Page images

soul irradiated by the dawn of celestial day. He spoke as follows: "I had not thought that my departure was so near; but I am going, and I wanted you to see the last of me, and to tell you what the LORD has done, and is still doing, for me. I find dying work to be hard work, important work, solemn work: but all is well! I feel solid peace; and I know that I am a sinner saved by grace. I have been thinking of that passage, 'I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.' No!" (said he, with peculiar emphasis,) 'SHALL NEVER DIE.' This is not worthy the name of death. God has said, 'I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O Death! I will be thy plagues; O Grave, I will be thy destruction.' I want to be filled with joy,—to have a larger measure of glory, and of GOD. I have prayed for this; and God, who has excited this desire, will satisfy it."-We then united in prayer. The power of God was of a truth present to save; and we felt something of that which JACOB experienced, when he said, "Surely the LORD is in this place." MR. DREDGE then said, "This is worth living for: yea, this is worth dying for!" During the whole of this day, he wished all that came to see him to be introduced into his room, that he might in death, as in life, "preach CHRIST," and cry "Behold the LAMB!" His soul was now triumphantly happy in GoD; and, with but little intermission, he "talked of the glory of his kingdom, and spoke of his power;" testifying that he was fully saved from all fear of death. At night, he wished to have the LORD's Supper administered to him. In this blessed ordinance his worthy Father-in-Law, MRS. DREDGE, two of her sisters, and a few other friends, united with him; and the LORD was again "made known unto us, in the breaking of bread." His soul seemed to feel "the overwhelming power of saving grace; and he cried out, "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation ; '—yea, I have felt thy salvation." During the night his bodily sufferings were very acute; but in his patience he possessed his soul: and, indeed, during his severest affliction, he never betrayed the slightest impatience. Frequently he observed, "I know whom I have believed; and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.' I feel I am a child of GOD; and, as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth me, and will not lay any more upon me than he will enable me to bear. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."-To his wife he said, "I bless God for our union: our eye was single in this business; and the LORD has sanctified it. And now, I leave you in the hands of GOD; he will be with you, and keep you he will be a Father unto my son, and a Husband to you. Do not grieve, and so make the closing scene distressing. I am happy let me finish my course with joy! I hope the LORD

will enable you to give me up."-After this, he wished to see his son. He affectionately embraced the dear child, (who was looking on his dying father with innocent and affecting curiosity,) and, with a full heart, and weeping eyes, pronounced his last blessing upon him, saying, "The LORD be with thee, my dear boy. I leave thee in the hands of GOD; and if it should please Him to make thee a Missionary, as good DR. B———, of Edinburgh, once observed respecting thee, thy dying father desires no greater honour." He now thought his work was finished, and with the venerable patriarch said, "I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD!" and again, with SIMEON, added, "LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." He appeared to be dying, and said, "All is well! All is well! Victory! Victory! Glory! Glory! Happy! Happy!" But after this, he revived again, and said with peculiar sweetness, "I thought I should have gone then; the LORD spares me to you a little longer; but I shall shortly put off this tabernacle; "-again quoting his favourite text, "He that liveth, and believeth on me, shall NEVER DIE."—He often asked us to sing; and, in general, as well as our feelings and abilities would admit, we endeavoured to gratify him. While we were singing the 213th hymn in our Hymn-Book, he felt the last verse blessedly realized in his own experience, and assisted us in singing it: At the close of that verse, he observed, "The wings of love, and arms of faith,"-do "bear me conqueror through," Once he said, "I have wished and prayed much for a bright and unclouded setting sun; and, glory be to God, my sun does not set in the cloud; all is light and joy! Thou art my soul's bright morning-star, and thou my rising sun!" He added, "I would not exchange conditions with any of you. No! I have a desire to depart and be with CHRIST; and I pray the LORD to cut short his work in righteousness, and receive my spirit."-At another time, he wished us to sing part of the 537th hymn, and joined us in the eleventh verse,—

"Him eye to eye we there shall see ;

Our face like his shall shine:

O what a glorious company

When saints and angels join!"


At the close of this verse he said, "That glorious company! fiery chariot that was descending to carry him triumphantly to his celestial home, now appeared, as it were, in view; and he said, “I want to be with them!" Before this, he had requested us not to leave the room; "for," said he, "we shall have a larger measure of grace given us; and if you are then out of the way, you will lose a blessing." Now he said, "It is come! it is come! I feel it! I feel it!" Several friends engaged in prayer; and when we had done, he began to pray earnestly for MRS. DREDGE, for his son, for his

mother, and then for all in the room. By this exercise he seemed quite exhausted. The "silver cord" now appeared to be "loosening," the "golden bowl breaking," and the "spirit returning to GOD that gave it." He lay down, and whispered, "I am going; I am going. Happy! Happy! Victory, Victory!" We all thought at this time, he would have been

....... call'd from exile home,

And led to nature's great metropolis!

And re-admitted, through the guardian hand

Of Elder Brother, to his FATHER's throne;"

but he again revived a little, and said, "Nature is sinking, but grace triumphing!

Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife,

And let me languish into life.""

Near one o'clock on Thursday morning, he wished us to sing "The Dying Christian;" after this he said, "Now,-now let me languish into life," but subjoined, "Our conflicts here shall soon be past; "

and said,

"We soon shall reach the heavenly shore;

We then shall meet, to part no more."

