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Seeing me, he turned to the right, as if going to another part of the bank. Determined to know the result, I immediately pursued him.
The moment he perceived this, he seemed to increase his exertions to gain the edge of the bank; exclaiming, at the same time, “ [ have lived long enough! Life has been to me a gloomy vale-a scene of sorrow. Gone to the heavenly world are my wife and children-and why should I stay behind?” As he said this, he plunged into the river, and sunk- to rise no more!
Poor, deluded wretch! cried I. Better, far better for him, had he never been born. Nothing appears, but that he will for ever realize the truth of the declaration, « There is a way that seemeth, right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Returning to the place first mentioned, and finding nobody there, I bent my course down the river. As I passed along, I was shocked at seeing several infants suspended from the limbs of trees; especially, as many of them were so far consumed by the ants, that only their skeletons remained.
Is this a world of feeling! exclaimed I, as I seemed to step on the bones of one of these little sufferers; or has the course of nature become so changed, that mothers can expose their infant oflspring to the rude blasts of heaven? An unknown voice replied, "Recollect; you are among the heathen:” and told me to proceed.
When I had travelled about four miles, I came to a place where I saw several people standing round a heap of faggots. I was informed, a BURNING was about to take place. Presently a woman advanced, following the corpse of her deceased husband. While the necessary preparations were making, I stepped up to a bystander, and inquired whether this act was usually voluntary on the part of the sufferer? He replied, “It is; though,” he added, "the person now before us would probably have saved her life had she been able.” At these words the widow looked on me with an eye but too expressive of the emotions of her soul. I asked her if she had ever heard of one Jesus, whose office was “ to bind up the broken hearted," and to be “the widow's God?” Her answer convinced me that she was a Christian. It appeared that a bible had been given her about ten years before, and that she hati once in her life heard its truths explained, by a Missionary of the Cross. “I was at that time,” said she, “I was at that time convinced, that the gods my nation worship are (vanity and a lie," and was, as I trust, led to worship the God of the Christians, who is the only living and true God. With regard to my husband,” —(Here she was so affected that she could not proceed)—“But why should I weep!” she soon exclaimed, drying her tears: “My husband is indeed dead; and by the laws of my country my body must burn on the same pile with his : But what is such a scene as this in comparison with the worth of the soul, and the retributions of that eternity upon which I shall in a few moments enter? True, for my helpless children I feel a solicitude which none but mothers can feel; bui my Saviour will protect them; and into his hands I commit both them and myself.” As she said this, she fell on her knees, and continued in fervent prayer, till a person came near and told her to rise adding,' every thing is now ready.' She ascended the pile apparently without emotion, and was bound at the side of her husband. Fire being applied to the faggots, an end was soon put to her mortal existence. The last words I heard her utter weré, « Lord Jesus, receive my spirit !”
How different, thought I, leaving the spectacle and proceeding onward, was the death of this widow, from that of the old gentleman mentioned above. The one died like a rational person, and a Christian ; the other was “driven away in his wickedness," being "left to believe a lie,” that he “ might be damned." The one has exchanged a world of woe for a world of bliss; the other died but to be more miserable than he was before. And why was this poor woman selected from the thousands that were left to perish? “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"
By this time, I was brought to a stand,-hesitating, whether to proceed further, or to return. I had seen people drowning themselves in the Ganges-infants suspended from the limbs of trees, and left to perish from want of sustenance ;- I had seen roads whitened by the bones of these innocent sufferers, and women burning on the funeral pile,-enough to remove from my mind every doubt with regard to the dreadful situation of the heathen. But, I asked myself, Must they forever remain in this state of wretchedness ? Must thousands after thousands of immortal beings, come into the world but to be ignorant, and leave it but to be miserable ? Is there any decree which prevents thè salvation of so large å portion of Adam's race ? Did the Saviour die for a part of the human family merely, or for every man? Did He commission His ministers to preach the Gospel to a few individuals, or to “ all nations"? Where, in the Scriptures of truth, is it said, that the soul of a heathen is less valuable than that of any other human being? And, in the conversion of the Pagan nations, is a miracle to be expected ? Must they not be converted by the preaching of the Gospel ? And can preachers go among them “ except they be sent”? * The falling of a brand upon the hearth, aroused me from my dream of meditation—from my imaginary excursion among awful realities. I then résolved to engage in such a course of operations as would be best calculated to promote the present and eternal welfare of the heathen. Some account of the success that attended my exertions, I may give you hereafter.
WHEN the world begins to recede from our view, and the realities of eternity are just ready to burst upon us, we begin to form some just estimate of the consolations of religion, and some rational though
still imperfect conceptions of the immense value of souls, and the importance of their salvation. But while the storms of adversity slumber, and death appears to be lingering on the borders of distant years, and we are cheered with the sunshine of health and prosperity, we are apt to place at a remote distance those momentous things which concern us as dying creatures, and “put far away the evil day,” which may suddenly come upon us. The distani sound of alarm just interrupts our slumber,—dies away upon the ear: we imagine all is well-turn our heads upon the soft pillow, and sink again to repose. But as the cry approaches with increasing loudness, and the constant peals of the alarm-bell strike upon our ear and the bursting flame throws a dazzling light over our drowsy eyes, we wake-start up-forsake our slumbers, and rush forth to secure our own safety and aid in rescuing others from impending danger.
The most zealous and active christian, who has accustomed himself to meditate much on the scenes of death, and the concerns of a future world, when he comes to view these subjects near, and to look at them in the light of eternity, finds that he has had very imperfect conceptions of their magnitude and importance. He feels that all his labors and exertions have been but weak and feeble attempts, and is astonished that he has so long slumbered over perishing souls. With what earnestness do we see many on a dying bed, urging christians to greater faithfulness, and pleading with impenitent sinners to become reconciled to God!
