concerned, I know not. I am persuaded the proceeding was a means of averting much mischief. Boys are noble creatures when placed on their right footing; but they are pugnacious animals and require prudent management. News was brought me one evening, while they waited for admission, that two of them had stripped off their jackets to fight, the dispute being which loved their teacher most. "Exclude them both to- night," said a friend, "and threaten to expel them." Instead of which, I sent word that the one who first put on his jacket loved me most, and that I was ready to begin. In they both came, smiling, and they got their lecture in due time, when a passage in point came before us.
Now, who complains of non-employment while there are so many neglected children, and so many who, in the dull routine of a school, get only a mechanical knowledge of what would deeply interest them if brought before them with the help of a little personal condescension and care? It is a branch of Christian duty for which all are competent who know the gospel; and two, three, or four young people invited to come in for an hour or so at stated times, to sit down at a table and talk over the passages of Scripture which may appear best calculated to engage their pleased attention, may often prove the foundation for a noble work. * * * Ladies do not like to instruct boys: they are very wrong. Female influence is a powerful thing, and freely exerted for evil—why not for good? We brought sin into the world, involving man in the ruin he was not the first to seek; and it is the least we can do to offer him a little good now. I never yet met with a boy—and thanks be to God I have taught many—who would be rude to a female earnestly and kindly seeking his welfare, without attempting to crush that independence of spirit which is man's prerogative, and which no woman has a right to crush.
I need not say that in the foregoing, and in all similar works where the Lord permitted me to engage, I labored diligently to make my young friends something more than nominal Protestants. To omit this, in giving instruction, is the very madness of inconsistent folly and cruelty.
A few weeks after the commencement of my weekly assemblages, I was called to the metropolis in search of medical aid for a dear little child of my brother's. I found it, and all that Christian kindness could add to render it doubly valuable, at the hands of an estimable physician, near whom I resolved to stay for a few weeks; and while secretly lamenting that here, at least, I should find nothing to do, an answer was given to my unbelief that might well shame it. To the same end I will record this also, the circumstances being already well known, but not the delightful encouragements that are afforded when a project is entered upon in single, simple reliance on the help of Him for whose glory his people desire to work. Unbelief in his willingness—for we dare not doubt his power to prosper our poor attempts—is the real bar to our success. Such mistrust is infinitely dishonoring to him.
Six years had elapsed since I left Ireland, but my affection for the country and people was unchanged, unchangeable. The very centre of the isle had become the grave of my beloved brother, and this only added tenfold to the touching interest excited by the very mention of that land. Strange to say, I had never heard of the Irish Society, nor considered of what vast importance it would be to make the language of the natives a medium of conveying spiritual instruction to them. The annual meeting was about to be held, and among the Irish clergymen forming the deputation to London, was the Rev. Charles Seymour, the venerable and every-way estimable pastor under whose ministry my brother had been placed at Castlebar, and from whom I had received letters, fully confirmatory of my sanguine hope that he had indeed and wholly embraced the gospel of Christ. Longing to see Mr. Seymour, I went to him on the morning of the meeting; and most sweet was the testimony he had to give; most tender the sympathy he evinced in all my sorrow and all my gladness. After a conversation that left me overflowing with gratitude for the blessings vouchsafed to my precious brother, he asked me to attend the meeting, and I went prepared to take a lively interest in whatever might be said respecting Ireland. How great was my astonishment when, for the first time, I heard the story of Bishop Bedell, of the Irish Bible, and of the good work in rapid progress among the aborigines of the land. The extent and inveteracy of the disease, I well knew; but the suitability of the remedy had never been set before me. In fact, I hardly knew that the Irish was a written language; and strange it seemed, to have passed three years in a part of the country where it is extensively spoken, and in the house of one who always conversed in that tongue with the rustic frequenters of her shop, yet to be so grossly ignorant of all relating to it. I resolved to become an active partisan of the Irish Society in Ireland; but a different turn was soon given to my sympathies. Mr. Seymour spoke after the others: he said much calculated to prove the power of the language in preaching the gospel; but suddenly reverting to the state of the many thousands of his poor countrymen congregated in London, he drew a most affecting picture of their destitute, degraded condition. He appealed to us as Christians; and reminding us of our many privileges, bade us take care that the souls of his poor countrymen did not rise up in judgment to condemn us for allowing them to perish in the heart of our metropolis. "Open," he said, "a bread-shop in St. Giles's; deal forth a little of the bread of life to their starving souls. Ye English Christians, I appeal to you for them: Oh, pity my poor lost countrymen, open but a bread-shop in St. Giles's!" Tears ran down his venerable face, as he lifted his clasped hands, and bent towards us. The effect of his words on me was electric: I looked at him, and silently but fervently said, "So God help me as I will open you a bread-shop in St. Giles's, if He does but permit!" Again and again did I repeat the pledge; and when Lord Roden spoke—the first time of my seeing that noble Irishman—and heartily seconded the appeal, I renewed the secret promise, with such purpose of heart as rarely fails to accomplish its object.
