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scene, which occurred in this small city, as neither Athens, nor Susa, Carthage, or Rome, could boast.
It is the third watch of the night. Nain is wrapped in slumber. The busy market-place is deserted; the laugh, the bargaining, has ceased. The fruit stall is empty, the money-changer has gone, the synagogue is closed. The people are sleeping; some tossing about, struggling with hurried thoughts, the writhings of a guilty conscience. But in one house a faint glimmering light steals through the lattice. All are not sleeping there. No Bacchanalian song is heard! No joyous dance! No bridegroom's feast ! Ah! no, 'tis a room of mourning. The flickering taper cannot dispel the gloom—it only reveals the misery which hovers round the scene. Silence and melancholy sit hand in hand; disturbed, yet pleased with the wind sighing an Eastern melody, or roused by sounds of anguish. But who are the inmates of this sorrowful abode? A watcher and a sleeper—a widow and her son-her dead, her only son! Look! in the middle of the floor, upon a cedar bier, a corpse is stretched. Though the eye has ceased to flash, is closed and sunken—though those nostrils refuse to breathe, and the tongue to console-though the spirit no more lights the countenance with animation, life, or genius, yet, not long ago, he thought of long life. Ambition and hope pointed high; the soul felt equal to the task, and obeyed the promptings with elastic step. He looked, not long ago, at his frame and youth; health and strength seemed to promise long life. Death might wrestle with decrepid limbs and care-worn wrinkled brows; hence he laughed, and then the teasing thought of death was gone. He dreamt not of a frost in June—a withering wind in summer time. But, alas ! youth feels the cold clasp of death-youth sickens and dies. The rose fades, the cheeks look wan and pale, the head droops—a sigh, a groan, and the spirit, like a bird set free, quits its mortal cage—and what is left? Dast, in mournful mould, yet beautiful, and “wonderfully made."
The mother-disconsolate, weighed down with grief, sick at the heart's core-kneels beside her son ; she has sent the hired mourners from her presence; and now alone she pours forth her soul in bitter anguish, “My son! my son! My
He was my
husband is gone—the trial was severe, I loved him with a woman's love. Time has partially healed the wound. I looked with hope upon my son! He consoled my grief and comforted me.
heart's pride. I thought, when age should unnerve my limbs, and bow my head, he would be my staff, my support. Hath not God dealt hardly with me? for he was my only son. Where shall I now look for help? Pleasure, the world, honour, all are vanity. O! I am bereft! I am forsaken!" She kneels alone; her dress is in disorder, her hair disheveled, her haggard features tell of nights of anxious watching - protracted fasting. Her frame is weak, and her strength exhausted. A feverish heat consumes her—nourishment she despises — sleep she knows not. Tears refuse to flow from those aching eyes. Who knows a mother's love !-a mother's grief! It is a convulsive writhing of tender sympathies. It fills, it shakes the frame—the tongue is dumb, yet the spirit speaks eloquently through the eye. Afflicted mother! thou hast yet a friend, a comforter, a physician. 0! pray for Gilead's balm, the Physician can heal thy breaking heart; he will pour upon thy wounded spirit. “ He is a husband to the widow, he cleaveth closer than a brother."
The narrow street is crowding with people. The funeral procession is approaching. First comes the bier borne by four men.
The corpse is shrouded in white linen. Relations come next, exhibiting signs of grief, and then the friends in long procession. The women uttering loud lamentations. The noise attracts attention. Each lattice or window is thrown open to gaze upon the spectacle-some heave a sigh, or whisper the young man's name; a murmur of pity is heard for the mother; some join the company, and now they have come to the city gate—there is a crowd of people. A scribe has come to pay his last act of duty to his young friend—perhaps his pupil; he stimulated him toward literary fame, they dived together into the profound depths of the law, discussed many a knotty point-wandered through many a labyrinth of precedents and shadowy meanings—while the lamp, neglected by reverie, has twinkled out its light. Here and there may be seen the young man's late companions, they who played at games together,
wrestled, or raced, or threw the javelin. Sadness of conscienee sits upon all. The gay forget their jest. Loquacity is dumb. Sober contemplation reigns. Death! thou art impartial, cruel, cold. The young feel thy spell, and hear the sepulchral call. Solemnly and slowly the company move. Suddenly all hear a call—a command—each looks up with curiosity and surprise. What obstructs the path? who impedes our progress ? cannot the dead be carried to its long lost resting place in peace. The dead should claim respect.
