Early in September my dear uncle proposed coming to us. His visit was eagerly looked forward to, and on his arrival, my dear father threw his arms round his neck, and they kissed each other as if they had been boys again. My father talked to him a good deal in the evening, went through the history of his illness, and spoke clearly on some matters of business. From this time my uncle was constantly with us, only returning home occasionally for his Sunday duty.
The remembrance of his untiring ministry of love, and my father’s childlike dependence on him during the weeks that followed, can never fade away.
One day before my uncle came my father was able to drive out and transact some business. On reaching Mr. B.’s office, the clerk kindly came to him, and saved him the fatigue of going in. He said that he was sorry to see my dear father looking so ill. He replied, almost in the following words, “I hope I can say with my whole heart, may you be as happy as I am when you are in my weak state,” and then, gently laying his hand on his, he said, “Remember, all my happiness is in Jesus, not in myself.” To friends who came to see him the same day he said that he wished to encourage them to trust the Lord for an hour of weakness; and then spoke, almost in a rapture, but without any approach to excitement, of the joy of being present with the Lord.
By degrees the weakness increased, until he could only move from his own room to the drawing-room, but he had very little suffering. He wished to see everyone that called, and it was graciously ordered that all who loved him in Dublin were able to see and hear him once more. It was very seldom that he was unable to see any friend.
For many of his sweet and happy words, as well as the circumstances of the last month, I must refer to a journal kept from day to day, and to some letters sent home by my uncle, and shown to me afterwards:—
“Sept. 7th. He saw two or three friends, and spoke in his favourite strain, full of happy thoughts in the prospect of being ‘with the One who went through the cities and villages of the land, and is the same One still.’ Uncle G. insisted on sleeping in the drawing-room, to be near him, which he much liked, and when thanking him, he said, ‘But I know I might command anything from you.’
“Sept. 11th. I brought Jane Dixon up to see him. He spoke to her of his joy in the thought of being with the Lord. Mr. Cavenagh came in the evening, and sat silently beside him for some time, while he now and then expressed his joy in the thought of going to the Lord. At length Mr. C. said, ‘We don’t like to give you up.’ He fervently replied, ‘I am sure of it.’ Mr. C. then said something about ‘the glory and brightness ‘that were before him, and referring to this, he said, ‘It’s Himself that’s before me, Francis. He fills the whole vision of my soul.’ He clasped his hands together, and said, with tears, ‘I embrace Thee, Lord Jesus,’ and after a pause, ‘Were I to live, it would be still my joy and my business to be in the midst of you with the Word of God in my hand.’ He then named two or three whom he wished to see.”
Every evening, Mr. Cavenagh came, with unfailing kindness, and remained to sit up for the night if my uncle were away or needed rest, and one morning my dear father said, “Francis talks of the possibility of my returning to the Brethren. How can he talk so? So to have looked at my Lord, and then to be withdrawn from seeing Him!” At another time, “I don’t know how it is, but the scene seems shifting.” Feeling a little better, he was much affected at the thought of being brought back to life, and said that he so shrank from suffering, and clung to the thought of gently and painlessly “slipping away.”
To more than one friend he said that he had had “two surprises”: “If my body has been surprised into sickness, my spirit has been surprised into liberty.”
“Sept. 13th. While he was resting to-day, Mr. Denham Smith called, but we thought it not well to bring him up. He begged just to come and look at him. While Mr. S. was there he awoke, and held out his hand. He said that they had met in a different scene (referring to the revival services), but not a happier one, and then spoke of how the Lord had been blessing his soul the last two months, and urged Mr. Smith to preach Christ personally.”
He would sometimes beckon my uncle or me to come and sit near his easy chair, and he would rest his dear head on our shoulder.
“Sept. 15th. When feeling very weary, he said, ‘Oh for a rest on my brother’s shoulder!’ He frequently calls uncle G., ‘Georgie,’ the dear old name of childhood. I thought, as I looked at them thus together just now, of the picture taken of them when they were boys of about eight and nine, with their faces close together.
“Sept. 12th. Uncle G. watched him tenderly, and reported a bad night. He saw different people through the day, amongst them young F. Cavenagh, who was entirely overcome when leaving.
“Sept. 16th. He called me to him when he first came into the drawing-room and folded me in his arms, and said, ‘With what certainty I look at the Lord!’”
About this time I received a letter from Dr. Cronin, from which I quote his words about my dear father:
“Both the truest sorrow as well as joy fill my soul at every remembrance of my longest-known and most dearly-loved brother, friend, companion in God’s ways. Assure him of my alacrity to go to him, and of my one desire that the living One who was dead, may be the object of my soul’s desire and delight as He is his. Tell him he is amongst the uppermost objects of my heart’s love.”
