« AnteriorContinuar »
ei Permit me then to take this opportunity, by the mouth of a friend, to bear my open testimony, to the glory of God, that I who have known him in the most perfect manner, am constrained to declare, I never knew any one walk so closely in the wa}^s of God as he did.—~ The Lord gave him a conscience tender as the apple of an eye. He literally preferred the interest of every one to his own. He was rigidly just, but perfectly loose from all attachment to the world. He shared his all with the poor, who lay so close to his heart, that on the approach of death, though his speech was so gone that he could utter nothing without difficulty, he cried out, O my poor! what will become of my poor! I am dead to my poor !— He was blest with so great a degree of humility as is scarcely to be found.—I am witness how often he has taken a real pleasure in being treated with contempt; indeed it seemed the very food of his soul to be little and unknown. When he said to me, 'Thou wilt write a line or two to my brother in Switzerland, if I die.' I replied, My dear love, I will write him all the Lord's dealings with thee.—' No no,' said he, 'write nothing about me.—I desire to be forgotten—God is all /'
"His zeal for souls I need not tell you, let the labour of twenty-five years, and a martyr's death in the conclusion, imprint it on your hearts.—His diligent visitation of the sick, laid, to appearance, the foundation of the spotted fever, which, by God's commission, tore him from you and me: and his vehement desire to take his last leave of you, with dying lips and hands, gave (it is supposed) the finishing stroke, by preparing his blood for putrefaction.—Thus hath he lived and died your servant—And will any of you refuse to meet him at God's righthand in that day?
"He walked with death always in sight; and about two months ago, he came to me one day and said, 'My dear loye, I know not how it is, but I have a strange impression death is very near us, as if it would be some sudden stroke upon one of us; and it draws out all my soul in prayer that we may be ready.' He then broke out, Lord, prepaid the soul thou wilt call; and 0 stand by the poor disconsolate one who shall be left behind.
"A few days before his departure, he was filled with Sove in an uncommon manner, saying to me,—4 I have had such a discovery of the depth of that word, God is love, as I cannot tell thee half, but it Jills me, it Jills me,
0 Polly! my dear Polly, God is love! shout his praise;
1 want a gust of praise to reach to the ends of the earth,* And the same he testified as long as he had voice, and continued to testify to the end, by a most lamblike patience, in which he victoriously smiled at death, and set his last seal to the glorious truths he had so long preached among you.
<e Three years, nine months, and two days, I have possessed my heavenly-minded husband; but now, the sun of my earthly joy is set for ever, and my soul filled with an anguish, which only finds its consolation in a total abandonment and resignation to the will of God: an exercise to which my dear husband and I had of late been particularly drawn. When I was asking the Lord if he pleased to spare him to me a little longer, the following answer was impressed on my mind with great power, and in the accomplishment of this word of promise, J look for our reunion, ' Where I am there shall my servants be, that they may behold my glory!' Lord, hasten the hour!
"I am, .
"Tlie Rev. Mr. Wesley."
My anguish was extreme. All outward support seemed to be withdrawn ;—appetite and sleep quite failed me,— and even the air, I often thought had entirely lost all its vivifying powers. As 1 never before had any conception of the bitter anguish which the Lord saw good to visit me with at this season: so I can give no just description of it. "Known unto God are all his ways and I was assured, even in the midst of my trouble, that all He did was well, and that there was a needs be for this heavy trial. But what bound all my other trials upon me was, I felt continually the keenest accusations from Satan, constraining me by every possible suggestion to look at my extreme sensibility in suffering, as being deeply sinful! What, thought I, has made this change! If Jesus was my all, should I not feel as keenly the sense of his having suffered for me, as I do in the thought of my dear husband's kindness, and in the dreadful feeling of my separation from him ?—And because I could feel but very faint touches of sensible communion with God, I was torn as it were in pieces. All my religion seemed shrunk into one point; viz. a constant cry, Thy will be done /* I will, yes, I will glorify Thee! even in this fire*
Yet it seemed to me I did not glorify him ;—and so afraid was I of turning to any human comfort, or stopping short of all the Lord would have me to do or be, that in the midst of this terrible furnace, I can say,—that at every moment my conscience was " Quick as the apple of an eye, the slightest touch of sin to feel.,> Yea, my spirit was all eye to discern its most distant approach. Yet in every thing I seemed to be accused, and also condemned; so that my soul was indeed sorrowful even unto death.]
One morning before I was awake, I heard singing voices, as just over my face; they answered one another with these words,
* This is a fruit of the Spirit that never fails those who abide in the faith, , even in the darkest hour. Ed.
\ In all this I believe the pious and well-informed reader will be satisfied that, (as the Holy Ghost testifief of Job,) 44 she singed not, nor charged God foolishly."
u Weep ye in Zion's deep distress,
Then one voice, which I well knew to be that of my dearest love, spake in distinct words, and with much emphasis—
"Fight the good fight of faith with me,
It gave me some little comfort, and animated me to follow his bright example.
One da}' these words were applied with much power to my heart, " These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall work out for you afar more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." What, said I, did the apostle, who had been in the third heaven, and knew well what he said ;—Did he call these afflictions light, when put in the scale with that glory? It was answered in my heart, yes, as a bubble !" compared with the glory that shall be revealed." I got a momentary glimpse of our home above, in the celestial city; and those words were spoken through my heart,
** Heaven is thy inheritance,
Thou shalt soon remove from hence.*7
Very many were these little in-breakings of light, yea, often in a day ;—yet my pain was unspeakable. I was constantly perplexed with that thought, that a believer can never be in darkness; that they always "Rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." That nothing but sin given way to, can damp their joy.* This was an inlet to much temptation; and now, I had no one to tell my troubles to! No partner to bear a share in them. In all our spiritual conflicts we had been so entirely one, that cares by being divided were hushed into
* Yes, temptation can damp their joy; but only sin can destroy it, He: joy was not destroyed: she had " times of refreshing." £d .17 *
peace, A word from him would frequently light up as it were a candle in my soul; and was enough to turn aside the keenest temptation. But now I trod the winepress alone, and felt my dependence had been too much on the creature. I had clung to him as the ivy to the oak, and now seemed to be nothing! I saw myself left in a howling wilderness alone i Yet still I could say—
** With thee I on Zion 9hall stand,
But the Lord seemed to do by me, as by the Canaanitish woman; He did not a?iszver me.'—I followed, and often said in my heart, (reflecting on all my unfaithful* ness,) Ah !" It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs!" It seemed I could to all eternity have praised him for the least drop of comfort,—and yet ! felt the power of these words,—
u A drop will not suffice,
In the midst of this dreadful conflict I felt some consolation from the thought, that by the account of his precious death, which surely the Lord himself prompted, and enabled me to write, (as I had hardly at the time either sense or memory,) I had helped, in a little measure, that shout of praise to go forth, which with his dying lips, he said he wanted to reach the ends of the earth! And though I have lost my dear husband, and felt the force of the "hour and power of darkness" yet through all, I believed I should conquer. So it is with me now ;—but, I do not seem as yet to have the privilege of shouting victory.
As soon as the funeral was over, I found the dear children which my beloved partner had left behind, laid upon my mind. I saw there were many things to settle among them respecting the work of God; some