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while you may. Search the Scriptures daily, with prayer that the Spirit may open your eyes to understand; and put your trust in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Do not think that coming to church twice on a Sunday will save your soul-that will not do: you must live in the fear of God, and serve him faithfully, in church and out of church, from love to Christ your Redeemer. God bless you-good bye. I could have wished to speak a word, and say 'good bye' to each one in our parish, I am too weak to do it, but I leave them my blessing: and may all, both rich and poor, be warned by my sudden call."
She then turned to her husband, saying "Be comforted. Keep up all my little charities, and my little garden and flowers in order, as if I were here. If it is allowed us, or if we could desire to withdraw our gaze from our glorious Redeemer's face, I shall ofttimes look down upon you."
Her husband answered, “How can I remain here when you are gone? I can have no pleasure in this place when you are taken."
She strove to turn in her bed, and, with a look no words can describe, she said, “Dear husband, you are very, very wrong. You must promise me to remain here. You have much to live for; many high duties to perform. You must not forsake your people, but continue to watch over them as one that must give account, and set them an example in all things. Let there be no vain show about carrying out my dust, and let what can be saved from show some day be given to our poor in my name."
She spoke then of the 1st chapter of St. Luke, as showing what faith could do; and said—" My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour," &c., with many other comfortable words of Scripture.
The weary conflict was now nearly over, and the victory almost won. God mercifully preserved her faculties to the last. I had many things more to say," whispered the dying saint; but death is setting his seal on me, and I have not strength."
She then lay quiet, as if communing with God, for a very few minutes; and then, as if speaking to us from the grave, said, Yes—yes; Christ is near-near at hand; He is bearing me up with His everlasting arms. It is peace, even in the valley of the shadow of death.”
'Peace, peace," were her last words. She then meekly folded her hands, as it were in prayer; and, in that attitude, without even the slightest struggle, in her husband's arms, her pure spirit gently was released from its prison, at a few minutes past 8 o'clock, a. m., on the 7th of May, 1840.
Can we for a moment doubt as to her being safe in Jesu's arms, in full possession of that rest which remaineth to the people of God? Oh, may our last end be like hers!
THE ONLY VERSES EVER COMPOSED BY THE REV. H. VENN,
JESU! my Saviour, in thy face
Thy beauty, Lord, th' enraptured eye
FROM THE AUTHOR OF "CHRISTIAN RETIREMENT."
MY DEAR FRIEND,-* * * * * * Your anxiety about our dear friend, Mr. Atkinson, is not without great cause. He is returned from Bath, but so weak and ill, that Mr. Hey entertains very little hopes of his recovery. The loss we shall sustain will be incalculable. He has long been the spiritual father of this town; watching over his people like a tender parent. He may, with truth, use the affectionate language of St. Paul to the Thessalonians : We were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." "Ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children." Oh! that we may be his glory and joy in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming!
He has been declining for some time past. Mr. Hey does not know exactly the nature of his complaint. It is in the bowels, and a hard substance has formed, but whether in the natural vessels or not he is not quite certain.
I called upon our dear valued friend on Saturday, and communicated to him the contents of your letter, which pleased him very much. "When you write," said he, "send my tenderest and most affectionate regards to Mr. Wilson. Tell him, that I am in the furnace, but I hope to come out tried. Tell him how good the Lord has been to me in my journey, and what mercies and miracles I have experienced, from my going out to my returning home. When I awake in the night, I feel my dear Saviour's consolations. I beg of him to allow me to lean upon his bosom, like his beloved John; but conscious of my unworthiness, I pray rather for permission to sit at his feet, to wash them with my tears, and wipe them with the hairs of my head. Tell him, that though I speak about my sufferings, I do not feel (and earnestly pray that I may not feel) a single murmuring, discontented thought rise in my mind, at the Lord's present dealings with me." This, as near as I can recollect, is what my dear friend wished me to say for him, when I wrote. He enjoys a sweet serenity of soul; and how can it be otherwise, since the Lord is with him. The other day I said to him: "You now feel those comforts, which, through the Gospel, you have so often communicated to others." He replied, Ah! my dear, what would become of me if I did not? When my father was in the situation I now am, he said: 'Miles, people in health talk about dying, but we cannot tell what it is, till we ourselves come to die.' O! what would become of me, if I had the work of repentance to begin now!"
