Page images

all kinds of learning, and had read as much perhaps as any mani ever did ; and yet, towards the latter end of his days, he declared to Archbishop Usher, that notwithstanding he had been so laborious in his enquiries, and curious in his collections, and had possessed himself of a treasure of books and manuscripts upon all ancient subjects; yet:“ he could rest his soul on none, "save the Scriptures *.”—This is a perfect eulogium on the Sacred Volume.

11.k. 42. Monsieur CLAUDE was a very considerable man among the protestants, who were driven out of France by Lewis the Fourteenth. When he was taken ill he sent for the sepior pastor of the church, to whom in the presence of all his family he expressed himself thus: “Sir, I was desirous to see you, and to make my dying declaration before you. I am a miserable sjoner before God. I most heartily beseech him to shew me mercy for the sake of our LORD Jesus CHRIST. I hope he will hear my prayer. He has promised to hear the cries of repenting sinners. I adore him for blessing my ministrý..! It has not been fruitless in his churchi; it is an effect of God's grace, and I adore his providence for it.”

• 40.1 : After pausing awhile, he added, “I have carefully examined all religions. None appear to me worthy of the wisdom of God, and capable of leading man to happiness, but the Christian religion. I have diligently studied Popery and the Reformation. The protestant religion, I think; is the only good religion. It is all found in the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God. From this, as from a fountain, all religions must be drawn. Scripture is the root, the protestant religion is the trunk and branches of the tree. It becomes you all to keep steady to it.”

About a week before he died, with true patriarchal dignity, he sat up in his bed, and asked to speak with his son and family. “ Son," said he, tenderly embracing him, “I am leaving you,

. The time of my departure is at hand.” Silence and sobs, and floods of tears followed, each clasped in the other's arms. The family all came and asked his blessing. “ Most willingly," replied he, " will I give it you.”. Mrs. CLAUDE kneeled down by the bed-side. - " My wife,” said he, :“ I have always tenderly

* This is equally true also of that great philosophic soul, MARCILIUS FICINUS, who was as learned a mau as Italy ever produced. After he had read all good authors, he rested in the Bible as the only book.

loved your Be not afflicted at my death. The death of the saints is precious in the sight of God. In you I have seen a sincere piety. I bless God for it. Be constant in serving him with your whole heart. He will bless you. I recommend my son and his family to you, and I beseech the LORD to bless you.”. To his son, who, with an old servant was kneeling by his mother, he said, among other things, - Son, you have choseti the good part. Perform your office as a good pastor, and Gon will bless you. Love and respect your mother. Be mindful of this domestic. Take care she wants nothing as long as she lives. I give you all my blessing."

He afterwards said, at several times: “I am so oppressed that I can attend only to two of the great truths of religion, the mercy of God, and the gracious aids of his Holy SPIRIT.”

" I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

“ My whole recourse is to the mercy of God. I expect a better life than this.

« Our LORD Jesus Christ is nyy only riglateousness."

Thus died the venerable and inestimable JOHN CLAUDE, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, A. D. 1687:

43. The Rev. SAMUEL WALKER, of Truro i Cornwall, was a minister of no ordinary rank in the church of Christ. His excessive labours, however, ruined his constitution, and he died at the age of forty-eight. When Iris dissolution drew near, after much former darkness, but the most assured confidence in God, he broke out to his nurse in this rapturous expressions* “ I have been upon the wings of the cherubim! Heaven has in a manner been opened to me! I shall soon be there!"_Next day to a friend who came to see him, he said, with a his countenance more than words can'utter: friend, had ! strength to speak, I could tell you such news as would rejoice your very soul! I have had such views of heaven! But I am not able to say more.”

"; "3,1199 s 44. The Rev. JAMES HERVEY is well known to have been an elegant scholar, and a believer in the Bible, with its most distinguished truths. When he apprehended himself to be dear the close of life, and stood, as it were, on the brink of the grave, with eternity full in view, he wrote to a friend at a distance to tell him what were his sentiments in that awful situation. I have been too fond," said he,“ of reading every thing valuable and elegant that has been penned in our language, and been peculiarly charmed with the historians, orators, and poets of antiquity: but were Tito renew my studies, I would take my leave of those accomplished trifles: I would resign the delight of modern wits, amusements and eloquence, and devate my attention to the Scriptures of Truth. I would sit: with much greater assiduity at my divine Master's feet, and desire to know nothing in comparison of Jesus CHRIST, and him crucified."

After this, when his dissolution drew still nearer, he said to those about him:- How thankful am I for death! It is the passage to the LORD and Giver of eternal life. O welcome, welcome ideath! Thou mayest well be reckoned among the treasures of the Christian; To'live is CHRIST, but to die is gain! LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy most holy and comfortable Word; for mine eyes have seen thy precious salvation."

45. Dr. LBECHMAN, late' Principal of the College of Glasgow, at the close of life, thus addressed the son of a worthy Nobleman, who was designed for the Church, and the early part of whose education had been much under the Doce

tor's eye.

" You see the situation I am in: I have not many days to live: I am glad you have had an opportunity of witnessing the tranquillity of my last moments. But it is not tranquillity and composure alone; it is joy and triumph; it is complete exultation.”-His features kindled, his voice rose as he spake. “ And whence," says he, “ does this exultation spring ?--From that Book (pointing to a Bible that lay on a table)--from that Book, too much neglected indeed, but which contains invaluable treasures ! treasures of joy and rejoicing! for it makes us certain that this mortal shall put on immortality.

46. The late Rev. WILLIAM ROMAINE was a zealous and successful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus, and adorned it by a suitable character above fifty years. In his last illness not one fretful or murmuring word ever escaped his lips. “I have," said he, “the peace of God in my conscience, and the love of God in iny heart. I knew before the doctrines I preached to be truths, but now I experience them to be blessings. Jesus is more precious than rubies, and all that can be desired on earth is not to be compared to him. He was in full possession of his mental powers to the last moment, and near bis dissolution cried out,“ Holy, holy, holy, LORD God AlMIGHTY! Glory be to thee on high for such peace on earth, and good will to men*.

These are glorious instances of the power of religion upon the human mind, in the most trying circumstances of nature. I know, it is fashionable for luke-warm and pharisaical Chris tians, who have a form of godliness, but deny the power, and for philosophisters of every description, to treat all such deathbed scenes, as delusive and fanatical. I am not, however, ashamed to say, that dissolutions of the above description appear to me honourable to religion, and desirable above all the enjoyments of the world. If this be enthusiasm, may I be the rankest, enthusiast that ever existed. Such enthusiasts, thanks be to GOD, have appeared, more or less, in every age of the Gospel-dispensation. They are increasing now in a considerable degree, and they shall abound more and more, maugre all the oppositions of Infidelity, and the cool moral harangues of a secular and Juke-warm Clergy. Large numbers of examples might be produced, of a similar kind, from those who lived before the rise of both methodism and purita-, nism, besides these we have mentioned; but the only one I shall introduce here, by way of contrast to the death-bed scenes of CHESTERFIELD, VOLTAIRE, ROUSSEAU, and the other unhappy characters we have recorded, shall be that of the learned and excellent Bishop Bedell, that scourge of ecclesiastical corruption, that admirable pattern for prelates and clergymen, and that glory for the Irish hierarchy.

47. After a life spent in the inost laborious service of his Divine MASTER, when he apprehended his great change to draw near, he called for his sons, and his son's wives, and spake to them, at several times, as he was able, as nearly as could be recollected, in the following words:

, “ I am going the way of all flesh: I am ready to be of fered up, and the time of my departure is at hand. Knowing,


* The Editor recommends to the reader's serious attention and perusal, the life of the late Rev. J. NEWTON, written by Mr. CECIL; and also of the Rev. CORNELIUS WINTER, written by Mr. JAY.

therefore, that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as, our LORD Jesus CHRIST hath shewed me. I know also, that if this my earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, a fair inansion in the New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God. Therefore, to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain; which encreaseth my desire even now to depart, and to be with CHRIST, which is far better than to continue here in all transitory, vain, and false pleaslıres of this world, of which I have seen an end.

“ Hearken, therefore, unto the last words of your dying. father. I am no more in this world, but ye are in the world. I ascend to my Father and your father, to my God and your God, through the all-sufficient merits of Jesus CHRIST my Redeemer; who ever lives to make intercession for me; who is a propitiation for all my sins, and washed me from them all in his own blood; who is worthy to receive glory, and honour, and power; who hath created all things, and for whose pleasure they are and were created.

My witness is in heaven and my record on high, that I have endeavoured to glorify God on earth; and in the ministry of the GOSPEL of his dear Son, which was committed to my trust, I have finished the work which he gave me to do, as a faithful ambassador of CHRIST, and steward of the mysteries of God. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation, lo! I have not refrained my lips, O LORD! thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation of mankind. He is near that justifieth me, that I have not concealed the words of the Holy ONE; but the words that he gave to me, I have given to you,

and received them.

« I had a desire and resolution to walk before God in every stage of my pilgrimage, from my youth up to this day, in truth and with an upright heart, and to do that which was upright, in his eyes to the utmost of my power; and what things were gain to me formerly, these things I count now loss for CHRIST: yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my LORD;

; for whom Į have suffereď the loss of all things: and I count them but

ye have

« PreviousContinue »