Page images

He told me when I saw him, that he hoped I would come to him upon that general insinuation of the desire he had of my company ; and he was loth to write more plainly'; not knowing whether I could easily spare so much time. I told him, that on the other hand, I looked on it as a presumption to come so far, when he was in such excellent hands; and tho perhaps the freedom formerly between us, might have excused it with those to whom it was known, yet it might have the appearance of much vanity, to such as were strangers to it; so that till I received his letter, I did not think it convenient to come to him; and then not hearing that there was any danger of a sudden change, I delayed going to hina till the twentieth of July.

At my coming to his house, an accident fell out not worth mentioning, but that some have made a story of it. His servant, being a Frenchman, carried up my name wrong, so that he had mistook it for another, who had sent to him that he would undertake his cure, and he being resolved not to meddle with him, did not care to see him. This mistake lasted some hours, with which I was the better contented, because he was not then in such a condition, that my being about him could have been of any use to him ; for that night was like to have been his last. He had a convulsion fit, and raved; but opiates being given him, after some hours' rest, his raving left him so

entirely, that it never again returned to him.

I cannot easily express the transport he was in, when he awoke and saw me by him. He broke out in the tenderest expressions concerning my kindness in' coming so far to see such an one, using terms of great abhorrence concerning himself, which I forbear to relate. He told me, as his strength served him at several short seasons, for he was then so low, that he could not hold up discourse long at once, what sense he had of his past life; what sad apprehensions for having so offended his Maker, and dishonoured his Redeemer ; what horrors he had gone through, and how much his inind was turned to call on God, and on his crucified Saviour. So that he liopęd he should obtain mercy, for he believed he had sincerely repented ; and had now e calm in bis mind, after that storm that he had been in for some weeks.

He had strong apprehensions and persuasions of his admittance to heaven; of which he spake once not without some extraordinary emotion. It was indeed the only time be spake with any great warmth to me; for his spirits were then low, and so far spent, that though those about him told me he had expressed formerly great fervour in his devotions, yet nature was so much sunk, that these were in a great measure fallen off.

But he made me pray often with him; and spoke of his conversion to God as a thing now grown up in him to a settled and calm sereni. ty. He was very anxious to know my opinion of a death-bed repentance. I told him, that before I gave any resolution in that, it would be convenient that I should be acquainted more: particularly with the circumstances and progress of his repentance.

Upon this he satisfied me in many particulars. He said, he was now persuaded both of the truth of Christianity, and of the power of inward grace, of which he gave me this strange account. He said, Mr. Parsons, in order to his conviction, read to him the 53d chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah, and compared that with the history of our Saviour's passion, that he might there see a prophecy concerning it, written many ages before it was done; which the Jews that blasphemed esus Christ still kept in their hands, as a book divinely inspired. He said to me, that as he heard it read, he felt an inward force upon him, which did so enlighten his mind and convince him, that he could resist it no longer : for the words had an authority which did shoot like rays or beams in his mind ; so that he was not only convinced by the reasonings he had about it, which satisfied his understand: ing, but by a power which did so effectually constrain him, that he did ever after as firmly believe in his Saviour, as if he had seen him in the clouds.

He had it read so often to him, that he had

got it by heart: and went through a grea! part of it in discourse with me, with a sort of heavenly pleasure, giving me his reflect. ions on it. Some few I remember : Wha hath believed, our report ? verse 1. Here, he said, was foretold the cpposition the gospel has to meet with from such wretches as he was. He hath no form nor comelincs8 ; and when shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him, verse 2. On this he said, The meanness of his appearance and person has made vain and foolish people disparage him, because he came not in such a fool's coat as they delight in.

What he said on the other parts I do not well remember ; and indeed I was so affected with what he said then to me, that the general transport I was under during the whole discourse, made me less capable to remember these particulars, as I wish I had done.

He told me that he had thereupon received the sacrament with great satisfaction, and that was increased by the pleasure he had in his lady's receiving it with him ; who had been for some years misled into the communion of the church of Rome, and he himself had been yot a little instrumental in procuring it, as he freely acknowledged. So that it was one of the most joyful things that befel him in his sickness, that he had seen that mischief remoa ved in which he had so great a hand.

And during his whole sickness, he expressed so much tenderness and true kindness to

[ocr errors][merged small]

his lady, that, as it easily defaced the remembrance of every thing wherein he had been in fault formerly, so it drew from her the most passionate care and concern for him that was possible; which indeed deserves a higher character than is decent to give of a person yet alive...But I shall confine myself to the dead.

He told me he had overcome all his resentment to all the world; so that he bore ill will to no person, nor hated any upon personal accounts. He had given a state of his debts, and had ordered to pay them all, as far as his estate that was not settled could go; and was confident that if all that was owing to him were paid to his executors, his creditors would be all satisfied.

He said, he found his mind now possessed with another sense of things, than ever he had formerly. He did not repine under all his pain, in one of the sharpest fits he was under while I was with him, he said, he did will. ingly submit ; and looked up to heaven, said, God's holy will be done, I bless him for all he does for me. He knew he could never

be so well, that life could be comfortable to i him. He was confident that he should be hap

if he died, but he feared if he lived he might relapse. And then, said he to me, in what a condition shall I be, if I relapse after all this ! But, he said, he trusted in the grace. and goodness of God, and was resolved to a


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »