The Gospel 24/7
----------REV. EDWARD BICKERSTETH
From An Antique Book in Webmaster's Library - Editor Unknown
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Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting place without a tear.--Longfellow.
"They bid us do the work which they laid down--
Take up the song where they broke off the strain;
So journeying till we reach the heavenly home,
Where we laid up our treasure and our crown,
And our lost loved ones will be found again."
"His clear, happy faith shone out amid his weakness as unclouded as ever. 'What a comfort it is,' he said to them, 'not to have to seek salvation now; I can enjoy a salvation found! I know whom I have believed.. The gospel is a reality. I find it to be so now.' And again, after an interval, 'Salvation sought is with fear and trembling; salvation found is always ready! . . . That is a noble testimony of St. Paul's-- "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until the day of Christ. "' Then turning to his wife, 'We ought to have testimony to the truth of His promises.' She asked what message she should send to Falshall? 'Say I am very happy in God's love.'
"A playful cheerfulness mingled with his deep solid joy and his bodily sufferings. 'I have so many mercies I ought to be full of praise. How easy love makes everything when we know the love of God! This is a sweet direction, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."'
"During the night, the text Isaiah 26:3 was read to him-- 'Because he trusteth in Thee! That is, the Lord delights to honor confidence in him. What a God he is to trust in!'
"After a restless night, he called his youngest daughter to him and said, 'I will give you a text--" The Lord is my keeper, the shade upon my right hand! He keeps us from all the most subtle temptations of the enemy! What a Deliverer he is!" . . . . The visions of glory have been quite indescribable." "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered the heart of man to conceive the good things God hath prepared for them that love him." All the images of Revelation fall far short of the reality.'
"To his medical attendant, 'You have had a troublesome office, Mr. D ________ ; but it is nearly over now.' 'No, sir; you have had the trouble and the suffering.' 'Nothing compared with my deservings. I find all my principles confirmed by my last hours. I have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and he supports me now. I commend him to you, my dear sir, as an only and complete Saviour. You have done all you could for my poor body; it is right that I should commend Christ to you.'
"He thought much about his people and the school children, and wished them to have copies of the 'Sinner's Friend.'
* * * " 'I do not know how to do without a kiss from my little ones, when I know they are not far off. They will forget their grandpapa.' 'No, dear father; little F_______ often prays for her grandpapa.' 'God bless her and give her more grace than her grandpapa and less suffering. Yet, perhaps, this is hardly a legitimate prayer for a child; suffering is so needful for growth in grace.'
"Before his brother and sister returned, the latter had a parting interview. 'The great thing in life,' he said, is to seek each other's spiritual benefit. Remember that, dear Katharine, for yourself and your children. Seek to glorify Christ yourself, and seek that your children may glorify him.' 'Your prayers for them, dear brother, are a great comfort to me.' He answered with peculiar solemnity, 'No prayer is lost; they are lasting and living things. It is a wonderful thought, that no prayer is lost. They ever live; they are, as it were, inserted around the throne of God, and when God looks around, he sees the prayers of his people, covered with the sacred incense of a Saviour's intercession.'"When the 63rd Psalm was read to him, be asked for Psalm 130. When it was finished, he said, 'Beautiful it is! That is your father's only ground of confidence.'
" 'How truly this is called the body of our humiliation. Well, it is sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorruption; it is sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." '"I told him that Merle d'Aubigne sent his affectionate Christian remembrance. 'Tell him, from me,' he answered, after a short pause to collect his thoughts, 'my heart is with him and the dear foreign brethren, and I hope the Lord will I bless them greatly in their efforts to spread his truth among the foreign churches.'
" 'All that patience and love can do, I have both from children and nurses.' Soon after, he said to me as I was standing by him, and they were the last words I heard from his lips-- 'I have been thinking much of that blessed promise, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." Believing in Jesus is the greatest comfort. We must try to be better ministers. The good of the people is the great thing; all beside is a passing dream.'
No murmur ever escaped his lips, though his suffering, from various causes, was great and distressing. Each of those who helped to wait on him had some word of counsel or of comfort. To one he said, 'There are only two ways; mind you choose the right way.'
* * * "A shade of deeper awe seemed to pass over his countenance, which presently was lighted up with an expression of radiant joy. The breathing was noiseless, the eye grew brighter and brighter, till at length the breath parted and returned no more. The light still lingered in his eye, and those who watched around his pillow scarcely knew the moment of his departure, when his spirit forsook the body to be 'at home with the Lord.'