Imatges de pÓgina
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23.)

their souls will enter into them again ; then soul and body will be cast into hell : then they will be eternally separated from God, and be tormented for ever and ever with the devil and his angels. This is eternal death : and may God, for his dear Son's sake, preserve us all from this second and inexpressibly horrible death !" Then Mr. Fairchild told his children, that it was to save us from the second death that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to die for us ; as it is written : “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive : But every man in his own order : Christ the first fruits ; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (1 Cor. xv. 22,

“But before we can be saved from the power of eternal death,” added Mr. Fairchild, our corrupt nature must be altogether changed and made holy; as the Lord Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus : “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' (John iii. 3.) And this blessed change must be brought to pass in this life : our hearts must be renewed, and our vile natures changed, before our bodies go down into the dust : for after the death of the body we are taught that there is no saving change, but he that is unjust, must be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still ; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.'” (Rev. xxii. 11.)

“Then, ,” said Lucy, "if our souls are renewed and changed by the power of the Spirit before we die, we shall never know eternal death ?! “ No, assuredly, my dear child.

When we are changed, we become children of God; and would God, do

you

think, cast bis children into hell ? But though the soul may be changed by the power of the Spirit of God before death, yet we learn that the corrupt body must pass through the grave, and see corruption : so it is the pleasure of God that it should be

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till the end of time, and until the last trumpet shall sound; and then we are told, that the saints who are found on earth shall be suddenly changed; as it is written: "Now this I

say, bre en, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I shew you a mystery : We shall not sleep, but we all shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound; and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption; and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death! where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'” (1 Cor. xv. 50-58.)

Whilst Mr. Fairchild was talking to his little girls, Sukey had got dinner ready, and little Henry came running into the garden to call his papa and sisters.

After dinner, Mrs. Goodriche and Mrs. Fairchild got ready; and they all set off to go to see Mrs. Roberts. John Roberts's cottage and garden were not a quarter of a mile from Mrs. Goodriche's. Poor John, when living, had maintained himself and his wife in a decent way by selling vegetables; and he used to pride himself on his pinks and tulips, and other pretty flowers, with which his garden abounded. The children set off jumping and skipping before

H

their
papa
and mamma;

but when they came near the house where death was, they walked slower, and at length they fell behind.

When Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild and Mrs. Goodriche came into the garden, Mrs. Roberts's son and daughter-in-law came out to meet them, and invited them up stairs to see the corpse. They accordingly went into the cottage and up stairs. "And will you please to go too, Master and Misses?” said the young woman, turning back to the children, who stood at the door. The children looked grave, and hung back a little while ; at last Lucy stepped forward first, and the others followed. The young woman led them, through the lower room of the cottage, to a little door opening upon a narrow staircase. When they came to the door, they perceived a kind of disagreeable smell, such as they never had smelt before ; this was the smell of the corpse ; which, having been dead now nearly two days, had begun to corrupt; and as the children went higher up the stairs, they perceived this smell more disagreeably.

The body of the old man was laid upon the bed in the upper room;

the
poor

old wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild, with Mrs. Goodriche, were sitting round the bed. The face of the corpse was quite yellow, there was no colour in the lips, the nose looked sharp and long, and the eyes were closed and sunk under the brow; the limbs of the corpse, stretched out upon the bed, and covered with a sheet, looked longer than is natural ; and the whole appearance of the body was more ghastly and horrible than the children expected, and making out the words of Job: “But man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up; so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth; thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.” (Job xiv. 10–12, 20.)

They all three stood looking at the corpse for a long time, without speaking one word. At last Mr. Fairchild said, “My dear children, you now see what death is; this poor body is going fast to corruption. The soul, I trust, is with God; and my reason for this hope is, that the poor man, when living, was a follower of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, his Redeemer ; but such is the taint and corruption of the flesh, by reason of sin, that it must pass through the grave, and crumble to dust. And this shows the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and its horrible nature, that the soul which has sinned, must be born again, and the sinful body be dissolved, and fall to dust in the grave. Remember these things, my children, and pray to God to save you from sin.”

Oh, Sir !” said Mrs. Roberts, “it comforts me to hear

you talk! I know that my poor husband loved his Saviour, and trusted in him for salvation ; therefore I do not sorrow as one without hope. I know that my poor man is happy, through his dear Saviour. But it would comfort me, Sir, if you would join with us in prayer before you go, round my poor man's bed.”

Mrs. Roberts then called her son and his wife, and they all knelt down round the bed, to pray that they might also, when the hour of death came, be found in Christ. I shall put down Mr. Fairchild's

prayer in this place for your use, with the hymn which they all sung together afterwards.

A Prayer for a Happy Death.

O Lord God Almighty Father ! thou knowest that in a very little time this my soul must go out of my body, and appear before theel and this my sinful body must go down to the grave, and there corrupt and fall to pieces, and lie in the dust till the morning of the resurrection ; at which time the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised : and they " that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel xii. 2.)

O holy Trinity! hear the prayers of a poor child. Grant unto me, All-glorious Three in One, that I may, when death visits me, be found in Christ, washed from my sins through faith in his precious blood, and endued with a new heart and new spirit through the power of the Holy Ghost. My heart by nature is full of wickedness: I can do nothing good without help from God. I am not fit to go to heaven : I know that if sinners, such as I am, were to go there, that holy place would become unclean : I know, also, that there is no repentance after death ; and that when people die wicked, they must remain wicked for

Oh, therefore, dear Lord and Saviour! now, now, before death comes, give me a clean heart and a new nature ! And although this my filthy body must see corruption, and fall to pieces in the grave, yet, O Lord ! O bleeding and dying Lamb! save my immortal soul; and make it clean and white now, at this present time; and when it leaves this my body, receive it into thy bosom, as Abraham received Lazarus.

O plead and supplicate for me, blessed Redeemer! thou whose sides were pierced for me! thou who wast nailed upon the cross for me! thou who wentest down into darkness and the grave for me, a sinful child! plead for me before the throne of God; that he would send his Holy Spirit to cleanse and purify my heart, that I may be ready, when death comes, to give up my body to the worms and the

grave,

know

ever.

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