On September 18th he arrived. My dear father bore the meeting better than I feared. He spoke to Dr. Cronin about his unpublished MSS., as quietly as if he were packing up for a journey.28
“Sept. 19th. He talked a good deal to Dr. C, spoke of ‘Brethren’s Principles’ and of the ‘Social Character of the Day’ hindering the apprehension of what he firmly believes to be required by the Word of God. He mentioned two or three persons whom they both knew, and sketched their characters. He spoke with as much clearness and decision as ever. Speaking of Christian intercourse where there is ‘merely discussion of points,’ he said, ‘Affection is not there—unction does not come forth, but only the withering of intellect. I ‘d rather minister from a felt thought or two, than from a volume arranged and digested in my mind.’
“Speaking of our blessed Lord’s humiliation, he said: ‘I worship Him as the Carpenter’s Son as thoroughly as I shall do as King of Kings by-and-bye.’ He uttered fervent words of adoration, praising the Lord for what He had given him in Himself, and for the title he had sealed to him in His unutterably terrible death.
“Sept. 20th. Mr. S—— came to see him, and sobbed like a child before he came in, and after he left the room.
“Sept. 21. Dr. Cronin came home from an evening prayer-meeting just in time to draw his wheel-chair (which had been my mother’s) into his room. He first asked about some one who had been a cause of trouble, and on hearing that he was ‘softened’ immediately said, ‘Now push me in,’ as if he wanted nothing more.
“Sept. 22. He bore the parting with dear Dr. Cronin well, but it seemed after to make him feel poorly.”
Soon after Dr. C. left my uncle returned (he had gone home for Sunday) and Sir E. Denny came from London to see my dear father. As they were both sitting with him he looked sweetly at my uncle, and said he should like not to have been so weak this evening that he might have talked a little. While Sir E. D. sat opposite to him he said, “I love to look at you,” and at parting threw his arms around his neck.
The book entitled, A short Meditation on the Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, was the last written by my father; and he entrusted it to Sir E. Denny, who afterwards had it printed.
He was always able to have a short reading and prayer morning and evening; and sometimes spoke a little about the verses we read, and in prayer his words were as ever, the same simple and appropriate ones.
He would sometimes mention suitable portions of scripture to those who came to see him; and one day I said that he had not given one to me. He answered sweetly, “All my words are for you;” and after a short pause named St. Luke 12.
All books were by degrees laid aside, and at last even his Bible. It seemed strange to see the companion of every day and all day lying on the table unopened, and yet not strange when he was so near the actual presence of Him of whom it had so deeply taught him. But though he scarcely liked to see a book opened, strange to say he occasionally liked to hear some lines read to him from a long meditation in poetry, which he had himself written at intervals during the last two or three years. He said it had been given to him for the hour of weakness. Those who knew my father will understand why it was thus with him; for the poem from beginning to end dwells entirely on the life, the character, and the love of the Lord Jesus, the theme he loved so well. It will be found at the close.
I have now to give some extracts from letters written to my dear aunt, Mrs. Bellett, whose love and sympathy were ever with us, and who afterwards shewed me my uncle’s letters:
“Dear John appreciates your love in allowing me to be absent from you; you cannot think how affecting are the expressions of his love to me. When he was lying on the bed in a state of great exhaustion, he took my hand and said ‘Georgie, you love me more than I deserve to be loved by you, when I think of all my crabbed ways to you (referring to some passages in our early childhood)—our Lord can forgive them, but can you? Yes, you can.’ And then he exclaimed—‘Oh, that I could go to Him in this gentle painless way!’ His nature is very sensitive, and he dreads pain.
“A little while since he roused himself to give expression to what is dwelling for ever on his mind—‘Oh, Lord Jesus, when Thou did’st build up this Creation, Thou did’st not leave its poor inhabitants to fear that it would fall to pieces about them, but by Thy sustainining power Thou did’st uphold it, and so with regard to Thy great salvation—it cannot fall; Thou bearest up the pillars of it; Oh Lord, who hast taught me Thy love, and enabled me to teach it to others, not by any effort of my own, but by tracing Thy dear and wondrous living ministry recorded by Thy Evangelists!’ This morning he called me to him and said, ‘The Doctor has made me hear music’; I thought his mind was wandering a little, though he has shewn nothing of the sort, but I soon found it was not so, but that he had a special meaning in what he said, for he added, ‘he tells me, the heart is failing daily.’
