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I fhall comply with your request; and you may depend upon it that I will write from day to day, informing you how he goes on: indeed, I fhould have written before now, but was afraid of being troublesome to you, knowing that you have much on your hands. My poor father continues very fenfible; but takes little notice of any body, or of any thing. His breath is very bad, and he can take no fuftenance but a little liquid in a tea-fpoon.
Farewell. All the family unite in kind love to you; and believe me to remain,
Yours very affectionately,
TO MISS E. B.
Dearly beloved in the Lord,
GRACE and peace be multiplied through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your's came safe to hand, and I thank you for it; and my foul bleffes the Almighty and eternal God for his undeferved kindnefs to your poor father, now in dying circumftances.
But all the children of God are not thus favoured. God Almighty has immutably fixed every thing belonging to his chofen household of faith, even their refidence while in this world. The appointed days of their life, and the glorious end they shall make in death.
First, he has fixed their refidence during their ftay in this life, which is called his determination. He hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. Acts xvii. 26.
The time of their life is unalterably appointed alfo. To every thing there is a feason, and a time to every purpofe under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die. Eccles. iii. 1, 2.
men muft, for it is fo fays Jehovah himself.
When this day comes, go appointed of God; and fo Nor can all the men upon
earth deprive a faint of one fingle day. The number
of thy days I will fulfil. Exod. xxiii. 26. And the Lord faid unto Mofes, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die. Deut. xxxi. 14. No man under heaven can ever pafs over this appointed day of his death. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds, that he cannot pass. Job xiv. 5. The determined measure of his days, and the number of his months, are fo irrevocably fixed; that he cannot pafs these bounds: juft as a fervant, who engages to ferve for a time, and expects his hire and deliverance at the period of his appointment; fo man accomplishes as an hireling bis day. Job xiv. 6. Nor has the greatest favorite of God, and those who are most prevalent with him in prayer, any power to retain the foul one day, or one moment, in the body when once the appointed time of death comes. There is no man that bath power over the fpirit, to retain the Spirit; neither bath he power in the day of death, and there is no difcharge in that war; neither fall wickednefs deliver thofe that are given to it. Eccles. viii. 8.
As foon as I received your first letter, informing 'me of your father's illness, I went to lay it before God, and to entreat the Almighty to spare his ufeful life, but I felt a bar on my heart, fo that I could not; nor did I dare, nor did I once pray for his life; and from that moment I was fully perfuaded that he would never rife again. I told Lady Sanderfon, the fame day, that he would furely die. And, when you fent a few lines to Mifs Lavender,
informing her that he was better, Lady S told me of it. I replied to her ladyship, " He will re-. "lapfe again, for he will never rife any more."
I shall now fhew my dear friend the promises of God intended for a death-bed comfort, and of the different experiences of God's children in their dying hours.
There are some who yield the obedience of faith, and yet have but little of the light of God's countenance; as you read, Who is there among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his fervant, that walkets in darkness and bath no light; let him truft in the name of the Lord, and ftay bimfelf upon bis God. Ifai. 1. 10. Such fouls are faid to have bands in their death; Pf. lxxiii. 4. And yet these fouls are fafe, because they obey the voice of God's feryant, which is believing in Chrift. Christ came to destroy him that had the power of death, which is the devil; and to deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime fubject to bondage. Heb. ii. 14.
There are alfo very precious promises to those believers who have paid a tender regard and attention to other poor believers when they have been fick and afflicted; ftrengthening, comforting, encouraging them: and Christ himself will take notice of this in the great day. I was fick, and ye vifited me. Matt. xxv. 36. And again, For as much as ye have done it to the leaft of these my brethren, ye bave done it unto me. Matt. xxv. 40. Hence, the
promife,-Blessed is be that confidereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preferve bim, and keep him alive; and be shall be bleffed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of bis enemies. The Lord will ftrengthen him upon the bed of languifbing: thou wilt make all his bed in his fickness. Pfal. xii. 1-3. There are four things promised in this paffage.
1. He fhall be delivered from his enemies, the worst of whom is Satan, and the second death.
2. That God will keep him alive; for He that liveth and believeth in me, fays Chrift, fhall never die; that is, he fhall never die the fecond death (John xi. 26);` for on fuch the fecond death hath no power. Rev. xx. 6.
3. God promifes to ftrengthen him upon the bed of languishing; that is, inwardly to fupport him by his grace and Holy Spirit, fo that the heavier his pains are the more fupport he shall have. As thy days, fo fall thy ftrength be. Deut. xxxiii. 25. Where this is the cafe, the foul thrives in grace the fafter as the body droops and declines. But, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Cor. iv. 16.
4. God makes his bed in his fickness; that is, he is bleffed with meeknefs, compofure of mind, and fubmiffion to the will of God, which comforts his foul under bodily pains. A healthy foul will bear up under an infirm body, but a fin-fick foul is fure to fink. A man's fpirit will fuftain the infirmities