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thou, in thy life time, receivedst thy good things. This text hath been a great affliction to me.”
Mrs. Walker almost smiled in scorn as she said, “Get thee behind me, Satan? what have you suffered, indeed?
indeed? The laws of the land have protected you. But have you not suffered the cold look, the averted eye, the insolent sneer, from your brother clergy? Have I not heard you say, that that proud Doctor, who shall be nameless, would scarely return your bow; and at the visitation dinner, when your bishop looked at you with kindness, and drank your health, this insolent man stared at you as though he were astonished that your superior should notice you. And what was all this for, my love, but that you faithfully preached that Gospel which was committed to you by him who shall ere long say to you, · Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'”
This good lady was fired with what she was saying, and her eye was lit up with unusual brilliance. Her husband smiled on her—“ Why, this goes well, Sophia. I shall have your arm to the river's brink.” This little speech sunk Mrs. Walker's ardour again, and he heard her faintly arti
culate, “ If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me.
About this time it had been purposed that Sophia should give her hand to Protheroe, who was coming down; but she wrote to him, entreating him to wave the subject for the present. “My dear friend," said she, my heart is too heavy, the shadows of the valley are thickening fast around me; and though my body is in perfect health, my spirit has long seemed hovering on the brink of the grave. Could you see the melting weakness of my dearest father, you would feel wizh me, that it is next to impossible to smile in his presence; and I should feel it to be a poor return for all your affection to give you my hand with an averted eye, and a heart bursting with sorrow. No, my dear friend, I should think it was going against the will of Providence; there is a time for all things,' said the wisest of men, and surely this is a time to weep, not to rejoice. My dear mother too is so afflicted, that it would be cruelty to leave her while she is struggling in the midst of her grief for a smile; and, alas ! how often in vain. No, my dearest friend, come and see us, it will cheer my father to look at you, for you know how he loves you ; but speak not of
taking me away. I could not leave him, no, we must wait for happier seasons.
I think you will
agree with me, we seldom differ, and I feel assured you will well understand me.
Protheroe did understand her, he came down, but it was to visit his uncle-it was to watch by his side, to listen patiently to all his weakness, now to move the pillow, and now to relate something amusing sometimes to become a listener, and to treasure from the lip of wisdom axioms of eternal moment; but never did he hint an expectation of the fulfilment of their promise, though the parting word at Christmas had been, “In May we shall see you;" and, as he pressed Sophia's hand, he said,
“ in May, remember;" but May returned, and we may truly say that neither Protheroe nor Sophia wished to accomplish that engagement. No, strange as it may seem, they were too much occupied by the decline of their aged friend to desire any thing but an alleviation of his sufferings.
As soon as Mr. Lascelles heard from Michael of the illness of this dear old friend, he was deeply interested; but when he heard of the state of his mind by a letter from his son, he said, “Oh, Mentoria! who can tell but a little conversation
might cheer him; and though he is a father in Christ, and I a young man, who can tell but I may be enabled to say something, to speak some word of comfort; at any rate, I will try,” and Robinson was immediately in attendance; and ere the close of that day, they set out on their journey. It was indeed a cheering prospect to our venerable sufferer to have Protheroe at the head of his sofa, and his kind friend Lascelles by his side, with his hand in his, breathing consolation, and repelling all the fiery darts of the enemy with the rich promises of the Scripture. “ We have not followed cunningly devised fables, you know well that every truth you have preached is from the sure word of testimony. Take unto you the whole armour, my dear friend, the sword of the Spirit, and above all, the helmet of salvation. Do not wonder that those whom you have taught and instructed stronger than yourself; we have a subtle enemy, he well knows that in raising doubts in your mind, he attacks a city upon a hill. He well knows, that in endeavouring to sap the foundation of your faith, he wounds through you many a weak believer."
Here Mr. Walker shuddered, and his wife, who was all tenderness, feared that
Mr. Lascelles was touching the wounded part too closely, and she looked at Sophia in her own quick manner; but she was soon relieved, for this judicious friend raising his voice, as was his manner when his subject deeply interested him, “But there are more with us than they which are against us; and lo, I am with you alway even to the end. Alas, my dear friend, we do know and feel that we are encompassed with infirmities, but we have an High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of them: but as the bent and inclination of your whole life bears testimony that you
have first been seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, oh! suffer not these clouds to overshadow your peace.
Many conversations of this kind passed; nothing seemed permanently to comfort the sufferer, while the temptation of looking at himself and his evidences had force. But one morning, quite alone, while the house was totally still, and his dear faithful partner thought him asleep, he was revolving in his mind all the rich promises that are scattered up and down for the comfort of believers; and those words, " the rock that is higher than I,” came over his mind with peculiar force and stability. It had long been his custom to follow and con