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blood extendeth even to me, grant me these, the blessings he has purchased, for the sake of his honour and glory."
He was cautious in the expression of his religious feelings; evi. dently wishing to avoid the utterance of anything in his experience, of which he had not satisfactory evidence. Before his final attack, in March, he spoke of his acceptance with God in the most satisfactory terms; and was confident, that if he departed, he should be happy in heaven: but soon after its commencement, when questions were proposed to him on this subject, he answered with a degree of hesitancy, and intimated that he was labouring under some uncertainty, although before this he had had no doubt. AMiction frequently produces a change of feeling, of which the adversary takes advantage to destroy our spiritual comfort; but I found, on farther inquiry, that there was also another cause. He had habituated himself to review the transactions of each day at its close ; penitently to confess his faults before his heavenly Father; and, through a renewed act of faith on the blood of atonement, lay himself down to rest with a renewed sense of his reconciliation with God, as well as with renewed purposes and resolutions. But since this attack he had been incompetent to this daily exercise ; in consequence of which, there appeared to his mind an accumulating number of faults unconfessed, and unforgiven, that now troubled his conscience : thus did Satan, transformed to an angel of light, avail himself of the hour of weakness and suffering, to try to wrest from his hand the shield of faith. I endeavoured to point out to him the difference between a tender and a scrupulous conscience ; to place before him the character of God, not as a severe and rigorous Judge, but as a compassionate Father, who pities the weakness of his children ; and to direct him especially to the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth from all sin ; endeavouring to impress his mind with a sense of its perpetual and universal efficacy, as suited to the exigencies of the believer in every condition of life. The conversation had its use in leading him to rest with greater composure on the Rock of Ages.
He always expressed his full satisfaction with the wisdom and goodness of God in his affliction ; nor did he manifest any apprehensions concerning his future happiness, should he die: yet several peculiarities in his case prevented his mind from settling down to rest. In addition to the natural love of life common to our race, the opinion still expressed by his medical attendants kept up a lingering expectation of recovery, with a wish to employ every means to effect it: his heart clave to his learning, and prospects at the University. It had always been his prevailing impression, that God intended him for usefulness on earth : others had been brought low as he was by affliction
, and had been raised up again ; and his mind, from constitutional ardour, embraced whatever engaged its attention with characteristic eagerness. When, however, the symptoms became so decisive, that it was deemed proper to inform him of his approaching end, he received
the intelligence with great fortitude, and expressed his thanks for the announcement; for which, indeed, his own previous observations had in some degree prepared him. He lost no time in giving me directions concerning several books, and sought to withdraw his mind entirely from earthly objects; and though he spoke but little, yet we thought that we perceived the severe struggle that it cost him, before he could absolutely give up all, and sink unhesitatingly into the will of God. That, through grace, he realized this happy state of mind, we had satisfactory evidence. It was immediately after this struggle, that, as I was sitting by his side, I mentioned to him one who had been supposed to be in a consumption, but was cured. He listened to me; but referred to his own hopeless condition, adding, “Well, the blood of Jesus Christ bears us above all : I feel it now; and I praise the Lord.” And though I had had no reason to doubt, from the commencement of his affliction, that, should the Lord remove him, he would take him to his kingdom ; yet, considering the time and occasion on which this declaration was made, my grateful heart could not help receiving it as the signal of victory, and the sure pledge of his final blessedness.
His complaint required perfect quietness. He could converse but occasionally. He often lay quite still, his eyes closed, though not asleep; his expressions now and then indicating the deep musings of his soul. It was evident that the Lord had visited him with a fuller baptism of the Holy Spirit : he spoke in terms of strong confidence; and the whole of his conduct breathed only gratitude and affection. He presented his mother and me, each of us, with one of his prizebooks, to keep as a memorial of him. Though nearly incapable of the effort, he wished to trace with his dying hand, on a piece of paper, to be placed within the cover of the one he gave to his mother, the overflowings of his grateful and most affectionate heart towards her. This he effected with great difficulty, concluding with these words, the last he ever wrote, “God is love."
On one occasion he told his mother that he was dying ; but continued, “I am going to be with Christ.” At another time she said, “ You will still be my boy.” “Yes," he replied ; "and if God will permit me, I will be your guardian angel till you join me in heaven.” Hearing the organ in the adjoining chapel (King-street) commence the Te Deum, he said to his mother, “They are now praising God; let us join them;" when she began, “ We praise thee, O God," &c., he devoutly joining her. “The Lord of Sabbath let us praise,” &c., was his favourite hymn, with which he had been in the habit of beginning the Lord's day; and reading to him our deeply experimental and beautiful hymns afforded him great comfort.
Into the subject of entire sanctification he entered deeply, and remarked, “I have but one wish,—to be made perfect, and to die.” And when I kneeled down to prayer, he often reminded me that he
wished this to be the especial subject of our petitions. He also said to his mother on one occasion, “ O how happy I shall be, when I obtain perfect love! God knows how earnestly I desire it; and my judgment tells me, that he is more willing to give it to me, than I am to receive it.” He then referred, as he had often done before, to the happy seasons he had had with his mother the preceding summer at Clifton; saying, that he returned to his school with his heart full of love ; and told her of the blessings he had experienced at Sundaymorning and Friday-evening prayer-meetings. Twice he received, during his illness, the sacrament of the Lord's supper; but requested that the same chalice and wine as those employed in the chapel might be used. This request may appear to some an attention to comparative trifles, unworthy of a mind with eternity so near in view. I considered it otherwise. It arose from an innate feeling, natural to him, of propriety; but especially from an impression that this holy sacrament ought not to be observed as an ordinary action, by the employment of things in common use, when those set apart for its due celebration were accessible.
