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Tuesday, 15th. With a pleasing smile and strong voice he cried out, "Oh! I shall triumph over every foe! The Lord hath given me the victory! I exult, I triumph. Oh! that I could see untainted purity! Now I know that it is impossible that faith should not triumph over earth and bell; I think I have nothing to do now but to die. Perhaps I have; Lord show me my task.”
After expressing some fears that he did not endeavor to preserve his remaining life, through eagerness to depart, and being told he did nothing inconsistent with self-preservation, he said, “Lord Jesus, into thine hands I commit my spirit. I do it with confidence, I do it with full assurance. I know that thou wilt keep that which I have committed unto thee. I have been dreaming too fast of the time of my departure. I find it does not come; but the Lord is faithful, and will not tarry beyond his appointed time.”
When one who attended him told him his pulse grew weaker, he expressed with pleasure, that it was well. He often would put forth his hand to his physicians, and ask them how his pulse beat; and would rejoice when he was told it was fluttering or irregular.
In the afternoon, the Rev. Mr. Spencer came to see him, and said, “I am come, dear sir, to hear you confirm by facts the gospel you have preached. Pray how do you feel ?" The doc
tor replied, “Full of triumph. I triumph through Christ. Nothing clips my wings but the thoughts of my dissolution being prolonged. Oh! that it was to-night. My very soul thirsts for eternal rest.” Mr. Spencer asked him, what he saw in eternity to excite such vehement desires in his soul? He replied, “I see a God of love and goodness-I see the fullness of my Mediator-I see the love of Jesus. Oh! to be dissolved; to be with him! I long to be clothed with the complete righteousness of Christ, not only imputed but inherent.” He desired Mr Spencer to pray before they parted. "Pray that God would preserve me from evil—that he would keep me from dishonoring his great name in this critical hour; and support me in my passage through the valley of the shadow of death.”'
He spent the remaining part of the day in bidding farewell to, and blessing his friends; and exhorting such of his children as were with him. He would frequently cry out,“Why move the tardy hours so slow ?"
July 16th, his speech failed him. He made many efforts to speak, but seldom so distinct as to be understood. Mr. Roberdeau desired him to give some token whereby his friends might know whether he still continued to triumph. He lifted up his hands and said, “Yes.” This afternoon he uttered several sentences, but little could be collected from them.
Some of his very last words concerning himself were, “ After one or two more engagements the conflict will be over.” About nine o'clock he fell into a sound sleep, and appeared much freer from pain than for several days before. He continued to sleep without moving in the least till one o'clock; when he expired without a sigh or a groan, or any kind of motion, sufficient to alarm his wife, and those friends who were about his bed. During his whole sickness, he was never heard to utter one repining word. He was at times tortured with the most excruciating pains; yet he expressed in all his behavior an entire resignation to the divine will. In all his affecting farewells to his relations and friends, he was never seen to shed a tear, or show the least mark of sorrow. He often checked his affectionate wife when she was weeping; and he expressed his unshaken confidence in the promises of his God, whenever he spoke of his dear children.
His truly polite behavior continued to the last, and manifested itself whenever he called for a drop of drink to wet his lips. Every one around him was treated with that same sweetness and ease that were so peculiar and natural to him. In fine, he was a most striking example of that faith which kindles love in the heart, and produces the sweet fruits of meekness, gentleness, patience, and every Christian grace and virtue."
Remarks on the preceding accounts of the death
of David Hume, Esq., and Samuel Finley, D. D.
The common sense and feelings of mankind, have always taught them to consider death as a most awful and interesting event. If it were nothing more than a separation from all that we love in this world; the dissolution of our bodies; and the termination of our present mode of existence; there would be sufficient reason for approaching it with tender and solemn reflection. But when we add those anticipations of which very few, if any, can wholly divest themselves; that scene of “untried being,” which lies before us; and especially that eternity which the Christian revelation unfolds, death becomes an object of unutterable moment; and every sober thought of it bears upon the heart with a weight of solicitude which it is not in the power of unaided reason to remove. The mere possibility of our living hereafter, is enough to engage the attention of a wise man: the probability of it is too grave and affecting to leave an excuse for indifference: and the certainty with which the scriptures speak of it, as of an immortality of blessedness or of wo, allows to light and ludicrous
speculations concerning it, no other character than that of the insanity of wickedness.
When that hour draws nigh which shall close the business of life, and summon the spirit to the bar of "God who gave it,” all the motives to deception cease, and those false reasonings which blind the judgment, are dissipated. It is the hour of truth, and of sincerity. Such, at least, is the general fact, which cannot be invalidated by the concession that, in some instances, men have been found to cherish their infatuation, and practice their knavery, to the very last. Their number in places which enjoy the pure gospel, the only ones in our present view, is too small to make any perceptible difference in the amount; or to disparage that respectful credence with which the rustic and the sage listen to the testimony of a dying bed.
By this testimony, the "gospel of the grace of God,” has obtained, among every people and in every age, such strong confirmation, and has carried into the human conscience, such irresistible appeals for its truth, its power, and its glorious excellency, that its enemies have labored with all their might, to discredit these triumphs. They have attacked the principle upon which the testimony of a dying believer rests. They have said that the mind, being necessarily enfeebled by the ravages of mortal disease upon the body, is not a competent judge of its own