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restored him to his accustomed spirits. Time passed on, and Hubert hoped in a few short weeks to re-visit home. It was the close of a grand military review, when Hubert and a friend were leisurely riding home their noble chargers, wearied, yet pleased with the excitement of the day. A sudden turn of the road brought them in view of the winding river, over one part of which a natural waterfall was roaring with majestic beauty. A narrow pathway of velvet turf, planted with trees, overhung the river, which was crowded with peasants and their children assembled to view the troops. One child of singular beauty attracted the attention of Hubert and his companion, as her auburn tresses floated in the breeze, and her laughing blue eyes were now fixed on the group below, and now raised with delight to her happy parent. It was but the vision of a moment, for the next a shriek of agonizing terror burst from the frantic mother, as her child, losing her balance, was precipitated in the stream below, and rapidly borne by the current towards the river. Hubert lost not a moment, but spurring his horse, gallopped to the spot, and disregarding the danger, plunged into the stream, succeeded in rescuing the child, and restoring her to her frantic mother. We stop not to describe her ardent gratitude, or the cries of approbation with which the spectators greeted Hubert. “It was but humanity,” said he, “what man could witness a mother's anguish, and not make an effort to relieve her ? not those who know a mother's love." Scarcely had he arrived at the first hotel, when a well-known face met his view, the agitation of which convinced him all was not right. “My mother ?” was his first inquiry; “ Is ill, very ill, and wishes to see you.” Hubert uttered not a word, but the paleness of his cheek, and compression of his lip, showed the painful struggle of his mind, whilst, exhausted as he was, he lost no time in departing.
Arrived at Montmorency Castle, his worst fears were confirmed ; his mother, he learnt from his weeping sister, was dying, and yielding to the vehemence of her feelings, Clara protested she would die, and be buried with her. “Cease, dear Clara, if you love our mother, dry those tears till she can no longer be pained by seeing them.” A few moments more brought him to the chamber of his dying, almost idolized parent. At the moment in which he entered, she seemed incapable of speaking, but extended her hand, and smiled on him with that expression of deep heartfelt love which pierced his heart, and when he remembered that soon that face would smile on him no more for ever, a groan of agony was nigh bursting from his bosom. Death, though ever a solemn and affecting spectacle, is yet not without its alleviations to the true Christian, to those who are leaving this mortal scene of pain and sorrow, with a well-grounded hope of never-ending blessedness, who feels that a Father stands ready to welcome his dying child to a world in which he shall never suffer more, who, therefore, feel no doubt, no dread, but with a confidence at once humble, yet firm,
firm, can claim through a Saviour's merits, a crown of glory that fadeth not away; to such, death has lost his sting, is stripped of his terrors. One hope alone can make a death-bed happy. One truth alone can make a sinner fear no evil ; that glorious truth is written in the Bible as with a pen of gold—that the Maker, against whom man had rebelled, so loved a world at enmity with him, that he sent his only Son to die for their salvation, and that his most precious blood cleanses from all sin. This blessed truth cheered not, in all its beauty, the dying pillow of Lady de Montmorency. This blessed truth the Romish Church obscures beneath a mass of false refuges, in which she teaches the trembling soul to trust. “My son-my dearest son,” said the dying mother, “had my life been longer spared, I had much to say to thee on thy future prospects ; but the short span of my existence so swiftly draws to a close, that I must spend my last breath in urging you to prepare for a dying hour. At such a moment the world appears less than vanity, the future a most solemn though unknown reality ; to stand before a holy God to be sentenced for ever to endless happiness or woe. Forget not, dear Hubert, the reward of virtue is life, of vice and sin death. Beware of those who would draw you from our holy faith : pity and pray for them, but never forget there is no safety for those who separate from our holy Church. And now, my best-loved child, farewell. May we meet in a world where partings are unknown !” Speechless as a statue had Hubert stood, though the cold drops stood on his forehead from his struggle to suppress his feelings ; but his firmness gave way as his mother pressed him to her heart, and he wept like a child in the bitterness of his soul ; but soon his self-command returned; he warmly thanked his mother for every past kindness, and solemnly promised to remember her admonitions. The priest now arrived to administer the last sacraments, after which, at his mother's request, he read to her portions of prayer for the dying : “Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, I commit my soul into thy hand.” As Hubert read these words, his mother's countenance betrayed a struggle of no common nature. She tried to speak. He bent lower. Her voice was but a whisper. “Nay, dear Hubert, pray to the Saviour. What if she told me truth ! Oh ! horrible uncertainty ! all is dark ! I see no light. Great God! if I die trusting in delusion, grant me thy pardon !” Sir Hubert was standing on the other side ; his manly cheek was wet with tears ; his voice inarticulate from emotion. But again the sufferer started, Holy Mother of God, forgive me, unbeliever as I am.” Father Joachim now approached. “ Be of good cheer, daughter, thy sins are pardoned. She who believes in the one true Church, and rich in charity and good works as thou hast been, need fear no evil. Thou hast the prayers of the saints, the prayers of the Holy Mother ; fear not, the Saviour heareth these.” With an energy that startled them, the dying lady raised her head, “Father, my good works are all imperfect. I renounce them all. Mercy ! mercy ! my Maker's—Saviour's mercy, that alone can save me. My husbandmy children, be ye more diligent than I have been, if ye hope for peace at a dying hour.” Exhausted with the exertion, she sunk on the pillow and died.
