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he was frequently tried by the imper shoulders), and with a complacent tinent curiosity and irritating re- smile said, “ Ah! and you will marks of persons who came into the next ask me how many I make in work-shop where he was carrying a day; and then what the wire costs on his humble operations.
me; and afterwards what I sell The first Saturday which he spent them for.” From the indirectness in this village, Mr. S. particularly of his reply, I was induced to conremarked, that at an early hour in clude that he was in the habit of the afternoon he put by his work, making something considerable from and began to hum a hymn tune. his employment, and wished to conHe asked him if he could sing. “No, ceal the amount of his gains. But sir," he replied. “ I thought,” when I became better acquainted added Mr. S., “ I heard you sing- with his manner, and found that ing." "I was only composing my after his utmost exertion he could thoughts a little," said the good scarcely obtain the meagre pittance man, “ for the Sabbath.” What a ' before mentioned, I perceived that contrast to the busy worldliness his apparent reluctance to make which so often devotes the Saturday known his poverty proceeded from evening to more than the ordinary his habitual Christian contentment. fatigue and bustle of secular pur. How different would have been the suits, entrenching on the very limits conduct of most persons in similar of the Sabbath, and unfitting both circumstances! and how eagerly the mind and body for a vigorous dis- would they have given a ready ancharge of its duties, and the enjoy- swer to my inquiry, in the hope of ment of its hallowed pleasures! How exciting compassion and procuring much more fervent and delightful assistance! I next asked him, why would be the hours of this privi- he followed his present vagrant life, ledged season, if, wherever practi- in preference to a stationary one, in cable, Christians would endeavour, which he would be better known and before the close of the preceding more respected..“ The nature of day, to forget their worldly cares, my business," he replied, “ requires and to attune their hearts to the that I should move about from place spiritual feelings of this interval of to place, that having exhausted my sacred rest!
custom in one spot, I may obtain On receiving the communication employment in another. Besides,” of the foregoing particulars, I was in- added he, “ my mode of life has duced to return to the poor stranger, at least this advantage, that if I with a view to converse with him a leave my friends behind me, I leave little. There was a peculiar blunt- also my enemies.” When I asked him ness in his manner of expressing his age, he replied, with a strong and himself, but it was very far removed firm voice, “That is a question which from any thing of churlishness or inci- I am frequently asked, as if persons vility. All his answers were pertinent, supposed me to be a great age: why and were sometimes given in such I am a mere boy.” “A mere boy!” measured terms as quite astonished I repeated, “and pray what do you me. The following was a part of our mean by that expression?” “I am conversation ;—“ Well, my friend, sixty-five years of age, sir ; and with what are you about?". "Making a light heel and a cheerful heart, scissar-chains, sir.” “ And how long hope to hold out a considerable time does it take you to make one ? " longer.” Indeed, he seemed always With peculiar archness he looked happy : even in the period of his up in my face (for, as was before subsequent extreme suffering, his observed, his head always rested bosom appeared scarcely sufficiupon his bosom, so that the back ently capacious for his joyful feelpart of it was depressed nearly to ings. I can do but little justice to the same horizontal plane with his the hilarity of his heart, for it was a matter of astonishment to all who in his native sprightly manner, “ No witnessed it. The spring of his matter; there are two sides to the cheerfulness was religion. Nothing river :" intimating, as I concluded, seemed to damp his confidence in that although separated for a time God.
· by the waters of discord which flow · In the course of our conversation, between them, all who are the true he said, “ It is not often that I am servants of Christ are pursuing the honoured with the visits of clergy- same direction, and will find their men. Two gentlemen, however, of course terminate at the same point. your profession once came to me There were many other instances when I was at
of his readiness in reply, which have and I expressed a hope that I should escaped my recollection. derive some advantage from their In the midst of the din of busiconversation.” “ We are come,” ness, the roaring of the forge belsaid they, “ with the same expec- lows, and the deafening noise of the tation to you, for we understand hammer and the anvil, I regret that that you know many things.” “I I had but little opportunity of entertold them, that I feared they would ing deeply into religious subjects. be greatly disappointed.” He then What however he said, though I stated that the old scholastic ques- cannot recollect the particulars, gave tion was proposed to him, “Why me an exalted idea of his contenthas God given us two ears, and one ment, cheerfulness, and genuine mouth?" " I replied,” said he, piety. " that we may hear twice as much Before I took my leave of him, I as we speak;" adding, with his ac- asked, how long he intended to remain customed modesty, “ I should not in the village. He answered, “I have been able to have given an do not know; but as I have houseanswer to this question if I had not room and fire without any tax, I am heard it before.” I should not have quite satisfied