« AnteriorContinuar »
MRS. HEMANS'S DYING TESTIMONY, ETC.
"Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the North wind's breath,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!"
WHO, that knows anything of the literature of the present century, is not familiar with the beautiful stanzas of which this is one? Who remembers not that the heart from which they emanated was ever welling forth the poetry of intense feeling and virtuous sentiment? What cultivated English mind has not felt that FELICIA HEMANS was an honour to our common Country? Yet, in the estimation of the Christian, even the productions of this gifted woman may have been thought to need one ingredient-to have wanted that which has caused Cowper and Montgomery to be justly designated "Christian poets." Of Mrs. Hemans it has been truly affirmed, "she was the poetess of nature; and what is religious often appears rather as unfolded in the pages of creation than in those of inspiration. Still to the devout mind her strains suggest devotional
feelings; and they are calculated to soften the heart to serious emotions." But whatever judgment may be formed of her poetry in this particular respect, it is deeply interesting to ascertain that towards the close of life Mrs. Hemans's views and feelings were decidedly Scriptural. A long illness which preceded her dissolution was cheered with the faith of the Gospel; and Christian hope irradiated her descent to the tomb. This is evident from the entirely new Memoir of her Life, by her Sister, which is prefixed to her recently published "Works." In reviewing the seven volumes to which the Publication extends, the Editor of the Christian Observer for June in the present year remarks: "During her residence in Ireland [where Mrs. Hemans died] we mark a decided growth in spiritual knowledge and the religious life. Hitherto, her affections had been devotionally inclined, and there was a general recognition of Christian doctrine, and a reliance upon the merits of her Saviour; but there was not that distinctive, discriminating knowledge of the doctrines of the Gospel, and of the peculiar character of the economy of grace, which, we doubt not, she attained in her latter days." During Mrs. Hemans's final and fatal illness, and when confined to her couch, her biographer says, that, "at times, her spirit would appear to be half etherealized-her mind would seem to be
fraught with deep, and holy, and incommunicable thoughts; and she would entreat to be left perfectly alone, in stillness and darkness, to 6 commune with her own heart,' and reflect on the mercies of her Saviour. She continually spoke of the unutterable comfort she derived from dwelling on the contemplation of the Atonement. To one friend, from whom she dreaded the influence of adverse opinions, she sent a solemn exhortation, earnestly declaring that this alone was her rod and staff,' when all earthly supports were failing." Emphatic testimony! May it be treasured in the memory, and lodged in the heart, of every one who either mistakes natural feeling for Christian love, or depends for salvation upon anything but the atoning sacrifice of the "Lamb slain"!