Brief Memorials of an Only Son
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AN ONLY SON.
Tauranga, New Zealand.
MY DEAR CELIA,
The following pages contain some brief memorials of your beloved brother, who exchanged a couch of extreme suffering for a crown of unfading glory on Sunday, September 14th, 1845, in the fifteenth year of his age.
Your parents long indulged the hope that, after they were laid in the silent grave,your brother would be your guide and counsellor, and that, by his Christian example, as well as by his instruction, he would "allure to brighter
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worlds, and lead the way." Those hopes our Heavenly Father has seen fit, in His unerring wisdom, to disappoint. Your once strong and blooming brother has been taken to that Saviour, "whose he was, and whom he loved," while your parents are left to encounter for a short period longer the storms of this tempestuous world, ere, through the merits of the Redeemer, they enter into that "rest, which remaineth for the people of God."
Should your life be spared, new scenes, new ties, new occupations, will tend to efface from your memory many circumstances connected with the illness and death of dear Marsh. This I should deeply regret. My wish is, that you may feel that "he being dead yet speaketh," and that his voice joins with the voice of the assembly of the first-born, and with the voice of our Saviour, in bidding you "Come up hither." May an occasional reference to these pages in your future pilgrimage bring back to its original freshness the remembrance of your brother. May the Holy
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Spirit sweetly constrain you to follow him as he followed Christ; and if to you should be allotted the same agonising pains which Marsh endured, may the same rich consolations which he enjoyed be poured into your soul, that like him you may be enabled to "glorify the Lord in the fires."
Alfred Marsh Brown was born at Paihia, June 22d, 1831, and was shortly afterwards dedicated to the Lord in holy baptism. His sponsors on that occasion were the Reverends (now Archdeacons) Henry and William Williams, and Mrs. Williams, who we doubt not prayed in faith "that he might be born again, and be made an heir of everlasting salvation --that he might ever remain in the number of Christ's faithful and elect children--and that he might lead the rest of his life according to that beginning." Your parents looked upon him as a loan from the Lord, accompanied by the command, "Take this child and nurse him for me." They knew that by nature he was a child of wrath, even as others; they
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rejoiced to think that God's will was his sanctification; and they never ceased to pray that he, "being regenerate and made His child by adoption and grace, might daily be renewed by the Holy Spirit." The sequel will show that these prayers were richly answered.
As this Letter will have reference chiefly to the last illness and death of your dear Brother, I shall pass over his infancy and childhood with few observations. At a very early age Marsh was asked to do something which he refused, and his obstinacy on that occasion was so great that I felt it a duty to chastise him. After a long and painful struggle your brother yielded, and from that period commenced a habit of cheerful obedience to his parents, which "grew with his growth, and strengthened with his strength;" an obedience, moreover, which always seemed to spring from love, and hence its value. Such, also, must be the root of our obedience towards our Heavenly Father, or we shall never experience His service to be perfect freedom to our souls.
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nor desire with the Psalmist to run in the way of His commandments. Our Heavenly Father, who knows the various tempers of His children, varies His methods of education in the school of Christ. Some are punished by the rod of His wrath, others by the hidings of His countenance. Your parents learned a lesson from this in educating your brother. From his natural disposition, I have no doubt that severe measures would only have hardened his heart, while to be deprived of his mother's nightly kiss was to him a heavy punishment; and the moist cheek and heaving breast, even after he had fallen asleep, told the deep sorrow which followed this treatment, to which, however, it was very seldom necessary to resort. There were other occasions when, having been overtaken by some of those sins to which children are so prone, I have taken your brother into his bedroom, and, kneeling down together, caused him to repeat a prayer, asking forgiveness for the offence; and then, praying audibly, I have told our
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Heavenly Father how deep a pang your brother's error had cost me, and joined in his petitions for forgiveness. These scenes, though of rare occurrence, were doubtless blessed by Him who said, "Suffer little children to come unto me," for they never failed to produce tears, and were followed by a tenderness of spirit which the rod would, in all probability, have failed to extort. Marsh's education was principally conducted by your dear mother; and his mind was more amply stored with history, geography, French, and other subjects, than is common with boys of his age. He displayed also a great taste for drawing, and was very fond of reading. Feeling, however, that mere earthly knowledge "puffeth up," and "vanisheth away," your parents' daily aim was to impart that knowledge which maketh wise unto salvation,--the knowledge of himself as a sinner, the knowledge of Christ as his Saviour. This was done in various ways; by familiar religious conversation, by repeating Scripture history, and by constantly
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impressing upon his mind a truth so often dwelt upon in various forms in Scripture, that "we are not our own," having been "bought with a price;" and hence, that the great purpose of our life should be, to glorify our Redeemer in our bodies and in our spirits which are His. As soon as Marsh was capable, he used to read a verse of a chapter in rotation with the other members of our family at morning, worship. Commencing with the first chapter of Genesis, I was in the habit of asking him questions on the portion read, and as he grew in years, trained him to draw forth for himself those holy lessons which the daily chapter presented for personal improvement. These examinations never seemed to weary him; on the contrary, they were a source of great delight; and on his death-bed he traced to them, under God, his knowledge of the Scriptures, and his great love for them. Often, indeed, has my own heart been cheered during those examinations, by the correct Scriptural
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views he expressed of the way of salvation --the fall of man, his recovery by Christ, the necessity of the Holy Spirit to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus--the necessity of that holiness without which no man can see the Lord. I recollect on one occasion, while showing that "we are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings;" and that those who held this doctrine in simplicity were ever "careful to maintain good works," thus manifesting the reality of their faith by their works, Marsh said, "Yes, father, how blind on this subject are the Roman Catholics! I have been reading lately of St Simeon sitting on a pillar for a number of years, that he might thereby be rendered more meet for heaven. How much more useful he would have been to man, how much more love would he have shown to his Saviour, if, instead of being perched on the top of that pillar, he had been actively engaged in
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imparting religious instruction to a few dirty, ragged children!"
Besides reading the Bible in consecutive order during the week, your brother was allowed, on the evenings of the Sabbath-day, to choose some chapter which he wished to have familiarly expounded, and in which he was examined, as at daily morning worship. Were this mode of reading the Scriptures more extensively practised, a greater blessing would, I think, rest upon the rising generation. If the master of the house reads the whole chapter himself at family worship, his children and servants are more likely to be exposed to the temptation of wandering thoughts, than if they joined with the head of the family in reading the verses in rotation.
I have alluded to your brother's love of reading. It might be added that his favourite books had ever a reference to Scriptural subjects. He remarked one day, after reading the "Little Woodman," "Mrs. Sherwood would not have written such a touching story,
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if she had never read in the Bible the still more touching one of Joseph and his brethren." Marsh manifested, also, a very lively interest in collating the prophecies which relate to the restoration of God's ancient people, as well as those which refer to the establishment of Christ's kingdom throughout the world.
St. John's Collegiate School being opened, your brother was sent there in March 1844, under the charge of his kind friends, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, who were proceeding to Te Waimate. Just as he was about to embark, he ran into the garden, and plucking a few flowers, carried them to the burying-ground, and placed them on the grave of dear Mrs. Wilson, who fell asleep in Jesus in 1838, and from whose lips he had learned in childhood many a holy lesson. Her memory was very dear to Marsh; but how little could he have thought, with his exuberant health and flowing spirits, that he was conveying his offering of love for the last time, and that on his next entrance into the burying-ground, his lifeless
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corpse would be laid beside hers, to await the resurrection morn.
On his way to school, the vessel touched at Auckland, where he spent a Sabbath; and we afterwards received letters, stating the favourable impression which your brother had, made on the minds of his friends at that place; a pleasing testimony, because at the period it was given Marsh was in the full enjoyment of health; and his spirits, which were naturally buoyant, had not then been chastened by the discipline of affliction.
