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since my sickness, I have become sensible that by nature there is no manner of good at all in any man's heart: nay, that sin is so strong in us that we can no more stop from sinning than we can from breathing."
“Charles,” said Henry, “I know that you understand these things better than I do, yet I do not quite understand what you mean when you say we cannot stop from sinning. Now, here have I been sitting this half hour talking to you—I don't think I have said any bad -how then have I been sinning ?"
“ Master Henry,” answered Charles, “ I trust and hope that your heart is not altogether in its natural state, but that the Spirit of God has already begun to work a change in it; so that you are not altogether under the power and dominion of sin: yet I know that sin is not dead in you, nor ever will be, until that blessed time when, in the morning of the resurrection, your sinful body will awake in the likeness of your Redeemer.”
“But,” said Henry, “how have I sinned since I came here? Explain it to me, Charles.”
“ Why," answered Charles, “there is one way in which we all sin continually; and that is, in loving and pleasing ourselves more than God. In all our thoughts we ourselves come foremost, and God (if he comes at all) afterward, and this with the best of people. The love of ourselves is always present with us, always mixing itself with every thought; so that we may be said to worship ourselves in the place of God: and from this sin, Master Henry, we never cease.”
“ When you are dead, Charles," said Henry, “I shall often think of you, and go to see your grave. You have taught me many things which I never knew before.”
“ God bless you, my dear little boys," said Mary Bush; “living or dying, God bless you both!” · A few days before Christmas the weather became very cold, and a great change at the same time took place in little Charles. Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, and Mr. Somers, notwithstanding the hard frost, often went to see him as he drew nearer his end, and were much pleased with the happy state of mind in which he was, for he seemed to have no desire but to be with Him who died for him, even that Lamb of God which was slain for the sins of the world. Early one Wednesday morning, in the beginning of the month of December,
Margery Grey came over in haste to Mr. Fairchild's to call Henry : “Little Charley is dying,” she said, “and asks for young master.” As soon as Mr. Fairchild and the family heard the news, they all set off in haste to Mary Bush's. Emily and Lucy were crying all the way as they went; but Henry tried not to cry, which made him only feel the more, for his cheeks were quite pale, and he could scarcely speak, for Henry loved little Charles very much. When they came to the cottage, they found Nurse and Joan, with all John Trueman's little children, in Margery Grey's room. Poor little Charley was lying on a bed in his grandmother's room. His head was lying on a pillow, supported by his mother, who sat upon the bed looking at her dying child, while her tears ran down her cheeks. John Trueman was kneeling on one side of the bed, holding one of Charles's hands. Mr. Somers stood looking silently on, sometimes lifting up his eyes and repeating something to himself, as if in prayer; and Mary Bush, and poor Charles's elder brother and sister, were crying in different parts of the room.
When Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild with the children came in, Charles's eyes were shut, and he lay as if sleeping. He was much changed since the day before : his eyes were sunk, his face had become deadly pale, and his mouth was drawn close. When Henry looked at him, he could keep his tears back no longer; they overflowed his eyes, and ran fast down his cheeks. After a few minutes Charles opened his eyes, and looked round him at every one. At length, perceiving Henry, he smiled, and put his hand towards him.
“ Dear, dear Charles !” said Henry, sobbing.
“Do not cry, Master Henry,” said Charles, speaking in a low voice; “ I am happy."
“And what makes you happy now, my dear boy ?" said Mr. Somers ; “ speak and tell us, that we may all here present lay fast hold of the same hope which is able to make a dying bed so easy.”
Charles turned his dying eyes towards Mr. Somers, and answered ; " I know that my Redeemer liveth; and though after my death worms shall destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Job xix. 25, 26.
The little boy spoke these words with difficulty: and indeed the latter part was rather guessed at than heard distinctly: then, as if quite worn out, he shut his eyes,
and lay as much as an hour as if asleep, though his frequent startings and convulsions, with his slow and solemn breathings, showed that death was coming on apace. At length he awoke, and his mother and Mr. Somers spoke to him, but he took no notice of them. The manner of his breathing changed; he looked round the room eagerly; then, suddenly looking upwards, and fixing his eyes on one corner of the room, the appearance of his countenance changed to a kind of heavenly and glorious expression, the like of which no one present ever before had seen; and every one looked towards the place on which his eyes were fixed, but they could see nothing extraordinary. After a while his eyes half shut, and he fell into the agonies of death.
