« PoprzedniaDalej »
avail thee here? Say, ye that constantly attended, or occasionally visited, this young hero ;—for so I must call him. Though but a babe in Christ, yet he was quite a veteran in experience and fortitude, and, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, endured hardness, fought the good fight, and finished his course, and kept the faith-I say, let those who saw him walk through the valley of the shadow of death (unusually lengthened as it was) declare whether he discovered, either in his looks or language, the least symptom of fear-Fear! far enough from fear. Go when you would, you always found him calm and cheerful. In the earlier part of his confinement, when he had been for several days, as we thought growing better, but some, unfavourable symptom suddenly appeared and dashed all our hopes of life, I shall never forget with what a smiling countenance he addressed me on my entering his room. “O Sir,” says he,
w the wind is come about fair for home again. I was afraid, last week, that I was to be kept longer at sea ; but now I believe I shall soon be at my desired port. I have in the course of my disorder, made many tacks; but I hope I have got some ground by every one of them. Christ is a good pilot, and I leave all to him. I am not my own, but his. He doth with me just what he pleases ; and I am willing he should; if he were to offer to let me choose my own circumstances, I would instantly refer it to him again : I would not choose any thing for myself. I confess I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which, I know, is far better than any thing I do now, or ever did, enjoy in this world ; but I would not be too carnest even for that: I am sure when he hath made me ready for heaven, he will come and fetch, me; and therefore, why should I be impatient or uneasy ?-O the wonderful goodness of God to such a' poor worm ! that ever he should think of me! that ever he should provide such a Saviour, and such a heaven, for me! and that he should take such care of me in my present weak state! I have nothing to complain of. I have a thousand mercies ; indeed, I have nothing but mercies. When I have most pain in my body, I have most comfort in my soul. If I have a bad day, the Lord generally gives me a good day for it. What is all that I have gone through to what Christ suffered ? When he, in the extremity of his pain, cried, “I thirst,' he had none but enemies about him, who gave him vinegar to drink: but when I am thirsty, every one is contriving the most salutary and pleasant draughts for me.-Ob, love the Lord, all ye his saints! I love him much; but I long to love him more. I think I could this moment go through the flames to meet him. I would not change conditions with the greatest monarch in the world.
“ I have been wondering at the power of God, that enables sueh à poor worm to bear up under pains which I thought impossible for human nature to support under: and yet I have been supported.-No, indeed ; it was no vain boast of the apostle, • I can do all things, through Christ strengthening me.'I want breath; - and yet, in one sense I don't neither : I shall be best of all when my breath is entirely stopped ;-but if I had breath; I could sing now
as cheerfully as ever I did in « O what a great change will it appear to me by and by; God shall wipe away all tears from my eyes. No pains, no faintings, no heaviness then. I would not be impatient, but I can't help saying I long for the time. Now I am a poor creature groping in the dark, and can hardly see any thing of God: but by and by I shall know more, The tabernacle begins to shake: I believe it will tumble soon. I can look through the crevices now, but I want to have them wide enough to creep through.
“ It is just nine months ago that I was first seized; but some are much longer a dying than that. Through mercy, I am content to wait ever so much longer, for I know it is all right that God doth. the unchangeableness of God! I never had such views of it in all my life before. He betrothed me unto him in faithfulness; he hath carried me on so far; and he will not leave me now. He cannot do it: he is engaged by covenant.I have had great afflictions: but I have had greater supports. The peace of God passeth all understanding. -Oh if you did but know Christ better! He is a tried friend; a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The love of a brother, or father, is nothing to the love of Christ. He is better than ten brothers, or ten fathers.Live or die, I can do no. thing but wonder at the unchangeableness of God. He loved me first, and he hath continued to love me, notwithstanding all my weakness and wanderings. I have seen many changes in the world, and changes in myself ; but God's love is always the same. I don't doubt but there is love in the bottom of this сир. .
It is bitter in the mouth; however, for all that I would not go a moment before God's time is
fully come. I am sure, when all is over, I shall adore the wisdom and mercy of this dispensation. The Lord is even now amazingly kind : he loads me with benefits; but he doth pot overload me: he remembers my frame; he knoweth that I am yet but dust, and therefore doth not give in more than I am able to bear".--though, by the way, he was more than once so overcome with the discoveries he had of God and heaven, that whether he was in the body, or out of it, neither he himself nor his friends about him, could hardly tell. But to proceed:
“ If,” says he, " can do any thing to glorify Christ, who hath done so much for me, I am willing to live; but you must needs think I had rather go to heaven. I am burthened, like a full cask that wants vent. I must tell you what God hath done for my soul; the more I speak for Christ, the stronger I am even in my body. One thing I must beg of every one of you, that you would exalt Christ for me. I don't want you to pray for my life ; only praise him for me. I know the Lord hath some great end to answer in keeping me here so long. My sister's death was a translation; mine is dying by inches; and yet, though it be very painful, I am persuaded the longer I stay here the better it will be for me. What a charming thing it will be when I get to heaven! There I shall see my old Christian friends, and many saints whom I never saw : but it is a glorified Christ that will be the heaven of heaven. To see him face to face, and not in such a dark way as I now do:
" • A hope so much divine
May trials well endure,'
" What a mercy is it, that Satan hath not been permitted to molest me! It is the compassion of Christ that keeps him back. Here have I been confined so many months, and yet, I can speak it to the praise of the glory of his grace, not one cloud hath passed over my soul. Notwithstanding all my weakness and pains, which are sometimes very great, I have not one murmuring thought; I don't desire to be otherwise than I am. I think, sometimes, if I could but walk about the room, it might be some refreshment: but it is the Lord, let him do with me what seemeth him good! If my pains were so much more violent than they are, I have no right to complain ; for didn't I, years ago, give up my whole self, body as well as soul, to the Lord, to do with me as he pleased ? Indeed, he will do all his pleasure, whether I consent or no ; but I did consent, I do consent: and am sure I have no reason to repent of it, for all his paths towards me have been mercy and faithfulness. You can't think how much we dishonour the Lord by unbelief. I have had strong consolation to-night from that word,
Because he could swear by no greater, he swure by himself;' and shall I not believe what God hath $worn to? I must believe. It is an easy matter for Christians to talk of the faithfulness of God when they are in health, and all things go well; but I can leave my dying testimony to it. He hath been as good as his word ;,, he hath never left me nor forsaken me.”
Being asked what he thought of heaven now, in this near view of it, he said: “Indeed I don't know what to think of it. The place the work—the enjoyments—every thing, appears so great, that I am