In May, I received a letter from the Bishop, of date April 30, in which he says, "Your boy, I am sorry to find, has received a blow, with which he is this day confined to the house; but the doctor thinks it is not serious, and that he will be well in a day or two. You may rely upon his being taken as much care of as Mrs. Selwyn and myself can bestow." A postscript was added to the letter a few days afterwards: "The blow seems to have struck on a nerve which has brought on
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a swelling of the character of erysipelas." Other information received the following week induced me, on 27th May, to leave for Te Waimate; but, on reaching Auckland, I received accounts of a more favourable nature, and determined to return home, forwarding, however, a letter to Marsh, of which the following passage is an extract:--
"I have received at this place the pleasing information, that it has pleased God to have mercy on you, and on me also, in raising you from a bed of sickness; and I shall now hasten back to communicate the cheering intelligence to your dear mother, who is suffering great anxiety on your account This is the second time in your short life that it has pleased our Heavenly Father to bring you nigh unto death, and then to restore you again to life, in order to give you another opportunity of loving and serving Him with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. May I cherish the hope, that this is the heart's desire of my dear boy; that his
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late affliction has taught him to look for happiness here, and happiness hereafter, to that Saviour who has loved us, and given himself for us. Then would a thousand prayers, offered at the throne of grace by your affectionate parents, be richly answered, and our song be of mercy as well as judgment. How good has God been in surrounding you, at such a season, with the kindest friends, and placing you within the reach of medical advice! Be very thankful to your friends for their kindness, and especially show your gratitude to God, by living a life of faith on Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit may enable you to fulfil your baptismal vows 'to fight manfully under the banner of our Saviour against sin, the world, and the evil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant, even unto your life's end.'" During my absence, your mother had received letters from Te Waimate, and had thus written to Marsh: "We trust our Heavenly Father has continued to bless the means
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used, and that your strength is daily increasing. How much cause have we for gratitude when we review the many mercies connected with this trial! How kind has our God been in disposing the hearts of those around you to take such tender care of my suffering absent child! I trust you will never be ungrateful to the many friends to whom we are so deeply indebted; and, above all, that this fresh instance of God's goodness will so affect your heart, that you may indeed devote yourself unreservedly to His service. You have been brought to the borders of the grave, and have had another proof that you are not too young to die. Oh, let not this lesson be lost upon you, my beloved Marsh, but pray earnestly for an interest in that Saviour who came to seek and to save those who were lost,--who will reject none who come to Him, and who has promised His Holy Spirit to all who ask for it. Dear Celia is very anxious to write to you, and though I am very busy, I must try to attend to her. She often talks of 'dear
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Marsh,' and every night and morning prays, that God would 'take care of him, and take away his pain, and make him well.'"
Within a fortnight after my return to Tauranga, letters reached us, which rendered it imperative for me to proceed at once to Te Waimate. We were informed that your dear brother was in such a state of debility, that he could not move on his bed without assistance; that he had been lying four weeks on his back, from which some sloughs had been removed; that he suffered most acutely when his limbs were moved; that his pulse was very rapid; and that his medical attendant was obliged to administer morphia every night to allay nervous irritability. Those letters, however, contained the following cheering passages: "Poor dear boy, he has indeed been brought to feel the uncertainty of everything earthly, but throughout his severe illness he has been most patient and teachable; and, amidst all his sufferings, his attention to spiritual things
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has been truly pleasing." "During his severe sufferings he has been astonishingly kept from repining. I have never heard a murmur escape his lips." "A resigned will is one of the greatest blessings which God can bestow upon His children, and this Marsh eminently possesses. May we be like-minded." On reaching Te Waimate, I found that Marsh had been removed, immediately on being seized with illness, to the house of our kind Bishop, who had constructed a water-bed, by filling a large tinned case with water, and stretching over its surface a Mackintosh cloth--a simple contrivance, to which, as a means, your brother's medical attendant attributed the prolongation of his life. Here I found poor Marsh stretched in more than the helplessness of infancy, for he was unable to move either his arms or his legs. His pallid cheeks showed the sufferings he had been enduring, while the resignation beaming from his eyes told as plainly as words could have done, the faith
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and patience which had been imparted to him under his sufferings. I knelt beside his bed, and poured out my soul in prayer to Him who "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," yet "for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness." We told our tale of suffering to Him who "can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" and your dear brother's hearty, thrilling "Amen" to the prayer, showed his entire acquiescence in the will of his Heavenly Father. Calmly and peacefully did he then converse as to his illness, and showed how entirely he wished to leave the issue of his trial in the hands of Him who "doeth all things well." I left Marsh's bedroom with a full heart, "sorrowful, yet rejoicing;" and, oh, how sweet a strain of music sounded through my soul, when, during the same evening, the devoted Christian friends, who had tended him night and day for nearly three months, expressed their firm conviction, that though this affliction might terminate
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in death, his soul was safe for eternity. On the following day I wrote thus to your dear mother: "You would be delighted to hear the testimony borne by the pious band who have ministered to the wants of our poor sufferer. He has left no doubt on their minds of his union with Christ by a living faith; that he is one of those lambs, over whom the good Shepherd delights to watch, and lead by His hand and carry in His bosom. He has been the child of many prayers; and how ought the thought, that those prayers have been heard and answered, to fill us with adoring gratitude and praise to our great High Priest! Let it animate us, too, with increased confidence when we intercede at the throne of grace on behalf of our children; for though they are still in a wicked world, and carry within them wicked hearts, and are exposed constantly to a wicked enemy, yet the grace of God is omnipotent, and can triumph over all: and 'it is not the will of our Father,
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which is in heaven, that one of our little ones should perish.'" On July 15th, four days later, I again wrote to your mother: "I write from the bedside of our beloved Marsh, whose patience under his severe pains, and gratitude for the kindness manifested towards him by all around, seem to have produced an interest in his behalf, of the depth of which I could have formed but a faint idea, even from the long letters which we received at Tauranga from our valued friends, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman. He does, indeed, seem to be everybody's child. Although I was much shocked, when I first saw his attenuated limbs, I am assured by our friends that his improvement during the last few weeks has been most marked. What there is now to struggle against is excessive debility. Yet we are encouraged to hope, that when the sores on his back are healed, he will regain strength more rapidly. A long period must, however, necessarily elapse before our dear boy can regain
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the use of his limbs; and I have decided to remain with him until you come hither to relieve me."
During your dear brother's protracted illness we were constantly alternating between hope and fear as to his ultimate recovery; so that, shortly after the date of the above letter, I again wrote to your mother: "Our dear Marsh has had a quiet night, but I cannot see that he gets either better or worse. His case appears to baffle the wisdom of his medical attendants, but it is fully known to the great Physician. Let us, in the full exercise of faith, lay the subject before Him, and pray for perfect resignation to His will, should He see fit to remove our beloved child to a brighter and a better world:--and for grateful hearts, should He restore him to his wonted health and strength." After this, I was permitted to write: "Our dear boy is going on well,--not so fast perhaps as to keep pace with the sanguine wishes of his friends--yet fast enough to excite the
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liveliest gratitude and hope. When free from severe pain he is very cheerful, and converses with spirit about home and his enjoyments there. Poor boy, he seems to regret the time he is losing as regards his studies; but I trust he is learning a lesson in the school of Christ which human wisdom could not impart. We have often wished and prayed that it might please God to train our dear child for the work of the ministry; and, perhaps, in His mysterious providence, He may be answering our prayers by the present painful dispensation. May it be sanctified to him and to us, and may the Son of God be glorified thereby."
My conversations with Marsh at this period were most cheering. On 27th July, after reading with him the 23d Psalm, he expressed such a sorrow for sin, such a faith in his Saviour, such a confidence of being supported when he should be called upon to enter the "valley of the shadow of death," as filled my soul with gratitude to Him who
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"out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, has perfected praise:" "Christ's sheep," he said on that occasion, "are those who love Him; and truly can I say, 'I love Him, because He died for me.'" After Mr. Samuel Williams left Te Waimate, in order to fetch your mother from Tauranga, Marsh made very frequent inquiries as to the probable time of the vessel's return; but though he fondly anticipated the pleasure of meeting his family again, I believe he had many doubts whether his life would be spared long enough to fulfil his wish.
At length his desire was gratified. On August 7th, to his great delight, it was announced that his mother, yourself, and Miss Baker, had really arrived. When your dear mother approached his bed-side, a slight flush crossed his pallid cheek, and a tear glistened in his eye; but in a few minutes he regained his wonted cheerfulness, and, looking round with an affectionate smile at the several members of his family, he seemed
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to say, "Thank God, that I have been permitted to see them again in the flesh."
Extracts from a Journal, which I kept at the time, will now furnish some further particulars:-- .
