« ZurückWeiter »
love of nature, and to the peculiarly strong impression which the goodness of God in providing for the wants of his creatures by the returning seasons had made upon his mind, I shall never forget the solemn manner in which he used to repeat the following lines :
• For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the summer-ray
HIS CONDUCT IN AFFLICTION AND DEATH.
Submission and cheerfulness in distress; letters. Addresses to
his people during his illness. Resignation under increasing infirmities and bereavements. Anticipations of approaching dissolution ; letters. Last public services. Last illness. Death-bed scenes. His decease. Resolution of Directors of London Missionary Society on this event. His funeral. Tributes to his memory. Conclusion.
Though Dr. Waugh lived to the age of seventyfour, he did not enjoy, for a number of years before his death, any thing like vigorous health. He was subject to frequent ailments, which often caused exquisite pain; yet in these circumstances, he was not only patient, but even cheerful; and while he edified his family and visitors, in his affliction, by the submission and the heavenlymindedness which he manifested, he delighted them by a pleasantry which stripped his sick chamber of its gloom, and sent them away from his side, struck with the power of religion, and with the energy of a mind disposed to be happy. Cheerful piety in the decline of life is like a tree which the storm has shattered, but which still retains much of the verdure of the summer, and is still the resort of the birds which sing among the branches.
The pious state of his mind will be seen from his communications to his friends. To a friend he says, in 1806 :
“ I have been confined to bed by what my surgeon calls a bastard gout, for this fortnight past, and have little prospect of being soon better; but I am in the hands of God, in whose wisdom, tender mercy, and love, it is my desire to repose entire confidence. While it is day, O work! In the time of sickness there is little to be done. Distracted thoughts, deadness of heart, anxiety, and fretfulness, are temptations which assail us in our day of adversity; but God will be my defence.”
He afterwards writes to the same friend :
“ By the kindness of Providence, I am gathering a little strength, though still unable to stand without a staff. By means he deems suitable, my physician is trying to invigorate my cold and crazy carcass. It will afford materials of gratitude to your mind to be informed that my heavenly Father does not desert me in the time of my trouble. I have a calm and settled confidence in the wisdom and goodness of a covenanted Providence, and my hopes as to the future rest entirely on the blood of the Lamb of God. In the guardian care of Divine Providence I desire to leave what is most dear to me,- my wife and children, and the congregation of God's redeemed people which he hath put under my care. Though the symptoms are not at present alarming, yet I cannot consider myself as out of danger. My mind enjoys tranquillity. May my merciful Father preserve me from the delusion of a false and ill-grounded trust !"
And again :
“ This has been a sad winter to me, through a severe return of a constitutional disorder, and other causes. It has, however, at intervals, been relieved by days more luminous; but nothing I find will secure untroubled serenity save the constant exercise of looking upward and looking forward.”
On a renewed attack of indisposition : .
“ I am feeble both in body and mind; but what ground of thankfulness to the Lord have I! and I wish to record it, to the honour of his faithfulness and grace, that my spirits are no where so good as in the pulpit and by the sick man's bed. Were it otherwise, I should be of all ministers the most miserable.”
The bruise which he received by the fall of the platform in 1823, as already mentioned, gave a shock to his constitution from which it never recovered. Though he was able, after the lapse of some months, to officiate in public, yet he appeared stiff and feeble; and the following address, which he prepared and caused to be read to the congregation after the accident, exhibits those strong impressions of death and eternity under which he felt himself constrained to live :
“ Salisbury Place, May 10, 1823. “ MY BELOVED FRIENDS, “ It is known to a considerable portion of you, that, on Monday last, while engaged with many of his revered brethren in a work of great goodness, your minister, through the sinking of the platform, escaped, with many others, very imminent danger, for which he owes the devoutest gratitude to God, and trusts that the life thus preserved by his providence will, with renewed ardour, be consecrated to his honour in the service of the Gospel. He feels the kindness of God to him in sending so seasonably the assistance of his dear brother from Dublin.
“ Though separated from you in body to-morrow, I wish to be present with you in spirit. My prayers shall ascend to heaven, that the nourishing and fructifying influence of the Holy Spirit, like the gentle rains which are now distilling on the fields, may descend on your souls, and produce all the holy, and upright, and gentle dispositions, which constitute the beauty of a church that the Lord hath blessed.
“I would cherish the hope of being so far restored as to be able to appear in my place on the day of our sacred festival, the 25th instant. But should the Sovereign Disposer of our health and hopes arrange matters otherwise, due intimation shall be given on the preceding Sabbath. Meanwhile, I shall expect to see the young, and others who are desirous of uniting themselves to the church in fellowship, any time of the week that may best suit them. I cannot close without putting in my claim to a large share of your earnest supplication to God in your minister's behalf, that the end of the visitation may be gained, in the advancement of his own preparation for the last change, and of your spiritual benefit through his aroused activity and undeviating fidelity in his sacred work.
“I commend you to God. I would leave you in the embrace of covenanted love, and ever am
“ Your most affectionate pastor.”
On resuming his place in the pulpit, he thus addressed them in person :
“ My dear Friends, — I cannot resume my place again among you, without adverting, for a few minutes, to the operations of Divine Providence towards us for these five months past.
“ The voice of God is heard in the event in which the severe indisposition of your pastor originated, and its language is, “What is your life?