with my situation, retailed this anecdote, but for the and only regret the trouble I am sake of thus incidentally illustrating occasioning to my kind host.” the humility and absence of self- From that period to the 20th of esteem which characterized this the month, being much engaged good man's remarks; though having with domestic concerns, I saw but given it, I may perhaps be allowed little of him, and do not recollect to add, that if the rich, whether cle- any particular remark or incident. rical or laic, duly considered how On the morning of that day I met deep an impression their most casual him creeping along under a vast remarks often make on the minds burthen, having previously heard of the poor, long after they are for- that he had set out on the preceding gotten by themselves, they would Monday on a journey to Bristol, to be more careful than oftentimes they procure a fresh stock of wire. There are that their “ speech should be he had nearly expended his little all ; with grace, seasoned with salt,” and and, with half-a-hundred weight of that not only no positively corrupt wire upon his back, and three halfcommunication should proceed out pence in his pocket, the sole remains of their mouth, but that their most of his scanty fund, he returned on transient intercourse should be, in foot to this place. He had been its measure, “to the use of edify, two days on the road, and had passing, that it may minister grace unto ed the intervening night before a the hearers.”—The divisions which coal-pit fire in a neighbouring vildistract the church of Christ being lage. The snow was lying deeply alluded to, I lamented that there upon the ground, and altogether the should be any separation between scene was desolate beyond descrip. men whose hopes and interests are tion. I was glad once more to see him, the same. He immediately rejoined and, accosting him, inquired if hệ were not very tired. “ A little, a themselves trifling, to shew how very little," he replied. Then taking off different was the conduct of this poor his hat, he asked if he could execute man from what might have been ex any thing for me. I gave him 'an pected from a person in his destitute order for some trifting articles, which condition. I am persuaded that it he brought to me on the following was not apathy or pride, but a far Wednesday. He came to my house higher principle, that thus had taught just as I was engaged on particular him, “ in whatever station he was, business; I went out, however, for therewith to be content.” a few minutes, and, after paying My engagements now requiring him for the articles, entered into my presence elsewhere, I left the conversation with him. He re- poor creature for the present by the peated many admirable adages, side of my kitchen fire, determining with which his memory appeared to see him the next day, and to have to be well stored, and incidentally some farther conversation with him. touched upon the word cleanliness. When I visited him, I found him Immediately I added, “cleanliness in his usual station, working upon is next to godliness," and seized the his chains. He was sitting a posopportunity which I had long want- ture in which he did not often ined, but from fear of wounding his dulge. I requested to look at his mind hesitated to embrace, to tell foot, for it was turned away from me him of the absence of that quality towards the wall. With the greatest in himself. He with much good astonishment and alarm, I found the nature replied, “ I believe I am sub- whole leg, from the foot to the knee, stantially clean. I have a clean shirt so prodigiously swollen, that he had every week: my business, however, been obliged to rip up his trownecessarily makes me dirty in my sers. It exhibited one continued apperson." “ But why do you not pearance of black, exceptwhere it was dress more tidily, and take more care distained by bladders and patches of of yourself? You know that God blood. It was only partially prohas given us the comforts of life tected from the extreme inclemency that we may enjoy them. Cannot of the weather by the separated parts you afford yourself these comforts ?” of the fustian trowsers. He conti“ That question," said he emphati- nued to manifest his usual cheerfulcally, but by no means rudely, “you ness. “I must insist," said I, “ upon should have set out with. No, sir, I your allowing something to be done cannot afford myself these comforts.” to it. The doctor is expected in the
His long fustian trowsers conceal- village to-day, and you must see him; ed nearly the whole of his foot; I will give orders for him to call in but about the instep I thought I upon you."
« That is kind, very perceivedconsiderable inflammation, kind," he replied. At this moment and made inquiry respecting it. some ignorant prattler in the shop “ Oh, it is nothing particular," said was exclaiming, in a very vexatious he; “it is a little tender.” Per- and offensive manner, that he would ceiving that he had a miserable pair not have such a leg (taking off his of shoes upon his feet, I asked him hat) for that full of guineas. The if he thought he could wear a pair old man looked up somewhat sharply of mine. He said he felt obliged to at him, and said, “ Nor I, if I could me for my kir.1 intention, but he help it." The other, however, prowould not trouble me. I however ceeded with his cànting, when the fetched a pair, and with much per- afflicted creature added, “You only suasion made him accept them. He torture me by your observations." I expressed himself much gratified; mention this, because it was the only only adding, with his accustomed instance approaching to impatience humility, that they were too good. witnessed by those who had the most I mention these circumstances, in constant access to him.