“He only called me up twice, and I and Ann29 gave him some tea. The least movement disturbes his breathing and produces palpitation; and he said to us when suffering in this way, ‘This is a little death to me, but oh how welcome when I think of the life that is behind it! How deeply welcome departure hence to be with Christ; absent from the body, present with the Lord!’ One to whom for years he has been strongly attached, called; he gave many words of spiritual counsel; and then, in reference to himself, spoke as follows:
“My complaint is pleuritic pneumonia, and I am becoming weaker day by day, but I never was so happy in all my Christian course as I am now. To be in prospect of being in the company of the Lord Jesus,—the Man out of whom virtue went to give blessings to sinners, and yet all the while God in the highest. To be with Him is my joy.’
“A little while since he was speaking of the goodness of the Lord in letting him down so easily, such a gentle decline, only interrupted by brief passages of suffering.
“‘Thou knowest, Lord, my weak and timid nature, so Thou dealest with me accordingly. But this is a poor character in which to enter into Thy presence. Some have been rolled off the rack into it. I shall see them with their crowns, and shall delight to see them, and I without one, without a crown, but in Thy presence. I know there is a kingdom of glory, but the whole field of my vision is filled with the Lord Jesus.’
“To Edward30 he said with great emotion—
“‘Oh, the joy of meeting an unrebuking gaze!’
“Dr. Walter said he wished he could get him into the country, that he might have a view of the pleasant fields. Dear John was much disturbed by this.
‘“Have I not,’ said he, ‘something better in prospect than pleasant fields to look upon!’
“He thus uttered his heart in prayer—
“‘Lord, I do not love Thee so as to suffer martyrdom in Thy service,—not as one who said, “Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death”—but I would be glad to go to Thee along this path of feebleness, for it is, and has been for some time now, the ruling thought of my heart; how happy a thing it must be to be with Thee, Lord Jesus.’
“After a little pause, he pursued his meditations thus—
“‘What He was here, that He is there, and what He is there, that was He here, the same for ever.’
“At one time he said—
“‘Oh, George, set Him before your people as the object for the affections to rest upon!’
“Mr. Darby came to see him, and the meeting of the two friends was very touching. Dear John held him in his arms, and expressed in ardent terms his great affection for him.”
A few weeks before this my dear father had written his last letter to Mr. Darby—in it he expressed the deep thankfulness he felt for ever having known him, and also his firm and ever-deepening conviction of the truth of Brethren’s principles. This conviction, which had never wavered, was so assured, and so clear to him, that whatever he might have felt as to causes of division which have arisen since, he would have “walked alone “rather than swerve from it.
When the first anniversary of my dear mother’s death came, we rather dreaded lest he should be too much affected by it. He only alluded to it once, but we found that he had thought that he might be called away on that day. On the following day he reminded himself that on that day “last year,” he had watched beside her the day after her death; and spoke of how she would have felt had she seen him in his weak state, and how well-ordered all had been.
“Sept. 24th. When Robert brought up his dinner, he held out his hand to him, and said, ‘Thankfully wearing-out.’ Soon after, he looked up, and added, ‘My Lord, am I moving towards Thee?’ and then spoke of the ground of his hope.
“Sept. 26th. He was anxious to see our very dear and. long-valued friends, Mrs. Leader and Miss Herrick, though, he had been having frequent visits from them all through his illness, and I found afterwards that his desire was to commit me specially to their loving care.
Never, surely, was a trust fulfilled with more thoughtful love.31
The sofa in the drawing-room was now made into a bed for him by day, and to the last he was helped, or wheeled in my mother’s chair, from his own room, which was on the same floor.
A thought, which Mr. Darby suggested, gave him much pleasure, and he spoke of it to my uncle and to me separately. It was that of being “hidden behind the Lord Jesus, and seeing Him honoured by the whole creation, by-and-bye.”
“Sept. 27th. His face has got back much of its old look, his colour is almost natural, and he speaks sometimes with his own sweet smile. We look at him with surprise. There is no distress, and he is able to lie with ease on his side, which he has not been able to do for some time. J. C. came to see him for a moment. He said, ‘the Lord keep you; make you as happy in Himself as He has made me.’ At one time, he spoke of feeling some ‘weariness’ and of submitting to the mighty hand of God, but immediately turned to the thought of ‘love’ in all.
“Sept. 29th. For a few moments he spoke in a way quite like himself, expressing his mind, with beauty and accuracy, about ‘the different worlds’—that of business and self-seeking; that of domestic affection; that of letters; and then turned to the thought of the ‘world to come,’ where his blessed Lord would be all.”
