Abbildungen der Seite

beloved friend was standing on the verge of the eternal world. How near to it am 1!"

In the following communication to a ministerial friend, he also says:

“ How it would enliven my old and withered heart, my dear friend and brother, to be allowed to anticipate the meeting to which you so kindly invite me; but I fear my enfeebled frame is unequal to the fatigue. I feel the effects of my tumble at Hackney-fields to this day. When a man gets to seventy-two, it is all up-hill work to recover his lost ground. I have frequently been obliged to have supplies for my pulpit this winter; and was compelled last summer to decline several invitations to the West of England. Dr. Bogue is gone; Mr. Townsend is gone ; and Messrs. Hill, Wilks, Burder, Platt, and myself, may very soon expect an order to strike our tents and marchnot to the enemy's country, but to that land to which all our fellow-soldiers, who fell with their face to the foe, have gone before us.

I truly rejoice in the prospect of lengthened usefulness, which the gracious providence of God has opened to your hopes. May your life be long, and your usefulness commensurate, and your sun become bigger at his setting, auguring a glorious setting in a sky without a cloud, and for a day that shall have no close! Then all will be well.

“My affectionate regards to your dearest earthly friend, with whom your union here will be a preparation for an eternal union above. Ever, ever, my very dear brother and friend of my heart,

Yours most affectionately."

To his nearness to death he occasionally ad: verted in his family. Sometimes he did it in his public services, and then it was not in the tone

of affected courage and rapture, but with the calmness and the delicacy of a humble spirit. In public meetings he alluded to it at times with powerful effect, when he wished to speak of his delight in spending his last hours in the service of God and man, and of the pleasure he felt in seeing the zeal, talent, and piety of the young who were to enter into his labours. To his friends he spoke of it without reserve, and well do we remember the terms in which he did it to us in 1825:-“ I shall never see you again; I am going home, as the pious old man said, and I have a good home to go to, and have had a good home here; it has been blessed to me by the unwearied kindness of a dutiful and affectionate family; but my best friends are in heaven, and I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better.” There was remarked in his prayers and sermons also a tendency stronger than ever to dwell on the topics of death and immortality, and the consolations which religion provides to prepare us for both.

How beautifully does the following letter to his wife shew the solicitude he felt to reconcile her mind to the temporary separation betwixt them which he saw to be approaching! It was soothing to him to write to her of his hope in death, and to feel that, as his infirmity had been solaced by her kindness, his death would be blessed by the sympathy, the prayers, and the ministrations of her love.

Harrowgate, August 16, 1825. “ My Dearest Mary, “In my state of confinement, while our dear relations are out gathering health and vigour, I feel a relief to my mind and most pure delight in writing to you. This ought to be a day of grave reflection to my own mind. For seventyone harvests has God preserved my existence in this world. 'What goodness hath his fatherly providence beaped on my head and poured into my cup! How few of those who began the career of life with me have reached my age ! How imperfectly have I answered the end of my creation ! What have I done in comparison with what I might have done for God, for his church, for my dear family, for my own soul! What a blank does a large portion of my life now appear, barren of improvement or blotted with guilt, rising up against me in sad remembrance. How precious should the mediation and atoning sacrifice of my divine Redeemer now be to my soul, supplying the only foundation of rational hope, and the only balm to a wounded spirit! I cannot reasonably look forward to much addition to my life, but I feel its value increasing as its termination every day draws nearer. May God, by his good Spirit, enable me to preach more earnestly, to live more usefully, to endure the privations and pains of the dark evening of life more submissively, than I have hitherto done! My heart hovers around you ; and every thing within that sacred enclosure at home is important to my comfort.

“ We feel every day more sensibly the absence of yourself and our dear suffering Jeane. You are our constant theme at our meals. The good things so liberally provided for us to-day, would have been a thousand times more relished had you and Jeane been at the table. We never—we cannot for an hour forget you.”

It is a most interesting circumstance, that he


was not, though so infirm, laid aside from public duty for one Sabbath by the illness that brought him to the grave. This was a great blessing to him; for nothing saddens the spirit of a minister more than to be shut out from the sanctuary and the pulpit. We have heard one apply to himself, when he heard the sound of the people's feet passing his dwelling, the words of the Psalmist, “My soul is poured out in me, when I think that I had gone with the multitude to the house of God.” Another excellent old man, who lived to a considerably greater age than Dr. Waugh, and who preached the last Sabbath but one that he was on earth, once said to a friend, “The longer you live, you will be the more eager to preach.” A melancholy impression of being useless and forgotten preys on the mind in the confinement of infirmity and solitude. And this God does in kindness to his people; for there is certainly a power in the prayers and discourses of one who seems to stand on the brink of the grave, which could not be experienced amidst the animation of youthful eloquence. His language has all the solemnity of a dying testimony, and all the tenderness of a last farewell.

Dr. Waugh caught cold during the last week of November, 1827, which produced a cough and sore throat. On Sabbath, Dec. 2d, these kept him at home in the morning, but in the afternoon he went to chapel with one of his daughters, and preached in the evening to his young people from Ephesians, iv. 18. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God

[ocr errors]

through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart."

He was particularly animated and impressive on this occasion: the passage was admirably calculated to expose those false views of human nature, of human character, and human life, which the inexperience of youth, and its gay and romantic spirit, are so likely to form. It led him to expose that depravity of heart which renders childhood and youth vanity, and to exhibit the value of that saving knowledge which does not, like human science, leave the heart under the power of corruption, but transforms by the renewing of the mind, and sheds around a light far more lovely and cheerful than the morning's fairest dawn. It led him to descant on the life of God, the life to which he quickens, the life which he blesses, the life which resembles his own; and to press on the young to seek that life, as a life incomparably superior to one praised by the world as merry, fortunate, or glorious. How blessed in old age to look back on this life of God, and to see it passing into the life of heaven!

During the following week he was in good health, except suffering slightly from his cold, and was uncommonly cheerful and happy. On the Saturday morning he said to his wife, “Mary, I have been very happy, for I have had such a delightful dream! I thought I was lying at the foot of a hill, the grass was so green, and the gowans were so beautiful, the birds were singing so sweetly, and a rivulet ran by my feet; you were sitting by my side. It was heaven or Gordon,


ven or

« ZurückWeiter »