Page images

* Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my. life ;” ard I hope to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. O! to be where they hunger no more; neither thirst any more; but are filled with the fatness of God's house!

To one of his younger children he said with great earnestness, Now cry to God, “ Thou art my Father." I do not think I was older than you when God caused me to claim him; and Oh! God has been a good Father to me! It is long since God said to me, “ Leave thy fatherless children with me, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widow trust in me.” As I know not but I am dying of this illness, I have endeavoured to cast you on the Lord. But see also that you cast yourself upon him.--At another time, Were it not that the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin, damnation would be iny lot; but “ in him I have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace:” and if Christ be glorified to the highest, and I ashamed to the lowest, I ain content.

I think the early death of my father and mother, the death of a beloved wife and children, wrought, in a remarkable way, for my good. I could not but notice when God took away these, he always supplied their room with himself. May he deal thus with you of my family when I die! As to my recoyery, I wish that God may do what is most for his glory, and for the good of my soul. Were it left to me, whether I would choose life or death, I would refer it wholly to God himself. All my days I have been rebelling against and vexing his Holy Spirit; yet I may say this hath been the sum of his conduct to mie“ He wrought for his name's sake, that it should not be polluted.” O! how God hath exemplified that scripture in his conduct to me-- If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give hiin drink;" and in so doing, I hope he hath heaped heart-melting coals of fire upon my head. Any thing I know about religion is this, that I have found great weakness and wickedness about myself, and grace, mercy, and loveliness about Jesus.

To his sons in the ministry, he repeated the exhortation which he had given before : O labour, labour to win souls to Christ. I will say this for your encouragement, that when the Lord led me out to be most diligent this way, he poured in most comfort into my heart, so that he gave me my reward in my bosom; and when I have tried to help yacancies, the Lord has ever repaid me well with glimpses of his glory. Were the Lord to make me young again, I think I should study to devise other means for the gaining

of souls than those which I have used, and to prosecute them with more vigour than ever I did. I am weak; but it is delightful to find one's self weak in everlasting arms. My memory is much failed; but, were death once over, I shall remember God's keeping of mercies, and my multiplied provocations, and sing thanksgivings to God for ever.

So far as ever I observed God's dealings with my heart, the flights of preachers sometimes entertained me; but it was scriptural expressions which penetrated my heart, and that in a way peculiar to themselves. O! what must Christ be in himself, when he sweetens Heaven, sweetens Scripture, sweetens Ordinances, sweetens Earth, and even sweetens Trials -Oh! what a rebellious child I have been to God, and what a kind Father he hath been to me! I need not go farther than myself, to see that God is love; for, even in my trouble, he treats me as a mother does her suck ing child! The finished righteousness of Christ is the only foundation of my hope. I have no more dependence on my labours than on my sins. I reckon it a wonder of mercy that God took any of my labours at my hand. Righteousness belongeth unto him; but unto me, shame and confusion of face. Were the Lord to render to me according to my works, the hottest place in Hell would be my reward: yet, by Christ's works, eternal life to the most worthless wretch is but a suitable recompence. I remember that, about the year --, I was breathing out slaughter against the Lord, “ but I obtained mercy;' and had I been offered the crown of Britain, instead of the fellowship with Christ, which I soon after enjoyed, I should not have hesitated a moment about choosing the latter. How strange a kind of debt is the debt of grace! Were I even now two or three hundred pounds in debt to any man, it woald considerably distress ine; but my views of my debt to free grace, greatly refresh my heart. God hath been heaping favours on me these forty years past; and I will say, to his honour, that he hath made days of affliction always the happiest. Indeed, I think, I have seldom had very sweet days, except when I met with affliction, one way or another. I do not expect to see it, yet it is the joy of my heart, that the time is coming when “ the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.” Dead churches shall yet be quickened; apostate churches shall yet be recovered; and churches be planted where there were none before. I could wish to live and die a deep, deep debtor to mercy ; and that none of my works should ever be mentioned but

as manifestations of mercy, and as means of promoting the work of mercy in the welfare of others. Though pride prevail much in my heart, yet I think I would trample it thus far under my feet, as that I should be glad to see iny students, and not only they, but all the faithful Ministers of Jesus, bringing hundreds or thousands of souls with them into Heaven, though I should have but five or six. O! how happy should I be, when I depart to Heaven, were I able to tell this news to the redeemed millions, that the Holy Ghost had been remarkably poured down on East Lothian, and that there was not now a family in which the worship of God was not observed! It must greatly delight the redeemed above, to hear of Christ's glory being displayed, and of souls being saved on earth. Ever since God dealt savingly with my heart, I have never had any comfort in the thought that my sins were small, but in the belief that “the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin;" and in the consideration of God's mercy being higher than the Heavens. It might be written on my coffin, “Here lies one of the cares of Providence, who early lost both father and mother, and yet never missed them.". I should not wish there should ever be the least appearance of avarice of the world in me. I can trust my family to Providence; and if, when I am in Heaven, it shall appear that one has been converted by means of any thing I ever wrote, I shall mark down one hundred pounds; if there should be two, I will say, there is two hundred pounds; and if twenty, there is something of more value than two thousand pounds. That is the reward I wish for of my writings. God deals so tenderly with me in my afflictions, as if every stroke went nearer to his own heart than to mine. The command is, Owe no man any thing:what a mercy it is that there is no such precept as this, Owe a Saviour nothing or even this, Study to owe him as little as possible.-I confess that I should not like to stand at the market-cross with a paper on my breast, declaring I was a bankrupt to men: but O! I think I should love to stand in the most public place in all Heaven, having all the redeemed pointing to me, as the greatest sinner that ever was saved.On hearing the usual demonstrations of joy on the King's birth-day, he said, Blessed be God that “unto us was born, in the city of David, a Sa · viour, who is Christ the Lord :" on account of that event, the gospel-bells have been sounding for ages past, and they will ring louder and louder still,

