Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/211

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211

THE WARNING AND THE RESCUE.

belonged to that class of persons who observe the rules
of external respectability, though they extend its limits
so far as to include all those sins which arise from the
so-called weakness of human nature. He had obtained
universally the name of being an amiable, agreeable,
entertaining young man ; and this he thought all that
could reasonably be required of him. And yet what a
fearful emptiness and nakedness was here, in view of
eternity ! Why did his "good heart," with which he had
consoled himself hitherto in his most earnest hours,
leave him now so entirely comfortless and hopeless ?
His kindness to every one, his sympathy in their weal
or woe, his readiness to advance their interests, his dil-
igence in his own affairs, even the emotions, in moments
once not rare in his life, when he gazed at the firma-
ment of heaven or was reading the finer portions of
some noble poem, which awakened his better nature —
could not the recollections of these sustain him now in
the presence of death ? Why did all this vanish from
his memory ? or, when he was about to grasp it for sup-
port, disappear so like an empty shadow ? Why, in
spite of all this, did his life lie before him like a dry
naked heath, on which no blossom was to be gathered
for the harvest which was now come ? Why then,
since there are thousands in no way equal to him, thou-
sands so deeply sunk in sin and shame, that in compar-
ison with them he might be called a saint — why did not
the searcher of hearts, he whom the Christian praises
as the God of love and mercy — why did not he turn
from him the flaming sword of judgment which was
pressing his soul, and consuming the very marrow of
his strength ? Wherefore must he hear approaching