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written some time before to his mother the detailed account formerly mentioned concerning himself, and who had also written during his brother's illness an account of the circumstances in which he had found him-of their meeting, and of his brother's change of heart-now despatched a third letter, to announce to the bereaved mother the peaceful end of her son, and to console her for the loss by the description of the happy days they had been permitted so unexpectedly and almost miraculously to spend together.
This last letter was committed to the care of a person about to sail for England, and who undertook to deliver it himself; but the former communication, which the brother had written many weeks before, respecting himself, had met with delay on its passage. The last written letter, announcing the death of Henry, arrived the very day after that first mentioned. The person who had undertaken the delivery of the packet, took it to the good woman, and said, " I have brought letters from your son in India.” She replied, with astonishment, “I received one but yesterday." " Then," said the stranger, “ you have heard of the death of Henry.” She had not even heard of the meeting of the brothers. She had only just heard of the conversion of the son that first went abroad--the sudden announcement, therefore, of the death of Henry quite cvercame her. Though the day before she had heard the delightful intelligence that her eldest son had become a Christian, and a Christian missionary, yet now this beclouded all. She thought, “My child is dead-dead in sin against Goddead in a foreign land, among strangers, heathens ;-not one to speak a word of divine truth-to tell him of mercy-of a Saviour's dying love of hope for the chief of sinners ;-no kind Christian friend to pour out a prayer for his forgiveness, or to direct his departing spirit to that throne of grace where none ever plead in vain.”
A torrent of such thoughts rushed into her mind, and filled her heart with an anguish not to be described. She retired to her room overwhelmed with sorrow, and sat for many hours. Describing her feelings at this juncture, she says, “I could not weep-I could not pray-I seemed to be stupified with horror and agony. At last I opened the letters, and when I saw the hand-writing of my eldest son, whose letter the day before had given me so much comfort, I was confounded. As I read on, and found that the brothers had metthat the elder had witnessed the last moments of the younger, and
that this my second son had been met with by the missionaries, and by them turned from the error of his ways--that there was no doubt of the safety of his state, and that he had died in his brother's arms-0," said she, “it was indeed a cordial to my soul! How marvellous are the ways of heaven, that both my sons, after turning aside from the ways of God, and from every means of instruction at home, should be converted to God in heathen land! O the twenty pounds !" she thought; "and the last declaration of my dear dying mother! O what blessings to me were hidden in that twenty pounds !—what do I owe for her for that saying, “You will never have cause to repent of giving it to the Missionary Society !' Could I have foreseen all this, what would I not have given!"
The influence of these occurrences in confirming the faith and hope of this good woman may easily be imagined. She could not look back without astonishment at the dealings of God with herself and her children, and she could not recount these remarkable particulars without connecting them with the last solemn request of her pious mother. The honour of having two sons rescued in so remarkable a manner from the profligate and destructive courses into which they had entered —the distinguished honour of having one of them employed in the missionary work among the heathen-and the remarkable fact of having had them both rescued from vice and destruction by the friendly and pious labours of English missionaries, as well as the happiness of knowing that the one who was torn from her had experienced, in his last hours, every attention and solace that the affectionate hand of a brother could supply-all these were so intimately connected with the legacy of her mother, and the almost prophetic words with which it was delivered, that she could not refrain from consi. dering the whole a singular fulfilment of prayers long since recorded on high, and as a singular illustration of the special providence of God toward his people.
TO WHAT IS LIFE COMPARED ? 1. Wind.
“O remember that my life is wind : mine eye shall no more see good.” (Job vii. 7.)
“ For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 14.)
“ My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.” (Job vii. 6.)
5. Swift Post.
“ Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.” (Job ix. 25.) 6. Swift Ship.
My days are passed away as the swift ship.” (Job ix, 26.) 7. A Shadow.
“ For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers : our days on the earth, are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.” (1 Chron. xxix. 15.) 8. A Declining Shadow.
My days are like a shadow that declineth ; and I am withered like grass.” (Ps. cii. 11.)
9. A Passing Shadow.
“ Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” (Ps. cxliv. 4.)