August l8th--Marsh's pains this morning were most exquisite; so much so, that the act of gently smoothing his hair was felt in the utmost extremities of his poor racked body. "Oh! I am in such pain," he touchingly exclaimed. "You are, my dear child," I replied; "but all your sufferings are fully known to your Heavenly Father, who cares for you, and loves you." "Yes," he added, "and I have not one pain too many." This was said in a calm, unfaltering tone, and with that peaceful resignation which was the general expression of his countenance; which often within a few minutes after a paroxysm of suffering was beaming with a peace which passeth all understanding. At our family worship this morning he requested me to read the 23d and 84th Psalms. After
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the morning service at church, Mr. Davies called on him. He was then in severe pain. Mr. D. said, "Jesus suffered more on your account; did He not, Marsh?" "Indeed He did," replied Marsh, with great feeling. Mr. Davies then asked, "Are you longing to depart, my dear boy?" "I am waiting to do so," he meekly answered: a reply strongly indicative of his entire submission, yet cheerful hope,--a fine illustration of the poet's line,
"Wishing, not struggling to be free."
Mr. S. Williams inquired, "Are you afraid to die, Marsh?" He replied, with his usual firmness, "No." When the bell was ringing for afternoon service, Marsh said he wished his mother to stop with me, and watch beside him. At his request I read to him the 15th chapter of St. John's Gospel, and engaged in prayer.
August 19.---A quieter day than usual; his pains being in a measure soothed by the large doses of morphia which it was
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found necessary to administer. When awake, Marsh evidently shows that he is ripening for eternity.
August 20th.--The last struggle was considered to be approaching, and ten of our dear Marsh's tried and valued friends were assembled around his bed. It was an affecting and solemn season. His soul was commended to God by the Rev. W. C. Cotton; and we doubted not that angels were standing with us to bear that soul to the bosom of our Redeemer. Mr. Chapman and I supported his head on our hands for about two hours, during which time Marsh looked most peacefully, but only spoke once, and that without opening his eyes. "Beautiful colours!" he exclaimed, with a sweet smile. We thought that he had caught a glimpse of that eternal glory into which we believed he was entering. It pleased God, however, again to revive him, giving to us another short season to pray for him, and watch beside him.
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August 21st--Our dear invalid has spoken little during the day. In the night, he awoke from a dream, and said, "I thought that I was in the fire--that I was all over fire, and could not help myself; and then some one came and took me out. Now I must shut my eyes, they shine so." I called to mind Him who, in the form of the Son of Man, walked with the three Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace, and kept them unhurt. He, too, has been with our dear child in the furnace, and we cannot doubt that He will continue with him.
Mr. Davies, on repeating to Marsh in the morning that consolatory passage, "In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them," asked if he knew who that Angel was. "Yes," he replied, "it was Jesus Christ." "And do you feel His presence with you?" continued Mr. Davies. "Indeed I do," replied Marsh slowly, and with remarkable emphasis.
August 22d.--Our dear boy still lingering
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on the borders of eternity; growing meet, as we humbly trust and believe, for its blessed scenes.
Are angels sent on errands full of love;
For us they linger, and for us they die."
August 23d.--From the effects of most powerful anodynes, our dear Marsh has slept the greater part of the day; yet, when awake, his faculties appear perfectly unclouded, and he maintains his usual cheerful look and peaceful spirit. He was asleep when we had family prayer, and on his awaking, I mentioned the circumstance. "I prayed," he replied, "before I fell asleep, that, if God should please to remove me, He would take me to Himself in heaven," Archdeacon W. Williams, calling in at the time, read a psalm to him, and engaged in prayer, to which Marsh appeared to pay great attention; and, after saying with much firmness "Amen,," he immediately fell asleep again.
August 24th.--After dressing poor Marsh's
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back this morning--an operation which, from the application of caustic to the wounds, is daily attended with the most severe suffering --he slumbered the greater part of the day; but in the evening, one of our friends, sitting near to his bed, heard him gently repeating the 5th verse of the 130th psalm: "I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope."
A month later I find the following entry in my Journal:--
September --One of the wounds in our dear sufferer's back is now so deep that the nerves are exposed; and fear was expressed by his medical attendant (from the great flow of blood) that he might expire before we got him back to his water-bed. After administering a little wine to him, he fell asleep; and, when he awoke, he had the same placid smile on his countenance, with which he always used to greet his friends, even when too feeble to converse with them.
October 12th.--Had an interesting con-
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versation with Marsh as to the journeys of the children of Israel in the wilderness being typical of the Christian's pilgrimage to heaven. He asked whether I did not think it furnished Bunyan with some of his ideas in the Pilgrim's Progress. This led to some remarks as to Bunyan's work being written in Bedford jail; then, as to those Epistles of St. Paul which were written by him in prison. He remarked that it was also complained of to Parliament that Bradford was doing more harm by the letters which he wrote from prison than he did by the preaching for which his persecutors had imprisoned him. We then conversed on the mysterious dispensation which for nearly six months had confined him to his bed, and of the blessings which had tempered that judgment. He expressed perfect resignation to God's will, and said that he was content either to live or die. During our conversation he repeated with much feeling several verses of a favourite hymn of his, com-
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mencing, "Begone unbelief, my Saviour is near,"--amongst others the following:--
"His love in time past forbids me to think
He'11 leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms his good pleasure to help me quite through,"
October 17th.--While dressing his sores this morning, Marsh exclaimed, pointing to a large picture of the "Martyrs in Prison," which hangs in his chamber, "What are my pains compared with the agony which those good men cheerfully endured for the truth's sake!"
I might multiply these extracts; but it is unnecessary: they but speak in various forms a tale of anguish endured, and grace "sufficient grace," vouchsafed--a grace which enabled your brother, not only at that time, but for nearly thirteen months longer, brightly to reflect the spirit of his Saviour when He exclaimed, "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
Marsh was much attached to his school-
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fellows, entering into their joys, and sympathising with their sorrows. In September one of them was attacked with fever; and a jar of raspberry-jam having been sent to Marsh on that day, he requested that it might be sent in to "poor Skey," as he styled him. Skey soon recovered; but during the time of his confinement to his room, your brother made many anxious inquiries every day respecting him. At the annual examination, Marsh expressed much pleasure on being told that Leonard Williams had obtained one of the prizes, adding, "I am sure he deserved it." At different times, when the school-boys were playing near his window, and we proposed sending them farther off, lest the noise should disturb him, he used to say, "Oh, no! I like to hear them enjoying themselves. That is -----'s voice: that is------'s merry laugh." I record these incidents, trifling perhaps in themselves, because, occurring as they did when your dear brother was the subject of great weakness and suffering,
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they gave promise, that, had his life been spared, this germ would ultimately have produced that rare fruit of the Spirit which shows the Christian "rejoicing with those who do rejoice, and weeping with those who weep."
I may mention in this place a beautiful instance of Marsh's Christian spirit, related to me by Mr. Davies, which took place at an earlier period of his sickness. Your brother had spoken, as he thought, rather hastily to one of the College servants; but, sending for her afterwards, he said, "I spoke peevishly to you yesterday, but I have asked forgiveness of God, and now I have sent for you, in order to ask your forgiveness." I need scarcely add that his wish was readily granted.
Marsh was very sensible of the tender mercies with which his heavenly Father had tempered his severe trial. He often expressed his gratitude, and even when silent,
"His very look was a gleam of light,
Rich depths of love revealing."
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He deeply felt, too, the kindness shown to him by his friends, and remarked on one occasion, "Everybody is kind to me, father, from the Bishop to the least of the schoolboys; and so, too, are all the servants; there is scarcely one person at Te Waimate who has not done some kind act for me." And it was so. All around vied in their attentions to your brother, and their services were indeed a "labour of love," which no hireling could have performed so tenderly: for Marsh was never left night or day, it being necessary to change very frequently the position of some of the many pads which were placed under different parts of his body, in order to relieve any pressure upon the sores; as well as to feed him several times during every night with arrow-root and port-wine, to support his strength. Yet these services never seemed to weary his friends, and were always looked upon by them as a privilege enjoyed, rather than as a favour conferred. Even the Bishop, when his duties
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were additionally laborious in delivering daily theological lectures to the candidates for ordination, refused our urgent request that he would give up his usual night for watching beside your brother's couch. Many friends at a distance, who could not personally attend on Marsh, were constantly sending him some little delicacy, grateful to the palate, and more so to the heart; while richer presents came in the shape of letters, upon which he placed a high value. I copy one of these notes from Archdeacon H. Williams:--
"My dear Marsh,
"You know that afflictions spring not from the dust; and your heavenly Father has seen that your present trial is needful for you. It will be wise to leave the matter with Him, and say, 'Lord, not my will, but thine be done.' He who kept Daniel and the three Hebrew youths from evil, will also be with you, and cause all these
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things to work together for your good, if you look to Him, and put your whole hope and confidence in Him. Should it please God to restore you again to health, you will be wiser than you were before, and will feel more clearly that dust we are, and unto dust must again return. May you, my dear Marsh, be enabled so to know the Lord, that you may be clad in His righteousness, and be fully prepared to meet His will. Should it be His will that you continue on earth for a short season longer, may you walk as in the divine presence, doing that which is alone pleasing in His sight, yet always ready to enter into His holy presence. Believe me,
Your very affectionate friend,
Marsh was surrounded for several months at Te Waimate by a large number of his missionary friends, who were assembled at St. John's College; some preparing for or-
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dination, and others engaged in the Translational Syndicate; so that he was the subject of many prayers, public, social, and private, and derived also much spiritual benefit from the conversation of his numerous friends: but in October the Ordination was over, the labours of the Syndicate brought to a close, and the College Term ended. It would not have excited surprise, had your brother's usually placid frame of mind forsaken him for a season, when the schoolboys returned to their happy homes, the missionaries to their respective fields of labour, the Bishop, with his family, to found the new College at Auckland; and he was left in his now comparatively solitary chamber. But no, he still maintained his cheerfulness; no murmur escaped his lips, no repining, thought had shelter in his bosom. He felt, indeed, most keenly the departure of his friends, especially that of the Rev. Thos. Chapman, of whose untiring kindness he often affectionately spoke; but he felt
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also that he was not alone, for his Father was with him, to cheer him with His presence, to comfort him with His "exceeding great and precious promises;" to console him by His Spirit; and this was enough.
