RPM, Volume 16, Number 19, May 4 to May 10, 2014

The Poor Man's Portions

Strength at the End of Life

By Robert Hawker

Gen 48:2 "Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed." (NKJV)

This was an interesting moment in the life, or rather the death, of this great man of God. May it help my soul to show what ought to be the conduct of the believer he nears death. The imagination can hardly conceive any situation equally momentous, in every point of view, both as it concerns a faithful God, a man's own heart, and the church the dying saint is going to leave behind. What can form a more pleasing sight than a dying saint, sitting up in the bed, (if the Lord permits the opportunity) and telling, as Jacob, did, the merciful works of the Lord in his life. All the way along the path of pilgrimage- "The God who has fed me," said Jacob, "all my life long until this day: the Angel (and who was this but Jesus?) which redeemed me from all evil." Pause, my soul. Prepare yourself now for that day when it comes. Imagine to yourself your friends around you, and you yourself strengthened, just to sit up in the bed, to take an everlasting farewell. What will you have to tell? What have you treasured up of God's dealings with you, to sweeten death in the narrative, to bless God in the just acknowledgement, and to leave behind you a testimony to others of the truth, as it is in Jesus? My soul, what can you speak of? What can you tell of your God, your Jesus? Have you known enough of him to commit yourself into his Almighty hands, with an assurance of salvation? Pause! Did you not in the act of faith, long ago, stake yourself upon Jesus for the whole of your everlasting welfare? Did you not from a perfect conviction of your need of Jesus, and from as perfect a conviction of the power and grace of Jesus to save you-did you not make a full and complete surrender of yourself? Did you not affirm and praise this blessed plan of God's mercy in Christ, to be saved wholly by him, and wholly in his own way, and wholly to his own glory? And as such, are you now afraid, or are you now shrinking back, when you are come almost within sight of Jesus' arms to receive you? Oh, no! blessed be God, this last act of committing your soul is not as great an act of faith as the first was; for since that time you have had thousands of evidences, and thousands of signs of love and faithfulness, that your God is true. Sit up then, my soul, and do as the dying patriarch did; recount to all around you your confidence in the Son of God, who "has loved you, and given himself for you." Cry out, as he did, "I have waited for your salvation, O Lord." And as this will be the last opportunity of speaking a word for God, testify of his faithfulness, and encourage all that behold you to be seeking after an interest in Jesus, from seeing how sweetly you finish a life of faith before you begin a life of glory, in blessing God, though with dying lips, that the last notes which you utter here below, may be only the momentary interruption to the same subject in the first of your everlasting song-" To him that hath loved you, and washed you, from your sins in his blood."

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