The Man of Nazareth, with his disciples, “and much people," are nigh. Jesus looks on the widow; he reads her soul, he knows her woe, his bowels yearn with tenderness. “ God is love,"--His compassion is beyond compare. He speaks, and says, “Weep not.” The words, sweet and soothing, more refreshing than the dew of Hermon, sweeter than the honeycomb.
But are they words without power ? That would aggravate the distress. No! He touches the bier-they that bear the corpse are motionless. He touches the bier as though it were the bed of a sleeping disciple, and says, “Young man, I say unto thce, arise.” Is it the command of a mortal man! Elijah and Elisha had almost to wrestle with death, ere the sons of the widow of Zarephath and of the Shunamite woman were restored. But Christ's command is given with majesty. How calm, how grand, how god-like! “Arise !” Methinks that call would echo with a startling sound to the farthest nook of the invisible world. Arise! Obedience was prompt—the impulse instantaneous. “ He that was dead sat up and began to speak.” Death! where is thy boasted power? A word can snap thy chains asunder. Thy Master calls, and thy victim is free. O Jesus, ten thousand hallelujahs be offered up to thee! THOU wilt sound the last trumpet. The effect will be the same as at Nain--all shall hear that blast-all shall, with joy or dread, obey that call.
The young man descended from the bier, and Jesus delivered him to his mother. What a happy meeting! The dead is alive again. Sorrow has fled. Methinks they fell at Jesus' feet, and bathed those feet with tears of joy. What
a sight! The mother and son-age and youth-prostrate before Christ-calling him Saviour-owning him to be the very Son of God. Emmanuel (God with us). The day for burial became a birthday. The multitude looked on the scene amazed. “Fear came upon all.” Could the doubter cavil now ? He that was dead now speaks. “God hath visited His people.” Now we know “that a great prophet is risen up among us.”
Imagination! tell how the company returned to the city -how the young man was welcomed back-how the funeral repast became a birthday feast—how joy, thanksgiving, and wonder, sat on every feature—how Jesus was the theme of every tongue. “ And this rumour of him (Jesus) went throughout all Judea.” Luke vi. 17. Leeds.
W. H. R.
MEMOIR OF ALICE DUNKERLEY.
THE subject of the following memoir was born at Stockport, in the county of Chester, on the 8th of May, 1826. At an early age her parents sent her to thc Stockport Sunday-school. Her conduct as a scholar soon secured the esteem of the conductors and teachers of that institution.
When she was seven years of age, it became evident that she felt the strivings of the Spirit of God.
This was obvious from her diligent attendance at the Methodist prayer - meetings, held in the neighbourhood where she resided.
When she was about fourteen years of age, her father died, and left her and five brothers to the care of their widowed mother. As Alice grew in years she evinced a growing attachment to her mother and brothers, and a deepening concern for their welfare.
In the year 1842, a relative, who was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Association, invited her to attend the Wellington-road Chapel. She accepted the invitation; and under the ministry of Mr. S. Sadler, who then travelled in this Circuit, the good work was revived in her heart; and
she resolved to set her face Zion-ward, and to join the Society.
The writer, having met with her in the same class for several years, is able to make a few satisfactory statements relative to her conduct. She was regular in her attendance, and devout in her demeanour, at the class. Her language was expressive of a sense of her own unworthiness-of God's great goodness—and of the necessity of being made conformable to the Divine will and image. Soon after her union with the Society she became a teacher in the Sundayschool. In this capacity she laboured with unabated zeal and visible success.
Having received the forgiveness of her sins, she was anxious for the salvation of others. Her solicitude was strongly displayed in behalf of one of her young brothers, upon whom God had laid His afflicting hand. He, being only seventeen years of age, having a good moral character, and regularly attending the Sunday-school, thought that nothing more was required of him, and concluded that when he died he should undoubtedly go to heaven. His sister frequently requested him to allow her to read the Word of God to him, and to pray with him. At length he reluctantly consented. She read and expounded a suitable passage of Scripture, implored the Divine blessing upon him, and then left him to his reflections. He began to think as he had never thought before. He saw himself to be a sinner in the sight of God. He was constrained to pray for himself, and to desire an interest in the prayers of others; and, before his death, he was enabled to testify, that God, for Christ's sake, had pardoned all his sins. Thus was our beloved sister made an instrument, in the hands of God, in promoting the salvation of her brother.
She was remarkable for her attention to the exercises of private and public devotion. Her mother says, “that she never knew her to omit her closet duties, however limited her time.” When health and circumstances would allow, she was also sure to be in her place both at school and chapel.
When she had reached the age of twenty-one, she was seized by the disease that had terminated her brother's