The following letters, written by several of Marsh's friends and nurses after their departure from Te Waimate, breathe an affectionate interest in his welfare. St. Paul's language to the Thessalonians might serve as an appropriate motto to these kind memorials: "Taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart."
The first letter was from the Rev. Thomas Chapman:--
October 2d, 1844.
"My dear Marsh,
"As we fully expect to sail early to-morrow, I wish to have a few words of 'korero aroha,' before I am further separated from you. Time and distance are two things which often cause aching hearts; but as you and I cannot alter either, we
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had better submit to the effect of both, as they act upon us in the present case, and quietly hope, that, if it be the will of our heavenly Father, we may meet again on earth; and if not, that we may so 'strive to enter in at the strait gate,' that we may meet in that blessed place of which St. Paul speaks with so much rapture. If you had now to be taught which be the first principles of our holy religion, I might profitably tell you of Him who came to seek and to save. As it is--and most happy for you that is so--I need only, as a fellow-traveller, somewhat more experienced, cheer you along in your Christian course, and in the exercise of your patience, that you faint not under the burden your Master has called you to bear. Often, my dear boy, have I struggled for you in earnest prayer at the throne of grace; and I think I have been more led to pray that you may never lose your resignation to the divine will than for any other blessing. In my own severe
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sicknesses this feeling has always much prevailed in my mind: "Shall the clay say to the potter, "Why doest thou this or that?" Who doubts that there are thousands of thousands, and ten times ten thousands of thousands of redeemed souls in heaven, and who ever supposed that any one of them lamented the path that led them thither? Does Cranmer, or Ridley, or Bradford? Continually then, and earnestly, strive in prayer, that the 'Spirit of Christ' may dwell in you; and His was indeed a patient, suffering spirit. He learned or showed obedience by the things which He suffered. In your mercies, too, remember what a mercy to you to have had affectionate parents; but I must not stop here, to have had parents more anxious and pains-taking for the well-being of your soul than can be expressed by any words of mine. Adieu, dear child. May God the Holy Spirit greatly comfort you, and sanctify you; and I pray you may be found blameless in 'that
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day,' being found among that blessed number whose sins are washed away in the blood of Christ. The Lord watch between us while we are absent one from the other,
"Yours very affectionately,
Mrs. Chapman, on the same day, thus writes:--
" . . . I have thus, my dear Marsh, given you an account of all we have been doing since we parted, as I thought you would like to know; but be assured, my dear boy, that wherever we are, and however employed, we are often, very often thinking of you, and our thoughts and hearts are often rising in prayer to God for you. May He bless you, and make you His own dear child in Christ Jesus; may He sanctify you wholly in body, soul, and spirit; may He give you His Holy Spirit to be your Comforter, and pour into your soul that
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peace which passeth all understanding, which the world can neither give nor take away. If it be His blessed will, may He restore you to health; but as we know He is perfect wisdom and goodness, may He give us and you, my dearest boy, grace to say, 'Thy will be done.' How comforting is the assurance, that 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life . . . How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Adieu, dear Marsh; believe that I shall love you always, and that I remain,
"Your affectionate friend,
Mr. Samuel Williams sent the following note:--
"My dear Marsh,
"I write to wish you good-bye, perhaps for the last time in this world;
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but I trust that we shall meet again in a better. I feel very much at leaving you still confined to your bed, after having been one of your attendants for so long a period; but though it is out of my power to watch any longer beside you, I shall often think of you in prayer. You have had a season of peculiar pain and trial; but how many persons are there in perfect health, who are living without God in the world, and who are far more to be pitied than you are! Amidst all your troubles we have much cause to be thankful for God's great goodness to you, and we shall be much more thankful when those things which we understand not now shall be made clear to us. We cannot tell what is the Lord's will respecting you. Let us seek grace to trust Him where we cannot trace Him, for He is 'too wise to err, too good to be unkind.' It may be He is fitting you, as a chosen vessel, to bear His name and has work prepared for you in His vineyard. Or it may be His will to take you unto
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Himself; and then you will be delivered from many an hour of pain, and sorrow, and sin, and will join those blessed ones, who have gone before you, in singing the praises of the Lamb without interruption. And now, my dear Marsh, praying that you may be enabled to look unto Jesus as your only and all-sufficient Saviour,
"I remain, yours affectionately,
Accompanying this letter was one from the Rev. C. P. Davies:--
"My dear Marsh,
"I need scarcely say how much I feel at leaving you, after having been with you for nearly eight months, during which time your sufferings have been very great, though you have been surrounded with mercies. You have been attended by those who love you; and though taken from a Collegiate school, you have been in a far,
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superior one, the school of Christ, where you have obtained the knowledge of Christ, and the knowledge of yourself, as a poor helpless sinner. Cannot you, dear Marsh, rejoice in this? However painful God's dealings with you may be, yet it is happiness to be united to Christ; to be saved from the wrath to come; to have a hope beyond the grave--a hope full of immortality, and of joy unspeakable. You have been, as it were, on the very verge of Jordan's shores; and we know not the will of our heavenly Father concerning you; yet I trust you can say, 'To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' We may never meet together again in the flesh, but I trust we shall meet in a glorified state, made like unto Christ, where there will be no parting words, no sickness, no pain, no sorrow; but above all, where there will be no more sin, and nothing to interrupt our communion with Christ. Live by faith, my dear Marsh, on Christ, and the unsearchable riches that He has purchased; and be
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earnest in prayer, that you may be enabled to endure all your sufferings with patience. Should it please God to restore you to health, I trust you may bear His name among the heathen, and declare that 'God is love.' Farewell, my dear Marsh; you have the earnest prayers of Mrs. Davies and myself, and I hope that you also remember us before the mercy-seat.
"Your affectionate friend,
"C. P. DAVIES."
At the departure of the College party the Rev. R. Burrows entered into residence at Te Waimate; and your brother remained for nearly three months beneath his hospitable roof, receiving from Mr. and Mrs. Burrows a continuance of that kindness which the members of St. John's had so long and warmly manifested; while several of the sons of the missionaries, taking nightly turns with Mr. Burrows and myself, supplied the places of those who had, for so
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many months, and with so much affection, watched beside your brother. Duty called me, during this period, to take a journey amongst the natives at the southward, which occupied me five weeks. Parting with dear Marsh in his then enfeebled state was a sore trial, for the probability was great that he would not linger on till my return; yet he was much supported; and we both felt that, should we meet no more on earth, we should do so, through the merits and righteousness of Jesus Christ, in that blessed region, where
"Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown."
In a letter to your mother, of date December 27th, 1844, I have this passage, "On Tuesday I left Maunga Tautari for Matamata, where I remained to hold Divine service on Christmas day, and left yesterday morning for Tauranga---home I was going to say, but I never felt so powerfully as I did last night how little locality has to
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do with home. How I long to hear news respecting our beloved Marsh! I sometimes think that God will yet raise him up from the borders of the grave, and employ him in His service on earth; but, perhaps, He has in store the higher honour of serving Him in heaven, without enduring, through a long pilgrimage, the sharp conflicts with the world, the flesh, and the devil, which is the usual portion of God's children. Give him my love and blessing, with the assurance that I cease not to remember him, and to pray for him without ceasing."
