The Gospel 24/7
From An Antique Book in Webmaster's Library - Editor Unknown
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All joy, without a pain to shroud it!
Not slain, but caught up as it were,
To meet my Saviour in the air
So would I die!
Oh, how bright Were the realms of light,
Bursting at once upon my sight!
I long to go,
These parting hours, how sad and slow!"
His voice grew faint, and fix'd was his eye,
As if gazing on visions of ecstacy:
The hue of his life and cheek decayed,
Around his mouth a sweet smile played;--
They look'd-- he was dead!
His spirit bad fled:
Painless and swift as his own desire,
The soul undress'd
From her mortal rest,
And stepp'd in her car of heavenly fire,
And proved how bright
Were the realms of light,
Bursting at once upon the sight! -Edmeston.
His biographer observes, "I never saw a more decided instance of a person casting away his own righteousness, and trampling it under foot. Christ was everything to him; while the breathings of his soul after holiness and sanctification ctification of the Spirit were intense and fervent. To Ills dependence upon his Saviour's merits may be attributed, under God, his uninterrupted enjoyment of spiritual consolation all through his illness. No cloud ever overcast his sky. The valley was irradiated with perpetual sunshine. His experience seemed to stand out to view as a living elucidation of that beautiful passage'Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in thee.'
"On awaking after a long sleep, he took the writer's hand, and grasping it tenderly, said-- 'I feel I am hastening away very rapidly to-day. 0, that blessed Saviour! How I love him. Preach him fervently, Newman I Speak of that blessed book. I must have more of itread some chapters in John.' . . . . His room was always beautifully adorned with flowers, continually sent to him by kind friends from the country, in the arrangement of which he took much interest.
To Mr. P., who expressed his surprise at witnessing such composure, he replied-- 'Confidence in Christ conveys vigor to my heart. Without him I should be very weak. Attribute nothing of it to me. The man who hopes to be saved by his own works will have very little peace of mind. He must think of himself as nothing; literally worse than nothing.' To the Agent and Secretary of the Temperance Society, who told him how deeply he would be regretted in the town, he replied-- 'I wish to live in the affectionate remembrance of my friends ; but I wish them to have the same enjoyment, and they can only have it by seeking Christ. I thought to-day would be very nearly my last; each day brings with it a symptom of increasing debility. Study that magnificent book, the New Testament.'
"In conversation with his family, he said, 'How can I help loving Him? I seem to see him with his heavenly countenance smiling on me now. He has pardoned me, washed me, clothed me, is preparing mansions for me, I feel I could not rebel against him! What are men about when, with such a theme, they can preach such sermons as many of them deliver! There are not only joys to come, but joys in this world. Having Him so near, as a companion, takes from us evil thoughts, ambition and avarice. He says, 'If ye love me, keep my commandments." And what are His commandments? Not grievous! There was He seeking me out first, and not I seeking him! And whence came this? "By grace we are saved." 0, think of Christ. How can any one think of himself? Analyze any one act of his life, how imperfect, compared with this pure and spotless Being! But Christ says though it is so, " though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow!" and he has forgiven me, and clothed me with the robe of his righteousness. It has come to me in so mysterious a manner. I now see how full of love the whole Bible is.'
"Mr. H.-- I remember once thinking it folly to talk of being born again. We knew not what it meant.
"Dr. G.-- But we know now. It is the strong conviction of the truth of Christianity which gives me peace and blessedness. It has so changed my. whole nature. This is evidence.
"N.-- John Newton, when entangled by skepticism, resolved to test the truth of Christianity by seeking the Divine influence promised in answer to prayer, arguing that religion were true, the result of such seeking would be an evidence of it.
"Dr. G.-- That is the argument which weighs with me. No mere reason of man could have written that book. Reason may find fault with it, but could not have made it. 0, it is a book! Read every word of it, and believe it just as it is.
"On taking leave for the night, he said-- 'Let me see a great deal of you. Constant talk of my blessed Saviour will be my greatest happiness.'
* * * "By his own request the Lord's Supper was again administered in his room. The beautiful hymn of Dr. Watts was sung:
Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.'
