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her mind, the desire of life, the possibility of recovering, the dread of death, all possessed her. She had a strong fear of the last struggle, and it was her frequent topic. • You do not seem to dread it as I do,' she one day said. • Ah! it is one thing to talk of it in health-ay, even to shadow forth its approach in imagination. I too have longed for death when wearied with the world, and I felt my affections strong in God; but when it comes stealing onwhen we have time to invest it with all its terrors--when the soul is not assured of her eternal rest—it is dreadful to die! I cannot describe to you the utter desolation of my spirit, the morning that I fainted some weeks ago. I thought that I was dying, and that thought so filled my soul with horror that I could think of nothing else. I tell you,' she continued, with earnestness, that I once reasoned as you do ; but when I think of my early youth, my days unmarked with outward trial, when I think,' she said, her eyes filling with tears, of the green fields, and the blue sky, and remember that I must see them no more, I am sad.'
“Upon my reminding her of the glory that is to be revealed, and the great sorrow of those who, dying later in life, leave many behind them to feel their loss, she replied,
True, it is better for me to go. O! if I might say I know that I shall enter into rest, all would be well.'
Notwithstanding Emma's deep sense of sin, she seemed desirous to feel it still more. • You talk to me,' she said,
as if I could view it in a sufficiently awful light. How can I ever realize its vileness ? I pray to feel it till my soul is weighed down with it; yes, even if it drove me to the verge of despair.'
".0! not despair, Emma-your sins cannot exceed His goodness.'
66. God's goodness!' she repeated ; '0! the Lord has ever been good to me, I have been the child of his providence. He called me to Him, and gave me much, () ! how much of the joy of his presence ; and when I forsook him,
he led me to see all the nothingness of earth, and now he is showing me what a poor worm I am.'
“ In answer to my wonder at her doubts, she replied, • O! I do not doubt the Almighty's power—I do not doubt my Saviour's love, but I doubt myself. I fear to take too hastily, too presumptuously, to myself, words and promises which are not intended for me.
"Speaking of triumphant deaths, she asked— Does it not seem strange to you that the dying hopes of very steadfast believers seem to be sometimes so clouded-and yet many, who on a sick bed first know the Lord, go rejoicing.'
" I referred to the first sense of pardoned sin, as in some measure accounting for it.
• True,' she said, “and then such have not yet experienced the deceitfulness of sin, and of their own hearts. They have not yet fallen into temptation. O there is something in this sense of backsliding that falls like a mountain's weight upon the spirit, and almost prevents it from so much as lifting up the eyes unto God.'
“ I thought of the publican, and felt that she was already justified in the sight of Him who knoweth what is in man.”
Hopes in death.
I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green - tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish.
Fron: the prophet Ezekiel. As we advance in this narrative, we shall find increased evidence that God was smiting to the dust the youthful form of Emma that he might fit her soul to bloom in immortal freshness and beauty in the paradise above. It was only by the awful stroke which brought death to the mortal part that this withered branch could be revived. All that follows will show that the expiring flame of spiritual existence was now rekindled, and that the Holy Spirit was preparing her for an entrance into the eternal kingdom. am not at all surprised, however, that Emma, in her last hours, was not favoured with any remarkable seasons of rapturous enjoyment. I should have been greatly surprised had she gone off very triumphant. I believe it is Cecil that remarks, that he never expected to witness the evidence of a calm and triumphant hope when called to visit a worldly minded Christian on his death-bed. In the very nature of things, there must be much darkness, in a dying hour, in that mind that has followed Christ“ afar off," and been seeking all along its principal comforts from the world. This, we might expect, would be eminently the case where the professed follower of the Redeemer had fallen into open apostasy; and, though subsequently reclaimed, and humbled at the foot of the cross, it could not be expected, from God's usual mode of dealing with his
Payson's contemplation of death.
creatures, that such a one would enjoy extraordinary light or unclouded hope in passing through the shaded valley. Sufficient, for all the purposes of mercy, would it be, if the returning penitent received such tokens of pardoning love as would enable him to indulge a trembling hope of his acceptance, while he continued to lie prostrate at the font of the cross in the attitude of a lost and perishing sinner.
It is only those who have long lived very near Godwhose walk has been undeviatingly close with him-who can expect to go off with such language as this : “I can find no words to express my happiness. I seem to be swimming in a river of pleasure, which is carrying me onward to the great fountain. God is literally my all in all. If he is present with me, no want can in the least diminish my happiness; and were all the world at my feet, trying to administer to my comfort, they could not add one drop to the cup. The celestial city is now full in my view. Its glories beam upon me—its breezes fan me- Lits odours are wafted to me—its sounds strike upon my ears and its spirit is breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the river of death ; and this appears but an insigniticant rill, that may be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give permission.” Such was the language of the dying Payson-of one who had made it the great and unceasing business of his whole life to walk so as to please God, He had no hope but what was in Christ ; and, in his mortal hour, Christ shone gloriously upon him.
The following record of Emma's last hours will show that her Lord, notwithstanding all her wanderings, dealt very graciously with her.
Her friend, Miss H-, having described the lowliness of her humility, and the depth of her self-abasement, remarks—" It was soon after this that she began to find joy in believing
66 • I think, she said, with a solemn earnestness, when I inquired of her, • I may say, thou Lord hast not cast me off for ever. Yes, I do feel that God has heard my
prayer, and I am again his child. I grew weary of myself. I laid myself at the Saviour's feet, and peace dawned
“I was not surprised when she told me this, for the twilight had been long brightening; and I knew that the rising of the Sun of righteousness must be near. From this time Emma seemed to grow in heavenly wisdom; but the peace of mind she experienced so changed her countenance that, for a while, the hope of her recovery animated her friends, and even affected herself. I think this uncertainty took much from her spiritual enjoyment. She could not think of life as if she could ever be called to enter upon its duties ; nor yet did the prospect of her speedy deliverance from sin and death serve to fix her thoughts on the hereafter. She spoke much of what she trusted to be if she ever returned to the world. I hope,' she said, 'if I do, that I shall live more becoming my profession. But I would rather die as I am than live as I have done. O! not for worlds would I again forsake my God.'
“ The severe weather now affected her bodily frame, and she was several times very ill ; still her decay was so gradual, that no change would be noted during many weeks. Various were the subjects of our conversation during several subsequent visits. As in former days, we often spoke of Mr. ; but now she was the listener; she would delightfully hear the frequent accounts I was enabled to give her of the success of his labours. Referring to the kindnesses she had received from him in times past, she would prayerfully thank the Lord for the tidings I brought her, and looked to the possibility of his visiting New York with exceeding interest. Once or twice, we had long conversations on the subject of conformity to the world, particularly in dress. She strongly reprobated the idea of breaking down the middle wall of partition' which God had set between his children and the world ; but said, she thought that extreme strictness in minutiæ often injured the cause