« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
I will punish you for your revoltings.” Sometimes by his rods and corrections, he will make their bodies smart with sickness, as in the case of Hezekiah. Sometimes he will make them to smart in their worldly substance, by reducing them to poverty, as you see in Job, whose substance he gave over unto the Sabean and Chaldean robbers. Then again he will make them to smart in their relaijons, friends, and children, by taking away the desire of their eyes with a stroke, or other things that are sharper than death. Sometimes he will make them to smart in their name, by reproach and calumny, and letting loose the tongues of a wicked world upon them, yea, even the tongues of their own kindred, as in the case of Job and his friends. Then again he will correct his subjects in their inner man, their soul, which is the sharpest of his rods. Sometrues he will turn away his face and hide his countenance, and then they are ready to cry with David, “ Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.” He will go that length in his correction with his subjects, that he will appear as an enemy, make the arrows of his reproof to “ drink up their spirits,” as we see in the case of Job and Heman. And sometimes he corrects them as to make both external and internal trouble, like two seas, to meet upon them, so as " deep calls unto deep :" this we see in the case of Joseph's brethren, and of David, when both “the sorrows of death and the pains of hell” took hold on him, and then he “ found trouble and sorrow" to some purpose : and the same we see in the case of Jonah, when he shifted the work and service that his Master, called him to, with respect to Ninevab..
As king of his people he commands peace, quiet, comfort, and deliverance, he turns the storm into a calm, when the wind and tempest of external troubles are blowing so hard, that they threateq no less than death and utter ruin, he comes treading upon the waves of the sea, and says to the winds and waves, i Peace, be still, and immediately there is a great calın.” And as for the internal storms of troubles of mind, he quiets these also, by conmanding, or speaking “ peace to them that are afar off," or by lifting up the light of his reconciled countenance on them, whereby he “puts more gladness in their heart, than when corn, wipe, and oil, doth abound." Now, by these, or the like acts of his kingly government, he manages his invisible kingdom consisting of believers, until he give the finishing stroke unto the work at death, and then he transports them under a convoy of angels from the church militant, to the church triumphant, where they shall sing a song, in “ Giving thanks unto the Father who hath made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;" and chaunt that glorious anthem, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and bath made us kings and priests unto God and his father; to bim be glory and dominion tor ever and ever. Amen."
to his bed, he said, very awfully, “I shall rise no more till the trumpet sounds." He then coinplained much of the greatness of his sins. One present asked him whether he thought his sins so great, as there was not enough in Christ to pardon them? “ Oh! no," said he, “I will not reflect such dishonour on the blood of Christ, as to think so; I know there is an effectual plaister prepared; but if not applied, what then ?" A little after, he broke forth in this manner: " As there is a fulness of sin in me, so there is much more fullness in Christ to pardon." That night he con. tinued very restless, his distress being such, that he could scarcely close his eyes; and in the morning, which was Saturday, he spoke in great agony, “I must die, and have not the least ground of hope.” Being advised to venture on Christ, and cast himself upon him, as one able to save to the uttermost, he, with a countenance that shewed great inward grief, replied, it was too late. His dear relation answered him thus: “It is not too late, God has opened your eyes on this side the graví, and made you see your need of Christ; and therefore it is not too late, but he calleth you now.”— He presently spake thus : “ Shall I venture then upon Christ?" it was answered, " Yes, you must.” Having paused a little, and his countenance becoming more composed and cheerful, he said, “I can but perish”-then stopped. His dear wife, observing his words and countenance, said, “ Hope is dawning." He quickly replied, “ I hope it is,” and soon after broke forih in high acclama. tious, and such expressions of spiritual joy and admiration of the free grace of God, as bis strength would permit. He was much afflicted that he had nol strength nor breath'to speak of God's free grace to him, that the world might know what God had done for him. Notwithstanding, he spake to this effect, “ It troubles me, that God should lose his glory, who hath not, I hope, suffered me to lose my soul. Oh! that I had breath to speak of Christ! methinks I could speak of Chiist till night. I think I could speak of Christ a year together.” And indeed all that day, when he had strength to speak, it was excellently of Christ. Once fetching his breath with difficulty, he said, “I shall breathe out my last breath, with a blessed be God for Jesus Christ ;” and a little after, he com. plained that he could love Christ no more. That day, there came a young gentleman, an acquaintance of his, to visit him, who found him very weak, but when he had recovered a little strength, he addressed himself to him tbus, “ All that we have to do for God and the salvation of our souls, is to be done here, there is nothing to be done in the grave; and it is my advice, niy dying counsel to all young men, that they seek after Christ in the time of health, and not put off so great a work in such a manner as I have done."
