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Christ. Oh, what it is ! oh, what it is to pass from death unto life, from hope to certainty:" and the smile of peace was upon his countenance as he spoke it, and he was no more.
All present stood in breathless distress; his bereaved wife looked upon her children, and pressing her hand upon her forehead, in the keen agony of mental suffering, bent her knee. Every one present knelt also, but no word was uttered, no sound heard it was the stillness of eternal repose, and they seemed in the state of the prophet Elisha; their master was taken from their head. But Sophia Walker began to fear for her dear mother; when she glanced her eye upon her, she saw the fixed look: she rose, and with determined, cool, yet imperative resolution, she withdrew her from the room.
When the shutters of the Rectory were closed, and the deep bell pressed upon the ear, scarce a heart in that village was unmoved. In his own family there was such a blank, that every being there seemed ready to exclaim, “ And I, whither shall I
!” The event was differently felt at home : it was the loss of a cherished object, or one who was continually ready to make known the will of God concerning them. Were they sick, he was their counsellor and their friend; were they un
happy, he soothed them; did they rejoice, he shared their joy; and they were all personally, inquiring who should supply that blank, and make up to them the loss they were now sustaining. Perhaps nothing shows the selfishness of the heart more clearly than sorrow; let any one faithfully examine wherefore they grieve, and they will find themselves continually going back to a personal point. In the removal of a saint like this, if we feel aright, there is nothing but rejoicing : “ He hath fought the good fight, he hath finished his course, and there is laid up for him a crown of rejoicing.” This is all a clear matter of thankfulness, no regret blends, and yet how deeply does such a loss penetrate the human heart.
But as I before said, some felt this removal with unmixed sorrow; with others, it was sorrow blended with regret. With the irreligious farmer, who grudged no expense to dress his daughters, or gratify his palate, but who thought every shilling spent for God and his minister à sad privation; to these persons the tears were soiled by the recollection of how many unkind words, how many ill-natured reflections had been cast upon this pious, harmless man of God. Even Mrs. Potter was constrained to say, “ Well, there be some
as would be less missed than the Reverend, that I will say: he was not a bad man, take him all together, he was rather too over-righteous, that was my fault against him.” At the turnpike-house, where we have noted a
conversation before, inquiries were made by the old man, as the servants hurried backwards and forwards, and as the physician's carriage stopped to pay. Even here the interest was manifested, and the concern expressed, but here also human nature appeared. “Well, I always said he was a good man, did I not ?"
óc Yes, you did; and you said what was true.”
But we turn to the sincere mourner, to those cottages where the truth had been received in simplicity; we will look at Mary Kemp and her weeping husband ; and as Joe's good-natured wife strove to comfort, she said, “I know it is wrong, Phillis ; I feel sure that the dear Reverend is in glory. O yes, I know that." And as Joseph Kemp sat by the window, turning the leaves of his old Bible, “I am thinking, Mary, as I should like to send down for our Michael." << 'Tis a melancholy journey for him, my dear, and I do not see what good it will do." No, but then he can do as he likes; he may be grieved, perhaps if we do not let him
know.” “ Shall I go, father,” said Joseph “ Yes, I wish you would, Joe.” “I could borrow my father's tax-cart, and take Phillis.” And then going in his father's tax-cart was almost as good as Michael going in his uncle's gig. But Joe had sense enough to keep this to himself, so he and his wife set off to the Brow, not at all like the bearers of such ill tidings. They were received with the greatest kindness, and Joe was highly delighted to exhibit his wife the following Sunday at church. An universal bow went round among the light and trifling, and even the steady admired his choice, and could not help congratulating him. It was an advantage for this poor young man, much to be coveted; surrounded by the support of different relatives, his mind, as the reader well knows, was of that weak fluctuating kind which had no steady rule of action. Brownrigg was among those who sincerely rejoiced at his settlement, and wished him well from his heart, received him with particular kindness, and could not help glancing at his former attachment to Miss Louisa. Joe had an undefined idea of propriety in preserving silence on this subject, and Phillis seemed quite at a loss to understand Brownrigg's allusion ; she had an idea that he was a very merry gentle
man, and mighty agreeable. She thought nothing farther on the subject, and indeed was so happy at the Brow, and had so many resources for filling up the short time that remained ; that no inquiry was made, and all went on smoothly and pleasantly.
Michael determined to go and attend the funeral of his early friend; Esther was to accompany him, but could not leave her home; while Joe and Phillis remained. Michael set out late on the Monday, and did not reach P- till Tuesday afternoon. The funeral took place on Wednesday morning, the church was crowded to excess. At first, the Walker family meant to attend, but they found their spirits unequal to this exertion; so the only person present was Mr. Edmund, and his cousin Protheroe. But Mr. Lascelles arrived early on Wednesday morning: he was not equal to reading the prayers or performing the ceremony-he was a silent mournful spectator, lost in contemplation of that hour when himself should be called to give an account of his own important embassy. He viewed this in the most pleasing light; he well knew that his Master was not a hard Master, gathering where he had not strewed, but one who was touched with the feeling of infirmity, and was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”