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MEMOIR OF JOHN PHILLIPS,
AN AGED CHRISTIAN AFRICAN, WHO DIED AT HASTINGS, SIERRA LEONE, ON THE 22ND OF AUGUST, 1843.
The following notice of the life and last hours of this humble and consistent believer occurs in the Journal of the Rev. J. U. Graf. He was not only a veteran in the service of his country, but a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Under the banner of the Captain of his salvation, he fought a good fight, and has now entered into peace.
Aug. 22, 1843-A good old member of our church, John Phillips, died to-day, after a lingering illness of above a year. He was disbanded from the 3rd WestIndia Regiment in 1824, on account of old age and infirmities, so that he must have attained a good old age when he died. He was born at Rokelle, formerly a considerable town on the left bank of the river of the same name in the Timmanee Country; but though he was so near to his native place, he never showed the least desire to remove thither in his old age, owing to the great esteem in which he held the religious privileges of the Colony. He was naturally a very quiet unassuming man, and latterly had become still more thoughtful and retired in his habits; but as long as the veteran could walk, he would be always first at his place in the House of God, and the most regular attendant on the public and private means of grace-listening to the Gospel message with the most unwearied attention. Though poor and infirm, he would be seen at dawn repairing with a cheerful mind and quick pace to the House of God, to offer his morning sacrifice; and though the morning might be cold and rainy, and he feel the inclemency of the weather more than others, yet would he seldom be absent. Even when his limbs
became weak and trembling, and his body bent forward on his stick, yet did he always endeavour to be first and last at church. His words were generally few; but when recounting the mercies of God toward him, especially His gracious help during the dangers of his military career, his spirits revived, and he spoke with a cheerful animation that would surprise every one. In religious conversation he often seemed lost in wonder and amazement at the remembrance of God's lovingkindness to sinful man; and seemed to abase himself, with heartfelt sorrow, on account of his poor returns, often lamenting the hardness of his heart and the backwardness of his country-people in receiving the Gospel. More than once have I had the old Christian at my bedside in illness, sympathizing with me, and endeavouring to comfort me. At times, also, when I have laboured under great discouragements, such as every minister will meet in his endeavours to win souls to Christ, he would modestly come to me, as if to unburden his heart, and to encourage me in my trials. He, too, had his peculiar family trials; but he bore them patiently, though he felt them keenly.
About nine months before his death I considered it my duty to speak to him freely about my fears as to his approaching departure. At first it made him somewhat thoughtful; but he soon recovered from his first surprise, and thenceforth endeavoured to prepare himself, with grateful resignation to the will of God, to depart and to be with Christ. He always seemed to love my visits in his illness. His prospects into eternity were not always cloudless; but they soon assumed their usual brightness when he was reminded of God's faithfulness to him during his life, of His remaining the same in the hour of death, and of those pleasures at the right hand of God, which are promised to the humble believer in Christ.
A few days before his death, while lying on his bed, he exclaimed, "I want to go, I want to go." Being asked whither he wanted to go, he replied, "To Jesus Christ: that will be better for me." On the day of his death he lay composed, as usual; when he at once said, "I go, I go;" and expired without a struggle.
Thus lived and died a monument of God's grace, an humble and simple disciple of Christ; a man whom I could most conscientiously set before my Congregation, in a Funeral Sermon on the following Lord's Day, as a pattern of Christian character worthy of their imitation: for, 1. His inward life of faith and his outward steadiness of conduct fully harmonized together. 2. He bore with Christian resignation his trials and his lingering illness. 3. He gladly prepared for death, and had a longing to be with Christ; and at last died as one who had become familiar with eternal things, and had obtained a bright hope through grace.
LADY JANE GREY.
The character of this eminent Christian lady is well known, and we think some of our modern Puseyites, and believers in the doctrine of the real presence, might obtain light on their spiritual darkness by reading the following account of her last interview with her spiritual advisers.
A message was sent to the lady to prepare for death; a doom which she long expected, and which her state of suffering rendered peculiarly desirable. A delay of three days was, however, granted for the benefit of her soul; and Dr. Feckenham, a popish priest, was desired to attend her. The following is the substance of the conversation that passed between them:
Feckenham. Madam, I lament your heavy case; and yet I doubt not but you bear this sorrow of yours with a constant and patient mind.
Lady Jane. You are welcome to me, sir, if your coming be to give me Christian exhortation. As for my heavy case, I thank God that I do so little lament it, that rather I account it for a more manifest declaration of God's favour towards me than ever he shewed me at any time before. There is therefore no cause why you or any other person who bear me good-will should lament this my case, being a thing so profitable to my soul's health.
Feckenham. I am come here, at this present, sent from the queen and her council, to instruct you in the true doctrine of the right faith; although I have so great confidence in you, that I shall have, I trust, little need to travail with you much therein.
Lady Jane. Forsooth, I heartily thank the queen's highness, who is not unmindful of her humble subject; and I hope, likewise, that you will do your duty therein, truly and faithfully according to that you were sent for. Feckenham. What is then required of a Christian
Lady Jane. That he should believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three persons and one God.
Feckenham. Is there nothing else to be required in a Christian but to believe in God?
Lady Jane. Yes; we must love him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourself.
Feckenham. Why, then, faith justifieth not nor saveth?
Lady Jane. Yes, verily, faith, as Paul saith, alone justifieth.
Feckenham. Why, St. Paul saith, if I have all faith without love, it is nothing.
Lady Jane. For how can I love him whom I trust not? or how can I trust him whom I love not? Faith and love go together, and yet love is comprehended in faith.
Feckenham. How shall we love our neighbour?
Lady Jane. To love our neighbour is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to give drink to the thirsty, and to do to him as we would do to ourselves.
Feckenham. Why then it is necessary unto salvation to do good works also; and it is not sufficient only to believe?
Lady Jane. I deny that; and I affirm that faith only saveth. But it is meet for a Christian, in token that he followeth his master, Christ, to do good works; yet may we not say that they profit to our salvation; for when
we have done all, yet we be unprofitable servants, and faith only in Christ's blood saveth us.
Feckenham. How many sacraments are there? Lady Jane. Two: the one the sacrament of baptism, and the other the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Feckenham. No; there are seven.
Lady Jane. By what Scripture find you that? Feckenham. Well, we will talk of that hereafter. But what is signified by your two sacraments?
Lady Jane. By the sacrament of baptism I am washed with water; and that washing is a token to me that I am a child of God. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper, offered unto me, is a sure seal and testimony that I am by the blood of Christ, which he shed for me on the cross, made partaker of the everlasting kingdom.
Feckenham. Why, what do you receive in that sacrament? do you not receive the very body and blood of Christ?
Lady Jane. No, surely, I do not so believe. I think that at the Supper I neither receive flesh nor blood, but bread and wine; which bread, when it is broken, and which wine, when it is drunken, putteth me in remembrance how that for my sins the body of Christ was broken, and his blood shed on the cross.
Feckenham. Doth not Christ speak these words, "Take, eat, this is my body"? Require you any plainer words? doth he not say it is his body?
Lady Jane. I grant he saith so; and so he saith, “I am the vine; I am the door;" but he is never the more the door nor the vine. Doth not St. Paul say, "He calleth things that are not as though they were"? God forbid, that I should say that I eat the very natural body and blood of Christ: for then either I should pluck away my redemption, or else there were two bodies, or two Christs. One body was tormented on the cross; and if they did eat another body, then had he two bodies; or if his body was eaten, then was it not broken on the cross; or if it were broken on the cross, it was not eaten of his disciples.
Feckenham. Why, is it not as possible that Christ, by