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depart and be with Christ is doubtless far better. But I have been this morning perplexed with the consideration, that when I shall see him as he is, I shall not be able to forgive myself for not having served him better. I know not how to separate the idea of self-reproach from heavenly enjoyment.
Our three grand enemies are the World, the Flesh, and the Devil: but we are sure to conquer; for greater is he that is in us, than they that be against us!
Sitting in my blankets, with this Bible before me, I seem like old Elwes with a bushel of bank notes and India bonds; but with this difference, that he must have his all taken away, and I shall take all mine with me.
I am astonished, and even confounded, when I recollect with what prodigality we Ministers are accustomed to waste our time. A Minister spending his strength and talents merely to entertain his acquaintance, is a Foolish Virgin wasting her oil to light up a puppet-show. I purpose, in the strength of God, that the few drops which I have remaining, shall be consecrated to the lighting of wanderers to the Door, or pilgrims on their Way.
The moment my soul departs from this body, it will be more separate from the present world in which I live, than if it were at this instant placed beyond the orb of Saturn; and yet, at the orb of Saturn, what a mere non-entity would this present world be! But, to be placed at such an inconceivable distance from my present station, and to be there alone, though out of absolute pain, shocks the mind : on the other hand, to be there, or anywhere else, under a sense of divine favour, and with the presence of Christ, makes that state no solitude, and this world no loss.
I have had a view, in my sickness, that I never had before; respecting those Opiates which have kept me in a doze at least, where I ought to have been broad awake. Arts and sciences, literature, curiosities, news, and even nonsense, have wasted hours and days; and 'that, while I had a most important charge to be executed, and a soul to be prepared for this season.' I see all this with a clearness that fills me, at once, with wonder, indignation, and abasement. Should I live, ought I not to proclaim it upon the house top? and especially to those who are dosing to this hour?
When He said to me, by the physicians, Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live; and, especially when one of them told me this with many tears; my soul, like a man suddenly overwhelmed with an inundation, looked about hastily, to examine the ground on which it stood to meet the unexpected trial. But the ground was found in a moment to be such, as could 'secure me from any flood; and I was enabled to reply, “ My Dear Friend, you do not at all alarm me: for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him unto that day.” But, in going home by myself in the coach, and looking from off the Rock on which I stood, to the waves which surrounded it, my calmness forsook me: I thought of my wife and children, and burst into tears: not that I doubted but they would be taken care of by him who had all my life taken care of me, but I could not bear the thought of parting with them, much less of leaving them in such a world. I thought too of my Church ; and felt that I had not time left even to make such a settlement as that I could leave it with satisfaction. The whole was too much, and I was obliged to turn my eyes again from the waves to the Rock, and, for the present, transact with God for my own soul.
From having possessed great natural vigour, and a good constitution, I had strangely and preposterously imagined, that I should live to be old: and have often pleased myself with a fond idea of discoursing to my congregation from St. John's pulpit, in a familiar, affectionate, and parental manner, with a head as white as snow. And this delusion had proceeded so far, that I almost took it for granted it would be so: and had imagined the sort of discourses which I should deliver at that time, with the tone of voice, and necessary imperfections! What upon earth, could make me
so blind and forgetful of the nature of man, and the express admonition of our Lord? And this, too, after I had been writing“ Memoirs of the late Rev. Mr. Cadogan,” taken off in a few days at nearly my own age.
The Master had said, Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.--And if he shall come in the SECOND watch, or come in the THIRD watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of Man cometh at an hour WHEN YE THINK NOT. Strange delusion of my heart! I said, He will not come to me till the end of the last watch, therefore I have twenty years, at least to live. O my soul! hast thou been so long a Teacher of others, and teachest thou not thyself? - How does nature, after all, overcome the best train of reasoning! After setting my house in order, with a prospect that my place at St. John's would be supplied by a better than myself, and that my
wife and children would neither be forgotten in heaven or earth:;. I began to be quite composed, and to invent many reasons why it might be best to go at this time:- The Lord might see some evil coming on, from which I was to be snatched: I might fall into some snare, and dishonour the Gospel : above all, his will, hiş goodness, his promise would be a sufficient security for good, if he should take me now. In the midst of this my little daughter Catharine came
in, and pulling aside the curtain, asked me how I did. Her smiling countenance, unconscious of what a convulsion was taking place awakened fresh and distinct sensations. I turned my eyes upward, like Hezekiah, O Lord, I am oppressed: undertake for me! Leave not that child a fatherless wanderer in such a world as this !"
O affliction! when sent to instruct, thou becomest a deep and faithful casuist! Of many past transactions and present habits, I said " It is noTHING :" or, It is SETTLED.” Thou bringest the book again before me.
What errors in the account! What blindness in the adjustment! Poor Bankrupt! I said I was rich, and increased in goods ; ' and behold I am miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Who is the man, that, in health and spirits, abounds in his own sense, and in selfsatisfaction? : He may, perhaps, live to learn that his God can make an affliction present such views in one day, as a whole life of contemplation and study would never have afforded.
Besides the encouragements and assurances given in the Scriptures to prayer, my own experience will stand a terrible witness against me, if I should ever cease to pray. I cannot allow myself to put down the remarkable answers which I have had to prayer, lest I should stumble the weak, or provoke the scornful. I know not when I ever prayed in earnest, that in one way or other, I had not satisfactory evidence that God heareth