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Yes, Legree; but who shall shut up that voice in thy soul—that soul past repentance, past prayer, past hope, in whom the fire that never shall be quenched is already burning ?
Yet Tom was not quite gone. His wondrous words and pious prayers had struck upon the hearts of the imbruted blacks who had been the instruments of cruelty upon him; and the instant Legree withdrew, they took him down, and in their ignorance sought to call him back to life—as if that were any favour to him.
“ Sartain we's been doin' a drefful wicked thing !” said Sambo; " hopes mas'r'll have to 'count for it, and not we.”
They washed his wounds—they provided a rude bed of some refuse cotton for him to lie down on; and one of them, stealing up to the house, begged a drink of brandy of Legree, pretending that he was tired and wanted it for himself. He brought it back, and poured it down Tom's throat.
"O Tom," said Quimbo, "we's been awful wicked to ye !" "I forgive ye with all my heart,” said Tom, faintly.
“ O Tom! Do tell us who is Jesus any how !” said Sambo, “ Jesus that's been astandin' by you so all this night,—who is He ?"
The word roused the failing, fainting spirit. He poured forth a few energetic sentences of that wondrous One-His life, His death. His everlasting presence, and power to save.
They wept-both the savage men.
" Why didn't I never hear this before?" said Sambo; “ but I do believe !—I can't help it! Lord Jesus have mercy on us.
“ Poor critters !” said Tom, “I'd be willing to bar' all I have if it'll only bring ye to Christ! O Lord! give me these two more souls, I pray."
That prayer was answered.
RIGHTFUL to all men is Death; from of old named
King of Terrors. Our little compact home of an Existence, where we dwelt complaining, yet as in a home, is passing in dark agonies into an Unknown of Separation,
Foreignness, unconditioned Possibility. The Heathen Emperor asks of his soul : Into what places art thou now departing ? The Catholic King must answer: To the Judgment-bar of the Most High God! Yes, it is a summing-up of Life ; a final settling and giving-in the “account of the deeds done in the body :” they are done now, and lie there unalterable, and do bear their fruits, long as Eternity shall last.
Yes, poor Louis, Death has found thee. No palace-walls or lifeguards, gorgeous tapestries or gilt buckram of stiffest ceremonial, could keep him out; but he is here, here at the very life-breath, and will extinguish it. Thou, whose whole existence hitherto was a chimera and scenic show, at length becomest a reality: sumptuous Versailles bursts asunder, like a dream, into void Immensity: Time is done, and all the scaffolding of Time falls wrecked with hideous clangour round thy soul : the pale Kingdoms yawn open; there must thou enter, naked, all unking'd, and await what is appointed thee! Unhappy man, there as thou turnest in dull agony on thy bed of weariness, what a thought is thine! Purgatory and Hell-fire, now all too possible in the prospect: in the retrospect,—alas, what thing didst thou do that were not better undone ; what mortal didst thou generously help; what sorrow hadst thou mercy on? Do the “five hundred thousand" ghosts, who sank shamefully on so many battlefields from Rossbach to Quebec, that thy harlot might take revenge for an epigram,—crowd round thee in this hour? Thy foul harem; the curses of mothers, the tears and infamy of daughters ? Miserable man! thou “hast done evil as thou couldst;" thy whole existence seems one hideous abortion and mistake of nature; the use and meaning of thee not yet known. Wert thou a fabulous Griffin, devouring the works of men; daily dragging virgins to thy cave; clad also in scales that no spear would pierce,—no spear but Death's ? A Griffin, not fabulous but real! Frightful, O Louis, seem these moments for thee. We will pry no further into the horrors of a sinner's deathbed.
To guard them, and t' immortalise her trust :
To those who, posted at the shrine of Truth,
IME TO LIVE
UR birth is but a sleep and a forgetting :
And cometh from afar;
And not in utter nakedness,
From God, who is our home :
Upon the growing boy,
He sees it in his joy ;
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended ;