« PrécédentContinuer »
stance in pursuing that great end, and the glory of his Redeemer, that perhaps is scarcely to be paralleled in this age in these parts of the world. Much of this may be perceived by any one that reads his printed Journal; but much more has been learned by long intimate acquaintance with him, and by looking into his Diary since his death, wbich he purposely concealed in what he published.
And as bis desires and labours for the advancement of Christ's kingdom were great, so was his success.
God was pleased to make bim the instrument of bringing to pass the most remarkable things among the poor savages-in enlightening, awakening, reforming and changing their disposition and manners, and wonderfully transforming them—that perhaps can be produced in these latter ages of the world. An
" The next thing I had then to do, was to inquire whether this was my religion. And here God was pleased to help me to the most easy remembrance, and critical review of what had passed in course, of a religious nature, through several of the latter years of my life. And although I could discover much corruption attending my best duties, many selfish views and carnal ends, much spiritual pride, and seli-exaltation, and innumerable other evils which compassed me about; I say, although I now discerned the sins of my holy things, as well as other actions; vet God was pleased, as I was reviewing, quickly to put this question out of doubt, by shewing me that I had, from time to time, acted above the utmost influence of mere self-love, that I had longed to please and glorify him, as my highest happiness, &c. And this review was through grace attended with a present feeling of the same divine temper of mind. I felt now pleased to think of the glory of God; and longed for heaven, as a state wherein I might glorify God perfectly, rather than a place of bappiness for myself. And this feeling of the love of God in my heart, which I trust the Spirit of God excited in me afresh, was sufficient to give me full satisfaction, and make ine long, as I had many times before done, to be with Christ. I did not now want any of the--sudden suggestions, that many are so pleased with, That Christ and his benefits are mine, That God loves me, in order to give me satisfaction about my state. No, my soul oow abhorred those delusions of Satan ; which are thought to be the immediate witness of the Spirit, while there is nothing but an empty suggestion of a certain fact, without any gracious discovery of the divine glory, or of the Spirit's work in their own hearts. I saw the awful delusion of this kind of confidences; as well as of the whole of that religion, which they usually spring from, or at least are the attendants of the false religion of the Jate day, though a day of wondrous grace; the imaginations and impressions made only on the animal affections; together with the sudden suggestions made to the mind by Satan, transformed into an angel of light, of certain facts not revealed in scripture : These, I say, and many like ihings, I fear have made up the greater part of the religious appearances in many places.
“ These things I saw with great clearness, when I was thought to be dying, and God gave me great concern for his church and interest in the world at this time: Not so much because the late remarkable intluence upon the minds of people was abated, and almost wholly gone, as because of the false religion, the heats of imagination, and wild and selfish commotions of the animal atlections, which attended the work of grace, had prevailed so far. This was that which my mind dwelt upon, almost day and night: And this to ine was the darkest appearance respecting religion in the land. For it was this chiefly that had prejudiced the world against inward religion. And this I saw was the great misery of all, that so few saw any manner of difference between those exercises that were spiritual and holy, and those which have self-love only, for their beginning, centre, and end."