For some days I tried in vain to do any thing towards it; but on the Sunday, passing from Great Russell-street to Long-acre, through the worst part of St. Giles's, I saw the awful state of that district, and declared to my companion, himself a devoted Irishman, my fixed resolve to have a church there. He warmly encouraged it, extravagant as the idea appeared; and I began to pray earnestly for direction from above. Two nights after, a thought struck me; I wrote an appeal on behalf of the miserable Irish Papists in that place, likening their case among us to that of Lazarus lying at the rich man's gate, and imploring means to give them the gospel in their own tongue. This I had printed, and sent copies as I could to various friends. Some smiled at my enthusiasm; others pointed out the work among distant heathen as far more important. Many wished me success; a few rebuked me for desiring to proselytize the members of another church; and still fewer gave me money. At the end of a fortnight's hard begging, I had got just seven pounds towards building a church! This was slow work. One day, dining at the table of my dear friend Dr. P——, he heard many bantering me for being so sanguine, and said, "You remind me of Columbus going to the cathedral of Seville to ask a blessing on his romantic project of discovering a new world. Everybody laughed at him. Nevertheless, Columbus succeeded, and so will you." At that moment a gentleman sitting next me laid a sovereign on my piece of bread; and the coincidence of the gold and the "bread-shop," combined with the doctor's confident prediction, put new life into me, and I boldly said, "I WILL succeed."
With the sum of seven pounds in hand, I wrote to the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, begging him to ask the bishop of London if he would license my Irish church and an Irish clergyman, if I provided both. Lord Mountsandford took this letter to him, and the next day he brought me this rather startling message: "The bishop of London will license your church: Lichfield sends his love to you, and desires you will summon the gentlemen who are assisting you in this undertaking—half a dozen or so —to meet him in Sackville-street on Saturday next, and be there yourself. He will see what can be done to forward it." Half a dozen gentlemen! where was I to find them? My only helpers were Mr. Maxwell, Dr. Pidduck, and Lord Mountsandford himself. However, I went to work, praying incessantly, and solacing myself with that beautiful text, "Go up to the mountain, and bring wood and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord." I suppose I repeated that verse a hundred times a day, in my solitude, attending the sick child and writing letters till I nearly fell from my seat with exhaustion.
Saturday arrived: I had no idea how far my applications might have succeeded; but if I had as many gentlemen there as pounds in my treasury, namely, seven, it would be sufficient. I went trembling with hope and fear, accompanied by two warmhearted young Irish barristers whom my good friend Mr. Maxwell had pressed into the service. Oh what could I render unto the Lord for all his goodness to me, when I saw the glorious spectacle presented to my view at the hour appointed! There sat the good Bishop Ryder in the chair; beside him the bishop of Bath and Wells; lords Lorton, Lifford, Bexley, Mountsandford, and Carberry; and of other clergymen and gentlemen upwards of forty. "Let us ask a blessing," said the bishop of Lichfield; and when, we all kneeled down to commit unto the LORD a work so new, so strange, and to poor human reason so hopelessly wild as this had appeared two days before, I thought I might as well die then as not; I could never die happier.
