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come, Lord Jesus”. Come, for I long to have done with this low life: to have done with its burdens, its sorrows, and its snares! Come, for I long to ascend into thy presence, and to see the court thou art holding above!
“Blessed Jesus, death is transformed, when I view it in this light. The King of terrors is seen no more as such, so near the King of glory, and of grace. I hear with pleasure the sound of thy feet, approaching still nearer and nearer: draw aside the veil, whenever thou pleasest: open the bars of my prison, that my eager soul may spring forth to thee, and cast itself at thy feet; at the feet of that Jesus, whom having not seen, I love; and in whom, though now I see thee not, yet believing, I rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory? | Thou, Lord, shalt shew me the path of life: thine hand shall guide me to thy blissful abode, where there is fulness of joy, and rivers of everlasting pleasures. Thou shalt assign me an habitation with thy faithful servants, whose separate spirits are now living with thee, while their bodies sleep in the dust. Many of them have been my companions in thy laborious work, and in the patience and tribulation of thy kingdom $; my dear companions, and my brethren. Oh shew me, blessed Saviour, how glorious and how happy thou hast made them! Shew me, to what new forms of better life thou hast conducted them, whom we call the dead! in what nobler and more extensive services thou hast employed them! that I may praise thee better than I now can, for thy goodness to them! and Oh give me to share with them in their blessings and their services, and to raise a song of grateful love, like that which they are breathing forth before thee! “Yet, O my blessed Redeemer, even there will my soul be aspiring to a yet nobler and more glorious hope; and from this as yet unknown splendor and felicity, shall I be drawing new arguments to look and long for the day of thy final appearance. There shall I long more ardently than I now do, to see thy conduct vindicated, and thy triumph displayed; to see the dust of thy servants re-animated, and death, the last of their enemies and of thine, swallowed up in victory ||. I shall long for that superior honour that thou intendest me, and that complete bliss to which the whole body of thy people shall be conducted. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, will mingle itself with the songs of Paradise, and sound from the tongues of all the millions of thy saints, whom thy grace hath transplanted thither.
disorder: and I the rather hope, that what I say may be useful to you, as methinks I find myself disposed to address you with something of that peculiar tenderness which we feel for a dying friend ; to whom, as we expect that we shall speak to him no more, we send out, as it were, all our hearts in every word.
Ś. 4. I would advise then, in the first place, “that as soon as possible, you would endeavour to get rid of all further care with regard to your temporal concerns, by settling them in time in as reasonable and christian a manner as you can.” I could wish, there may be nothing of that kind to hurry your mind when you are least able to bear it, or to distress or divide those who come after you. Do that which in the presence of God you judge most equitable, and which you verily believe will be most pleasing to him. Do it in as prudent and effectual a manher as you can ; and then consider the world as a place you have quite done with, and its affairs as nothing further to you, more than to one actually dead; unless as you may do any good to its inhabitants, while you yet continue among them, and may, by any circumstance in your last actions or words in life, leave a blessing behind you to those who have been your friends and fellow-travellers, while you have been dispatching that journey through it, which you are now finishing. §. 5. That you may be the more at leisure, and the better prepared for this, “enter into some serious review of your own state, and endeavour to put your soul into as fit a posture as possible, for your solemn appearance before God.” For a solemn thing indeed it is, to go into his immediate presence; to stand before him, not as a supplicant at the throne of his grace, but at his bar as a separate spirit, whose time of probation is over, and whose eternal state is to be immediately determined. Renew your humiliation before God for the imperfections of your life, though it has in the main been devoted to his service. Renew your application to the mercies of God as promised in the covenant of grace, and to the blood of Christ as the blessed channel in which they flow. Resign yourself entirely to the divine disposal and conduct, as willing to serve God, either in this world or the other, as he shall see fit. And sensible of your sinfulness on the one hand, and of the divine wisdom and goodness on the other, summon up all the fortitude of your soul to bear as well as you can whatever his afflicting hand may further lay upon you, and to receive the last stroke of it, as one who would maintain the most entire subjection to the great and good Father of spirits. . .
