Joseph's Dying Words
by James Smith, 1860
The words of the dying, are often striking and impressive. We remember them, and derive benefit from them. This has always been the case, especially with the saints of God. How affecting the dying sayings of Jacob, Moses, and David! How many have derived the richest blessings from them.
The words of the patriarch Joseph to his brethren, when he was dying, are so peaceful, so prophetic, so encouraging — that I feel inclined to meditate on them a little this morning. His sun was going down in a calm clear sky: all behind was mercy — all before was glory. His brethren are gathered around him to see him depart, and he said, "I am dying! But God shall surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Genesis 50:24.
"I am dying." Death is always solemn. It generally awakens painful reflections. It is often attended with the sweetest joys.
"I am dying," that is, I am about to leave . . .
the wilderness — for the promised land;
the strange country — for my pleasant home;
the field of conflict — for the abode of peace.
"I am dying," that is, I will soon . . .
heave my last sigh,
utter my last groan,
feel my last pain,
taste the cup of sorrow for the last time.
"I am dying," that is, I am about . . .
to depart to be with Christ,
to enjoy the glorious presence of God,
and to be one with all the glorified forever.
"I am dying," that is, I will soon bid an eternal farewell . . .
to all my doubts and fears,
to all my sins and sorrows,
to all my foes and follies, and
enter into peace, safety, and perfect holiness!
To me, as a believer in Jesus . . .
death has no sting,
the grave has no terrors,
eternity awakens no alarms!
My sins are pardoned, for his name's sake,
my soul is justified, by his blood, and
my person is in union with his.
To die is gain!
To die is to be perfectly holy and happy!
To die, is simply to go home to my Father's house — to inherit and inhabit the place that Jesus has prepared for me!
"I am dying," and shall I regret it? Shall I dread it? Oh, no, may the Lord give me grace, to hail my dying day with pleasure, and to rejoice in the thought of being absent from the body, and present with the Lord!
"God shall surely visit you." When I can visit my beloved Christian friends no more — God will. He visits all of his children, walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks.
His church is his garden, in which he takes his pleasant walks.
It is his city, in which he loves to dwell.
It is his family, with which he feels at home.
When his people meet, he meets with them, whether in public assemblies, or in the social circle.
He visits every individual Christian also.
To the babes — he shows tender care, and nurse-like kindness.
To the young men — he imparts strength and courage.
To the fathers — he opens his heart, and shows them the depths of his infinite love.
To the afflicted — he manifests sympathy.
To the tempted — he affords support.
And to the poor — he brings supplies.
He visits his children . . .
in the prayer-closet,
at the family altar, and
in the house of prayer.
He visits them as they sit around his table, and sing his praise.
He visits them in the valley of trouble — where they sigh and weep.
He visits them when oppressed — to support and set them free.
He visits them in sickness — to comfort and make their bed.
He visits them when they backslide — to restore them.
He visits them in the valley of the shadow of death — to conduct them safely through.
The Lord has visited me at times in the past — and, blessed be his name, he will surely visit me in the future. He will visit . . .
to sweeten every bitter cup,
to sanctify every trying dispensation, and
to enable me patiently to bear every cross.
He will visit, to bring me up out of this land — this land of trial and tribulation, this land of sins and sorrows. His last visit will be the sweetest, as introductory to his eternal presence and glory!
But he will visit in the use of the means of his own appointment. For however positive the promise — prayer and the use of means, are always supposed.
He will surely visit His children — but it may be to bereave. It may be to remove some idol. Or it may be, to strip me of something which encumbers and hinders me in my journey.
He will visit, and His visits will be in mercy — whether He comes . . .
to commend — or reprove;
to comfort — or grieve;
to give — or take away;
to clothe — or strip;
to fill the mouth with songs — or the eyes with tears!
Our prayers call for mercies, and our sins call for stripes — and He will surely answer our call.
Observe, his visits are sure, for he has promised — he is in one mind, and none can turn him. One love-visit is the pledge of many more. His visits on earth, ensure us his presence in Heaven.
My soul, has the Lord visited you of late? Has your Beloved manifested himself to you, and drawn out your love to himself? Has he drawn you to his mercy-seat? For your visits to him — are always the effect of his visits to you!
He visited me first! Indeed he has always been beforehand with me. Never would I have visited him on his throne of grace — if he had not first visited me in the open field, where I was lying in my blood, and perishing in my sin!
Blessed, forever blessed, be his holy name . . .
for every visit he has paid me,
for every loving look he has given to me,
for every sweet word he has spoken to me, and
for every blessing he has conferred upon me!
And now, O Lord, visit me often, stay with me long, and manifest yourself to me more fully, and more gloriously than you have ever done. In every ordinance of your house, in my private retirement, and when meeting with your people — Lord, visit my soul. Especially visit me when on the bed of sickness, and in the hour of death, when I am descending into the grave, that land of darkness and corruption! Then, then let me hear the voice of mercy saying, "God shall surely visit you, and bring you out of this land!"
When Jesus with his mighty love
Visits my troubled breast,
My doubts subside, my fears remove,
And I'm completely blessed!
I love the Lord with mind and heart,
His people and his ways;
Envy, and pride, and lust, depart;
And all his works I praise.
Nothing but Jesus I esteem,
My soul is then sincere;
And everything that's dear to him,
To me is also dear.
But ah! when these short visits end,
Though not quite left alone,
I miss the presence of my Friend,
Like one whose comfort's gone!
More frequent let your visits be,
Or let them longer last;
I can do nothing without thee;
Make haste, my God, make haste!