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THE LAST WORDS
THE LADY COLTNESS.
IEING delivered upon the 27th of May of her 12th child, and for three days thereafter in a probable way of recovery, she found upon the fourth day that she was falling into a fever; and calling for her husband, told him her fears, both as to her sickness and as to her soul's interest, and begged him to remember her condition to the Lord, and intreated him for the Lord's sake not to be peremptor for her life, "For I desire not," said she, "to live, but pray that I die not in darkness as to my soul's interest;" adding, "The Lord hath often heard you for deliverances to me, when I have been past all hope, and has given me to you; now I beg for this, that the Lord would be with me by his power and grace through this sickness. And if he should leave me in this cloud, yet I will not doubt the reality of many gracious manifestations of himself that I have had, and how that often he hath made me in sincerity to resign and give up myself heartily to him; and now at this time, I dare not, nor will not, deny his gracious work then. But O my dear heart, wrestle with God for me, that I die not in darkness." Thus she wept upon him, and said, "Pray not for my life, for ye will be disappointed:" adding, "The devil is busy with me, tempting me strongly, saying, All ye had was but flashes ; thou wast nothing but an hypocrite, and formal in all thou didst, and careless. O too true; yet the Lord knows my sincerity, though with weakness, which I hope he hath accepted."
Her fever was yet little observed; but all judged that her anxiety about her soul's interest did help it on strongly, being still remarked to be in spiritual exercise, and ever praying with great confessions and whisperings, "O for contrition, contrition, contrition!" Thereafter, Mr William Violand and Mr John Inglis coming in to visit her, they held out to her the great and unspeakable grace of God, and of Christ, revealed in the gospel to poor lost sinners; and, after they were gone, she called for her husband, and said, " Blessed be God, she never heard anything more refreshing, and of more power and weight." But the next day, her sickness increasing, she cried out to her husband, "O, O! for assurance, if God would grant it to a poor sinner that is longing and crying for it, and looking to him for it!" This she expressed with vehemency, and her husband answered, "My dear, was not Christ always your choice, and preferable to all things? and dare you say before God that he was not so to you, and that he hath determined you to make him your choice?' She cried out most fervently, " O he was ever so, he was ever so to me, more desirable to me than riches, honours, pleasures, crowns, and all things! Lord, thou knowest. Whom have I in heaven but thee, or on earth whom I desire besides thee? O that I were with thee, where I shall sin and doubt no more, where the weary are at rest!" Which words occasioned a worthy Christian to say to her husband, "Can you say that ever you heard her doubt after that discourse T Which indeed she did not.
The next day she was heard to pray very long and with fervour of spirit, and towards the end she breathed out these words: "Lord, thou who appearedst so wonderfully to my son Johnie, being but ten years of age, to the admiration of all that saw or heard him, and were witnesses of his death; Lord, Lord! appear to me. Oh! it was true he was but a bairn, who knew not what sin was, nor could not sin as I have done, who am a thirty-seven year old sinner; but, Lord, upon whom thou settest thy love, sin will be no stop in the way. Lord, Lord, appear to me."
To set down all that she spoke of this kind during her sickness would make this narration swell to a great bulk; all the words that came from her were very gracious.
