Page images
PDF
EPUB

but when they spoke of departed Christians, they would refer to their lives for evidence of their piety. Perhaps it may be said that the reason is this: In speaking of the departed, we refer to their life as completed, their earlier evidences of piety as confirmed by death :—while, with regard to the living, it is necessary to impress this truth, tható he that endureth to the end, shall be saved.'

Another point of great practical importance is suggested by the effort which we are told Mrs. 'S. made to recollect particular sins, and to repent of them one by one. Mr. Smith judiciously endeavored to dissuade her from it.

“I dissuaded her from pursuing far such an attempt to recall paiticu. lar transgressions, as calculated at the present time unnecessarly todistress her. God wonld be better pleased, I assured her, with her pass ing them over as forgiven and blotted out, through his abounding mercy. She would not err by contenting herself with a more general repentance of her past life, feeling that it had been all imperfection and sin, and abhorring herself on account of it; which, with a great deal of earnestness, she assured me, she most heartily did.”—p. 353.

One day she called for the Pilgrim's Progress,' and began to read the account of the river of death, but was unable to pursue it. Some time after, her husband, at her request, resuined the narrative, but she was obliged to ask him to stop. She said that it seemed to be a great excellence of the Bible that it was so little exciting ; that not only could the most common minds understand it, but the most sensitive nerves could bear its representations, better than those of any other book. She accordingly read, after this, almost wholly in the Bible.

She finally obtained peace and comfort in view of death, and the ground of it seemed to be, entire submission to the will of God. But she drew her evidence of acceptance with Him, chiefly from what she had previously felt. She said that, on the whole, it was her choice to die. Freedom in heaven from imperfection, made her wish to be there, and the expected pleasure of meeting departed friends gave her much satisfaction. She thought it absurd to suppose that departed friends in heaven would not recognise each other, and enjoy each other's love.

The few last days of her life were perfectly happy. Having listened to a part of 2 Cor. v. "For we know that if this earthly house," etc., she said that it removed all her

P. 358.

darkness and fears, that she wished for nothing more, and that she was going to be with her Saviour. She said that she had no ecstasies, but that her mind was composed and quiet. I believe all that is wrilten in the word of God, und upon the strength of this faith, I am going into eternity.Sublime and glorious words !

Two years and four months ago, she had embarked from Boston as a missionary. How much she left bebind! How short her missionary life, how great the disa ppointment at the early interruption of her work by death! “ Thou destroyest the hope of man!" · And yet —

“Sept. 2?.-In the afternoon, she said to me with much earnestness, • When you write to my friends afier all is over, one thing I wish you would make prominent. It is, that I feel satisfied with the course I have taken, and that all has been ordered by God.' [Meaning in her becoming a missionary.] •I have no disposition to boast of my labors; but I feel that I have not left my friends and my country in vain., I never have regretted having done so, nor do I now. This is my dying testimony.'

“Tell my friends, I would not for all the world lay my remains any where but here, on missionary ground. After a good many remarks, showing the brightness of her views of spiritual things, some of which could be but indistinctly heard, she exclaimed, What a goodly company of ancestors shall I meet there! Yes, and the holy angels, and the Son of God! Oh, the Almighty God! You know nothing of his glorious majesty. I cannot express it; but I wanted to speak of it, that you may think that yourselves are nothing. I have thought too much of myself. In this sickness I have thought it too important that my ease and wants should be consulted. We all think that we are of more importance than we are. Beware of pride.'”

“ We sung that beautiful hymn of Doddridge on the eternal Sabbath, commencing,

'Thine earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love.' “ To my surprise, her voice, which she had so long been unable to use for singing, was occasionally heard mingling with ours. Her face beamed with a smile of ecstasy ; and so intense was the feeling ex. pressed in her whole aspect, that we stopped after the first verse, lest she should even expire while drinking the cup of joy we had presented to her. But she sa:d to us, .Go on;' and ihough all were baihed in tears, and hardly able to articulate, we proceeded. I was sitting with her hand in mine. While singing the second verse, she pressed it, and turned 10 me at the same time such a heavenly smile as stopped my utterance. Before we reached the end, she raised both her hands above her head, and gave vent to her feelings in tears of pleasure, and almost in shouting. After prayer, she said, I have had little glimpse of what I am going to see. It was but a glimpse, and perhaps it was imagination. But it seemed a glorious sight.''

[ocr errors]

p. 360, 1.

In the account of her last moments, we have an interest

ing fact.

" Involuntary groans were occasionally uttered in her convulsions. These, as we were listening to them with painful sympathy, once to our surprise melted away into musical notes; and for a moment our ears were charmed with the full, clear tones of the sweetest melody. No words were articulated, and she was evidently unconscious of every thing about her. It seemed as if her soul was already joining in the songs of heaven, while it was yet so connected with the body as to command its unconscious sympathy." p. 364.

