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felt persuaded that he should not recover, although perfectly willing to adopt any means which seemed to promise a successful termination to his disorder. But considering in his own mind, that this sickness was sent to warn him of his end, he endeavoured to prepare himself and others for that solemn event. And now was seen the unspeakable benefit of a good hope, through grace, in the perfect merit and righteousness of the Redeemer. The love of the eternal Trinity, the merciful goodness of God the Father, the glory of the only be gotten Son of the Most High, his excellence as a Saviour, his justifying righteousness to atone for our transgressions, his finished salvation to deliver us from the penalty and condemnation of a violated law; these were the subjects which afforded him abundant support in the awful hour of death. It was then distinctly perceived, that to pics of a more abstruse kind, will not always yield the same grateful satisfaction, as those which are of deep and vital consequence. Minor differences of opinion must then give place to the one hope of our calling; for there is salvation in no other name but in that of Christ Jesus: other foundation can no man lay than that which is already laid.
Of the various expressions which were uttered by him, in the full contemplation of his last great change in death, a few only have been selected. As he had formerly lived in the habit of secret ejaculation and mental prayer, he might be frequently heard by those who attended upon him, unconsciously, as it were, giving utterance to the overflowings of a heart that was enriched and sanctified by divine grace. The patience, resignation, and calmness which he now manifested, made a deep impression on those who witnessed his conduct at this trying moment. During the intervals of relaxation from pain,
he conversed with his relatives, or any friends who happened to be present. There was even an innocent playfulness of manner in some of his expressions, which evidently betokened how completely at ease his own mind was, knowing in whom he had believed. That he could in any measure glorify God by his life and actions, he solely attributed to a power infinitely beyond his own. He was confident, that if that had not been vouch safed to him, he would, as he declared, have been even as other unconverted men are, despisers of God, hateful and hating one another. He considered himself as a brand plucked from the burning. When under considerable suffering, he said, "I desire to kiss the rod, and the hand of Him that holds it. The Scripture says, the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much; and I hope I shall have the prayers of the righteous in my behalf; for I am satisfied, no other can be of any avail. I have been long convinced, but I am now more fully persuaded of the truth than at any former riod of my experience; indeed, it is my dying testimony, that all our tears of repentance, our prayers, our duties, or our solemn resolu tions against sin, however necessary and useful they are, as evidences of a renewed mind, cannot justify us in the sight of God. I desire to renounce every thing for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. When I think of the fulness and glory of the Redeemer, the God-man, Christ Jesus, I feel more than ever my own vileness and sinfulness." At another time, when in much bodily pain, he said, " If I, a sinful, but, I trust, a pardoned individual, am called to bear so much outward suffering, how dreadful must that punishment be which shall be inflicted upon the impenitent and unbelieving! What must sinners in their own persons hereafter en
dure, except they repent!" Upon one occasion he said, in a manner peculiarly characteristic of his own views," Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours:' but," said he, "it would not be becoming in me to add the remaining part of the verse, and their works do follow them,' having none of my own at all worthy of notice." He repeated, with evident delight, the well-known lines,
"When I survey the wond'rous cross," &c.
At times he suffered from the suggestions of the great enemy of our souls, "who," said he, " has been exceedingly busy with me; intimating, that I was only a deceiver and a hypocrite; that religion was a fable, &c. but I know, that Satan was a liar from the beginning. He tempted our blessed Lord, and now he is biting my heel; I mean, he is assailing my human nature he is throwing some of his fiery darts at me, but they shall not be permitted to wound me." In a little while after he was relieved from these distressing doubts, and was enabled to express his freedom therefrom, by exclaiming, "Conquered!"
He imagined his dismission would have been easy; for he expected, from the nature of his complaint, that he should have died several days before he actually expired; but he prayed, that he might not be impatient, but be willing to wait God's time. When freed from the temptations already spoken of, he expressed his belief of salvation through the atoning blood of the Saviour, in the strongest possible terms. "I am," he said, "as fully assured of my final salvation, as if I now beheld the Son of God bleedthe cross for me." It was at this time he exhorted his son to preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified, as the only infallible means for rescuing sinners from the wrath He prayed much for the
people of the parish where he lived, more especially for those who," said he, never pray for themselves." Except upon one or two occasions, he did not say much respecting the happiness of heaven. But on the Saturday, which was only two days before he died, he inquired what day of the week it was? And being told, he said, he hoped to spend, on the morrow, an eternal sabbath in heaven." What a glorious sight will that be, to see the King in his beauty; to join the innumerable company of angels and justified spirits, singing, Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to redeem us to God by his blood. Speak ye comfortably unto Jerusalem, and cry unto her (not whisper), that her iniquity is pardoned, &c." At another time, he said, he felt and experienced more than he could give utterance to; that he appeared to be surrounded by heavenly messengers, waiting to convey his spirit to the realms above. That he was at this time perfectly aware of every thing, was evident from the great kindness and tenderness which he expressed for every part of his family, by whom he was then encircled. He said, it was hard work to die, that body and soul would not readily part asunder.
