He spoke to them plainly of their sinful conduct, particularizing the vices of intemperance, profanity, gambling, and Sabbath-breaking, to which many of them were addicted. He earnestly besought them to turn from these evil ways and accept pardon for their past transgressions and mercy through Christ. He showed them the consequences of their refusal to listen to the teachings and counsels of the book of God, and, at last, depicted to them, with great vividness, the awful glories and terrors of the day of final account,
“When the Judge shall come
Strict to mark and just to render”.
As his mind dilated with the awful grandeur of the theme, his thoughts kindled to a white heat, and he flung off words that seemed to scorch and burn even the callous souls of those time-hardened transgressors. He poured upon their ears, in tones of trumpet power and fulness, echoed from the hills around, the stern threatenings of injured justice; he besought them, in low, sweet, thrilling accents, to yield themselves heart and life to the Great Judge, who will preside in the day of impartial accounts, and thus avert his wrath and be happy forever.
At the close, he threw himself for a few moments upon the rustic bench appropriated to him, covered his face with his hands and seemed in silent prayer. The people involuntarily bent their heads in sympathy and remained motionless. Then, he rose and gave them the evening benediction.
Mr. Somers, his nephew, and Adele had been sitting under the shade of an odorous balm poplar, on the skirt of the crowd, at first watching its movements, and then drawn away from these observations, by the impressive discourse of Mr. Norton.
“What a clear, melodious voice he has!” said John in an undertone to Adele, as the missionary finished the opening service.
“Wait, until you hear its trumpet tones, Mr. Lansdowne. Those will come, by and by. They are magnificent. Please listen”. And Adele placed a finger upon her lips, in token of silence.
John listened, at first, in obedience to her request, but he soon became enchained by the speaker.
After the discourse was concluded, the trio remained sitting as if spellbound, quite unobservant of the crowd, slowly dispersing around them.
“What would that man have been, Ned”, at length exclaimed John, “had he received the culture which such munificent gifts demand? Why, he would have been the orator of our nation”.
“Ay, John”, replied Mr. Somers, “but it is the solemn truth of his theme that gives him half his power”.
“It is as if I had heard the Dies irae chanted”, said Adele.
As they walked on towards the house in silence, they encountered a company of persons, of which Mr. Dubois and the missionary were the centre. These two were conversing quite composedly, but the surrounding groups seemed to be under some excitement.