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The last moments and death of Emma.
66 • I trust so.' “ I told her we had been praying for her at the meeting. “I trust your prayers were heard,' she said.
“I knelt down by her, and read some passages from Revelations. She listened earnestly; and then seemed again engaged in mental prayer.
66. Short prayer,' she whispered.
“ Then we knelt; and I prayed with faith, I believe, that she might yet joy in her salvation. Kissing her farewell, I left her. " • Come again,' she said.
Again I bent my steps to Emma's; but the freed spirit was already singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. She died at five o'clock, Monday morning, June 15th. Mrs. B
that she was very restless all Sunday and Sunday night, suffering extremely from thirst, but unable to swallow. She spoke, when questioned, on Sunday ; and remarked the day, and said,
“ How, and where, shall I be next Sunday ?'
“ At four o'clock on Monday morning, Mrs. B-observed a great change, and summoned the family. She said, Emma had not been turned for fear of bringing on her coughing spell; but at this moment she turned towards the light without any assistance. Her countenance looked troubled. After a few moments Mrs. B- said,
“. If you know me, Emma, press my hand.' - She did so, and with a strong grasp.
“ Anxious to ascertain the state of her feelings, Mrs. B— said, “Are you happy now, my Emma ?'
“0, yes !' she said, with animation ; and then came on a gasping for breath : and then she was gone! She had departed! She was with the Lamb ; walking in the light of the eternal city: no more to wander from him who loved her with an everlasting love.
“ I had thought that Emma would die triumphantly ; but when I recall her extreme weakness and suffering, and think, that despite her pains of body, her fearful death, her
Backsliding an insidious disease.
want of the sensible presence of her Saviour, that her faith wavered not, I am almost ready to call it the high triumph of that living principle. Her's was the language of Job :
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him." As it is, I feel perfectly satisfied that she will • hunger no more; neither thirst any more : but God shall wipe away all tears from her eyes.'
There will occur to the reader, from what has been previously remarked, several reasons why it might not be consistent with the divine purpose to grant, to one who had so fearfully drawn back, a very triumphant and rapturous exit. God intends to convey a lesson of moral instruction by all his dealings with the children of men. While, therefore, he enabled this returning penitent to cherish a good and well grounded hope of her acceptance, he, at the same time, meant to connect with the doubts that occasionally darkened her mind, and the fears that disturbed the tranquillity of her soul, an admonition to all who have named the name of Christ, never to turn back from their
One has very truly remarked, that “ Backsliding is a disease that is exceeding secret in its way of working. It is a flattering distemper; it works like a consumption, wherein persons often flatter themselves that they are not worse, but something better, and in a hopeful way to recover, till a few days before they die. So backsliding commonly comes on gradually, and steals on men insensibly, and they still flatter themselves that they are not backslidden."'*
This idea is one that I think is important to be presented distinctly to the reader,—that a person may have declined most fearfully in religion, and yet be flattering himself that all is well. Wherever religion ceases to be the main business of life—wherever there exists a growing disregard to the means and opportunities of grace—wherever there is
* President Edwards' Works, vol. vi. p. 57.
Symptoms of decline in religion.
any loss of tenderness of conscience-wherever there springs up a desire to be conformed to the world—wherever there is a diminished desire to exert one's-self for God --wherever progress in the divine life ceases, there already has commenced the first insidious ravages of this fatal dis
The man has already begun to draw back. How stands the case with you, dear reader? Does the piercing eye of God, whose glance reaches down to the very deepest recesses of your heart, behold in you no symptoms of decay or decline in religion? If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
In contemplating the history of Emma B-, though but a very imperfect sketch has now been drawn, who is not ready to exclaim, “ Behold the goodness and severity of God! O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !” A sickness unto death was probably the only means that could have brought her back to her father's house. And, therefore, the Lord in mercy stretched forth his hand, and touched her frame with the palsying blight of death. And this he did, because in his everlasting love, and in the sovereignty of his abounding grace, he had determined to save her soul from death.
Perhaps these pages may be read by some professed follower of Christ, who in fact may have fallen as far away from God, as ever did the subject of this brief notice. And yet this backsliding one may be saying, “ I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." It has sometimes fallen in our way to meet with those who are trying to wear the livery of Christ, and carry the badges of discipleship with them into the midst of all the gayeties, and fashion, and folly of the world. Such persons might feel wounded, were their claims to the Christian character questioned. There is a day coming when those claims will be impartially examined! Should these pages meet the eye of any such one, may I be permitted to say, “My dear friend, let this sketch which I have
Use to be made of this narrative by the reader.
drawn be a mirror in which you will see the bitterness and sorrow of your latter end. For if the Lord does not make you feel before your mortal hour how bitter and evil a thing it is to depart from him, let me tell you, that you will lie down at last in eternal sorrow.
Reader, have you declined in any degree from the fervour of that love which characterized you when you first gave yourself up in covenant to God? From this sketch, see, O see, how easy it is to violate your covenant vows, and to slide back into the very midst of the world.
Do you feel compelled to write yourself a backslider? Have you already departed very far from the Lord ? There is then no time to be lost. If you do not return immediately, your covenant God may have to smite you down with death. When tempted to wander from the Lord, do not forget what it cost to revive the withered branch.
“ The love of nature, and the scenes she draws,
Is nature's dictate.”--Cowper.
THEY who have never visited the country of the western lakes can scarcely conceive the vastness, and grandeur, and magnificence of those inland seas. So rich and fertile are the shores that are washed by their waves, that like the river that watered the garden of Eden, this noble chain of lakes may be said to water the garden of the world. It was in one of the summer months, just as the last bright rays of the sun, already sunk below the horizon, were fading away in the western sky, that the writer of these pages was approaching a small village situated on one of those lakes.
There was that delightful repose and quietude, which are peculiar to a country scene at the close of a hot summer's day, spread over the whole extended landscape, through which the road, that led to the village, lay. I have often thought that this sweet calm of nature was beautifully emblematical, not only of the peace and serenity which is spread over the Christian's soul at the hour of death, but of that sacred and eternal wrest which remaineth to the people of God.”
As I passed along, the laborious cultivator of the earth . was just quitting the harvest field, or bending his course