All was zeal, love, unanimity; they placed it on a good basis, and my seven pounds were multiplied by more than seven before we broke up. They did not take the work out of my hands, but formed themselves into a body for aiding in carrying it on: the rector of St. Giles's came forward voluntarily to give his hearty consent, and ten pounds; and if there was a pillow of roses in London that night, I surely slept on it. In six weeks my memorable seven pounds swelled to thirteen hundred; a church was bought, a pastor engaged; and a noble meeting held in Freemason's Hall, to incorporate the new project with the Irish Society. I went back to Sandhurst elated with joy, and lost no time in putting up, most conspicuously written out on card, over my study fireplace, the lines that I had so often repeated during the preceding two months:
"Victorious Faith, the promise sees, And looks to God alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And says, 'IT SHALL BE DONE!"
In the following November the Irish Episcopal church in St. Giles's was opened for divine service on Advent Sunday, the Rev. H.H. Beamish officiating. A more eloquent and fluent preacher, a more gifted and devoted man, the whole church of God could not have supplied. He preached the whole gospel in Irish to the listening, wondering people, who hung with delight upon accents so dear to them; and he attacked their pestilent heresies with the bold faithfulness of one who meant what he said, when vowing to drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines from those under his charge. God blessed most richly his ministry: many were awakened, several truly converted to Christ, and not a small number fully convinced of the falsehood of their own superstition, which they forsook. We had forty communicants from among the most wretchedly ignorant and bigoted of the Irish Romanists, before Mr. Beamish left his post; and one of them had even endured a cruel martyrdom for the truth's sake. A bread-shop in deed it was: and the old Christian, whose fervent appeal had given rise to its establishment, himself preached there in Irish to a delighted congregation, before the Lord took him to himself. * * *
I come now to the period of my delivering up a sacred trust into the hands of Him who committed it to me. Jack had lingered long, and sunk very gradually; but now he faded apace. His eldest sister, a very decided Romanist, came over for the purpose of seeing him, and to take care that he had "the rites of the church." Had the abbe remained, it is probable we should have soon found ourselves deep in controversy; for, as priest, he never should have crossed my threshold, to bring upon my house the curse attached to idolatrous worship: and there was happily no other within reach. Jack requested me to promise him in his sister's presence that no Romish priest should come near him: I willingly did so; and moreover informed her that if she was herself dying and asked for one, he would not be admitted under my roof. The abomination that maketh desolate stands in many places where it ought not, but where I have authority it never did, nor by God's grace ever shall. I have toleration full and free for every form of Christianity, but none for antichrist, come in what form he may.
It may be possible to describe a glorious summer sunset, with all the softening splendor that it sheds around; but to describe the setting of my dumb boy's sun of mortal life is impossible. He declined like the orb of day, gently, silently, gradually, yet swiftly, and gathered new beauties as he approached the horizon. His sufferings were great, but far greater his patience; and nothing resembling a complaint ever escaped him. When appearing in the morning, with pallid, exhausted looks, if asked whether he had slept, he would reply, with a sweet smile, "No, Jack no sleep; Jack think good Jesus Christ see poor Jack. Night dark; heaven all light; soon see heaven. Cough much now, pain bad; soon no cough, no pain." This was his usual way of admitting how much he suffered, always placing in contrast the glory to be revealed in him, and which, seemed already revealed to him. Knowing that his recovery was impossible, I refrained, with his full concurrence, from having him tormented with miscalled alleviations, such as opiates, bloodletting, and so forth. All that kindness and skill could effect was gratuitously done for him, and every thing freely supplied by our medical friends; but they admitted that no permanent relief could be given, and I always hold it cruel to imbitter the dying season with applications that in the end increase the sufferings they temporarily subdue. This plan kept the boy's mind clear and calm; the ever-present Saviour being to him instead of all soothing drugs. Sometimes when greatly oppressed, he has had leeches; and I remember once half a dozen were put on his side, at his own request. The inflammation was very great; the torture dreadful as they drew it to the surface; and I was called to him, as he sat grasping the arm of a chair, and writhing convulsively. He said to me, "Very, very pain; pain bad, soon kill;" and he seemed half wild with agony. Looking up in my face, he saw me in tears; and instantly assumed his sweetest expression of countenance, saying in a calm, leisurely way, that his pain was much, but the pain the Lord suffered much more: his was only in his side; the Lord suffered in his side, his hands, his feet, and head. His pain would be over in half an hour, the Lord's lasted many hours; he was "bad Jack," the Lord was "good Jesus Christ." Then again he observed the leeches made very little holes in his skin, and drew out a little blood; but the thorns, the nails, the spear, tore the Lord's flesh, and all his blood gushed out—it was shed to save him; and he raised his eyes, lifted his clasped hands, turned his whole face up towards heaven, saying, "Jack loves, loves, very loves good Jesus Christ!" When another violent pang made him start and writhe a little, he recovered in a moment, nodded his head, and said, "Good pain, make Jack soon go heaven."
