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which now burned in her bosom could neither be quenched nor concealed. She therefore resolved to disburden her heart in a letter to her father, which forms one of the most remarkable and interesting documents we have ever read. Referring first of all to her father's affection for her, and to hers for him, and thence to the reasons they both had to rejoice at the Lord's goodness and mercy to her, she then proceeds to expound the law and the prophets, exposes the absurdities of the Mishna, the Gemara, and the Talmud; threading her way through these traditionary labyrinths till she reaches the Cross, as it exhibits God manifest in the flesh, to Him she applies all the chief promises, and thus from the word of God proves that Jesus is the Christ. She then pours out such a flood of earnest beseechings, and unbounded affection, as has seldom been witnessed by a father's eye, or traced by a daughter's pen. This letter was laid on his dressing-table in the evening. The whole night was spent by Leila in agonizing prayer.
Our space will not permit us to record the next morning's interview ; the father's love for his daughter was intense, and his grief for what he deemed her infatuation was inconsolable. For a week she was banished from his presence, but she was the same firm believer in Jesus of Nazareth as before. All other means failed in like manner. At last he determined to send her to his brother, a Jew, stern and uncompromising in the faith of his fathers. At the house of her uncle she was first treated with a cool reserve, and occasionally with kindness, but as every means of her reclamation proved unavailing, she was at last exposed to the most wanton cruelty and persecution. Of her sufferings at this time she thus speaks :
If my father knew the intense cruelty of my position, he surely would not leave me here; it is trying me almost beyond my powers of endurance. My spirits sometimes sink
low. Lord, save me! Many of those who come near me hold in their clothes lest I should touch them, and as they pass me avert their faces, their lips curling with a most offensive expression of scorn. I am not permitted to have
meals with my
uncle and aunt, nor any of their family. All of them but one, and even the servants insult me. Last evening, I entered a room in which two of the servants were working. “ Eudice,” said one, “ let's turn our coats, and go
to the Carpenter's Son to come down and save us."-"Oh, don't talk to me. I hate him, and everybody as likes him; and I shouldn't think he very well likes a hypocritical apostate." Oh,
yes, he does ; both he and his people are very fond of proselytes. They'll promise them anything; and, as to heaven,
they'll warrant them getting in there if they have to carry them in in a basket.”—“Well, say what they will, they shall never point at me as a turncoat Jew; I would rather be a dog." Here followed a torrent of vulgar abuse and blasphemy which I could not write. O my Saviour, forgive them! I would pray with Stephen, “ Lord Jesus, lay not this sin to their charge."
Arrangements were at last made for Leila to be brought before the Rabbis. In a room in her uncle's house, with the doors fastened, she met two of them, with several elders and other Jews, eight in all, and through a lengthened disquisition of seven hours, modestly but firmly maintained her position. How delightful it is to contemplate this youthful Christian (for she was now but in her twentieth year) reasoning with these eight of her nation through so many hours; all of them, too, well skilled in Jewish learning. There she sat, calm and composed-no friend but God and her Bible, no help but her memory-attempting to prove and disprove, as far as they gave her the opportunity. At last the fires of their ill-concealed rage burst forth : one Rabbi rose and struck her upon the cheek; an elder spat in her face; another pronounced over her a host of fearful curses, which, among other things, debarred her from her father's house and all her relatives. She was told that in three days she must go from her uncle's house, and was then ordered to leave the room. From this scene of suffering for the sake of Christ, she went to reside with a christian family about two miles from her father's house, scarcely expecting he would consent to receive her again. From thence she wrote to him, relating, in some measure, the details of her sufferings, and anxiously pleading to be restored to his home and affections. She speedily received a most affectionate reply, urging her immediate return, and expressing strong indignation at the conduct of the Rabbis. “I am indignant, says he, “at your treatment. What is the meaning of it? I never surmised it. I am sorry that it should be my act to place you in such a position. But I shall see my brother, and those who dared to strike you, and behave to you so disgustingly; it will not be easily passed over.
I will show that my precious child, if she choose to be a Christian, shall not be insulted; or if it be so, that her father will avenge the insults. Their fulsome and offensive anathemas—let them curse, I am not now careful. But come home directly, Leila.” Scarcely had she recovered from the exciting effects of this epistle, when a carriage, with her father in it, appeared at the door. He had followed the bearer of the letter. That moment to Leila may be conceived, not described. Now she is reinstated in her sweet
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY, 27 RED LION SQUARE, LONDON.
home—her father kinder than ever-her books returned to her, and permission to attend the house of God cheerfully accorded.
To her, these were blessed days, but they were fast drawing to a close. The sufferings she formerly endured were too much for her gentle spirit. On leaving her uncle's she bore evident marks of impaired health, and it now assumed the character of decline. Speedily she faded away, growing more beautiful in countenance and lovely in spirit as she drew nearer the portals of her heavenly Father's house. The following extracts are from the journal of a young lady, an attached Gentile friend of Leila's, who was with her during her short illness, and has now joined her glorified spirit in the realms of bliss :
The closing scene drew on apace ; for it was evident to all that she must soon die ; indeed, she knew it herself; and, therefore, she began to give final directions respecting the disposal of certain matters. This was three days before her death. After sending some substantial mementoes of her love and regard to those families on her visiting list, she turned her attention to her family and personal friends. Having expressed most of her desires concerning these, she requested that her writing-desk might be placed near her. It was done. Unlocking it, she took from it a number of elegant bibles. « Precious books !” she exclaimed, as she clasped them to her throbbing bosom; "oh, precious books ! would I had read you more ! Presenting one to her maternal aunt, who was present, she said, “Do accept this token of my love for you, and this letter, which some time ago I wrote for you ; and, as you read it, may the Spirit of God lead your heart to those blissful fountains of repose which have made me so happy. You believe, my dear aunt, that I am quite happy--that I have no fear of death —that I am going to heaven. Do you not?”—“I cannot doubt it.”
