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at B. is looked up to as a Samson in the cause of Church rights; but I feel, my dear, that it is not the church walls or steeple, but the spirit abiding within, which God will acknowledge. I am not well, but should it be the will of God to improve my bodily health, we may bend our course towards you; but my fixed prayer, I hope, will ever be for spiritual strength, and then, there is naught to fear. Your uncle hopes to be in London at the next May meetings, and taste the good things there. May we all be fed with that Spirit, which makes me, more than ever, your affectionate aunt, A. O." Oh! what a change was here; truly may we say, "What hath God wrought!" I sent my dear uncle "Toplady's Prayers and Meditations."
he appears to have valued extremely; and after his death they were returned to me, with these words written on the title-page,"E. O.-The valuable and inestimable gift of my dear
What a proof was this, that "old things had passed way, and all things become new :" for the time was, when the very name of "Toplady would only have brought forth reproaches from his lips. About two years before Mr. O.'s death, they removed to another part of Wales, and his health becoming much worse, he went to London for advice. During his severe illness there, which preceded his death, a favourite niece, who was staying with Mr. and Mrs. O., wrote to me as follows:
The change in our dear uncle's state of mind is most wonderful, and I do hope the inward man is being renewed day by day, and that he does possess a good hope, through grace, of a joyful resurrection. He has been of late humbled as a little child, the
lofty looks brought down, and the Lord alone exalted.' The Lord has been searching and trying his heart and reins, and given him to hunger and thirst after brighter manifestations of his interest in the blood and righteousness of Immanuel, and to cry aloud for an inward witness of the Eternal Spirit with his spirit, that he might with more full assurance of faith approach God, as his Abba, Father,' and rejoice with that 'joy unspeakable and full of glory,' which so many of the children of God are privileged to do. These prayers have been most manifestly heard and answered by Him, who has not said to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek ye my face in vain.' On the night of the 24th of February, in his waking hours, our dear uncle seemed to be more than usually ill; a fear of death came upon him, nevertheless he was enabled to exclaim, The Lord's will be done;' but very soon after he said, ' he seemed, as it were, to see the Lord standing by him, and to hear his voice, shewing him that HE was the God that had fed and led him all his days up to that time, and was so surrounding him with mercies, which he did not till then so clearly discover; indeed, was answering all his prayers by manifesting himself to him in all his preciousness as a Redeemer and Sanctifier-in a way which (my dear uncle says,) he can never express, but shall never, never forget. So that he was enabled to rejoice in all he had suffered, and did suffer, and that the Lord might see fit to appoint for him to suffer still, for it was comparatively a light affliction, to that peace which had been vouchsafed to him.' And indeed it so filled him with love, joy, and gladness, that he said, 'his heart quite overflowed within him, with gratitude and praise;'
and you would, my dear Mrs. have rejoiced with us, the next morning, to have heard him recount, with tears of joy, all the blessedness of the past night! It was, indeed, such glad tidings' as I shall never forget, and for which all praise is due. Our dear uncle has been much edified of late, by reading the Life of Gen. Burn, and has derived more spiritual good from that book, than from any other, except his Bible.
The morning following the blessed night described above, he accidentally opened the first volume, at page 272, which was truly descriptive of the state of his own mind for some weeks previous. He has again, this morning, been speaking of the Lord's mercies to him, in the presence of his sisterin-law, and expressed, before her, his full assurance that all was working together for his eternal good, and that he would not change situations with any one; for that he enjoyed that peace, which the world can neither give nor take away.""
Oh, reader! had .you known Mr. O. in his natural state, you would, indeed, wonder at the display of God's mercy in his case.
My people shall be willing in the day of my power," was truly verified in his history!
