« VorigeDoorgaan »
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. C. E. BAGOT.
93 on the delight of his soul, and prayed that he might be experimentally acquainted with the gospel. On his entering the room he said, “ Ah! Mr. A. you are come to sce a poor dying sinner ;" when he was answered, 'I hope, Sir, you don't despair.' Despair !” answered he, “ Oh no, blessed be God, I cannot despair; it is not possible to despair with what I feel in my soul." - For several days, whenever be received a drop of wine, he commemorated the blood of Christ; “which (said he) was shed so freely for me.” When his poor body was quite exhausted with the transports of his soul, and singing and shouting forth, “ Oh! the riches of the free grace of God in Christ, to such a great sinner as me!" he lay quite composed, with his hands and eyes lifted up to Heaven, with the same joy in his face already mentioned. He was asked how he was ; his answer was, Happy, happy, swallowed
up in God! oh, it is inexpressible, the love of God; it is inexpressible !" then turning, he said, “Oh take care that you give all the glory to God; I am nothing in myself - a sinner saved by grace.
This evening he completed the settlement of his affairs, said to Mrs. B. I am just left till every thing temporal and spiritual is settled ; and expressed a thankfulness that he had no more concern about this world ; le continued all night in the same happy frame, now and then breathing out his soul in prayer and praise.
Saturday, he lay quiet and silent, with his eyes and hands lified up, except when he was spoken to on livine things, and seemed in a peculiar manner, according to his favourite expression, to be “swallowed up in God :" he could not for some time be prevailed on to take wine; expressing his desire te drink no more in this world" of the fruit of the vine, till he should drink it new in the kingdom of God." The disorder greatly increased, and he was so ill, with a violent nervous agitation, at three o'clock on Sunday morning, that Dr. W. feared he would not live many hours. Some time after, he appeared quite insensible, and was asked some questions, to know if that was the case : to these he gave very imperfect answers. ' Nrs. H. who stood at the door, knowing that his delight was in nothing but Christ, and anxious to know if he was stiil happy, desired his man-servant to ask busui, . Do you love Jesus Christ?' He instantly cried out, “ Oh, I do! I love Jesus Christ; be is any Saviour, my brother, my friend, my all!” His man trying 11 prevail on him to take some wine, said, 'Your brother is speaking to you to take this.' “ No John,” said he, “he is not speaking to me, but he is speaking for me.” The Doctor finding hin sensible, spoke to him on the necessity of inking his wine more freely, and using every proper means for bois recovery, for his wise and childrens' sake: he said, “ 1 resign thein freely to God, who, I know, will take care of them."
For some hours on Sunday morning he seemed stronger
and better ; prayed aloud, and sang several verses of hymns in a voice inexpressibly sweet; and called on all around him,
Come, assist me to extol the praise of my dear Redeemer :" but though all his near friends were round him, they were so overwhelmed with grief, from a knowledge of his extreme danger, that they could not join him. He took no notice, but went on singing, “ Come, let us join our cheerful songs, and spake with the greatest animation and delight on the free sovereign grace of God to save such a sinner: he then seemed to take a view of his past time, and said, “Oh! is it not an awful thought; that I, who have been twelve years in the ministry, should but so lately be converted to God! but it is all of grace, free grace ; ! know that all my sins are pardoned, through the blood and righteousness of Christ impụted to me.” Then calling on his friends in the greatest raptures, to rejoice with him, and magnify the grace of God, saying, “ Rejoice with me; and again I say rejoice.” He now addressed his friends, and charged them, saying, “ Mourn not for me; I am going where there is an exceeding and an eternal weight of glory laid up for me:" he then wished, as he had often done before, for a truly Christian Minister. He was asked if he had a desire for any one in particular; he answered, “ If it were possible [ could wish the Rev. Mr. W. and the Rev. Mr. G.-; they would greatly strengthen me in my weakness :” but consoling bimself, he said, “ Christ is all in all; death has no sting;" repeating this latter expression frequently.
