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REV. JOSEPH O'REILLY.
I have looked with anxiety, in each number of the Orthodox Presby. terian, as it arrived the last three months, expecting to see a notice of the amazing power of Divine grace exemplified in the dying hours of the late Rev. Joseph O'Reilly, late minister of the Secession Church of Lisbellaw. I now feel convinced, that a letter sent to · Belfast, intended to bave been seen by you, has never met your eye, as I know too well your character to suppose, for a moment, that you would not joyfully give publicity to a subject so replete with instruction and comfort to every Christian reader of your publication,—so calculated to raise their souls in adoring gratitude and love to Him who glorified himself, even in the last breathings of one whom He had made in life a wondrous monument of sovereign grace. As many pious ministers, of different denomi. dations, have reproached those who are in possession of such a precious testimony of the Redeemer's love, with not making it known for the com. fort of the Church, I feel bound to send it to you, at the same time assur. ing you, that several Christian friends, who were privileged with myself in witnessing the last moments of our beloved and revered Pastor, can assert, that no earthly language could describe the glories of that hour, the recollection of which can alone pour balm into the wounded hearts of those who deeply mourn the removal, in the prime of life, and in the midst of usefulness, of him, who was their faithful friend, and devoted minister, who had been raised up by the Lord, to build up the walls of their Zion, and faithfully to preach, in the midst of error and opposition, those holy and hearl-cheering truths, that were the joy and the rejoicing of his heart in life and in death.
His illness had been short, and apparently slight, so that not the most distant alarm arose in the minds of his friends,-nor did it please Him, who ordereth all events, to permit any threatening symptom to appear, un: til the last day of his life when, to the surprise and grief of his medical friends, they found that water on the chest made his recovery hopeless; he was calm and cheerful througb the day, said he thought he would recover, and when his agonized friends besought him to pray for lengthened days, he did so in humble submission to the Divine will. At six o'clock, the hour at which he was accustomed to begin evening service, (it was the Lord's 'day,) he said, “ If I were now going to preach, my text should be, -trust ye in the Lord for ever ; for in Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Soon after his voice became so hoarse, as to be heard with difficulty, and when bis friend, the Re Mr. Barkeley, of Enniskillen, came to see him, he could only ask him to pray. His docters feared violent delirium ; and about ten o'clock this seemed being realized for he wandered brokenly over inany matters that concerned his ministerial labours ;-there was one connecting link throughout, he was still about his . Master's business. About eleven o'clock, he spoke more plainly of his wish to lay aside those filtby rags, and to be clothed in clean garments "pure and white." His poor wife, wishing to know if reason was resuming
her place, said, “ My Joseph, wbat means that white linen ?”-He replied quickly, and plainly, “ the righteousness of Christ” -And who are clothed in it? _“All believers." Are you (she said) clothed in it?-“Completely covered.” As if renovated by the thought, he motioned to be raised, and with clear voice, and plain, emphaiic enunciation, said—“my work is done I feel the cold grasp of death upon me, but it has no sting, for my soul shall arise on the wings of faith, to meet my covenant Head, Christ Jesus, in glory ;-1 die, trusting in the full, and free, and finished, and everlasting salvation that is in Christ Jesus, and iu that only, remember,--this is what I preached ja life,--and this is my joy, and my re. joicing in death, and this only— And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowsbip of the Holy Ghost be with you all, -- Amen.'” He sunk exhausted and seemed dying but after a pause for rest, was strengthened to say,“ God Almighty bless my darling wife; may she be kept by the power of God, through faith, upto salvation, may my death he sanctified to her ; (and pressing more closely to her,) you loved me much, and I loved you much, and that love which was cemented in time, shall be perfected in glory.”-He then mosi tenderly and devoutly prayer for ber mother and each of her sisters, by name, for other members of his congregation who were present, speaking to each as certain of meeting them in glory,“ for (said he) grace has been amongst us here, and, when grace is given here, glory must be hereafter.” He prayed for his own mother and family, for many distant friends, particularizing them by name, for the ministers of the two Synods of Ulster, and of Ireland, especially for his dear friend Mr. Barkeley, of Enniskillen. He called a R. C. servant, and said to her, farewell, Mary-remember.—what 1 bare often told you in life, I now tell you in death-depend not op man, nor on any thing that man can do ; trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him alone, for He is the way, and the truth, and the life, and no man cometh to the Father but by Him.” He sank back repeating his dear benediction, “And now, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ &c.". -Ayain the spirit gave him utterance, and he exclaimed, " I shall soon stand upon mount Zion, and cast my crown before the Throne, and be engaged as those art, mention. ed in the oth of Rev. not for any work that I have done, but for the full, and free, and finished, and everlasting salvation that is in Christ Jesus, and for that only ; grace made me what I am, and grace shall bring me to glory,--for they that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion that cannot be removed, but abideth for ever,-again he fervently commended his wife and family to the care of his God,--his elders,-his whole Hock, --specially those who had at any time sat with him at the table of the Lord, all who had heard the gospel from bim, and all that in every place love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,"--again he was overpowered, but soon recovering said, " I see my Father's chariut waiting to receive me, and now I go to sbine for ever in the mediatorial crown,--to sing for ever to the praise of Him, who brought me up out.of an horrible pit and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings; who hath coverd me with garments of salvation, and now waits to receive me into glory. I have often been favoured with clear views of divine truth, but never so gloriously bright as tliis night, -remember my being thus able to speak in death is the greatest miracle, -could an infidel behold me, he must acknowledge the Saviour's power,--that Saviour, who suffered me not to remain in the horrors of Popery, nor to stray into the darkness of Armioianism, nor rest in the mixed doctrines held forth by many; but taught my heart to know and my tongue to proclaim the full
, and free, and finished, and everlasting salvation that is in Jesus Cbrist, and that only. Let my grave be made across the window that looks to the pulpit in Lisbellaw, and let me, like Stephen, be carried by devout men to my burial, let my funeral be perfectly plain and temperate. After a pause, he prayed that the congregation he had raised might be rightly directed in the choice of a minister to succeed him, and that the Lord would raise up a faithful man, who would boldly declare unto them the whole counsel of God, the unsearchable riches of Christ," that they might never receive one who would preach Arminianism or semiPopery, but maintain the full, and free, and finished, and everlasting salvation of Christ Jesus, and that only, that they might, be preserved a complete body, without schism, or dissension, and that purity and strict discipline might be preserved in tbe Church. He then enlarged on the danger of bearing any thing connected with conditional salvation,-another sink,-and when revived by a few drops of wine, he said, “now I have done with earth, I shall take no more until I drink new wine in my Father's kingdom.” He repeated nearly all the 231 Ps., one verse of 27th, with many other portions of Scripture; again fervently commended all present to the care of his God, and finished with bis dear essing. “And now, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellow. ship of the Holy Glost, be with you all, Amen." Worn out, he sank back on bis wite's bosom, murmuring, in broken words, I feel your dear hand on my forehead yet, my darling wife, a few minutes, a very few, and without sigh or struggle he slept in Christ Jesus, op Mooday morning, at half-past One o'clock, July 251b, 1836,-aged 37 years.
