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important information Cowper listened with the greatest attention; hope seemed to dawn upon his disconsolate mind; his heart burned within him whilst he listened to the word of life; his soul was pierced with a sense of his great ingratitude to so merciful a Saviour; tears of contrition burst from his eyes; he saw clearly that this was the remedy his case required; and felt fully persuaded that this was indeed the gospel of salvation. He, however, wanted that faith without which he could not recover its blessings. He saw the suitability of this gospel to his circumstances, but saw not yet how one, so vile as he conceived himself to be, could hope to partake of its benefits. Mr. Madan urged the necessity of a lively faith in the Redeemer, not as an assent of the understanding only, but as the cordial belief of the heart unto righteousness; assured him, that though faith was the gift of God, yet was it a gift that our heavenly Father was most willing to bestow, not on one only, but on all that sought it by earnest and persevering prayer. Cowper deeply deplored the want of this faith, and could only reply to his friend's remarks, in a brief but very sincere petition, "Most earnestly do I wish it would please God to bestow it on me."
His brother, perceiving he had received some benefit from this interview, in his desire to relieve the poet's depressed mind, wisely overlooked the difference of sentiments on the great subjects of religion, which then existed between himself and Mr. Madan, and discovered the greatest anxiety that he should embrace the earliest opportunity to converse with him again. He now urged Cowper to visit Mr. Madan at his own house, and offered to accompany him thither. After much entreaty, Cowper consented; and though the conversation was not then the means of affording him any permanent relief, it was not without its use. He was easier, but not easy; the wounded spirit within him was less in pain, but by no means healed. A long train of still greater terrors than any he had yet endured was at hand; and when he awoke the next morning, after a few hours' sleep, he seemed to feel a stronger alienation from God than ever. He was now again the subject of the deepest mental anguish; the sorrows of death seemed to encompass, and the pains of hell to get hold of him; his ears rang with the sound of the torments that seemed to await him; his terrified imagination presented to him many horrible visions, and led him to conceive that he heard many horrible sounds; his heart seemed at every pulse to beat its last; his conscience scared him; the avenger of blood seemed to pursue him; and he saw no city of refuge into which he could flee; every moment he expected the earth would open, and swallow him up. He was now suddenly attacked with that nervous affection, of which the peculiar form of his mind seemed to have made him susceptible, which on several subsequent occasions darkened his brightest prospects, and which ultimately overwhelmed his meek and gentle spirit, and caused him to end his days in circumstances the most gloomy and sorrowful. So violent was the attack on this occasion, that his friends instantly perceived the change, and consulted on the best manner to dispose of him. Dr. Cotton then kept an establishment at St. Alban's for the reception of such patients. His skill as a physician, his well-known humanity and sweetness of temper, and the acquaintance that had subsisted between him and the afflicted patient, slight as it was, determined them to place him under the doctor's care. No determination could have been more wisely taken; and subsequent events proved it to have been under His superintendence, who orders all things according to the councils of his own will, and who, with the tenderest solicitude, watches over his people; managing those events which to us appear contingent, on principles of unerring wisdom; and overruling them for the accomplishment of his gracious and benevolent intentions."An anxious world may sigh in vain for what Kind Heaven decrees in goodness to withhold; But the momentous volume of his mind, When seen in yonder world, shall be approved, And all its plans pronounced unerring love." CHAPTER III.
His removal to St. Albans —Painful state of his mind there — Receives a visit from his brother—Good effects of it — His recovery — How it was effected — H is subsequent happiness—Pleasing conversation with Dr. Cotton — The delightful manner in which he now passed his time—Description of his experience — His gratitude to God — Employs his brother to look out for him a new residence — leaves St. Albans — Feelings on the occasion. On the 7thDecember, 1763, he was removed to St. Albans, and placed under the care of Dr. Cotton. And, nothwithstanding the skilful and judicious treatment pursued to effect his restoration, he remained in the same gloomy and desponding state for five months. Every means that ingenuity could devise, and that benevolence and tenderness could prompt, were resorted to for this protracted period in vain. To describe in lengthened detail the state of his mind during this long interval, would justly be deemed injudicious. As Mr. Hayley very properly remarks, "Mental derangement is a topic of such awful delicacy, that it is the duty of a biographer, rather to sink in tender silence, than to proclaim with offensive temerity, the minute particulars of a calamity to which all human beings are exposed, and, perhaps, in proportion as they have received from nature, those delightful but dangerous gifts — a heart of exquisite tenderness, and a mind of creative energy." This, as Cowper most beautifully sings; —
"This is a sight for pity to peruse,