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Published by glennpease



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Published by: glennpease on Feb 04, 2013
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" It is appointed unto all men once to die : " There is noexemption, even for believers, from this decree. They aredelivered from the sting of death, but not from its stroke ; —still, in one sense, they conquer, like their divine Lord, inbeing conquered. " If ever Christianity," says Mr. Hall,*' appears in its power, it is when it erects its trophies onthe TOMB ; when it takes up its votaries where the worldleaves them, and fills the breast with immortal hopes in dy-ing moments." Christ triumphed for his saints, by his owndeath, and he is continually renewing the victory in them,amidst all the sufferings and decay of their own dissolution.This is beautifully illustrated in the subject of the presentchapter; in which we are to contemplate the Christian'stermination of her profession on earth, and see her finishingher course with joy. I shall not exhibit to my readers anideal scene, but lay before them one of those glorious andblissful realities, which are continually occurring in the dyingchamber of behevers, that border-land which connects theregions of earth and heaven, and where the darkest scenesof the one are frequently irradiated by the reflected glory of the other.Mrs. P. had been a member of the church under my pas-toral oversight about ten years, and was one of many, whoPROFESSOR. 315never cost her pastor's heart a sigh, till he lost her. Lovelyin person, gentle and affectionate in her disposition, she addeda lustre to her consistency as a Christian, by all that usuallyinterests us in the general character. Tried much, andoften, in the furnace of affliction, her faith, more preciousthan gold that perisheth, was found unto the praise andhonour, and glory of Jesus Christ. At length her last sick-ness came on in the form of a lingering consumption. Itfound her the happy wife of an affectionate and devoted hus-band, and the fond mother of a son of the age of twelve years,and two daughters, one ten, and the other eight. Possessingsuch ties to life, she was called to submit, amidst trying cir-cumstances, to the stroke of death. Her profession, alwayslike a clear and steady light, now shone forth with a beauty,that made her departure resemble a glorious sun-set, after acloudless day. Amidst the alternations usually produced bythe flattering illusions of her disorder, she was never elatedby hope, nor depressed by fear, but smiled on her physician,whether he spoke of recovery or death. However lan-guishing with weakness, or racked by pain, or harrassed by
coughing, she was instantly roused and made happy by oneword of death or Christ. Such was the charm of thesethemes, that I have frequently seen her countenance changein a moment, by their potency, from an expression of greatsuffering to a smile that looked like a ray of the excellentglory, failing on her previously dim and languid eye. In-stead, however, of speaking of her, or attempting to describeher, I will let her speak for herself. As I was about to leavehome for a few days, and supposing that her end was not re-mote, I requested her husband to take minutes of any remark3that might drop from her lips, in order that I might be inpossession of her last testimony to the truths of the gospel,^nd the power of religion. — The following diary, extending316 TH E DYINGonly through ten days, is but a specimen of what occurredalmost uninterruptedly for many months." Tell Mr. James," she said one day, " that the fear andsting of death are both taken away : — the fear, becauseChrist died for sinners : — the sting, because he fulfilled andmagnified the law." And in reply to a remark that deathwas hard work, " No," she said, " sweet death ! that opensheaven and shuts out earth."August 4. — This morning she awoke exceedingly happy,and said, " What a mercy it is to have a Father in heaven,I wake every morning more happy, with more love to God,and more deadness to the world. O, my happy midnighthours ! The things I most dreaded, I find most mercyin. I cannot say much, but I wish, when I can say a fewwords only, to utter the praises of that God who is so good tome."At another time she said, " My bliss is too great to be en-dured on earth, and it 's too pure for it. — Oh ! seek Godearnestly with all the heart, and then he will comfort you ona death-bed, in the same way he now comforts me. Con-fess to him all your sins, make no reserve, and remembernot to put off the confession of little sins, for they will onlyharden the heart, and delay will make the confession moredifficult at last."August 6. — " I have been unspeakably happy," she said,*' to-night. Oh ! seek God with all your heart ; seek himwhile he may be found, call upon him while he is near."On having her pillows adjusted and made easy, her up-lifted hands and eyes spoke more than words could do, herfeelings of gratitude and thankfulness; "How can I suffi-ciently honour and adore God, for all his mercies towards me.I feel my heart almost ready to burst, and my whole soulswallowed up in gratitude and love to him : surely, surely,heaven is begun below ! "
PHOFESSOR.317Sunday Morning, August 7. — She observed, "Satanhas been tempting me in the night, by a sense of past sins,but I have been enabled to beat him off, by praying for faith,and looking steadily at the cross. This life is as St. Pauldescribes it, a constant fight; I have found it to be so, but theidea that it is so near a close is to me exquisite. — You will(addressing me) find it so yourself, but watch and pray, andyou will ultimately triumph. Sin is mixed with every thinghere, and remember, whatever comes between the soul andOod, as a cloud to dim the lustre of his glory, is sin. I wasmuch struck with this idea about eighteen years ago, inattending the theatre, at the particular request of a friend,for I found when I retired to bed, I could not pray, whichconvinced me of the sinfulness of the theatre, and I never wentagain."This morning she joined the whole family in singing,*• When I can read my title clear," &c. — She did so in apeculiarly animated manner, but with so trembling and fee-ble a voice, that it was pleasure mixed with pain, and thecircumstance will never be forgotten.During the day, such was her patience and resignation,that in allusion to her sufferings she said, " I think I couldbear a little more, if God thought fit to lay it upon me ; "and looking upon her poor skeleton fingers, added, " I like tosee them ; " and then with an apparent smile of triumph said,?' You know you cannot keep me here much longer, I shallsoon be gone."August 8. — This last night has been to her a sleepless,restless one ; she appears almost worn out, and to be muchengaged in prayer, for waiting patience : she said, " whatan unspeakable mercy it is, that I 've not a doubt or a fear !but pray for me, that I may so continue to the end, formany a good Christian is permitted to be much harrassed bythe enemy at the last ; I have been much distressed to-night27*318 THE DYINGby Satan. I found I could not pray, but the passage after-wards came to my mind, 'there is therefore now no condem-nation to them which are in Christ Jesus ' &c. and this com-forted me.

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