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JOY OF FAITH
SHADOW OF DEATH:
ADDRESSED TO THE
RESPECTABLE FAMILY OF THE BLAKERS,
OF BOLNEY. IN SUSSEX,
AN INDULGENT HUSBAND, A TENDER FATHER, AND AN HONEST BELIEVER IN CHRIST,
HIS UNWORTHY FATHER IN THE FAITH; AND THEIR
AFFECTIONATE FRIEND AND SERVANT IN
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
tHE PEOPLE THAT WALKED IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT: THEY THAT DWELL IN THE LAND OF TH E SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON tHEM HATH THE LIGHT SH1NED. ISAI. IX. 4.
JOY OF FAITH.
Bolney, Dec g, 1804
I Have just now receive my kind friend's affectionate and supporting epistle, for which I beg you to accept a thousand thanks from me. For these three days past (besides my other troubles) something has been suggested to my mind, that, if my poor father is taken away, you will then favour us no more with your summer visits, and that we shall no more hear from you, or be favoured with the comfort of your acquaintance. But I desire to be thankful to God that this is only a suggestion from the enemy. I much fear, my dear friend, that you will no more see my dear father's face in the flesh; for it is not expected that he will be alive when you receive this.
On Wednesday evening last he seemed to grow much worse. In the same night I went from Worth to Bolney; and on the next day, from one o'clock till three, we all thought he was going off. But even in those moments, when he was upon the verge of death, he looked round upon us all, three or four different times, and gave us such an heavenly smile as appeared wonderful; and really the tranquillity, peace and consolations, that he seems to enjoy, are beyond expression. I was up with him alone the greatest part of the ensuing night, after he had been so exceedingly ill, and was then a little recovered; at which time he spoke very freely, and a good deal to me. I said to him, 'You was very ill yesterday?' 'Yes,' said he, 'I was; but what I felt nobody knows, the» rays of light upon me were as the glory of Lebanon,' Isai. xxxv. '2. 'I cannot describe,' said he, 'the glory that shone upon me.' And he added, 'In my worst moments I have always found it so. But some little time back, when I seemed to get a little better in body, then I felt bondage and darkness come upon me.' The words in one of your former letters were brought fresh to my mind, by a speech of my poor father's to my sister Mary. She was standing by him, apparently very low, and filled with grief. He looked up at her, and said, 'My dear, we should not sorrow as others which have no hope,' 1 Thess. iv. 13. Poor dear man! I am much cast down at the thoughts and