From this time he took no nourishment, except now and then a few grapes.
When told that some one had called to impure for him, whom he knew as one truly benevolent and amiable, but who had not submitted to the authority of revealed truth, he said, as if thinking aloud, “a beautiful vessel, marred on the wheel!”
“Oct. 1st. While Robert was waiting to help him into his room at night he said, ‘I am on my way to the Lord, and I long to reach Him.’
“Oct. 3rd. Mr. Cavenagh came early (Uncle G. is away for two days), and remained all day, generally sitting beside him holding his hand. Dr. Walter watched him through the night, which was disturbed by the cough.”
When my uncle returned my dear father seemed too much overpowered to notice him, except by squeezing his hand. When Ann came in the morning she said, “May God comfort you, sir,” and he replied, “Ah, faith in Jesus comforts me.” The next day he seemed quite revived again all the morning, and dictated some business letters through the day. An old friend, Rev. James Hogan, called to see my uncle, and when my father heard that he was in the house he sent for him. He kissed him and then said, “I love to look at your honest face.” He then spoke of his own happiness; and when Mr. H. expressed the hope that he might have the same, he said, “Encourage confidence in Jesus,” and spoke earnestly for a moment about presenting Him in preaching, and having confidence, not in “the Church,” but in “Him.” He ended by saying, “The Lord bless you and yours,” to which Mr. Hogan fervently added “Amen.” On leaving he said to my uncle that it was worth coming from Magherahamle ‘to get his blessing, though he did not come on purpose to see him.
George Richey came by his request Oct. 4th, and to him he spoke very clearly, first on business, and then of George’s mother; and, lastly, told him remember him as one knowing the peace of God and finding a satisfying object in the Lord Jesus, Whom he every moment longed to meet. G. was much affected.
On one occasion my dear father asked my uncle to tell him truly if he were “impatient,” and this is referred to in the following extract from another letter:
“When we laid him in bed for the night he said to me, ‘Georgie, how have I been to you?’ I said, ‘Always very loving.’ ‘Yes,’ he said; ‘but how have I been in my behaviour? I have betrayed myself before you all, and I ask your forgiveness. I have confessed it to the Lord, and He has forgiven me; but He requires submission, and must be submitted to. From this hour may He give me power to submit with patience.’ I reminded him that he had before used that prayer, and that it had been better with him ever since—he is indeed most loving and gentle.”
Another time he said, “I fear I am impatient with the Lord,” and explained that he had turned for rest to lie on his side, though knowing it would make him cough, and he asked if that were “rebellion.”
One evening he called Mary Perrott, and expressed sorrow for having spoken crossly to her, and then he asked if we all forgave him. He said that he had been impatient with us all, and owned subjection to be his duty, but added that it did not make him afraid to meet the Lord. My dear uncle said, “Terror is not in Him. You know this better than we do.” He raised his eyes and said, “My blessed, disobeyed Lord.” To Dr. Walter and Mr. Cavenagh he also owned impatience, and in his little prayer after I noticed the petition that “submission” might be our “thanksgiving.”
I must here say that no trace of this impatience which he seemed to feel remains in my memory; except, indeed, it may have been at times when he had a remarkable intuition (quite unlike him at other times) of how things ought to be done for an invalid, which we did not exactly understand.
“Oct. 5th he said, ‘I like to have you all near me to-day.’ He repeated one or two verses of Hart’s hymn, beginning, ‘A Man there is, a real Man,’ and said, with tears, how he must have been overcome when writing it.
“He said to uncle G—— how he liked those words, though they were in ‘the rugged style of a Puritan,’ and not in ‘the refined style of dear Archbishop Leighton.’
“This evening he called us to him, and said he would not have us deceived, or think more of the desire he had so often expressed to depart than was strictly true. It would be swords and daggers to him for us to be deceived; and then he said that the fear of suffering, and the desire to escape from present weariness, were with him, as well as a longing to be with the Lord.”
A few days before this my dear father spoke to Dr. Walter as follows. I quote from another letter of my uncle’s.
“The doctor came; dear John said to him, ‘Dear doctor, the Lord bless you and your house for all your kindness to me, and gather them all in, “in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,” and then, in the kingdom of glory. I have not taught nor practised the one enough. I blush, but I am not a bit afraid. I often prayed that the Lord would give me a mere vivid sense of His love to me. I had it, but not so comfortably or fully as I wished. But on the night of July 17th as I lay in bed it was given me. Doctor, if ever my hand touched yours, the Spirit then touched my spirit. I am as certain of it as I am that you are there. He sealed me, and since that day I gaze upon Him, not always, but when I do it is with satisfaction; on the dear and wondrous Man who came from heaven to make us happy, and has entitled us to happiness.’”