"At the close of the service the well known hymn ages,' to which Dr. Gordon always listened with great interest. . . . At 6 o'clock, A. M., it was evident, from the sudden change in his appearance, that his end was at length rapidly approaching.
"E.-- You'll soon be in heaven!"
Dr. G.-- Yes, and you'll follow me, and I'll welcome you. We all hold the same principles.
"E. repeated the twenty-third Psalm, and on coming to the verse-- 'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,' --Dr. G. responded-- 'Yes, if he were not with me, how dark it would be! -- but it is all light.'
"At 8 o'clock, having awaked from a short sleep, he listened with deep interest to some of Lavington's 'Sacramental Meditations,' on the love of Christ in first inviting the sinner to come to him for pardon, and then calling that soul to the possession of heaven. Passages from the close of Baxter's Saint's Rest were also read, Dr. G. manifesting in his beaming countenance, his full concurrence, and heartfelt delight, in the sentiments expressed. This was especially the case in reference to the following hymn of Toplacly's-- 'Triumph over Death:'
"Deathless principle arise.'
* * * 11 Sir W. L. entering the room, was much shocked to witness his altered appearance, and said-- 'This looks like a defeat, Gordon, but it is a victory.' Dr. G., emphatically, though in a whisper-- 'It is!' Sir IV.-- 'We shall often think of you.' Dr. G.-- 'Thank you!' Sir. W.-- 'You can say--"Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory."' Dr.G.-- 'Indeed I can.'
Death has no sting beside;
The law gave sin its damning power,
But Christ my Saviour died.'
He said, 'Repeat that about the great army.' Mr. Knight replied-- 'I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.' The author added-- 'What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they? These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'
* * * "He then took a most tender farewell of his afflicted wife. To his daughter, who bent over him in great distress, he said, with inexpressible tenderness 'Bless thee, my child!' 'You love me still, father?' 'Yes, dearly.' He then opened his hand, which had now almost lost its power of motion, for the purpose of receiving hers, which he tenderly pressed, together with that of the writer. This was the last act. After a pause, he said, suddenly, but not without considerable effort 'Bring them all.' . . . Making one more attempt, with a desperate struggle-- 'Everybody.' These were his last words. They were an evidence how fully conscious he was of his being on the point of departure, as well as a final and striking illustration of his thoughtful regard to others. . . . 'It was indeed a solemn season! Grief itself was awed into silence by the majesty of death. What event can boast such dignity? It was the exit of a soul! It was his entrance into glory. Angels were there waiting to be the escort. The Lord of angels himself was there. . . . We felt, as we watched the departure of our friend, that, to use his own beautiful words, it was 'no frightful monster by his bedside, but that benignant Saviour waiting to receive him.'
Increased difficulty of breathing was the only distressing symptom. He appeared no longer conscious of what took place around him. He gazed upward, as in rapt vision. No film overspread his eyes. They beamed with an unwonted lustre, and the whole countenance, losing the aspect of disease and pain with which we had been so long familiar, glowed with an expression of indescribable rapture. As we watched, in silent wonder and praise, his features, which had become motionless, suddenly yielded for a few seconds to a smile of ecstacy, which no pencil could ever depict, and which none who witnessed it can ever forget. And when it passed away, still the whole countenance continued to beam and brighten, as if reflecting the glory upon which he was gazing. . .
. . . We saw as much as mortal eye could see of the entrance of a soul into glory. Nothing more could have been given us, but the actual vision of the separate spirit slid its angelic convoy. This glorious spectacle lasted for about a quarter of an hour, increasing in interest to the last, during which the soul seemed pouring itself forth from the frail tenement which had imprisoned it, into the embrace of its Lord. The breathing now became shorter and shorter-- then, after a long pause, one last, gentle heaving of the chest-- and without a struggle, the soul had fled.
"Was this dying? All present felt that their departed friend had never been so emphatically alive.
There was grief, but no gloom in that chamber. The glory of heaven seemed to illumine it. The sun had gone down while it was yet day, in full radiance without a cloud, and the reflection still rested on those who had watched its setting.
"It was rather a translation than a death. 'He was not, for God took him."