"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." 2 Timothy 1:12

We have here what formed, in the hour of waning existence, the rest of a weary spirit—the pillow on which a dying spiritual hero reposed his aching head. This noblest champion of the faith had reached the Border river. But he finds the God of the Elim-palms has not left him at that supreme moment without a shelter. The same Jesus who had whispered in his ear accents of peace and hope and joy, ever since the memorable occasion when "he journeyed towards Damascus," mingles the most divine music of His name with the swellings of Jordan!

Paul, when he uttered these words, was left well-nigh alone; condemned to mourn in secret and solitude over the forsaking of former associates and friends. They had lost courage before the coming tempest, and abandoned the noble vessel to wrestle, as best it could, among the breakers. Cowardly themselves, they had apparently tried to appeal to the old prisoner's fears. 'Why persist in the hopeless cause, and prolong the hopeless conflict? Why maintain an unequal struggle for that which, being in antagonism to the Empire's belief, and to the will of the Caesars, must, sooner or later, fall to the ground? Why perish in the flames or by the sword, for what is doomed to perish with you?' 'No,' was his reply; 'disturb me not. Clinging to that faith in which I have lived, and for which I am now ready to die, is no act of willful, blind fanaticism—the reckless devotion of a visionary dreamer to a doomed and desperate cause. I have nobler and loftier anticipations regarding that for which I suffer. I have a grander confidence in the majesty of truth, than to suppose that it can eventually be crushed and overthrown by the base tyranny and hostility of man. I have appealed to a more righteous bar. That God, who sent His angel to me in the midst of the storm, will not leave me now. He has delivered me, and He will yet deliver me from the lions' mouth. My enemies may do their worst. They may insult my grey hairs; they may load me with chains; they may doom me to the public exposure of the amphitheater; they may burn my body and scatter its ashes on that river; but, "nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.'"

Beautiful and significant is the formula, if we may so express it, of this farewell Creed of the Apostle. He does not say, 'I know what I have believed,' but "I know whom I have believed;" or (as that is better rendered in the margin), "I know whom I have trusted." It is not facts, or doctrines, or confessions, or sects, or churches he speaks of, but his Living Lord—It is not even Christianity he boasts of, but Christ. This dying confession indeed of his faith, is quite what we would have expected from him. The motto of his existence was this—"To me to live is Christ"—"Christ my life." Life to him was a hallowed journey with Jesus at his side. He loved Him, and leaned upon Him as an earthly friend; like the sunflower opening to the radiant beams, and drooping in sadness and sorrow when that sun is away.

Belief, too, was with him, not a mere mental act—the cold calculating subscription of reason. It was the cleaving, trustful homage of a devoted heart; a loyal allegiance of the intellect, the thoughts, the motives, the will, the affections, to the Redeemer, as absolute Lord and ever-present King. Neither parent, nor sister, nor associate in his old Tarsus home, did he ever love like this Jesus of Nazareth. He had tried Him, and he had never found Him to fail. He therefore rejects with scorn the appeals of his timid and treacherous advisers, to purchase immunity from suffering by a base denial of his Lord. That trust of his was no enthusiastic dream. He had not abandoned home or kindred; he had not forfeited all he loved and valued on earth for the bauble of an hour. He had counted the cost; he had tested this "Stone laid in Zion;" he had found Him "a tried stone, a sure foundation." The heights above might combine with the depths beneath; fiendish men might be confederate with fiendish devils, in trying to shatter his confidence and blight his hope; but none would be able to separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus his Lord!

"Alone! yet not alone"—"The Captain of the Lord's host" was with him—"The Lord," he says, "stood with me and strengthened me." It was not in vain that he was then consummating the life-long act of 'pouring out' his consecrated existence as a libation on God's altar. The Great Angel of the Covenant was there, to accept the offerer and the sacrifice. Perfumed with other merits than his, the incense-cloud went up with acceptance before God.

Yes, with other merits than his. For this; after all, is what mainly arrests us in his dying utterance. Surely, if ever the child of Adam could enter heaven on the ground of his own doings, it was he who penned that brief farewell saying—he whose life-motto was, "always abounding in the work of the Lord." Think of his graces as a Christian, his success as a minister, his labors as an apostle! Who, more than he, had earned his crown? who, more than he, could take his stand at the bar of God loaded with merit? How different! All his own once-boasted righteousness is like the yielding ice beneath his feet. It melted before the blaze of God's throne of purity. In the present hour of approaching dissolution, just when this mighty inhabitant in God's forest seemed (like some trees in their golden autumn tints) grandest in decay; just as his soul is about to wing its eagle-flight to the spirit-land, a crucified Redeemer is clung to with an ever fonder, holier trust. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!"

"Thus holy Paul" (says Thomas Case), "in his own name, and in the name of other of his brethren and companions in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, marched out of the field of this world with colors flying and drums beating, and thus exulting over death as a conqueror—O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory?"

A farewell—a dying hour—must, sooner or later, be our experience also; that solemn moment—when, in the words of an old writer, "the silver cord by which life is suspended is worn out at last, and the lamp of life falls to the ground; the lights are extinguished, and the golden bowl which fed them is broken" (Noyes). Amid this wreck of the earthly, are we prepared for our entrance on the heavenly? to leave the Elim encampment and enter the true "City of Palm-trees" (2 Chron. 28:15).

Have we committed our souls and their everlasting interests in safe deposit into the hands of our divine Redeemer? If so, the last enemy is robbed of its triumph. "Death to the believer," said Hedley Vicars, "is, after all, but an incident in immortality." Equally beautiful and characteristic was the devoted M'Cheyne's definition of the same—"a leap into the arms of Infinite Love." A well-known Christian of an older age (Ambrose) speaks of it as "the wind which blows the bud of grace into the flower of glory." Whether still called to tread the wilderness, or when summoned to the brink of Jordan, may it be ours to take up the simple strains of one of Luther's saintly followers—

"God, my Father, to Your hand
This spirit I bequeath;
Guide it through this desert land,
And through the gates of death.

"By Your gift, this soul was mine;
Take it to Yourself again;
So shall it forever Thine
In life and death remain.

"Resting on my Lord in faith
I pass securely on;
Through Him alone I conquer death,
Through Him my crown is won!"

"Shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation."

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