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ecution, was the most affecting incident of my life. No imagination can conceive the agonies of that dreadful night! Though more than four years have rolled away since that fatal period, the exhibition of it to my “ mind's eye” is as fresh as ever; and nothing but the hand of death can efface it from my recollection. We were alone in the gloomy cell.-I gazed wildly on my poor boy, who was fully sensible of his approaching fate. He was my only childonce the hope and comfort of my age--and now, to be taken from me so young, and under such circumstances, good God! how agonizing was the thought ;-it was as iron entering into my soul.-I knelt down by his side, and endeavoured to pray; but the only sounds to which I could give utterance were half-stifled sighs, accompanied by the loud and quick vibrations of my throbbing heart. Edwin looked up in my face, as if he would have spoken-but his spirits again sunk. At length, recovering himself a little, he exclaimed, “O my dear father !-had I followed your pious advice, and that of my dear mother, I should —" He burst into a flood of tears, and hid his face with his handkerchief. I heard his convulsive sobs.—" Father of Mercies !” I exclaimed, “ have mercy upon my child, and prepare him for a place among the redeemed in Paradise.-- save him in the eleventh hour !~" Amen !" sighed the penitent youth,
and ob! sustain me in my last struggle!”
“ Here we were interrupted by the sullen voice of the turnkey, who had entered the cell before I was conscious of his approach. I knew the meaning of his visit. The morning had already dawned, and through the high gratings a streak of light had entered through the dismal cell.
Edwin continued in a kneeling posture, breathing his fervent ejaculations to heaven. I gazed upon him in silent anguish ; and imagined I saw his countenance assume a composed and tranquil aspect. An expression of resignation beamed from his eye. He rose from his knees, and firmly grasping my hand, exclaimed, “Now I die in peace !- I suffer justly ; but God has forgiven all my sins, through the merits of Christ, and I know he will receive me into his kingdom.” My heart was too full even for tears. I knew not how to take my last farewell-it was indeed a moment of horror to me. Embracing him, I sobbed, “ Farewell, my dear boy! We shall meet again.” The task was too severe-my fortitude failed—and I sank to the ground insensible. How long I continued in this state I know not; but on recovering, I found myself in a neighbouring inn, where I soon learned
that the awful scene was over, and my poor Edwin launched into eternity !
The venerable man paused ; nor would I say one word to dash the cup of comfort from his trembling lips. I adored the Divine compassion which so often cheers the pious mourner with a ray of encouragement, where those who are less deeply interested can see nothing but uncertainty. Yet I trembled to think how doubtful, after all, is the survivor's hope, when founded merely upon
the expression of feelings excited by the near view of death and eternity. How many, raised from the threshold of death, have proved that no abiding change has passed upon them. I lifted up my heart in prayer, that a living, as well as dying, testimony might be mine. And, turning again to my companion, listened to the conclusion of his sorrowful tale.
After informing me that a severe bodily
disease followed this fearful excitement ; and that the death of his broken-hearted wife took place while he lay in the delirium of fever; he continued
“ When I had recovered from my long affliction, and had acquired strength sufficient to undertake a journey, I resolved on leaving B
and residing with a brother, whose house is not more than three miles from this place. He is one of the most affectionate of brothers, and studies to make me comfortable. But my main consolation is religion. Without its support, I must inevitably have sunk under
my load of woe. I experience much tranquillity of mind in visiting occasionally these beautiful walks ; where, uninterrupted, I can meditate on the goodness of God, and erect an altar to his worship in the solitude of the groves. But there are moments when thoughts of the past return