On being carried out of his chaise - How strange, said


he, that I, a poor cottager's son, should have a chaise to ride in! but what is unspeakably more strange, that God should provide the chariot of the New Covenant for my soul! In the former case, he hath raised me from the dunghill, and set me with men of name and family on the earth ; but in the latter, he hath exalted the sinner, and inade him to sit with the Prince of the kings of the earth. No doubt, I should love to be at my public work again ; and had it been any other than God who has restrained me, I should not have taken it well; but as it is the Lord, I desire to submit. No doubt, but I feel a deep concern for my wife and children; but when my heart enters properly into these words; * Be for ever with the Lord,” the leaving of themi diminishes into a very small point; and although my natural affection for them be as strong as ever, I hope that, when I ain away, Christ will far more than supply my room to thein ; and then we shall be better on all hands. I wonder at the kindness of men to me; but am especially annazed while I reflect, that it is all the kindness of my God to me, through them.

June 17. He was now become exceedingly weak, and spake little; but the solid joy of God's salvation, and the peace that passeth all understanding, continued with him to the end. On one occasion at this time, he said to a Brother in the Ministry,-0! Mr. , the Lord is my strength and my song, and he is become my salvation: God is an everlasting Rock. The last words he was heard to utter were, « My Christ!" About four hours after, he fell asleep in Jesus, June 19, 1787.

N.B. These sayings of his, grave and heavenly as they are (and many more such he uttered) lose much of their energy by the occasions not being mentioned which gave rise to them. This would have swelled the article beyond our usual limits. The reader will find several of the occas sions set down at the close of his Select Remains.

"He published the following works: The Self-Interpreting Bible, 2 vol. 4to. ( Two Short Catechisms for Young People Dictionary of the Bible, 2 vol. 8vo, The Christian Student and Pastor. Large Explication of the Assembly's Practical Piety Exemplified. Catechism

s The Young Christian : Three Sermons. The Christian Journal.

Letters on Toleration, Explication of Scripture Metaphors. General History of the Church, 2 volo System of Divinity.

Particular History of the Churches of Evangelical View of the Types.

England, Scotland, and Ireland. History of the Secession.

| Harinony of Scripture Prophecies. Letters on the Government of the Since bis dearb bave been publisbed, Christiau Church.

Select Remains

EXECUTION OF TWO CRIMINALS, i To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine,

Rev. Sir, The following is the Substance of a Letter from the Rev.

D. Edwards to Dr. Conder, giving an Account of his : Attendance on two Criininals, who were executed on Kush Moor, near Ipswich, April 10, 1766. Should ić îneet your Approbation, your Insertion of 'it in the Evangelical Magazine may be of use tó' sơnie, and will inuch oblige, York,

Your's affectionately,

[ocr errors]

Rev, and dear Sir, T FULLY intended to have sent you a few lines by the cará

rier, but my attendance upon the prisoners under sen-' tence of death prevented nie; and, to prevent false representation, it may not be improper to give you a short narrative of it. The prisoners, John Francis and John Brook, both of this county (one was twenty-five, the other twentysix years of age) had been conmitted some time for housebreaking; they stole about 100l. and were taken soon afterá Mr. D , whose house they broke open, proinised, if they would give up the money, they should not be hanged; upon which they returned the wholc, except some pounds they had squandered away. They were comınitted, took their trial at Bury, were condemned, and sent to Ipswich jail.

Yesterday week, one Mr. Hall came to me, and desired I would make them a visit. I was in såspençe: - at last complied. This was almost new work to me, having never attended persons in such circuinstances, except one, where I was a student. On Thursday evening I made the first visit. It would be too tedious to relate particulars. They made a frank confession of their crime, and the justice of their sentence; but were extremely ignorant of man's state by nature, and the inethod of salvation. I took the Bible, and asked them whether they believed that to be the word of God. They said, yes: then turned to several places, which shewed their miserable state. I spent nearly two hours with them in prayer and conversation ; then departed, without any expectation of being sent for a second time; especially as the minister of the parish attended them, ali : VOL.


« PreviousContinue »