« PreviousContinue »
FOR JULY, 1802.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. J. BROWN, OF HADDINGTON.
(Concluded from our last.) Mr. Brown's remarkable Expressions during his Last Illness. Tf Christ be magnified in my life, that is the great matter I I wish for: Often we read history as Atheists or Deists; rather than as Christians. To read of events without observing the hand of God in them, is to read as Atheists; and, to read and not observe how all events conduce to carry on the work of redemption; is to read as Deists. A piece of history hath often ainused me when my natural spirits were low; but now I find no pleasure, except in meditațing on the promises of God.
The doctrine of grace reigning through righteousness, is good to live with, and good to die with.: 0! what a happy life a christian might have, if he were always persuaded of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord! If there were åný such thing as exchange of learning, I would willingly quit with all my knowledge of languages and other things, were it a thousand times more extensive, experimentally to know what that meaneth=" I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ Jiveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." I think that, this evening, I am no worse; but do not wish to have a will in the matter: only I would not desire to live, and not be able for Christ's work; though perhaps, were God so ordering it, he would enable me to bear that too. No doubt I have met with trials as well as others; yet the Lord hath always been so kind to me, that I think if he were to give me as many years as I have lived in this world, I would not desire one single circumstance in my lot to be changed, but that I had less sin. I have often wondered at the fayour which men have shewn to me; but much more at the favour of God to such a great transgressor. O! to be with God! to see him as he is ! to know Vox. X Kk
him even.as we are known ! It is worth not merely doing for, but lying for, to see a gracious God.
About the year ---, God said to my soul, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love;" and O! how faithful he hath been to me since. There would not have been more grace shewn in the redemption of the chief of devils, than in saving ine. The same price would have ransomed them; the same strivings would have overcome them. Men may talk against the sovereignty of redeeming love as they will; but had it not been sovereign, infinitely sovereign, I should as certainly have been damned as if I were in Hell already. Were it not that God foresaw our provocations from eternity, he never could have continued his love toward me, the great transgressor, the arrant rebel. Yet, I hope, he is now preparing me for being ever with himself. · 0! how these words—" He loved me, and gave himself for me," once penetrated my heart, and made me cry, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Notwithstanding all my wickedness, God hath put a bridle in my inouth; and though I have been a most perverse sinner, yet he hath strar.gely restrained me. This he hath done chiefly by his loving kindness and tender mercy.
I desire to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better than life. Though I have lived sixty years very comfortably, yet I would gladly turn my back on you all, to be with Christ. O! how pleasant to enjoy fellowship with Christ! Any little acquaintance I have had with hiin, deeply conrinceth me of this. And, Oh! how much more pleasure inight I have had, but for iny own folly and wickedness! I now think that I could willingly die to see him, who is “ white and ruddy, the chiefest ainong ten thousand.”
Addressing himself to his two sons in the ministry, he said, with peculiar earnestness, O! labour, labour for Christ, while you have strength. I now repent that I have 'been so lazy and slothful in his service. O! commend Jesus. I have been looking at him for these many years, and yet never could find a flaw in hiin, but what was of my own making; but he has seen ten thousand faults in me. Justly may he say of me,~" Sixty years long have I been grieved with this rebel;” and as justly may I add, “ where muy sin bath abounded, God's grace hath much more abounded.” Q! how comely and gracious a personage hath Jesus been in my sight! Many a kind friend I have had, but nquelike Christ, iu loving-kindness and tender mercies.
, 0512 I know not if I shall erer see you together again ; but O! labour to win souls to Christ. There is none like Christ. I am sure, a poor worthless wretch he has had of me; but a precious, superlatively precious Christ I have had of him. Never grudge either purse or person for him. I can say I was never a loser by any time spent, or by any money given for him.
At another time-O! the pains, said he, God has been at to save me, and the pains I have been at to destroy myself? But he hath partly gained, and, I hope, he will compleiely gain the victory. I find reading tires me, walking tires iné, riding tires me; but were I once with Jesus above, fellow- , ship with him will never tire. “So shall we be for ever with the Lord.” If doubting, disputing, and trainpling on his kindness, could have made him change his love, it would never have been continued to me. Though I have never been left to commit gross crimes, yet he knows the outrageous wickedness of my heart; such wickedness as would have provoked any but a God of infinite love, to cast me into Hell. Yet lo! instead of casting me thither, he takes me to his bosom, and says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love." How hath the Lord borne and carried me! He hath indeed visited me with stripes; but never except when I richly deserved them.
I was young when left by my parents; yet their instructions, accompanied with God's dealings, made such an impression on my heart, as, I hope, will continue with me to all eternity. I have served several masters; but none so kind as Christ. I have dealt with many honest men ; but no creditor like Christ. Had I ten thousand hearts, they should all be given to Christ; and had I ten thousand bodies, they should all be employed in labouring for his honour.-Repeating these words : “ Thou art my God, I will prepare thee an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt thee,"he added, we should reckon him a madman who would throw aivay a father's estate; but he is infinitely more foolish who would cast off a father's God. O! what kindness God has heaped upon me since the year ! O! what kind strugglings ! what kind smilings! what kind overlookings of my outrageous wickedness! Of a truth, he .. hath shewed himself to be God, and not man, in his deal. ings with me. In my mad attempts, he hath often stopped me; my mad wishes he hath often refused to grant ; and my mad words he hath often seemed to overlook. Under
the pressure of bodily pain, he would repeat these lines of · Waits with much feeling:
“ Soon may the storins of trouble beat
“ And let the prisoner By!" and add, I wonder I have so much hcalth as I have. Many of my fellow-sinners, and many who have never sinncd to my extent, are now in the place of iorment, without any hope of deliverance, while iny heart is in a measure filled with God's praise.
Hearing of the more enlarged spread of the Gospel Well, said he, may it spread! It is the alone source of my comfort, and every sinner is as welcome as I. How pleasant, that neither great sins, nor great troubles, can alter these consolations! These words were once sweetly impreso sed on my heart." Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." How it delighted me to see God taking ad. vantage of my great sinfulness, to make manifest his greater grace. O! the sovereignty of God! I think he hath used more means to subdue the enmity of my heart, and its rebellion, than he hath used for an hundred besides. How astonishing, said he, as he was taking a little wine, that God's Son should be obliged to take gall and vinegar to, drink, when his thirst was great, and I have wine, when my thirst is by no means excessive! How I long to drink of the new wine of my Father's kingdom, which will hurt neither head nor heart !--0! that I had all the world around me, that I might tell them of Christ! Had I ten thousand tongues, and ten thousand hearts, and were employing them all in the commendation of Christ, I could not do foi his honour what he hath deserved, considering his kindness to me.
“He hateth putting away." I am sure I have found that to be tue : for © ? the provocations I have given to God to caşt me off; and yet, to this day, he crowneth me with loving-kindness and tender mercies! How astonishing the necessity of the love of the Son of God! once, I thought, I got a ravishing sight of the necessity of his loving me, the sinner. He said, “ Other sheep l'have; these also must I bring.” ! his kindness! his kindness -I have shared of his frowns as well as of his smiles little frowns in comparison with what I deserved. Yet, whenever I abused those frowns, as well as his smiles, he hath ever overcome me with tender mercies. I am weak, but I am well, considering I am such a sinner. Truly I may say,