Sidor som bilder

swallowed up of life. I long to eat the fruit of that tree which is planted in the midst of the paradise of God; and to drink of the pure river, clear as crystal, that runs through the streets of the new Jerusalem. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and that though after ny skin worms devour my body, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and not another, and mine eyes shall behold him, though my reins be consumed within me. I long to be refreshed in company with the souls of them that are under the altar, who were slain for the word of God and the testimony which they held ; and to have the long white robe given me, that I may walk in wbite with those glorious saints, who have washed their garments and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Why should I think it a strange thing to be removed from this place to that wherein is my hope, my joy, my crown, my eldest Brother, my Head, my Father, my Comforter, and all the glorified saints; and where the song of Moses and of the Lamb is sung joyfully; where we shall no longer be compelled to sit by the rivers of Babylon, and hang our harps upon the willows, but shall take them and sing the new halelujah_blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever! What is under this old vault of the heavens, and in this old worn out earth, (which is under the bondage of corruption, groaning and travailling in pain, and as it were still shooting out the bead, looking, waiting, and longing for the redemption of the sons of God) what is there I say, that should make me remain here? I expect that new heaven and that new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and wherein I shall dwell for evermore. I look to get entry into the new Jerusalem, at one of those twelve gates whereupon are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. I know that Christ Jesus hath prepared room for me; why may I not then, with boldness in his blood, step into that glory, into which my Head and Lord bath gone before me? Jesus Christ is the Door and the Porter, who then shall hold me out ? Will he let them perish for whom he died? Will he let that poor sheep be plucked out of his hand for whom he hath laid down his life? Who shall condemn the man whom God hath justified ? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of the man for whom Christ bath died, or rather risen again ? I know I have grievously transgressed, but where sin abounded, grace bath superabounded.' I know my sins are red as scarlet and crimson, yet the blood of Christ my Lord, can make me as white as snow and as wool. Whom bave I in heaven but him, or whom desire I in earth beside him ? O thou, the fairest among the children of men, the light of the Gentiles, the glory of the Jews, the life of the dead, the joy of angels and saints, my soul panterb to be with thee! I will put my spirit into thy hands, and thou wilt not put it out of thy presence. I will come upto thee ; for thou castest none away that come unto thee, O thou only delight of mankind! Thou camest to seek and save that which was lost. Thou, seeking me, bast found me: and now being found by thee, I hope, O Lord, thou wilt not let me perish. I desire to be with thee, and do long for the fruition of thy blessed presence, and joy of thy countenance. Thou, the only good Shepherd, art full of grace and truth: therefore, I trust, thou wilt not thrust me out of the door of thy presence and grace. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Thee. Who shall separate me from thy love? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persccution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? Nay, in all these things I am more than conqueror through thy majesty who bath loved me. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature, is able to separate me from the love of the majesty which is in Christ Jesus, my Lord. I refuse not to die with thee, that I may live with thee. I refuse not to suffer with thee, that I may rejoice with thee. Shall not all things be pleasant to me, which may be my last step, by which, or upon which, I may come unto thee. Wben shall I be satiate with thy face? When shall I be drunk with thy pleasures ? Come, Lord Jesus, and tarry not. The Spirit saith come. The Bride saith come. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly, and tarry not.

“ Vi'hy should the multitude of mine iniquities, or the greatness of them affright me? Why should I faint in this mine adversity to be with thee? The greater sinner I have been, the greater glory will be thy grace to me, unto all eternity. Oh unspeakable joy, endless, infinite, and bottomless compassion! O, ocean of neverfading pleasure ! 0 1 love of love! O! the height, and the depth, and breadth, and length of that love of thine that passeth knowledge! Ouncreated love! Beginning, without beginning, and ending without an end! Thou art my glory, my joy, my gain, and my crown. Thou hast set me under thy shadow with great delight, and thy fruit is sweet unto my taste. Thou hast brought me into thy banquetinghouse, and placed me in thine orchard. Stay me with thy flaggons, and comfort me with thine apples : for I am sick, and my soul is wounded with thy love. Behold, thou art fair, my love : behold, tbou art fair, thou hast dove's eyes. Behold, thou art fair my love ; yea, pleasant also : our bed is green. The beams of our house are cedars and our rafters are of fir. How fair and how pleasant art thou! O love for delightsmy heart is ravished with thee. O when shall I see thy face? How long wilt thou delay to be to me as a roe, or a young hart, leaping upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills ? As a bundle of myrrh be thou unto me, and lie all night between my breasts. Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is as an ointment poured out; therefore, desire I tn go out of the desart, and through to the place where thou sittest at tby repose, and where thou makest thy flocks to rest at noon. When shall I be filled with thy love ? Certainly, if a man knew how precious it were, he would count all things dross and dung to gain it. I would long for that scaffold, or that axe, or that cord, that might be to me the last step of this my wearisome journey, to go to thee my Lord. Thou, who knowest the meaning of the spirit, give answer to the speaking, sighing, and groaning of the spirit within

