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JOY OF FAITH
SHADOW OF DEATH:
ADDRESSED TO THE
RESPECTABLE FAMILY OF THE BLAKERS,
OF BOLNEY, IN SUSSEX,
AN INDULGENT HUSBAND, A TENDER FATHER,
AND AN HONEST BELIEVER IN CHRIST,
HIS UNWORTHY FATHER IN THE FAITH; AND THEIR AFFECTIONATE FRIEND AND SERVANT IN
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
THE PEOPLE THAT WALKED IN DARKNESS ILAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT:
THEY THAT DWELL IN THE LAND OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON
JOY OF FAITH.
To W. H. S. S.
Bolney, Dec. 9, 1804.
I have just now receivell my kind friend's affectionate and supporting epistle, for which I beg you to accept a thousand thanks from me. For these three days past (besides my other troubles) something has been suggested to my mind, that, if my poor father is taken away, you will then favour us no more with your summer visits, and that we shall no more hear from you, or be favoured with the comfort of your acquaintance, But I desire to be thankful to God that this is only a suggestion from the enemy. I much fear, my dear friend, that you will no more see my dear father's face in the flesh; for it is not expected that he will be alive when you receive this.
On Wednesday evening last he seemed to grow much worse. In the same night I went from Worth to Bolney; and on the next day, from one o'clock till three, we all thought he was going off. But even in those moments, when he was upon the verge of death, he looked round upon us all, three or four different times, and gave us such an heavenly smile as appeared wonderful; and really the tranquillity, peace and consolations, that he seems to enjoy, are beyond expression. I was up with him alone the greatest part of the ensuing night, after he had been so exceedingly ill, and was then a little recovered; at which time he spoke very freely, and a good deal to me. I said to him, “You was very
ill yesterday?' 'Yes,' said he, 'I was; but what I felt nobody knows, the rays of light upon me were as the glory of Lebanon,' Isai. xxxv. 2. 'I cannot describe,' said he, “the glory that shone upon me.' And he added, "In my worst moments I have always found it so. But some little time back, when I seemed to get a little better in body, then I felt bondage and darkness come upon me. The words in one of your former letters were brought
ere brought fresh to my mind, by a speech of my poor father's to my sister Mary. She was standing by him, apparently very low, and filled with grief. He looked up at her, and said, "My dear, we should not sorrow as others which have no hope,' 1 Thess. iv. 13. Poor dear man! I am much cast down at the thoughts and
What you say
fears of losing him. But I hope God will enable me to submit to his sovereign will. Never, no never, since I have been upon earth, have I found myself so completely crucified to this world, and 'to all things beneath the sun, as I do at this time. There is not one thing upon earth that I feel alive to, or have any desire after. But, from heart-felt experience, I can say that my soul thirsteth after God, and my soul is stirred up to seek him with my whole heart. And at times I am enabled to pour out my soul before him, and to shew him my trouble, and to cast all my cares and burdens upon him, and that with a secret persuasion that he careth for me. in yours is true; that nothing but the Son of God, and faith in him, can stay the mind, or fix the heart, in times of trial. Many of the poor souls round about us seem sorely cut at the thoughts of losing my poor father; and I believe they have put up many petitions for his recovery; but I much fear that their request will not be granted. My poor sister is almost overwhelmed. I was in hopes that you would have come to see my father, and am sorry you did not; but having heard that your health was poorly, I thought you might not be able to come. If he should revive again, and get a little better, I hope you will endeavour to see him once more.
In his present state he is scarcely able to speak.
I shall comply with your request; and you may depend upon it that I will write from day to