We can never forget the effect of this incident upon our minds when we first heard it read. We cannot remeinber any incident in the dying scene of any individual so peculiar and striking, We have been accustomed to consider the last moments of Mr. Evarts, taking into view his natural temperament, as more remarkable than those of

any other departed friend whom we have ever known. One of his exclamations was, “O! the face of God!". Perhaps this was only anticipation ; it may have been vision. But the incident just referred to in the last moments of Mrs. Smith, is certainly

very striking. Those musical sounds were wonderful. They remind one of those which are said to have come from Memnon's statue at sunrise. They were the accidental notes of the harp, when one is removing the strings. The swan's last song is sweetest; so was it with this “ bird” when fleeing “to her mountain." The passage last quoted from the memoir will, we doubt not, long be remembered by all who read the book.

ness.

*

“ Not long after, she again opened her eyes in a state of conscious

A smile of perfect happiness lighted up her emaciated features. She looked deliberately around upon different objects in the room, and then fixed upon me a look of the tenderest affection.

Her frequent prayers that the Saviour would meet her in the dark valley, have already been mentioned. By her smile, she undoubtedly intended to assure us, that she had found him. Words she could not utter to ex. press what she felt. Life continued to struggle with its last enemy until twenty minutes before eight o'clock ; when her affectionate heart gradually ceased to beat, and her soul took its final departure to be for ever with the Lord.” p. 364.

She died Sept. 30, 1836, in the 34th year of her age, having been a missionary about two years and four months, SECOND SERIES, VOL. III. NO. I.

19

On receiving the intelligence of her death, the American Consul put his flag at half mast, as did all the American vessels in the harbor, eight or ten in number. The ladies at Smyrna, contrary to the immemorial custom of the place, followed the remains to the grave. Her grave was the first in a new cemetery, prepared by the English and American residents. At the request of Mr. Smith, the funeral service of the Church of England was read, by the Rev. Mr. Lewis.

The memoir closes with a most interesting chapter by Rev. Mr. Smith, on some of the traits of missionary

character, and the habits of this lamented servant of Christ; to which is added an appropriate monody by her friend, Mrs. L. H. Sigourney, beginning,

“S0,-Syria hath thy dust,—thou who wert born

Amid my own wild hillocks." We naturally ask, why this excellent and useful missionary came forth as a flower and was cut down ? Recollections of similar events crowd upon our minds. We have almost wondered whether missionary labor is performed in any

of the universe. If so, we see apparent reason in the removal of able and accomplished laborers from this field, that they may preach to other spirits the unsearchable riches of Christ. But we check such fancies. We think of our common doom, to die. No one can be too good or too useful to die. It is of little consequence, in view of our general fate, who dies first, especially as the Head of the Church has the keys of death, and consults the good of his cause when He so frequently opens the gates of death to the most devoted and useful of his servants. The corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, brings forth fruit. This memoir, we are persuaded, will greatly advance the missionary cause.

What à cause this is, which consumes so much treasure, calls for such sacrifices, separates earthly ties, and still, at the present moment, in view of all which it has cost, is more precious than ever to its friends! There must be something real and substantial in the object which is thus pursued. Visionary and romantic schemes are soon found out, and cease to delude their votaries. But the spirit of missions throughout Christendom is increasing in depth and strength.

other part

Men and women, some of them the choice ones of Christian lands, are yearly baptized into this work for the dead. Times of commercial depression and disaster seem, at least in one instance, of late, to have increased the missionary fund. In the year 1837, remarkable for commercial distress, the contributions to the American Board amounted to $252,000, while in the previous year of general prosperity, they were only $176,000, being an increase of $76,000 ! Even sectarian divisions and separation of labor amongst its friends are swelling the amount of missionary effort; persecution in foreign lands scatters ils influence only to increase it. In spite of every difficulty it holds on its way.

When we think of the heathen world groaning and travailing in pain together until now, and then consider the intention and efforts of Christians, with the help of God, to relieve them, it makes us think of the patriarch Jacob's dwelling in mourning and lamentation and wo, and Joseph's wagons standing at the door, waiting to make the mourning household partakers of the plenty of Egypt.

We are able, and, with the blessing of God, we intend, to pour

into the heathen world an amount of consolation for its sorrows, joy for its sufferings, knowledge for its ignorance, cultivation and refinement for its barbarism, which, no benevolent mind can contemplate without earnest longings for its accomplishment.

Apart from the salvation of the soul, it is interesting to think what blessings we have it in our power to bestow upon the heathen and pagan world.

There is the bliss of virtuous, domestic relations, relief from bodily tortures, from human sacrifices, the establishment of humane institutions for the blind, the deaf and dumb, the sick and insane ;--of which institutions, the pagan and heathen world contains not one original example. Useful knowledge, with the pleasure which its acquisition affords, as well as the practical benefits of it, is yet to be enjoyed by entire heathen nations; and the inhabitants of pagan countries are, by the influence of Christianity, to enjoy similar blessings, which their wise men, if they had the benevolence of the Christian religion, might now in some measure impart. Geography, natural history, astronomy, mineralogy, botany, writing, engraving, painting, the various arts of locomotion, with good roads and bridges, and the

« PreviousContinue »