The coming of the Lord will in no way manifest the faithfulness of the servant; His appearing will. At 'that day' will be the display of whatever has been endured, as well as done, for the Lord's sake. W. Kelly.
Through the great kindness of a medical friend, who has devoted a part of his holiday to looking after my practice, I am enabled to put together these memories of Mr. William Kelly's closing days.
This is in no sense a biography; I should never attempt anything of that kind. What I have done is simply to recall, and write down, some of the things I knew about Mr. Kelly, and especially the last things.
Had his closing days not been spent in my house, these memoirs would never have been written by me; but so many have expressed a desire to know something of them that I have felt constrained to write.
Many, too, who have listened to the living voice in his public testimony, are desirous that his last utterances should be preserved for the good of man, and the glory of God.
How valuable should the closing testimony of such a saint of God be!
Therefore it is that we have penned this little narrative, not to honour man, but in the heartfelt hope that God will bless to many of His own, as also to those who are still unsaved, this testimony of the faithfulness of God to the one He had given as a gift to His people on earth, and sustained by Divine power to his life's end.
Heyman Wreford, The Firs, Denmark Road, Exeter. June, 1906.
The life lived.
We knew Him as we could not know
Through heaven's golden years:
We there shall see His glorious face,
But Mary saw His tears,
The touch that heals the broken heart
Is never felt above.
His angels know His blessedness,
His way-worn saints His love,
"I have done my work for Christ. I want to go. Others will be strengthened to do their work, but mine is done."
I was sitting by Mr. Kelly's bedside on Friday, 1 March 23rd, four days before he passed away, when he said these words to me. He lay there calmly waiting for the summons. After nearly eighty-five years of life, and more than sixty years spent for Christ, he felt his work was done. How bravely he had battled against the weakening by disease of that wonderful vitality that had made his life so real and strenuous! He never laid aside the "weapons of his warfare" until his Lord took them from his weary hands and bade him rest. He was indeed a warrior of the Cross. He does not need my poor words of eulogy, for all this was most distasteful to him; but he is gone, where earthly love and praise can never reach him, to "be with Christ which is far better."
It is impossible for us to form a true estimate of what his life was. We wonder when we think of the untiring energy of his Christian service; of the marvellous insight God had given him, by His Spirit, into His Word; of the volumes he has left behind him of such value to the Church of Christ; of the multitude of his public utterances; of his voluminous correspondence; of his spiritual help in his private intercourse; of his untiring zeal, shown year after year in visiting the assemblies of God's people and seeking their welfare in every way.
When we think of these things we can estimate a little what we have lost by his departure. He will be more valued now he is gone than ever he was before. No longer will that eloquent tongue be heard. No longer shall "that man of God" move among us. We shall sorrow now that we did not value him more; that we did not oftener attend his ministry; that we sometimes misunderstood his faith and zeal, and measured him by our poor human standards, and so failed to understand the Divine purpose in his life.
How often he was tried by the grievous inconsistencies of Christians; by the littleness of those who could not rise above the level of their own circumstances, and who so often blamed him because he would not leave his high estate to traffic with their low conceptions of a Christian's place and standing in this world. He has suffered deeply at the hands of those whom he always sought to serve; and while, thank God, many loved him as the honoured servant of his Lord, he had to bear the bitter reproach of those who could not bend him to their alien ways. More than thirty years ago he wrote these words in his "Introductory Lectures to Paul's Epistles," p. 241:-
"Oh, it is a blessed thing that in the midst of the sorrows of this world, the Holy Spirit knows how thus to blend the name of Christ, as the sweetest balm, with the sorrow, however bitter, and to make the very memory of the grief pleasant because of Christ, who deigns to let Himself into it all. It was this that so cheered the Apostle's heart in his loneliness often, in his desertion sometimes, when the sight of a brother would have given fresh courage to his heart. Looking to the Lord, as it is the life-breath of love, so it adds to the value of brotherly kindness in its season. Thus we know how on approaching Rome, Paul was lifted up and comforted, as he saw those who came to greet him. But there he was soon to experience the faltering of brethren; there he was to see not one standing by him in the hour of his shame and need. He must be conformed to his Master in all things; and this was one of them. But out of the midst of bitter experience he had learned Christ, as even he had never known Him before. He had proved long the power and the joy of Christ for every day, and for every circumstance of it."
Thank God our beloved brother was comforted, as Paul was. The desertion of brethren could not alienate him from Christ; nor the coldness of human hearts make Christ less precious to his soul.