10. The darting of an Eagle.
“ He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continuieth not.” (Job xiv. 2.)
12. A Flower of the Field.
“ As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.” (Psalm ciii. 15.)
13. An Hand-breadth. “ Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth, and
mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity." (Psalm xxxix. 5.)
“ I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity." (Job vii. 16.)
15. Mere Flesh.
“ For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” Psalm lxxviii. 39.)
16. Only Dust.
“ For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalm ciii. 14.)
"O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel." (Jeremiah xviii. 6.)
The above comparisons are what the Holy Ghost has given us in the Word of God as descriptive of life. Oh! what a view do they give us of the uncertainty and shortness of that period, from the birth to the death of every human being. And yet life on earth is only lent us, as a season of preparation for a life hereafter; a life of never-ending bliss, or a life of never-ending misery. But how Satan blinds our eyes to the real nature and end of life! We live, forgetting why we live, and how rapidly we are living. Yesterday will never come again, to-day can never come again, May the Holy Spirit deepen our impressions of this truth, and our earnest prayer be, “So teach me to number my days, that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.”
THAT TIME WILL COME.
That time is coming. That month, that day, that hour, that moment is coming on apace, and draws nearer and nearer, with every rising and with every setting sun.
What time? Do you ask, reader? It is the time most solemn, most important and full of surpassing interest to you, reader, of any moment of your exist
It is the time when you will die. It will be the end of time to you. Then you will pass out of time. You will then cross the last boundary of time. You will have done with time. At that time you will change your mode of existence. You will enter on new and untried scenes in a world of spirits, and become the companion of good or evil angels. That hour, that moment will stamp on your destiny the seal of eternity. What a time that will be to each individual! How near and full of interest! And yet how little think the gay and pleasure-loving people of that coming hour! Could they lift life's spy-glass and look away into the coming future, and see that messenger on the pale horse approaching with every passing hour, how different would be the conduct of many from what it is now! Yet that hour, that moment is coming. The time to die will come.
Death is to every man a serious matter. It makes us serious to think of it amidst the gayest and most trifling scenes. Reflections on death have no affinity for light and vain amusements. Mirth flees instinctively at the very mention of the name of death. If but one thought of the future world come in amidst the thoughts of vanity, it scatters them as the tempest scatters the chaff.
The two kinds of thoughts, the serious and the vain, cannot exist toge. ther. And since the one must exclude the other, it becomes a solemn question, which of the two are the better for our happiness ? How often and to what extent will it be more profitable to cherish mirth than solemnity ? Which may be most safely established with the habits of the mind ? Which will most confirm your peace, most elevate your character, and lead you most directly to holiness and heaven?
Youth is prone to levity. It has no natural love for serious meditations; and hence it finds no season appropriate to them. It has time for social amusements, often those of the vainest and most foolish kind. It has time for idleness in its various forms, and, in many cases, for indulging the vicious propensities ; but no time which invites to serious thought. If our maxim be true that there is a time for all things, we may ask, when is the time for serious thoughts with the young ? When is the time to repent, and become reconciled to God, and to prepare for death? It is natural to put off all these things for the present; to postpone them to all other matters; and it proves true of thousands who go to the judg. ment-seat of Christ, that their time for repentance never came.
Yet these solemn things will have their time. Whatever be your engagements, your inclinations, your responsibilities, you will soon find a time to die. The hour will come for all other thoughts to be laid aside, except the thoughts of death. The cares of this world will no longer oppress. Death will demand attention, and will have it. The attention of the dying man, and the attention of friends, will be given with one accord to the presence of death. It will be exclusively death's time. A word or a thought of this world would do violence to the feelings awakened by the scene. Every word that is uttered in the apartment, every moment will indicate that death is there ; and death will seem to reign over all the thoughts and all the feelings of every actor in the proceedings. Especially will its power be felt by its individual victim. Its dominion will be manifested by the weakness and pain of the body. Strength, beauty, and activity will fall before it. The soul will feel the pangs of the moment. The time, the thoughts, the feel