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pregnant with anguish to an oft-stricken heart; but, blessed be God, the threatening aspect of affairs, which seemed to gather darkness, was soon dispersed, and the sun of righteousness seemed to break forth, with renewed splendor. Nor is it wonderful, that transient animosities existed; it is rather astonishing they were not more frequent. It was truly affecting, it was beautiful, and eminently consolatory, to behold persons of the warmest feelings, and strongest prejudices, depositing every dissenting, every foreign sentiment, at the foot of the cross, meeting, and mingling souls, and emphatically, although tacitly, saying to every minor consideration, “Tarry ye here, while we go up to worship.”
Too soon have the years of felicity fled away. They rise to view like the vision of some blissful era, which we have imagined, not realized. Suddenly we were aroused from our dream of security; the torpid hand of palsy blighted our dearest hopes; the Preacher, the Head, the Husband, the Father, was in a moment precipitated from a state of high health, and prostrated beneath the tremendous stroke of the fell destroyer.
Record continued from October, 1809, to September, 1815, including the closing scene. Portentously the dense, dark cloud arose; Long was the night, surcharg’d with clust’ring woes; But, blest Religion, rob’d in spotless white, With torch of faith, pointing to realms of light, March'd splendid on ; wide o'er the brightening way, Leading the saint to never-ending day. * IT was upon the nineteenth day of October, one thousand eight hundred and nine, that the fatal blow was given to a life so valuable, so greatly endeared, so truly precious; but, although the corporeal powers of the long active preacher, became so far useless, as to render him as helpless as a new-born babe; although he was indeed a complete cripple, yet the saint still lingered; was still detained by the allwise decree of the Most High, a prisoner in his clay-built tenement, nor did his complete beatification take place until the Sabbath morning of September 3d, lacking only a few days of six complete-years. Yet was his patience, so far as we have known, unexampled. No murmur against the inflictions of heaven escaped his lips; praises of his paternal
Creator were still found upon his tongue, and the goodness of his God continued his enduring theme. Unwavering in his testimony, he repeatedly, and most devoutly, said: “ No man on earth is under so many obligations to Almighty God as myself; yes, I will adore the great Source of Being so long as I shall exist, and every faculty of my soul shall bless my redeeming Creator.” Yet, it is true, that when the once cheerful sabbath bells vibrated upon his ear, he would frequently lift towards heaven a humid eye, and mournfully articulate: “Alas! alas! it is not with me as heretofore, when I could hear the tribes devoutly say, “Up, Israel, to the temple haste, and keep this festal day:” Soon, however, his mind was hushed to peace, by calm, and firm confidence in his God, and he would add—“Well, well, when I awake in thy likeness, I shall be satisfied. We are asleep in the present state; we are asleep in the likeness of the earthy man; all our uneasy sensations are unpleasant dreams. Pleasures, derived from mere terrestrial enjoyments, detached from intellect, are also dreams, and, like the baseless fabric of a vision, shall not leave a wreck behind. But if my life have been a continued sleep, and the greater part of my pains, and pleasures, dreams; yet, while this deep sleep has been upon me, the Almighty hath instructed me ; yes, blessed be His name, the roof of His mouth is as the best wine, which goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those who are asleep to speak. O J for more of this best wine, that my lips may show forth his praise, that I may drink and forget all sorrow.”
Thus was the tenor of his mind generally acquiescent, and his impatience to be gone was frequently subdued, by an operative conviction of the sovereign wisdom, as well as paternal love of Deity. His bible was his constant companion. Seated by his affectionate assistant, in his easy chair, and the book of God opened before him, the man of patience, during six succeeding years, passed the long summer mornings from the sun's early beams, in examining and re-examining the will of His August FATHER. He had, through a long life, been conversant with a variety of English authors. Poets, dramatic writers, essayists, and historians, were familiar to him ; he took great delight in perusing them ; but, travelling through those multiplied pages, might be termed his excursions, while the sacred volume was his INTeLLectual HoME. Many hours in every day were devoted to the attentive perusal of the scriptures, and yet his sentiments were unvaried; not a single feature of the system, he had so long advocated, was changed.