His sublime idea of the "red hand" was ever present. He had told me some years before, that when he had lain a good while in the grave, God would call aloud, "Jack!" and he would start, and say, "Yes, me Jack." Then he would rise, and see multitudes standing together, and God sitting on a cloud with a very large book in his hand—he called it "Bible book"—and would beckon him to stand before him while he opened the book, and looked at the top of the pages, till he came to the name of John B——. In that page he told me, God had written all his "bads," every sin he had ever done: and the page was full. So God would look, and strive to read it, and hold it to the sun for light, but it was all "no, no nothing, none." I asked him in some alarm if he had done no bad. He said yes, much bads; but when he first prayed to Jesus Christ he had taken the book out of God's hand, found that page, and pulling from his palm something which he described as filling up the hole made by the nail, had allowed the wound to bleed a little, passing his hand down the page so that, as he beautifully said, God could see none of Jack's bads, only Jesus Christ's blood. Nothing being thus found against him, God would shut the book, and there he would remain standing before him, till the Lord Jesus came, and saying to God, "My Jack," would put his arm around him, draw him aside, and bid him stand with the angels till the rest were judged.
All this he told me with the placid but animated look of one who is relating a delightful fact: I stood amazed, for rarely had the plan of a sinner's ransom, appropriation, and justification, been so perspicuously set forth in a pulpit, as here it was by a poor deaf and dumb peasant boy, whose broken language was eked out by signs. He often told it to others, always making himself understood, and often have I seen the tears starting from a rough man's eye as he followed the glowing representation. Jack used to sit silent and thoughtful for a long time together in his easy-chair, when too weak to move about, and then catching my eye, to say with a look of infinite satisfaction, "Good red hand." I am persuaded that it was his sole and solid support; he never doubted, never feared, because his view of Christ's all-sufficiency was so exceedingly clear and realizing. It certainly never entered his head to question God's love to him. One night a servant went to his room, long after he had gone to bed: he was on his knees at the window, his hands and face held up towards a beautiful starlight sky. He did not perceive the servant's entrance: and next morning when I asked him about it, he told me that God was walking above, upon the stars; and that he went to the window and held up his head that God might look down into it and see how very much he loved Jesus Christ.
All his ideas were similar—all turned on the one theme so dear to him; and their originality was inexhaustible. What could be finer than his notion of the lightning, that it was produced by a sudden opening and shutting of God's eye—or of the rainbow, that it was the reflection of God's smile? What more graphic than his representation of Satan's malice and impotence, when, one evening, holding his finger to a candle, he snatched it back, as if burnt, pretending to be in great pain, and said, "Devil like candle." Then with a sudden look of triumph he added, "God like wind," and with a most vehement puff at once extinguished the light. When it was rekindled he laughed and said, "God kill devil."