Monday, March 1st. His disorder seemed to attack his head ; and he appeared, for the first time since his illness, to be sensible of great pain. One said to him, What is the matter?' he replied, “ It is the poor vile carcase ; for I am happy, happy in God.” In the evening he made some friends read, pray, and sing with him. The convulsion fits returned with much greater violence this night; frequently, however, he was employed in singing hymns, and repeating texts of scripture, as if in the act of preaching; such as, “ Blow ye the truinpet, blow ;" * Ho! every one that thirsteth,” &c. after which he cried, “ Do you see the glory all around this is the dawning of the Resurrection - Angels are waiting for me! - would I could bring you all with me!
Tuesday his disorder still increased, and still he kept uttering the same things, adding, “I am safe in the ark, I am safe in the ark.” Sometimes lie lay quiet, with his hands and eyes directed upward; where evidently his heart was. One of ihe physicians observed, he never saw a death-bed like.his; that the nature of the discrder was such, that were it not for what he enjoyed in his own mind, he would have required several men to have held bim in his bed.
Wednesday, 3d. The fits increased ; but he still enjoyed the same happiness. Towards evening his bodily pain seemed to
LETTER PROM THE LATE REV, DR. CONT
97 those around to be very great; he said " I ne battle in my life; but I am almost at ho home ;” and added, “ Angels are in waiting to. could bring you all with ine. - I am blessed.” His took its flight, at twenty minutes before twelve o'clock, withium the least struggle,faintly uttering, "White robes !” with his dying lips. Thus died this dear and excellent man, after having been only, in his own account, ten months converted.
COPY OF A LETTER
Well, my dear Sir, “ Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life," saith the Lord: and I am enabled to set to my seal that this is trne. How far I may be mistaken in the way, and make difficulties to myself where God makes none, I know not : but this I know, that I ain at times so hard put to it, that I make a full stop; and, for a moment, teel a wish in my heart to be either safely through, or safely back again. No outward difficulties cause these unbelieving icars; they arise not from opposition ; nor from the fierceness and wrath of an angry persecuting world : I have not at present much of these to fight with; and when I have, though no man feels them more sensibly than I do, yet, in deed and in truth, I find them profitable. I enjoy many a sweet moment when I am under their pressure ; and see much of the power and faithfulness of a promise-keeping God, when I occupy my business in those deep waters. Neither am I dejected with tlie view which God has given me (and a clear view he has given me) of my unworthiness, ignorance, helplessness, blindness, and sinfuluess, and of the total blindness of my nature. It is not, I say, a sight or feeling of these things that makes iny chariot-wheels drag heavily in the way to the kingdom. These, indeed, are humbling, and leave me not a word to say in
my own behalf.
