by J. C. Philpot

"The memory of the just is blessed;" and never more so than when they have made a blessed end. To those who love them in life, their memory is doubly dear when embalmed in the fragrance of a happy death; and even from those who hated and persecuted them living, their dying testimony has sometimes extorted the passing desire, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."

The voice that sounds from the dying chamber, where, amid weeping friends and sinking nature, grace manifests its last and strongest triumphs before swallowed up in glory, must ever forcibly appeal to feeling hearts. The same solemn hour awaits all. What, then will be their feelings; what then their manifestations; what then their strength and consolation; what then their faith, hope, love, joy, and peace; what views then of the Lord Jesus and of their saving interest in him; what calm in death, what support through death, what glory after death?—what living soul does not, at times, ponder over these deep and solemn realities?

Every happy and peaceful death-bed, then, is not only a proof of the Lord's faithfulness to the departed, but a source of strength and encouragement to the living. As far as regards him, he is at rest. Pain of body, anxiety of mind, afflictions in family or circumstances, powerful temptations, the fiery darts of the wicked one, and, worse than all, the plague of sin within, will trouble him no more. But we, who are left behind in this valley of tears, who have still to struggle onward, amid fightings without and fears within, may some times be encouraged by his peaceful end to press on against every outward and inward obstacle, casting ourselves wholly on Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him.

The death of the righteous at all times, but especially when it has been signally attended by the presence and blessing of the Lord, has something in it peculiarly softening and solemnizing. And if it be one whom we have known and loved, and we have ourselves been eye-witnesses of the solemn yet blessed scene, the effect produced is indeed far better felt than described.

Their frailties and imperfections are all buried in the grave. What they were as sinners, we forget; what they were as saints we only remember. If, during life, we have not in all points seen eye to eye; if in some things we have thought them wrong; if they have manifested any of those imperfections and corruptions which we feel working in our own bosoms—when the presence and love of their Lord and God have shed a sacred halo over their closing days, all these passing shades are swallowed up in that glorious light.

It, may, too, have been with them spiritually as we sometimes see naturally. A gloomy morn may have ushered in a stormy day, and only transient gleams of light may have burst at intervals through the lowering sky; yet, at eventide, the winds are hushed, the clouds disperse; and for some little time before the sun touches the horizon, the heavens are clear, and the bright orb of day sheds all around his dazzling beams before he is suddenly lost to view. And when gone, the golden twilight still remains, as the reflection and remembrance of his departing glory. So, many a saint who has had little else but temptation and trial, with but few gleams of comfort, perhaps, during the greater part of his spiritual course, has, on a dying bed, shone forth a blessed spectacle of what the grace of God can do in that trying hour.

If such we have seen, and felt any measure of sweetness and power at the sight, some rays of the departing glory seem to reach us; and the remembrance afterwards of what we have seen and felt in that still chamber is as the twilight—the object gone, but the rays remaining.