He told me that God was always sitting still with the great book in his hand, and the Lord Jesus looking down for men, and crying to them, "Come, man; come, pray." That the devil drew them back from listening, and persuaded them to spit up towards him, which was his sign for rebellion and contempt; but if at last a man snatched his hand from Satan, and prayed to the Lord Jesus, he went directly, took the book, found the name, and passed the "red hand" over the page; on seeing which Satan would stamp and cry. He gave very grotesque descriptions of the evil spirit's mortification, and always ended by bestowing on him a hearty kick. From seeing the effect, in point of watchfulness, prayer, and zeal, produced on this young Christian by such continual realization of the presence of the great tempter, I have been led to question very much the policy, not to say the lawfulness, of excluding that terrible foe as we do from our general discourse. It seems to be regarded a manifest impropriety to name him, except with the most studied circumlocution, as though we were afraid of treating him irreverently; and he who is seldom named will not often be thought of. Assuredly it is a great help to him in his countless devices to be so kept out of sight. We are prone to speak, to think, to act, as though we had only our own evil natures to contend with, including perhaps a sort of general admission that something is at work to aid the cause of rebellion; but it was far otherwise with Jack. If only conscious of the inward rising of a sullen or angry temper, he would immediately conclude that the devil was trying to make him grieve the Lord; and he knelt down to pray that God would drive him away. The sight of a drunken man affected him deeply: he would remark that the devil had drawn that man to the ale- house, put the cup into his hand with an assurance that God did not see, or did not care; and was now pushing him about to show the angels he had made that wretched being spit at the authority of the Lord. In like manner with all other vices, and some seeming virtues. As an instance of the latter, he knew a person who was very hostile to the gospel, and to the best of his power hindered it, but who nevertheless paid the most punctual regard to all the formalities of external public worship. He almost frightened me by the picture he drew of that person's case, saying the devil walked to church with him, led him into a pew, set a hassock prominently forward for him to kneel on, put a handsome prayer- book into his hand; and while he carefully followed all the service kept clapping him on the shoulder, saying, "A very good pray." I told this to a pious minister, who declared it was the most awfully just description of self-deluding formality, helped on by Satan, that ever he heard of. When partaking of the Lord's supper, Jack told me that his feeling was "very, very love Jesus Christ; very, very, very hate devil: go, devil!" and with holy indignation he motioned, as it were, the enemy from him. He felt that he had overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb. Oh that we all may take a lesson of wisdom from this simple child of God.
During the winter months he sunk daily: his greatest earthly delight was in occasionally seeing Mr. Donald, for whom he felt the fondest love, and who seemed to have a presentiment of the happy union in which they would together soon rejoice before the Lord. Jack was courteous in manner, even to elegance; most graceful; and being now nineteen, tall and large, with the expression of infantine innocence and sweetness on a very fine countenance, no one could look on him without admiration, nor treat him with roughness or disrespect: but Donald's tenderness of manner was no less conspicuous than his; and I have watched that noble- minded Christian man waiting on the dying youth, as he sat patiently reclining in his chair—for he could not lie down—and the grateful humility with which every little kindness was received, until I almost forgot what the rude unfeeling world was in that beautiful contemplation. How much the fruit in God's garden is beautified by the process that ripens it.
Jack labored anxiously to convert his sister; and as she could not read at all, the whole controversy was carried on by signs. Mary was excessively mirthful, Jack unboundedly earnest; and when her playful reproaches roused his Irish blood, the scene was often very comic. I remember he was once bringing a long list of accusations against her priest, for taking his mother's money, making the poor fast while the rich paid for dispensations to eat, inflicting cruel penances, drinking too much whiskey, and finally telling the people to worship wooden and breaden gods. To all this Mary attended with perfect good-humor, and then told him the same priest had christened him and made crosses upon him. Jack wrathfully intimated that he was then a baby, with a head like a doll's, and knew nothing; but if he had been wise he would have kicked his little foot into the priest's mouth. The controversy grew so warm that I had to part them. His horror of the priests was solely directed against their false religion; when I told him of one being converted, he leaped about for joy.
At the commencement of the year 1831 he was evidently dying; and we got a furlough for his brother to visit him. Poor Pat never went to bed but twice during the fortnight he was there, so bitterly did he grieve over the companion of his early days; and many a sweet discourse passed between them on the subject of the blessed hope that sustained the dying Christian. He only survived Pat's departure four days. On the third of February the last symptoms came on; the death-damps began to ooze out, his legs were swelled to the size of his body, and he sat in that state, incapable of receiving warmth, scarcely able to swallow, yet clear, bright, and tranquil, for thirty hours. The morning of the last day was marked by such a revival of strength that he walked across the room with little help, and talked incessantly to me, and to all who came near him. He told me, among other things, that once God destroyed all men by rain, except those in the ark; and that he would soon do it again, not with water but with fire. He described the Lord as taking up the wicked by handfuls, breaking them, and throwing them into a fire; repeating, "All bads, all bads go fire." I asked if he was not bad; "Yes, Jack bad very." Would he be thrown into the fire? "No; Jesus Christ loves poor Jack." He then spoke rapturously of the "red hand," of the angels he should soon be singing with, of the day when Satan should be cast into the pit, and of the delight he should have in seeing me again. He prayed for his family, begged me to teach Mary to read the Bible, to warn Pat against bad example, to bring up my brother's boys to love Jesus Christ, and lastly he repeated over and over again the fervent injunction to love Ireland, to pray for Ireland, to write books for "Jack's poor Ireland," and in every way to oppose Popery. He called it "Roman," always; and it was a striking sight, that youth all but dead, kindling into the most animated, stern, energetic warmth of manner, raising his cold, damp hands, and spelling with them the words, "Roman is a lie." "One Jesus Christ, one," meaning he was the only Saviour; "Jack's one Jesus Christ;" and then with a force as if he would have the characters impressed on his hands, he reiterated, as slowly as possible, his dying protest, "Roman is A LIE!" Very sweetly he thanked me for all my care; and now he seemed to bequeath to me his zeal against the destroyer of his people. The last signs of removal came on in the evening; his sight failed, he rubbed his eyes, shook his head, and then smiled with conscious pleasure. At last he asked me to let him lie down on the sofa where he had been sitting, and saying very calmly, "A sleep," put his hand into mine, closed his eyes, and breathed his spirit forth so gently, that it was difficult to mark the precise moment of that joyful change.
