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THE LATE REV. D. MADDEN, RECTOR OF BAMFORD, IN THE COUNTY OF KILKENNY, IRELAND.
Mr. Madden's education was commenced at Kilkenny College, from whence he was removed to the University of Dublin. During his residence at Trinity College, he was immersed in all the fashionable levities of his age : gay, thought. less, and frivolous, his natural inclination strongly prompted bim to embrace the military profession ; ' but, in compliance with his father's wishes, he entered into the ministry. In this important step he manifested no serious apprehension of the awful responsibility of the ministerial office, but, regardless of the weighty charge, unconscious of the value of his own soul, and therefore unconcerned about the eternal salvation of others, he continued to pursue his former course of vanity and folly.
Not long after this he was married to Miss Hamilton, eldest daughter of the late venerable Dr. Hugh Hamilton, Bishop of Ossory. From that period he seemed to manifest soinewhat inore gravity in his deportment; but still appeared void of the life and power of vital godliness. The beginning of that happy change which was finally wrought in him, might perhaps be dated from January, 1804, when he was attacked with a pulmonary complaint, which threatened to be fatal. During his illness he shewed a decided preference for serious reading, particularly of the Scriptures; and his conversations with Mrs. Madden were generally on religions subjects. In writing to a friend about the state of his health, he observed, “When chastened, it is happy for us to know that we are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” On his recovery, his anxiety about eternal things seemed to increase, and was manifested, among other instances, in a concern to distribute Bibles and religious Tracts among his parishioners. In July, 1808, all the fatal symptoms of a confirmed and rapidly increasing consumption began to appear: it was not, however, judged pruient io al. low his friends to converse with him on the subject of eternity, nor in any measure to apprize him of his danger, lest it migns produce ton violent an agitation of his frame.
It is impossible not to observe in this place, how awfulls mistaken are those who would endeavour to keep a poor dy, ing creature in ignorance of his real state; for if their friend be indeed a Christian, reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ, instead of depressing, the intelligence would cheer bis sinking frame, on the prospect of so near an approach to bis beavenly home;
“ Where spotless glory ever beams
In one celestial blaze,
With unpolluted rays.” But if, on the contrary, he appears thoughtless and uncorcerned about his eternal interests, how worse tban cruel is it to suffer him to remain unapprized of his approaching end, while the minister or friend is excluded, who would warn him of the wrath denounced against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, but who would also direct his views to that glorious and all-sufficient Jesus, who hath “made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness ;” and who invites all to come to him for pardon, peace, and eternal life. It is thus, by banishing the comforts of the gospel from the sick room and the death-bed, that so many expire under the gloom of terror, and so many of their surviving relatives become the victims of unsanctified surrow, or of heart-rending despair. It may be proper to remark here, that although Mr. Madden might have appeared, during this period, unconscious of his real situation, from his not conversing with others on dhe subject, yet he frequently expressed himself to Mrs. M. in such a manner as convinced her that he enjoyed peace with God, and derived comfort from his promises. At one time he said to her, ‘God is love.' Oh! Fanny, we have no idea of all that is contained in that short expression, God is love! At another time, when looking back on particular events, he said, 'I bless God, I can truly say that old things are passed away, and all things are become new;" and when his spirits were depressed through bodily weakness, he observed, that he found much comfort from those words of our Saviour, which were continually recurring to bis mind, . Fear not, it is l.'
At length, however, a friend of Mr. M. was commissioned to intimate, in the most explicit, but most affectionate manner, that his physician entertained no hopes of his recovery. This communication he received with the utmost composure ; but in such perfect silence, that it was not possible to form any opinion whether the intimation was pleasing to him or nut. On the following day, however, when the same friend was announced, Mr. Madden, though very weak, rose from his chair, walked to the door, seized his hand, and, with the niost indescribable look and manner, said, “I know that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life; the Lord has had mercy on me; and oh! what mercy to save a sinner like me!' The next day, he said to him, "Yesterday I had peace, to-day I have joy, and such joy as is beyond description, such as I thought it impossible for any one to possess on this side Heaven. How great the change that has been wrought in me! I now see and feel that I wasted my time, neglected my opportunities, lived in the pleasures of the world, and had neither hope nor wish beyond it; but, how great is the redemption that is in Christ Jesus! What would become of me, but for what he did and suffered! I am no minister, I deserve not the name; for I have been an unfaithful steward, and neglected the important duties of the ministry.',
If brevity were not studiously intended in this Memoir, instances might be multiplied of similar expressions which hourly fell from his lips; and the effect of this unreserved coinmunication was so far from depressing his spirits, that his physician acknowledged his pulse to be much more regular and composed; and declared, with much astonishment, that it could be occasioned only by the power of religion. From this period he delighted in talking of his eternal hopes and prospects. His conversation was literally in Heaven ; and even unto his death, which did not take place for two months after, he seemed uninterruptedly to be filled with “joy and peace in believing.'
