« 上一页继续 »
should I have done if I had my religion to seek now? I could not have time or opportunity for it." In the evening of the same day he became more fully aware of his approaching end, and mentioned his last visit to the house of God, and the hymn he sang, the 338th in Wesley's "Hymn-Book," beginning with,
"Thou Lamb of God, thou Prince of Peace,
For thee my thirsty soul doth pine; My longing heart implores thy grace, O make me in thy likeness shine." And the last verse he dwelt upon with great pleasure, as most appropriate to his present state, saying
"So, when on Zion thou shalt stand, And all Heaven's host adore their
Shall I be found at thy right hand, And free from pain thy glory sing."
He said he rested solely on the Saviour for acceptance with God; there was nothing of his own that he could trust to. And when that beautiful hymn was repeated to him,
"Jesus, thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress; 'Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head;"
he said, "I have been thinking very much of that day." He entered most fervently into the prayers offered in his behalf, and was most thankful for all spiritual assistance.
During the night he was greatly comforted, and repeated at different times verses of hymns and passages of Scripture. When asked if the enemy ever troubled him, he said,
"No; I keep him under my feet. This is my victory, even my faith. I have not been troubled with doubts and fears, for I have endeavoured to live every day alike, every day to God; I hope I did not put off my religion with my Sunday clothes."
On the morning of his departure, he rallied a little, and partook of breakfast with his friends; but at noon there was an unfavourable change: death was evidently approaching with rapid strides. These indications of approaching dissolution, however, cheered him; for he said, "I hope I shall be at my Father's house to-day." He watched the clock, and thought the time went slowly on. He said, "I have often wished that I might not be buried on a Sunday, and that I might not die on the Sunday; it would make so much trouble, and cause work to be done on the Sabbath day, and perhaps keep some from a place of worship; and now, I trust, I shall have my wishes gratified." He asked in the morning for a pen and ink, to write down some thoughts respecting a sermon he had once heard preached respecting death. The preacher said, for his own part he should like sudden death and sudden glory; but our friend said, "I have strongly desired that I might have a little time to collect my thoughts and arrange my little affairs, and God has given me my wish." He desired that if any funeral sermon were preached for him, that the creature should not be exalted, but the grace of God magnified in him. He selected for his text these words, "Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not
live." He asked for the hymn-book, and selected a beautiful hymn expressive of his feelings, and turned down the leaf at the 69th hymn, Wesley's Hymn-book.
"Thou, Lord, on whom I still depend, Shalt keep me faithful to the end;
I trust thy truth, and love, and power,
"Jesus, in thy great name I go,
He expressed a wish to see a kind friend, who, he feared, had not given his heart to God; and he said, "Perhaps, if I could speak to him in my dying circumstances, it would make a deeper impression upon him. Tell him, I hope he will give himself up to God, and set his house in order." He sent another message to another friend, who had long been a member with him. "Tell him I have a good hope I am building upon Christ." He often thanked
his friends for their kind attention to him, and said, "he could never repay them."
About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, his end appeared to be approaching. The hollow and laboured breathing of death set in, and for a time he appeared insensible; but when spoken to he rallied, and feeling himself uneasy, he asked to be moved into his easy chair. After his pillows had been adjusted, he said, "There; I think that will be the finish."
Soon after this, the angel of death appeared to smite him; his features were distorted, and his eyes rolled round for a few seconds, and it was thought he was departing; but shortly afterwards he became sensible, and attempting to look upon his friends he said, "I cannot see." Then was he realising the meaning of that verse in Pope's ode of "The Dying Christian,"
"What is this absorbs me quite,
After a pause, he said—
66 Nothing in my hands I bring,
He again became unconscious; his eyes were fixed, his breathing was hollow and heavy. His wife, fearing he might never speak to her again, endeavoured to arouse him. When he rallied a little he said, "Oh, I was just entering in. You must do the best for yourself, and follow me. I hope I shall meet you in heaven. Good day, good day. Amen! Amen!"
Another stroke from the angel of death deprived him of all sensibility to pain, or the presence of friends; he occasionally smiled, and breathed his life away without a struggle, or a pain, or the quiver of a limb.
Thus peacefully and happily he passed from earth to heaven, at half-past five on Saturday evening, March 9th, 1861, aged forty-six years, having been a most consistent member of a Christian society for eighteen years.
POOR PIOUS WILLIAM SLEE, OF NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE.
ONE has occasionally observed that persons the most obscure and unlikely, and who neither wished nor expected it, have been thus placed before the church and the world, in publications which circulate in thousands and tens of thousands throughout the length and breadth of the land, while individuals of greater note, intelligence, and aspirations, and possibly of equal amiability and piety, are suffered to leave the world without any other notice than a bare record of their name and age, with the date of their decease, in some local newspaper. The case stated, we must admit, is the exception rather than the rule, and an occasional instance thereof is neither devoid of interest or edification; sundry salutary uses are served thereby, while its very rareness induces observation, and secures the attention of a class of persons who read but little, and so become informed and profited, under the Divine blessing, by a perusal of the Christian character and example of the deceased. May it be so in this brief and simple memorial.
William Slee was born at Warcap, near Brough, Cumberland, in February, 1798. He had few educational or religious advantages. Day schools for the children of the poor in country places were then few, and Sunday schools but little known, while religious meetings of the character happily so widely obtaining in our day, were also "few and far between." The zealous Wesleyans,
however, were then at work in most parts of the country, and even in remote districts had enkindled the light of Gospel truth, destined ere long to blaze and illuminate the whole world.