I proposed getting a bed for him, shop, which he had no sooner enterfor I found that of late he had slept ed, than I perceived by an involunin one corner of the work-shop, upon tary gesture that he had not before the bare earth, without his clothes, witnessed many such objects of mithe blanket as customary being wrap- sery, even in a very extensive coun: ed round his shoulders. We wished try practice. He at once informed to have procured him a bed within me there was but little hope of some habitable abode ; but he pre- life. Warm fomentations, and large ferred remaining where he was, and doses of bark and port wine, he requested us only to provide for him said, were the only remedies. Of some clean straw, As he seemed course no time was lost in adminifixed to his purpose, we consented to stering them. I had previously procomply with his wish; and after ar- vided a bed in a neighbouring house, ranging every thing as well as we and informed the suffering patient could for his accommodation, I men- of my wish to remove him to it, and tioned my intention of immediately my anxiety that he should take the sending him some warm broth,which medicines prescribed. he declined with his usual answer, meekly submitted to all I proposed, “ Į have had enough; it would be in- saying that he was willing to take temperate." I then left him under any thing ; but, he added, “ One the care of his worthy friend. night more, and I shall be beyond
The next morning I visited my this world.” patient as early as I could, and was The next morning, Saturday, I greatly alarmed to find that the swel- found him lying in the comfortable ling and blackness of his leg had bed to which we had carefully reincreased, and were now extending moved him the preceding evening, themselves rapidly towards the vital in his usual calm and contented parts of his body. The blood which frame of mind, willing to live, but had oozed from his wound had liter- still more willing to die. I cannot ally soaked his straw-bed, and his leg describe the dreadful appearance was unprotected from the friction of which his whole body now assumed. the straw, and was exposed to the His leg was again fomented, and cold air; for his extremities, when I be partook of some broth with eagercame into the sbop, were in a state 'ness, but his dissolution was eviof complete nudity. He was at times dently drawing near. His speech delirious, and his whole frame was in was almost unintelligible. Delirium a degree convulsed; but he dozed became more frequent, and his hands during the greater part of the day. were often apparently employed in Nothing could exceed this picture of the task to which they had been so misery! Having attended to his im- long habituated, making links for mediate wants, I went up by his side, chains: but, alas! it was a fruitless and gently inquired how he was. From effort, no wire was, now near him, his head being muffled in his blan- no chains were the result of his ket, he did not hear me. Mr. S. labours. By addressing him, you removed the clothes, and asked, seemed for a moment to recal his “How are you?” “Happy, happy!" mind from its aberrations, and during was the reply. “I am truly grieved such intervals. he was perfectly colmy friend,” I said, " to see you in lected. His respiration became this deplorable condition. Are you more and more hurried. Finding suffering much pain?” “I am sick," that there was scarcely a ray of said he, “and very weak.” At this hope of preserving his life, I gave moment the arrival of the medical orders that he should be allowed to gentleman was announced. I ran to remain quite quiet upon his bed, him, and begged that he would come being simply supplied with what and see this wretched object. He sustenance was necessary. After accompanied me back to the work- his attendants were gone, I sat down by his bed-side, and said to him, away, not knowing their value till “I am afraid you are very ill; but they are for ever beyond our reach! I trust you have no fears respecting On Sunday morning, the knell too your future happiness, should it well convinced me that my humble please God to summon you to ap- friend was no more. I hastened to pear before him?" He opened his his chamber. His happy spirit had eyes, and instantly said,
fled to the bosom of his Maker. He “ Fed by his hand, supported by his care, died about two o'clock in the mornI scarce can doubt : .why then should I ing without a sigh. His last word despair?"
was in answer to the question, How “Ah, my friend," I rejoined,“ what are you? “ Happy” – a happiness an inconceivable blessing it is to built upon a solid foundation; for, have the Son of God for our Friend !” notwithstanding his afflictions in this “ “ It is, it is !” said he, in a tone world, the Saviour was his Friend, and manner that indicated that he the Holy Spirit was his Comforter, was accustomed to look to God and God was his Portion and exthrough that Divine Mediator, and ceeding great Reward. that he was practically acquainted I could not avoid adverting in my with the truth of that scriptural, discourses on that day to the happy declaration, “ To them that believe, circumstances of this departed saint, Christ is precious."
who, without a friend, excepting Seeing his spectacles lying upon those whom Providence had unexhis pillow, I said, “ There are your pectedly raised up in his emergency, spectacles ; but I do not think they and without any earthly comforts, have brought your Bible: I dare say had so completely divested himself you would like to read it?” “By of every murmur and complaint. and bye,” he replied: “I am pretty Surely nothing but Divine Grace well acquainted with its contents.' could have enabled him thus to tri
All his fire had now expended umph in tribulation. It was in the itself. I found him articulate so school of Christ, as I have before indistinctly, and he appeared so remarked, that he had thus learned, exhausted, that after commending in whatsoever state he was, therehim to the protection of his God with to be content. and Saviour, I took my leave of A very respectable funeral was him. As I was departing, he said, arranged under the management of “ You have done your duty by me, the kind friend who at first sheltered I can say without fattery.
him, nor forsook him so long as he Alas! poor soul, would that I had continued a tenant of our earth. The thee here again (if that were not to corse was followed by a long train bring thy spirit from the mansions of, I think I may say, very sincere of rest and peace), that I might shew mourners; for though his residence thee how deeply conscious I am of in the village had been short, and not having done my duty! I pray his station was very obscure, yet his God to pardon my coldness, my in- character, wherever he was known, activity, my general remişsness! Yes, conciliated a degree of affection and much more would I have done for esteem, which were the more unthy comfort, much more might I equivocal, as they were an unbought, have learned for my own. But thou and perfectly disinterested, testiart gone! May the impression which mony to virtues which a homely exthou hast left upon my mind never terior could not conceal or poverty be effaced. May I learn also more disgrace. diligently to work while it is called It has been already mentioned, to-day, since the night cometh in that this poor man was a regular which no man can work! Oh how frequenter of Divine worship, and a many opportunities of doing or re- diligent reader of that holy book ceiving good do we suffer to pass which was able to make him wise