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DR. BUCHANAN'S LETTER TO HIS SISTER
ON HER DEATH-BED.
Lord; hath not seen,
MY DEAR ANNE.-I rejoice to hear that you are about to enter into the joy of
that you are now about to see what
eye and to hear what ear hath not heard : that
you are now about to behold that Jesus whom you love, face to face, to be clothed by him in a spotless robe, and presented to the Father as an heir of everlasting glory, an heir of God, and co-heir of Christ. Whence is this to thy handmaid, O heavenly Father, that she should be thus highly favoured ? she who, not long since, was a stranger to a Saviour's love. · Is it thy good pleasure that, after so short a trial, she should enter upon her inheritance, and be made an early partaker of endless joy? Even so, O Father, because Jesus hath redeemed her, washed and sanctified her, and made her meet for his everlasting kingdom. My dear sister, I cannot dissemble my joy, that you are now about to realize a Saviour's love, to sit down at the marriage-feast, with a company which no man can number, to drink the wine new in your Father's kingdom, to begin the never ending song of “Worthy the Lamb,” and to drink of the pleasures at God's right hand for evermore. Were
Father's work finished which he hath given me to do, how gladly would I accompany you, a co-partner of the joy to be revealed. O, is not your soul big with gratitude to the Lamb that was slain, to your Saviour and mine, whose distinguishing love sought us out, taught us to pray to him, and gave us a taste of his love. Mine is but a taste, but yours, my sister, will quickly be the full enjoyment. But since I cannot accompany you all the way, let me accompany you to Jordan's food, let me encourage you to pass over with a resolute step and undismayed. Let me remind you of the promises of Him to whom the death of saints is precious. Let me enforce the immutable love of your God; let me proclaim to you the truth of your Redeemer. You have already known him as the way. On your death-bed
will find him the truth, and he will quickly welcome you at Zion's gates as the eternal life.
My dear sister, be of good cheer, you cannot sink, Christ is in the vessel, I and the saints around are praying that your faith fail not. Exert yourself, lay hold of Jesus as the sure anchor of your soul, look to him without doubting; when flesh and heart fail, he is that rock on which your soul
Was it ever heard that a poor soul which fled to him for refuge, was deserted in a dying hour? Was it ever known that Jesus suffered a child of his to be plucked out of his hand? Has he not said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”—“I am with you always.”“When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee." -“ Fear not, for thou art mine."
These are great and precious promises, on which your soul may safely rest. I charge you, by your Saviour's love, not for a moment to harbour a doubt of your interest in Christ. I know that saints, in general, have a dark hour on their death-bed. Their spiritual enemy is grieved to let them enjoy such a glorious triumph; he is particularly fearful that they should exult in their Redeemer in their last moments, and thereby confirm the faith of survivors; and therefore he seeks an opportunity of throwing at them the dart of unbelief. When the Saviour suffers this, it is only to enhance the approaching joy. If you at any time feel a pang of this kind, instantly suspect that it is of the wicked one, and repel it by leaning on the Beloved. And again, if your faith is weak, waver not; the promise is to the weak as well as to the strong, yea, to all them who can
“Thou knowest, Lord, that I love thee.” Nay, if you are even apt to say, “I do not feel as if I could trust God at all,” yet is his word true. You perhaps may not believe, yet he abideth faithful—he cannot deny himself. So, my dear sister, your crown is sure.
Again, if you are ready to say, “I fear I am not a child of God, my experience has been very little, very short, very confused, very different from others,” and so on; my dear Anne, let not these whispers of Satan's disturb you for a moment, there is not a saint on earth but may doubt of his state, if he compares it with that of any
other. This one thing would I know, Have
you had a desire of knowing more about Christ this past year and more? I know you have. And who gave you that desire? Verily it was not flesh and blood, but your Father which is in heaven. Assume, therefore, my fellow-saint, the privilege of a King's daughter. While you have life, magnify the praises of Him who hath called you with such a holy calling. Evince to the world that the Bible is not a cunningly-devised fable; seek to glorify God in your death, and he will assuredly give you faith to do it.
My dear sister, as I am ignorant of the particulars of your illness, and the probability of your recovery, I cannot speak to you with such propriety as I could wish ; but I am enabled to commit you into the Lord's hands, hoping that, if
you recover, you may come out of the fire as gold well refined; and, if you die, knowing that a crown of glory awaits you. Speak from your death-bed of the things of the kingdom to which you are fast hastening. Leave behind you your views of the vanities of life, for the benefit of those who survive. Pray that a portion, a double portion of your spirit may rest upon your brother, that he may gladden your eyes at the last day with a view of many souls which he hath brought with him to glory; leave him such exhortations, encouragements, and reproofs, as an immediate view of heaven may inspire you to give. And now, my dearest sister, let me conduct
as far as I can towards the gates of the New Jerusalem. Do not you see a throng of angels around you, waiting to conduct you? Many a song will then be sung, and many a harp will be strung on your entrance into the kingdom! Who is this foremost to welcome you? Is it not like your grandfather or your father? What joy is this? They, accompanied by a heavenly host, conduct you to your beloved Saviour, to your King and your God. Then, then your glory begins; you are crowned with glory and immortality; you join in the never-ending song of “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,” and you will sit down at God's right hand, to drink of pleasures for evermore. Amen, and Amen.
TO A DEPARTING SPIRIT.
ASCEND to heaven, immortal spirit,
A seraph's wing thy flight sustains ; Eternal bliss thou shalt inherit,
For, lo! thy loved Redeemer reigns.
0, Death, where now is all thy terror ?
Where is thy victory, O Grave? He who believes, shall live for ever ;
The Lord of life alone can save.