Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“I feel as if there was a stone in my lungs.” His impression during all his illness was, that he should burst a blood-vessel. He frequently exclaimed: “ O my friends, my friends, pray for me! for the hand of the Lord has stricken me. Pray that I may be submissive, and enabled to exhibit the suffering graces, and not bring disgrace on my holy profession !"

During this day more blood was taken from him. On being asked how he was, he replied, “I am very ill, but just where it has pleased God to place me; pray for me, that I may not be impatient.” Though long inured to pain and sickness, it had now come upon him to a degree he never knew before, and he felt more need than ever of the grace which cạn strengthen to all longsuffering and patience with joyfulness. In severe pain many a sufferer has expressed himself harshly to friends around him, and checked their inquiries as useless and teasing Pain and anxiety are the great trials for a gentle spirit; but in his illness the benignity of his nature was never for a moment ruffled, and to every thing that was said to him, his replies were sweet and kind.

On the arrival of one of his daughters from the country, she (anxious to satisfy herself of the state of his perceptive faculties) whispered to him, “Do you know me, father?” He replied, “ To be sure; you are my youngest child, my good daughter.” And he raised his head and kissed her.

Referring to a paper written by a dear friend in a late number of the Evangelical Magazine,

en

under the title of Elijah's Journey, he expressed how much it refreshed him; and said to his children: “ My journey is near its close ; all the way by which God has led me has been mercy and truth; I have his light still to guide me, and that staff to support me on which I have so long leaned; and the blood of Christ is the only staff I need in my way to the grave. It is a blessed journey, which ends in heaven.” The vale of death is dark, rugged, and lonely, as described in his charming lecture on the twenty-third Psalm ; but he felt, even under the partial eclipse of his faculties, and amidst the cloudy vapours of the shadow of death, that the Good Shepherd was there. He looked to his rod for direction, and to his staff for support; and testified that in the light of his countenance all is cheering, and in the power of his might the most burdened and feeble shall neither stumble nor faint.

While adverting to the Evangelical Magazine, he deeply regretted that more was not done in Scotland for its circulation, as one hundred pounds of its funds went yearly to the families of deceased ministers there. The care of ministers' families was a subject ever near to his heart; and as during his days of activity he had willingly devoted many an hour of toil to serve the cause of the widow and the fatherless, so now, in his last moments, the same object called forth his anxious concern, and had the interest of his dying prayers.

On the Wednesday the symptoms of the disease appeared more aggravated, and his mind

more wandering. Dr. Darling having again expressed himself most anxious that his patient should be kept from talking, he said : “ I'll be as dumb as a heathen god." His family, to occupy his thoughts, read and repeated hymns to him incessantly; and it is most worthy of remark, that when this plan failed occasionally to compose his mind, the reading of any portion of the Bible immediately succeeded in doing so, and was listened to by him with the most silent and devout attention. It is painful to surrounding friends when the last illness of a dear relative is attended with partial delirium, and when a season, every moment of which is so precious, seems lost; but there is cause for gratitude to God when the mental cloud is neither total nor constant, and when the mind of the sufferer points to scenes solacing to himself, and which do not suggest reflections distressing to others.

At an early hour on Thursday morning, under an impression that he was in the vestry, (an idea that prevailed much in his mind during his illness), he looked at one of his sons, and supposing him to be the minister who had come from Scotland to assist him, said, “ Pray a word, sir, while the coach is coming.” He then began to consider what the fare of the coach would be; and one of his sons, to compose his mind, said, “We will see that this man does not impose on us.” “ Yes, yes,” he replied ; “ but we must see that we do not impose upon him.Thus did his habitual jealousy of self-interest, and his anxiety, alıke in the most trivial and the most important affairs,

Onver.

to act up to the high standard of Christian uprightness, manifest themselves even in the wandering of his intellect. And such incidents, trivial as they appear, exhibit beautifully the true nature of Gospel principle, which sanctifies every habit of the mind, and stamps on it a character which even delirium cannot efface; for it is the stamp of God, and will last for eternity.

Mrs. Waugh, with a view to soothe and occupy him, said, (as if continuing the supposed conversation in the vestry), “Will you pray, my dear? Mr. E- would rather not.” He said: “ To be sure: can we do better than part at a throne of grace ?” She exclaimed, “ O what a parting is this !” He replied : “ Parting! Is it not a very good one?” And, folding his hands, he prayed most collectedly, and in a form so heavenly, that it was observed, “ If this be his deathbed, O that God would take him at this moment!" Such a prayer, in such circumstances, was the best consolation his weeping family could receive; and that strength of the Redeemer which was made perfect in his weakness was felt sustaining them in theirs.

During this day he repeated the story of the minister who was told that he was going to receive his reward. “ Reward? No, no; I am going to receive mercy! mercy!" On these words he laid peculiar emphasis. What a memorable testimony to the honour of Divine grace was this! When his Lord came, he found him kneeling at his footstool, a suppliant for mercy.

He frequently exclaimed, “O my country! my country !” Though he took little interest in party politics, he was warmly attached to the liberties and constitution of his country, and had evinced his firm loyalty on various trying occasions. It was the moral aspect of our country in these latter days that rose before his mind; and while he viewed it in a more favourable light than many do, he felt sad at the thought of our ingratitude amidst such blessings as are enjoyed, at the luxury and dissipation that prevail in the higher classes, and the discontent and misery in the lower; and it was his prayer, that Britain might be more and more a praise in the earth for something nobler than her science, arts, and victories, - even for the light of sacred truth, the purity of her worship, and the virtues of Christian eharacter.

When a slight improvement in his appearance was mentioned to him, he replied, “I feel a little better; but it is like lying on a hot summer day at the foot of a stay* brae : we forget that we have yet to climb it.” How beautiful was this image!

—and most true it is of the tendency of human nature, in all scenes and at all periods; but he could not allow it to pass, even in his last moments, without clothing it in terms which carried his mind back to the scenes of infancy and boyhood; probably imparting to them individuality, as his mind, now more earnestly fixed on the

* Steep.

« ZurückWeiter »