I stand before God, in myself, poor and naked, and wretched, and miserable, But this makes inercy the sweeter. The more we know of our ruin, and the mystery of iniquity that is in us, the greater value shall we necessarily set on our Saviour and his salvation. I am in Christ superior to all that is in me. There is more in him to deliver me, than there can be in myself to condenin me. But here the matter lies, Sir:- When I look at the word of God, and see there unto what I am called; when I see my privileges as a child of God, and what arises from such an endering relation, — when I see that I am called to a fellowship with the l'ather and the Son,- to a peace with God which passeth were standing, - to a love that casteth out fear, -tu à life of faith
Son of God; nay,'to joy in God through our Lord Jesus prist, through whom we have received the atonement; hen I see that I am calle: to be a temple of God, throngh his Spirit dwelling in me; - to be a worshipper in his spiritual house, - an inhabitant of spiritnal Zion, that city of the living God, a subject of his spiritual kingrom ; - to a hope full of iminortality, - to be an heir of God himself, and a joint heir '. with his beloved Son ;- when I consider these things, Sir, I can hardly believe for joy and wonder; I look at myself and smile, to see :uch an insiguilicant wretch so exalted; I look on things around me, the world and all its vanities, and can count then but dross and dung in comparison of the excellency of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus the Lord. But oh! Sir, this is not always the case; nay, it is very often otherwise. This is my battle, this is my struggle, ihis is the reason of my complaint'; now you see what I am at, what I am fighting for ; now you see the very cause of my beart-aches, iny tears and distresses, my palpitations, &c. It is not steel-water, nor bark, nor cordials of the apothecars, but the precious balm of Gilead, and that great Physician there, that can alone give ease and quiet to my troubled breast. I want always to live like a man, who is sensible that all the blessings of the everlasting covenant are his own), I would walk and talk, and feel iny hope, and fears, and joys, like a creature that knows and believes that all things are his, for he is Christ's, and Christ is God's. But my weakness, my weakness, woe unto me! my eye and iny heart are soon catched and turned aside after vanity; my corruptions and sins, the guilt of which the blood of the Son of God has done away, are yot as thorns in my side, and pricks in my eyes; nay, the very blessings of God are a snare unto me, and frequently steal away my heart from hiin. My house is a' snare, and my family is a snare; my garden is a snare, and my situation is a snare; my very dress is a snare; and, such is my weakness, that my very dear friend is a spare also. My comfort is in fellowship with Gioil; his favour is better than life itself; and, if I suffer any blessing to come between him and me, it loses its name, and is made a curse unto me. Thus far my present experience,
THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.
The Ilighest himself shall establish her. - Psalm lxxxvii. 5.
God will establish it for ever. - Psalm xlviii. 8.
These promises do not belong exclusively to any particular church, national or congregational; but to the spiritual and universal church of Christ. God has not engaged thus to establish his church in any particular place, or among any
THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.
97 particular denomination of nen.. On the contrary, he has, threatened, in certain circunstances, to remove his candlestick from them ; and has actually done so in various instances. The true church is that body of people who embrace the distinguishing doctrines of the gospel, and manifestly live under their influence; and especially such doctrines as relate to the miserable condition of fallen inan,--the method of salvation by the free grace of God, through the sacrifice of Christ, -and the regeneration and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit on the souls of men. These are the persons who constitute the church of Christ; and though they may be distinguished and divided into various denominations, they are spiriinally one.
This church, considered collectively, is weak and defenceless in itself; has no carnal weapons for its security, is encompassed with many and mighty adversaries, and subject to various mutinies among its own members; yet God has engaged to establish it through all the revolving ages of time, and through the never ending years of eternity.
Hitherto his providence has corresponded with his promise. One antichristian error after another, and one mighty empirc after another, have fallen; but the church of God stands maugre all opposition. Neither the power of a Pharaoh, nor the craft of an Anithophel, nor the treachery of a Judas, nor all the coinbined efforts of its numerous and malicious foes, have been able to prevail against it. In seasons of declension, it has revived again. In times of persecution, it has not only been preserved, but has even prospered by the very means that were wickedly intended for its destruction. When the whole world was overwhelmed by the gencral deluge, the church found security in the Ark, and swain upon the mighty waters. And is the Lord's hand shortened? Can his purposes fail? Will be not continue to preserve and establishi his church? Yes, though earth and hell unite in opposition against it. “ Sarely there is no enchantinent against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel."
The promise of divine establishment belongs not only to the church, collectively considered, but to all jis members individually; I mean to all its spiritual and living members. Mang, alas! cleave to it with flatteries, from principles of cducation, of custom, of rational conviction only. Such persons as these, are no more interested in the promises belonging to the church, than those who are professedly alienated from it. The particulars which distinguish the spiritual inembers of the church of God, are a divinely illuminated juriginent, a lively faith in Christ, holiness of disposition, and exemplariness of condact. “ They are the true circuincision who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Does this, my dear reader, correspond with your character and experience? Then, to whatever class of chris