Death, even the death of those whose souls are redeemed, is a dreadful sight; for the sinful body struggles hard with it. Satan then does his worst; but it is written, “ He that is with us is stronger than he that is against us,” and he will surely deliver those whom he hath purchased with his precious blood, even from the power of death and hell.
After several convulsive pangs, little Charles stretched himself; he breathed slower, and slower, and slower; then, fetching a deep sigh, his features became fixed in death. Nurse, who had come into the room some time before, perceiving that the soul of the dear child was departed, came up to the bed-side, and gently closed the eyes, and bound up with a handkerchief the mouth of the corpse; and having laid the arms and feet straight upon the bed, she stepped back to wipe away the tears that were running fast down her cheeks. All this while no one spoke, but all stood silently looking on the features of the dear child as they settled in death. After a few moments, Mr. Somers gave notice that he was going to pray, and every one knelt down around the bed. Mr. Somers's prayer was short, but it was very solemn; he first gave God thanks for the happy departure of the dear child, now with Christ his Redeemer; and, secondly, he earnestly prayed that God would, in his appointed time, grant unto all then present an equally happy death. His prayer finished with these words: “May we die the death of the righteous, and may our latter end be like his!"
Before Mr. Somers left the house, he took John Trueman apart, and asked him if it would be convenient for
him that the child should be buried on the next Sunday morning at the hour of Morning Service? John True. man answered that he hoped to have every thing ready for the burial by that time. “Then,” said Mr. Somers, “I will, with God's help, preach a sermon on the occasion.” John Trueman bowed, but his heart was so full he could not speak; and Mr. Somers, and Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, and the children left the cottage.
The next morning Mr. Somers sent his clerk from house to house, through all the parish, to give notice that he meant to preach a sermon on the occasion of the death of Charles Trueman the next Sunday, and to request that all parents and masters would be kind enough to see that the younger part of their families came to church. Accordingly, the next Sunday, at Morning Service, the church was crowded; for not only all the young folks in the parish, but from all the country round -- from Hill-top-way, and Brookside-way, and Blackwood-way, and from Underhill village (that is the place where Mrs. Goodriche lived),-as many as were able, came to see the funeral and to hear Mr. Somers's sermon. Mrs. Goodriche herself, too, was present; for she borrowed a horse which carried double, and came to Mr. Fairchild's on the Saturday evening, riding behind young Roberts the gardener, the son of John Roberts whom I spoke of before, and so was ready to go with Mrs. Fairchild to church on the Sunday morning.
The day proved fine, dry, and frosty: the sun . just broke through the white clouds, with which the heavens had been overcast, when the bell began to ring for church ; and at the same time Henry set out to attend little Charles's funeral from Mary Bush's house to the church.--I will tell you the order of the funeral. The coffin was borne by six stout men, day-labourers in the parish: it was quite a plain coffin, marked with the name and age of the corpse. After the coffin walked the father, John Trueman, and old Goodman Grey: and then Henry, and Thomas Trueman; and then came Mary Trueman and Mary Bush, Nurse and Joan, and True. man's little children, with some other persons, friends and neighbours. It was but a plain funeral; but there were none there who had not loved the departed child ; and most persons present, both men and women, were such as lived in the fear of God : for since Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild and Mr. Somers had lived in that parish, by
God's grace, godliness had mightily grown and prospered thereabouts-by God's grace, I say; for Paul may plant, and A pollos water, but God giveth the increase.
When the funeral came up to the church, the church and church-yard were quite full. Mr. Somers directed that the corpse should be brought into the church and set in the middle aisle, and he himself walked in before it, saying the words appointed in the Burial Service ; “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die." John xi. 25, 26. “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though, after my death, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." Job xix. 25-27. “ We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.” 1 Tim. vi. 7; Job i. 21. Mr. Somers then went through the Burial Service in a slow and distinct manner: after which he preached a sermon, the substance of which I shall endeavour to lay before you.
Mr. Somers's text was from Matt. xiii. 41-43: “The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear let him hear.”-From this text Mr. Somers went on to point out to the young people gathered about him (for, as I said before, the young people from all the villages round about were gathered together that day), that after death there are two places, and only two, appointed, the one for the redeemned, and the other for the damned; namely, heaven and hell. “ All who are here present," added he, looking round him, “every one of you, must after death go to one of these places, there to remain for ever and ever: so that it might be asked, "Who among us shall dwell with a devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?! ” Isa. xxxiii. 14. He then went on to describe the happy state of the blessed, and the misery of the damned, from the Bible. I shall put down some of the most remarkable texts that he quoted :-My sheep hear my voice, and I