« PreviousContinue »
adjoining grave, while a stander-by related the circumstances.
“ Come home with me,” said Bryan.
“ Impossible ! what ! to see their places emptyto look upon that venerable ruin, struck by such another thunderbolt-to see poor Ellen-poor Ellen ;'' and his tears flowed.
“ Yes, my friend, to see all this, and to witness likewise the power of Him to whom you too must come,
you may have life.” Having passed through some painful scenes, Bryan turned towards the burying ground, hoping by a visit to that endeared spot, to calm his agitated spirit: yet before he reached the corner, now so sadly precious, his attention was attracted by two children, seated on a new-made grave, and crying bitterly. Bryan knew it to be that of a young townsman, who had fallen in the sally of the preceding Sunday; and drawn by sympathy, he approached the youthful mourners, gently enquiring why they grieved: “Oh, isn't it enough to be grieving at,” cried the girl, “when brother Patrick is lying down here, ever so deep, and will never get up again!”
“ Mother is always calling him," added the boy, who was much younger,
6 but he doesn't come, any how; though I've called him too.” And putting down his rosy mouth to the sod, he shouted « Pat ! ” with all his power.
“ Ah, vein of our hearts,” sobbed the girl, as she also bent downwards, “is it never that you'll answer us again, your poor little Thady and me!”
Bryan was deeply touched; he seated bimself by them on the grave, and said, “ My dears, I can feel for your sorrow, and you for mine. Look yonder in that corner, at the large new mound of clay'; my own fond mother, my yonng and beautiful sister, were buried there last night”-he could not proceed.
The little boy leaned against him, looking up in his face, while the girl said, “What; the ladies is it?—the ladies killed by the big shot in their bed ?”
Bryan nodded assent. Oh, then, and I wish you saw my mother ; it's the only thing she'll hear about, let alone Patrick. May be she'd listen, if you spoke of them first, and then of Jesus Christ.”
“ And why of the Saviour last ?”
“ I don't rightly know: she'd be talking of nothing else, and Pat couldn't tire of reading about him in the ould bible. But now, joy, if we'll be speaking the least word, she goes wild, and cries out for Pat, to no end."
“ Will you take me to see her ?” asked Bryan.
66 Och ! and it's we that will, sure," answered the girl, rising with alacrity ; but the boy remained seated, and as Bryan moved away, he pulled at his coat, saying, “ Sir, if you'd call very loud, Pat, may be he'd hear you-Sir, will you then?”
Bryan made no answer, but lifting the child in his
arms, and taking the girl by the hand, conducted them to the other grave.
“ See, my dears, if calling would waken the dead, do you not think that I should raise my voice, and shout for those who lie here to return to me ?”
May be not, Sir,” said the girl. “ Heaven is a better place for them-no shot fly about there : Jesus Christ feeds them, and takes care of them.”
Surprised, and soothed too, Bryan rejoined, “ most true, my child ; nor would I, as I meant to tell you, bring them back to this world of woe : for I know that they are with Jesus. But how comes it that you wished to try and awaken Patrick ?”
The girl again began to sob, and twisting her little apron, said, “ I didn't wish to try, because I knew that the dead would never wake, till the angel comes with a trumpet. But mother cries out so, and she can't believe that he's with Jesus Christ. It's Thady wants to call him up, to make mother eat.”
More than ever interested for his little companions, Bryan only remained long enough by the grave to declare to them in simple terms the blessedness of sleeping in Jesus : with a solemn warning of the hourly peril in which their lives were placed : and then, still carrying Thady, who had become drowsy with grief and fatigue, he accompanied Sarah to the abode of her parent, which was not far distant.
It was the house of a widow, in humble, yet decent circumstances; but all bore the marks of desolation and disorder. In a high-backed chair, at the farther end of the little darkened apartment, reclined the mother; her apron thrown over her face. A compassionate neighbour watched beside her, who, on their silent approach, whispered, “ I'm thinking she sleeps, the bereaved creature !"
“ Sleeps !” repeated the mourner, throwing the apron from her face; “ No, no: he giveth his beloved sleep, but none to me.”
Bryan quietly seated himself near her; and carefully supporting the little Thady, shewed him to his mother, in a profound slumber. He was a beautiful child ; and the traces of tears on his eye-lids and cheeks, with the disordered state of his auburn locks, added much to the interest of his appearance. The mother's attention was arrested; she gazed on her boy; and Bryan said, “ Is not this one of His beloved ? see how peacefully he sleeps. I found him," he continued, “ near the spot where last night I buried
mother and sister." This abrupt intimation had all the effect that he anticipated ; the widow looked at him with much compassion, and taking his hand, burst into tears.
“ I have trusted the Lord,” continued Bryan, “ while his dealings were plain and comprehensible to human reason ; but now is the trial of faith, when he comes in a cloud, rending away our heart-strings, and the soul would, if it could, stay his hand, and say unto him, what doest Thou?”
The widow shook her head from side to side, and hid her face, but spoke not. Bryan resumed.
“ To have trusted in him, to have sought him long in earnest prayer, and confidently known that the prayer
of faith could not fail : to have seen a token of gracious acceptance, and then the veil drawn, and all left dark-impenetrably dark-oh, it teaches us a lesson of our own unbelief, most sorely humbling. For, had we faith, but as a grain of mustard seed, we should cast ourselves upon that seal, “ the promise of God standeth sure.'»
“ Oh, Sir,” exclaimed the poor woman, yours are the first words that have reached my heart, and sure I see a little bright spot of hope and comfort where all seemed blacker than midnight.”
She then told him, that her dear boy had given many evidences of spiritual feeling, delighting in the scriptures and prayer. That on the preceding Saturday he had been appointed to accompany a party in the sally of the following day; but did not make it known to her till the Sabbath morning ; when on her requesting him to attend her and the children to public worship, he was obliged to confess that his destination was far different. In vain did she plead, and weep, and set before him the sin of violating the Lord's-day: to hinder him was impossible, and when he asked for her blessing, she still continued to urge him, until, after hastily embracing her, he ran off. His mangled remains were brought home at