We know that those who serve their Lord the best are those who are the oftener exposed to the assaults of the adversary. He ever seeks to lay low those who are in the foremost ranks of service, and the greater the servant, the greater the victory of the powers of darkness, if that servant can be discredited in any way.
Once more I ask you to listen to his words: "there is no more common device of Satan than to seek the destruction of the power of testimony by the allowance of evil insinuations against him who renders it."
"I have done my work for Christ, I want to go."
Yes, his work for Christ is done as far as the living witness is concerned. His tried heart, torn and rent by many a trial, will never throb now but with the blessedness of heaven. All through his long life of active service he was cheered by the consciousness of the presence of his risen Lord. How could he have laboured so abundantly, and borne the sorrows and afflictions of his earthly pathway, had not his spirit been sustained by a heavenly presence, and strengthened by the eternal Word?
Had earthly ambition claimed his life, what might he not have become? With his matchless powers and his great erudition he might have risen to any rank of life. It is not for me to speak of the honours of his University career, others know more of that than I do. But all his powers, and all his life, were consecrated to the service of the Lord. He was content to be lowly to serve the lowliest, and to forego all earthly honours, so that he might be the acceptable servant of the Lord Jesus.
The world cannot understand such sacrifices as these. It cannot understand a man willing to be nothing so that Christ may be all. Nor can it estimate the value of a life that is lived apart from the world, and devotes all its talents and all its strength to advancing a Kingdom that is not of this world, and in seeking the honour and glory of One whom the world has cast out and crucified.
With the failure of his bodily powers he was longing to go. "I want to go." The tired hands are lifted up to heaven and to God. The eyes, growing dim to earthly sights and sounds, have a clearer vision now for that which is beyond. "I want to go." The desert sands are trodden, and from his Pisgah heights he beholds the Promised Land.
With the weariness of earth and time weighing heavily upon him, he seeks "the rest that remains to the people of God."
When, in the glory and the rest
We joyfully adore,
Remembering the desert-way,
We yet shall praise Him more.
Remembering how, amidst our toil,
Our conflict and our sin;
He brought the water for our thirst,
It cost His blood to win.
And now in perfect peace we go
Along the way He trod;
Still learning from all need below
Depths of the heart of God.
And can I call my home
My Father's house on high;
The rest of God, my rest to come,
My place of liberty!
Yes, in that light unstained,
My stainless soul shall live;
My heart's deep longings more than gained,
When God His rest shall give.
J N. Darby.
In the year 1905 Mr. Kelly was with us from April 12th for about two months, when he went to Guernsey and then home, and during that time of blessed intercourse, one could not but see that much of the old vitality was wanting, and the storm and stress of Christian warfare was telling upon him. But there was the same keen interest in life; the same desire for work. Never shall we forget his expositions day by day at our family worship.
And in his table talk what vast stores of knowledge were his! What a pleasure it was to listen to his criticisms of men and things. How clearly he showed that the trend of events was only the fulfilment of the eternal purposes of God. What an unerring insight he had into the machinations of the powers of evil against the Christ of Scripture. He took an absorbing interest in everything that was happening in the world in which he lived: he looked at the vast panorama of nations spread out before him from the heights of faith; and the rise and fall of dynasties; the march of the conqueror, and the submission of the conquered; were all but parts of a Divine plan — working towards a certain end.
His Bible, one could see, was to him in everything the Alpha and Omega of Divine revelation. It was in deed and in truth the Book of God. He judged everything by the word of God. In speaking of the lives of men who figured largely in the world's history he showed a marvellous acquaintance with their teaching and their aims; and while he never excused their departure from the truth of God, he was only too willing to speak tenderly of those who loved the Lord, although they knew but little of His truth and love.
At Conferences and elsewhere we have seen him surrounded by eager seekers after truth. How ready he was to answer one and all; and to impart to others the truths God had revealed to him. How he bore with the infirmities of the weak in God's work, and rejoiced in the strength of the strong. He had the innate courtesy of the Christian gentleman. He was so human that every phase of life was of interest to him, and so spiritual that he would bring the truth of God to bear upon the thousand episodes of daily existence.
There were few earthly friends as true as he was; I speak what I know, and my testimony is also that of many, many others who knew and loved him well.
