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SLEEPING IN JESUS.
Croydon, April 14, 1869. MY DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD JESUS, -It will interest you to hear that the Lord has gathered to her rest the partner of my wilderness journey, with whom you first met, in Gloucestershire, when on your way to Ireland, in the year 1846. What torrents of mercy have rolled over our souls since then! and looking back, with what sublime emphasis can we exclaim, “Not for works of righteousness which we have done, but of His mercy
hath He saved us (Titus iii. 5), simply and solely because the Almighty Father, who hath power over the clay to make one vessel to honour and another to dishonour, hath been pleased in His sovereignty to appoint us, not unto wrath, but to obtain salvation! (1 Thess. v. 9.)
The departed was from her earliest years one of that numerous class of whom Cornelius is a type, a sample :
a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report” (Acts x. 22), but a stranger to the peace and joy that saturates the soul when the Holy Ghost is pleased to make a full revelation of the person of the Lord Jesus, and of His finished work on Calvary.
It is so much the fashion of the Revivalists of the present day to regard souls as lost that cannot boast of the joy in God which comes when we “receive the atonement” (Rom. v. 11), that it is consolatory, instructive, and corrective of error, to revert to Peter's experience, when he opened his mouth and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him” (Acts x. 34, 35). The Hebrew fisherman, who by direct revelation knew Jesus to be " the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. xvi. 16, 17), was instructed by the remarkable vision of the great sheet, knit at the four corners, and filled with four-footed beasts, creeping things, and fowls of the air, to lay aside his narrow, exclusive Jewish prejudices, and learn that Gentiles, though ignorant of Moses, and as yet strangers to the Gospel, were accepted of God, " because they feared Him and worked righteousness. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm cxi. 10); and this fear, inspired by the Spirit of God, is the sure precursor of eternal salvation, though the subject of it may lack full assurance, and may mourn inwardly, “because fear hath torment." “He that feareth is not made perfect in love," for “ there is no fear in love ;" “but perfect love casteth out fear.” As the work of grace proceeds, the most timid and apprehensive soul will find the garments of heaviness fall off, and make way for the spirit of praise and perfect love (1 John iv. 18).
Something like this was the rather protracted experience of her who, to borrow the apostle's figure, now sleeps in Jesus” (1 Thess. iv. 14). A beautiful and an expressive figure (but only a figure), for we must by no' means understand that a soul which has departed to be with Christ is in a state of torpor, coiled up like a slumbering dormouse, to await the resurrection of the body. The late Archbishop Whately, with that power of parodox of which he was complete master, and which induced him to say that the natural death of a felon is on the gallows, labours, in his treatise on the “Intermediate State of the Soul after Death," to show that practically it is all one whether the soul is or is not torpid till it
rejoins the body; whether it dozes for a thousand years, or rushes at once, without a moment's delay, to cast its crown at the Redeemer's feet, he would persuade us, comes to the same thing, as if insensibility and enjoyment were synonyms.
That this was not the conviction of the apostle Paul is plain from his desire to depart and be with Christ, which he thought far better than to remain in the body (Phil. i. 23), rejoicing in Christ Jesus, as he did (Phil. iii. 3). A state of somnolency in the next world could not appear to him better than a life of glorious activity here. Still less could he mean by being with Christ no more than being asleep! Thus we may feel satisfied that the expression “sleep in Jesus relates only to the outer visible appearance of the body, which resembles sleep; but conveys no information as to the condition of the spirit that has deserted its tabernacle, and returned to God who gave
it. with the Lord,” necessarily implies life, wakefulness, and joy; though whether glorified souls need intervals of repose to heighten their blissas sunrise and sunset, action and rest, have charms for us—is a question beyond our present knowledge, if, indeed, it be not settled by the bold declaration about the four living
creatures (be they what they may) who rest not day or night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come (Rev. iv. 8).
About two years before the “anxious inquirer” was delivered from this present evil world, her soul being in much darkness, and her body in a very afflicted state, my spirit was led out into a vehement prayer,
which resolved itself into the verses that accompany this (marked No. I). A few months afterwards the Lord did graciously answer the first part of my prayer; for one night He was pleased to manifest Himself to her soul with great sweetness and beauty (as she told me), the words, “I have redeemed thee, saith the Lord Almighty,” coming at the same time into her mind with satisfying power and comfort. From this period till the day of her dissolution (nine months afterwards) there was a manifest increase of that repose of soul, that hush of spirit, which the presence of the Lord ever gives, and which seemed to keep pace, deepening with the gradual decay and wasting of the already sadly wrecked, but once graceful tabernacle and benignant countenance with which her Creator had favoured her. I was constrained to be much from home on the Lord's service during the latter weeks of her pilgrimage, and was thus not permitted to have much intercourse with her; but about a week before she closed her poor eyes in death (she was already nearly blind) my heart was cheered by hearing her bestow on me her favourite benediction : “My precious husband, the Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious to thee” (Num. vi. 24, 25). These were her last words to me, and her prayer has been signally answered. I have been kept-wonderfully kept-sustained, and comforted by the God of all grace, the Father of mercies, who has arranged everything for me. This year, on the anniversary of her departure (she passed away on the 15th of March last year), the Holy Spirit filled my heart with great joy on her account, giving me the fullest assurance of her eternal happiness, and leading me to see how completely the prayer in the verses already mentioned had been answered. He is a prayer-hearing, He is a prayer-answering God; and I glorified Him as such. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job i. 21).