On the same day I wrote a note to your brother:--
"I have sent you a message in dear mother's letter; but I must write a few words to assure you again how much you occupy of my thoughts and prayers. I trust that the God of all consolation continues to support you amidst your sufferings, and that He is daily and hourly preparing you, by His Holy Spirit, either for His service on earth or His service
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in heaven. Be instant, my dear Marsh, in prayer; and meditate much upon those blessed portions of Scripture, which you were privileged to commit to memory while you were in health. May they be written on your heart, and be your support, while your heavenly Father still sees fit to keep you in the furnace. Still remember that God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (tried) above that you are able."
At this time also the Rev. T. Chapman thus addressed your brother:--
"My very dear Marsh,
"Truly you were right when you said that I should be surprised to hear that you were still alive. God is my witness how often I remember you in my poor wandering prayers; and how often, amid all the distractions of this most distracting country, I find myself with you in spirit, or cherishing the fond hope that we may yet
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meet in the flesh. I hear that your sufferings have been nothing lessened,--a striking proof that your mercies have been increased, or your poor shattered frame could not have held out so long. Should it please our heavenly Father to raise you up, and give you back again to us, you will often admonish us, 'that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;' for you have been indeed the child of many earnest prayers. And should you be called away, we shall still be able to praise our covenant God for having given you His Spirit, and bestowed His peace upon you. Dear boy, trust in God, and always remember Him as a covenant God, and bless His holy saving name that you are not foolishly wasting your time in prayers to dead saints, who know nothing about us though so deeply interested in our holy cause.
"And now, my dear Marsh, I commend you to God and the word of His grace; I commend you to Him who died for you, and rose again for your justification; I commend you
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to the spiritual teaching of God the Holy Ghost. Think much upon the mercy you enjoy in those who watch around your bed,-- the especial mercy of having Christian parents; and you will know how much, how very much, is included in that word 'Christian.'"
Ever affectionately yours,
On January 17th, 1845, I returned to Te Waimate, and found dear Marsh still living. Several of the ulcers had apparently healed, but others had broken out in different parts of his body, so that now he had twenty-seven open sores, the daily dressing of which continued to be a source of extreme suffering, although, during the day, he was more free from pain than formerly. By placing a second water-bed on the verandah, (to which he was lifted on a frame constructed at an early period of his illness, and on which he used to lie on the water-bed,) he was frequently enabled to enjoy the fresh air; and,
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his naturally strong constitution still struggling with disease, his appetite became better. It was, however, but a lengthening out his short span of life; yet, as his outward man perished, his inward man was renewed day by day. Patient in tribulation, and continuing instant in prayer, he was growing in grace, and becoming meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. With St. Paul he might be said "to die daily;" and he had so long contemplated death and the grave in the light of the glorious Gospel, that they were disarmed of their terrors. Waking one morning out of sleep, he said, "Mother, read to me that beautiful chapter in Corinthians, where St. Paul inquires, 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'" Your dear brother was, indeed, a patient leaner upon God's word, and he found in its exceeding great and precious promises a firm support and comfort. "I have no power in my hands," he said at this time, "to hold a Bible, but I can repeat from memory many of the psalms
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and chapters which I learned as a child. I have lately been calling to remembrance more than six hundred verses of God's word."
The northern part of the island was at this period is a very unsettled state, in consequence of the determined opposition on the part of John Heke to the erection of the Government flag-staff at Kororareka; and it was deemed advisable to remove your brother to Paihia. Two days before we left Te Waimate, John Heke, who, with a few of his armed followers, was passing through the settlement, called, and expressed a wish to see Marsh, whom he had known as an infant. The mild countenance and meekly beaming eye of your brother formed a striking contrast to the restless movement and anxious look of Heke, as he hung over Marsh's bed, with a rough native garment thrown over his shoulders, and a brace of loaded pistols in his girdle. Marsh's calm appearance and cheerful manner seemed to produce a strong impression on Heke during the few minutes which they spent in
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conversation; and when Heke took his departure, he turned to me and said, "Brown, we must leave your boy with God. If He suffers him to live, it will be good; if He takes him to heaven, it will still be good."
On 19th February we departed from Te Waimate; a water-bed having been previously fixed at Puketonu, in order that Marsh might obtain a little rest after being carried three hours on his frame. The journey, which in prospect had caused us much anxiety, was accomplished without danger; and in the evening, to our great comfort, he was once more stretched, with a grateful heart, upon his water-bed in Archdeacon H. Williams' study, which he had kindly given up for Marsh's reception.
Wars and rumours of wars followed us to our new retreat, and Marsh was soon the only person in the neighbourhood possessing a perfectly unruffled mind; so truly was the promise fulfilled to him, "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings." Archdeacon Williams
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thought it probable that an attack might be made on the settlement by Heke's lawless mob, and proposed the removal of our poor invalid to Kororareka for safety. We determined, however, to mention the subject to Marsh, and to be guided by his decision. He was not in the slightest degree agitated, and said, "If the natives do come, they will probably strip the house of everything, but I have no fear of their doing me any personal injury, and I would rather remain where I am." We had much reason afterwards to bless God that Marsh was not removed, for Paihia was not molested, while Kororareka, on the 11th March, was pillaged and fired. The booming of the cannon, and the blowing up of the magazine, were distinctly heard in Marsh's sick chamber, and the lurid glare of the fires shone across the Bay on the walls of our house; but your brother was in the enjoyment of a peace which no outward circumstances had power to interrupt; although he expressed great sympathy for those who,
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by the attack on Kororareka, were rendered homeless and penniless.
While at Paihia, an attempt was made by two medical men to move dear Marsh's hip-joint, but the pain was so acute that they were soon obliged to desist; and it was now evident that, even should his life be spared, your brother would remain a helpless cripple. On a former day, Marsh had been informed that his right elbow-joint was anchylosed. He calmly replied, "What a mercy it would be if God should see fit to raise me from this bed with but one limb rendered useless!"
It being determined to remove the inhabitants of Kororareka to Auckland, and Captain M'Keevor, of the U. S. corvette St. Louis, having generously volunteered to proceed thither with as many of the sufferers as he could accommodate, I went on board to inquire whether it were possible to procure a passage for Marsh. In the crowded state of Captain M'Keevor's ship, it could not have been considered any breach of charity, had he de-
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clined to receive our poor invalid, who required considerable space for the accommodation of his water-bed case: but, with a kindness which I shall never forget, Captain M'Keevor consented to take him; and, that he might enjoy the fresh air, had a little room fitted up on the main-deck near the hatch-way, the walls of which were formed of flags which, for many a year, had "braved the battle and the breeze." When the boat came alongside, tackling was fastened to the four corners of the frame on which Marsh lay; and under the careful superintendence of the two surgeons of the St. Louis, he was hoisted up the lofty side of the vessel, and let down the main hatch-way on to his water-bed so gently, that not one of the numerous little pillows which supported his limbs, and kept them in fixed positions, was displaced. "What warm hearts are sheltered by the rough exterior of those poor sailors!" said Marsh, when quietly settled on his bed; and then added, with that playful smile which so often lighted up his
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pale countenance when he was free from pain, "Why, they handled my frame, father, while getting me on board, as though I had been a large China vase." Whether on sea or land, Marsh was always surrounded with kind friends, and this he experienced again on board the St. Louis from those who up to that period had been perfect strangers to him. Speaking on this subject afterwards, he remarked, "How kind the captain, and officers, and sailors, and passengers, were to me on our voyage from the Bay of Islands! Capt. M'Keevor used so frequently during the day to come to my bed-side, and say, with such a kind tone, 'Well, my son, how do you feel now? Can I do anything for you?'"
The day after we sailed, Marsh said to me, "There is a poor man lying in the hospital with a shattered leg, and it is uncertain how soon he may be called into eternity; and yet I heard him swearing this morning. Do go and speak to him, father." One evening there was so much motion that the water
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could not be kept in the case, and it was necessary to suspend poor Marsh on his frame to the beams of the deck. This exposed him for several hours to severe pain, which he bore most patiently; when mercifully the sea became smooth again, and several small casks of fresh water being poured into the case, (for salt water would not do, on account of its injurious effects on the Macintosh cloth,) Marsh was again let down with a grateful heart upon his water-bed.
