Obrazy na stronie

murmur. Those who witnessed will never forget his prayers, in the form of a blessing, before his meals; whilst his pale emaciated hands, and feeble voice, with the peace of heaven in his face, filled us with shame, that we should ever dare to complain, or allow a murmuring thought. Upon the various scenes of the last sickness I could say much more which might interest you, but that I wish (as far as it is possible to me) to confine my recollections to those things only, which are really edifying to remember.

I will here borrow from some memoranda of my sister's, put down immediately after her dear brother's death, and designed only for the afterbenefit of one of her little nieces, who is also her god-child. She writes—“My poor brother was quite concerned at the sickliness of his appetite. “Being obliged to think so much of this poor body,' he said, “quite weighs me down.' The nurse, standing by him, and fearing he was faint, he said, “Mrs. J—, there will be no fainting in heaven. What a wretch should I now be without a hope of heaven! What a blessed hope that is ! Mrs. J– was a pious Moravian nurse ; and we thought it a singular circumstance, that he who had been so kind and active in the service of the Moravians, should at the last have a Moravian nurse to watch him by night, when my sister was exhausted by the exertions of the day.

“ His natural taste and refinement of mind amidst all his sickness never forsook him ; nor did his love for flowers, which the children used to bring him: and it was an affecting sight to see him propped up in bed, dividing with his feeble hands portions of sugar-plums amongst them. I used to gather him two nosegays; one of gardenflowers, and one of wild flowers-composed chiefly of dog-roses—which he preferred to cultivated flowers; and these were laid upon his bed, or set in some place where through the day he could see them. His whole soul and body were given to God, and it was his wish that every talent and every power should either promote the glory of God, or the good of his fellowcreatures. As an instance of this, he liked

my disposition of flowers in a nosegay, and one day lay and calculated, how even this might be applied to some use, by arranging them for the poor London flower-women. About a month before his death, he conversed with me for some time on different subjects: I only remember some of these. He said, “Three years ago, when I was taken ill, I sent for a novel.' He then spoke of the mischiefs of levity, and said he could not endure it. Frequently he would stop, and say most solemnly, 'I do not speak this as a dying man; it is what I have long thought.

“He also talked of the little importance of situations in life: as to whether a man were in business or not, it was what he should disregard for his children; the promotion of true religion was the primary object. He rather blamed himself for not having entered into his father's business, and thus complied with his wish, saying, that his brother Benjamin disliked it as well as himself, but from a sense of duty, did not decline it. His standard of filial obedience and respect was peculiarly high; a duty, which, he said, nothing could set aside. This was the last conversation, properly speaking, he ever had with me, and lasted about a quarter of an hour; he then continued faint for some time, and for a while unable to see some old friends who had come to visit him; but when a little recovered, he expressed to them his hope and peace; which, indeed, he did to all who came to see him, though his bodily weakness and lowness of animal spirits were so great, that every thing agitated him, and made him sometimes uneasy lest his appearing overcome should dishonour God, or seem contradictory to the internal peace of mind, which he continually expressed.

“ It was about a fortnight before my dear brother's death, that Mr. Pratt* came, and administered the sacrament, in which service my sister, mother, myself, and William joined. A little time after this, he indited a letter to Dr. Fearon. This was his last letter.”—Thus far my sister's memoranda.

* In reference to this occasion, I have been informed by my brother-in-law, the Rev. Josiah Pratt, that he was greatly struck to observe the calm assurance of faith manifested by Mr. Neale, in his whole conversation and manner. He seemed to rest, without any shadow of doubt, upon this text, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Editor.

Some few weeks before his death he gave me directions as to his funeral, not very minute, but chiefly with a view to the avoiding of show, &c.; and desired to have for the inscription upon his tomb, This IS A FAITHFUL SAYING, AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, THAT Christ JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS; adding, with deep feeling and unfeigned humility, OF WHOM I AM CHIEF. About this time, he dictated to me the preface to the second part of the Bible Teacher's Manual, with his usual fluency, and without any other hesitation than that produced by shortness of breath and weakness. I have sometimes written for others, but never witnessed such remarkable facility in dictation as that possessed by my dear husband, and retained till within a few hours of his death. It was a singular mercy that in his case we were enabled to avoid opiates; he very earnestly desired this, and willingly suffered at times much to avoid them. My dear father also was as anxious as ourselves upon this point, and the goodness of God enabled him skilfully to suggest some things which partially supplied the place of this, sometimes absolutely needed, but greatly distressing, class of medicines. For some time before the concluding scene, it was my dear husband's custom every night (after I had prayed with him, and before the attempt to compose himself for some sleep), solemnly to commend his soul, as in departing, into the hands of the God of the spirits of all flesh, in the words of St. Stephen, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!

A short time previously to his death, he desired me to bring paper and ink, and write to Dr. Fearon for him ; when he dictated to me the following short letter:

My dear friend,

“I borrow my wife's hand to write you a few lines, as my weakness, which now confines me to my bed, prevents me from doing it myself; but I am unwilling not to bear testimony to the tender mercies of my God. As He brings me nearer and nearer to death, I trust that I find his grace more and more. I am enabled more and more to delight myself in his love, to enjoy the promises, and sometimes to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Surely these dealings are not after the manner of man. Who would not have said, that one like me, if saved at all, should have been saved through temptations, and terrors, and doubts? But I experience nothing but lovingkindness; and I trust that as He has been increasingly with me, so in His infinite mercy He will be, to death, and in death, and through death. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways high above our ways. Farewell, my dear friend; I trust we shall spend Eternity together, in singing the love and admiring the glories of the Saviour. Your truly affectionate, and ever obliged,

“ C. NEALE.”

Three days before death, my dear husband had his boy (then five years old) and the servants,

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »