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I shall comply with your request; and you may depend upon it that I will write from day to 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 fensible ; 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,
Yours very affectionately,
LETTER LETTER II.
TO MISS E. B.
Dearly beloved in the Lord, Grace and peace be multiplied through our Lord Jesus Christ. Your's 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. Ads 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, Bebold, thy days approach that thou must die. Deut. xxxi, 14, No man under heaven can ever pais over this appointed day of his death.—Seeing his days are determined, the number of bis months are with thee, thou hast appointed bis 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 bis day. Job xiv. 6. Nor" has the greatest favorite of God, and those who are most prevalent with him in prayer, any power to retain the foul one day, or one moment, in the body when once the appointed time of death comes. There is no man that bath power over the spirit, to retain the Spirit; neither bath he power in the day of death, and there is no discharge in that war ; neither shall wicketness deliver those that are given to it. Eccles. viii. 8.
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 persuacled that he would never rise again. I told Lady Sanderson, the fame day, that he would surely die. And, when you sent a few lines to Miss Lavender,
informing her that he was better, Lady Stold me of it. I replied to her ladyship, “ He will relapse 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 there among you that feareth the Lord, that obeycth the voice of his fervant, that waiketo in darkness and bath no light; let bim trust in the name of the Lord, and stay bimself upon bis Ged. Ifai. I. 10. · Such souls are said to have bands in their death ; Pf. lxxiii. 4. And yet these souls are safe, because they obey the voice of God's fervant, which is believing in Chrift. Christ came to destroy him that had the power of deatii, which is the devil; and to deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Heb. ii. 14.
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 fick 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. Matt. xxv. 36. And again, For as much as ye have done it to the least of these my brethren, ye bave done it unto me. Matt. xxv. 40. Hence, the
promise, promise,_Blessed 'is be that confidereth the poor : the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve bim, and keep him alive ; and be shall be blessed upon the earth : and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of bis enemies. The Lord will strengtben him upon the bed of languishing : thou wilt make all bis bed in his fickness. Pfal. 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 He that liveth and believeth in me, says Chrift, Mall never die ; that is, he shall never die the second death (John xi. 26); for on such the second death bath no power. Rev. xx. 6.
3. God promises 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 Mall thy strength be. Deut. xxxiii. 25. Where this is the case, the soul thrives in grace the fafter as the body droops and declines. But, 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 fickness; that is, he is blessed with meekness, composure of mind, and fubmission to the will of God, which comforts his foul under bodily pains. A healthy foul will bear up under an infirm body, but a sin-sick foul is sure to fink. A man's spirit will sustain the infirmities