§. G. Whatever you suffer endeavour to shew “yourself an example of patience.” Let that amiable grave have its perfect work”; and since it has so little more to do, let it close the scene , nobly. Let there not be a murmuring word; and that there may not, watch against every repining thought: and when you feel any thing of that kind arising, look by faith upon a dying . Saviour, and ask your own heart, “Was not his cross much more painful, than the bed on which I lie Was not his situation among blood-thirsty enemies infinitely more terrible, than mine amidst the tenderness and care of so many affectionate friends Did not the heavy load of my sins press him in a much more overwhelming manner, than I am pressed by the load of these afflictions and yet he bore all as a lamb that is brought to the slaughterf. Let the remembrance of his sufferings be a means to sweeten yours; yea, let it cause you to rejoice, when you are called to bear the cross for a little while, before you wear the crown. Countit all joy, that you have an opportunity yet once more of honouring God by your patience, which is now acting its last part, and will in a few days, perhaps in a few hours, be superseded by complete everlasting blessedness. And I am willing to hope, that in these views you will not only suppress all passionate complaints, but that your mouth will be filled with the praises of God; and that you will be speaking to those that are about you, not only of his justice, but of his goodness too. So that you will be enabled to communicate your inward joy in such a manner as may be a lively and edifying comment upon those words of the apostle, Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience ; and experience, hope ; even a hope which maketh not ashamed, while the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto usf. S. 7. And now, my dear friend, “now is the time, when it is especially expected from you, that you bear an honourable testimony to religion.” Tell those that are about you, as well as you can, (for you will never be able fully to express it,) what comfort and support you have found in it. Tell them how it has brightened the darkest circumstances of your life: tell them, how it now reconciles you to the near views of death. Your words will carry with them a peculiar weight at such a . season: there will be a kind of eloquence, even in the infirmities with which vou are struggling, while you give them utterance; and you will be heard with attention, with tenderness, with credit. And therefore, when the time of your departure is at
"In the mean time, O my divine Master, accept the homage which a grateful heart now pays thee, in a sense of the glorious hopes with which thou hast inspired it! It is thou that hast put thisjoy into it, and hast raised my soul to this glorious ambition; whereas I might otherwise have now been groveling in the lowest trifles of time and sense, and been looking with horror on that hour, which is now the object of my most ardent wishes.
"Oil be with me always even to the end of this mortal life! and give me, while waiting for thy salvation, to be doing thy commandments! May my loins be girded about, and my lamp burning *; and mine ears be still watchful for the blessed signal of thine arrival: that my glowing soul may with pleasure spring to meet thee, and be strengthened by death to bear those visions of glory, under the ecstacies of which feeble mortality would now expire!"
The Christian honouring God by his dying Behaviour.
Reflections on the Sincerity with which the preceding Advices have been given, §. 1. The Author is desirous, that (if Providence permit) he may. assist the Christian to die honourably and comfortably, §. 2, 3. With this View it is advised, (1.) To rid the Mind of all earthly Cares, §. 4. (2.) To renew the Humiliation of the Soul before God, and its Application to the Blood of Christ, §. 5. (3.) To exercise Patience under bodily Pains and Sorrows, §. 6. (4.) At leaving the World, to bear an honourable Testimony to Religion, §. 7. (5.) To give a solemn Charge to surviving Friends, §. 8. especially recommending Faith in Christ, §. 9. (6.) To keep the Promises of God in View, §. 10, 11. And (7.) To commit the departing Spirit to God in the genuine Exercises of Gratitude and Repentance, Faith and Charity; §. 12. which are exemplified in the concluding Meditation and Prayer.
§. I. JL HUS, my dear reader, I have endeavoured to lead you through a variety of circumstances; and those not fancied or imaginary, but such as do indeed occur in the human and christian life. And I can truly and cheerfully say,that I have marked out to you the path which I myself have trod, and in which it is my desire still to go on. I have ventured my own everlasting interests on that foundation, on which I have directed you to adventure yours. What I have recommended as the grand business of your life, I desire to make the business of my own:
* Luke xii. 35.
and the most considerable enjoyments, which I expect or desire in the remaining days of my pilgrimage on earth, are such as I have directed you to seek, and endeavoured to assist you in attaining. Such love to God, such constant activity in his service, such pleasurable views of what lies beyond the grave, appear to me, (God is my witness,) a felicity incomparably beyond any thing else which can offer itself to our affection and pursuit: and I would not for ten thousand worlds, resign my share in them, or consent even to the suspension of the delights which they afford, during the remainder of my abode here. § 2. I would humbly hope, through the divine blessing, that the hours you have spent in the review of these plain things, may have turned to some profitable account; and that in consequence of what you have read, you have been either brought into the way of life and peace, or been induced to quicken your pace in it. Most heartily should I rejoice in being further useful to you, and that even to the last. Now there is one scene remaining; a scene, through which you must infallibly pass; which has something in it so awful, that I cannot but attempt doing a little to assist you in it: I mean the dark valley of the shadow of death. I could earnestly wish, that for the credit of your profession, the comfort of your own soul, and the joy and edification of your surviving friends, you might die, not only safely, but honourably too: and therefore I would offer you a few parting advices. I am sensible indeed, that Providence may determine the circumstances of your death in such a manner, as that you may have no opportunity of acting upon the hints I now give you. Some unexpected accident from without, or from within, may, as it were, whirl you to Heaven before you are aware; and you may find yourself so suddenly there, that it may seem a translation, rather than a death. Or it is possible the force of a distemper may affect your understanding in such a manner, that you may be quite insensible of the circumstances in which you are; and so your dissolution (though others may see it visibly and certainly approaching,) may be as great a surprise to you, as if you had died in full health. §. 3. But as it is on the whole probable, you may have a more sensible passage out of time into eternity; and as much may, in various respects, depend on your dying behaviour; give me leave to propose some plain directions with relation to it, to be practised, if God give you opportunity, and remind you of them. It may not be improper to look over the xxixth chapter again, when you find the symptoms of any threatening WOL. I. 3 L