Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the blessings invoked by the righteous on a death-bed.

After this, looking smilingly round, he fixed his eyes on his three daughters, and said, “ There stand my three dear good lasses, who would go through fire and water for their father or mother; and this is no small mark of grace.” What a delightful testimony to filial piety—and from such a father! In ministering to such men there is a pleasure never felt in any selfish indulgence; and, in this instance, how noble was the reward for its. cares! Filial piety, excited not merely by the impulse of nature, but by the veneration of holy worth, and manifested in the culture of a parent's spirit, in unwearied attention to his comfort, and in uniform regard to his counsels, includes much that is excellent as well as amiable; and though a hard and selfish philosophy may frown on it, religion recognises it as the fifth of its commandments, and as enforced in the youthful toils and the last sufferings of its Author. : A short time afterwards, he exclaimed, “O! my lads, my lads, work while it is day, work while you can; for old age is dark and unlovely." How anxious was he to mingle admonition with benediction, and to stimulate as well as to solace! His period of service on earth was about to close, - their's was opening; and though it was more private than his, he felt that much might and should be done for God in it; and how anxious was he that, when they met in another world, he might find them blessed with that short but most expressive and honourable eulogy, that "they had

laboured much in the Lord.” Long their father

laboured for them, and in these labours for God · they will honour his memory and tread in his

steps. “Old age is dark and unlovely” to nature in its infirmities, and seclusions, and fears, and sad recollections; but sweet are its counsels when they are given in meekness of wisdom, beautiful is its piety when devotion lifts the withering hand to God, and charming is its kindness when it is seen glowing in the failing heart, and heard speaking in its last tones.

Mrs. Waugh having asked him to bless his children, he raised his feeble arm and eye to heaven, and with great animation prayed, “O that Thou wouldest rend those heavens and come down, and crown them all with thy loving-kindness !” Such prayers have a record in heaven and in the hearts of the young, and they are the best legacy a parent can leave.

Speaking afterwards of the Christmas presents he had ordered for his grandchildren, he said, with emphasis, “I have six-and-twenty grandchildren, and who would not love them, after the Saviour took such in his arms, and said, 'Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not?'The books selected for them by his care they will value, as sanctioned in their lessons by his approbation, and in their precepts by his injunction, and as the monitors of a piety which from youth to age had been his consolation and his guide.

He spake of his mother, and said, “ If I could see my mother at this moment, it would make me leap for joy.” The feelings which the idea of his

grandchildren had awakened led him back to his infancy; and a mother's tenderness is the charm of life's early and liveliest scenes. We have often remarked in the old and feeble a tendency to dwell on the idea of a mother's care: the helplessness she cherished is brought to their recollection by infirmities under which no human aid can strengthen ; and the voice of consolation is doubly sweet when it soothes with a patience, a skill, and a softness like hers. With what rapture would he meet a mother so revered and loved, among the spirits of the just, take up her song, and bid her join him in his, saying, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

When that hymn was repeated to him, “There is a fountain filled with blood,” he remarked, “ There are many who are ready to take comfort from this fountain, but that must be done with repentance.” He had marked with pain the abuse of the grace of the Gospel by those who affect to hope in it, without feeling the least influence from it to humble or to mortify them; and he had often and strongly inculcated the important truth, that the blood of Christ will alone be valued, sought, and applied, by those who have been led to contrition for their sins, and who are as eager to be freed from the power of sin as from its miseries and its stains.

Towards the close of Thursday, when his mental and bodily powers were drawing near to dissolution, Mrs. Waugh said to him, “ When you are now in the deep Jordan, have you any.

doubt that Christ will be with you ?” He replied, “ Certainly not! who else? who else?” All that human kindness could do had been done, all that human skill could suggest had been employed ; but his Saviour was with him in unabated love and in unceasing aid; on his arm he was leaning, in bis strength he was advancing, and to him he was crying, “Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul!” With the above testimony all his communication with mortals closed.

On Thursday evening about nine o'clock he fell into a stupor, in which he continued during the whole of the night, - his family surrounding his bed, and expecting his immediate departure. It was now that, for the first time, the real extent of the visitation that had come to their house was fully appreciated by all their hearts, until this hour hoping against hope that this sore bereavement might yet, for a little space, be postponed, or so excited by what was passing that they could scarcely lower their feelings to the littleness of mere human grief. Now they looked on the face of their parent, and upon each other, and felt that Death was present among them. On Friday morning, at twenty minutes before seven, he opened his eyes, cast them round the circle of his weeping children, and bestowing one parting look of grateful recognition on his aged partner, his spirit returned to his father and to his God.

In order properly to appreciate the value of the testimony borne by Dr. Waugh (as exhibited in his mental frame upon his death-bed) to the influence which the Spirit of God had, all his life long, been exerting, in consoling, purifying, and exalting his character, it must ever be remembered, that his mind had been partially unhinged by the same sudden shock that shattered his bodily system; that, during much of his illness, he possessed little, if any, power over the current of his thoughts; that he was even frequently unconscious of being heard by the ear, or seen by the eye, of man, and consequently, on many occasions, a reference to human opinion could have no influence upon the expressions he uttered. With the naked simplicity of a second childhood, in truth, were the inmost recesses of his soul laid open; and it seemed as if, ere his removal from earth, the hand of his Father in heaven had drawn aside the veil with which his own humility had wrapt up his secret thoughts and feelings, in order to shew how pure and precious even the corrupt human heart may become when regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The stroke that severed the hold possessed by his judgment over the other faculties of his mind, and let loose his fancy, either to soar like a dove towards heaven, or to grovel (had such been its nature) like a reptile in the mire of earthly cares, only served to render more brightly manifest the habits of a renewed soul, in which the love of Christ had long been the ruling and pervading principle.

Seldom has a death excited so general and so strong a sensation. Dr. Waugh was known

« ZurückWeiter »