I still hope to throw into a volume the numerous particulars that remain untold concerning this boy; and I will not now dwell upon the subject longer. God had graciously kept me faithful to my trust; and I surrendered it, not without most keenly feeling the loss of such a companion, but with a glow of adoring thankfulness that overcame all selfish regrets. Thenceforth my lot was to be cast among strangers, and sorely did I miss the comforting, sympathizing monitor who for seven years had been teaching me more than I could teach him; but all my prayers had been answered, all my labors crowned; and with other duties before me I was enabled to look at the past, to thank God, and to take courage.
Circumstances led me to decide on removing nearer the metropolis; and with reluctance I bade adieu to Sandhurst, where I had resided five years. Jack was buried under the east window of the Chapel of Ease at Bagshot, there to rest till roused by the Lord's descending shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God. I am very certain he will rise to glory and immortality. It was a severe trial to part with my school, to dispose of the endeared relics that had furnished a home blessed by my brother's presence, to bid farewell to many kind friends, and cast myself into the great wilderness of London. The feeling that oppressed me was a conviction that I should there find nothing to do; but I prayed to be made useful, and none ever asked work of a heavenly Master in vain. The dreadful famine in the west of Ireland had called forth a stream of English liberality, and collections were made everywhere for relief of the suffering Irish: one was announced at Long- Acre chapel; but before the day arrived, the committee put forth a statement that they had abundant funds and required no more. I was then residing in Bloomsbury, daily witnessing the wretchedness of St. Giles's: and on learning this I wrote to Mr. Howels, begging him to say a word to his congregation on behalf of those Irish who were starving at their doors, whose miserable destitution I laid before him as well as I could. He returned me no answer; but on the Sunday morning read my letter from the pulpit, asked his flock to contribute, and collected upwards of fifty pounds, which he gave to me.
Knowing the character of the people so well, and longing to make the relief of their bodily wants subservient to a higher purpose, I resolved to visit in person every case recommended to my notice. Many of my friends stood aghast at the proposal: I should be insulted, murdered, by the Irish savages; no lady could venture there, their language was so dreadful: no delicate person could survive the effects of such a noxious atmosphere. To this I replied that, happily, I could not hear their conversation; and as for the unwholesomeness, it could not be worse than Sierra Leone, or other missionary stations, where many ladies went. Insult had never yet been my lot among the Irish; and as to murder, it would be martyrdom in such a cause, of which I had little hope. So I turned my fifty pounds into bread, rice, milk, meal, coals, and soup, resolved to give no money, and on the very next day commenced the campaign against starvation and Popery in St. Giles's.
