A Satisfactory Testimony
James Smith, 1860
An aged believer was near to death, and from the nature of his disease, speaking was painful. All could see, that he was in peace. No fears agitated his bosom. No doubts disturbed his rest. He was resting on the strong arm, and reclining on the loving bosom of his Savior, waiting to be beckoned away, and admitted into the presence of his Lord. The testimony of his life was amply sufficient to satisfy all his friends, that to him Heaven was sure. But a few last words were desired by some. A friend called to inquire, a very dear old friend, the opportunity was seized, and the question was put, "What shall I say as to the state of your mind?" Mark the reply. "Say, I am resting on the promises of God, and the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ." What could be more blessed? What could he have said more satisfactory, more encouraging, or more instructive?
He was resting. Yes, there was no agitation. No perplexity. No dark foreboding. The heart was at rest. The soul was in calm repose. He was resting on the promises of God. Those precious promises, which are all yes and amen in Christ Jesus. Those promises which have heen fulfilled so many times, and which are all confirmed by the precious blood of Christ. No rock was ever so firm — as those promises. No pillow was ever so soft, so downy — as those promises. They are the pledges of a father's love, and the proofs of a father's care. O may my soul rest on those promises all through life, and especially may I be privileged to do so in my dying hour!
But our friend had another stay, another support — he was resting on the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had known and loved the Savior for many a long year. He had proved the love, care, and constancy of the Savior in many a trying hour. He knew that Jesus was faithful, not only from the testimony of his Word, and the testimony of his fellow believers — but from his past experience. He had trusted him through a long life of trial and trouble, and had always found him true; and now he felt he could trust him, in the valley of the shadow of death. Oh, how blessed to have a Savior in the hour of death, a faithful Savior, a tried Savior, one in whom we can trust without the least doubt or fear!
According to the testimony of his Pastor, who had known him well, and had known him long — our friend was distinguished by three things: "Spirituality of mind. A spirit of prayer. And confidence in God."
What a mercy it is to be spiritually-minded! All spirituality flows from the presence, power, and teachings of the Holy Spirit; and to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.
What a privilege is a spirit of prayer, by which we carry all things to God, leave all things with God, and get everything sanctified by God.
And, confidence in God, what an honor, and what a source of happiness is this! To confide in God — amidst all the storms of life. To entrust all with God — amidst all the changes of time. To depend on God — come what will. This keeps the soul steady, the heart at rest, and the conscience peaceful.
O for strong and steady confidence in God!
O for a spirit of earnest fervent prayer!
O for deep and abiding spirituality of mind!
Reader, what is the state of your heart! Sudden deaths are very common now — suppose you were suddenly summoned away, if any one was to ask the state of your mind, could you with truth say, "I am resting on the promises of God, and on the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ." If any minister of Christ was to endeavor to testify to your death, would he be justified in saying of you, that you were remarkable "for spirituality of mind, a spirit of prayer, and confidence in God?" If not — you ought to seek these blessings. They are to be obtained. You cannot produce them yourself — but you can ask God to work and produce them in you.
What our friend was — he was by the grace of God; and that grace that made him what he was — may be obtained by you; and that grace will do for you, what it did for him. God presents his promises to you in his Word, he requires you to believe them, he wishes you to appropriate them — and so doing, he will fulfill them in your experience. Jesus, the faithful Savior, invites you to him, that you may be saved by him; and wishes you to prove the efficacy of his blood, the power of his grace, and the truth of his Word. Will you not come to Jesus, if you have not? Will you not seek daily to prove more and more — the love, grace, and faithfulness of Jesus, if you have come?
Beloved, we should seek so to live every day — that we may be ready to die any day; and to die "in sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life." O how blessed to be in Jesus! To live in Jesus, to die in Jesus! For then we shall sleep in Jesus, be awakened in union with Jesus, and be caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds, and so be forever with him!
Holy Spirit, give us a strong and steady confidence in Jesus now, that when we come to die, we may be able to say, "I am resting on the promises of God, and the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ!"