He was jealous for God at all times. How great was his love for the assemblies of God's people! How willingly he would go to lecture or to preach to the twos and threes scattered up and down the country! Guest of the rich or the poor, he was ever the same, loving the Lord's people for the Lord's sake, and ministering to them because he loved them.
Dear Mr. Kelly! I would that I could say how much I owe to him, but God knows.
Faithful servant of the living God, he has left behind him engraved on the fleshy tablets of many human hearts, memories of love that can never be eradicated.
And how he loved to speak of old days — the early golden days of united fellowship and service. How he lamented the divisions among the Lord's people! How grieved he was at attacks of so-called religious teachers on the inspiration of the Bible. One of his latest works was "The Inspiration of the Bible," published in 1903, when he was 82 years of age. A proof, if one were wanted, of the marvellous brain power that was his to the end of his life. In the Preface to this great work he says: —
"There is no question agitated in Christendom of greater moment than the true character and claim of the Scriptures. Nor has their Divine authority been more widely denied all over the world than in our own day; and this, not merely by avowed sceptics, but by professing Christians of practically every denomination, and by many of their most distinguished representatives. But when the adversary comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord does not fail to lift up a standard against him.
In this volume my heart's desire is to furnish a help to souls that seek the light of God which inspiration furnishes to those who tremble at His word. I have presented the positive proofs that God speaks in it to every conscience and heart, more particularly of Israel in the Old Testament, and of the Christian in the New, though all scripture is his food. Men may refuse to hear, or hear to despise; but this they do at their peril; for God is not mocked. Such unbelief has a deeper brand of evil, after men have professed the Lord's name, than when the written word was first committed to human responsibility. It is the spirit of apostasy diffused by the great enemy of God and man, before the apostasy itself is established as a public fact which is at hand.
In the face of a preparation so dark and ominous, which scripture announces as certain (2 Thess. 2:3), there are children of God all over the earth, who acknowledge with grateful thanksgiving His faithfulness in turning the attacks of Satan and his dupes to their confirmation in the faith, and the more profound enjoyment both of scripture and of Christ therein revealed by the Holy Spirit. May the reader by grace be helped to share a privilege which bespeaks itself divine, the best antidote to that unbelief which enfeebles where it does not quite destroy the divine energy of every revealed truth. To human tradition I give no real weight, less if possible to the speculations of men on grounds which they deem probable. As the traditional school is one form of rationalism, so is neo-criticism another, the one adding to God's word, the other taking from it, to His dishonour. Legitimate criticism is the servant of faith in seeking to eliminate errors of transcription; but it receives without question every word that was originally written. What is called "scientific inquiry" rises up in its empty pride against the divine authority of Christ, who has ruled what it dares to deny."
We thank God for permitting his servant to leave behind him this monumental work on "The Inspiration of the Scriptures." How valuable to God's people is such a book at the present time. A book dealing with Divine authority and Divine design, every book of the Bible having stamped upon it indelibly the impress of inspiration, and the whole forming the "all Scripture . . . given by inspiration of God." He speaks of the New Testament sealing the truth of the Old Testament. "The poetic position attests it no less than the prose, the prophetic as clearly as the historical."
He shows us that "one directing Author presides over each several part, imparting a special character to it, and at the same time causing all to contribute to the common purpose of revealing His counsels of glory and His ways of grace, while fully making known the weakness or the wickedness of the creature in resisting His will and doing its own."
He was much occupied with writing, eager before his life here was done to complete the volumes he was engaged upon. The following, which was written a few weeks before he died, will give an idea of his characteristic handwriting, and will doubtless prove interesting to those who have never seen his written articles with their corrections.
When in Exeter in 1905 he lectured every week in the Queen Street Meeting Room. The lectures he then gave were taken down in shorthand, and will (D.V.) be printed in the Bible Treasury. He also preached the gospel in the Victoria Hall. To the work there he had been a faithful friend ever since its commencement twenty-two years ago.
There was never one who loved the gospel more than he did, or who preached it more fully. I have listened with wonder at the marvellous way in which he spoke of the love of Christ to sinners. I have felt as I listened, that I had never known how to preach the gospel, or realized so fully the depths of sin and the heights of the grace of God to sinners. Some have said he had no sympathy with evangelists. They little knew him, or they would never have said it. I have a letter written to me from the death bed of his wife, in which he sought amidst all his own deep sorrow to send me words of encouragement and help.
His work we know was not the work of an evangelist, but he never ceased to pray for the gospel, or to preach it.