The night before her death she fell into a sweat, which continued about eight or nine hours together, so that all had good hopes that it might prove a cool; but albeit she found herself thereby not a little refreshed, yet she still said it was in vain to expect her recovery. And hearing again from the doctor and others present, that her condition was not so dangerous as she apprehended, she called for her husband, and said, "My dear, you will be surprized, quit me, quit me, for I have quit you and all my children, and all the world; I long, I long to be with him." The doctor said, "Would you not willingly abide with your husband and children, if so it were the Lord's will?" She answered, "I could submit to his will; but oh! I long, long to be with him, that is better than all:" and then, lifting up both her hands, she said, "Now, O my Lord! I come unto thee, thou knowest that in my health I sought thee, albeit with great weakness, yet with a sincere heart; and how often, often have I given myself up to thee with my soul and heart? and now I have nothing to look to in myself, but to thy free love, and to thy free grace. O free, free love! I look, look, look to this for mercy; I look to thy righteousness, that imputed righteousness; I look to that satisfaction offered at Jerusalem for sinners; thy blood crieth for better things than that of Abel. O blessed imputed righteousness! O blessed satisfaction I I renounce my own righteousness, it is all as rotten rags. Lord, I come unto thee; thou hast said, 'All that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.' 0,0,0! free love! though one might dare to die for a righteous man, yet our Lord for his enemies. O wonderful love! Lord, thou that knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee, I must not quit my grips of thee now." She insisted long on such like expressions to the commendation of free grace, and that with such fervency, as if her spirit would have gone forth with her words; reaching out her arms, and grasping with her hands as if she had seen Christ, she cried out, " I believe as really that Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father, as that I am lying here." Thereafter lying a while softly, she was heard say, "Lord, thou hast given me twelve children, and the third child I gave unto thee, and thou tookest him, (this was John,) and my seventh child I gave unto thee, and thou tookest him, and his sister also, (meaning Harry and Margaret,) and this my twelfth child I have given unto the Lord, the Lord bless him; yea, and all my children I have given unto the Lord as soon as they were born, and long before they were born, and I have desired from the Lord for them these two things only, first, that they may fear him, and that he may put his image on them; and next, I never sought riches nor honour unto them, but that the Lord would in his good providence dispose upon them to employments and callings, whereby they may live honestly, and not be burdensome to friends." But such as were about her, hearing her speak so easily, and still hoping that she might recover, prayed her to be silent, and take rest: whereupon she raised her voice and said, "Sirs, can ye believe this that I am to tell you? This night I will be with my son Johnie." And taking herself, she said, "Fy upon me! fy upon me! what is this I am saying of my son Johnie? I will be this night witi. my God, and my Lord Jesus,"and that holy and glorious company." Her rovings were almost none, only sometimes a few words through her sleep, but all was harmless and innocent; but the words she used most were, "Lord help, help Lord, leave me not now, keep that which I have committed unto thee." After this she told again that her end was near, and assured those that were present of it; but it could not be believed that it was so near, there being no outward sign from which this nearness could be concluded; yea, many had hopes, hearing her say to the doctor, "For all this my head is well, and I find my heart whole." So she was intreated to sleep, and not to waste her weak and wearied spirit; but she refused, saying, "Shall I sleep now when I am going to die? Lord forgive you all; for I assure you, if I fall asleep, I will never come out of it again;" -which indeed the event in a very few houra did very remarkably verify. At the same time she said to her husband, " My dear, you will be surprised." Then she added with more earnestness to the rest, " Would ye hinder me to speak now, when I have not above an hour to speak in this world?" which one present hearing, took out his watch, and showed to some standing by, who all said that it fell out just as she had foretold. But being again importuned to take rest, in respect that many still hoped, because she had little or no pain, she said with a whole sound voice, " Sirs, I tell you, that this night when your sun goes down, my sun will arise, and never go down; your sun will both arise and set upon you, but ray sun will never go down. O bright morning star I" After this, resolving to speak to her children and relations, she raised up herself as if she had np sickness, but had been to go about some work in health, and called for some rose-water and vinegar, saying, "Let me refresh my spirits that are weak for what I have to do;" and then bathed with her own hands her temples and face, and breathed up some vinegar into her nose; and having intreated all to go out of the room, except her husband and children, she spoke to her children that were come to years one by one, and taking up their natural dispositions, wisely pressed them to pray, and guard against such sins whereunto they might fear their inclinations would incline them to; speaking to each of them so particularly and pertinently, with such grace by the Spirit of grace, that it is hoped, that what is not fitting to be here reported, shall notwithstanding be always remembered, and the faults thereof still avoided by those who are concerned. Then she spoke to them of Christian duties, whereof she enjoined the practice with many godly persuasions; and then, after she dehorted them from many vices and evils with great authority, commanding them that they should abstain from vain company, and abhor the evils of this profane time, to guard against all uncleanness, and against all falsehood, and that they would stand to their education as they had been taught; adding, though you have not fallen in outward pollutions, yet that is nothing; "Let him that stands take heed lest he fall." Then to beware of