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Wor. But tell me, how has my dear daughter borne the shock.
Mrs. Wor. Her distress has been astonishing. Yet she has been astonishingly supported, þut Mr. Lovegood had better tell you, all that has passed from the beginning
Loveg. On our first arrival, we found Mrs. Merryman in the greatest perplexity and distress, as yor may well suppose ; and as for Mr. Merryman, instead of finding him better, he was evidently much worse. He lay almost in a perpetual stupor, what little he said, was frequently incoherent, though always upon the best subject ; and sometimes the things he said were most delightful. But by the particular request of Dr. Skillman, neither of us went to see him that night, nor the next day. Nor would it have done him any good, as the fever had rendered him remarkably deaf.
Wor. I should like to hear some of the good things he said ?
Loveg. Yes Sir, and I should like to tell you of them. But as it was a task, far beyond what Mrs. Merryman could perform, I feel myself obliged to Mr. Robert Sprightly, for recording some things, which I shall endeavor to repeat.
Wor. Who is this Mr. Sprightly ?
Loveg. One of the most pleasant, and amiable youths, I ever met with in all my life. In Mr. Merryman's gay days, they were the gay, and giddy companions of each other. But when Mr. Merryman became an altered character, this young man, was one of the first fruits of his ministry;
and this greatly added to the surprize of the whole Town? when in an infinitely better way, they became closely united, for better purposes.
Like Jonathan and David their hearts were one, and they were one with each other, in every design that was profitable, kind, and good. And immediately as Mr. Merryman was taken ill, he was almost perpetually with him ; seated at his bed side, night and day, he would wait upon him
with the constant assiduity of a nurse ; in short, if it had not been for him, I question, if Mrs. Merryman could have been supported, under the pressure of her fatigue.
Wor. O what a kind youth ! I shall ever love him for my daughter's sake.
Loveg. / Sir ! if ever you should know him, you would be delighted with him. Such a lively, pleasant, and animated disposition, and withal, so truly devoted to God.--He is quite the counterpart of Mr. Merryman.
Wor. I hope I shall soon be acquainted with him. But what had he to say of the frame of Mr. Merryman's mind, when he was first taken ill ?
Loveg. Upon the whole, from the very first he seemed to possess in a high degree, a resigned and submissive spirit. But it appeared, that the reflection of what he had been, came home at times to bis recollection, with considerable remorse, and grief ; lamenting exceedingly, how much he had to undo, of the evils he had done by his light, and frothy conduct, before the grace of God took possession of his heart. But one time in particular, with tears in his eyes, it seems he cried; O what would I give! if I conld recal the time that is now forever past, when as a wicked, and careless Minister, both in my life and doctrine, I was the cause of the ruin and delusion of so many souls. It was I, that persuaded poor Jack Trifler to go with me to the ball, where he first met with those who poisoned him with disease, that led him to the grave. What an awful charge against me, that precious souls should have been ruined by me. they are irrecoverably lost. And when Mr. Sprightly mentioned, the free forgiveness he had preached to others, and which he had received himself, he immediately cried, Yes, yes; I know that God has forgiven me, but for all that, I never can forgive myself. And when Mr. Sprightly began to speak of the good he had done, since he had been blessed with the grace of God, and mentioned himself, as ove among many
others, that would have eternal reason to bless God, for his ministry, he seemed to smile; took him by the hand, and said, yes my dear Robert, and this is the only reason which makes me wish to live that I'may hring more sinners to Jesus Christ : though I am ashamed of myself that I have not been more earnest, and zealous in the cause of the salvation of souls.
At another time he said, I hope my dear Robert, I shall not infect you with my fever, as I have infected others with my sinful ways; well, though the Lord has permitted me to run into sad lengtlis of dissipation, yet it might have been, that he might again make known his patience, forbearance, and grace to the very chief of sinners, who are enabled to come to bim, who in no wise can cast us out.
Wor. It seems then, while he was in a humble frame, he was by no means in a desponding frame.
Loveg. I believe just the reverse ; for while he felt and lamented, that he had been such a sinner, he could still rejoice, that he was a sinner saved.
Mrs. Wer. But in saying these things, he did not speak, as though the fever had disturbed his recollection.
Loveg. By no means, but this was at the beginning of his illness, when there were some hopes, that his disease was about to take a favorable turn. Hov. ever, it seems that soon afterwards, he became frequently incoherent ; but in the midst of his reveries. his mind was still engaged upon the best of subjects At one time he supposed himself to be preaching: and at another time, he would seem to imagine, that he was praying with the people; while what he said, on these occasions, was astonishingly affecting and fine, even superior to what he ever said in the best days of bis recollection, and health. .Wor. When did you first see him?
Loveg. It was thought necessary that I should sec him on the Saturday morning, to set his mind at rest about the supply of his Church, for on the Sunday, before, it was entirely shut up, and the consternation of the people was inexpressible.
Wor. [To Mrs. Worthy.] Did you go up stairs with Mr. Lovegood ?
Mrs. Wor. Oh no! I was advised not, and I staid below with our daughter, for whenever he perceived her in the room, seeing her much affected, it greatly increased his agitation : and again he had sad apprebensions lest she might catch the disease. It being necessary, that he should be kept as quiet as possible. Mr. Sprightly was the only person, that went into the room with me, and he being then in a sort of restless dose, I stood by his bed side some time, before he took any notice of me, and while I was waiting till he awoke, I heard him repeat the following lines, which I conld not have understood, if I had not known the hymn.
Thou say’st, thou wilt thy servants keep
After repeating these lines, he cried, I cannot sing, I cannot sing, I wish I could. Just then he opened his eyes, looked at me with the kindest affection, for a few seconds, and then said, What are you there my dear Mr. Lovegood ? that precious inan who saved my soul from ruin! Who was it that carried me over co Brookfield to see him? Being too much overcome to answer him, Mr. Sprightly said, no dear Sir, you are still at Sandover: Mr. Lovegood is come over to see you, and to supply the Church for you to-morrow. He replied, dear man how kind! I shan't be able to read prayers for him. Robert, lift me up in bed. I am very thirsty. Nurse, bring me some barley water : he partook of it, and cried, “ let him that is athirst come ; yea, whosoever will, let them come and partake of the waters of life freely."
My soul is athirst for God, yea, eren for the living God!" Then he addressed himself to me, and said, Tell the people to-morrow, O tell them all, “how I long over them in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” I hope there will not be one pew in the Church, that will not have some sinner to feel as I did, when you preached your visitation sermon. I think I am clear from the blood of all of them, but if not, I beg their pardons ten thousand times. What he said so completely overcame me, that I was obliged to retire to the window to vent my feelings. He then broke out into a profuse perspiration, when he asked where I was gone. I returned and helped to wipe off the rolling drops from his head and hair ; and while we were performing the office, he cried, “if every hair of my head, and every drop that falls from my face, were to be turned into a tongue; and were I to live ten thousand years, they should all be employed in telling the salvation of Christ, and in singing of his redeeming love;" and then added, I can neither praise him as I should, nor yet as I would. I am so weak, lay me down again. This gave me an opportunity of saying, we will retire, that you may be more composed. You must think Sir, this was quite as much as I could bear.
Wor But this seemed at least, like a short revival of bis intellectual powers.
Loveg. Yes Sir, and what he said at such intervals, was astonishingly delightful.
Wor. How did you get through the Sunday services?
Loveg. With the greatest difficulty imaginable. What the people felt, what we all felt, is not to be