Journal, “Oct. 6th. He has been anxious all the morning about sending off the box,32 and told us to fill it up with biscuits, and was pleased, and looked on with his own sweet smile while we packed it with cakes for the children. He wished also to have two or three little books put in.
“At one time, lifting his finger and calling us all to hear, he said that the exultations of feeling he had expressed were not hypocrisy, but frames and feelings were little, and though he could say that his desire was to be with the Lord, he would not have us think him so ‘heavenly-minded or spiritual’ as not to be desiring rest from the suffering and weariness.
“Oct. 7. When I went into his room this morning, after he had held me in his arms for a few moments, he said, ‘Wondrous has been the thrust of Satan at me this night, and blessed the victory given, but it is as sure as you are my Letty.’ I asked what he referred to; but he said he could not tell me then.
“Soon after breakfast he called us to read; and he spoke a little about the verses 19 to 23 of St. Luke 7 He said that ‘John was weak in one point;’ he expected his prison doors to be opened as the eyes and ears of others were opened. He failed, as ‘every other steward has done, except the One in whom every promise is yea and amen.’ He then offered a short prayer, in which he mentioned the reality of the enemy’s fiery darts, and deliverance from them. Immediately after, he called my uncle and me to either side of the sofa-bed, and gave us the following account of what he had experienced:—
“‘Soon after Francis Cavenagh and I were left alone for the night, a mist seemed to come round me like the mist of hell, and one was sent to me. I thought I had known him before, he was clothed in white. He denied the truth of Scripture. I took the “Word in my hand, and bolted one passage after another at him, but still he held his ground. “The moral glories of Scripture a lie! “I said; “they are as true as heaven and earth.” The temptation still continued; and I felt weak. But I cried to the Lord for help; and gradually I rose out of the mist into a calm atmosphere; and I was with my Evangelists again. But it was dreadful while it lasted. That is a plain, unvarnished tale.’
“My dear father told us afterwards that he would not but have gone through this exercise. No shadow seemed to remain upon his heart, and he said it had been a fresh link between his Lord and him.
“We asked Mr. Cavenagh if he perceived anything of it while he watched through the night; and he told us he had been conscious that my father was passing through some new exercise of heart, for he heard him repeating to himself, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee,’ and other verses of the same character. He heard him also say, ‘The unassailable Scripture, a tower of beauty and strength.’ He thought it continued for some time; but my father did not seem to him much agitated, and lay quietly for some time after it had passed before he went to sleep.
“Oct. 7. Evening. He asked for the servants to come up, as he wanted to pay what would shortly be due to them himself. As he gave each little parcel of money, he said that they had been ‘faithful,’ and asked if he had been ‘kind.’ While Uncle G. sat beside him, he spoke of a fall he once had from a pony in early days, and reminded him of a battle he had once fought for him at school, ‘saying that ‘he was a cowardly fellow.’
“My uncle was obliged to leave us again for two days. On Oct. 8th Mr. Cavenagh watched him through the night with tender care, and my dear father warmly expressed his affection for him.”
I have now come to the last entry in the little journal.
“Oct. 10. He called me to him, and putting his arms round my neck, held me thus for a few moments. He then told me to ‘write,’ and gave directions about some business. I asked if Mary and I should read a few verses; he at once assented and said, ‘Read the close of Matthew 6.’ We did so; and he said a few words, partly prayer; they were a little confused, but there were some about ‘exchanging such a world as this, for Christ’s world.’
“He wished to see the servants again, to give them the little, legacies left them by Aunt Alice. With entire clearness, and remembering exactly which little parcel was for each, he placed them in their hands, saying he had ‘wished to give them’ himself. Afterwards he lay for some time in a half-sleeping state; but about twelve o’clock a sad fit of coughing came on; and he called us to prop him up, and open the window. Then, for about an hour, we watched him as he lay in a kind of faint. When he revived, his own dear look came back a little. He asked if he had been ‘sleeping,’ and then said, ‘Why don’t they all come and tell me they are satisfied?’ When we told him they were so; in the sweetest voice he asked, ‘And is the Lord satisfied?’ and when I said ‘Yes,’ he bent his head to rest it on my shoulder like a child, and he was ‘satisfied.’ He would take nothing all day but water now and then.
“Later on Dr. Walter and Mr. Cavenagh came, and remained with him. He held out his hand to each, and now and then looked round, as if wanting some one else. It was now an effort to him to speak, but he asked to be wheeled into his room, and Mr. Cavenagh tenderly lifted him into bed.