It was to one of those meetings that William was invited, when in the bloom of life, we know not by whom, but it is known to Him "who seeth the end from the beginning." Little, perhaps, did the Christian friend who gave the invitation think that thereby he was instrumentally conferring the greatest possible good on a wayward youth, which should be seen and felt through a lengthened period of nearly forty years, the influence of which should be extended to the next generation, and possibly to a remote posterity. O, what good has often resulted from simply leading a person to the house of God! All praise to Him who alone can give the blessing: meanwhile, let such invitations be increased a thousand fold!
Our young friend gradually acquired an attachment to the sanctuary and its hallowed exercises, feeling more at home there and happier than in his former rambling course, and desecration of the sacred day. He, moreover, had not attended long before his mind and heart were impressed with the blessed truths of the word of God, which are able to make "wise unto salvation," through faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit was pleased to accompany the hearing of those truths with saving power to his inmost soul. He was deeply convinced of his sinful state, and for a time was made to groan beneath the heavy
load. He sought relief in prayer, as he sat in the house and walked by he way. He was an agricultural labourer, and often in the field raised his heart to God, and sometimes in the stable; and he has often told how, one morning in the byre, he was relieved of his load, was enabled by faith to embrace the "crucified one," and at once found peace to his soul. He now felt it to be his duty and privilege to confess Christ before men." He joined the Wesleyan society, and was enabled, by Divine grace, to the end of his days to "adorn the doctrine of God his Saviour." His simple faith, holy life, and happy temperament were the source of much real enjoyment, and rendered his case, though in a lowly position, a somewhat enviable one.
He removed to Newcastle-onTyne in 1850. There, as a stranger, he sought out some former acquaintances, pious people of the Primitive Methodist community. He went with them to their place of worship, where, as among the Wesleyans, the Gospel was faithfully preached. He united with them, and continued a consistent member of the society.
Through life he had enjoyed good health, but in the late severe winter it pleased God to lay His hand on His servant. He was called into the furnace of affliction, and with what patience and resignation he yielded to that call, associated with a good degree of religious enjoyment, our brief space will not allow of our recording. He saw that his days were "numbered," and wisely improved the few remaining opportunities of recommending religion to
friends and visitors. His family he solemnly charged to follow him in the ways of God, leading to "the better land." He said, Jesus had "done all things well," and he would soon be with Him in glory. He died March 15th, 1861, and was buried in Elswick New Cemetery. His funeral sermon was preached to a crowded congregation by Mr. E. Ridley, his late employer, who bore testimony to his Christianity. In conclusion, a few features thereof may be briefly adduced:
1. His love to the Sabbath. He rejoiced when it came round, as affording rest, peace, and religious privileges.
2. His attachment to the Scriptures. He could read but imperfectly, but gladly would sit down to his Bible, and on coming to any difficult word, would meekly ask some of his family to help him out with it.
3. He, David like, prized public ordinances, and could say, "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh crieth out for the living God." His dwelling was at some distance, and on a wet or a wintry morning, when asked if he thought of going out, would say, "Such weather does not keep me from work on weekdays, and why should it stop me from the house of God?"
4. He was admirably punctual in the observance of family worship, and would rather leave home at times without breakfast than omit craving for, with his family, the heavenly manna; or, if sometimes he must needs pass it over in a morning, it was devoutly celebrated at dinner-time.
Thus pious William Slee lived and died. He was not a perfect man, but, through the grace of God, was humble, holy, happy, and useful. His career is over, his brief history told, and his happy spirit with his Saviour. May his pious widow continue to enjoy the protection and blessing of the Most High, his children be a "seed to serve the Lord," his fellow-members of the church copy his example, and many a reader of this paper in the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE be led to seek and enjoy, to exhibit and recommend, the blessed religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which alone can afford true peace and real happiness here and hereafter!
REV. THOMAS GOSTICK, LATE OF PICKERING, CANADA WEST. THOMAS GOSTICK, the subject of this brief memorial, was born at Shambrook, near Bedford, March 14, 1789. His parents were godly persons— "poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love Him." In a document written by himself, from which the chief of these particulars of his early life are taken, he says, "Our family name, I apprehend, has, like many others, undergone a change by the loss of the w from the last syllable, which being added makes Gostwick, the name of a certain man who is said to have been very active at the burning of good Archbishop Cranmer. If such was, indeed, my remote ancestry, how interesting the inquiry, where and when did the chain that
bound us in slavery to the man of sin burst asunder? and why am I not involved in papal darkness ?"
When Thomas was about three years old, his parents, removing to London in search of employment, left him in the care of a relative at Bedford. "At five years old," he says, "I was brought to London, and found myself clasped in the arms of one who had often wept at the remembrance of her absent boy. At twelve years of age I began to form some indistinct conceptions of my accountability to God, accompanied with many fearful apprehensions of death and judgment. These impressions were too weak to restrain or subdue the sinful bias of the affections, although they were sufficient to divest a sinful course of its fancied pleasures. It was towards the close of this period that I became a scholar in the Methodist Sunday school at Hoxton; and, being deemed eligible for admission to the Bible class, I obtained a share in the notice and affectionate regards of the teachers. Having an ear and a voice for sacred music, I was selected, with a number of others, whose vocal powers were to be exhibited on anniversary occasions. Looking back on my position in this Sunday school, I must ever regard it as an important link in life's eventful chain, and feel some regret that I should have been removed from it so early and so abruptly. The occasion was as follows. The views of my parents were decidedly Calvinistic; they delighted to hear the Gospel as it was preached at Whitfield's Tabernacle. They were much troubled at finding that the scholars were all required to learn