It is, my dear friend, most edifying to behold Mr. Atkinson's complete resignation to God, surrounded by eleven children, ten of whom stand in need of his assistance in temporal matters. In the full assurance of faith, he leaves them to His care, who feedeth the young ravens that call upon him and is satisfied. All he wants, is to see the grace of God in them : he asks no more! There are passive, as well as active virtues. Our
beloved friend shines in both. As a perishing sinner in himself, he draws all his consolation from the finished salvation of Jesus Christ, and rests on that foundation which God has laid in Zion, and is not confounded.
He desires to be kindly remembered to Mr. Knight, and was pleased at his wish to see him; but said, "if he comes, he will only see a poor creature!”—so great is his humility. He labours under a constant sickness and oppression at the stomach, which prevents his reading, or even hearing others read. Oh! my dear friend, what need is there to seek an interest in Christ, before the days come when even the very act of thinking is insupportable! May our divine Saviour, who has brought us to the conclusion of another year, bring us every year—yea, every hour-nearer to himself; that living in his presence, we may grow up into his likeness, and be fitted for the more immediate enjoyment of his glorified presence above.
With most affectionate regards to you and your brother, and in the best of bonds, believe me your ever faithful friend,
Leeds, 31st December, 1810.
T. S. B. READE.
Mr. Atkinson feels himself very indifferent to-day, having had a poor night. May the Lord grant you an increase of every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, that every year may ripen you more and more for the kingdom of heaven. With this new year, may the Lord vouchsafe unto us fresh manifestations of his grace; that we may know him more, and love him more, and trust him more implicitly, and serve him more faithfully, till we are called to know him perfectly and to serve him without sin in his own everlasting kingdom.
1st January, 1811.
MY DEAR FRIEND,-It has pleased the wise disposer of all events, to gather into his celestial kingdom, the happy soul of our most beloved and revered minister and friend, Mr. Atkinson, this morning, about half-past three o'clock. He departed from this painful world without a groan; but the former part of the night was very distressing. Oh! my dear friend, what an awful chasm is now made-in the church-in his family -in the circle of his friends-yea, in the world at large. For near nine years I have enjoyed his invaluable friendship—have had an interest in his daily supplications at a throne of grace and always found him a kind affectionate adviser, a sincere and faithful friend. But he is gone! yes, he is gone to glory! He now beholds the face of that adorable Saviour, without a veil, whom he has so long and so earnestly exhorted sinners to trust, love, and obey. May we be followers of him who through faith and patience is now inheriting the promises. Every dear pious friend we lose, loosens that chain which ties us to this wretched world. Oh! that the death of this dear saint of the Lord, may, through grace, quicken my pace, and make me long more ardently for that rest which remaineth for the people of God. I have enough within, both to convince me of the need of a Saviour, and of the decaying state of human
existence; but, alas! without the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit, all is insufficient. A single view into our own hearts one would think, ought to make Christ precious indeed, and his blood and righteousness invaluable; and the daily experience I have of bodily weakness, should lead me to daily reflections on the uncertain tenure of all earthly things; but I am convinced that nothing but the Spirit of Christ alone can lead me to the Cross, as a poor, lost, vile, helpless sinner, to be saved through free grace; to be washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord and by the Spirit of our God. To Christ alone I would look-on him alone I would found all my hopes of acceptance with God and eternal glory. In myself I am nothing but sin and corruption; in Christ I have nothing but righteousness and peace. Oh! that my heart might overflow with grateful love; that the incense of praise might continually ascend to a blood-besprinkled throne of mercy, in the midst of which St. John beheld a Lamb slain-slain, my dearest friend, for you and me—yes! wondrous grace! for you and me!! In the midst of awful providences, God remembers mercy. My dear wife has had a very excellent recovery, and our little girl is coming on charmingly. Many dear partners have have been snatched away lately in this town by an alarming inflammatory distemper, but God has caused the destroying pestilence to pass over my dwelling. Not unto me, not unto me, but unto His name be the praise; I deserved no such mercy; but He is a sovereign, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion; let us wonder and adore!
