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you glad tidings of great joy; for unto you is born a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Would you, could you, while contemplating such a sceñe, and listening to the angelic message, doubt whether it communicated glad tidings? Would you not rather unite with them in exclaiming, “Glad tidings! glad tidings! Glory to God in the highest, that there is peace on earth and good will to men."
TRUE ACCOUNT OF A DYING SCENE. Having lately witnessed the death-bed of one of God's servant's and saints, and feeling that a true and simple account of it may, by his blessing, be of service to others, I desire briefly and plainly to write down what I heard and saw; and those who read this account may rest assured that there is nothing exaggerated or coloured up in it. I merely state what I witnessed.
I had been some time absent from home; and on my return a poor woman, whom I had formerly known, called on me to say her husband was so dangerously ill with asthma, that she did not think he could last many days, and begged me to come and see him, which I promised to do; and accordingly went the following day. I found him seated upright, in a small uncomfortable chair, by the fire; and his wife told me that that was his invariable position day and night, for his difficulty of breathing prevented the possibility of his lying down. His sufferings, she said, were very great; for besides the difficulty of breathing, his legs had become swelled and dropsical, and were acutely painful. I sat down beside him, and said, "I am very sorry, Mr. D., to see you in such suffering." He made some reply, but his voice was so low, and the difficulty of speech so great, that I could hear nothing.
I had never seen him before, to my recollection, and not knowing what might be his state of mind, or therefore in what manner I ought to address him; I drew my
chair à little nearer, and said to him, “I am come to read to you, and talk with you, and pray with you;
but before I say any thing more, will you answer me one question-If God were to send for you this night, on what do you rest your hope of salvation?" His immediate reply, though I forget the exact words, was, that he had no hope whatever, except in the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour: and he added, "O how thankful I am that I did not put off seeking him till
I could not do it now; my bodily pains are so great, it would be impossible!”
I did not pay him a long visit, but read what I thought might be of comfort to him; and when I ceased he began in a low voice, but with an accent of real feeling which I can never forget, to repeat a hymn which I had never heard before:
“On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wistful eye
Where my possessions lie." After praying for him, in which, by look and gesture, he seemed heartily to unite, I left him; and in the course of the next fortnight, (which was all the remaining term of his mortal course, I visited him several times, and each time found him in the same quiet and resigned state.
I never heard a word bordering on a complaint, nor even an allusion to his sufferings, except what was drawn from him by questions, and then he never dwelt on them, but seemed to desire to return to higher conversation.
My last visit to him was on Saturday, October 25. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. On entering the room I was much surprised at finding him lying down on the bed. His wife was reading aloud to him, from a book of prayers, as I entered. She told me that his breathing had been sufficiently relieved to permit him to lie down, but that the struggles of death had come on; and then followed such a scene as I have sometimes heard of, sometimes read of, but never before witnessed.
The mortal struggles of the dying creature, mixed with the peace, the joy-I may say—the triumph of the departing Christian! 'The sufferings of the body! the
blessedness of the soul! the low estate of the mortal part! the high breathings of immortality! the actual grasp of death! the full assurance of life!
life eternal through Jesus Christ his Lord and Saviour, whose unseen presence so evidently brightened and gladdened that death-bed, that it appeared as the very threshold of heaven!
I approached his bed; but though he knew me, he said his sight had failed, and he could no longer see; and then apparently losing all consciousness that any one was present, he repeated in a faint, dying voice, but with the same expression of intense feeling that I noticed before, his favourite hymn,
“On Jordan's stormy banks I stand," and several others, the words of which I could not catch, stopping at intervals to exclaim, "Glory, glory! hallelujah! praise the Lord.” He then broke out into what could be only called bursts of prayer, in which he embodied and applied to himself that beautiful prayer in our Burial Service, “O Lord, suffer me not at my last hour for any pains of death to fall from thee.” This prayer, which lasted a long while, perhaps a quarter of an hour, was frequently interrupted by a total cessation of breath for several moments, and then a violent struggle to regain it, so that I thought every minute would be his last.
