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host, while here below, in singing 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men,' may humbly hope he is in the right way to unite, ere long, in the realms above with the far greater chorus, the multitude that no man can number, in striking to a still higher, and more triumphant note, their own favourite anthem, that new song which shall never cease to be new throughout the countless ages of eternity, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing ;—for he hath redeemed us to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and people, and nation, and tongue.-Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.'”
Besides the “Occasional Thoughts” thus quoted, there are others equally instructive and impressive, on the texts 1 John v. 4, Job xxviii. 2, 1 Sam. xxv. 1, and Matt. xi. 5. In conformity with Dr. Good's usual habits of order, he entered upon a slip of paper, the texts which seem to have been regarded as most suited for these short but interesting trains of reflection, drawing a line downward across the passages on which he had been able to pursue on paper the entire course of his meditations. From this memorandum it appears that he had intended writing on four more topics; and from their order and nature I cannot but imagine that with them he meant to terminate the series; or, indeed, considering his anticipations of death, as evinced by his letters, (p. 113, &c.) I cannot but conclude, that he thought his life and the series would close nearly together. The subjects were,
“The winds of doctrine." Eph. iv. 14.
“They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.” Acts iv. 13.
“Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast out the dead." Isaiah xxvi. 19.
“One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see." John ix. 25.
And truly one may well be filled with delight and astonishment at the radical and permanent change thus strikingly accomplished, and more and more manifested unto the end of his course. Meditating upon the eagerness with which for years he pursued the phantom fame, and upon the insatiable nature of human desires; recollecting that, if a covetous man could fill his stores with gold, he would not therefore fill his heart; that if the ambitious man could acquire more titles than he could enumerate, he would not thereby sate his ambition; that if the man athirst after human learning were to accumulate a library unequalled in extent and variety, he would still pant for more knowledge, and eagerly aim at facilities in its pursuit; that though a man of scientific research were to waste his strength and exhaust his spirits, yet the cravings of his curiosity would not be diminished, nor the agitations of his soul cease; that the varied pursuits of man, and the absorption to which they lead, by a thick veil of intellectual conceits, too often intercept the view of eternal objects ;-still we have here the most cogent proof that there is no insurmountable barrier to purposes of Divine mercy; that the flashes of immortality, whenever God pleases, are all-searching and penetrating, and what is otherwise most powerful sinks into
nothing compared with the irresistible energy with which the Holy Spirit prepares his own way into the heart of man, and transforms that heart into a living temple for himself.
These are the considerations which will give, I hope, to the preceding development of religious character, an interest, notwithstanding its many imperfections; and which have principally weighed with me in attempting the delineation.
I need not now occupy the time of the reader by enlarging upon the manner in which Dr. Good discharged the offices of friendship or of domestic society; or by relating instances in proof of his self-denying kindness to the poor, his disinterested benevolence, his ever ready and sincere sympathy with the afflicted. He had for some years studied in the school, where the lesson is reiterated, to “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep;" and it was his daily care to the very close of life to exemplify that lesson. I may, however, adduce an affecting illustration of this, by inserting the last letter which he ever wrote. It was addressed to a pious lady, the wife of a clergyman in
who, under apprehension of a cancerous affection, had written to him.
“Guilford Street, Dec. 21, 1826. “My dear Mrs. H “Your very excellent and impressive letter has deeply interested us in every thing that relates to you, though I assure you we did not stand in need of any circumstance so afflictive, to associate our feelings in your welfare. We had heard, in a loose way, of the fears you were entertaining, and we had already sympathized
with you; but the rumour having appeared to die away, we were in hope it was without foundation. I am sure Mr. C has given you the best advice that, I mean, of coming to town, and obtaining the best professional opinion and assistance you can ;-and I have only to add hereto, that I think you should come without delay. It is possible that, by the blessing of God, means may at present be devised for eradicating the disorder without any painful operation; for it seems to me, that the complaint, whatever it may terminate in when confirmed, is at present only in such a state as to render it doubtful what name to give the tumour. But by all means, and let the event prove what it may, give Mr. Abernethy, or whomsoever you may consult, (and you cannot consult a more skilful man than himself) an opportunity of trying his own powers, and chusing his own time, for whatever may be judged requisite.
“You write under the guidance of so blessed a spirit, and with feelings so dear to every good and pious heart, that, let the result be what it may, there can be no question that you will ultimately have to rejoice in the tribulation; and look upon it as sent in kindness by Him, who never afflicts willingly, nor grieves the children of men;' and allow me to add, that an example like this which you are permitted to afford in suffering, and in meekness of resignation, cannot fail of having a commanding influence on the world at large. See how these Christians suffer!' is, thank God, an exclamation that may occasionally be heard in the present day, as well as in former times; and it has already struck deeply home into our own hearts.
“ But the chief cause of my writing is, to offer you,
on the present occasion, in my own name and that of my dear wife, every facility that our house will afford : come to us without loss of time, and so far as my professional influence may extend among my brethren, or the offices of friendship may be of any avail, you shall readily command them. I assure you, we feel also very deeply for Mr. H as I trust he will perceive, when he comes to town. But I must leave Mrs. Good to add her own request to mine, upon this important subject, and I trust our conjoint entreaty will not be in vain.-With kindest regards to Mr. H-, believe me,
“My dear Madam,
“J. M. Good."
The sympathy thus affectionately offered, was never administered: for, only two days after Dr. Good had written this letter, he left home (as I have already mentioned, p. 118.) to visit his daughter and her children, at Shepperton; and before the reply, though transmitted without delay, reached him, he was so seriously ill, as to render its being read to him altogether inexpedient. Having, in the passage to which I have just referred, spoken of the severe indisposition which so rapidly terminated in his death, it now remains for me to enable the reader to judge of his state of mind, and of the divine supports which he experienced at that awful and affecting season : this I shall do by extracting largely from a letter, transmitted at my request, by those members of his family, whose affection, ever watchful, soothed him most in the time of his last and greatest extremity.