We cast anchor in Auckland harbour during the night of the 15th, and on the following morning Capt. M'Keevor requested me to hold Divine service with the crew and passengers, your dear brother apparently much enjoying a calm and peaceful Sabbath. On Monday the Governor came on board; and though it was under a salute which made the St. Louis tremble to the centre, it did not affect your brother's head, weak and debilitated as he was. The Governor kindly went below to give one word of comfort to Marsh,
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whom he had also called on during his visit to Te Waimate. He was struck with your brother's evident growth, although he had been lying in one position for nearly eleven months. In the afternoon we landed in St. George's Bay, and took up our residence in a house formerly occupied by Mr. Cooper; Marsh remarking, "How great a change has passed over me since I was last in this room! I was then in buoyant health at an evening party on my way to school: the pianoforte stood near where my water-bed is now placed, and I can recollect the hymn we sung at family worship. How little I then thought of being carried about in this helpless state; but it is well."
During our stay at Auckland the Governor, Mrs. Fitz-Roy, the Chief Justice, Mrs. Martin, the Bishop, Mrs. Selwyn, Rev. J. F. Churton, and a large circle of friends, lightened as far as they could your brother's trial, by reading to him, praying with him, making paper pillows for supporting his hands and
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legs, and supplying him with any little delicacy which they thought might tempt his appetite, and support his failing strength; and Mrs. Leech, who heard of Marsh's love of flowers, used to keep him supplied with rich bouquets, upon which he would gaze for lengthened periods with apparent pleasure, his thoughts meanwhile rising, I doubt not, "from nature up to nature's God;" and this is one of the uses of flowers, as Mary Howitt sings--
"Our outward life requires them not;
Then wherefore had they birth?
To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth;--
To comfort man, to whisper hope,
Whene'er his faith is dim;
For who so careth for the flowers,
Will much more care for him."
I ought in justice to mention, that one of the most attentive of Marsh's nurses was a New Zealander, named Hemi Warana, who for many months was without an uninterrupted night's rest, but whose untiring kindness never
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knew a change, although the following expression of Marsh's will show his perfect helplessness, and the constant attention which he required: "What a relief it would be to poor Hemi if I had power to brush off a fly when it settles on my face, or could move one inch on either side."
I was obliged on one occasion to leave Marsh for six weeks during his sojourn at Auckland, and thus wrote to your mother from Tauranga: "Every view, every object is associated with our dear afflicted boy. The animals that he petted, the arbour he planted, the little garden which he so carefully tended, the ground over which he was accustomed to bound, the room in which he slept, the spot from which, night and morning, his prayers arose, that he might be made a child of God, (prayers which, in a way inscrutable to us, have yet been unanswered,) sometimes fill my eyes with tears; but 'I give myself unto prayer,' and am soon enabled to 'go on my way' to active duties, if not 'rejoicing,' yet
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at least consoled, supported, strengthened. The good Lord comfort him and you also, and grant to both of you strength according to your day."
I wrote to Marsh by the same conveyance:--"Often do I wish that you were at home; but we must wait the Lord's time. He has hitherto sustained you in a most merciful, as well as most wonderful manner. May you, my dear boy, have grace not only to hope, but quietly to wait, for His salvation. Be much in prayer, that this heavy trial may be sanctified, and thus lightened to your soul. Yet a little while, and these sorrows (if we are indeed God's children by faith in His dear Son,) shall have passed away, and we shall have entered into that blissful place, where the inhabitant shall no more say 'I am sick.'"
On May 13th, I returned to Auckland. Little change had taken place in dear Marsh's appearance; but he was too weak to enter into any lengthened conversation; his faith,
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however, had not failed him: this was in quiet steadfast exercise."Thou hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast not fainted."
The importance of truth in all its bearings was deeply impressed upon your brother's mind. ----- was in the habit of using very strong terms in his hearing, and that on trifling occasions. "What a pity it is," he quietly remarked, "that ----- always uses the superlative degree! If ever circumstances should arise when strong language would be necessary, ----- would feel quite at a loss." I remember, too, the tenderly solemn tone with which he said to you one day at Auckland, when he saw you looking at a fairy tale, which had been sent to you, "Do not read that book, dear Celia: there is no truth in it Fairy tales are nonsense." On another occasion he said to me, "I wish you would remove the reviews, which are on the sideboard. I fear that ----- reads them while you are at church instead of his Bible, although it
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is God's day." Marsh retained throughout his protracted illness a powerful memory, which appeared to triumph alike over excessive weakness of body and the continued administration of strong narcotics. Mr. Chapman told me that, at the time of his preparation for Ordination, he used to read by Marsh's bedside the portion appointed for the Bishop's morning lecture, and then your brother would repeat to him with surprising correctness the various divisions of the subject, together with Pearson's arguments. His recollections, too, of Ecclesiastical History (a study to which he was much attached), were very striking. But especially was his memory tenacious in respect to hymns and the word of God, which was indeed "hid in his heart." He mentioned at Auckland that, one day, when a little boy, he was with me at Maunga Tautari, and, while I was engaged with the natives, he sat in the tent, and learned the 5th chapter of 2nd Kings--the history of Naaman,-- that he might repeat it to his mother on our return.
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"Get a Bible," he added, "and see if I can now recollect that instructive history." He repeated the chapter with scarcely a verbal error. Marsh's tender consideration for others amidst his own severe sufferings, was a beautiful trait in his character. During a very restless night, while at Auckland, he said, "I fear, my dear father, you will be quite worn out with fatigue; you have had to change the position of my pads so often. I have tried to bear the pain for the last hour without calling you, but I could not support it any longer." And on other occasions, when your mother has been lying in an adjacent room, confined by an attack of headache I have known Marsh bite his lips till a deep mark was left, in order to prevent his shrieking out when his sores were dressing; "for it will make my dear mother's head throb more," he remarked, "if she hears my cries, and knows the pain I am suffering."
One day in July Dr. Davies perceived
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a change in your brother, which induced him to pay a second visit in the afternoon; and he then expressed an opinion that Marsh would not survive the night. Of Marsh's preparedness for the approach of the Bridegroom, whether announced at the mid-day or the midnight hour, I entertained no doubt; yet I felt it to be a duty to inform him of the opinion which Dr. Davies had given. Marsh replied, with that quiet, trustful spirit which never forsook him, "God knows what is best for me, father." To be thoroughly imbued with this spirit is to have advanced far in the divine life. How much of restless care and feverish anxiety should we be spared, if, amidst "all the changes and chances" of our pilgrimage, we were perfectly convinced that God knows what is best for us, and acted upon the conviction, in "casting all our cares upon Him who careth for us!"
Contrary to expectation, dear Marsh again rallied for a short season. In the month
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of August he renewed a wish, that he had often expressed before, to return home-- as he called Tauranga--forgetting, perhaps, that, in his debilitated state, it could no longer be to him the happy home that he once so much enjoyed. After consulting his medical attendant, we determined, if possible, to gratify his wish; and, through the kindness of Governor Fitz-Roy, we were offered a passage in the Government brig, which was about to proceed to the southward. Our kind Bishop charged himself with the embarkation of your brother, who bore the removal far better than could have been anticipated. Our voyage, too, was one of great mercy, a fair wind with a smooth sea carrying us in twenty-two hours to our "desired haven." A trifling incident occurred on board, which showed Marsh's habitual kindness of disposition. A native was smoking near the place where your brother was lying. His attendant, perceiving that it made him sick, and fearing the consequences in his
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sadly weakened state, was about to take away the man's pipe, when Marsh said, "Do not break the poor fellow's pipe, but ask him to go on deck. He did not know that it would affect my poor stomach so much."
We landed on August 21st, and Marsh, being placed on his bed in the front sitting-room, expressed his gratitude for having been brought back to his home in safety; but he never afterwards breathed a wish to be carried out even to see his favourite garden. He evidently felt that he was near his journey's end; and his "affections," weaned from earthly objects, were supremely "set on things above."
On the following day the natives came flocking around; and we were obliged to let Marsh see "the old familiar faces," though he was too weak to enter into conversation. They entered the room, a few at a time--gazed affectionately for a minute or two on the wasted form of your brother,
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received his friendly smile--and then walked quietly out; the silent tear on many a cheek giving utterance to the feeling of the heart A few days after our arrival Marsh was cheered by a visit from his much-loved friend, the Rev. Thomas Chapman, who for ten days resumed his old position by your brother's bed-side, again to minister to his necessities, to animate his faith, and to feel his own strengthened by the contemplation of such "an example of suffering affliction and of patience."