account of this has been given the public in bis Journals, drawn up by order of the Honourable Society in Scotland, that employed him; which I would recommend to the perusal of all such as take pleasure in the wonderful works of God's grace, and would read that which will peculiarly tend both to entertain and profit a Christian mind.*
No less extraordinary than the things already mentioned of him in life, was his constant calmness, peace, assurance, and joy in God, during the long time be looked death in the face, without the least hope of recovery; continuing without interruption to the last ; while his distemper very sensibly preyed upon bis vitals, from day to day, and oft brought him to that state in which he looked upon himself, and was thought by others, to be dying. The thoughts of approaching death never seemed in the least to damp, but rather to encourage him, and exhilirate bis mind. And the nearer death approached, the more desirous he seemed to be of it. He said, not long before his death, that “ the consideration of the day of death, and the day of judgment, had a long time been peculiariy sweet to him." And at another time, that “ he could not but think of the meetness there was in throwing such a rotten carcass as his into the grave: It seemed to him to be the right way of disposing of it.” He often used the epithet glorious, when speaking of the day of his death, calling it that glorious day. On a sabbath-day morning, September 27, feeling an unusual appetite to food, and looking on it as a sign of approaching death, he said, " he should look on it as a favour, if this might be his dying day, and that he longed for the time.” He had before expressed himself desirous of seeing his brother again, whose return had been expected from the Jerseys; but then (speaking of him) he said, “I am willing to go, and never see him again : I care not what I part with, to be for ever with the Lord.” Being asked, that morning, how he did ? he answered, “ I am almost in eternity: God knows, I long to be there. My work is done; I bave done with all my friends : All the world is nothing to me.” On the evening of the next day, when he thoughe himself dying, and was apprehended to be so by others, and he could utter bimself only by broken whispers, he often repeated the word Elernity; and said, “I shall soon be with the holy angels.-He will come; he will not tarry.” He told me one night, as he went to bed, that “ he expected to die that night.” And added, “ I am not at all afraid, I am willing to go this night, if it be the will of God. Death is what I long for." He sometimes expressed himself as wishing for nothing to but to die: and being willing to 'go that minute, if it was
See vol. iii. p. 319, &c.
the will of God.” He sometimes used that expression, “O why is his chariot so long in coming!"
He seemed to have remarkable exercises of resignation to the will of God. He once told me, that “ he had longed for the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit of God, and the glorious times of the church, and hoped they were coming; and should have been willing to have lived to promote religion at that time, if that had been the will of God. But (says he) I am willing it should be as it is: I would not bave the choice to make myself for ten thousand worlds."*
He several times spake of the different kinds of willingness to die: and spoke of it as an ignoble mean kind, to be willing, only to get rid of pain, or to go to heaven only to get honour and advancement there. His own longings for death seemed to be quite of a different kind, and for nobler ends. When he was first taken with something like a diarrhea, which is looked upon as one of the last and most fatal
symptoms in a consumption, he said, “O now the glorious time is coming! I have longed to serve God perfectly; and God will gratify these desires.” And at one time and another, in the latter part of his illness, he uttered these expressions. “ My heaven is to please God, and glorify him, and give all to him, and to be wholly devoted to his glory. That is the heaven I long for; that is my religion; and that is my happiness; and always was, ever since I supposed I had any true religion: And all those that are of that religion, shall meet me in heaven. I do not go to heaven to be advanced, but to give honour to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or low seat there, but to love, and please, and glorify God. If I had a thousand souls, if they were worth any thing, I would give them all to God: But I have notbing to give, when all is done. It is impossible for any rational creature to be bappy without acting all for God. God himself could not make me happy any other way:-I long to be in heaven, praising and glorifying God with the holy angels; all my desire is to glorify God.-My heart goes out to the burying-place, it seems to me a desirable place: But O to glorify God! That is it! That is above all It is a great comfort to me to think that I have done a little for God in the world : It is but a very small matter; yet I have done a little ; and I lament it, that I have not done more for him.
* He writes thus in his diary: “ Aug. 23, 1747. In the week past, I had divers turns of inward refreshing. Though my body was inexpressibly weak, followed continually with agues and fevers, sometimes my soul centered in God as my only portion; and I felt I should be for ever unhappy if he did not reign. I saw the sweetness and happiness of being his subject, at his disposal. This made all my difficulties quickly vanish."
- There is nothing in the world worth living for, but doing good, and finishing God's work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction, besides living to God, pleasing him, and doing bis whole will. My greatest joy and comfort has been to do something for promoting the interest of religion, and the souls of particular persons."*
After he came to be in so low a state, that he ceased to have the least expectation of recovery, his mind was peculiarly carried forth with earnest concern for the prosperity of the church of God on earth; which seemed very manifestly to arise from a pure disinterested love to Christ, and desire of his glory. The prosperity of Zion, was a theme he dwelt much upon, and of which he spake much; and more and more, the nearer death approached. He told me when near his end that “ he never, in all his life, had his mind so led forth in desires and earnest prayers for the flourishing of Christ's kingdom on earth, as since he was brought so exceeding low at Boston.” He seemed much to wonder, that there appeared no more disposition in ministers and people, to pray for the flourishing of religion through the world. And particularly, he several times expressed his wonder, that there
• In his diary he writes thus: “ Sept. 7, 1747. When I was in great distress of body, my soul desired that God should be glorified. I saw there was no heaven but this. I could not but speak to the by-standers then of the only happiness, viz. pleasing God. O that I could for ever live to God! The day, I trust, is at hand, the perfect day! O, the day of deliverance from all sin!