After the death of Mr. O., his dear widow could not fix in a settled home for some time, and she paid two visits to me, at two distant periods; but how changed I found her! She, who would once willingly have brought me back to 66 I more rational views of religion," was now my teacher! -a living example of holy devotedness to her Saviour's cause; and during these two visits, as well as in those paid to her other friends and relatives, she may be described as "comforting the souls of the
disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith." But though she was naturally of a most lively and cheerful turn, yet there was one dark cloud, which would sometimes overshadow her in a painful degree, and this was "the fear of death." It was a subject she
never liked to touch upon, and her dear husband's name too, was always most remarkably avoided by her. When she left my dwelling for the last time, she put a sealed packet into my hand; it contained one of her own diamond rings, and was intended for one of my children, to whom she was godmother. A bit of card tied to the ring had these words written upon it, with her own hand,-"This bauble is presented to my dear little goddaughter, with earnest prayer that she may possess the richest of all blessings the pearl of great price,'
About a year after Mrs. O.'s return to her southern friends, and when I was anticipating a visit to her new abode, I received the following letter, from the same friend who wrote me the tidings of dear Mr. O.'s death and his last hours:
My dear,-How uncertain are all things here! you know our dear aunt has never had a
settled home since my uncle's death, and she visited all her friends last summer, not having made up her mind where she should pitch her tent. It was thus that the Lord, who 'moves in a mysterious way,' seems to have led her from one family to another, enabling her to speak a word in season' to each, and at length brought her to the very place of her nativity. There was a most desirable residence, next door to my cousin her favourite niece, and this house she engaged, as her future abode; for in addition to its vicinity to my
cousin, it was not far from our other aunt; and dear Mrs, O. thought it would be a comfort to her sister to have her within reach. Accordingly the house was painted, papered, and newly furnished; the day was fixed for our dear aunt's taking possession, and even provisions were ordered in; but she
never went there. God had prepared for her ‹ a habitation in the heavens,' and she was suddenly called to take possession of her
inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.' You shall have all the particulars of her last illness. She had been confined to her room for about a week, with a severe cold, which she had taken at church, the Sunday before Christmas-day. The day preceding her death, her indisposition was greatly augmented by a bilious attack; this induced her to have recourse to her usual medicines. They did not take the right effect, and towards evening, she became so much worse that she said to her servant, I do not remember ever feeling so ill at any time; I should not be surprised if I do not get over it.' And yet on the morning of that day, her medical man considered there was no more danger to be apprehended, than was always attendant on her colds. She passed a quiet though sleepless night, her cough having considerably abated; and from some remarks which she made in the morning, it appeared to have been a night of great peace and consolation; for she said, 'she had sweet views of Jesus, and all was light around her.' Her niece, Mrs.
with whom she was staying till she removed to her own expected abode next door, hearing her cough had ceased, thought this was an unfavourable symptom, and not having seen her the preceding day, (from having
been poorly herself,) quickly went to our beloved aunt's room, when, with extended arms and a countenance beaming with joy, she thus addressed her—'My dear
I am not come to live with you, but to die with you.' This unexpected salutation greatly agitated my cousin; and our dear aunt, with much serenity and strength, encouraged her to look unto the Lord, and resign her to his will. In the course of conversation, she expressed a wish to see the clergyman, saying, 'I should much enjoy having some one to pray with me.' Mr. E. was sent for, and came immediately; on his entering her room, she said— 'Well, dear sir, you are come to see me at the eleventh hour.' But so struck was he with her animated appearance, and the manner in which she received him, that he replied, 'I think it is not so; surely you must be mistaken,' With her usual suavity of manner, heightened by Divine grace, she sweetly replied, Well, well, we will leave that;' and then adverted to the consoling passage in the 23rd Psalm, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,' observing, she had lately met with a sermon upon it, which had given her much comfort, viz.—that death was a mere shadow, repeating the words the shadow of death.' She had been reading a sermon of Ebenezer Erskine's upon this text a few days before, and some striking passages had made a strong and comforting impression upon her mind. I have looked through this sermon, and cannot help copying one or two sentences, which I can fancy might give wings to her faith, ardour to her love, and confidence to her hope. I will fear no evil, for there lies death and the grave, slain by the death
of Jesus; and therefore I may play on the den of this lion and cockatrice, for it cannot hurt me.' Faith views heaven and glory to be near at hand, that there is nothing but a partition-wall of clay, nothing but the breath of the nostrils, between the soul and the immediate enjoyment of God; and therefore it cries, with Paul, "I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is best of all.""
"After a little further animated conversation, the clergyman's visit terminated with prayer. My dear aunt seemed fully sensible now that a change would speedily take place; and she requested my cousin Mrs. I would write immediately to her distant relatives, who were altogether ignorant of her indisposition; saying, 'what pleasure it would give them to see how happy and comfortable I am.' She then proposed one or two of them being sent for. Before seeing my cousin, she had changed all her linen, which when done, she said, 'now I feel quite refreshed.' Her servant afterwards read her that sweet hymn of Toplady's, which begins,
Your harps, ye trembling saints;'
and this helped so much to exhilarate her, that she seemed as if she could fly away; indeed the joy unspeakable which she manifested at the prospect of departing, could only be compared to the anticipation of some great pleasure attainable upon the performance of a journey. Her eyes sparkled with delight, and her whole countenance was so brilliantly illuminated, that my cousin says, 'it is impossible for words to describe her appearance.' She was wonderfully strengthened throughout the day, to entreat all around her to seek
the Lord whilst He might be found, and to call upon Him whilst He was near; adding, Pray for the Spirit, nothing without the Spirit! Oh, watch and pray, watch and pray, watch and pray.' This was a precept which was continually proceeding from her lips.