One brother having been sent for from London, and another from Kingswood, at his request, his mother, myself, with all his brothers and sisters, assembled in his room the Sabbath prior to his dissolution, that he might have an opportunity of seeing the whole family together once more before he died. As his brothers and sisters stood before him, he looked on them, uttering, with deep fervour and affection, “Lord bless you all;" adding, “I wish I had had strength to pray with you." We then worshipped God all together for the last time in this world.
The day before his death, his weakness was extreme: he was also partly under the influence of opiates; and nothing during his illness affected me more than to witness the powers of his gigantic mind now so prostrated. The adversary, too, for a season, assailed him with the temptation, that God was forsaking him ; but he derived comfort from these promises, frequently repeated to him : “ Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will help thee; I will strengthen thee; I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness ;” and, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." The former part of the night he slept rather better than he had been accustomed to do for some time before. Towards day-break he awoke, and was restless, frequently asking for his pillow to be moved. Thinking his end was near, I inquired, “ Have you now confidence in God through Jesus Christ ?" He unhesitatingly answered, “ Yes.” This was his last testimony, and given about half an hour before he died. His voice began to falter, and several of his expressions were incoherent. I was repeating these words of the Apostle : “Thanks be to God, that giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The sound seemed to awaken his attention, now almost gone ; when he
feebly attempted to articulate the word “ Victory." IIe soon after heaved a long sigh ; consciousness was fled; and, after breathing softly and slowly for about ten minutes, the solemn stillness of death told us that all was over.
He retained the full use of his intellect during his affliction, with slight exceptions towards the last, when affected by medicine; so that it will ever afford us satisfaction to reflect, that the testimonies of his happiness in God, which he gave on his death-bed, were those of a mind clear and undisturbed ; and though his disease, in the end, was rapid in its progress, yet he sank away comparatively without pain. So gentle was the descent, that he unconsciously entered the valley, and was borne through it most peacefully by the love of his great and good Shepherd, never more evidently present with him.
THE UNIIAPPY BUILDER :
A SERMON :
BY TIIE REV. J. B. DE LA RIVIERE,
(Translated for the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) «AND Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the
Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho : he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it." -Joshua vi. 26. MY BRETHREN,— The penalties which God has attached to his laws are both useful and necessary, but not very honourable to those for whom they are made. The commandments of God emanate from an authority so sacred, and are at the same time so just and equitable, that it would seem as if they only required to be proposed, to be both received and performed with pleasure. And, without doubt, so it would be, if reason prevailed with men, and held their passions under its yoke; and if, firm in that natural dependence in which they are placed in relation to God, they constantly yielded their own will to the sovereign will of their Creator and Lord.
But the passions, stronger in man than reason ; the pride which rules him ; the desire of independence; the impatience of control and restraint; all excite him against the orders of a superior, howsoever great and deserving of respect he may be, and produce a secret aversion in regard to all that is called law, obligation, or engagement; so that it
* M. De La Rivière died in 1742, aged seventy-thrce. VOL. XXI. Third Series. OCTOBER, 1842.
is sufficient that anything be forbidden, for him to be borne the more violently towards it. Scarcely would he attend even to the laws of God himself, if it were not that their infringement would expose hina to danger.
Such being the disposition of man, it was necessary that the sovereign Legislator should accompany his laws with severe menaces against those who should venture to violate them. That precaution was even necessary towards man while he was yet innocent, and existing in that condition of comparative indifference in which justice then found him. How much more necessary is it since his transgression, when the bent of his heart is towards evil; when his degraded reason, deposed from its rank, basely submits to his passions; and when his self-love is the first divinity to which his heart offers incense ?
The divine laws, then, cannot be armed too completely with threatenings and penalties in reference to man. And yet, such is the impetuosity of his passions, that he often overleaps all these barriers. It may please God to forbid some particular action, under the most severe penalties, as well temporal as eternal, both in relation to the sinner himself, and to his children; but he hazards all,—the present, the future, time, eternity, his own interest, and that of his posterity,– that his eager desires may be gratified.
We have a remarkable example before us. Joshua, inspired from on high, curses the first who should dare to rebuild Jericho; places him under a terrible anathema; and declares, that whoever should conceive so criminal an enterprise, should only execute it at the expense of the life of his most beloved children. But, notwithstanding this, there was found, some ages afterwards, an Israelite sufficiently daring to undertake the restoration of the city. The punishment followed close upon the crime ; and the criminal experienced, to the letter, the malediction which Joshua had pronounced. A punishment so memorable has not rendered man more careful. In all ages we find him labouring, and even labouring all his days, to rebuild other Jerichos, not less odious to God, nor less opposed to the welfare of his people, than the ancient Jericho; and this, notwithstanding the most explicit prohibitions, sanctioned by the most formidable threatenings.
To give this subject its just extent, I shall do three things.
I. I shall explain the ANATHEMA pronounced by Joshua against him who should rebuild Jericho.
II. I shall show its subsequent ACCOMPLISHMENT on the occurrence of the case for which it was provided.
III. Considering this prophetic menace in the way of Analogy, I shall describe the manner in which it may be referred, in a spiritual and mystic sense, to other objects which concern ourselves in particular.