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AN ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH
Extracted from a Letter to the
HAVING fortunately met with a short account of the last days of the Countess of Huntingdon; though I could not obtain her life, and knowing that you wished something upon the subject, I herewith transmit it for your Supplement; and shall be pleased to hear you are of the same opinion with some of your brethren in Edinburgh, viz. that there is no impropriety in publishing an account of Lady Huntingdon's death, without the life. I have subjoined a letter from her med. ical friend. If you approve of it, as it bears such a strong testimony in her favour, and corroborates the truth of the preceding narrative, I hope both may edify.
Some little time before her ladyship's last confinement, one of the clergymen whom she honoured with her confidence, spending a day with her as he passed through London, she spoke of herself in a strain so remarkably affecting, that he could not but mention it afterwards. The subject of the conversation was the cause of Christ, which she always had so deeply at heart, and that led to the state of her own mind and expectations. The expressions were to this effect, but more forcible than those feeble traces of them: "I
see myself a poor worm drawing near him. What hope could I entertain, if I did not know the efficacy of his blood, and turned as a prisoner of hope to this strong hold? How little could any thing of mine give a moment's rest to a departing soul? So much sin and self mixing with the best, and always so short of what we owe! It is well for us that he can pity and par don and we have confidence that he will do so. I confess, my dear friend, I have no hope but that which inspired the dying malefactor at the side of my Lord; and I must be saved in the same way, as freely, as fully, or not at all."
The friend said, " Madam, I cordially join you, and fall in with you. Though our lives may be devoted to the work of Jesus, and our deaths the consequence of the service, it is not to those sacrifices we could look for comfort in a dying hour." She replied "No, verily." And enlarging on the idea of the mix, ture of infirmity and corruption which tarnished all our best meant services, she added, that a sinner could only rest satisfactorily on one foundation,, and would find nothing in the best works of his best days, that he could dare produce before God for its own sake; sufficiently blessed and secure, if he could but cry, God be merciful to me a sinner, and let me be found accepted in the Beloved, and complete in him!" To these, in the course of a long conversation, were added many like words of truth and grace.
To a paper of importance, written within a few months before her last illness, were subjoin
1807.] Account of the Death of Lady Huntingdon.
ed these words: "And as I have always lived the poor unworthy pensioner of the infinite bounty of my Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, so I do hereby declare, that all my present peace, and my future hope of glory, either in whole or in part, depend wholly, fully and finally, upon his alone merits; committing my soul into his arms unreservedly, as a subject of his sole mercy to all eternity."
When the blood vessel broke, which was the commencement of her illness in November, she said to a friend, on being asked how she did, "I am well. All is well forever. I see, wherever I turn my eyes, whether I live or die, nothing but victory." She has lately with great emphasis repeated often, "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. O my friend, the coming of the Lord draweth nigh!"-adding, "The thought fills my soul with joy unspeakable; whether I shall see his glory more abundantly appear, or whether it be an intimation of my own departure to Him."
At another time, "All the little ruffles and difficulties which surround me, and all the pains I am exercised with in this poor body, through mercy affect not the settled peace and joy of my soul."
A day or two before her last illness, just as she had come from her room to her elbow-chair, she broke out in these remarkable words:
"The Lord hath been present with my spirit this morning in a remarkable manner. What he means to convey to my mind, I know not. It may be, my approaching departure. My soul
is filled with glory. I am as in the element of heaven itself." They who knew how constantly her conversation was in heaven, will conclude, that those who were around her, might fill volumes, instead of pages, with her energetic expressions. But she has forbidden it, and the publication of her papers and correspondence.
Weakened by complicated disorders, and enfeebled by age; when about a week preceding her departure, she was confined on the bed of languishing, it could not but afford surprise to all around her, that the vigour of her mind was as unabated, and her intellects as clear, as in any period of her life. The same earnest concern for the work of God, and the advancement of the kingdom of his dear Son, abroad and at home, occupied all her thoughts. Anxious that an attempt to send the gospel to Otaheite in the South Seas, should succeed, to a friend engaged in that labour of love, who was sitting by her bedside, she began to express her earnest desire that it might be accomplished. He with difficulty prevailed on her to drop the subject, lest talking earnestly might interrupt the rest which was desireable for her, assuring her that every means would be pursued to effect so desirable an event, "And tomorrow," said he, "your ladyship shall hear what can be done." And when, next day, difficulties were raised, and the two persons who had engaged to go as missionaries, demurred, unless they could be ordained in the Established Church, which was refused them; she said, on being informed of it, "We shall
find others, I doubt not:" and gave immediate orders to her secretary to write a note to the person engaged in the pursuit, to assure him of her affectionate regard, and to express her love and honour for his zeal and faithfulness. So warmly was her heart interested in this work to her very last moments.
About an hour only before her death, she said to a female friend, who with assiduous attention for many nights and days never quitted the room, "Is Charles's letter come?" (she had sent for him to supply her chapel in Spa Fields, when Mr. Jones of Langan returned home.) On being answered it is, she said, "It must be opened, to see if he comes." When her friend said, "I will go and open it;" she added, "To know if he comes, that is the point." So anxiously were the cares of her work impressed upon her dying heart and often she added, when speaking of the people in her connexion as her children, "I feel for their souls."
During the whole of her illness, her pains never made her impatient; but she seemed more concerned about those who at tended her, than about herself. She said tenderly to Lady A. E. and Miss S. A. whose long, faithful, and tender attachment to her is well known, "I fear I shall be the death of you both," (alluding to their constant watching with her); "it will be but a few days more." She appeared, during the tedious nights and days of pain and sickness, engaged in prayer, and animated with thankfulness for the unutterable mercies which she had experienced, saying, "I am en
circled in the arms of love and mercy." And, at another time, "I long to be at home: O, I long to be at home." A little before she died, she said repeatedly, "I shall go to my God and Father this night:" and shortly after, "Can he forget to be gracious? Is there any end of his loving-kindness?"