Mr. Murray was fond of calling himself the Lord's prisoner; and he would add, I am, by consequence, a Rrisoner of hope. During his
confinement many respectable gentlemen, clergymen in Boston, visited him. One or two repeated their visits, and they apparently regarded the now white-haired servant of God, with kindness and respect. One clergyman questioned him respecting his then present views, wishing to be ascertained if his faith were still in exercise, if he were willing to depart. “O yes, yes, yes,” exclaimed the long-illumined christian, “the glorious manifestations of divine love still brighten upon me. Right precious to my soul are the promises, the oath of Jehovah ; and, sir, so far from shrinking from my approaching change, my only struggle is for patience to abide, until the time appointed for my emancipation. I would cultivate a humble, child-like resignation; but hope deferred, doth indeed too often make the heart sick.” Another gentleman congratulated him on his apparent convalescence—“Oh! sir,” he returned, “the voice of gladness suits not my present feelings; it is, as if, when I believed I was voyaging to my native shores, where health, happiness, and peace awaited me, borne onwards by gales the most propitious, and supposing myself almost in the moment of obtaining the long desired haven, when suddenly driven back by some adverse circumstance, instead of being soothed by condolence, I am pierced to the soul by the discordant sounds of felicitation.” Yet, we repeat, the revered teacher was in general astonishingly patient, resigned, and even cheerful. He was frequently heard to say, that he had experienced, in the course of his confinement, more of the abundant goodness of his God, than through the whole of his preceding life; and those, most conversant with him, could not forbear observing, that the protracted period which would in prospect have risen to the eye with a most melancholy, if not : terrific aspect, taken as a whole, exhibited the saint more equal, calm, and dignified, than any other six years of his existence. A respectable gentleman, not of his persuasion, but candid and benign, remarked, that his character was elevated to no common height; that his uncomplaining endurance of suffering, and the unwavering steadfastness of his faith, had stamped his testimony with the seal of integrity, and gave that confirmation to his confidence in his own views of sacred writ, which could not fail of rejoicing the hearts of his adherents. The chamber of adversity was occasionally illumined by the presence of a few fast friends; and one sympathizing, kind-hearted, affectionate brother was so uniform in his appearance, with the close of every week, that we might almost have designated the day, and the hour of the evening, by his approaches. Nor was the demise of his teacher the period of his kindness; his countenance, his aid, his commiseration,
his society, are still loaned to the solitary, the bereaved family. Dear faithful man 1 May the rich blessings of Almighty God rest upon thee and thine, until thou hast finished thy mortal career, and mayest thou, in the regions of blessedness, renew, with thy beloved teacher, that friendship which, while tenanted in clay, thou hast so well known to appreciate. To three other gentlemen, devoted adherents to the lamented deceased, warm acknowledgments are, also, most righteously due. Their kind, and still continued attentions, are gratifying proof of their attachment to him, who was so dear to them, and gratitude hath, with mournful alacrity, reared her altars in the bosoms of the widow, and the fatherless. Some strange occurrences were noted, which filled the heart of the venerable man of God with sorrow, unutterable sorrow. Every thing seemed to point his passage homeward to the sky, and upon Lord's day morning, August twenty-seventh, one thousand eight hundred and fisteen, at four o'clock, an especial summons was despatched by the Most High, to recal his long-tried servant; but alas ! we did not recognize the messenger; we rather believed, that the circumstances, which marked the acknowledged change, would look with a friendly - aspect upon the health of the beloved man, during the succeeding autumn and winter; but the honoured sufferer himself, apparently better informed, anticipatingly observed—“Who knows, perhaps the liberating hour is at hand;” and his feelings were always elated or depressed, in exact proportion as the moment of his departure seemed to advance, or recede. The progress of the new disease was astonishingly rapid. A physician was summoned, who permitted the indulgence of hope. On Tuesday, 29th, his complaints evidently abated, insomuch, that while the features of his strongly marked face expressed the deepest mortification, he tremulously exclaimed, “Am I then once more thrown back, the melancholy subject of alternate hope and fear?” On Wednesday,
every symptom increased, he obtained little rest, and hope manifestly
triumphed in his bosom. Another physician was called in, whose doubtful answers to proposed questions created much alarm. He seemed to consider nature as surrendering her offices. In the course of Thursday, 31st, he repeatedly, and earnestly said, “I cannot be suffi. ciently thankful to God, my Saviour, that I suffer no pain, either of body, or mind.” To a young, and tenderly interested friend, he smilingly observed, “I am hastening through the valley of the shadow of death; I am about to quit this distempered state; yet a little moment,
and I shall be received into the city of the living God, with the innumerable company of the apostles, and spirits of just men made perfect, and I shall continue for ever, in the presence of my divine Master.” His family solicited his blessing. “You are blessed,” he replied, “you are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus; and, remember,” he added, fixing his dying eyes upon them, “remember, that however tried in this world, there is another, and a better state of things; and that, although pierced in this vale of tears by the arrows of unkindness and ingratitude, there is One who loveth you, with an ever
lasting love, and who will never leave you nor forsake you.”
On Friday morning, September 1st, some expressions gave positive proof of his sanity; but as the day advanced, his derangement was supposed unquestionable, and from this hour, until Saturday evening, a little after sunset, he continued, with few intervals, incoherently repeating the most consolatory passages in the book of God. His right hand was constantly in motion, and when any one approached, whatever might be the question, the answer was ready. “To HIM,” said the expiring christian, “shall the gathering of the people be, and His REST shALL BE GLORIous, GLORIOUs, GLoRioUs. I am blessed with all spiritual blessings, in Christ Jesus. Nor I alone, Christ Jesus HATH TASTED DEATH FoR EveRY MAN,” &c. &c. These Godhonouring, man-restoring truths, were audibly articulated, while voice and strength continued ; and when speaking only in a whisper, to the listening ear applied to his moving lips, it was ascertained that the same consolatory assurances still dwelt upon his tongue. Was this delirium ? or, if it were, was it not a delirium irradiated by the powerful influence of redeeming love? Did not the luminous truths, upon which the noble, the capacious mind, had so long reposed, beam refulgent over the scattering fragments, then dissolving, which had for a term of more than seventy years, embodied the immortal tenant 7
Almost immediately after sunset, on Saturday evening, he ceased to speak; his right hand no longer waved, and he continued in the same position, in which the enduring kindness of his faithful assistant had placed him, until six o'clock, Lord's-day morning, September third, one thousand eight hundeed and fifteen; when, without a sigh, or a struggle, or a single distortion of countenance, he expired. His longimprisoned spirit escaped to the God who gave it.
It did not appear, through the whole of Friday and Saturday, that he suffered the least pain, except when an attempt was made to move him. His breath grew shorter and shorter, like the sweet sleep of a tired infant, until it could no more be distinguished. He departed this life in the seventy-fifth year of his age.