Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

him. I had been much grieved on my own account, at finding that he had left Paris, but four days before I reached it; and I determined to go and see him as soon as I could make the arrangement. On my arriving at Moulins, I met him walking in the street, much altered indeed from what I had last seen him at home. The wind was quite violent, and I immediately accompanied him to his lodgings. That was the last time but one that he ever went out. I passed the time I was there entirely with him; and though it fatigued him to talk, he felt interested in hearing me, and I related to him all I could recall of my travels and observations in various countries, which I thought would amuse him. He asked some questions, but upon the whole his attention seemed fixed on higher things.

The day that I left him, he felt himself weaker than usual, and desired Capt. Burroughs to lend him his arm to walk out. This was the last time he ever went abroad. When I bade him farewell, which I strived to do without betraying the anxiety and sorrow I felt, we exchanged the expectation of meeting in Paris in the spring, and he added, that he had now no wish but to return to America. From that day he grew weaker, and I soon received a letter from Mr. Thompson, mentioning that he was visibly failing. The first of January, in the afternoon, he was seized with very violent pains, and was obliged to go to bed. Dr. Bell, on being called, thought it his duty, as he has himself written to me, to announce to him that he could probably continue but a few hours. This intelligence' says Dr. B. he received with perfect tranquillity and resignation; and he proceeded to make some arrangement of his affairs. His pains had yielded to the applications made, and he passed the night better than was feared. Capt. Burroughs, and his servant Josef, watched with him. In the morning his pains returned with new violence. This struggle was the last, and, like all the rest, was borne with a sweet fortitude, that makes one ashamed of impatience at the little sufferings of life. After this he was at ease, and though he said but little, recognized the persons around him, and discovered himself to be in possession of his reason, as his calmness evinced him to be in the full exercise of his faith. A little after twelve he called for some syrup to moisten his lips.

His servant gave it him; he swallowed it without difficulty, rested his cheek upon his hand, and ceased to breathe -He died, said his servant, like an angel.—The last mournful offices were performed with every possible mark of respect, and Dr. Bell read prayers over his lifeless remains."

Feelings of peculiar melancholy affect me, when I review the last years of Mr. Thacher's life.-Compelled by illness to give up the exercise of a profession to which he had devoted himself from early youth, and for which he was so eminently qualified by his talents and virtues, he takes a reluctant leave of his friends and country, in the hope of regaining under milder skies the health which had forsaken him. He crosses the ocean which rolls between the two continents of the world; and finding no place of rest in Europe, he bends his solitary course from the crowded metropolis of England, to a silent village at the extremity of southern Africa. Here he spends month after month with little society or means of entertainment; hearing but seldom from his friends; snatching the rare opportunity of a pleasant day to wander alone among the desert hills; now visited by a scanty restoration of strength, and now doomed to see it all depart away from him again"a sunbeam followed by a shade”—but yet with a flattering hope of recovery to support him, and a never shaken trust in God, which without hope, would have supported him still. At length his exile terminates, and he again commits himself to the sea.

The unrelenting heat of the tropics robs him of nearly all his remaining strength; and hardly has the cool air of a temperate clime restored a portion of his vigour, and he blesses himself with the thought of returning home, when he is obliged to resume his weary pilgrimage, to watch again the fluctuations of his insidious disorder, and again to see his hopes alternately encouraged, checked, deceived,—and at last destroyed.

It is a sad thing to feel that we must die away from our own home. Tell not the invalid who is yearning after his distant country, that the atmosphere around him is soft, that the gales are filled with balm, and the flowers are springing from the green earth;

he knows that the softest air to his heart, would be the air which

hangs over his native land; that more gratefully than all the gales of the south, would breathe the low whispers of anxious affection; that the very icicles clinging to his own eaves, and the snow beating against his own windows, would be far more pleasant to his eyes, than the bloom and verdure which only more forcibly remind him, how far he is from that one spot which is dearer to him than the world beside. He may indeed find estimable friends, who will do all in their power to promote his comfort and assuage his pains; but they cannot supply the place of the long known and long loved; they cannot read, as in a book, the mute language of his face; they have not learned to wait upon his habits, and anticipate his wants, and he has not learned to communicate, without hesitation, all his wishes, impressions, and thoughts, to them. He feels that he is a stranger; and a more desolate feeling than that could not visit his soul.—How much is expressed by that form of oriental benediction, May you die among your kindred !

The piety, which with the subject of this memoir was a habit, sustained him, as we have seen, in the trying circumstances of his last illness. Affectionate and do- . mestic in his disposition, he must have been more than usually sensible to their depressing influence; but he manifested no impatience under the burthen which his Father's hand had laid upon his spirit, because he had long been convinced that all His dispensations were just and merciful, and that it was his duty to suffer with résignation all His will.

Mr. Thacher's piety was indeed the feature of his chal'acter, which, more conspicuous and perfect than any other; reflected on all the rest its excellence and beauty. It was so connected with his principles, bis actions, his conversation and his manners, that it appeared not merely to be united with them, but to control and guide them. It seemed to occupy the place of judgment and will; to rule in his mind, as absolutely as it did in his heart; and to lead him to those just conclusions, both in speculation and conduct, which others attain to by the exercise of what is called good sense and discretion. It seemed also to improve and enlarge his intellectual powers; to be as it were a distinct and central talent, supplying the rest with light and vigour, and inspiring his thoughts with a strength superior to their natural capacity. In short, it would be impossible to give an idea of his character, without taking into view this ruling principle; for he was one, whose reference to the will of God, sense of dependence on him, and trust in the promises of the Gospel, were so constant and ardent, that they gave a peculiar complexion of holiness, purity, and sweetness, to all that he said and did. He was one,

" in whom persuasion and belief
Had ripened into faith, and faith become
A passionate intuition; whence the soul,
Though bound to earth by ties of pity and love,
From all injurious servitude was free."*

* Wordsworth's Excursion,

« EdellinenJatka »