W- C , who died a few months since at was a youth of more than ordinary attainments in piety. He had consecrated himself to the service of his Divine Master, and was looking forward with ardent hopes of being useful in the work of the ministry. He entered college, and had little more than half completed his course, when he was called to pass through a scene which youth are seldom expecting to meet so soon. - Death marked him out for his victim, and fierce disease seized his frail body to hurry him to the grave.
On the 22d of February he was suddenly attacked with a disorder which threatened soon to terminate his earthly pilgrimage. The day preceding he was in good health, and his prospects of life were as flattering as those which are now spread before you, dear reader. Little, probably, did he think, that so soon he was to bid farewell to all he held dear on earth. Little did he realize that in one short week, the cold hand of death would be upon him. The rapid progress of his disease excited apprehensions of danger in the minds of his friends. His distress soon became very great. But in the midst of this affliction and distress he saw the secret and tender hand of a gracious God. Instead of being terrified at the dreadful summons, he beheld the 'grim messenger with a calm and undisturbed mind, and welcomed the disease which was to carry him to his everlasting rest. One night, while exercised with severe pain, he said to his sister, “this is all well." His sister mentioned the recent happy death of an acquaintance, and he immediately began to repeat these lines:
" Jappy soul! thy days are ended,
When he had finished the hymn he said, “O if that could be said of me!--but it is too much." At times his pain was more moderate, when he would converse very freely, and engage in singing, an exercise in which he took much delight. As the sabbath dawned he appeared to rejoice, and began to sing
“Welcome sweet day of rest,” &c. He often requested the scriptures to be read, and was desirous to have his christian friends pray with him. In the intervals of distress he would say to his sister-"My dear H- , read some in that blessed book.–Are we alone? pray, H- " One night when hiss distress was very great, he appeared to be in darkness, and exclaimed “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” At another time, when he had experienced such pain as to deprive him of sleep for a long season, he said, “O my heavenly Father, if it be consistent give me sleep.” But this short season of darkness was soon succeeded by the cheering light of a Saviour's love.
A short time before he died, he was asked, what he wished to have prayed for? He replied, “ Life, Eternal Life and Glory.” He was evidently drawing near to the final hour, when his soul would quit this clayey tabernacle and mingle with purer spirits above. He remembered his classmates affectionately, and often spoke of them with concern for their welfare, He attempted to dictate a letter to some distant friends, but finding himself too weak, he desisted, and requested his friends to write for him. “Tell them” said he “ a Saviour is provided for them and us, and if we do not accept him, God have mercy on us." The school instructors in the place coming in to see him, one of them said to him, “it is a great thing to have a good hope in death.” He replied, “Oh Mr. C— , inay God give it to us both; amen, amen. For you Mr. E- I make the same request, amen, amen forever.” To another he said, " It may seem strange that I should ever say any thing to you; but on the borders of another world, it may not be impertinent to speak a word on a concern of such infinite moment. Think much of a preparation for death: You cannot think too earnestly, too early, nor too constantly: You cannot, I say, think too early, too earnestly, nor too constantly on your situation. And may God help you to prepare, amen, amen." To a neighbor he said, “ Perhaps it is improper for me to advise you, as I am so much younger than you are; but in this situation, let me ask if all are not too apt to neglect their souls? If you would attend to this subject, it would be in your power to do much good in the world. My dear sir, save yourself, save yourself, save yourself, and your children.”
His mind seemed to strengthen, as he approached the river of death. A short time before he died he repeated, or rather adopted as his prayer, the following verse :
“Give me the wings of faith to rise
Within the veil, and see
How bright their glories be.”
As his sister was repeating a hymn at his request, when she had finished these lines,
“ Bid death's cold stream and flood divide,
And land him safe in heaven,"
He requested her to repeat them again, and listened with calm and fixed attention.
His speech shortly after failed. His sister asking him if he enjoyed peace of mind, he gently moved his head, and a smile sat upon his countenance, which indicated the heavenly joy that beamed on his soul. About ten minutes after this, bis spirit burst from its prison of mortality and took its aerial flight. He expired without a struggle or a groan, and without any discomposure of his features, with his head resting on his arm in a natural sleeping posture.
Thus died this amiable and interesting youth. In one short week he passed through all the changes which translate the christian from this world of trial to his everlasting state of rest. From health, and strength, and vivacity, and the enjoyment of the blessings and pleasures of life, he passed to a scene of sickness and distress; and through this trying and painful path he was led to the gates of death. He saw them open-he looked into the grave-darkness for a moment hung around its cold walls—he cast his eyes beyond and saw a light beaming from heaven,--he entered and walked fearlessly through the dark valley ;-we saw him going up to meet his Saviour. He turned not back nor cast a lingering look behind. 0! who would call him back from the bosom of his Redeemer?—and who does not say, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his ?”
FOR THE PILGRIM.
THE time has been, when a pilgrimage to the Holy Land was esteemed as one of the most meritorious acts that could be performed. During the dark ages, both before and after the Crusades, multitudes from all parts of Christendom were constantly flocking thither. Even at the present time, thousands of Greek and Armenian Christians go up from year to year to keep the passover at Jerusalem.
But though the Pilgrim must disapprove such a superstitious regard for the land of the Patriarchs, of the Prophets and Apostles ; even for the land where the Saviour himself lived and died ; still he would wish to turn the attention of his readers to its geography and history. Every one knows how much livelier an interest is imparted to any event, by an acquaintance with the place where it transpired. Most persons too, must have observed how, after the period of childhood is passed, the Scriptures are by the greater part of mankind, either wholly neglected, or read with little satisfaction.