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no, nor can they draw comfort from their friends, be they ever so kind, or from any other earthly good.”
Henry said nothing, and Charles went on—" My father," said he, “ tells of one 'Squire Collins, who lived many years ago not very far from Hill-top: he was the most desperate wicked man of all the country, a great cock-fighter, and one who spoke more oaths than other words. Well, this man had every thing his heart could wish for of earthly goods-lands and house, wife and children, health and strength-but he was so very miserable, that at last, in a fit of despair, he shot himself dead! My father knew him very well. Oh, Master Henry! it is a dreadful thing for a child to be under the anger of a good parent; and still worse to be under the displeasure of the blessed Lord God; for who can dwell with everlasting burning ?”
While the little boys were conversing together, they climbed upon the tree, and sat down together in the place where Charles was when Henry came up. “My father,” said Charles, “has often talked to us children about hell, as we have been sitting round the fire on a Sunday evening, till we have been in a quake. The Bible speaks of it as a lake burning with fire and brimstone: as it is written: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity : and shall cast them into a furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.' Matt. xiii. 41-42. But the chief misery of the damned, my father has often told us, will be the absence of God. I dare say you would not much mind having only bread and water, and not having your papa's comfortable parlour to go into, Master Henry," continued Charles, “ if you thought that your papa was pleased with you."
“No, indeed," answered Henry; “if my papa would but forgive me, and love me again, I would go without my dinner for a month to come with all my heart.”
« Then if a father's anger is so hard to bear,” said Charles, “what must the anger of God be, and the hiding of his face for ever, and ever, and ever?-0 Lord Jesus Christ,” added the little boy, joining his hands and looking up, “thou bleeding Lamb! save us miserable sinners from hell.” · Little Charles spoke this prayer with so much earnestness, that Henry looked at him ; and now he saw, what he had not found out before, that Charles, who used to be a fat, rosy-cheeked little fellow, was very pale, and much thinner than he used to be. “ Charles," said Henry, “are you we'l? You look very white, I think, and thin too.
“ Master Henry," answered Charles, “I have never been right well since about the time when poor Miss Augusta Noble was buried. I was well enough before that time, and since that I have been falling away! and yet nobody can say what ails me. My mother sent me, about a week back, to my grandmother Bush's, to try if it would do me any good to be here: but I am none the better; yet I like to be here, because I am quieter here than I can be at home, and my grandmother is very kind; and then this wood is so very sweet to walk in, and to read in, and to sing and pray in, all by myself, excepting only God. I have no mind to go home, and my mother says I shall please myself; and I think, God being willing, I will stay and die here." : “ Die ?” cried Henry.
“ Yes, Master Henry," answered Charles, “I shall die soon: I know it very well. I felt that I should die when I was first taken ill; and I then told my brother so, but he did not believe me.”
“But why did you think that you should die ?" said Henry.
“I will tell you, Master Henry: I was quite well when I went with my mother and all the rest to church, to see Miss Augusta buried. All the way we went my mother cried very much, to think what a pretty blooming miss she was but a few days before, and how she was cut off, no time given her for turning to God: and then she put the matter home to us children, asking us, If we should be called away in a week's time, whether we were fit to go—that is, whether we trusted in our Saviour, and loved him, and felt ourselves to be miser. able sinners, worthy of hell-fire. My mother's words sank like lead into my heart, and, as I went along, I began questioning myself in this manner: Charles Trueman,' said I to myself, how should you like to die? Do you love your Saviour ? Do you trust in him ? Do you hate your own sinful nature ? And do you wish for a clean heart through the help of the Holy Spirit ? These questions were running in my mind when I came to the church ; and I felt very oddly all the time Mr. Somers was reading, and more especially when the coffin was let down into the vault. When the funeral was over, and the people were gone, John Barnes, the bricklayer, and Samuel Hill, our old parish clerk, begged my father to stop and help to brick up the vault, for it was Sir Charles Noble's orders that it should be done that night, though it was to be done by candlelight; so my father staid, and my brother and I staid with him. When every thing was ready for bricking up the vault, old Samuel said, “Let us go down and look into the vault before it is bricked up: mayhap we may never have such a chance again.' So Samuel took the lantern, and they went down, my brother and I following.” doubt, the souls of those who die in Christ are no sooner out of the body than they are received into happiness: thus the faithful never know the bitterness of death; as the Lord has promised in Hosea xiji: 14, ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues.' Then our dear father," continued Charles, “ put it home to us, as our mother had done before, that it behooved us to look well to our ways, that we might come to a better knowledge of our