Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

this subject, stumbled not a few forrows and exercised Christians,

As to what we have of his dying words annexed to the me.noirs of his life, 'tis but a little, we assure you, of what he spoke the last five days before his death ; some of the sweetest and most favoury discours i ses hc had, are wholly lost, being so mangled by the writer, that we were forced to drop them ; for great care was taken not to insert any thing, but what he spoke. The occasion of this was, the writter was for. ced to stand at a distance, and out of his sight, because when he observed him writing, he was displeased, and would not allow it, likewise the noise that someo times was inthe room, with peoples speaking to him, their coming in, or going out, and ordering things a. .bout him, made the writer oft lose half a sentence, neither was it possible for those that revised his dying words to help this.

The want of connexion, there is oft betwixt pur. poses discoursed by him, was occasioned partly by the Thort Numbers he sometimes fell in, his taking some refreshment, and other interruptions, and partly by reason of different discourses persons had to him.

We assure you, there are very few discourses he had that are full and compleat, as he then spoke them.

READER.

There are some things very obvious, that add a pe. culiar and bright lustre to the testimony this dying faint and faithful minister of Christ has given to the good ways of God; which should commend this his swan-fong to all.

ift, They are the last words of one that gives you a rational and distinct account of the work of God on his own foul fome years ago, and who afterwards by

a holy

a holy convincing walk adorned the gospel of Chris, and glorified his Lord and master, which was his greatest ambition on earth. · He tried the reality and Tweetness of religion fome time, found it was a true report the gospel made, and that the half was not toid. His last words deferves the more regard, since ye may fee he was far from being bigotted unto a fond conceit of the principles and practice of religion, he tried at things and did hold fast that which was good :: What vast pains he was at to examine the very fundamental principles of natural and reveal'd religion ye may see from his memoirs, his treatise against deism, the reason of faith, &c. All which denionstrate his faith did not ftand in the wisdom of men, 1 Cor. ii. 5. but in the power of God. They are the last words of one that spent about twelve years in lively preaching of Chrif and him crucified, wherof not a few of the Lords people retain a savoury remembrance, of which his excellent sermons will convince those that knew him not, ifencouragement be got to print them.

2dly, This may enhanse the value of this testimony, that he was under so great a damp, so dark a cloud for three or four days before that abundant confolation and joy the Lord fill'd himn with, which you will find narrated by himself in his dying words. How agreeable is this to the Lord's usual way of dealing with his faints, he wounds and then heals, smites and then binds up, they are press'd out of measure, above strength, &c. Not only at conversion, but oft in his dealings with them through their life, both'as to their outward and inward condition, and oft signally at death. This glorious method is worthy of God, and nobly advances his blest designs, about his own, i

züly, The constant and unusual com posure of fpirit be had is remarkable; tho' he was under very tormenting pain, the last days of his fickness, yet not one impatient word dropt from him ; tho' he slept little the last five days, and spoke much, yet not

onc

refrethinat fervowhat life, what

[ocr errors]

raving word ever heard from him, which as ye will find him oft admiring it, so it was a wonder to all that were present. 4thly, With what life, what a peculiar emotion of spirit what fervour did he utter his last words? How refreshing, affecting and astonishing this was, all present well remember : And tho' we had all his dying words, this is Itill wanting, nor can it be described by us: Now should not that endear this Saint's testimony to religion. · Sthly, How prudently did he address himself to . persons, minisers, or private Christians that visited him, according to their various ranks, principles, conditions and circumstances ? He spoke with the nicest caution to them, even them; which was very surpriz ! ing.

Othly, And especially that all this was spoke by him in view of approaching death, (for neither he nor others conceived the least probability of his recovery after he took bed) Death the king of ter. rors, the most terrible of all terribles to an impeni. tent finner, and that nothing can make easie and sweeten, but the precious fruits of our Lord's death and sufferings. Yet even then what a calm on his soul? What submission to it did he shew? What boldness in facing this last enemy? With what concern and passion was he panting for death? How wel. come was it to him ? His own words will testify this. One of the opposite way, and not the meanest for senle, said, he never saw one so willing to die. Now whence is all this? How can this be ?

Pagan Moralists and philosophers talked of their cordials against death ; but when it came to the push, they found them all infipid and useless. Hardned der. perate atheists, and besorted Itupid epicures have shut their eyes on danger. The presumptuous and de. luded hypocrite may feign submission to death, pre: tend a hope to heaven, and hold fast his groundless

and

[ocr errors]

and rotten hope ; yet when they turn their faces to the wall, how four and chagrin does the sight of, pale and grini death make them? Their hearts fink in them as stones, or else are forced to bewray a relt. less disquiet and perplexity.

A graceless, bold and furious foldier may court death, rush on it, and pretend to defy it in the field. ' '

, ,

, , , Some prodigies of wickedness, given up of God, from a base cowardice and impatience, have dared to be their own executioners, against the self evident, principles of the law of nature, as well as the express precepts of the moral-law : But not a Mhadow have any of these of the sweet calm and composure, the invincible patience, the intire submission, the absolute resignation to the divine will, the chearfulness, fatisfaction, joy and comfort, the lively and assured Christian attains at death, which our dying friend in so great a measure enjoyed, of which bis own words will give you the best account.

Now then is there not here something truly super. natural and divine, that humane nature could never be capable of, if it were not renewed by the exceeding greatness of that power that raised Christ from the dead, and also a singular measure of the saving influences of the spirit of adoption giving to it? May not all then see, that will not shut their eyes, that the greatest hero among men cannot be equallid to, or vie with a soldier of Christ ;-yea, that these puny heroes are but faint shadows of the real Christian. Ranfack the wide world, consider all the distinguishing excellencies of mortals, view all that have assum'd the name of wise, great, or good, or that men canonize for such, and ye wilt ree beyond all debate, that a faint infinitely outvies them all in his life, especial. ly in his last conflict with death, the close of the dark Scene: Here shines brightly his true greatness of fpirit and incomparable bravery indeed.

: Now

.

b 2

Now on the whole, what a clear convincing evic dence have ye here of the immortality of the foul, that when his body was lowest, yet his intellectuals ! were so found, and the actings of his fpirit about thei. great things of eternity, were so vigorous and lively; he himself shew'd a peculiar turn of wit in improving. ** this. '.

O the great truth and reality there is in religion !. were it a dream, à mere melancholly, hypochondriack fancy, an imposture, or cheat, as athiests talk, or no more in't but mere morality that has no relati. on to Christ Jesus, a dead lifeless form, or fome external bodily exercise, as the blind sensual world, not having the spirit, judges, could it have produc'd such real, such sensible, and surprizing sweet effects, that swallowed up all trouble and pain, and ravish'd with joy as he found ? It is possible any that have the use of their reason, can once imagine a faint can perfonate this at death, when under no temptation to dislemhle, when interest or worldly considerations can have no place or influence, and when they are nnder the most awful impressions of eternity, judgment, and of God the judge of the quick and dead, which so ef. fectually' tend to prevent it!

May we not hence also see the wonderful virtue of Christ's blood, the efficacy of his death and cross? through death he has destroyed death, and him that hud the power of it. On the cross of Christ the saints raise their triumph. How warm was the heart of this faint when he spoke of it! How oft did he glory in the cross of Chrif ! On this intirely he laid the strefs of his salvation. .

O how sure then is God's word! How safe a bot. tom to venture our souls on, even at death ! Is he not the faithful God that keeps covenant? Did he not remember the words which he promised to his servant, on which he caused him to hope? Did he not find it with a witness, especially in his greatest extremity

at

« AnteriorContinuar »