Frederick concealed from his wife the extent of his sufferings, while she thus encouraged the flesh to lust against the Spirit; but she could not be ignorant of it; and that knowledge, as she described it, only added strength to her endeavours. She was conscious of a sort of jealousy, the recollection of which, overwhelmed her with horror : in the selfish indulgence of an inordinate attachment, she felt it as a wrong that her husband could love God better than he loved her—she sought to rival the Lord, to win from Him the allegiance of a soul that He had betrothed unto himself: and when, in the fiery furnace into which she was shortly afterwards put, all these things were recalled to mind—set in order before her—how fearful were the agonies of her remorseful spirit! If I could display its writhings as she described them to me, the warning might be salutary to some who are, in like manner, provoking the Lord to jealousy, endangering abrother's safety, and braving the storm of divine indignation.
After some months passed in the manner above stated, while Frederick perceptibly drooped more and more, under the struggle that divine grace enabled him to maintain against temptations, too frequently successful, to compromise his Christian simplicity of walk and conversation, he appeared one day to his anxious wife, radiant with joy and holy exultation. * Oh, Theresa,' he said, ' what can I render unto the the Lord for his great benefits V I have long been a wretched, prayerless outcast, unable to pour out my soul to him. I have pined under the sense of banishment—of deserved exile from his presence. I have been forsaking him : and he almost forsook me. But on this happy morning, I have been once more admitted to my Father's throne : I have had such enlargement of spirit, such freedom in prayer, such a blessed assurance of his unchangeable love, that surely, surely he will not let me wander any more !' She told me that his look and manner quite overpowered her selfish feelings : she was conscious of the deep cruelty of her conduct, in depriving him of such peace, such joy: she even prayed to be kept from a repetition of offence. Her impressions were, however, then too weak and transient to have endured a trial—the Lord wrought, in a way that neither of them had anticipated : and on the very next day she saw her Frederick laid on the bed of dangerous sickness. He recovered speedily, so far as to appear out of immediate danger ; but the medical men pronounced it indispensable that he should return to his native England without delay; and, two years' leave of absence being granted, they embarked ; her fond bosom cherishing the confident expectation of his perfect re-establishment. At the Cape they made a short stay; and Frederick appeared so perfectly convalescent, that he seemed beyond the reach of a relapse. Alas ! on the very day of their quitting that shore, his malady returned with such overwhelming violence, that before they had made many leagues of the long homeward voyage, not a hope remained of his reaching England alive.
It was dreadful to see the effort with which that broken-hearted creature nerved hersolf to tell me the sequel. Her feet placed on the fender for support, knees crushed together, lips strongly compressed, brows—such beautiful brows !—bent into an expression of sternness, and even the hectic of her cheeks fading into ghastly white— all bespoke such mental suffering, that I implored her to spare herself the recital: but in vain.
It appeared that, while Frederick, full of joy, lay dying in his cabin, the fiery darts of Satan were almost all shot into the soul of his distracted wife. She told me that she never suffered him to suspect it—that she wore an aspect of even cheerful resignation—and by so doing, increased his happiness. But, whenever withdrawn from his sight, the tempest would break forth with such maddening violence, that it was astonishing how she could survive the paroxysms. Thoughts of blasphemy, the most appalling, were continually infused into her mind : every creature that enjoyed health and cheerfulness was to her an object of such bitter envy, that she desired their death. And while contrasting the rude hilarity of some men upon the deck, who lived in open scorn of every divine law, only using the name of the Most High in jests or curses, with the wasting anguish that was dissolving the frame of her angelic sufferer in the cabin below—then, impious thoughts, wild charges against the mercy, and even the justice of the Most High, would shoot through her brain, until, loathing them as she did, while totally unable to repress them, she was many a time on the point of flinging herself into the roaring surge beneath. 'And then, to dress my face in smiles, to go back to him, and take his hand, and tell him that the air had refreshed me— to read the word of that God whom I felt that I was defying—to kneel in prayer, seemingly a sharer in his beautiful aspirations of hope and peace, and joy, and thankfulness—You know it not—oh, may you never know it!'
The closing scene was at hand ; and while she hung in quiet despair over his pillow, he told her, with a look of sweet sympathy, that the Lord would soon bring her to Himself; but that he saw it needful first to remove the object of her exclusive attachment. ' My death will be the means of bringing you to Christ; and Christ's death has opened for us both the way to God. Fear not, my beloved Theresa—only believe.— We shall sing a new song together before the throne of the Lamb'.
Poor, poor Theresa! A few days more would have brought them to anchor in the English port; and at least she would have been spared the awful solitariness that surrounded her, when without one outward solace, she sat watching that lifeless clay, extended before her in the calm still beauty of death. She described herself as having undergone the most extraordinary change, from the moment of his decease. The smothered tempest under the outbreakings of which she had expected, and even hoped to die, passed away without a single burst A cold, dull, quiet endurance succeeded; not unmixed with transient gleams of hope, as his parting words again and again passed through her unresisting mind. Yet she was roused, by what I can well suppose must be one of the most heart-rending sounds pertaining to this world of woe; the splash that told her when that form, so long and fondly loved, was indeed descending into its watery grave—and the ship rolled on—and even the eye of such loves as Theresa's might never, never catch a trace whereby to discern the spot of his obsequies. Ocean was his tomb : and who should reveal in what chamber of the mighty mausoleum those cherished relics had found rest, until that day when the sea shall give up its dead !