"Yes! I shall meet you there, "where all the ship's company meet!" He thanked us all repeatedly for our feeble services, and his medical attendants for their attention, and said, "The LORD reward you; I hope to meet you in heaven." When asked, if he died in the steadfast belief of the doctrines he had preached, he answered with peculiar emphasis, "Most unquestionably I do." At another time, he was asked if he felt any fear: he replied, "No, I am saved from all fear! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." On Friday afternoon, his speech nearly failed him; but he whispered, "Glory! Glory! Happy! Ha-y! Ha―y;" and when asked if he meant "Happy;" he said, "Yes!" He was not heard to articulate another word. On Friday night, February 4, 1820, his spirit dropped its mortal load, in the twenty-eighth year of his age, the eleventh of his spiritual life, and the seventh of his ministry.

"Mark with what triumph holy men expire,

And catch the rapture of their parting breath!"

MR. DREDGE was eminently an example to believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. Let us "Observe his awful portrait, and admire :

Nor stop at wonder; imitate and live."

Ashby-de-la-Zouch, July 1, 1821.

J. H.


Who died at Gravesend, March 29, 1821:


(Concluded from page 216.)

IN August, 1819, we left Guernsey for Gravesend, to which Cir. euit I had been appointed at the preceding Conference. How true, alas! with regard to my late dear wife has proved the observation then made by one high in our esteem, "We shall see your face no more." But, thanks be to GoD, we are hastening to a haven of repose, where "adieus and farewells are sounds unknown." I cannot find that, for several months of this year, she wrote any account of her religious experience; but there was no declension in her piety during that time. On the 3d of July, 1820, there is the following entry in her Diary :

"Various things of late have prevented me from recording the goodness of GOD towards me. Blessed be his Name, he is still to me the fairest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.' He is 'the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever,' supporting and comforting my soul. O that I were sufficiently thankful! Lately, at times, my mind has been cast down. Why I should give way to lowness of spirits, I cannot tell. I have every blessing I can desire. What have I to dread? Am I again soon to experience a time of trial? Still, what have I to fear? Will not HE, who has before supported me, deliver me in the painful hour?

Surely he will.

My soul, trust thou in the LORD, and he will be thy help. O my GOD! never leave me, nor forsake me. Give me grace to suffer with patience all

thy righteous will."

Shortly after this was written, our little boy began to be very ill. MRS. R.'s Diary on this.occasion is sometimes expressive of pleasing hope, and at other times of distressing fear; exhibiting her, throughout, in all the touching tenderness of a christian mother, mingling tears with fervent prayers for resignation. The dear child lingered till October the 1st, and then fled to the bosom of Him who said, "Suffer little children to come unto me." The shock of this bereavement was peculiarly distressing to his mother. Though not one murmur escaped her lips, yet, I believe, the wound thus inflicted on her delicate frame was never healed, till mortality was swallowed up of life, and her sanctified spirit departed to her SAVIOUR, and to

her child.

Not many days after the interment of our dear boy, MRS. R. caught cold, and became alarmingly indisposed. Every means was used for her recovery, which medical skill could recommend; but the complaint, a pulmonary consumption, baffled every effort, and fearfully advanced in its rapidly wasting career. Her mind, in general, was tranquil, and her hope firmly rested on the "Rock of Ages." -By the advice of two medical gentlemen, I took her, in

February, 1821, to London. Just as we reached London-Bridge, she became so ill, that I feared "the weary wheels of life" would have immediately "stood still." At that melancholy moment we felt "the heart of a stranger" in the great metropolis. But God was a present help in our time of gloom and need. After being in town with her a few days, during which she seemed to improve a little, the work of my circuit imperiously called me home; and I left her in the care of some kind and pious friends. During my absence, in a letter dated March 10, 1821, (the last she ever wrote,) she says to me,

"My dear and beloved husband, I wish I could say that I am a great deal better; but I cannot. My spirits are very low; and being much alone, I know not at times what to do. Do you not think I have reason to long for next Thursday? [the day on which I was to return to London.] O do not disappoint me. I believe my cough is a little better. I hope the friends at Gravesend do not forget to pray for me. Miss P. has called to see me. Her sister ELIZABETH, it appears, is likely to be confined to her room in Jersey till she enters glory. It is probable, my dear, that she and I, who have been so intimately united on this side of eternity, shall depart together. Adieu, my Love! Pray for me. That God may be with you, and crown your labours with abundant success, is the sincere prayer of your afflicted Wife, CHARLOTTE MARGARET ROWLAND."

When I returned to London on the Thursday, O what were my feelings on seeing her elegant form so quickly and fearfully wasted, and her fine eyes so sunk, and shining only with a hectic and distressing brilliancy! While she wept tears of joy at seeing me, I could not restrain my tears of poignant sorrow, on perceiving the alarming alteration in her appearance. She wished to die at home; and on Saturday, March 17, we returned to Gravesend.

Her disorder became more and more severe. A distressing cough deprived her of rest. Often have I observed the solemn stillness of midnight interrupted by her gentle ejaculation, whispered in her native tongue, “O SEIGNEUR, notre DIEU, pitié moi ! ”—“ O LORD, our God, pity me!" She now was ripening fast for glory. She prayed without ceasing; and pre-eminently had her conversation in heaven. On Saturday, March 24, I asked her if JESUS was precious to her, she said with a smile, "Very; very precious." She beckoned to me to come nearer to her; took me by the hand; and, with a most affectionate look, said, "My dear, preach CHRIST! preach CHRIST more than ever! for I now find Him to be my best Friend, and my only but all-sufficient SAVIOUR."-May this impressive injunction be deeply engraven on my heart, and always be sacredly regarded in my public ministry and private deportment! May I preach Him to all with whom I have any intercourse, and`“cry in death, Behold, behold the LAMB!

On Monday night, March 26th, I sat up with her; and never shall I forget the delightful communion we had with each other, and

« PreviousContinue »