“The breathing was disturbed, but he did not appear to suffer much. Dr. Walter had to leave for a while, but he called after him, and said, with some effort, ‘Tell me, am I going on?’ Dr. Walter assured him that he was; and he was content.
“Mr. Cavenagh, Mary, and I, stood by the bed-side. The servants gathered round. Mrs. Cavenagh had asked if she might come in and look upon him once more; she and one of her sons were in the room. Beside these, there was one more present—our kind and faithful friend, Miss Ferrall.
“From time to time a few words were said, but we did not know whether he noticed them, except once when Mr. Cavenagh repeated the verse, ‘My times are in Thy hand,’ he lifted his right hand, and said clearly, ‘Amen.’ He looked, every now and then as before, as if expecting someone, and this was surely my dear uncle. He tried to say something more than once, but was unable, and the effort by degrees stopped. He looked round the bed at us more than once, calmly and steadily. Gradually the breathing began to cease, and in a few moments he was at rest; and he is ‘satisfied’ for ever.
“My dear uncle came the following morning to find his tenderly-loved brother gone. He was grieved indeed not to have been with him, for he would fain have ministered to him to the end, with that love that for sixty-seven years had never been disturbed by even a passing shadow; but he felt it was all God’s ordering, and he patiently submitted to it.”
Of the days that followed, I need not write. Each day brought fresh proofs of what the sorrow was to many hearts.
One and another came, and asked to see him once more; and each one saw the face they had loved,” with its sweetest expression of happiness and rest.
Of all his friends in Dublin, none were willingly absent, and some came from a distance, when he was taken to his last resting-place in Harolds-Cross Cemetery, and there, by the hands of those only who loved him, he was laid by the side of my dear mother and Aunt Alice. The whole inscription on the headstone is given below, the beautiful verses which immediately follow my dear father’s name being suggested by my uncle:
PEACE IN JESUS.
Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin.
September 23rd, 1863.
Upper Pembroke Street.
May 19th, 1864.
“We have Redemption through His Blood.”
JOHN GIFFORD BELLETT,
Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin.
Oct. 10th, 1864.
“Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy Countenance, Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.”
The love which my dear father was so ready to give, secured to him the love of others; but I think he was quite unconscious of the influence it gave him, as well as of the reverent affection with which so many regarded him. A few extracts from letters much prized by me shall close this little record. The first was written to my uncle by Rey. J. Hogan, whose visit on Oct. 3rd has been mentioned.
“My dear George,—I feel only disposed to rejoice and give thanks with you for the great grace given to your beloved brother, and for his happy end; but, surely, this is a wrong word to vise. Even as regards this world, his memory and example may long exercise an influence for good on others, and though dead, he will still speak to many as one of the chosen witnesses of Christ in the world. I always thought there was something primitive about your dear brother; he reminded me of George Herbert, in his simple child-like devotion.”
The following is from Mr. Alexander, dated
“1st November, 1864.
“…To speak or write of him, and the love we bore him, would now be beyond what you may desire, yet the love is a living reality. We have to remember how he walked and behaved himself so meekly and humbly, and having our eye on Christ, the Son of God, to follow on.”
From Mr. S——:
“18th October, 1864.
“I need not tell you how more than thirty years acquaintance, a period which has embraced almost every phase of one’s life, had so connected him with me that it would be vain for me to seek reparation of the peculiar blank. I am a mourner like yourself. How my eye, if I ever visit Dublin again, will feed my heart with sorrow? Could anything remove the sable investiture of sorrow which shrouds that spot for me?”
Another friend wrote:
“The thought of your dear father’s being in heaven seems to make heaven nearer to me… He is now with that Saviour on whose praises he so delighted to dwell.”
From Dr. Cronin:
“All is silence now, but all is peace! Truly to my soul the peace of God and the presence of Christ are boundless, with my every remembrance of that precious spirit. That he is where he is, and that he has what he has, is such real satisfaction to my heart, though his absence from us is full of sorrow. I am conscious of such mingled feelings.”
From Sir E. Denny:
“13th December, 1864.
“I have not yet written to thank you for your kind letter and deeply interesting details. What a sweet history it is, what a tale of love! I do indeed bless God for enabling our hearts so sweetly to repose in the recollection of his ways and words at the last.”
The next extracts are from later letters written by the friend whom I quoted on page 46. He was never in connection with the Brethren. He is a clergyman of “moderate High-Church views;” and never heard my dear father in public further than by attending some Bible readings in early days. The impression, so deep and lasting, was made by himself and his writings, which were indeed the transcript of his mind.