Dr. Lettsome had visited her between four and five; shortly after her strength failed, and she appeared departing. Alarmed, they summoned up a friend who was waiting anxiously below. He took her hand; it was bedewed with sweat: he applied his fingers to the pulse-it had ceased to beat-and that instant she breathed her last sigh as he leaned over her, and fell asleep in Jesus, June 17, 1791, in the 84th year of her age.
The next day, Dr. Lettsome wrote the following letter to Lady A. E. which speaks the worthy sentiments of his own heart, and the satisfaction which so noble an example afforded him :
"Dear Lady A. E.-I deeply sympathize with thee and all the family in Christ, in the removal of that evangelic woman so lately among us, the Countess of Huntingdon. Your souls were so united, and your affections so endeared together, that I cannot but feel in a particular manner on thy account, lest the mournful state of thy mind may undermine thy constitution, and endanger a life spent in mitigating the painful sufferings of body of our deceased friend while living. Her advanced age and debilitated frame, had long prepared my mind for an event which has at length deprived the world of its brightest ornament. How often
have we, when sitting by her sick bed, witnessed the faithful composure with which she has viewed this awful change! Not with the fearful prospect of doubt; not with the dreadful apprehension of the judgment of an offended Creator. Hers was all peace within, a tranquillity and cheerfulness which conscious acceptance alone could convey. How often have we seen her, elevated above the earth and earth ly things, uttering this language: "My work is done, I have nothing to do but to go to my heavenly Father." Let us, there fore, under a firm conviction of her felicity, endeavour to fol low her, as she followed her Redeemer. Let us be thankful that she was preserved to ad
vanced age with the perfect exercise of her mental faculties; and that under long and painful days and nights of sickness she never repined, but appeared constantly animated in prayer and thankfulness for the unutterable mercies she experienced. When I look back upon the last years of my attendance, and connect with it the multitudes of others whom my profession has introduced me to, I feel consolation in acknowledging, that of all the daughters of affliction, she exhibited the greatest degree of Christian composure that ever I witnessed; and that submission to divine allotment, however severe and painful, which nothing but divine aid could inspire."
THOUGHTS ON JUSTIFICATION. the action, or, if he did, that the
THE term justification is not properly used, but in relation to a person, against whom some crime is alleged. A person is accused of a particular action. By proving either, that he did not perform the action, or, that the action was no crime, he jus tifies himself; and whenever this is proved to the satisfaction of the judge, he pronounces jus tification on the accused person.
As it respects human tribunals, there is a difference between justification and pardon. When the judge justifies, or pronounceth the justification of an accused person, he declares, either that the latter never did Vol. III. No. 2,
action was no crime. In civil society, he, who is justified, cannot be pardoned, and he, who is pardoned, cannot be justified. But as it respects punishment, pardon and justification are the same even in human courts. He, who is pardoned, and he, who is justified, are equally sure of not being punished.
It is evident, then, that the difference between justification as used by civilians, and justification as used in the Bible, has relation to what is past, and not to what is future. It respects their past characters, and not their future destiny. A person justified in either case can receive no punishment from the law.
In a religious view, justification can have no other meaning than pardon. No sinner on earth can prove, that he is not guilty; nor can the righteous Judge pronounce, that the sinner is not guilty.
When it is said of Christ, that he justifieth the ungodly, it cannot be meant, that he pronounc-; eth the ungodly innocent. That would be a contradiction; it would be the same as to declare, that the ungodly are not ungodly. The meaning must be, that on condition of faith, he absolveth from punishment, those, who have, by ungodliness, broken the law.
Redeemed saints, as they were once sinners, will always know and remember, that they were such. Without remembering this, they cannot repeat the glorious song of heaven, He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood. It is still more clearly impossible, that God should forget what was once the character of those, who are redeemed. Still, their sins shall never be brought against them, by way of punishment or reproach. No one shall, in this sense, lay any thing to the charge of God's elect. He, who is justified, at whatever time he dies, shall receive no condemnation.
That pardon and justification are the same, appears from the language of scripture. Paul, in the fourth chapter of his epistle to the Romans, treats particularly of justification, and he represents it to be the same thing as to have iniquities forgiven and sins covered.
. It is the opinion of some eminent divines, that justification has a more extensive influence
than pardon. Pardon, they justly observe, does nothing more than secure the sinner from punishment. It does not imply any reward; but justification, as used in the gospel, they sup-. pose, means something more than freedom from punishment, even a positive reward.
.This distinction is humbly conceived to be without foundation.
It is true, indeed, that every justified person is, according to the plan of grace revealed in the gospel, entitled to a glorious reward; and the same is true of every pardoned person.. But still neither pardon nor justification, in itself considered, implies this. Pardon places a man just where he was before he sinned, and justification does no more. If, when pardoned, or justified, he receive a reward, it is owing to that merciful constitution, under which he is placed, and to the benefits of which, he, by pardon or justification, obtains access, or is restored.
A master, we will suppose, hires two servants. To one, on condition of good behaviour, he agrees to give food and raiment for a year: to another, on the same condition, he agrees to give, for the same time, not only food and raiment, but a sum of money. Both, after a few months, are accused of misdemeanor. They are both tried,. and both are justified. whether they shall be rewarded, is not implied in their justification, in itself considered, but depends on the previous agreement subsisting between them and their master, to the benefits of which, they are hereby restored. It is essential to Christian jus