“ Sept. 19. Near night, while I attempted to walk a little, my thoughts turned thus: How infinitely sweet it is to love God, and be all for him! Upon which it was suggested to me, ' You are not an angel, not lively and active.' To which my whole soul immediately replied, 'I as sincerely desire to love and glorify God as any angel in heaven.' Upon which it was suggested again, . But you are filthy, not fit for heaven.' Kereupon instantly appeared the blessed robe of Christ's righteousness, which I could not but exult and triumph in. I viewed the infinite excellency of God; and my soul even broke with longings, that God should be glorified. I thought of dignity in heaven: But instantly the thought returned, I do not go to heaven to get honour, but to give all possible glory and praise. O, how I longed that God should be glorified on earth also ! O, I was made for eternity, if God might be glorified ! Bodily pains I cared not for; though I was then in extremity, I never felt easier; I felt willing to glorify God in that state of bodily distress, as long as he pleased I should continue so. The grave appeared really sweet, and I longed to lodge my weary bones in it: But, 0! that God might be glorified ! This was the burden of all my cry. O, I knew I should be active as an angel in heaven, and that I should be stripped of my filthy garments ! So that there was no objection. But, 0, to love and praise God more, to please him for ever! This my soul panted after, and even now pants for, while I write. 0, that God may be glorified in the whole earth! Lord, let thy kingdom come. I longed for a spirit of preaching to descend and rest on ministers, that they might address the consciences of men with closeness and power. I saw God had the residue of the Spirit ; and my 300l longed it should be poured out from on high. I could not but plead with God for my dear congregation, that he would preserve it, and not sufer his great name io lose its glory in tbat work; my soul still longing, that God might be glorified."
appeared no more forwardness to comply with the proposal lately made from Scotland, for united extraordinary prayer among God's people, for the coming of Christ's kingdom, and sent it as his dying advice to his own congregation, that they should practise agreeably to that proposal.
A little before his death, he said to me, as I came into the room, “ My thoughts have been employed on the old dear theme, the prosperity of God's church on earth. As I waked out of sleep (said he) I was led to cry for the pouring out of God's Spirit, and the advancement of Christ's kingdom, which the dear Redeemer did and suffered so much for: It is that especially makes me long for it.”-But a few days before his death, he desired us to sing a psalm concerning the prosperity of Zion; which he signified his mind was engaged in above all things; and at his desire we sang a part of the 1020 Psalm. And when we had done, though he was then so low that he could scarcely speak, be so exerted himself, that he made a prayer, very audibly, wherein, besides praying for those present, and for his own congregation, he earnestly prayed for the reviving and flourishing of religion in the world. His own congregation especially lay much on bis heart. He often spake of theni; and commonly when he did so, it was with extraordinary tenderness : so that his speech was interrupted and drowned with weeping
Thus I have endeavoured to represent something of the character and behaviour of that excellent servant of Christ, whose funeral is now to be attended. Though I have done it very imperfectly ; yet I have endeavoured to do it faithfully, and as in the presence and fear of God, without flattery; which surely is to be abhorred in ministers of the gospel, when speaking as messengers of the Lord of Hosts. Such reason have we to be satisfied that the person spoken of, now he is absent from the body, is present with the Lord; and now wearing a crown of glory, of distinguished brightness.
And how much is there in the consideration of such an example, and so blessed an end, to excite us, who are ye alive, with the greatest diligence and earnestness, to improve the time of life, that we also may go to be with Christ, when we forsake the body! The time is coming, and will soon come, we know not how soon, when we must take leave of all things here below, to enter on a fixed unalterable state in the eternal world. O, how well is it worth the while to labour and suffer, and deny ourselves, to lay up in store a good foundation of support and supply, against that time! How much is such a peace as we have heard of, worth at such a time!
* See vol. ii. p. 444, &c.