“How thankful we ought to be to God who gives us every now and again such witnesses as your most dear and honoured father was, to His own glory, love, and character. If the servant were so lovely, what the Master.
“What I thought of Mr. Bellett, as a boy, I think still; he was one of the most remarkable and attractive men, if not the most, I ever met, and after thirty years, the tones of his voice, the expression of his eyes, and the exquisite utterances of his heart are as vivid as though I only saw and heard him to-day. Unique in character and gift, ‘being dead, he yet speaketh.’ Yes, your beloved father was unconscious of the reverence and love with which he was regarded; he was conscious, however, of God’s love in Christ, and Christ filled heart and mind, and so man fell into his proper place. Never, never shall I see such an one again.”
Again, in a letter of sympathy on the death of my dear uncle, he writes:
“What a meeting between the brothers so tenderly attached, in the presence of the Saviour whom they both loved. How they are now thanking Him for the love which led them all their lives through.
“‘O happy saints for ever blest!
At Jesu’s feet, how safe your rest.’”
And once again, in answer to my request to print these extracts: “As to my own words respecting him, if they are in any way expressive of my love and reverence for him, they are most gladly at your service. I place him among the greatest aids towards the realizing of Christ’s life and love I ever met.”
From Mr. C.:
“That I should have crossed his path and find myself a depository of so much from him, is a circumstance in my history in which the Lord’s hand and ways declare themselves to me.
“Those of us here to whom he was known, often rehearse his words to one another, and his memory is a fruitful theme. How little could one of such humble-mindedness as he was ever think how the Lord would thus honour him.”
From another friend:
“The last time he breakfasted with us we were talking of the ‘Separate State,’ and he said to me ‘If you want to wish to go to Him you must study Him in the Evangelists ‘How truly he proved the truth of his own words!”
The poem referred to already is as follows:
Blessed! the Jesus whom we know
In love’s unwearied paths below,
Track’d by Evangelists when here,
Is He who is ascended there—
And faith still knows Him as the same,
And reads with confidence His name.
God’s glory shone in that blest face,
In power, dignity, and grace.
’Twas not the light of Sinai’s brow
Which made all Israel to withdraw;
There was not there one single beam,
However dazzling it might seem,
Which told the heart to get a veil
To hide it, lest it faint and fail.
“Master, where dwellest thou?” they say,
And, gladly bidden, there they stay
And in that new, though holy, ground,
A dwelling place their spirits found.
Conscience another set apart
In converse with his waken’d heart,
But, for the fig-tree’s shade is given
Jesus, and then an open’d heaven.
“Come see a man that told me all,”
Was a convicted sinner’s call,
And they who at her bidding come,
Like her, with Him soon find their home.
E’en she, for whom the angry hill
Would yield its stones to stone and kill,
Th’ accused, condemn’d and guilty one
Remains at ease with Him alone.
Thus, mid our ruins once it shone,
Mid its own glories now ‘tis known:
But we can bear it brightest there,
Since we have learnt it dearly here.
Lord, I desire to trace Thee more,
Than e’er mine eye has done before,
Each passage of Thy life to be
A link between my soul and Thee!
For we shall see Thee as Thou wert,
When every utterance of Thine heart
Through all Thy works of love divine
Made all our need and sorrow Thine.
And we shall see Thee as Thou art,
And in Thine image bear our part,
In glory Thou, in glory we,
Bright in the heavenly majesty!
No part of Thy dear life below,
But in its fulness I shall know,
Retouched by Thee, regained by me,
In realms of immortality!
With burning hearts we’ll then rejoice
In echoes of that well-known voice,
Which to two burning hearts of old
Did mysteries of grace unfold:
The voice that still’d bold nature’s strife,
The voice that call’d the dead to life,
Which said, in sympathy, “I will,”
And spake in power “peace, be still.”
The hand that touch’d disease away,
And prov’d the sinking Peter’s stay,
That rais’d the widow’s child, and then
To her fond arms gave back again;
The hand that washed the feet all clean,
Speaking the heart that beat within;
The lifted hand that bless’d them here
When parting, but to bless them there.
The arms which still are what they were
When little children’s home was there.
The bosom, too, the same as when
John the beloved lean’d thereon.
Here changes wrought no change in Thee,
The same from first to last we see;
In life and resurrection.
Thou, Jesus! wert one both then and now.
In sweetest, gentlest forms of grace,
Amid Thine own Thou took’st Thy place;
The draughts of fishes on the shore
Bespoke Thee risen as before;
And the spread table told of One
The same, past, present, and to come.