The next day I was enabled to set the words to music, and I can thus
with a piano accompaniment) frequently offer up my own song of praise to the Redeemer, to His Father who gave Him, and to the Holy Spirit who reveals Him to sinners as their Saviour. About the same time my soul was led out in a strain of thanksgiving and praise, incorporated in the verses that accompany this (marked No. II). The Spirit who leads me to make this communication, will, I do not doubt, kindle in your soul a responsive sympathy, and induce you to give my letter and lines a place in the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, where they may be used to whisper a word in season to some member of the Lord's mystical body, and where they certainly will be read with joyous satisfaction by many who loved the departed; for they will thus learn that, at the bottom of the cup of affliction which her Father put into her hand, she at last found the pearl of ETERNAL PEACE. Ever yours, dear brother in the Lord,
PRAISE Ou, rise on her soul with the day-dawn of She is gone to the glory where Jesus now glory,
reigns Let darkness and sorrow be changed into Supreme with the saints that He bought praise ;
with His blood; While the Spirit reveals the eternal love-story Her spirit in darkness no longer complains, Of Jesus, the crucified Ancient of days. But soars in the light of the kingdom of
God. Behold Him! behold Him, deserted and
bleeding, Forlorn on the cross with the thieves by Blest change for Thy mourner, Thou God of His side ;
Her wilderness trials and sorrows now As King overruling, as Priest interceding,
done, The Saviour Almighty bled, languished, Thy child doth behold Thine invisible face, and died.
In the visible face of Thy glorified Son. Thy sins, where are they? In the purple stream flowing
Incarnate Jehovah ! I magnify Thee! From wounds in His bosom, His hands,
Son, Father, and Spirit all centred in and His brow;
One; Behold, to oblivion thy guilt quickly going,
O loving, beloved, ye eternal blest Three; God seeks, but He finds no iniquity now!
Her sufferings are ended, her glory begun! Absolved in that crimson for aye and for ever, Thou standest all fair in the sight of Thy And now through the future, so boundless God;
and vast, While Christ in His glory cries, “Father,
With glorified comrades her hours to forgive her!
employ, The elect of Thy love, the redeemed of The sorrows of time, like a dream that is
past, " Come hither, come hither, my blood-re
Are lost in the blaze of eternity's joy. deemed daughter," The Father of glory exclaims with delight; Her crown at Thy feet, О crucified Lamb, ** As a gem for His diadem Jesus hath bought
She casts with a thrill of seraphic delight; her,
Creator, Redeemer, I am that I am, And clad her in robes now eternally white.
Arrayed in the splendour of glory and “Amansion in heaven, prepared for herdwell- light.
ing, Awaits when her spirit escapes from its O holy, 0 hallowed, sweet Bridegroom, clay;
Priest, King, And glorified bosoms with rapture are swell- Thy river of rapture that waters my soul, ing,
Still tokens of love let it graciously bring, To think that ere long she'll be happy as Till I, too, a victor am crowned at the they."
The Protestant Beacon.
PRAYER FOR THE PROTESTANT CHURCH. [The following truthful and important letter appeared in The Rock for April 16th. We trust the suggestion for special prayer meetings at this very critical juncture, as respects, not merely the Church, but the nation at large, may be widely adopted. Our cry is, Lord, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” “Is there anything too hard for the Lord ?”—ED.]
SIR,—To every thoughtful mind, the great crisis through which this nation is passing must appear one of no ordinary character; and surely, whatever difference of opinion may exist in men's minds as to the subject of a State religion, there can be but one impression as to the proposition to take so large a sum as about seven millions of Protestant money for the purpose of weakening Protestantism, and endowing a religion the avowed principles of which are in direct antagonism to the Word
of God, and to all those glorious truths so precious to the family of God-truths especially dear, as sealed by the blood of our martyred forefathers. It is not my intention, nevertheless, to dwell further upon the historical fact, painfully as I feel our position nationally in God's sight, and much as I mourn the blind infatuation of so many of whom I could have hoped better things. My one desire in addressing you is to say, I should rejoice if the praying people of God in this hitherto highly-favoured realm were led to take the weighty cause in hand to that throne of grace where real help alone is to be obtained.