After staying there about an hour, I was compelled to return home; and before I went away I turned to take leave of him, and he said, slowly and distinctly, “God bless you!" I answered, “Yes, give me a blessing! Do bless me before you depart, for I shall remember
your words long after you are gone! I consider your words as spoken from the confines of another world, so what do you say to me?" He immediately replied, pressing the hand that I had given him, “Oh, be stedfast! be stedfast! you cannot seek God too soon!” He continued to speak to me for some time, but I am grieved to say it was impossible to hear a single word. I only caught the concluding words, "we shall meet again, not only before the bar of God, but before the throne of the Lamb !"
The next evening his wife called to tell me that he had just yielded up his spirit to the Lord that gave it, after having spent the whole of that day exactly in the same manner as he had done the preceding evening when I saw him. She told me his
las words were, “Glory be to God! Come, Lord Jesus, quickly! I long to be at home!” He then begged her to pray, and she began to repeat the Lord's prayer; and while she was doing so, quietly and gently he departed this life, aged 65
years. It was twenty-three years since he had begun to seek God, and his first religious impressions were, under God's blessing, owing to a sermon which he heard from the text, “Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” and his wife said that those words followed him—they were perpetually on his mind-he could not shake them off. Thus did God honour his own blessed word, and brought back a sinner from the error of his way, by a single text carried home to the heart by the Holy Spirit.
And now I have finished my short, yet blessed task of recording the triumph of the religion of Christ, in the joyful gladness it imparts in the midst of poverty, pain, and death. O, that the living would lay it to heart! How I longed that some infidel, or doubting Christian, or weak believer, could have stood beside that bed of peace. Surely the mists and errors of unbelief must have passed away before the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, reflected in that dying man. What but truth, yes, truth itself, the truth of the glorious Gospel of Christ, could have so animated and gladdened death! It was no new, enthusiastic feeling that was worked up at the last hour by any injudicious visitor-he had been for twenty-three years living in the service of God, and I never saw any one with him, nor heard of any
visitor. There could have been nothing put on for the sake of attracting notice, for, as I before said, he was in the grasp of death, and was mostly unconscious of my pre
O no, no! it was the presence of Christ which
was there. I knew it! I felt it! It was the Lord Jesus, faithful and true, who never deserts his suffering disciples in their hour of need, who watched over his servant, and abundantly vouchsafed his comforts, and revealed his presence in that last extremity.
May He bless this faithful account, written by an eyewitness, to the conversion of the infidel, and to the strengthening and refreshing of the believer.
EXTRACTS FROM MANTON'S COMMENTARY ON JUDE. If we perish, it is not for want of mercy, but for want of faith : grace is God's treasure ; he is rich in mercy. (Eph. ii. 4.) As far as we straiten grace, we make him a poorer God. Again, we wrong grace and mercy by intercepting the glory of it.
" It is the greatest sacrilege that can be, to rob God of his glory, especially of the glory of grace : for that is his great aim in all his transactions with man, to make his grace and mercy glorious.” (See Eph. i. 6.) Now, when you think God accepteth you, rather than others, for some worth and good qualities that he seeth in you more than others, it may be in this light of the Gospel, which we now enjoy, such thoughts are not expressed; but if they lurk secretly in the heart, you think God foresaw you would bring him more glory-you take the crown from grace's head, and put it upon your own. So, also, you wrong grace when you ascribe any thing to your power and strength: as Joab sent for David to take the honour of winning Rabbath : (2 Sam. xii. 28.) “ Lest I take the city, and it be called after my name;" so send for God to take the honour; “not I, but grace.” (1 Cor. xv. 10.) Throw the crown at grace's feet. The industrious servant said, “ Thy pound hath gained ten pounds." (Luke xix. 16.) Not my industry, but thy pound.
Jesus Christ is the cabinet wherein God's jewels are kept; so that if we would stand, we must get out of ourselves, and get into Him in whom alone there is safety.
God that gave his image at first, must again plant it in the soul. Who can repair nature depraved, but the Author of nature ? When a watch is out of order, we send it to the workman : we are