Imágenes de páginas

him. 'Because I live,' saith Jesus, * ye live also.' Every particle of their dust is the same to their great spiritual Head, when dust, as before that change. For as the union of Jesus with their whole persons, that is, their bodies as well as their souls, is indissoluble; it is evident that the same must continue with the dust of their bodies. And hence when Jesus saith,' Fear not to go down into the grave, I will go with theeit explains in what a tender and consoling sense we are to understand this. And indeed as in death, so in the resurrection, the certainty of this glorious event ariseth from the same consideration; 'for if, (saith the Apostle,) the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you ; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you*.' And thus the resurrection of the just is certified to them, not simply by the power of God, tyit from the indwelling residence of the same Spirit of God, by which they are first awakened in grace to a new and spiritual life, and then finally quickened to eternal glory, by virtue of their union to the person of Jesus, from the operations of the Holy Ghost.'

My friend would have proceeded, but his * Rom. viti. 11.


'strength did not admit of it. He took occasion, however, at every interval possible, to say somewhat suited to the circumstances of a dying saint. The poor stable-boy was indulged by his master to spend much of his time in the sick chamber; and the many precious sayings which fell from him by way of caution, encouragement, advice, and intreaty, became truly edifying and refreshing both to him and to every attendant around.

It would swell the history of my pilgrimage to a large volume indeed, were the whole of the circumstances which attended my friend's departure to be set down in it. The reader will excuse the omission, I hope, and rest satisfied without any further enumeration of particulars, than just to observe, that he continued to the latest moment in the perfect enjoyment of his senses and the divine consolation. He sunk gradually; and as he fell lower and lower, the words which he uttered evidently proved that his views of the glory about to open upon him were fuller and brighter. I sat by him, with his hand clasped in mine, when he died. The last words on his trembling lips were— 'Dear Lord !'—

—I buried him without pomp, and without any mourners but the poor stable-boy and my

'self, in a vacant corner of the parochial churchyard.—

The youth returned with me to the inn, where we took an affectionate leave of each other. I could only say,—May 'he who hath,' I trust, 'begun a good work in you, perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!'

On the morrow, having discharged all expenses incurred at the inn, I left it without regret. The situation of our first parents, so tenderly described by the poet*, seemed applicable to my case; and I quoted the passage to my mind as I crossed the court-yard.

'Some nat'ral tears they dropp'd, but wip'd them soort. The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and providence their guide.'

The time was now arrived, when a reverse of situation was to take place in the circumstances of my pilgrimage. Hitherto I had met with little else but 'joy and peace in believing.' Some few natural fears and apprehensions, arising from the remains of unbelief, had now and then, it is true, arisen in my mind; but the Lord had so graciously over-ruled them, that they generally ended in my stronger assurance.

I have been often led since to reflect, with peculiar pleasure, on the wisdom as well as the • Milton.

mercy of that process of grace, through which the Lord is leading his people. Like Israel of old, in their emancipation from Egypt, of whom it is said, that' God led them not through the land of the Philistines, although that was near, lest when they should see war, their minds should be tempted to return: but God led the people about through the way of the 'wilderness*.' Similar to this now, Is the first opening of the spiritual path; the difficulties and discouragements are by no means like those which believers meet in the after stages of their pilgrimage. Thousands there are who like Israel have sung the song of triumph as they did at the Red Sea, when a forty years travelling through a dreary wilderness lay still between them and Canaan. And many, no doubt, like Israel too, afterwards, in the midst of some heavy unlooked for trial, have been prompted to exclaim in the bitterness of their soul,'Is the Lord among us or no ?' The reader will indulge me again to pause over this remark, and ask him if his experience hath nothing of a correspondence with it? I am persuaded the case is very general. The gracious Leader of his little flock, who feeds them, as it is said, like a shepherd, ' gathers * Exodus xiii. 17.


(we are told,) the lambs with his arms, and carries them in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young.' He always suits the strength to the day. He proportions the burden to the back. Hence the earliest manifestations of divine love are generally the most pleasing, and, according to our conception of things, in that period, the most powerful. It is in grace, as it is in nature; first impressions are most affecting. When the eye of the body suddenly emergeth from darkness into light, the transition is most strongly felt. And in like manner, when the eye of the soul is first opened to see the wondrous things' of God's law, the effect is proportionally greater than when accustomed to their view.

I could wish the reader of long experience would consider this more than, I am persuaded, is generally done; and mark it down in the diary of his pilgrimage. These things formed many hard problems in David's life; until frequent experiments, aided by frequent visits to the sanctuary, explained them. It was not in the first trials that he adopted that sentiment, 'I know that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me*.' It becomes a very blessed proof of advances in grace, when the tired soul can use such language.

* Psalm cxix. 75.

« AnteriorContinuar »