Froin the whole tenor of his conversation, he appeared not merely placid and serene; but he evidently possessed the fullest assurance of hope. As bis outward man decayed, his inward man was refreshed and renewed day by day. Towards the close of his mortal life, the consolations of God in him were neither small nor few. He looked, not only with composure, but delight on the grave; and groaned earnestly for his heavenly habitation. He had constantly, to use Dr. Young's expression,
• One eye on Death, and one full fix'd on Heaven.' When asked if he felt his mind clouded with any doubts as to his acceptance with God, -No,' said he,I see my sins, as it were, greater than a mountain; but they appear white, washed in the blood of the Lamb! It is no wonder, there- . fore, that he so earnestly longed to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. His soul seemed to be constantly panting towards Heaven; and his desires increased the nearer his disso, lution approached.
As he appeared fully sensible, so he often spoke, of the vanity of his former life; and of the unsatisfying nature of what the world foolishly calls Pleasure; and looked back with astonishment on what he had formerly accounted happiness To Mrs. Madden he said, “How wonderful is the power of divine
grace! you know how I love you, how I always loved and doated on you and the dear children; and yet I am not only resigned, but enabled to rejoice, though about to leave you, for I know with whom I am leaving you; and am convinced that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Let us not think how happy we have been, but how happy we shall be. Once I called you dearest; but now, though you still are dear, and dearer if possible than ever, yet you are not so dear to me as Jesus.“ Oh! how could we bear the idea of parting, if we did not love Jesus better than each other? I know you love hin, and He loves you, and will comfort and support you.' He often with great delight repeated these lines:
• Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand'ring from the fold of God;
Interpos'd his precious blood.' His chief satisfaction was in hearing the Scriptures read, and in prayer; and when his friend would sing an hymn, as far as his strength and voice would permit, he endeavoured to join. Nothing could more strongly mark the change which divine grace had wrought upon his heart, than the anxiety which he evidenced concerning the spiritual interests of all who came to visit himn : he constantly testified of the nothingness of the world, and the importance of eternity; he talked to them of the false views which the world entertained of the nature and effects of true religion; and endeavoured to impress upon them, with much earnestness, that real happiness was only to be found in the gospel of Christ: 'that he spoke from blessed experience, having partaken of all the world considers happiness, but which he now found to be vanity and vexation of spirit.' His rest was generally unbroken, quiei, and undisturbed, from which he never awoke without expressing thankfulness to that God, who made all his bed in his sickness.' · How sweet has been my sleep! he would ray:1 have had such joy, such comfort! Jesus is with me!'
During the course of his illness he frequently repeated the 23d Psalm; but the text which seemed most deeply impressed upon his heart, was,- This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. All his quotations indicated more and more the full trust and confidence which he had in the Saviour of sinners, of whom he accounted himself the chief Miserable, indeed, must have been his situation, had he been destitute of the hopes and consolations of the Scriptures ; but they were his never-fail ing source of comfort. The mercy which they reveal to guilty man, afforded him a sure ground of hope; and the great and precious promises of the gospel gave him strong consolation, and enabled him to look forward to the hour of his dis
solution with calmness and composure, as that which should put a final period to his sufferings, by landing bim on the heavenly shore. His very looks indicated the peace he en-, joyed within.
The day-spring from on high had visited him; and Heaven seemed already to have dawned upon his soul. As he drew nearer !o his end, he experienced much of that parching thirst which usually accompanies a consumption; then he would say, " How refreshing it will be to drink of the water of life! how I long for draughts of the living waters, which are clear as crystal, and which flow at the right hand of God for ever and ever!" The manner in which he was enabled to view the last
enemy, I must and do ascribe wholly to supernatural influence, and to the divine, efficacious, heart-subduing grace of the Most High, in enlightening, relieving, and leading him to see a most solid ground of peace and acceptance with God, on the footing of Christ's all-atoning and perfect work. Death lay stingless before his faith in the great Redeemer, who died for the ofiences, and was raised again for the justification of the ungodly. Not a trace of its ghastly visage remained, but only that which appeared in his emaciated frame. Frequently, but particularly the night but one before his death, he spoke with great delight of the happiness he experienced in the prospect of being so soon in the society of the spirits of just men made perfect; and said to one of his brothers-in-law, the Rev. H. H-, who sat beside him, watching the last glimmerings of the expiring lamp of life,'I shall soon be with your father (meaning ihe late Bisliop of Ossory): how I long to be with that good old man! As his cough increased, and his voice failed, he could say but little; however, that little indicated the increasing happiness of his soul. On the day of his death (having been much fatigued by the distressing cough) he enjoyed some refreshing sleep; out of which he awoke in a burst of joy, and lifting up his hands, and clasping them together, he called to Mrs. Madden,-“ Oh! Fanny, I am so happy! clap your hands, clap your hands !” And soon after, observing to a friend what quiet rest he had enjoyed that morning, he said, 'How sweet will it be to rest in the arins of Jesus for ever! -The springs of life now began to fail ; and he whispered to Mrs. Madden, “ I wish it were possible for me to give you any idea of the happiness I enjoy. After this he lay quiet for some time, and then, as if on the confines of eternal glory, he was heard to say,-“ There they are! there they are! Now they cast their crowns before Him, and say Worthy is the Lamb to receive
Here bis yoice failed; and shortly after, the ' vital spirit quitted its mortal frame, without a struggle or a groan, in the 3ed year of his age, to join those who haye coinc out of great tribu