The following day, which was the Lord's day, he was exceeding weak, and pained in body, and variously exercised in soul, as appeared by several expressions that dropped from him at times, whilst complaining of his illness. He was told that, however it was, God was good. He answered, “ You shall never hear me say otherwise, sink or swim, saved or damned, I will justify him. A litile after, being exerci ed in his soul, he cried out, “How hard a thing it is to crowd through the throng of sin and guilt to Jesus Christ. Sure Christ will never accept of such a filthy thing as I am.” But, said he again, “ God's end in pardoning and saving sinners, is to glorify his own free grace; and then why not towards me as another." What a wonderful word is that, a man may safely die with that word in his mouth, The free gift is of many offences to justification. Then he added, “ Though my flesh and heart faileth, God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Another time, being somewhat clouded, and speaking of the grace of God, he said, “I cannot demand it, nor have I deserved it.”But being asked, if he would not accept of it, “Yes,” replied he, “very thankfully." Towards night he grew more distressed, several friends being about bim, he looked very dolefully upon them, and said, “O! I tremble." Being asked at what ? he said, “at the possibility of perishing. One sitting by him, that knew how it was with him, said it it was impossible, he having been helped through grace to commit his soul into Christ's hands, and that none can pluck out of his hand. He said, “ Poor hearts ! you are willing to hope the best, I hope you are not mistaken !” “ You know,” said he to his wife, “Dear oppressed nature will cry out for relief.” He was answered, that oppressed nature could not rest on Christ for salvation. He was silent. Next morning he was con. cerned that he must die, and do Christ no service in the world He wished to live one year longer, but corrected bimself and said, “ It may be, I might be wicked again, yet, I think if I know my own beart, I desire to embrace Christ, and none but Christ.” Some time after, being full of complaints as to his soul, it was observed to him, “ Yesterday you could say, though my heart and my flesh faileth, &c.” He answered, “But I cannot say so to day.” But afterwards his faith began to mount up, and being melted under a sense of the grace of God to him, he said. “ If I had strength, I would make my confession the town talk : I need not tell them what my life has been ; that they very well know. But I would tell them the difference there is between them that have grace, and they that have none.” Monday, about noon, Mr. Bear came to visit him, and said, “ What, art thou going now to Christ?" He answered, " Better now than never." He was so weak, and his difficulty of breathing so great, that he could scarcely speak; yet he desired Mr. Bear would wrestle and strive with God in prayer for him, that he might be helped sincerely to believe in Christ. "I am,'' said he, "brought to the dust of death." The night before he departed, about nine o'clock, being raised upon his pillow, he lifted up his hands, and bid all farewell; after which he drew his, breath, as if just departing. A friend put him in mind of his own expression, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ; he was heard to say, Amen. His dear relation added, Christ the fore-runner is for thee entered. He, with a pleasant countenance, nodded his head, not being able to speak.