I heard Mr. Knight with much profit; he exhorted us to trust in the Lord, to pour out our hearts before him; assuring us that He is our hope-yea, our refuge! He might have been preparing us for this awful dispensation-the loss of my dearest friend; telling us where to flee in an hour of trouble. I was much struck last Sunday: the first lesson in the morning was the 57th chap. of Isaiah, the first verse of which reminded me of dear Mr. Atkinson; the second lesson in the afternoon, was the 15th of the 1st of Corinthians. You and I, my dearest friend, must ere long be like our dear departed friend as to the body: may we be like him too in the spirit—" high in salvation and the climes of bliss!"
It is the meeting of our Bible Society this afternoon. I have been at the Atkinsons' all forenoon, and have only just time to write these few lines. I know your goodness will excuse this almost illegible scrawl. My dear wife unites in kindest love to you and your brother, and believe me your ever affectionate and loving friend,
Leeds, 6th February, 1811.
T. S. B. READE.
P. S.-The remains of our dear minister will be interred at St. Paul's Church next Tuesday morning, at nine o'clock, when I am sure your thoughts and prayers will be employed upon us poor sufferers here. My dear friend has left me one of the executors of his will.
MY DEAR FRIEND,-How soon one affliction follows another! and yet, all things are ordered by infinite wisdom and everlasting love! If the rod falls upon the lot of the righteous, it is sent in mercy, not in wrath.
Our heavenly Father chastens them with a gracious design, that they may be partakers of his holiness. Such, I trust, will be the blessed effect upon dear Mr. Atkinson's family, and not on them only, but on all those who participate in their affliction and sympathize in their loss.
I have no doubt but grief was the primary cause of poor dear William's death. He came from Manchester with a bad cold, but that cold I believe was brought on by extreme relaxation and feverishness, arising solely from perturbation of mind. He desired to be called up in the night when his father was dying, and being in a strong perspiration at the time, the cold struck deep into his frame! He would also attend the funeral in this critical condition, all which tended to hasten the awful crisis of his complaint, which terminated in his death. But all things are of God! Oh! that we may have grace to bow with submissive reverence before the throne of Jehovah, and say with heartfelt acquiescence, "not our will, but thine be done!" This is a difficult task for nature to perform, but grace can enable us, through faith, to remove mountains; for all things are possible to him that believeth. Dear William A. was a truly pious young man; he was a decided character-humble in his views of himself, and always desirous of higher attainments in those inward graces of the Spirit, which peculiarly mark out the children of God from mere formalists and worldly professors. None of the family, nor even Mr. Hey, suspected his approaching dissolution, till within a few hours of his death. He said one day, "I am much worse than any of you apprehend, but there remaineth a rest to the people of God." He was able to speak very little on religious subjects, as he was almost in one constant delirium from the time of his dear father's death. This shows us, my dear friend, the need of timely preparation for this solemn season! His brother Christopher went over to Manchester after his decease, to see after his affairs there; the family with whom he lodged had never heard of his illness, till then; they had prepared his rooms, and were waiting his return. Mr. C. A. said, it was most affecting to see how they loved him. When he told them of William's death, they wept around him like children; and followed him about the house in the utmost grief. All his friends at Manchester were equally affected. He said, he never saw so much affection and grief expressed towards one, with whom they had been so short a time acquainted. The person with whom he lodged desired to have his Bible, as a remembrance of poor William. Many passages were marked, since his father's illness, to refer to, as cordials in distress. They said whenever a letter came from Leeds, so great was his fear, on opening it, lest the accounts should grow worse, that he often fainted away, before he could read its contents. The above person said if Mr. C. A. would only give his Prayer-Book to the family in whose pew he sat at Church, it would be more valuable to them than many pounds. Such was the love and affection shown to his memory amongst comparative strangers. But he has joined the happy spirit of his father in the realms of bliss! Oh! that we may live nearer to Christ here, then shall we be near him in eternal glory!
That the God of all grace may give you every spiritual and temporal comfort, is the sincere desire of your truly affectionate friend,
Leeds, 4th March, 1811.
T. S. B. READE.