We attempt not to describe what so many have felt—the sorrows of those who have lost a dear loved friend. None grieved more deeply, silently than Hubert; and where could he turn for comfort ? his religion, alas ! offered him little ; it taught him that the soul of that VOL. VIII.-August, 1846.
New Series, No. 8.
parent, whose dying struggle he had lately witnessed, was now suffering the pains of that purgatory from which not the most holy are exempt. Oh! for the torch of heavenly light, to show the truth as it is in Jesus—to point to those heavenly mansions he is gone to prepare for all his followers, that abode where those who sleep in him rest from all their labours. No fires of purgatory needed to atone for sins he bore on the accursed tree. How would poor Hubert's heart have rejoiced, as he repeated the ceaseless prayers for the deliverance of his mother's soul from purgatory, had he known and believed the doctrine revealed in the Bible, and the peace in time, and the joy in eternity, which they, and they alone, possess who believe from the heart the record of God's dear Son ?
(To be continued in our next.)
DANGERS THAT THREATEN. LETTER II. SINCE you were last troubled with a letter from me, a change which the world would call important, has taken place. A change which, I must confess, appears to me to carry with it no brighter prospect for the future, nor more certain remedy for the past.
Sir Robert Peel is now no longer Prime-Minister of the greatest nation on earth. He has fallen ; naturally, and not unexpectedly, fallen. Dishonesty and prevarication must always expose men in high places, to sudden and lasting degradation, and thus he has met with a fate he so richly merited.
His party too, which has been, since his apparently sudden change, though one long premeditated in more ways than one, so improperly called Conservative, has deservedly split to pieces, and fallen into discredit ; both head and party thus receiving the just reward of their inconsistency and total want of principle. They were men ready to be dragged through any measures, however opposed to reason and truth, provided they tended to keep their idol in office, and to contribute to the glory of him whom they had almost deified. Such a state of things was certain not to last ; and evidently seems to have been the preparation for opening a wider and more easy field for the friends of Protestant truth to fight the battles of the Lord.
There is, certainly, a redeeming point in the character of the present Administration, which the former one was totally deficient in. The present one tells us openly and honestly what its plans and views are ; the former one never did ; and invariably endeavoured to keep those who blindly trusted to them, as much as possible in the dark; and every destructive blow, though dealt to the truth, and the discouragement of the friends of truth, by the hands of supposed friends, fell suddenly and unexpectedly on those who were thus unprepared to meet and to oppose it with any degree of success.
I do not hesitate, therefore, to say, that the present Administration under Lord John Russell, is decidedly preferable in the present, or indeed, in any state of the world, if it were alone on the ground, that we know what we have to expect, and consequently mày, if we will, be better prepared to meet the dangers that not only threaten, but
appear by the change itself to have arrived at a degree of certainty, hitherto, perhaps, altogether unforeseen by many.
The most natural supposition would appear to me to be, that the anti-Protestant measures intended to have been brought forward by Sir Robert Peel-being those identical with the favourite ones of Whigs and Radicals, Papists and Tractarians, of former and present years—would, no doubt, when brought out by the present Administration, have an increased degree of support in both Houses of Parliament. The Pseudo-Conservatives, with Sir Robert Peel at their head, still leading the honest Whig, the bold and determined Radical, and the persevering Papist, to the final assault, where the fatal blow shall be struck that is for ever to sacrifice the once glorious constitution of Great Britain.