me. Thou, who hast inflamed my heart to speak to thee in this silent, yet love-language of ardent and fervent desire, speak again unto my heart, answer my desires, which thou hast made me speak to thee. O death I where is thy sting? O gravel where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, that giveth me the victory, through my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What can be troublesome to me, since my Lord looks upon me with so amiable a countenance ? And how greatly do I long for these embracements of my Lord ! O tbat he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for his love is better than wine! O that my soul were the throne whereon he might sit eternally! O that my heart were the temple wherein he might be magnified and dwell for ever / * Who am I that he should first have called me, and then constitute me a minister of the glad tidings of the gospel of salvation these years already, and now last of all to be a sufferer for his cause and kingdom. Now let it be so, that I have fought my fight, and run my race, and now from henceforth is laid up for me that crown of righteousness, which the Lord that righteous God will give, and not to me only, but to all that love his appearance, and choose to witness this, that Jesus Christ is the king of saints, and that his church is a most free kingdom, yet as free as any kingdom under heaven, not only to convocate, hold, and keep her meetings, and conventions and assemblies ; but also to judge of all her affairs, in all her meetings and conventions amongst ber members and subjects. These two points, First, That Christ is the bead of his church. Secondly, That she is free in her government from all other jurisdiction except Christ's ; these two points, I say, are the special cause of our imprisonment, being now convict as traitors for the maintaining thereof: we have been ever waiting with joyfulness to give the last testimony of our blood in confirmation thereof, if it should please our God to be so favourable as to honour us with that dignity: yea I do affirm, that these two points above written, and all other things which belong to Christ's crown, sceptre, and kingdom, are not subject, nor cannot be, to any other authority, but to his own altogether. So that I would be most glad to be offered up as a sacrifice for so glorious a truth: but alas ! I fear

• There are not only many expressions, but even sentiments, as must be confessed, in this address of the Saviour inconsistent with the rigid and refined taste of modern times, as regards the feelings and language of devon tion. But this being acknowledged, it may also be observed, that there is a glow and a fervour, (occasionally well expressed) in the sentiments of this good man, to which the experience of ordinary professors, affords no parallel, and with wbich therefore, it cannot be expected that they should readily sympathize. The truth is, that the habitual tone of Mr. Welch's mind is scarcely equalled by the occasional and most elevated states of feeling experienced by every-day Christians: no wonder then, that upon occasions like the present, it should exhibit something like ecstasy and extravagance. Indeed, it must be obvious to every one who compares the religious character of the present age with that of Welch and Rutherford, and other worthies, that whatever we have gained in clearness and simplicity of view, we have lost in depth and intensity of feeling.

that my sins and the abuse of so glorious things as I have found, deprive me of so fair a crown; yet my Lord doth know, if he should call me to it, and strengthen me in it, it would be to me the most glorious day, and the gladdest hour, I ever saw in this life, but I am in his hand to do with me whatsoever sball please his majesty. It may suffice me I have had so long a time in the knowledge of the gospel, and that I have seen the things that I have seen, and heard the things that I have heard, and through the grace of God, I have been so long a witness of these glorious and good news, in my weak ministry, and that my witnessing hath not been altogether without fruit and blessing ; so that I hope at that day, I shall have him to be my crown, my glory, my joy, and reward, and therefore boldly I say with Simeon, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, not in a peaceable dying in my bed, but by rendering up to him my spirit, and the sealing and stamping this truth with my blood. I desire not to have it remedied, but let my Lord's will be done.