“ Well, then, it is all through the merits of my Lord Jesus Christ. His death atoned for my sins, and the sins of all our people, and all the world. I shall soon be with him for ever. Then, my dear aunt, will you promise me that my dying request, that you
will read these scriptures of the Old and New Testament, shall be granted?” Her aunt assented. you make me very happy, and I pray that the God whom I serve, will, of his mercy, enlighten your understanding, so that you may perceive the truth. I am tired now; I must rest a little."
In the eye which is lighted up by the fever of consumption, there is an expression which those who have seen it can never forget, and which those who have not seen it can never imagine.
How beautiful she looked as she peacefully reposed on the white pillow! Her bright eyes, that were wont to glow with
Thank you; the very
soul of animation, enclosed within their snowy lids, and their long lashes shading her marble countenance, which beamed with innocence and love. I felt in love with the beautiful clay, and almost wished that my own summons from mortality to immortality were as near Reviving, she said, “I can say but little more." Then, putting aside several bibles for as many of her relatives, and a letter with each, “Let these be given, with my dying love, to those to whom they are directed. Say, too, I most earnestly beg of each to read them, and pray over them, and to obtain all possible help to a knowledge of the christian religion. And tell them that with my latest breath I testified Christ is precious; that he was with me-pre-eminently with me—while passing through the valley of the shadow of death ; and that, through faith in Christ, I was victorious over death and the grave, and died in full, perfect assurance of eternal bliss. But, be sure of this, tell them clearly, that it was all through the death of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Now I must repose. 'Tis almost finished !” Her articulation of these precious sentences was painfully interrupted, so that, to say them all, occupied her some minutes.
The following day she requested that pen and ink might be brought to her. Affectionately clasping her bible, she looked once more upon those parts which she had marked as having given her special encouragement and enjoyment; then, being supported, she took the pen'in her dying hand, and tremulously and disjointedly traced upon the fly-leaf the last words she ever wrote: “ Christ in Heaven !” Blessed truth! Hail, my sister spirit, thou now wilt prove, to all eternity, that Christ is heaven!
The same loving hand has thus recorded the closing scene: On the morning of the day on which Leila died, she said, “ It will soon be finished. Tell my dear father to come here." He was called, but was so powerfully affected, that for some minutes he could not speak to her. What a scene! Friends weepingthe youthful Christian, in heavenly composure, awaiting the solemn moment of separation from the body. Surely it was the spontaneous outburst of every heart, “ Is this death? Can all this holy peace and joy be death? Oh, then, let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like hers !” As I looked upon her placid countenance, I exclaimed exultingly, “O death! where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?" Gushing sobs broke upon the awful stillness. the luxury of such tears tears flowing from the most divinelysacred emotions of the soul.
Voltaire laughed at Christianity—he mocked at the “madness of believing in the gospel.” Did he ever see a Christian
very soul of
die ? Did he ever witness this tangible evidence of the value of religion in the most awful moment of life? Oh, never! The chamber of the dying saint is a shrine at which the boldest blasphemer must bow in homage to the religion of Jesus.
Her father was weeping. “Do not grieve for me, my dear papa,” she said, soothingly : “ if you are faithful to God, you will soon be happy again with me in heaven.” “ Then, my precious treasure, you are not deceived !
You feel that your religion fully supports you in death ?
“Oh, yes! oh, yes! Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil his rod-and-his-" she could proceed no further. Her father, bending with grief, retained her hand in his.
In a little while she gathered strength: « Father,” she enjoined, “ you love me dearly, do you not?” “ My child, do not speak so to me; you know you are the
existence.” “Will you grant me one request—a dying request ?”. « What is it? You know I will not deny you !
“ It is this—that you will never again doubt Jesus my Saviour ; but that you will begin to love and serve him. Oh, think, my dear father, what he has done for me! Read the New Testament," and she looked inquiringly. My dear, I have begun to read it. I have
your religion must be true. I never expected to witness a death like yours, my daughter. I have begun to pray; you pray too, that God will help me to follow you to heaven. I believe, my dear-I confess to you and all present that I believe in Jesus.”
The sudden reversion of feeling was too great for her weak frame.' She was just able to articulate, “ Blessing — praise" and then lay exhausted. On recovering, she slowly reached her bible, and in faltering accents said, “ My dear papa, I am dying --you have— We shall soon meet again. Here is the Bible which has been-so truly blessed to my soul. Let it now be yours. You have all my books of a religious character. They are choice-learn them well. Praise the Lord ! I am dying ; but-I am rejoicing." She lay for some minutes with her eyes closed. Occasionally her lips moved as though in prayer.
It is more than probable that her petitions were then ascending to the throne of grace, that her father might be enabled to rejoice in the liberty of God's children. They have been answered !
Again she unclosed her eyes, and looking upon her father with a smile of indescribable pleasure-“Blessing, honour, praise, and glory to Jesus. Kiss me, dear papa."