Let Protestants, however, be watchful and at their post, even at this, the eleventh hour. Let all denominations sink their sectarian differences, lay aside their political jealousies, and in defence of the truth as it is in Jesus, and in direct, open, manly, and honest opposition to Popery, and to Popish tendencies in high places, come boldly forward “to the help of the Lord against the mighty," and I am persuaded that many of those evils and dangers which threaten us all as Protestants may yet be avoided.
Let us seriously-let every man seriously ask himself the question -Whence arise the great, the crying evils of the present day? The question is easily answered by any observing and thinking
Popery is the fruitful source of all these evils !! Popery, either concealed from view, or Popery openly demanding supremacy as a right in these kingdoms, or Popery in our own Church preparing for the embraces of the harlot of Rome, has forced from the hands of a British Parliament - whose hands, be it remembered, were sufficiently strong at the time to have withheld them--such enactments as have already materially endangered the throne, degraded the true religion of the Bible, and exalted the enemies of truth. And behold the sacrifice! Oaths have been set at nought, truths repudiated, and error cherished.
On all such transactions Protestants have too long looked with indifference and silence; while some, seeing the coming day of evil, have only thought of satisfying their consciences by privately sighing and mourning over the blindness and want of religion manifested in the Houses of Parliament, and the dishonesty of many who they have themselves helped to return as their representatives.
This will no longer answer. Protestants must fight the battle at the registries, and at the hustings. Good, tried, faithful, and religious men must be selected ; and a healthier state of things must thus be introduced into the House of Commons.
Sir Robert Peel's Relief measure, of 1829, has been suffered to pass by, amongst his other delinquencies, almost in comparative silence ; and on it he presumes to rest a great portion of his character as a statesman.
This gentlemen, when Prime Minister, was again permitted by this Protestant nation to endow the Popish College of Maynooth, and lavish Protestant money on the extension and support of Popish error ; and on other colleges, of an equally godless foundation, after his own plan ; to the management of which even Judas himself would be admissible, had he the spirit to agitate, and followers sufficient to intimidate the craven hearts of such cowardly apostates.
The same Minister permitted-indeed it is a question whether he might not have been the planner also—the permanent establishment of an openly avowed Jesuit College at Malta ; while the erection of a Protestant one was obliged to be carried on secretly, and subscriptions raised privately in this country, lest the opposition of this would-becalled Protestant should be called forth against it.
Protestants have again afforded the enemy an opportunity of saying, that they acquiesced in the national endowment of Popery in the Colonies ; and the Secretaries of Sir Robert Peel's appointment for those valuable appendages to the possessions of Queen Victoria, were men who certainly rather strengthened the argument than discountenanced it. Believe me, you might as well have a Papist for a Colonial Secretary, or under Secretary, as a Tractarian.
Thus, by silence and a highly reprehensible timidity, have evil councils been permitted to prevail, and the spread of Popery both at home and abroad been encouraged.
Now, such has been the line of policy pursued by our Protestant Queen's late advisers ; such is that which their successors are prepared to pursue, if they be permitted.
Other steps, still in advance towards the establishment of Popery, were prepared by these deadlier enemies of the British Constitution, which their successors are prepared to act upon, if suffered to do so by Protestant coldness and apathy. Preparations were made for overturning the Irish Church and transferring its property to the endowment of Popish priests and their Idolatrous Church. The present Administration are ready to carry them out.
But the question remains yet to be answered, shall we be more secure from the passing of such hateful measures under Lord John Russell's Administration ?
I would answer, decidedly not. If the indignant spirit of Protestantism be not aroused throughout the country ; if agitation and Popish agitators be permitted to drive him on to those measures which, though he feels it at present impossible to attempt, he, at the same time, almost plainly declares for the encouragement of agitation ; he is prepared to patronize, and ready to yield, on the very first favourable opportunity.
If Protestants, then, were one half as vigilant as the supporters of Popery ; if they were as anxious in support of the truth, which they profess to love, as their enemies are in that of error and superstition, it appears to me, that they were never offered a fairer opportunity of forming a most formidable anti-Popish party in the House of Commons ; one which, at least, would be able to check any further progress in England's downward course ; and perhaps destroy the sanguine hopes at present entertained by the Jesuit family, both at home and abroad, of England's speedy return to the bosom of the apostate Mother of Harlots.