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tended with the most severe application, the
I ever am,
Some of the last choice words of Doctor SAMUEL FINLEY, President of the college of New Jersey.
Friday, July 11, 1776. The Rev. Mr. Richard Treat came to visit the Doctor, who desired that he would pray by him. Being asked what he should pray for, he answered, “Beseech God that he would be pleased to let me feel just as I did at that time when I first closed with Christ, at which time I could scarce contain myself out of heaven."
Dr. S. acquainted him that he could live but a few days longer; at which he lifted up his eyes with much composure, saying, “Then welcome, Lord Jesus." He declared himself under the greatest obligations to the doctor for his kind and diligent attendance during his illness, and said, “I owe a large catalogue of debts to my friends, which will never be charged to my account; God will discharge them for me.” July 13th, Lord's-day, noon.
Dr. C. came to his bed-side, and told him there appeared a very visible alteration in his countenance, by which he judged death was not far off. He raised himself upon his pillow, and broke out, “ Then may the Lord bring me near to himself-I have waited with a Canaan hunger for the promised land I have often wondered that God suffered
me to live--I have wondered more that ever he called me to be a minister of his word He has often afforded me much strength, and though I have abused it, he has returned in mercy. Oh! how sweet are the promises of God! Oh! that I could see him as I have seen him heretofore in his sanctuary! Although I have earnestly desired death as the hireling pants for the evening shade, yet will I wait my appointed time. I have struggled with principalities and powers, and have been brought almost to despair-Lord, let it suffice.”
He now closed his eyes, and fervently prayed that God would show him his glory before he departed hence—that he would enable him to endure patiently to the end—and, particularly, that he might be kept from dishonoring the ministry. He resumed his discourse, saying,
I can truly say that I have loved the service of God—I know not in what language to speak of my own unworthiness; I have been undutiful : I have honestly endeavored to act for God, but with much weakness and corruption." Here he lay down, and spoke as follows: "A Christian's death is the best part of his existence. The Lord has made provision for the whole way, provision for the soul and for the body. Oh! that I could recollect sabbath blessings! The Lord has given me many souls as a crown of my rejoicing. Blessed be God, eternal rest is at
hand : eternity is long enough to enjoy my God. This has animated me in my severest studies. I was ashamed to take rest here. Oh! that I could be filled with the fullness of God! that fullness which fills heaven !"
One asked him, if it was in his choice either to live or to die, which he would prefer? He replied, “To die. Though I cannot but
I feel the same difficulty with St. Paul. But should God by a miracle prolong my life, I will still continue to serve him: his service has ever been sweet to me. I have loved it much. I have tried my Master's yoke, and will never shrink my neck from it. His yoke is easy, and his burden light.”
“You are more cheerful, sir,” said one of the company. “Yes, I rise or fall as eternal rest appears nearer or further off.”
It being observed to him, that he always used that expression “Dear Lord” in his
he answered, “Oh! he is very dear, very precious indeed! How pretty for a minister to die upon the sabbath! I expect to spend the remaining part of this sabbath in heaven.”
One said, “You will soon be joined to a blessed society; you will for ever converse with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the spirits of just men made perfect, with old friends, and many old-fashioned people.” “Yes, sir,” he reVOL. III.
plied, with a smile," but they are a most polite people now.”
He frequently expressed great gratitude to his friends around him, but very particularly to the kind family he was in; and said, “May the Lord repay you for your tenderness of me; may he bless you abundantly, not only with temporal but spiritual blessings." Addressing himself to all that were present, he said, “Oh! that each of you may experience what, blessed be God, I do, when ye come to die! May you have the pleasure of reflecting in a dying hour, that with faith and patience, zeal and sincerity, you have endeavored to serve the Lord; that each of you may be impressed, as I have been, with God's word, looking upon it as substantial, and not only fearing, but unwilling to offend against it."
To a person about to return to Princeton, he said, "Give my love to the people of Princeton; tell them I am going to die, and that I am not afraid of death.” He would sometimes cry out, "The Lord Jesus take care of his cause in the world."
Monday, 14th. Waking this morning, “ Oh! what a disappointment have I met with; I expected this morning to have been in heaven !'' His great weakness prevented his much speaking to-day: what few words he uttered, breathed the language of triumph.