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it is soon cut off, and we flee away,” Psa. xc. 10. Death is at the very door. Flee from the wrath to come, and ponder on the passage, “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,” Rev. xiv. 13.
But if to the question, “ How old are you?” you can give the same reply as the old man did, " I shall be fourscore, if I live till next Easter,” you are absolutely beside yourself if you are not daily looking forward to eternity. If the warning voice whispers to youth, and speaks audibly to manhood, it cries aloud to you. Not only with your mouth, but with
« There is but a step between me and death,” i Sam. xx. 3. If you have not long ago fled for refuge to the cross, and obtained mercy from the Saviour of sinners, go now, even at the eleventh hour; think of the innumerable, the heaped up transgressions of your youth, your manhood, and old age! Lose not a day, an hour, a moment, in applying to Him, who “is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,” Heb. vii. 25. Since you first drew breath, more than four thousand sabbaths have passed away. The sun has risen and set between twenty and thirty thousand times, and thousands of millions of human beings have passed from time into eternity, (nearly 3,000,000,000 souls!) Still, there is mercy!
But, reader, if your treasure and your heart be in heaven, if you have scriptural evidences of being numbered among God's people, why then be of good courage; though flesh and heart fail you, God will be the strength of your heart, and your portion for ever. Go on, traveller, for you may even now see the end of your journey. You have borne the heat and burden of the day; you have passed through briers and thorns; you have but a little further to travel ; endure to the end, and you shall be saved. The older you are, the nearer to heaven! the heavier your load, the greater your deliverance! The darker your pathway below, the brighter your glory above. Sin, and tears, and sorrow shall pass away; and when Christ shall appear, also appear with him in glory,” Col. iii. 4.
“ then shall ye
THE INDIAN WIDOW. SOME twenty-seven years ago, the providence of God threw
the writer into the vicinity of one of the few remnants of indian tribes that had survived the desolating progress of a rum-drinking christian population. It lay within the state of New York, and had become reduced the number of fifty or sixty souls. How many of these were disciples of Jesus I know not, but the mass of them were slaves to sensuality, and were regarded by their white neighbours as irrecoverably lost to God and to man, because “ they were drunken indians !" Occasionally they heard the word of God from the lips of a missionary or neighbouring minister, but they were not able to read that word. Sometimes they. assembled on the sabbath, and made their unceiled chapel resound with Zion's songs, and listened with deep attention to the unaffected and earnest eloquence of a preacher of their own tribe. Never did human voices pour forth sweeter strains of music, nor huinan ears take in Divine instruction more eagerly. But there was the end of it. No week-day school fitted them for the common business of life, and no sabbath school prepared them to comprehend the sublime mysteries of redemption. In their simplicity they became the dupes of the crafty. Their appetites made them the easy prey of the money-catching cormorant, and the avails of their industry were absorbed by the liquor-shop, while squalid poverty and noisy wretchedness pervaded their habitations.
Deeply affected as one must be with their miseries, no door was open to carry them relief. One or two white families only dwelt within ten or fifteen miles of their villages; and these families, though kind and sympathetic in their regards to the red men around them, were not prepared to minister to their spiritual wants, nor to guide the “ little ones to Jesus.”
Blessed be God, that a brighter day has dawned on the American indians, that they are recognised by the church of Christ as men, and as immortals. In one of my rambles among
this remnant of the “peeled” race, a clergyman of years and warm piety was my companion. We entered one of the huts, to which our attention had been particularly directed, as the habitation of an indian widow, whose husband had once led the devotions of the sanctuary, and indeed sustained, for a series of years, a kind of pastoral relation to his brethren. He was said to have been truly a “ man of God,” respected by all for his consistency, revered for his piety, and honoured for his wisdom. Some
had passed since he had entered into rest. But his memory was sweet to his venerable widow, who was now soon to follow him—and the tear silently stole down her cheek as she mentioned his name, and the enjoyments they had found, when walking to the house of God in company, and when presenting their sacrifices on the family altar. It was conjugal affection that loved thus to dwell on the remembrance of the past, and in tender accents to speak of a lost husband's prayers and instructions—sanctified conjugal affection, not to be extinguished by the lapse of years, nor the severity of affliction, in the bosom of the red man, any more than in the bosom of the white.