In this state he continued hourly getting weaker, being full of days, with his faculties scarcely impaired; coming to his grave like a shock of corn in his season; and, as if to mark the reality of his hope, and the nature of his faith, which could not be shaken even in the awful moment of death, the last articulate sound he was heard to utter on the morning of his dissolution was that of "Jesus." In a very few hours afterwards, on the 29th day of October, 1821, and in the 89th year of his age, his unfettered spirit was summoned into the presence of that God, whom, in his life and by his death, he had sought to glorify.
No one was ever more ready to admit than himself, that his failings were many. But for tenderness of conscience, for strict adherence to truth, for integrity and uprightness of conduct, for an earnest and habitual desire to exemplify the practical effects of true godliness, few have been more distinguished during so great a number of years. Nor will the foregoing statement be deemed by any as exceeding the bounds of truth or probability, but
rather as the certain result of those Scriptural maxims, by which the life of this much-respected individual was mainly governed. In a word, it may be said of him, "He was a faithful man, and feared God above many." Nehemiah, vii. 2.
This passage was chosen as a suitable subject for a sermon adapted to the occasion, and which was preached at West Malling Church, on the Sunday after the funeral had taken place.
LETTER TO A RELATIVE UNDER AFFLICTION. MY DEAR FRIEND,
YOUR situation demands and my tenderest feelings. Could I be instrumental in affording you the smallest degree of comfort and support therein, I should be peculiarly thankful; and, as it is my sincere desire and prayer, I trust the Lord will answer my request. What can I say or do that shall tend to your relief, but affectionately endeavour to encourage your confidence in Him who never failed any who sought Him, in the way of his own appointing, by prayer and supplication? While we look at our trials, we are ready to say, "All these things are against me." This discourages us, and tempts us to have hard thoughts of God; to think that he deals severely with us. We feel we have no strength of our own to combat with such difficulties; this makes us despond and say, "How shall I stand the trying day?" How, indeed, but by turning to that strong-hold in the day of trouble, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has graciously revealed himself to us in his word as the strength of the needy in their distress."-Isaiah, xxv. 4. Does the enemy of our souls suggest to our minds this discouragement, that we have not sought to improve the religious opportunities that have been afforded us, and therefore have no right to appropriate the privileges connected with diligence in the use
of means? Still let us, while we humble ourselves before God on this account, remember who hath said, "Return, O backsliding children, unto me, and I will heal your backslidings." Is not this the voice of every affliction," How shall I give you up?" Surely it is. He corrects his children in mercy, that they may not be condemned with the world. Whom he loves he chastens. Let us not be discouraged at that which is an evidence of his fatherly regard. What though he is pleased to put us into the furnace, let us remember, that He sits as the refiner and purifier of his people, and that He will so temper all his dispensations towards them, that they shall lose nothing but the dross of corruption, His design in all this is, that they may come forth as gold, and be found meet for his eternal kingdom. There the inhabitants shall no more say they are sick, neither shall there be any more pain.
