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esteem and affection for him, deep concern for this threatning illness, and assuring him of their earnest prayers for his recovery. I venture to insert one at large from the Reverend Mr. John Barker, late minister of the gospel in London, as I imagine every pious, tender-hearted reader will be pleased
N and Barker are too nearly interested in that precious life, which now appears in danger of being cut off in the midst of its days, to hear of its waste and languishing without great concern and fervent prayer to God. How your letter affected my heart in public, your friends are witness: But what I felt for my dear brother and the ministers and churches of Christ, God and myself only know. I will not now say, Why did you spend so fast? Why did you not spare yourself a little sooner? I will rather heartily thank you, that you use all the means you can to repair your frame, and restore and prolong your usefulness. It is the kindest thing you can do, and the highest instance of friendship you can now shew us; and I acknowledge your goodness to us in this point with tears of joy. Consent and chuse to stay with us a while longer, my dear friend, if it please God. This is not only needful to Northampton and its adjacent towns and villages, but desirable to us all, and beneficial to our whole interest. Stay, Doddridge, O, stay, and strengthen our hands, whose shadows grow long. Fifty is but the height of vigour, usefulness and honour. Don't take leave abruptly. Providence hath not directed thee yet on whom to drop thy mantle. Who shall instruct our youth,, fill our vacant churches, animate our associations, and diffuse a spirit of piety, moderation, candour and charity through our villages and churches; and a spirit of prayer and supplication into our towns and cities, when thou art removed from us? especially who shall unfold the sacred oracles, teach us the meaning and use of our bibles, rescue us from the bondage of systems, party-opinions, empty, useless speculations, and fashionable forms and phrases; and point out to us the simple, intelligible, consistent, uniform religion of our Lord and Saviour? Who shall—But I am silenced by the voice of him who says, • Shall I not do what I will with my own? Is it not my prerogative to take and leave, as seemeth me good? I demand the liberty of disposing of my own servants at my own pleasure. He hath laboured more abundantly. His times are in my hand. He hath not slept as do others. He hath risen to nobler heights than things below. He hopes to inherit glory. He hath laboured for that, which endureth to eternal life; labour, which
the more it abounds, the more it exalts and magnifies its object, and the more effectually answers and secures its end. is yours to wait and trust, mine to dispose and govern. On me be the care of ministers and churches.-With me is the residue of the Spirit.-Both the vineyard and the labourers are mine. I set them to work, and when I please, I call them and give them their hire.'
"With these thoughts, my passions subside,-my mind is softened and satisfied, I resign thee, myself and all, to God, saying, Thy will be done!-But now for the wings of faith and contemplation. Let me take thy hand, my dear brother, and walk a turn or two in yonder spacious regions. Yes, it is so we read it in the book of God, that Word of truth and gospel of our salvation—that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. The one ruined his posterity by sin; the other raiseth his seed to immortality. This poisoned the dart and inflamed the wound of death; but Jesus Christ redeemeth us from this captivity. See, thou christian minister, thou friend of my bosom and faithful servant of God, see the important period, when the surprising signs and descending inhabitants of heaven, proclaim the second coming of our divine Saviour! The heavens open and disclose his radiant glory. Hear the awakening trump. See, the dead in Christ arise glorious and immortal-leave corruption, weakness and dishonour behind them, and behold their Lord and head seated on his throne of judgment, attended and surrounded with the ministers of his power and pleasure, and shining in all the fullness of celestial glory; and not only see but share his victory and lustre, -partake of his image and influence. And behold the demolished fabric reared again, stately and ornamented, shining and illustrious, permanent and durable, to demonstrate how entirely death is vanquished, all its ruins repaired; and what was once meat for worms is now a companion of angels: for when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality, every eye will be fastened on the nighty conqueror, and every voice and harp be tuned for that transporting song, O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? Yes, Doddridge, it is so. The fruit of our Redeemer's sufferings and victory is the entire and eternal destruction of sin and death. And is it not a glorious destruction? a most blessed ruin? No enemy so formidable, no tyranny so bitter, no fetters so heavy and galling, no prison so dark and dismal, but they are vanquished and disarmed; the unerring dart is blunted and broken-the prison pulled down and rased. Our Lord is risen, as the first fruits of them that slept.-How glad should I be
to hear, that God is pleased to prolong thy life on earth, to declare these glorious truths and teach us to improve them! In this, your friends with you, and many more in every place, join, and make it our common petition to the great Disposer of all events. Use every means you can for the recovery of your health, for the sake of your friends, among whom is your faithful and affectionate, J. Barker."The Doctor was so affected and melted into tears of gratitude and joy, with the friendship this letter expressed, and the divine consolations, which it administered, that I was apprehensive his tender frame would have sunk under it.
As the autumn advanced, his physicians judged it proper for him to try the waters of Bristol; and accordingly he went thither in August. Upon his arrival there, a worthy clergyman of the established church, with whom he had only a slight acquaintance, entertained him in the most hospitable manner and with a fraternal affection, till he could be accommodated with a lodging near the wells. The then bishop of Worcester, Dr. Maddox, paid him a friendly visit, and in the most obliging manner, offered to convey him to the wells in his chariot, at the stated times of drinking the water. His physicians at Bristol gave him little hope from the water; and he received their report of the great hazard of h's case, which he desired them faithfully to give him, with that fortitude, resignation and chearfulness, which never forsook him to the last, in any place, or on any occasion. He here met with some of his friends, who were desirous to do all in their power to testify their regard for him; and he received unexpected assistance and offers of service from many persons entirely strangers to him, and from some too, who had entertained prejudices against him. They joined to express their high sense of his worth and the importance of his life; and their company and assistance were very seasonable to him in a strange place and in his afflicted condition.
Another circumstance, that contributed greatly to his comfort was, that providence directed him to a lodging in a family, where he was treated with uncommon civility, and a respect and tenderness, like that of a friend, rather than a stranger. Thus he writes from thence; "I have experienced since I came hither, this day in particular, the kind interposition of providence in raising me up some kind and generous friends in a place, where I expected to be a perfect stranger; especially a worthy nobleman, who as kindly interests himself about my health, as if he had been long my intimate friend. I am constantly attended by an excellent physician, who is now become,
through the divine goodness, to which I would trace up all such events, an affectionate friend; and I have the occasional advice of others; and they have all acted with the greatest generosity as well as tenderness, performing every friendly office in their power with much concern and assiduity."
While he continued at Bristol, some of the principal persons of his congregation came to visit him, with an affection not to be expressed; they brought him an assurance of the highest esteem and tender sympathy of his people and friends at home, and informed him that prayer was made by that church for him three evenings in every week; and that some other churches were engaged in the same work on his account. This afforded him great satisfaction and refreshment. He knew their prayers would not be, upon the whole, vain; though he considered his own case as desperate, and said, that unless God should interpose in such an extraordinary manner, as he had no reason to expect, he could not long continue in the land of the living. He ascribed, to the efficacy of the prayers of his friends, the composure and joy he felt in his own soul, and the preservation of his wife's health amidst incessant fatigue and concern, which he acknowledged as a singular blessing. But while the outward man was so sensibly decaying that he used to say to his friends, "I die daily," yet the inward man was renewed day by day.
The warmth of his devotion, zeal and friendship was maintained and increased. His physicians had directed him to speak and write as little as possible; but he could not satisfy himself without sometimes writing a few lines to some of his friends, to whom he could write in short hand without much fatigue: And the frame of his heart, in the views of death, will appear by these extracts from them. "I bless God, I have the powerful supports of christianity; nor is it any grievance of heart to me, but on the contrary, an unspeakable pleasure, that I have spent my life among the protestant dissenters, and sacrificed to honour, liberty and conscience, those considerations, which persons devoted to avarice and ambition think great and irresistible." To a friend at whose house he had spent some weeks, he thus writes; "I thank you for all the tender and affectionate friendship, which attended me, while I was with you, at home and abroad, to the throne of grace and every where else: I shall never forget it; my God will never forget it. He will be in a superior degree mindful of your tears. May he reward. you by richer and more abundant communications of his spirit, give you every thing that can conduce to your earthly happiness, and especially all that can anticipate that of heaven! Be
assured, I will take every precaution to live; and the rather, that I may, as far as in me lies, comfort and chear your heart. I see indeed no hope of my recovery; yet my heart rejoiceth in my God and in my Saviour; and I call him, under this failure of every thing else, its strength and everlasting portion. I must now thank you for your heart-reviving letter, to strengthen my faith, to comfort my soul and assist in swallowing up death in victory. God hath indeed been wonderfully good to me. But I am less than the least of his mercies; less than the least hope of his children. Adored be his grace for whatever it hath wrought by me! And blessed be you of the Lord, for the strong consolations you have been the instrument of administering! Let me desire you to write again, and pour out your heart freely, with all its strong cordial sentiments of christianity. Nothing will give me greater joy. What a friend will you be in heaven! How glad shall I be to welcome you there, after a long, a glorious course of service, to increase the lustre of your crown! May you long shine, like a sun upon the earth, with your light, warmth and influence, when there remain not any united particles of that poor wasting sinking frame, which enables this immortal spirit to call itself, your friend, in everlasting bonds! P. D."
As his strength daily decreased, he was advised, as the last resort in so threatening a disorder, to remove to a warmer climate for the winter. Thus he writes to a friend; " I have now an affair to mention to you, concerning which I desire your serious thoughts and earnest prayers for divine direction. My physicians and other friends here, are all of opinion, that there is one expedient, which may probably be of much greater and more lasting efficacy than the Bristol waters; and that is, a change of climate and spending the winter in a warmer country: And they all advise me to go to Lisbon. My wife will attend me with all heroic resolution. A thousand objections and fears arise. May I know the will of God, and the call of duty!"A friend, that went to visit him, just before he left Bristol, wrote to a near relation this account of the state of his body, and of some expressions that dropped from him, during the visit; which, with the assistance of some others then present, he recollected and wrote down, as soon as they returned. "He coughs much, is hoarse, speaks inwardly with a low voice. He is affected with the loss of his voice, being desirous to preach Christ and speak for him, while he lives. He is preparing for a journey, through roads rendered exceedingly bad by much wet, to embark at Falmouth. My soul, saith he, is vigorous and healthy, notwithstanding the hastening decay of this frail and tottering body. It is not for the love of sun-shine or the variety of meats, that I desire life,