Poverty was here; the hut was of thatch, that had stood “the pelting of the merciless storm” for many a year; and besides the rude opening at the top, for the escape of the smoke from the stone hearth beneath, many an opening had been made by the hand of time, and the violence of the tempest. Yet, in this floorless and rude cabin dwelt a real child of God. A rough-hewn, oaken plank, covered with matted straw, and raised a few inches from the ground, was the bed on which she lay, with a single coverlet, clean, but scanty to protect her from the dust or the rain-drops that alternately assailed her tenement. By her side stood a small table, having on it a cup of water and her Bible; and at her feet stood a little girl ten or twelve years old, to give the cup of water, or to read the holy book by turns to her languishing grandmother; and for her a stool was ready, from which she arose, as she saw the strangers” come in.
The clergyman immediately entered into conversation with the dying christian; and after some inquiries into the history of her life, and the progress of the disease that was now closing her earthly career, he examined the foundations of her hope, and inspired her with that confidence in his christian and fraternal feelings which led to an unreserved communication of her christian experience. But at this distance of time, and without my notes at hand, I dare not attempt to detail it. The impression made, however, of the value of religion, and of its mighty power in sustaining the soul through its conflict with the last enemy, time can never efface : and the hectic flush was on her cheek; her voice was weak and tremulous; her limbs could not sustain the weight even of her shrunk frame, and she lay helpless on her bed of straw; but the presence of God was felt; her sorrows were forgotten amid her overflowing joys. Never was it my privilege to witness deeper humility, in combination with strong and overpowering faith ; never to see the tears of repentance blend so perfectly with the rays of celestial hope on the human countenance; never to hear the sighs of a spirit grieving over surrounding wickedness, mingle in such sweet accordance with the triumphant aspirations of a saint, feeling itself already on the verge of heaven. There was nothing extravagant in any expression that fell from her lips; but all was peace, love, filial confidence, and chastened joy, in the prospect of being soon with Jesus, and of being like him for ever.
I have never stood by the sick bed of any christian where faith more gloriously triumphed than here. Never by a sick bed where disease held such close companionship with poverty, and with all things most unpleasant to carnal vision; never by a sick bed, with whose occupant I would more cheerfully exchange places ; and many are the sick and dying beds where it has been my happiness to witness the triumphs of piety. But, turning from the scene with my venerable companion, I could not refrain from exclaiming, “O that the rich, and the mighty, and the noble of the earth, could all behold together that poor indian widow, so sweetly breathing her soul into the bosom of Jesus.” She lived not long after this. The world had become a tiresome place;?' and though her eminent piety claimed for her the affection of some, and the respect of all, she could no longer exert that influence which her heart desired, over the infatuated beings around her, and she panted for the employments and the joys of a world where prayers and tears are no more needed, where sin and sorrow can no more enter. The noise of revelry often disturbed her. The follies and vices of her tribe distressed her; but evils that she could not remove were patiently endured, and her solitary griefs were poured with humble confidence into the bosom of the Saviour, while her supplications for her“ brethren according to the flesh” ceased not, till her spirit returned to the God who
WIDOW WILSON; OR, TAKE THE LANTERN, AND
KEEP IN THE STRAIGHT PATH.
“TAKE the lantern, and keep in the straight path,” said widow Wilson to Robert Baxter. “ Take the lantern, Robert, for the night is very dark, and there are a great many ugly places between here and the turnpike-road.”
“O, I shall find my way well enough without the lantern,” replied Robert; “ and the road is not, I dare say, so bad as you think for. I shall find my way well enough, Mrs. Wilson.” Ay, but it is a bad road, Robert; and if you get by any chance into the wood, it will be no easy matter to get out of it again. Then there is the brook and the common to cross; you had much better take the lantern."
Robert heard but few of the words that widow Wilson said in reply, for he had opened the cottage door while she was speaking, and away he went up the lane whistling.
Robert Baxter was a servant man, who had brought a note to Mary Wilson from a niece of hers, and as he had to go a mile further on an errand, he was desirous of going the nearest way, though he knew but little of the road. Soon after he left the cottage of Mary Wilson, he repented that he had not brought the lantern, for the lane was so crooked and dirty, and the cart-ruts so deep, that he soon got over his shoes in water; still, as he had refused to take the lantern when it was offered to him, he did not like to return for it afterwards, but went on, though the road got worse and worse.
This is too often the case with us all; when we have committed a mistake, we are unwilling to own it, and rather than do so we not unfrequently run into a greater error than the one we are ashamed to acknowledge.
Robert plodded along very uncomfortably. Sometimes he stumbled over heaps of stones, which had been laid ready to mend the road with ; and now and then a straggling brier, hanging from the hedge, caught his face; still he went forward, hoping that he should soon get to the end of the lane.
The road that branched out into the wood was nearly as wide as the lane itself, and any one, not accustomed to the