God be praised, the plea was successful; and he has met, before the throne of the Lamb, some whose polluted garments were washed clean in His blood, through the ministrations of a blessed 'bread-shop,' established by English Christians, before that year had closed on the wretched population of St. Giles.
In 1833, he came again on his mission of love, to rejoice over the work, and to stimulate us anew. He then appeared as hale and hearty, in his green old age, as before : but he had a witness within, that the earthly tabernacle was beginning to fall. He said to a dear brother, ' I am looking for preferment ;' and the upward glance, the finger pointed towards heaven, the joyous smile that spoke not of this world's transitory, possessions, all indicated his meaning. How and where he put off this mortal coil, I know not: but this I know— that he had so put on Christ in the days of healthful vigour, and so served Christ in his generation here, as to leave no shadow of doubt or solicitude as to his beatic realization of all that his soul longed after, in the presence of God.
It is in my garden that I especially delight to dwell on the memory of this endeared old man ; recalling many of his beautiful adaptations in tracing the constant analogy between the visible works of God and those which are imperceptible to ont ward sense. I have two precious letters of his from which I must extract a few passages, to illus trate my meaning. The reader will easily surmise that they referred to the trying event which introduced me to his sympathizing regard.
'I cannot describe to you the great and universal concern and grief with wrhich the account of your dear brother's sudden and unexpected removal from a world of trials and tribulations was received at C-. It seemed as if " all faces were turned into paleness," and all tongues cried out, " Alas ! my brother." But there is a needs-be for every thing of this kind that occurs : what our Lord is pleased to do, we know not now, but we shall know hereafter. There is one 'precious knowledge, however, and that is, that "all things work together for good to them that love God; to them that are the called," etc. This sweet drop of gospel honey has often rendered palatable to me the bitterest infusions that ever were mixed in my cup of life. But why should I talk of one drop alone —is not our hive (our bible) full of honey ? full of consolations, full of promises, and privileges, and prospects, and assurances, that render the sufferings of this transitory life, in the eye of a Christian philosopher, of as little consequence as the buzzing of the summer flies T You are tried, my sister beloved, and I condole with you from the very bottom of my heart; but do suffer a ' Paul the aged,' to remind you of what I know the Spirit and word of God has already taught you, that it is good for you to be afflicted ; that it is through trials and tribulations we enter (or make advances into) the kingdom of heaven ; and when you are thrown into the furnace of affliction, Christ stands by the fire ; and that sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions. The darker the cloud, my dear co-heiress, the more vivid the lightning: and the more we suffer in the flesh, the more (very often) we rejoice in the Spirit. The rainbow always appears most bright in the most broken weather ; and Pie, of whom it is an emblem, manifests himself most clearly to the mourning, the afflicted, the penitent, the broken heart. May the oil and wine of the gospel be plentifully poured into your bleeding wounds, by the Good Samaritan whom we love and serve !'
On this last sentence a tear fell, from the compassionate old man; and no words can do justice to the feelings with which I look upon the little blot, now that God himself has wiped away all tears from those eyes, and given him to see how acceptable in His sight was this cup of consolation, bestowed on one of the least and most unworthy of those whom he vouchsafes to call His.
The following extract, from a subsequent letter, very sweetly now applies to the writer, who is, as I humbly and confidently trust, rejoicing with him who was its original subject. 'Yes, with him the bitterness of death is past: the ministration of mortality is broken, and the liberated, the disembodied spirit is with God, who gave it. Of what consequence is it, my loved, my respected sister and friend, how or when the earthly house of the tabernacle we now inhabit is torn down, or dissolved, when we know that we have a " building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," to remove to and occupy ? There is a precatory, or optative expression in the Romish Missal (service for the dead) with respect to a person removed from time into eternity, which is not as comfortable as the scriptural declarations are on that important subject, ' requiescat in pace,'—may he rest in peace ! This does not pour into the bleeding, the grieving heart of a surviving friend, the sweet, the refreshing, the sanative wine and oil that is conveyed to a Christian's afflicted soul, by that heavenly voice heard by John, which pronounced the dead to be blessed who died in the Lord, "from henceforth"—from the instant of their dissolution—enjoying, not wishing, waiting for, or expecting, that " rest that remaineth for the people of God." Knowing then, and being fully and satisfactorily assured of this consolatory truth, that the dead in Christ are blessed, that they are not lost, but gone before; that our adored Redeemer, in the capacious mansions of his Father's house, has prepared a place for all our dear departed Christian friends, and is preparing a place for ourselves, "let not our hearts be" over anxiously, immoderately, unreasonably, or irreligiously, " troubled." Let us, in the present lamented instance, say, and be thankful that we can say it, 'requie in pace'—he rests in peace. And as it was the Lord who gave him for a time to his relatives and friends, and it is the same Lord who has been pleased to take him away, let us all say, " Blessed be the name of the Lord !"
There is an exquisite delicacy in the manner of conveying these rich consolations to a bereaved spirit. A tender caution not to grate upon the sense, by seeming to make light of that affliction which it professes to soothe, is the most important requisite, where real sympathy would display itself. My revered friend may, in these extracts, speak comfort even now to some wounded heart, and furnish a valuable model to those whose privilege it is to administer comfort to others. I have identified the Lauristinus with this departed teacher ; and I desire to profit by the recollection, whenever I glance upon that luxuriant shrub; the white flowers of which bear a distant resemblance to the fair blossoms of May. These usher in the many-coloured attendants of blooming Spring; the others smile upon the scene, when deserted even by the last lingering relics of sober Autumn. The Lauristinus loves to overtop a lofty wall, and to look out beyond its native garden, upon scenes unadorned by such embellishments. It will cast its spreading branches over the fence, as if eager to beautify an uncultivated region, and to smile where all was dull, and barren, and uninviting. High and stubborn indeed is the barrier which separates the watered garden of the Lord's church from those who are not only alienated by a false and idolatrous religion, but rendered more inaccessible by dissimilarity of language, which few, very few, will trouble themselves to overleap. Herein the Lauristinus beautifully typifies the venerable S-, who surmounted the barrier, and spread abroad the gospel invitation, wrhere, otherwise, it could not have come. His vigorous growth shewed how rich was the soil that bore him; his healthful abundance proved how careful the hand that trained him : and while his aspect invited a farther acquaintance with both, his example proved that no obstacle, really insurmountable, existed to prevent the external desert from becoming a garden—the waste wilderness from blossoming as the rose.
In his own beloved, poor country, he was indeed a prophet: I know not where his mantle has fallen —what favoured lips shall exercise the precious gift, so available to the souls of his Irish-speaking neighbours : but, last spring, a young sucker from the ancient Lauristinus was transplanted to another part of my garden, to replace a stunted holly that would neither grow nor die. I passed it to-day, and most richly had it spread abroad, while bursting buds tufted every sprig that shot from among the dark glossy leaves in youthful luxuriance. It was a cheering sight: my heart bade it go on to grow and prosper, and beautify its new station; while I secretly traced out a parallel for it, on the far western coast of my beloved isle, and confidently trusted that, from the parent tree—now removed to a brighter garden—would some be found to have sprung who shall cause the desert to rejoice, and make glad the solitary places with tidings of everlasting salvation.