Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ca

affection. It is giving up a jewel which Christ claims, and which he will fix in his mediatorial crown, to sparkle, in the perfection of holiness, to all eternity.”

In the removal of friends there is an additional motive to long and prepare for heaven; and the obligation is doubled to minister to the welfare of those on earth, who have not now the counsels or examples which they once had to guide them to piety.”

“ Happy is it for us that God is so patient that he can bear with our inconsistencies, and so gracious that he can forgive them.”

“ Melancholy will grow into a disease unless we check its progress. It enfeebles the mind to bear, while it adds to the burden.”

Exercise in the open air, cheerful but holy conversation with Christian friends, a habit of dwelling on the luminous spots of our life, by which our gratitude to God is enlivened, and our own joy augmented, intercourse with God in reading his blessed word, and in the devotion of the closet, all conduce to the support and strength of the mind under suffering.”

Community of trials unites human hearts, as fire unites metals."

“ The tender connexions of life, when cemented by piety, may by death be suspended, but cannot be destroyed.”

“ Patient suffering and holy counsels are the richest legacy dying friends can leave+richer than a prince's treasure.”

“Let us beware of gathering comfort from

present frames. Lean on nothing within you, but on the finished work of Christ without you."

These are a few specimens of the admirable sentiments by which he could console and encourage. Tenderness is the chief charm. We see his heart in them, and this is the great secret in all a preacher's duties. What comes from the heart is most likely to reach it. He had a vivid fancy, but it did not sparkle with a cold brilliancy, like the particles which glitter on the snow when it is shone on by a winter sun; but, associated as it was with a very tender heart, it sent forth a radiance in which light and heat were happily united.

Dr. Waugh manifested also his friendship by the solicitude which he shewed to prepare his dying friends for the solemn change before them, and the care with which he laboured to lighten the anxieties, and to soften the pillow of the dying. He had not that inconsiderate softness which is eager to hide the real danger from the dying, nor was his the stern enthusiasm which treats with harshness the fears and anxieties of nature. He wrote like one who knew our frame, and who could treat its infirmities with soothing indulgence and animating hope. We give a specimen of this from the following letter to one of his brethren in the North, a pious and faithful man, whose last days were darkened by the anxiety which has clouded the decline of many a minister of the Gospel, arising from the consciousness of leaving an unprovided family to struggle with poverty and sorrow, amidst the neglect or unkind

ness of a selfish world. After assuring him of his kindest sympathy, he says:

“ My dear brother, endeavour to live on those precious truths and promises which, with so much simplicity, earnestness, and love, you have preached to others. Look up to God to enable you to leave a testimony in the consciences of all around you, to the excellence of the religion of Jesus in supporting the mind and comforting the heart.

“ I heard an indistinct account of your being threatened with dropsy; but till I received a letter from my nephew at Kinross, the other day, I had no conception of the extent of the alarm. My heart bleeds for you, and for your beloved wife, and the numerous young dears that .call you father, as well as for your congregation. Beware of indulging in dark views of Providence, to which in your present distress you may be tempted. You know the character of Him who hath said, 'Who is among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant; who walketh in darkness, and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God.' When you and I die, Providence will not be buried in our grave. The Redeemer liveth. We intrust to him our eternal life, and shall we not intrust our dearest earthly relatives? He will be a husband to my beloved wife, and a father to my children, when I can no longer look after them. His gracious presence will cheer them in solitude, shield them in danger, guide their inexperienced minds in the untrodden paths, and in the darkest night; will wipe off the tear which my hand cannot remove, and minister the instruction which my lips can no longer convey to them. Firmly believing these things, I desire to surrender all that are dear to me to the disposal of my Father in heaven, and wait patiently the time of my departure. “I know whom I have believed ;' I know his power, his grace, his faithfulness; and had I a thousand

souls, and every soul worth a thousand worlds, I would intrust them all to him; and shall I not much more intrust the support, guidance, and temporal estate, of my beloved family? These, I know, are the thoughts and purposes, my dear friend, in which you are resolved to live and die.

“ I have, for the whole season, been more oppressed with various duties than in former years, and have had very little intercourse with the North. My dear brethren, I fancy each of them taking it for granted that another writes to me, have so far forgotten the poor man separated from his brethren, that I know little of what is doing in your courts. I hope a spirit of peace still continues to pervade the body, and that God is not leaving himself without witness of the power of his grace and Spirit in our church.

“Now, farewell for the present, my beloved friend, faithful and ever kind. The everlasting arms of your covenant God and Father be ever around and underneath you! My affectionate regards to your beloved – and all the dear children who have any knowledge of their father's friend. I leave you in the embrace of Everlasting Love, and remain most truly, and tenderly, and faithfully yours.”

To another friend who was dying:

“ I shall bear you on my heart to the throne of our heavenly Father. Happy is it for us that we have an Advocate before that throne who well knows our state, and who hath power with God : to his hands let us commit our feeble and imperfect supplications; they will not pass feeble and imperfect through his hands. You and I should remember, also, that he who manages our health and measures our days, can do no wrong, and will make every pang of suffering terminate in tones of celestial delight and joy above. Our Father is leading us home; and the more rough and rugged the road near its close, the more we shall relish the greensward beyond the grave. Could we look upwards with a steadier and more ardent eye, we should scarce feel the fluctuations of this changeable scene. When a man feels dizzy in riding through a torrent by looking down on the stream, the best way to restore his head to calmness is to fix his eye on the stationary objects on the other side of the river.

“ Farewell; be patient, stablish your heart, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. The last words Christ ever spake from heaven in the hearing of men upon earth were these : 'Surely I come quickly.' May we answer, ‘Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus ! I hope you have your young friend near you with the Bible on her lap. It is the most lovely posture in which she can be placed. Apply the precious promises as she recites them from the word, and may the Spirit of all grace impart to your soul the rich consolations they contain !"

He frequently delivered the funeral address at the interment of his friends and brethren in the ministry,-- a service which, in hands such as his, is admirably adapted to guide the soul to wisdom. By the warmth of his heart, the solemnity of his manner, his vivid impressions of eternity, and his power of expression, he was fitted for exciting the spectators to serious feeling, and for solacing mourners in the last act of separation. What is sometimes a cold, uninteresting form of words, was with him a tribute of the heart, sanctified by devotion, and fitted for utility. It was his object to point the tearful eye to Heaven, to bring the Saviour's voice to the bleeding heart, and to consecrate to his cause all the energies of the living. The reader will be gratified by reading an address which he had prepared to deliver at the grave of his friend, the Rev. Mr. Townsend,

« ZurückWeiter »