There is only to add, that his wisb was obeyed. He was carried by devout men to his burial, who made great lamentation over him. With truest respect,
A MEMBER OF THE SECESSION CHURCH, AT LISBELLAW.
SHALL the righteous perish, and no man lay it to heart ? Shall the memory of the saints that were in the earth, the excellent, be suffered to pass into oblivion?! It is our painful duty to record the death of Mrs. Ritchie, of Ballykeigle, (near Comber.) And, when we reflect on the mode of her death, we are constrained, with the Apostle, to exclaim, “how unsearchable are the judgments of God, and his ways past finding out.”. Dark, 'indeed, and mysterious was the dispensation of Providence by which this servant of Christ was called from a state of trial to one of victory and triumph. On the night of the 14th of October, she was returning from Belfast, in a conveyance driven by her eldest son; and, the horse taking fright, the vebicle was overturned, when she was thrown under it, and, before her son could procure assistance, the thread of life was snapt asunder, and her spirit was beyond the reach of pain,
The life of this excellent woman exbibited the Christian graces in all their simple and unaffected loveliness. Her's were not the virtues that excite wonder, and procure applause ; but the more useful and valuable ones which adorn and sweeten private life. While on earth, her conversation was in heaven, and her actions bespoke a mind expanded and enriched by Divine grace. “Whatever lier band found to do, she did it with all her might," She was ever anxious to extend the knowledge and practice of religion, and heartily engaged in promoting Sabbath-schools, prayer-meetings, lending libraries, &c., hy which the blessings of religi. gious knowledge might be diffused throughout her neighbourhood.
But it was in her family that her piety and prudence were most con. spicuous. She earnestly endeavoured to train up her children in “ the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” and to impress their young minds with the “beauty of holiness.” In the providence of God, she was called to suffer many bereavements,-to see some of her children sink into an early grave, and to witness the death of a much-beloved husband. To all, bowever, she submitted with the uncomplaining resignation of the Christian, baving good reason to believe that Jesus was their Rock and Redeemer. “She was a widow, indeed, trusting in God.”
The following extract from her last letter to her son, who was then in a distant part of the country preaching the Gospel of the Son of God, strikingly displays ber pious frame of mind :-"The cloud is dispersed, and the Lord grant that light and understanding may shine into our hearts, and teach us to be humble, always depending on God for both spiritual and temporal blessings. May God bless you, and lead you into all truth, is the sincere prayer of your affectionate mother."
To her family, and to the Church, her loss is great, indeed; but to her. self “to depart and be with Christ, is far better.” She has entered on a state of perfection, to dwell with that Saviour on whom she rested through life. The prayer of the proto-martyr was on her lips in her last agonizing struggles. When pressed under the vehicle, and scarcely able to ar. ticulate, these faint sounds reached the ears of her almost distracted son,
Oh! my breast is hurt; Lord Jesus receive my spirit,”-and, having said this, she fell asleep. She is gone to that Redeemer whom she loved on earth, and to dwell among the blissful multitude a bo have “washed their robes, and made them white, in the blood of the Lamb."
ORDINATION.-On the 16th October, the Rev. Mr. Murphy was ordained, by the Presbytery of Raphoe, to the pastoral charge of the new congregation at Ballyshannon. The services of the day were conducted by Rev. J. Steele, wbo commenced the devotional services, and preached on the occasion from Acts xx. 17, &c., the Rev. W. D. Killen explained the ordinance, the Rev. S. Dill offered
the ordina. tion prayer, and the Rev. W. B. Kirkpatrick delivered the charge to Pastor and people. In the evening, the company were addressed, after dinner, on Missionary and other sub. jects, by the same ministers ; which was in lovely accordance with the sacred services of the day.
INSTALLATION.— The Rev. H. Perry, late of Ballyjamesduff
, was installed, on the 30th November, by the Presbytery of Raphoe, in the new erection of Raws. The Rev. W. D. Killen preached, and the Rev. J. Steele explained and de. fended Presbyterian ordination, and, also, delivered an appropriate charge to the Pastor and people.