Let me recommend to your consideration Zech. xiii. 9, "I will bring the third part through the fire." Observe, the Lord will not leave them in it; but engages to bring them through. What is his design? Why, the most gracious that can be intended; that which, I hope, my friend desires above alĺ things-purification; or, in other words, that we may become partakers of the divine nature. What
effect shall these trials have? Why, they shall call on my name. Shall this be in vain? No; I will hear them; I will say it is my people; I will make it known to them so clearly, that they shall say, The Lord is my God. May we not say, Happy are the people who have the Lord for their God, whatever be the means of bringing them into the enjoyment of such a union? Let us, then, look up to Him for that resignation to his will, as may enable us, under the most afflictive dispensations, to say, "The cup which my Father has given me, may I not drink it?" Allow it to be grievous, still let us remember, it shall yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness to such as are looking to Him for the same. Does my friend say, Alas! I feel my weakness to be such, that I fear I shall never be able to overcome these difficulties. To you, then, especially, the promise belongs," He giveth power to the faint; and to them who have no might he increaseth strength." It is the consciousness of our insufficiency that excites me to try to encourage your confidence in Him, who is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and knoweth them who trust in him. Is infinite Wisdom, Love, and Power, a mere spectator of their trials? Surely no. All his perfections are
engaged in the behalf of those whose hearts are upright towards him; who sincerely desire to submit to his discipline; whose language is, Do with me as seemeth thee good, only remember me with the favour thou bearest unto thy people. What a friend, then, is Jesus Christ! and is he ours? He is the friend of sinners, without exception, that are made sensible this is their character; and who, under the consciousness of it, are applying to him for mercy and grace to help in time of need. He knows all our feelings; he submitted to be tempted himself, that he might know how to succour his followers. when passing through the same. In all their afflictions, he is afflicted; and he not only sympathizes with them, but promises his grace shall be sufficient for them, and that his strength shall be manifest in their weakness. What more can I say, but enforce the encouragement of the Psalmist? "Trust in the Lord at all times; pour out your heart before him." God is a refuge for us.- -That you may be enabled thus to do; and find, in so doing, the joy of the Lord to be your strength in the time of trouble, rendering you more than conqueror over all; is the earnest desire and prayer of your affectionate friend,
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
THE search after happiness is so general, that not an individual will be found who is not, in some way or other, engaged in its pursuit; yet, like the deceitful shar dow, which vanishes with a rapi dity proportionate to the attempt which is made at reaching it, so does this desired object for the most part elude the grasp of its numerous votaries. If we examine into the true cause of failure, we shall discover, that the object is
pursued in a wrong direction; the source from whence it springs is unknown to the generality of mankind, and is accessible only to those who fear God and walk in his ways: "Great peace ~have they who love thy law."
While the men of the world are inquiring with anxious solicitude, "Who will show us any good?" the true Christian earnestly desires, that the light of his Father's countenance may be lifted upon him.
This affords him more real gladness of heart than if his corn and wine were increased. His life is hid with Christ in God; he possesses a joy the world can neither give nor take away; and which, unlike the trifling vanities of time and sense, will yield support and consolation when every other hope fails. "The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow therewith."
On the other hand, view a man in the midst of his worldly enjoyments, without a sense of God's presence and blessing, how poor, and how dissatisfied is he, notwithstanding all his earthly possessions! "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Better were it to have Lazarus's portion; to be reduced to the utmost extremity of worldly misery, with attendant angels ready to convey his glorified spirit into Abraham's bosom, than, like the rich man, to fare sumptuously, and be clothed in purple and fine linen, and at length consigned to everlasting misery," where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." O what an awful contrast, and what a striking lesson, does that narrative afford to the ungodly rich man! "Let not, then, the wise man glory in his wisdom; neither let the mighty man glory in his might: let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me."
How miserable is the state of those who, amidst the sorrows of this life, and the reproaches of their own conscience, are yet living in neglect of God, unmindful of the gracious invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." So long as this message of mercy is disregarded, God will either visit the
rebellious with stroke upon stroke, or will at length, provoked by their obduracy and impenitence, leave them to perish anid their own delusions.
The Christian, indeed, has sorrows to undergo, with which the worldling is unacquainted; but these sorrows are usually either the forerunners of, or are accompanied with, peculiar consolations. His grief for sin leads him to a more lively contemplation of the Saviour's sufficiency; his sense of his weakness and infirmity enables him more to rejoice, that God hath laid help upon one that is mighty, and promised, "that as his day is, so his strength shall be.” The existence of corrupt affections makes him feel increasing gratitude to that God, who has put into his heart good desires, and oftentimes vouchsafes to draw up his mind to the contemplation of high and holy things; and thus the very trials he meets with have a sanctifying and beneficial effect, leading him to more intimate communion with his Saviour, and producing in him more abiding peace and consolation, and animating him to prepare more habitually for that rest which remaineth for the people of God.
This peace, and this consolation, will be found nearly connected with, and proportioned to, our diligence and assiduity in improving the means of grace, and walking closely with God. The careless and negligent Christian will be made to feel in his measure, that the way of transgressors is hard; while the humble, watchful, devoted Christian shall experience, that as afflictions abound consolations abound also; and shall, at last, be enabled to set to his seal, that all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth to them that fear him and keep his commandments.