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question is, what can be done to ease the mind of my dear son-in-law ?
Wor. I know Mr. Lovegood will not be wanting to the utmost of his power, to accomplish Mr. Merryman's wishes; and there is an old clergyman in the neighbourhood, that may be able to give us some assistance: I will send directly to see what can be done.
Mrs. Wor. But, O my dear Mr. Worthy! with your leave, I must go over directly and see how he does. I feel for my poor daughter, as much as for him. If he should die, he will be happy, but what a disconsolate widow she will be!
Dr. Skillm. Madam, if you should go, he has it not in his power at present, to give you a rational answer, and I fear your presence, would add considerably to the agitation of his mind.
[To Mr. Worthy.] I hope Sir, you will persuade Mrs. Worthy, not to determine on the journey just at this time; perhaps after a few days the disease may take a favourable turn: I shall instruct the Apothecary, to watch every turn of the fever, while I am absent; and in point of nursery, and attendance, he has too much of it already.
Mr. Wor. to Mrs. Worthy. I think my dear, the best plan will be, to take the Doctor's advice, at least for the present. Let our feelings give way to reason, and I will go directly to Mr. Lovegood, and settle with him how he can secure Mr. Meek, as a supply for his church, for to-morrow se’nnight; if he can come over here on the Saturday night, and we have only a morning service with us. I can send him back time enough that he may serve his own church in the afternoon, and think as we have always such a large congregation in the afternoon, on such an occasion, it might not be amiss, if I were to send to Mr. Goodman, the dissenting minister, he is not above seven miles from us. Mr. Lovegood always speaks of him, as a very pious man; and I am told he preaches very good and plain sermons : and he
might occupy the Sunday-school room, as far as it will hold the people I am sorry to say, that if he were to preach in the church, it would be as bad as high treason.
Mrs. Wor. I heard him once, and he gave us an excellent sermon. But I fear he cannot be here in sufficient time, as the nearer road is bad, and if we send the chaise for him, it will be considerably round.
Wor. Yes, but the people will not regard waiting half an hour, if he will but engage to come.
Mrs. Wor. Though I am so exceedingly anxious to go over to Sandover directly; yet if I submit to what you, and the Doctor deem best, it must be on this condition, that nothing may prevent my going with Mr. Lovegood next week, if this plan should take place, and until then, I must insist upon it, that a message may be sent every morning, that I may know how he does.
Dr. Skillm. Though I confess I do not understand these different mixtures of religion ; and though it seems to me best, that every man should keep to his own way of thinking, yet that is no concern of mine. I am very glad Madam, that you have agreed to postpone your visit, at least a few days longer, and I'll assure you, believing Mr. Merryman to be a very good sort of a man in his way, I feel myself not a little anxious for his recovery. I mean therefore to give him another call, before I return home this evening; though somewhat out of my way : therefore with your leave Sir, I will ring the bell, that I may order the carriage immediately.
While the chaise was getting ready, the Doctor partook of some refreshment, and hastened to repeat his visit to his patient, according to his promise.
Mr. Worthy went next to Mr. Lovegood. It may casily be conjectured, how much Mr. Lovegood was affected, at the alarming tidings from Sandover,
which so seriously threatened the life of his beloved son in the Gospel.
His mind was so greatly overwhelmed on the following sabbath with apprehensions and fears, that he had enough to do, to grapple with the overflowings of his affection for one, he so dearly loved. Though the rumour of Mr. Merryman's dangerous illness, was now become general: and though the looks of Mr. Lovegood, all the while he was reading the service, confirmed the same, yet the strength of his feelings were, in a measure, suppressed, until he got into the pulpit. It was from thence, that the embossed tears, which floated in his eyes, were seen to trickle down his cheeks in large abundance, while with a faultering voice, and extreme diificulty, he uttered these appropriate words for his text, “ Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick." It should be left to the reader's imagination to paint, what words can ill express. No wonder that the highly respectable family of Brookfield Hall, were heard to sob with silent grief, and as for Farmer Littleworth, next to the death of his beloved Henry, he seemed to dread the dissolution of this excellent man, while his son Henry, that monument of grace, and power of God, what he felt beyond most others is not to be described, under the apprehension lest he should never see that delightful minister of the word of life, any more ; whose conduct at the commencement of life, in some instances, so much resembled his own.
Others also of Mr. Lovegood's congregation, might be brought forward, while thus their weeping Minister began his sermon on this distressing event, but for the present, I forbear. Alas! the same feelings are still to be exercised, when disease had actually accomplished its work; exhibiting at the same time, an exit, the most painful among all those who loved him; and yet the most animating to such as believe in “ the glory that shall be revealed," and live under the expectation of that blessedness, which "eye hath not seen, which the ear hath not heard, and which hath
never entered into the heart of man to conceive." At present I must forbear to narrate all Mr. Lovegood advanced on this subject; even a short hint is as much as the design of these dialogues will admit. With the most solemn reverence, he vindicated the justice of God; that we have forfeited all his mercies, and merited all his wrath. That though the removal of the godly, was a great calamity, yet, even under the most awful displays of a bereaving Providence, his restoring mercies, might be favourable to such as humbled themselves before him. That though our Lord loved the family of Lazarus, yet even they were to have the common lot of affliction with others. And that if we should dare to murmur, with silent submission, we should correct our rebellious feelings, and bring our minds to say with the Prophet, “why should a living man complain; a man for the punishment of bis sins ?” But when he came to his final address, believing from the scriptures the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much ;" and feeling how brightly that lovely light shone, which he was the instrument of kindling in that dark town of Sandover; he affectionately requested the prayers of his congregation, the sluices of his affection were again so powerfully opened, that he could say no more, Oh what were then the sensations of this delightful, country congregation ! and from which all these village dialogues took their rise; when such a man as Mr. Lovegood, gave such a display of that sympathetic love, which unites us all to him, and in him, towards each other. for his tender mercies sake.
But the Reader must be further informed, that no favourable tidings having been sent from Sandover, respecting a hope of Mr. Merryman's recovery, Mrs. Worthy, and Mr. Lovegood, went with sad and sorrowful hearts, according to the plan already settled, while circumstances prevented their return, according to their first design.
It was deemed necessary, that Mr. Lovegood
should continue at Sandover, another sabbath. He applied to the venerable Dr. Orderly on that occasion, who readily consented, that his curate, Mr. Sedate, should lend bis aid, and though the goodness of the man, was admired by all, yet if he did not altogether express himself in a strain, so evangelical as Mr. Lovegood ; yet being far superior to many others, whose preaching, and practice, are alike heathenish, his kind services, were gratefully, and thankfully received. The result of Mrs. Worthy's and Mr. Lovegood's visit, will be communicated immediately upon their return,