Surely it is left on record, for our encouragement, how Abraham pleaded on behalf of Sodom, and that God assured him that if ten righteous were found therein, the city would have been spared; and we are, moreover, informed of Hezekiah's success, when Sennacherib was not allowed to shoot an arrow into the cities of Judah; and when the angel of the Lord smote a hundred and four score and five thousand Assyrians in one night. We have, too, illustrations in the case of Mordecai, of Elijah and of Daniel, men of like passions with ourselves. And why all this, if not to bid the children of God to a Father's throne of grace, that they may find help in this as well as in every other time of need? And I am more than sure that if those who constitute the one family of God were united here, and were led to fly to the only place of refuge in this hour of dire necessity, when we are upon the surface of a heaving volcano, prayer would prevail, and it should be seen that the Lord is still a wall of fire round about His people, and that they are truly blessed who have the God of Jacob for their help; and, assuredly, the enemies would find that God still, as of old, turns wise men backward, and makes their devices of none effect that the wrath of man is made to praise God, and that men of might lose their hands.
We have had three prayer meetings amongst the members of our congregation, and, much as the men of the world may scoff, I believe the Lord's presence was realized in our midst; the meetings were of a solemn and quiet character, and it is computed that from 600 to 700 attended each meeting. We held them in our schoolroom after Sunday evening service. I trust we may yet again be blessed with similar gatherings; and your many readers will not, I hope, think me wishing to assume or dictate, if I state I should be rejoiced if thousands of such prayer meetings were held at this critical juncture.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully, Southsea.
JOHN C. MARTIN.
The Triumphs of Grace ober Death and the Grabe;
OR, WHISPERS FROM THE DYING PILLOWS OP GOD'S SERVANTS. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” –PSALM XXXVII. 37.
A “WISE SON,” WHO MADE A “GLAD FATHER.”
(Continued from page 267.) It is the soul of a 'weaned child' only that behaves itself wisely and quietly before the Lord. But how is mortal man to wean himself from himself, or from others that are near and dear, when he is without either will, desire, or power? Well, the Lord can teach him; and if he is destined to "live," “move," and have his everlasting “being" in Christ, he will come under the provisions of that prophetic covenant promise, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
Now, how delightful the thought of being “taught of the Lord !" how pleasant and desirable to possess this "peace!" Ah, my dear brother or sister, easy is the truth to read, but hard to learn. To gain in grace, we must lose in nature. To live unto God, we must die to ourselves. To follow Christ, we must leave our all. 'Tis at a suffering cost only that the faithful servants of righteousness are made free from sin. Therefore, beloved reader, if the “ truth” is yours, you will have to “buy” it. If “peace” is with you, there will be the " tribulation" also; and, in proportion as “great is the peace of God's children,” so will be their sacrifice and suffering. For each and all the procurements of Christ for His Church, are imparted only in parallel, though subordinately apportioned affliction; whilst to be “taught of the Lord” (which in its essential par
; ticular is “ to know Him and the power of His resurrection"), we must have “ fellowship with Him in His sufferings,” and be made conformable to Him in His death. And this is crucifixion to all the flesh of man.
Now this is where it seemed to me the Lord had brought my suffering son Josiah, for he only laid hold of eternal life as he lost his hold of his
And it was truly marvellous to see how unmoved he surveyed his dying state, and, amidst so much that was distressing for affectionate lookers-on' to behold, for the suffering one to be the least disturbed of us all. Surely the Lord was here as the purifier of silver and the refiner of gold; for he that was in the “furnace” repined not at the purging away of his dross; and, though no man apart from grace ever yet hated his own flesh, yet such was his consciousnesss of its worthlessness that he looked with calmness and composure upon its destruction. Indeed, my wise-made son, who had now suffered the loss of all his endearing things, seemed in no way moved even at the sight of his own life's blood; hence, when it was painful for us to see the ‘hæmorrhage' that was now mingled with his increased expectorations, and I went to put the basin containing it aside, he said, “You need not do that, father; I don't mind it, I could lie and look at it all day long."
Oh! I sometimes stand aghast even at the remembrance of the sickroom revelations: there is such a conflict within at the attempt to understand that which I saw, and weak human nature seems afraid to encounter even the thought. “What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest, and thou, Jordan, that thou wast driven back ?" Ah, 'tis the presence of God