For four months I persevered in the work, devoting from four to six hours every day to it; and though I never in the smallest degree concealed or compromised the truth, or failed to place in the strongest light its contrast with the falsehoods taught them, I never experienced a disrespectful or unkind look from one among the hundreds, the thousands who knew me as the enemy of their religion, but the loving friend of their country and of their souls. Often, when I went to visit and relieve some poor dying creature in a cellar or garret, where a dozen wholly unconnected with the sufferer were lodged in the same apartment, have I gathered them all about me by speaking of Ireland with the affection I really feel for it, and then shown them, from the Scriptures, in English, or by means of an Irish reader sometimes accompanying me, the only way of salvation, pointing out how very different was that by which they vainly sought it. My plan was to discover such as were too ill to go to the dispensary for relief, or to select the most distressed objects whom I met there, and to take the bread of life along with the bread that perisheth into their wretched abodes. I was most ably and zealously helped by that benevolent physician who had always been foremost in every good and compassionate work for the Irish poor; and to whose indefatigable zeal it is chiefly owing that at this day the poor lambs of that distressed flock are still gathered and taught in the schools which it was Donald's supreme delight to superintend. I cannot pass over in silence the devotion of Dr. Pidduck, through many years, to an office the most laborious, the most repulsive, and in many respects the most thankless that a professional man can be engaged in—that of ministering to the diseased and filthy population of the district. But many a soul that he has taught in the knowledge of Him whom to know is life eternal, will be found to rejoice him in the day when their poor bodies shall arise to meet the Lord.
The schools in George-street, to which I have alluded, are the main blessing of the place: they were established long before the gospel in Irish was ever introduced there; and they survive the Irish ministry which, alas, has been withdrawn from the spot where God enabled me to plant it. Those schools are a bud of promise in the desolate wilderness, which may the Lord in his own good time cause to blossom again. * * *
During a sojourn of some years a little to the north of London, I devoted myself more to the pen, and found less opportunity for other usefulness than in Sandhurst and London; yet much encouragement was given to labor among the poor neglected Irish, who may be found in every neighborhood, and to whom few think of taking the gospel in their native tongue—still fewer of bearing with the desperate opposition that Satan will ever show to the work. We make the deplorable state, morally and physically, of the Irish poor, an excuse first for not going among them at all, and then for relinquishing the work if we do venture to begin it. In both cases it ought to plead for tenfold readiness and perseverance. I always found it a perilous task to attack the enemy in this strong-hold: not from any opposition encountered from the people themselves; far otherwise; they ever received me gladly, and treated me with respect and grateful affection; but Satan has many ways of assailing those whom he desires to hinder, and sometimes his chain is greatly lengthened for the trial of faith, and perfecting of humility and patience, where they may be sadly lacking. There are spheres of undeniable duty where the Christian may often almost, if not altogether, take up the apostle's declaration, and say, "No man stood by me." This, to the full extent, has never yet been my experience; but I have often found many against me, both without and within, when earnestly bent on dealing a blow at the great antichrist. It is no good sign when all goes on too smoothly.
In 1834 I was induced to undertake what seemed an arduous and alarming office, that of editing a periodical. I commenced it in much prayer, with no little trembling, and actuated by motives not selfish. That it was not laid down at the end of the second year, was owing to the great blessing just then given to my appeals on behalf of the cruelly oppressed and impoverished Irish clergy through its means: and recommencing, at the beginning of the third year, with an ardent desire to promote more than ever the sacred cause of Protestantism, I found the Lord prospering the work beyond my best hopes; and by his help I continue it to this day. * * *
It was my blessed privilege, four years since, to abridge into two moderate sized volumes the English Martyrology, as recorded by Foxe. In the progress of this work I became better acquainted with the true doctrines of the Reformation than ever before: I compared them, as I am wont to do every thing, with what God has revealed; and I am satisfied that they are perfectly accordant with Scripture: if they were not so, I would reject them. By the same standard let us prove all things, that we may hold fast that which is good.