Your brother, at this period, was unable to speak much, but he used to ask for particular psalms, and other portions of God's word to be read to him, and would then remain for hours in a quiet, peaceful state, evidently meditating on the subject read to him. The Psalms in which he took an especial delight, were those which he had committed to memory when a child; and we were often struck with their peculiar suitableness to his state; although at the
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time of his learning them he could not have anticipated, that, in the fifteenth year of his age, they would afford him such rich consolation on a sick and dying bed.
Occasionally Marsh would feel a little revived from his habitual weakness, and would then enter into cheerful conversation. Thus, after looking steadfastly at a large engraving hanging near his bed, he said one day, "What a benignant countenance that is of Dr. Marsh! It does me good to study it."
At another time he remarked, "I have no fear as to my sins, for they are washed in a Saviour's blood. I have every hope of reaching heaven, for God loves me: my only fear is lest I should become impatient." From this, however, he was graciously preserved. He held the beginning of his confidence steadfast unto the end, and thus afforded an additional proof that he had been made a partaker of Christ. (Hebrews, iv. 14.)
On the Sunday preceding your brother's
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departure he was in a very peaceful state of mind, and was able to converse with less pain than the effort of speaking had produced for several weeks. While I was holding Divine service with the natives, he entered with great calmness into conversation with your mother on the subject of his approaching death. I love to read the memoranda which she made of that sweetly solemn interview:
"We spoke on the subject of prayer. Marsh said that he had felt it a great trial when he was unable even to repeat the Lord's Prayer with us at family worship. I replied, that if we were too weak to pray audibly, God, who knew the desire of the heart, would mercifully listen to the sigh of the broken spirit, and accept the unuttered praises of a grateful heart. 'Yes, mother,' he added, 'for He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust.' I asked him, whether, amidst all his sufferings, he could still feel that 'God is Love.' He replied
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with firmness and energy, 'Yes, mother.' Marsh then referred to several remarks made by dear Mrs. Wilson on her deathbed; and asked what verse it was she addressed to her son John,--'Seek the Lord while He may be found.' He then spoke of his kind friend Mrs. Dudley's severe illness. I told him, that from a letter we had just received from the Bishop, it was probable that poor Mrs. Dudley was gone to her rest 'Not poor Mrs. Dudley, mother,' replied Marsh, 'it is poor Mr. Dudley.' He felt how inappropriate the term was, as applied to one who had entered (or was on the point of doing so) upon 'an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.' No; they are the poor who are left behind, to struggle on against the 'lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,' which present so many fearful obstacles to the progress heavenward even of God's own dear children. I repeated, at Marsh's request, the hymn com-
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mencing, 'Jesus, refuge of my soul;' and, at the line, 'While the raging billows roll,' I said, 'The billows which have rolled over you, my dear child, have been those of pain.' 'Yes, mother,' he replied; 'but they have been only bodily pains,'--a remarkable expression, whether considered in reference to his constant peace or to those sufferings from which at times the stoutest heart might have shrunk, but under which he was so wonderfully, so graciously supported. Dear Marsh afterwards said,'Why is His chariot so long in coming?' but immediately added, in a sweetly subdued tone, 'I hope I am not impatient. I had rather wait God's time.' Soon afterwards he said, 'You will be sorrowing for me, dear mother, while I am rejoicing.'"
With this strong expression of faith, the memoranda made by your mother close, and I am reminded by them of some lines which I have since read, but which your brother, I believe, had never seen:--
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"Oh, think that while you're weeping here,
His hand a golden harp is stringing;
And with a voice serene and clear,
His ransom'd soul, without a tear,
His Saviour's praise is singing.
And think that all his pains are fled,
His toil and sorrows closed for ever,
While He, whose blood for man was shed
Has placed upon His servant's head
A crown that fadeth--never."
On Friday, September 12th, your dear brother suffered such intense pain during the time his wounds were dressed, that towards evening his mind at length gave way, and he had but few lucid intervals during the remaining forty-eight hours that his ransomed soul was detained in its clay prison-house; yet even his wandering, incoherent expressions seemed all to have reference to the great subject of salvation. He exclaimed at intervals in thrilling accents, "I am pardoned," "I am saved," "I am happy," "I am crowned," "I have been in
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heaven, father!" "Hallelujah!" You remember that frequently at our fireside we used to repeat in rotation texts of Scripture from memory, either to illustrate some doctrine, or to show the fulfilment of some prophecy; and that at times we varied our happy employment by repeating texts in alphabetical order. We had an affecting instance of the deep hold which these exercises of his childhood still retained on Marsh's memory, even when his mind was unconscious of what was passing around him. He looked as though he were in the act of listening, and then said, "I repeated V; it is your turn, father, W." I immediately said, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." He corrected in his unconscious state one verbal error which I made, and then sank off again into a slumber.
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On Saturday, September 13th, while we were standing around his bed, he gave to you and Miss Baker a smile of recognition, though there were other friends whom he did not know. I then pointed to your mother, and said, "Do you know who that is?" He smiled, and replied feebly, "Yes, it is my dearest mother. Kiss me, mother;" and then added, "Kiss me, father." It was in the afternoon of this day that he used the remarkable expression, "I am drowned in an ocean of glory." Was his mind indeed wandering when he uttered these words, or was he trying to express his sense of those "joys unspeakable? which were blazing on his soul from the throne of the Eternal?
It became evident on Sunday, September 14th, that the time of dear Marsh's departure was at hand. We had looked forward to the last struggle with trembling hearts, on account of the agony which followed the slightest movement in his limbs; but God was better to us than our fears: your brother
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was kept remarkably quiet during the day. I heard him once gently whisper, "Father," and thought he was speaking to me; but I found he was saying a passage from 2nd Kings, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." This was the last text which he repeated. He spake, indeed, but one sentence afterwards, "Is that my coffin? Amen. Make haste. Hallelujah!" Thus Marsh's last accents in time, and I doubt not, his first in eternity, were "Hallelujah!" "Praise to the Lord." I felt on that sacred day, that the still chamber of your brother was not merely occupied by affectionate parents, and an "only son." No; angels were there ministering to an "heir of salvation;" our Saviour was there, making radiant by His presence the otherwise "dark valley;" and Death, too, was there, not as a king of terrors, but as a welcome messenger; and so silent was his approach, that though your mother and I were kneeling by Marsh's bed-side, and in-
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tently watching his placid countenance, we could not discover, even by a sigh, the moment when he fell asleep in Jesus, and his soul winged its flight to that glorious inheritance for which the Holy Spirit had at length ripened him:--
"So fades the summer cloud away,
So sinks the gale when storms are o'er,
So gently shuts the eye of day,
So dies a wave along the shore."
We closed your brother's eyes, and, but for the coldness which belongs only to death, it would have been difficult to have persuaded ourselves that he was not asleep, so thoroughly peaceful was the expression of his countenance. Then, joining our friends in the next room, I read his favourite psalm, sang his favourite hymn, and returned thanks to Him who had delivered your brother, and "our brother," out of the miseries of this sinful world, to partake in His presence "fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore." (Psalm xv. II.)
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Mr. Davies and some other friends proceeded to remove the body of our dear Marsh from the frame on which he had lain for nearly seventeen months. All the processes of the spine were bare, and wounds, which had been hidden by the calico of the frame, were now for the first time brought to light. Severe as we knew his sufferings had been, we felt that their intensity could only have been fully known to himself and to that God who had promised (and who had fulfilled that promise) never to leave or forsake him.
It would be in vain to attempt a description of the disease of which your dear brother died; for it so perfectly baffled the knowledge of the nine civil, and naval medical men who at different times visited his bed of suffering, that I never knew one of them express any decided opinion as to what the disease really was. It assumed at different stages the characters of erysipelas, remittent fever, rheumatic fever, disease of the spine, and anasarca. It is cheering to turn from Marsh's sufferings
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to the thought that he had no impatient haste to escape from them; and that now, justified, sanctified, glorified, he is for ever beyond the reach of sin and sorrow.
"When I think of what our darling is,
And what we still may be;--
When I muse on that world's perfect bliss,
And this world's misery;--
When I groan beneath the load of sin,
And feel this grief and pain;--
Oh! I'd rather lose my other child,
Than have him here again."
An act of delicate attention, from a quarter where we could hardly have expected it, deserves being noticed in this place. As soon as it was known that Marsh was dead, several European settlers in a neighbouring pa made an excellent coffin, and asked permission to bear his remains to the grave. They also steadily refused afterwards to accept of any remuneration, either for the coffin or for their most acceptable services.
On the 17th September, Marsh was borne
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to the grave, followed by a small band of his dearest friends. Two hundred natives also came unbidden from different places to the funeral, and the Infant-school children sung at the grave--
"Here we suffer grief and pain;
Here we meet to part again;--
In heaven we part no more.