And now, death appeared in all its symptoms, and every one concluded him near bis end; when all on a sudden, the blood returned into bis face; vigour and liveliness into his eyes ; and with a voice exceedingly loud, as if he had risen from the dead, to give his testimony to free grace, he spoke triumphantly thus; “ I know that my Redeemer liveth; and that with these eyes I shall see him, and not another's. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." These words he spoke with such vehemence, as made the whole house echo, when before he could scarce be heard. He continued to speak with warmth and affection, “ I am no more afraid to die, than I am to go to sleep. God loves me dearly, and I love God dearly. Lord strike the blow, and the work is done. I long to be gone. I long to see Jesus Christ. Oh! that all the town might ring of God's free grace to me!-What, at the last hour too! Who would have thought of this a few weeks ago ? Nothing less than eternity is suf. ficient to admire free grace. This is blessed work indeed; this is dying indeed.”—“ Thy father, (said he, turning so his wife,) will wonder to see me in heaven. He little thinks I am so near him." His wife asked him, “ Whether he thought she should come where he was going?” He said, “I do not question it; thou, nor che poor children neither,” (Through the grace of God his dying prophecy is likely to be accomplished in all of them.) “ You will not be long after me. Come; one bosom will hold us all. He that hath begun the good work in them (meaning his children) will carry it on till the day of Jesus Christ.” A friend hearing bim speak so heartily, said, “ Sir, I hope you may still live. He replied, “O no, Do not tell me so. I do not like hear of that ; I would not come back again for thousands of gold and silver. But what the Lord will ;-I am wholly swallowed up in sovereign will." After being spent, he said, “ I can speak no more, I hope you are all satisfied. Fare you well;" (expecting he should have gone immediately to heaven) but it pleased God to continue him till the next night, though under some regret, as he with difficulty added : “ ©! thought I had been going so sweetly ; but I am left still.” And the next morning, hearing some friends speaking about the distress he had been in, he said to them, the Lord has now fully satisfied me.” Yet, by reason, his dissolution was delayed, further temptations and a black cloud arose upon him, after all the glorious sun. shine : he burst out into such bitter expressions as these, “God has forsaken me : and I am afraid it is a sore judgment upon me, that I lie in such a condition. I have afraid lest I have deceived myself with false hopes." After the beginning of bis distress, there appeared upon him convulsive fits; he said to his wife, I have fits ;' she said, " I am afraid you have." He added, I am almost fright89
tikas please of deathias," and OSPEL MAG
THE GOSPEL MAGAZINE. ened out of my wits ;” and being asked at what? He said, “ At the awfulness of death.”—This conflict lasted some time : But the Lord was pleased to return again ; his soul was composed and still ; his fits ceased; though his strength was gone, and he could speak but little. This satisfaction was had froin him before he departed. He said, “ Would that I was up ;" his wife said, " That would be a pleasant sight indeed to see thee up again, to tell us what thou hast seen on this sick bed.” He said, " I have seen that here, that hath made my heart, and the hearts of many more, glad.” It was said to him, “ You may see now what satan's temptations are ; when God permits him, he will rob a child of God of his comforts; but that is all he can do.” “ And it is a great all too,” said he, “it was that which made my life a burthen to me." Being asked if he did not believe he should have the same comforts again? he answered, “ Yes ;" and it was not long before he bad them to the full; for now he fell into a sweet sleep, the best he had for many days, and in which sleep, he quietly slept in Jesus.
Thus have I given you an account of his death-bed experiences, in which, though now dead, he speaks to you the living, that you may hope to be partakers of the same grace with him, and enter into the same glory. Take care that you do not suck poison to the ruin of your souls, out of this instance of God's free, rich, and glorious grace. Remember, there was one thief on the cross in his dying moment obtained grace, and but one, that none might despair, and that none night presume ; so but one Mr. Bigg, perhaps, in an age; that none may think, when they have lived all their life-time in sin, they shall with ease, and at pleasure, die to Christ.
Who departed this mortal life,
ANNO DOMINI, 1689.
Dead whilst alive, in dying life begins,
In sin him deatb attacks ; but grace steps in
BLOQUENCE OF KNOX. The following description of that species of eloquence for which Knox the reformer was distinguished. It is given by Mr. Melville, one of his contemporaries.
VOL. IV.-No. II.