own sinful natures, and being humbled, through the power of the Spirit, we might be more anxious to seek after the dear Saviour who died for us. He then talked about our Saviour, and of all he had done for us, and of the holy life that he had led in this world, and of his humility, and of his gentleness, and of his love to little children, and of his glorious death, until I felt my heart within me all burning with love for the dear Saviour. I never felt any thing like it before; and I had so eager a desire upon me to be gone from this world, and to be with him, as I cannot describe. So we went home, and went to bed ; and when I got up in the morning, I felt the same,-only not, perhaps, quite in so lively a manner. And it was well I had this love for my dear Saviour, and trust in him also, for about this time it pleased God, by the Holy Spirit, to show me, even more than before, the evil nature of my own vile heart, so that I saw many things in myself which I had never dreamed of before. Oh, Master Henry! we talk of our own wicked hearts, and our sinful natures; but God must touch us before we feel these things as we should do : our hearts are desperately and horribly wicked; and I thank God, who has caused me to feel this before he takes me out of this world. Now if I had not known whom to fly to when I felt myself to be such a miserable fellow, I should have been very unhappy,” continued little Charles: “but I had a dear Saviour to fly to, who could save me, I knew, and who would save me, for he never turns his back on any poor sinner who comes to him ; as it is written, Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in nowise cast out. At the same time,” said Charles, “ that I became so full of these thoughts, I became sick, and have been wasting ever since, and yet no one knows what is the matter with me; but I know that it is the will of God that I should depart hence, and be no more seen.'”
“ And what kind of a place is that vault ?" said Henry; “I should like to have seen it, if my papa had been with me.”
“ It is like a very large room under ground, quite dark, except from the lantern which the clerk held. In the sides of the walls were holes in which the coffins were placed.”
" Were there many coffins ?" said Henry.
“ Yes,” said Charles, “a great many; and some of them so old that they were tumbling to pieces. Old Samuel showed us the coffin of Sir Charles Noble's grandfather, and said, that when a very little boy, he was at his funeral, and that he died from hard drinking. He showed us the coffins of Sir Charles's father and mother, and of Sir Charles's sister, who was, he said, the finest young lady in all the country round. He took us to one part of the vault where the parsons and their wives lay, and showed us old Parson Best's coffin, and several of the coffins belonging to persons whose names I forget. So we came out of the vault; and I was very glad, for it was the most dismal place I ever was in ; and when the place was bricked up, we came home. “Ah! father,' said my brother, as we walked home, death, after all, is a very horrible thing.' My father answered that death was sent as a punishment for sin, and was, and always would be, frightful to flesh and blood ; but,' says he, our dear Saviour has taken away all that is really to be feared in death, to a believing soul. Do we not read,' said he, of Lazarus being carried to Abraham's bosom by angels? so, no
Henry looked hard at Charles, and said, “I don't like to hear you talk of dying ; and yet I know it is wrong, because I know that you will be happier in heaven than you are here.”
“ Oh, Master Henry !” said Charles, “ I never was so happy before in all my life, as since I have been ill, and have thought of going to my Saviour.”
“ But did you never think of these things,” said Henry, “ before you were at poor Miss Augusta's funeral ?" .“O yes, sometimes,” said Charles; “ my father and mother love God very much, and as soon as we can speak, or understand any thing, they try to lead us to God; and I also received much instruction from Mr. Somers. I had often, when I was a little child, some very sweet thoughts about our Saviour. I remember once,-a long time ago, I went to take care of some sheep for Farmer Harris, on Breezy Down-you know the place, Master Henry: the down faces the west, and is covered with thyme. It was at harvest-time, for I remember seeing the people at harvest work in the fields below. There, as I sat watching the sheep, I had some of the sweetest thoughts I ever had in my life; they were about our Lord Jesus Christ being the Good Shepherd : and then I thought of the care which a good shepherd takes of his flock; and then this sweet verse came into my head, 'And the Lamb shall take them, and lead them by living fountains of water; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'"
While the little boys were walking together in this manner, they saw Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, and Lucy and Emily, walking towards them, for they were taking their noon-day walk. As soon as Henry saw his papa, he started from his seat, and looked this way and that way as if he was frightened, saying, “Oh, Charles ! what shall I do?"
“ Go to your papa, to be sure, Master Henry,” answered Charles, " and fall down on your knees before him, and beg his pardon."
“ But I am afraid,” said Henry.
“ I will go with you, Master Henry,” said Charles. So he took hold of his hand and pulled him forwards.
It was no hard matter to get Mr. Fairchild to forgive Henry, now that he saw he was humble. “I freely forgive you, my dear boy," said Mr. Fairchild ; " and I hope, that what you have suffered these two days