He told me the verse that was used by God to convict him of sin was, "I saw the dead small and great stand before God." Over and over again he spoke of the blessedness of gospel preaching. I dwell upon this because he has so often been charged with having no sympathy with those who preached it. I make no apology for again quoting from his written works. You shall hear from his own lips, as it were, what the gospel of the grace of God was to him. This quotation is taken from his "Introductory Lectures to Paul's Epistles, p. 5: —
"He was debtor both to the Greeks and the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise; he was ready, as far as he was concerned, to preach the gospel to. those that were at Rome also (Rom. 1:14, 15). Even the saints there would have been all the better for the gospel. It was not merely 'to those at Rome,' but 'to you that be at Rome.' Thus it is a mistake to suppose that saints may not be benefited by a better understanding of the gospel, as least as Paul preached it. Accordingly he tells them now what reason he had to speak thus strongly, not of the more advanced truths, but of the good news. 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek' (ver. 16).
"Observe, the gospel is not simply remission of sins, nor is it only peace with God, but 'the power of God unto salvation.' Now I take this opportunity of pressing on all that are here to beware of contracted views of 'salvation.' Beware that you do not confound it with souls being quickened, or even brought into joy. Salvation supposes not this only, but a great deal more. There is hardly any phraseology that tends to more injury of souls in these matters than a loose way of talking of salvation. 'At any rate he is a saved soul,' we hear. 'The man has not got anything like settled peace with God; perhaps he hardly knows his sins forgiven; but at least he is a saved soul.' Here is an instance of what is so reprehensible. This is precisely what salvation does not mean; and I would strongly press it on all that hear me, more particularly on those that have to do with the work of the Lord, and of course ardently desire to labour intelligently; and this not alone for the conversion, but for the establishment and deliverance of souls. Nothing less, I am persuaded, than this full blessing is the line that God has given to those who have followed Christ without the camp, and who, having been set free from the contracted ways of men, desire to enter into the largeness and at the same time the profound wisdom of every word of God. Let us not stumble at the starting-point, but leave room for the due extent and depth of 'salvation' in the gospel.
"There is no need of dwelling now on 'salvation' as employed in the Old Testament, and in some parts of the New, as the Gospels and Revelation particularly, where it is used for deliverance in power or even providence and present things. I confine myself to its doctrinal import, and the full Christian sense of the word; and I maintain that salvation signifies that deliverance for the believer which is the full consequence of the mighty work of Christ, apprehended not, of course, necessarily according to all its depth in God's eyes, but at any rate applied to the soul in the power of the Holy Ghost. It is not the awakening of conscience, however real ; neither is it the attraction of heart by the grace of Christ, however blessed this may be. We ought therefore to bear in mind, that if a soul be not brought into conscious deliverance as the fruit of Divine teaching, and founded on the work of Christ, we are very far from presenting the gospel as the apostle Paul glories in it, and delights that it should go forth. 'I am not ashamed,'" etc.
What follows is equally pertinent and important; but I trust I have quoted enough to show that even as the Apostle Paul lived and preached the gospel, so did he seek to do.
The following is a gospel hymn written by Mr. Kelly: —
Our Saviour Christ, 'tis now we see
God's glory in Thy face;
Thy blood is shed: our sins are gone
In o'er abounding grace.
Raised from the dead, Thou art on high
And seated on the throne:
How bright the proof our God displays
Thy perfect work is done!
No darkness more, nor cry from Thee
In weakness crucified,
Where judgment reached for us its end,
And God was glorified.
Now in His light without a veil
We read Thy cleansing blood;
Where love and holiness unite,
And we are brought to God.
Oh! matchless way of grace divine,
To which Thy cross gave right;
We praise Thee now and evermore —
Blest day without a night
How many there were who misunderstood him when he had to rebuke those who perverted the truth of God. He could be unsparing for Christ's sake. One has said of him, "I should feel inclined to agree with the narrator of the reminiscences that the vein of sarcasm and caustic humour obtruded too often in Mr. Kelly's critical writings, and gave offence to those he otherwise might have convinced and conciliated." I cannot agree with this, for a greater servant of God than Mr. Kelly was, has said, "For do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be Christ's servant." It was impossible for him to serve two masters. I have heard him speak in the kindest way of many he has had to oppose most firmly for the Truth's sake. He gave no quarter where the honour of Christ was concerned, and instead of blaming this faithful servant of the living God for this, we should be thankful that in our day and generation this great voice has been heard for Christ, and we have been permitted to know one of the profoundest exponents of the Scriptures that has been given to the Church since apostolic days. Every little fault of expression has by some been magnified into a crime; and little allowance has been made by others for his deep and true love for Christ, and his continued solicitude for the people of God.