"In the course of that morning she had sent for my cousin's two little girls, and gave them each the first number of the Children's Friend,' a monthly publication, which she had promised to take in for them. She continued in a most joyous spirit, and was uninterruptedly engaged in conversation. My poor cousin, who never left her, could only listen with gratitude and admiration, at the grace which seemed to abound towards her; and says, 'we could not disturb her, for it was plain she needed no earthly comforter, and those around were themselves comforted by her words of peace.' No one near or dear to her appeared to be forgotten; nothing relating to them was too minute for her recollection; and she desired her kind love to each. She said, 'I am not wanted here; I have no children to mourn my loss. To be sure, (she added) I have many adopted ones, who will shed a tear for me.' Here, you know, she was not mistaken, for she was beloved by all, and filially so by many of us. She particularly desired they would be cautious in communicating her decease to poor dear Anne, who was in such delicate health, and who would, she knew, poignantly feel her loss.' You were not forgotten in her messages of love, but named with the fondest tenderness.
"Her suffering this day arose from difficult respiration. At one time, when the almost momentary fear of struggling in death crossed her mind, the Lord's help was so gra ciously vouchsafed, that she was
enabled to say in the confidence of faith, The everlasting arms are underneath-I shall get through.' As evening advanced, the difficulty of breathing became greater, but still she was cheerful, and spoke with delight of the glory that awaited her, and said, 'The shadow is gone, all is light around.' Also, at another time, I shall soon see my dear husband: he died in the Lord.'
"Here it may be remarked that she had never been heard so to speak of our dear uncle from the time of his decease, her feelings being too great, even to give utterance to his name.
About six o'clock in the evening, she wished for a pen, and putting on her glasses for the last time, she committed some wishes to paper, which occupied half a sheet, adding her signature very legibly. It is true her hand was somewhat unsteady, yet it retained its usual character. She was visited by the physician after this, to whom she said, 'Sir, you can do me no good unless you can help me to glory.' She afterwards conversed with her medical attendant on the importance of seeking those things which endure for ever, directing him to Christ for salvation, resting her head upon his shoulder, being unable to speak otherwise than in a whisper. When the last cup of her medicine was offered to her, she seemingly rejected it, as if she were anxious to be gone, and feeling that it would perhaps protract her departure; but on being encouraged to take it for the relief of her breath, she said, taking the cup, and looking to all around her, 'I will drink, to glory, glory, glory,' alluding to the chorus of the Indian Hymn, of which she was particularly fond, as if she felt it would be her last refreshment on earth; and that her next would be
with her Saviour in Heaven. She had been sitting up the greater part of the day in an easy chair, being unable to lie down; and between nine and ten o'clock she felt rather drowsy, and composed herself for a nap; but before she closed her eyes, she extended her legs across the servant's lap, upon which they had been resting all day, observing at the same time, I think I have heard that this gives less trouble after death.' She then dropped off to sleep. My cousin, and the servants who were anxiously watching her, were soon sensible that her breathing became gradually shorter, and in a little time a faint sigh died upon their ear, the only signal of our beloved aunt's having entered that rest and glory, which she had been so joyfully anticipating the last twenty-four hours; for without a struggle or a groan did her immortal spirit leave its earthly habitation.
"Thus indeed was realised what faith had before enabled her in full assurance to hope, that she should get through, the everlasting arms being underneath.' Yours ever affectionately."
Thus ended this deeply affecting letter, containing intelligence so little anticipated as the sudden removal of my long-valued and endeared friend. Oh, may we not "Bless the Lord for all his servants departed in his faith and fear, and ask for grace so to follow their examples, that with them we may inherit the heavenly promises."
The tender compassion of our God was indeed manifested to her, in his upholding, strengthening, and comforting grace, which she had in the strictest sense of the words found to be "her rod and her staff," evidencing that the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And never