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TRIUMPHING OVER DEATH.
A Narrative of
the Closing Scenes of the Life of the late
WILLIAM GORDON, M.D. F.L.S.
BY NEWMAN HALL, B. A.
Πού σου, Θάνατε, το κέντρον και
J. SNOW, 35, PATERNOSTER ROW.
PLEASING, yet painful, is the writer's task. It is a luxury, though a melancholy one, to watch at the bedside of those whom we dearly love, to administer to their wants, and to share, and thus alleviate, their sufferings. When these offices of affection can no longer be performed, there is a sad satisfaction in still bending over the lifeless frame, and following it to its last resting-place. And when both spirit and body are withdrawn, is there not a similar delight to be derived from lingering around the memory of the departed, and picturing as still present, what, alas, is gone for ever!
With such feelings, the author of this narrative takes up his pen. Happy to be thus still associated with the dead, yet reminded by every sentence he writes, of the irreparable loss he has sustained. What was not the deceased to him ! Counsellor, Companion, Friend, Brother, Partner in his studies, his pleasures, and his cares, one in public sympathies and literary tastes, linked in love to him as were the souls of Jonathan and David, and above all, Father, not merely to his other self, but by the tenderest, the most unwavering affection, to him also. Well may he say with the Patriarch Job—" Have pity upon me, O my friends, for the hand of the Lord hath touched me!”
Another weight which painfully oppresses the mind of the writer, is the deeply-felt incompetence to do
justice to his theme. His object is not to eulogize the dead, but to benefit the living, by exhibiting the value of that religion which could so wonderfully sustain the deceased amid severe and protracted sufferings, and which enabled him to anticipate the future, with peace, and even with rapture. But the scenes exhibited in that chamber of affliction, power
the writer possesses is adequate to describe. He feels he can never convey a just impression to those who did not witness it, of the sacred halo which surrounded that sick bed. His hand trembles as it is put forth to the task, lest this remarkable testimony to the truth and power of religion should, like a valuable gem, be spoilt in the setting. Yet he feels it an incumbent duty to make the attempt, as no one else to whom it might be delegated could have the same peculiar qualifications for it, as one who for nearly a month, was scarcely ever absent from the bed-side of the departed, and who, in claiming to be regarded as a faithful narrator of facts, can at least say
-“ We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.”
In humble reliance on the Giver of all grace, this volume has been prepared. It is now sent forth with earnest prayer, that He would accompany its perusal with His Divine blessing, and that He would bestow both upon writer and readers, a fulfilment of the favourite petition of him whose dying sayings it records
-“ O Thou, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord !”