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day, informing you how he goes on: indeed, I should have written before now, but was afraid of being troublesome to you, knowing that you have much on your hands. My poor father continues very sensible; but takes little notice of any body, or of any thing. His breath is
very bad, and he can take no sustenance but a little liquid in a tea-spoon.
Farewell. All the family unite in kind love to you; and believe me to remain,
Grace and peace be multiplied through our Lord Jesus
ours came safe to hand, and I thank you for it; and my soul blesses the Almighty and eternal
God for his undeserved kindness to your poor father, now in dying circumstances.
But all the children of God are not thus favoured. God Almighty has immutably fixed every thing belonging to his chosen household of faith, even their residence while in this world., The appointed days of their life, and the glorious end they shall make in death.
First, he has fixed their residence during their stay in this life, which is called his determination. “ He hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation,” Acts xvii. 26.
The time of their life is unalterably appointed also. “ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die," Eccles. iii. 1, 2. When this day comes, go men must, for it is so appointed of God; and so says Jehovah himself. Nor can all the men upon earth deprive a saint of one single day. “ The number of thy days I will fulfil,” Exod. xxiii. 26. “ And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou musi die. No man under heaven can ever pass over this appointed day of his death. “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds, that he cannot pass,” Job xiv. 5. The determined measure of his days, and the number of his months, are so irrevocably fixed, that he cannot pass these bounds: just as a servant, who engages to serve for a time, and expects his hire and
deliverance at the period of his appointment; so man accomplishes as an hireling his day, Job xiv. 6. Nor has the greatest favourite of God, and those who are most prevalent with him in prayer, any power to retain the soul one day, or one moment, in the body when once the appointed time of death comes. " There is no man that hath power over the spirit, to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death, and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it," Eceles. viii. s.
As soon as I received your first letter, informing me of your father's illness, I went to lay it before God, and to entreat the Almighty to spare his useful life; but I felt a bar on my heart, so that I could not; nor did I dare, nor did I once pray
for his life; and from that moment I was fully persuaded that he would never rise again. I told Lady S. the same day, that he would surely die. And, when you sent a few lines to Miss L. informing her that he was better, Lady S. told me of it. I replied to her ladyship, Ile will relaspe again, for he will never rise any more.'
I shall now shew my dear friend the promises of God intended for a death-bed comfort, and of the different experiences of God's children in their dying hours.
There are some who yield the obedience of faith, and yet have but little of the light of God's countenance; as you read, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself
upon his God,” Isai. 1. 10. Such souls are said to have bạnds in their death, Psalm lxxiii. 4; and yet these souls are safe, because they obey the voice of God's servant, which is believing in Christ. Christ came to destroy him that had the power of death, which is the devil; and to deliver them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage Heb. ii. 15.
There are also very precious promises to those believers who have paid a tender regard and attention to other poor believers when they have been sick and afflicted; strengthening, comforting, encouraging them: and Christ himself will take notice of this in the great day. “I was sick, and ye visited me.” And again, “ Inasmuch have done it to the least of these
brethren, ye have done it unto me,” Matt. xxv. 36. 40. Hence, the promise; Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him into the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness,” Psal. xli. 1----3. There are four things promised in this passage.
1. He shall be delivered from his enemies, the worst of whom is Satan, and the second death.
2. That God will keep him alive; for, “Whosoever liveth, and believeth in me,” says Christ, “shall never die;" that is, he shall never die the second death; for, “On such the second death hath no power," Rev. xx. 6.
3. God pro:nises to strengthen him upon the bed of languishing; that is, inwardly to support him by his grace and Holy Spirit, so that the heavier his pains are the more support he shall have. “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Where this is the case, the soul thrives in grace the faster as the body droops and declines.“ “For, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day,” 2 Cor. iv. 16.
4. God makes his bed in his sickness; that is, he is blessed with meekness, composure of mind, and submission to the will of God, which comforts his soul under bodily pains. A healthy soul will bear up under an infirm body, but a sin-sick soul is sure to sink. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Prov. xviii. 14. God gives all his children a good hope through grace. And wherever God gives the grace of hope, there salvation is sure; “ For we are saved by hope,” Rom. viii. 24. This hope has eternal life in it, and hence it is called a lively hope, 1 Pet. i. 3, in opposition to all dead hope, which perisheth at death; for, “ The hope of unjust men perisheth,” Prov. xi. 7. The hope that God gives is called the anchor of the soul,