I have not particularized the trial of my scriptural principles when exposed for a short time to the pernicious doctrines of a subtle and persuasive Antinomian teacher. At first he only appeared to me to insist very strenuously on the doctrine of free, sovereign grace; and greatly to magnify God in the saving of souls, wholly independent of aught that man can do: but a little further investigation convinced me that the vilest system of moral licentiousness might be built on such a foundation as he laid; and I found the discourses of Peter and of Paul, as recorded in the Acts, especially conclusive against his perverted notions. Antinomianism is a most deadly thing; and I believe all extremes in doctrines where good men have much differed to be dangerous; while at the same time they are very deluding, for we all love to go far in an argument, or under the influence of party spirit. * * *
Of myself, I have now no more to say than that, "by the help of my God, I continue to this day" anxiously desirous to devote my little talent to his service, as he may graciously permit. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel, but counted it a privilege to labor with my hands and head, for myself and for those most dear to me. Many trials, various and sharp, have been my portion; but they are passed away, and if I have not enlarged upon them it is from no reluctance to declare all the Lord's wonderful doings, but from a desire to avoid speaking harshly of those who are departed. The Lord has accepted at my hand one offering, in the case of the precious dumb boy, received into glory through his rich blessing on my efforts; and he mercifully gives me to see the welfare of two others, committed to me as the offspring of my brother, over whose early years I have been permitted to watch, and in whose growing prosperity my heart can rejoice. He has been a very gracious Master to me; he has dealt very bountifully, and given me now the abundance of domestic peace, with the light of his countenance to gladden my happy home. Yet the brightest beam that falls upon it is the anticipation of that burst of glory when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, to reign in righteousness over the world that shall soon, very soon, acknowledge him the universal, eternal King: and the most fervent aspiration my heart desires to utter is the response to his promise of a speedy advent. "Even so, Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen."
* * * * *
NOTE. Charlotte Elizabeth was born in October, 1790, and wrote the Personal Recollections near the close of 1840, when fifty years of age. She continued her active Christian beneficence, and the brilliant and unceasing labors of her pen, in editing the Protestant Magazine, and other writing for the press, until the very close of life. "Immediately after breakfast," says a brief sketch of her remaining years, "she went to her desk, locking the door to exclude interruptions; and when her pen was laid aside, her garden afforded ever new delight; and with her, gardening was no light occupation. She smiled at lady gardeners who only enjoyed the labors of others. From the moment the gravel-walks and beds were formed, all was the work of her own hands; and the most laborious operations were to her refreshment and enjoyment. Each plant, each bed was familiar to her. She knew their history, their vicissitudes, and the growth and expansion of each became a source of lively and never-failing interest. The emotions produced in her mind by the brilliant tints of flowers, can only be compared to those of music to others, and this love of color was regulated by the most delicate sense of harmony in their disposition and arrangement. The writer wears at this moment a small diamond ring, which she kept in her desk, and would place on her finger only when engaged in writing; the occasional flashing of the brilliants as the light fell upon them, producing most pleasurable sensations in her mind, and greatly assisting the flow of her thoughts and imagination. Her countenance, at such moments, would light up with animation, and if an inquiring glance were turned to her, she would smile, and add, 'Oh, it was only the diamonds.'
"Often would she lay down her pen in the midst of some work requiring the whole energy of her mind, and much concentration of thought, and go to her garden for half an hour; and while apparently wholly absorbed in pruning or transplanting, she was really engaged in her work; and the apparent loss of time was amply repaid by the rapidity with which she wrote out the ideas conceived and matured during this healthful recreation. A word, however, spoken to her at such times, would have caused a most painful interruption in the current of her thoughts—she compared the effect to a stone thrown into a quiet running brook—and would utterly disable her from writing during the rest of the day, a circumstance not easy to impress on the minds of servants. Even those who would most carefully refrain from addressing her when they knew she was actually writing, could hardly understand that like care was needful when she was thus employed over her flowers.
"All communication was held with her by means of the finger alphabet, but so quick was her appreciation of what was thus said, and so easy was it for those about her to acquire great rapidity in this art, that her total deafness was hardly felt to be an inconvenience; sermons, speeches, conversations even of the most voluble speakers, were conveyed to her with the greatest ease, and with hardly the omission of the smallest word."
In 1841 she married Mr. L.H.J. Tonna, who held an office in London under the British government, and who prepared the sketch from which the above passage is quoted. Having in 1836 removed from Edmonton, (page 242,) she resided at Blackheath till 1845, when she removed to London. About the end of 1844, she found that a small swelling near her left shoulder was indeed a cancer, which would doubtless terminate life; but she continued her literary labors till a vary short time before her death, which was one of peace and humble trust in her Redeemer, and occurred at Ramsgate on the sea-side. The following epitaph, dictated by herself, is inscribed on her tombstone:
LIE THE MORTAL REMAINS
LEWIS HYPOLYTUS JOSEPH TONNA,
DIED ON THE 12TH OF JULY,
LOOKING UNTO JESUS.