The following is taken from a religious paper, The Christian, April 5, 1906: —
"Many of our oldest readers will learn with deep regret that Mr. William Kelly, who is thought to have been the last survivor of the first generation of the 'Brethren,' and who had been in fellowship with them for sixty-five years, passed away on March 27, in his eighty-fifth year. He was well known as the writer of numerous expository works on Scripture and as the editor of the monthly Bible Treasury. The magazine was noted for its loyalty to the Scriptures, and the notable degree in which Mr. Kelly combined scholarly attainment with spirituality made him a formidable opponent of destructive critics. A young relative whom he had prepared for Trinity College, Dublin, so distinguished himself that Mr. Kelly was urged by one of the professors to settle there, as by so doing he might make a fortune; but it was characteristic of the man that his reply should be summed up in the question: 'For which world?'
"To the last year of his life Mr. Kelly retained his mental vigour, and kept abreast of modern thought. As late as 1903 he published a goodly volume on 'The Inspiration of the Scriptures,' and followed this up two years later by issuing able and helpful expositions of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Epistles of John. He had edited the collected writings of J. N. Darby, of whose body of doctrine he was one of the foremost interpreters. His best known books consist of lectures on the books of the Bible (in particular on The Apocalypse), the Church of God, the New Testament Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Recently Mr. Kelly sent to Japan a selection of literature likely to help students in that country in the understanding of Holy Scripture."
From another source we have the following personal reminiscences: —
"I remember him," says the writer, "first as a lecturer in London, about 1870. His home at that time was in Guernsey, where there was a large and flourishing meeting of Brethren. About April in each year he used to come to town for a month, and he filled up most of his evenings with lecturing. He spoke to crowded audiences in different districts, for example, at the Priory in Upper Street, Islington; at William Street, near King's Cross; and at a hall in Kennington, close to the Oval. His Scriptural expositions were highly appreciated. His style as a lecturer was clear, and his manner dignified. He had the scholar's short-sightedness, and used to wear glasses for distance, but to the close of his life he was able to read the little Oxford Bible in diamond type, pushing his glasses up on his forehead as he began. His handwriting was almost microscopic, and he could put as much on a postcard as most men can on four pages of note-paper. Mr. Kelly's printers must have dreaded his corrections, for these were sometimes written out on postcards, and the aid of a reading-glass was required to decipher them. His expositions and lectures have had a steady sale, but many of them have fallen out of print. For fifty years he edited the Bible Treasury, and he was also the editor of Mr. Darby's 'Collected Writings.'
"Like all his Irish countrymen, Mr. Kelly had a gift of humour, but he had also a vein of sarcasm, which sometimes gave offence.
"For many years before his death, Mr. Kelly lived in Belmont-park, Blackheath, attending the Bennett Park meeting. His famous library, which was said to weigh seventeen tons, has been presented to the town of Middlesborough, on the suggestion of the Archbishop of York.
"In social life he was much beloved, though he lived very quietly, and moved only in a circle of intimate friends. Many can recall his graceful old world courtesy
"Mr. Kelly retained to the last a considerable share of physical and mental vigour. A few weeks before he left London for Exeter, he was calling on a friend in the City, and talked with distress on the progress of the Higher Criticism among ministers and laity. He mentioned at that time that he was suffering from sleeplessness, and that his doctor had ordered him to give up mental work.
"As a scholar, William Kelly will be long remembered. His critical Greek text of the Revelation was pronounced by Ewald to be the best piece of work of the kind that had come under his notice. Archbishop Benson warmly praised his work on the Mosaic Cosmogony. The list of his writings occupies nearly ten pages in the British Museum catalogue."
I never remember a time in my life when I did not know Mr. Kelly. The admiration of the boy for this honoured servant of God ripened into a warmer feeling as years passed on, and I was able the better to appreciate his wonderful powers in the unfolding of Scripture; and his untiring endeavour to serve those who loved his Lord and theirs. And as my service for the Lord continued, so did my love and respect for him increase; a more faithful friend and adviser one could never have. His plainness of speech where the truth was concerned may have wounded some, but not those who knew the true heart that never thought of consequences when the honour of his Master was at stake.