Fed in the wilderness of old,
The camp of God nor bought nor sold,
But stores of heaven were op’d each morn,
And angels’ food, or heaven’s corn,
Convey’d on dew, supplied the place—
Grand, gorgeous miracle of grace!
And Thou, Lord Jesus! in Thy day,
Again did’st food in deserts lay;
Yet not in grandeur of the past,
But dearer—what shall ever last—
’Twas Thine own heart that felt the need,
’Twas Thine own hand the bread supply’d,
’Twas Thine own lips the blessing breath’d—
Heart, hand, and lips the service weav’d.
These were Thy sympathies with us,
And we shall ever know Thee thus.
’Twas joy to Thee, while here on earth,
To mark the progress of that birth
Which leads poor sinners into light,
Forth from the gloom of nature’s night.
’T was joy to Thee, while here on earth,
To hail the bold approach of faith,
The faith that reach’d Thee through the crowd,
Or, though forbidden, cried aloud.
For love delighteth to be used,
Faith’s earliest thoughts are ne’er refused:
And this same joy and love in Thee,
We know unchanged eternally.
The look, the sigh, the groan, the tear,
Which mark’d Thy spirit’s pathway here,
We own them still, O Lord, in Thee,
Thy mind, Thy heart, Thy sympathy!
Of Calvary I speak not here;
Blood sealed our only title there;
It has its own peculiar place
Amid the mysteries of grace.
But—the lov’d home at Bethany,
And neighbouring lone Gethsemane,
Poor Nazareth and Bethlehem,
And faithless, proud, Jerusalem,
The mount, the wilderness, the sea,
The villages of Galilee,
The gate of Nain, Sychar’s well,
The coasts of Sidon, all will tell
The One who travelled here before,
And tell us we need ask no more,
But stand, with welcome, soon to be
At home for ever, Lord, with Thee!
Thus, memory knows Thee, through the word,
In all Thy ways and doings, Lord!
And memory no fiction weaves,
But turns to truthful, living, leaves,
The footprints of a real past,
Which shine, and hold for ever fast.
’Tis not descriptive words of Thee,
But illustrations clear, we see;
God’s glory in Thy face portray’d—
Bright, living, likeness without shade.
They who see Thee the Father see—
Wondrous and priceless mystery!
The heavens Creator-glory tell,
His power and Godhead they reveal;
But these are hints by which we frame
Some of the secrets of His name:
But all He is, by sinners known,
In one blest Image He has shewn.
We have not there to guess and spell,
We read in lines, fair, bright, and full,
We read it in our Jesu’s face,
And now, all doubts and searchings cease.
The sinner looks, wayfaring men,
The poor, and babes and sucklings then;
All learn Thee as Thou art and wert,
And thus Thou art for ever learnt.
Whate’er of Thine has once been shewn,
That same is, sure, for ever known:
Thy virtues, like Thyself, all fair,
No seed of change or loss is there:
Each feature of Thy heart and mind
For ever shineth, in its kind:
“Because ’tis Thine,” makes this all plain,
It must be still, for it has been:
“Jesus the same, and ours for ever”—
No strength of hell this bond can sever.
But this we pray—for know we well
The world’s and nature’s dangerous spell—
“Let no fair hope of human joy
The fond desirous heart employ?
Let not the creature now repair
The breaches of each passing year!
With lamps still trimm’d, and virgin-love,
Teach us to wait Thee from above,
As bridal children, fasting here,
Till Thou, the Morning-Star, appear,
To share with us that earliest light,
Day’s harbinger, so lone and bright,
Pledging, ere long, a world new born,
Times of refreshing, like the morn.”
Thus may our hopes and fears be past,
And with Thyself our lot be cast!
For eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard,
What Thou, in glory, hast prepar’d
For him who loves and waits for Thee,
In Thine own world with Thee to be;
With Thee, who art no stranger here,
Though we as yet be strangers there.
In closing these recollections, and feeling how very imperfect they are, I can but humbly hope that time, recalling my dear father’s words and ways, may lead both myself and those who may read these pages to seek to know more fully the Blessed Lord, of whom he loved to speak and whom he sought to follow in humility and love.
28 Most of thorn were afterwards printed, in the Bible Treasury.
29 One of our faithful servants.
30 Sir E. Denny.
31 About the same time he said to Mary Perrott, “Mary, never leave my child.”
32 It was sent to our kind friend Mr. Miller, at “Wellington, with some business papers. His wife was a cousin of my dear father’s, the “Charlotte “mentioned in the earliest letter. They both loved and valued him very much.