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FROM SUNDAY, FEB. 4, TO HIS DEATH, ON
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 7.
DEATH SWALLOWED UP OF LIFE-LORD'S SUPPER-INCREASING
DEBILITY -DEATH - CONCLUDING ADDRESS CHRISTIANITY
NOT A DELUSION-WHAT IT TEACHES THE JOY IT IMPARTS.
SUNDAY, Feb. 4. Dr. Gordon was now too feeble to bear any sustained part in conversation. What he said was chiefly an earnest response to what was uttered by others; but the intense feeling concentrated in his emphatic “ay,” eloquently revealed how strong his faith and how bright his hopes continued to be.
To Mrs. E.—“My gracious God has been very merciful to me. He has given me a joy I never felt before, an inconceivable joy !"
Mrs. E.—"I hope we shall all meet in the New Jerusalem, where there will be no more dying.”
Dr. G., emphatically.—“There is none here."
Mrs. E.—“I hope he will give you, to the end, that peace which passeth all understanding.”
Dr. G.-"I have it."
Death was quite lost sight of by him. How striking his reply to the remark, that there will be no dying in heaven, —"There is none here!” He looked on departing to be with Jesus, as better.” Death was indeed, in his case, "swallowed up of life.” The day following, he said to Mr. S., a friend who came from the country to visit him, and who was speaking of the state of his health, “I shall live:"a reply which, to those unacquainted with the peculiar state of his mind, might be regarded as intimating the possibility of restoration to health, but which he meant as a declaration of his conviction that there could be no death to a believer in Christ. He realized the full import of our Saviour's words, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” This was a theme continually referred to in conversation around his bed, and on which he delighted to dwell. He felt that there would be no interval of unconsciousness, no cessation of activity, no intermission of enjoyment; that though the mode of existence would be changed, the existence itself would be neither destroyed nor suspended ; that to be absent from the body was to be instantly present with the Lord, and that if life is to be estimated by the exercise of the spiritual faculties, as these will all be vastly
augmented when the soul is separated from the corruptible body, that separation is rather to be designated life than death. How much happier would Christians be, did they thus realize the great truths made known to them in the Gospel ! Christ came to "destroy death, and him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil; and to deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” How very seldom is Death, as such, spoken of in the New Testament ! The writers seem to regard it as annihilated in the case of the believer. We live here, surrounded by many mercies, but exposed to many sorrows, and conscious of much imperfection; and surely that great event in our history which transports us to the full possession of the promised inheritance, where no element of grief shall be mingled in the cup of gladness, where no lingering corruption shall interfere with our obedience, and defile our worship, where no temptation shall ever demand vigilance and conflict, where no weariness shall suspend our service, but ceaseless activity shall be the rapture of repose, and where, death being for ever excluded, eternity will be stamped on every enjoyment,-surely the event which introduces us to such a state of being cannot correctly be designated Death. No, it is rather Life. The dead are those who are left behind, not those who thus depart, and the moment of dissolution is the birth of the soul. The ordinary sepulchral emblems are most inappropriate to the case of a departed saint. The torch, instead of being reversed and extinguished, now blazes with a living light and quenchless energy it never before possessed. The column, instead of being shattered, is now firmly fixed, while its fair proportions and exquisite polish are only now completed. Death is the portal of life, the dawn of immortality, the transition into heavenly glory. Every Christian may say with Dr. G.—“I shall live!”
Reference being made to the grace of Christ in bestowing his own righteousness on the sinner, while taking away the sinner's guilt, he said, “It is that which removes all my fear; every particle of fear; nothing else could !” Being reminded that a few days before, he had said that he did not see Death at his bedside, and being asked if he saw him now, he replied, “No! it is Christ, who has washed us !” Then, after a few minutes' silence, he said, spontaneously and with earnestness, “I have Christ by me.
See Death ? I see nothing but Christ.” Sir W.—“You now see the beauty and glory of the plan of salvation.” Dr. G. _“I do-and more—I FEEL it, I have nothing, -but God and Christ.” N.—“What a happiness to have Christ within you, the hope of glory!” Dr. G.-"I feel Him: I have laid hold on Him; I have embraced Him.-What love to have brought
me to this! I love to hear you talk of that merciful Saviour.” Mr. J. V. H.-" You must not let me tire you, but the love of Christ so fills
my heart, that it seems as if it would burst if I did not speak of Him!” Dr. G. Let it burst on me!”
By his own request, the Lord's Supper was again celebrated in his room. The beautiful hymn of Dr. Watts' was sung
“There is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign;
And pleasures banish pain,” &c., &c.
After each verse the children's chorus was sung
“We're marching through Immanuel's ground,
What ! never part again ?
No, never part again-
And never, never part again !” None but those who have sung such a hymn under similar circumstances can understand its full meaning and effect. It was a reality. There lay one on the very verge of that “land of pure delight.” We were bidding him farewell, but were convinced it was not a final separation, looking forward to that home which death does not invade, and from which "they go no more out for ever." The passage of Scripture which was read was pecu