“ The guilt of our blood shall not only lie upon our prince, but also upon our own brethren, bishops, counsellors, and commissioners, it is they, even they that have stirred up our prince against us; we must · therefore lay the blame and burden of our blood upon them especially, however the rest above written be partakers of their sins with them : and as to the rest of our brethren, who either by silence approve, or by crying peace, peace, strengthen the arm of the wicked, that they cannot return, in the mean time make the hearts of the righteous sad, they shall all in like manner be guilty of high treason against the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, his crown and kingdom.

- Next unto them, all our commissioners, chancellor, president, comptroller, advocate, and next unto them, all that first or last sat in council, and did not bear plain testimony for Jesus Christ and his kingdom, for which we do suffer. And next unto them, all those who should have at present, and who should at such times have come, and made open testimony of Christ faithfully, although it had been contrary to plain law, and with the hazard of their lives. When the poor Jews were in such danger, that nothing was expected but utter destruction, queen Esther, after three days' fasting, concluded thus with her. self, • I will,' said she, go in to the king,' though it be not according to law, and if I perish I perish,' Esther ix. 16. With this resolution, such as are born counsellors, should have said, Christ's kingdom is now in my hand, and I am bound, also, and sworn, by a special covenant, to maintain the doctrine and discipline thereof, according to my vocation and power, all the days of my life ; under all the pains contained in the book of God, and danger of body and soul, in the day of God's fearful judgment; and therefore, though I should perish in the cause, yet will I speak for it, and to my power defend it, accord. ing to my vocation. Finally, All those that counsel, command, consent, and allow, are guilty in the sight of God. But the mourners for these evils, and the faithful of the land, and those who are unfeignedly grieved in heart, for all these abominations, those shall be marked as not guilty, Ezek. ix.

“ I know not whether I shall have occasioE to write again; and

therefore, by this letter, as my latter will and testament, I give testimony, warning, and knowledge of these things to all men, according to the Lord's direction to the prophet, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman,' Ezek. xxxii. 7. &c. Therefore I give warning to all men hereby, that no man's blood be required at my band. Thus desiring the help of your prayers, with my humble commendations and service in Christ, to my lord, your husband, and all the saints there, the messenger of peace be with you all for evermore. Amen. Yours to my full power, for the time Christ's prisoner.



[Robert Bruce was one of the most distinguished men of his time.

He was born about the year 1554, and bred to the study of the law; but in consequence of strong conscientious feelings, he was led to prefer that of divinity, and became ere long one of the ministers of Edinburgh. Here he shone as a great light, and forthwith became a principal actor in the affairs of the church, and a strenuous maintainer of its established forms. He thus exposed bimself to much persecution, which he endured with unshrinking constancy. He concluded a long and arduous life in a manner which deserves to be recorded, giving a short but striking testimony

to the strength and reality of bis faith and bis hope.] For some time previous to his death, which happened in August 1631, he was, through age and infirmity, mostly confined to his chamber. Being frequently visited by friends and acquaintances, he was on one occasion asked by one of them, bow matters stood betwixt God and his soul ? He made this reply, “ When I was young, I was diligent, and lived by faith on the Son of God; but now I am old and not able to do so much, and yet be condescends to feed me with lumps of sense and experience.” On the morning before he was removed, his sickness consisting chiefly in the weakness of age, he came to breakfast ; and having, as usual, eaten an egg, he said to his daughters, “ I think I am yet hungry, ye may bring me another egg." But instantly thereafter, falling into deep meditation, and after having mused a little, he said, “ Hold, daughter, my Master calls me !" Upon these words, his sight failed him; and calling for bis family Bible, but finding he could not see, he said, “ Cast up to me the eighth chapter of the epistle to the Romans, and set my finger on these words, I am persuaded that neither death nor life, &c. shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. “ Now," said he," is my finger upon them?" and being told it was, he said, “ Now God be with you my children; I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus Christ this night." And so, like Abraham of old, he gave up the ghost in a good old age, and was gathered to bis people. + • Life of Welch. pp. 13-19. + Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scriptures, vol. i.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »