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I shan't be able to read prayers for him. Robert, lift me up in bed. I am very thirsty. Nurse, bring me some barley water : he partook of it, and cried, 6 let him that is athirst come ; yea, whosoever will, let them come and partake of the waters of life freely.” • My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God!" Then he addressed himself to me, and said, Tell the people to-morrow, O tell them all, “how I long over them in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” I hope there will not be one pew in the Church that will not have some sinner to feel as I did when you preached your visitation sermon.
I think I am clear from the blood of all of them, but if not, I beg their pardons ten thousand times. What he said so completely overcame me, that I was obliged to retire to the window to vent my feelings. He then broke out into a profuse perspiration, when he asked where I was gone. I returned and helped to wipe off the rolling drops from his head and hair; and while we were performing the office, he cried, If every hair of my head, and every drop that falls from my face, were to be turned into a tongue; and were I to live ten thousand years, they should all be employed in telling the salvation of Christ, and in singing of his redeeming love; and then added, I can neither praise him as I should, nor yet as I would. I am so weak, lay me down again. This gave me an opportunity of saying, We will retire, that you may be more composed. You must think Sir, this was quite as much as I could bear.
Wor. But this seemed at least, like a short revival of his intellectual powers.
Lovey. Yes Sir, and what he said at such intervals, was astonishingly delightful.
Wor. How did you get through the Sunday services?
Loveg. With the greatest difficulty imaginable. What the people felt, what we all felt, is not to be described. His fascinating, and affectionate behaviour, highly enriched by the grace of God, has rendered
him one of the most beloved, and esteemed characters, that can be well conceived.
Wor. What was your morning text?
Loveg. “ Behold I will come into thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, unless thou repent.” Rev. ii. 5.
Wor. I fear on such a subject, and on such an occasion, your own feelings, and those of the congregation, must have been sharply exercised.
Loveg. Indeed Sir, they really were. It could scarcely be called preaching, my mind was so overpowered by the event, that I could not help my feelings, nor could the congregation command theirs. They all seemed to feel, that the loss of such a minister woulu prove the greatest they could sustain : but still I thought it an excellent sign, that they knew how to appreciate the labours of such an invaluable man.
Mrs. Wor. I was fearful it would be so : and as my daughter was so low, I thought it my duty to stay at home with her ; and I fear this added considerably to the people's alarm.
Wor. What was your afternoon subject ?
Loveg. Prepare to meet thy God.” But I did all in my power, to avoid all personal reference to the present event; and only improved it in general terms, as well as I could ; though after all, I found I had enough to do with the people's feelings, as well as with my own.
Wor. Though it was deemed necessery to keep Mr. Merryman as quiet as possible, yet I suppose you saw him occasionally, through the course of the week.
Loveg. O Sir! we thought it prudent, not to have any ringing, or chiming of the bells, before the services, lest it should disturb him; and that filled him with surprise, lest I should not have performed my promise, respecting the duty at the Church : and I was obliged to go up on the Sunday evening, to pacify his mind on that subject.
Wor. What was the result of that interview ?
Loveg. It was a very short one. I assured him I had performed both the services for him, and how much he was upon the hearts of the people, that he might still live to declare among them, that great power and grace which had been made known to him; he then quoted that passage and said, blessed be God, “ I know what is the hope of his calling, (“ Our high calling of God in Christ Jesus,”) and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward, who believe, according to the working of his mighty power:"* then he paused, and exclaimed, 0 what grace, what power, what a glorious power, to reach a heart like mine! Thus far he appeared most blessedly recollected, and then he closed his eyes for a while, and began to ramble, but in a most pleasant style. He told me that he had been sailing all the day, down a delightful river ; that there were most enchanting singings on each side of its banks : and that he came to a most pleasant place, where a beautiful great tree grew, and that Angels were singing upon every branch and twig of it, and then added, o how grieved I was, when I lost sight of that tree, and when I could no longer hear the singings of those Angels, that so charmed my heart! I immediately said, my dear friend, we'll retire, and perhaps you will hear the same Angels sing again. He immediately said, O no ! you must not go yet : you must pray before you go. We knelt down, offered up a short prayer, and immediately retired. However I could perceive by, this interview, that he was in a most blessed, and even enviable state of mind; and I had then my fears, that he would not be long on earth, as he was so fit for hea
Wor. Surely after this, you would not deny yourself the privilege of giving him, at least a short visit every day, while you continued at Sandover.
* Eph. i. 18, 19.
Loveg. Every morning after breakfast, I made hini a short visit, and offered up a short prayer; while day after day, he appeared weaker, and weaker, and getting worse, and worse, filling us with increasing apprehensions, that every day might be his last.
Wor. Was his mind still kept in the same happy state?
Loveg. I think more so. It was evident that while his body was growing weaker, his mind became more recollected and calm. One morning, when I requested him not to exert himself, he whispered out the following expression:
In silent stillness of the mind,
My God, and there my heav'n I find. And then added, “ For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day."* And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep my heart, and mind, through Christ Jesus.”
On another morning after prayer, he said, taking up some expressions that I dropt, “ Blessed be God, I can enter into the holy of holies, by the blood of Jesus ; by that new and living way, which he hath consecrated for me." Though
I am ashamed of what I have been, yet if I die, I can have s boldness and access with confidence in that grace, in which I stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Then he asked me the question, how is my most dear wife ? oh how it grieved me, to see her stand by my bed side, dropping tear after tear! If she knew how peaceable and happy I am in the love of Christ, she would rather rejoice with me, than grieve over me; for “ by believing in him, I can rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory," and then said,
And when I'm to die,
Receive me, I'll cry,
† Phil. iv. 7.
All these things, he spoke with extreme difficulty, being exceedingly weak, for the fever seemed principally to be on his chest. But on the Saturday morning, the nurse alarmed us excessively, by informing us that he had altered for death.
Mrs. Wor. Yes, and she was so abrupt in her information, that my poor daughter was immediately thrown into strong hysterics, and all the house into the greatest consternation; while the report soon got wind, and spread throughout the town; and it seems that it was reported by some, that he actually was dead : while the universal agitation, and distress of the people, were inconceivable.
Loveg. No wonder, that such as are so universally beloved, should be as universally lamented.
Wor. What could you all do under such distressing circumstances ?
Loveg. Sir, Mrs. Worthy continued with Mrs. Merryman, while Mr. Sprightly, who was almost always with us, went up stairs, as we thought, to take our final leave of our dear departing friend, apparently senseless, and nearly speechless ; only uttering some things to himself which we could not understand ; yet with a complacency of countenance, that greatly surprised us : but still supposing that every breath might be his last.
Just then, Dr. Skillman came into the room, as we all thought, to pay his last visit to his dying patient. He immediately felt his pulse, and for a considerable time : and then, to our great surprise, pronounced that his was not the pulse of a dying man; and that the dangerous crisis of the fever was now actually passed, that he had seen others in the same state, who had recovered, and that the present stupor was rather to be considered as a sound sleep, which his nearly exhausted nature required ; that he should therefore call on another patient, and return, for that he believed he would yet revive.
The Doctor had not long left the room, before he opened his eyes, and asked, “ How long have you