Oh, it will be joyful, joyful, joyful,
When we meet to part no more!"
The Burial-service spoke comfort to the hearts of your parents. They left the body of your brother in the "dust of death," but it was "in sure and certain hope of his resurrection to eternal life;" and, amidst tears which nature extorted, but faith disowned, they could still say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
I requested the Rev. Thos. Chapman to preach Marsh's funeral sermon, but his kindly heart shrank from the task; the duty, there-
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fore, devolved upon me; and greatly was I supported under it; for, when led by my text to speak of the joys of heaven and the glories of the New Jerusalem, I felt that it was a high privilege to have a child partaking of those heavenly glories. And when our subject spoke to us of crowns of glory, and verdant palms, and harps of gold, I felt how rich was the consolation poured into the hearts of Christian parents, who, with the full assurance of hope, could say, "We have children wearing those crowns, and waving those palms$ and striking those harps to the praise of redeeming love."
After the death of Marsh we received, from different friends in New Zealand, no less than thirty-nine letters, filled with Christian consolation for your parents, and touchingly showing that your brother had entwined himself around many hearts, and was enshrined in many memories. From one of those letters (that of the lord Bishop) I will copy a sentence, because it gives in a few words a
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beautiful sketch of our dear Marsh's character: --
"Your dear boy is one of those whose memory will always be as oil upon the troubled waters of my public life. His sick chamber was peculiarly the mansion of peace: the daily expectation of death, and yet the freedom from all fear;--the boyish yielding to the smaller pains of the body, and yet his Christian patience under all his greater sufferings;--his usual quietness and silence, and yet the point and clearness of his occasional expressions of faith;--his feeling of entire helplessness, and yet his thoughtfulness for the fatigue of those who attended him;--his desire to reach Tauranga, and yet his contentment to be wherever God placed him; all rise upon my mind in one picture full of peace and repose; it was such a rest of the soul upon the bosom of his Saviour's mercy. I pray God that I may so follow Christ, that my last end may be like his."
A scholarship has since been founded in
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St John's College, bearing the name of "Marsh;" and I pray that in future years many youths, poor in this world's goods, but rich in faith, may, as "Marsh scholars," go forth from its walls to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ to the aborigines of New Zealand. It was the hope and prayer of your parents, even from Marsh's birth, that he might become a "minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles." We will not repine that he is now a priest unto God, serving Him day and night in the heavenly temple. Marsh was not permitted to glorify our Saviour by active service, but
"They also serve who only stand and wait;"
and the future may reveal that his example planted a seed which bore fruit to life eternal. I can Call to mind, even now, many a cheering proof that your brother did not live in vain. "We see in dear Marsh," said a clerical friend one day on leaving his chamber, "the immense importance of a really Scriptural
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education, and I hope to pay an increasing attention to the subject in my intercourse with the boys' school." "I have learned many a lesson by your child's bedside," writes another clergyman, "which will be of benefit to me in my future ministry." "I never leave your dear boy's room," said another clergyman, "without being ashamed when I see his Christian temper under such suffering, and feel how soon my own is ruffled by trifles." Were I at liberty to do so, I could add some pleasing particulars which have come to my knowledge of religious impressions having been deepened and strengthened by beholding the closing scenes of your brother's earthly pilgrimage.
In connexion with the above subject I may add here an extract from two other letters of the Bishop:--
"Nothing did us all more good at Te Waimate than such an object as your dear boy, to withdraw the mind from self, and to give it a constant and experimental knowledge of
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that faith which worketh by love."--"You will not have failed to observe that the spirit of your dear boy's death-bed was the object aimed at in the hospital rule: to embody in a general system of catholic love that which was so edifying in its particular application. How easily might every one of those who kept the night-watches by his bedside have ministered to many others as helpless as he was; and how naturally does the mind, which has felt the sweetness of one such exercise of love, desire to extend its own range of gratification by enlarging its means of usefulness!"
I have now, my dear Celia, finished the task which I imposed upon myself. Mingled feelings of joy and sadness have filled my heart while tracing scenes connected with the closing days of your sainted brother's life. I cannot but hope that in reading these pages you have shared those feelings; and while under their softening influence, I would solemnly and affectionately urge you, by the
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love you bore to your dear brother, to pray for grace to follow him as he followed Christ; In common with Marsh, you have enjoyed privileges of which you will have to render an account,--like him, you have been dedicated to the Lord in holy baptism,--like him, you have been favoured with a Scriptural education,--like him, you are a child of many prayers.
1st, Like Marsh, you have been dedicated to the Lord in holy baptism. Are you desirous to renew in your own person the "solemn vow, promise, and profession," which your sponsors made on your behalf, that you should renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil? You have been baptised into the death of Christ Are you a partaker of His resurrection? for "we, who are baptised, are to die from sin, and rise again unto righteousness." Show that you are born from above by walking not after the flesh, but after the spirit Show that you have been made "a partaker of the death of
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Christ," by dying unto sin, and living unto Him. Show that you are "risen with Christ," by seeking those things which are above. Show that you, are "in Christ," by becoming "a new creature" in desires, affections, principles, and pursuits.
2d, Like Marsh, you have been favoured with a Scriptural education. Has the rich blessing of the Great Teacher--the Holy Spirit--accompanied the instruction of your earthly parents? Has the desire arisen in your heart that you may know God's commandments to do them ? Do you find God's word, as your dear brother did, sweet unto your soul--your song in the house of your pilgrimage? Do you make it a light to your feet and a lantern unto your paths? Do you hide it in your heart, that you may not sin against God?
3d, Like Marsh, you are a child of many prayers. May your parents be spared the anguish of feeling that those prayers have been offered in vain! Never lose sight of
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your baptismal vows, and never cease to pray for grace to fulfil them. Religion is no fiction, but a blessed reality. It must be everything, or it will prove to be nothing. "He who is not with me," is the language of our blessed Saviour, "is against me." But, if you are on the Lord's side, you shall find His service to be perfect freedom. Temptations will be yours, but a way will be made for your escape. Afflictions will be yours, but they will prove sanctified blessings. A race will be set before you, but strength will be imparted to "finish" it. An incessant conflict with your soul's triple enemy--the world, the flesh, and the devil,-- must be daily waged; but you will fight, not as uncertainly, but with the assured hope of victory, and shall at length come off conqueror, and more than conqueror, through the Great Captain of our salvation. And then, justified by faith, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, you will join your beloved brother, and the
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general assembly of the first-born, and with them sing throughout eternity the song of Moses and the Lamb.
Your most affectionate Father,
ALFRED N. BROWN.
TO MARIANNE CELIA BROWN.
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ADDRESSED TO ALFRED MARSH BROWN IN HIS INFANCY, BY HIS FATHER.
My babe! what varied feelings fill my breast,
As o'er this life's tempestuous sea I gaze,
And view thee launched upon its troubled surge--
A fragile boat--the sport of every wave.
Fear shows me rocks where other boats have struck,
And gulfs, where some have sunk no more to rise;--
Hope points to port--to shores of endless rest,
And Faith to regions of unclouded skies.
Those scenes be thine! When every storm is past,
Go swell the notes of praises to thy Lord;
And while on earth, rich be thy faith and love;--
Jesus thy pilot, and thy chart His word.
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WRITTEN BY MR. STACK, ON HEARING OF THE DEATH OF ALFRED MARSH BROWN.
Go on thy way, sweet spirit! bend
Thy course to joys which know no end;
Nor longer stay in world of pain,
The bitter cup of woe to drain.
Go early from this world of woe,
Ere manhood up to sorrow grow.
Let heavenly guards attend thy way,
To speed thy flight to realms of day.
Go, sweetly strike thy golden lyre,
Attuned to song by heavenly fire;--
Where life's pure river sweetly glides,
And everlasting spring abides;--
Midst seraphs' blaze, and cherubs' song,
Unite to praise the great Three-One.
With soul enlarged and mind full strung,
Unceasing be thy grateful song
To Him whose blood, ere time began,
In purpose flowed for guilty man.
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Long strove thy friends to stay thy flight,
And keep thee from that world of light.
We strove to keep thee from the skies,
By prayerful importunities.
But He, whose love's beyond compare,
Refused to listen to our prayer.
Go on thy way, thou lovely boy,
And speed thy flight to worlds of joy!--
Go early from this world of woe,
Ere manhood up to sorrow grow.
London Printed by G. BARCLAY, Castle St Leicester Sq.