I have learnt many a lesson of Christ-like patience, never to be forgotten, as I have seen the way in which he has borne affronts that must have wounded him sorely. I have seen him many times full of sorrow at having been misunderstood, yet ready at all times to help any, and especially those who may have felt aggrieved at any word of his.
I loved him while he lived, and shall revere and love his memory to the end. It was a privilege indeed to have been allowed to minister to him in his last days, and to watch, with his loved ones, the departure of that mighty spirit to its well-earned rest.
He will live in his works, and thousands yet will thank God for this great gift to His Church.
Unfaltering in the path of Christian duty: unswerving in his loyalty to Christ: willing at all times to spend and be spent for his brethren: conquering fatigue and the infirmities of age in his deep desire to do all he could in devoted service to the Lord, so he lived — and now he is gone; and we stand sorrowfully in the shadow of this great loss. May the Lord bless his last words spoken in the sunset of his earthly life to many.
Surely, we who watched him day by day and night after night, can appreciate his deep true love for his Lord.
But his utterances will speak for themselves, and bear testimony to the reality of his faith, and to the grace of Christ that had never failed His servant through his life, and now sustained him at the end.
O Lord, through tribulation
Our pilgrim journey lies,
Through scorn and sore temptation,
And watchful enemies;
'Midst never ceasing dangers
We through the desert roam,
As pilgrims here and strangers,
We seek the rest to come.
Oh! by Thy Holy Spirit
Reveal in us Thy love,
The joy we shall inherit
With Thee our Head above;
May all this consolation
Our trembling hearts sustain,
Sure, though through tribulation,
The promised rest to gain.
J G. Deck
The beginning of the end.
There above I rest, untroubled,
All my service, to adore;
Cross and shame, and death and sorrow,
Left behind for evermore.
Therefore am I never weary,
Journeying onward through the waste,
And the bitter Marah waters
Have but sweetness to my taste.
Can there be but joy and glory,
In His cross and shame below ?
Sweet each mark of His rejection,
Where His steps are, I must go.
One the path, and one the sorrow —
Path the angels cannot tread;
Sorrow giving sweet assurance,
We are members, He the Head.
On Thursday afternoon, January 11th, 1906, I met Mr. Kelly at Queen Street Station, Exeter. He had come to pay what proved to be his last visit to our house. As I greeted him I thought he looked worn and thin. He had been labouring for months without pause, answering the "Higher Critics," and doing other work as well.
Owing to insomnia, his London doctor had ordered him to rest, and so he came to us.
For some days after his arrival he rested nearly all the day. He did no work, and as he was again attacked by diabetes, he had to be most careful in his diet. But slowly he began to get better. The insomnia was in a great measure conquered, and the diabetes was steadily decreasing.
In a week or two he came downstairs to breakfast, and again took family prayers. Feeling the necessity of out-door exercise, he went every day for a walk before lunch, and some times in the afternoon, after resting, as well.
With returning strength came the desire to be doing some work for Christ. As it was not wise for him to go out to the meetings, he suggested having Bible Readings in our house on the Book of Daniel.
These were commenced on Tuesday, February 13th, and ended March 5th. A good number attended these Readings, and all were struck with his clear rendering of Scripture. His mind seemed full of vigour. He very much wished to give these lectures in our Meeting Room, but that could not be allowed in his then state of health.
Most anxious was he to speak one afternoon in the Victoria Hall. This he did on Sunday, February 25th. His subject was, "The Doctrine of Christ," John 1:1-14. How sorry I am now that the address was not preserved, for it proved to be his last.
In the morning at the Breaking of Bread he spoke most beautifully on the last clause of the 11th verse of 3rd Colossians, "Christ is all and in all." When he came home from the Hall in the afternoon he seemed so fresh and bright that I said, "I think we shall have to drive you to the prayer meeting tomorrow evening." He was always so happy in working for Christ.
During this time he passed days in solemn examination of all his life. He told me he was reviewing the past. I feel sure he knew that his time was short. He never spoke to me of future work. He was much in prayer. Out of doors, he always took my arm, and as he did so I could feel his increasing weakness; he complained too, that he was sooner tired, and could not walk as he did. His feet seemed to drag and he lost that springy, active step that was so natural to him all his life.
SATURDAY, MARCH 10.
This morning he was so well that he came down to breakfast. After the meal he wrote a post card and a letter and went for a short walk. At lunch he was very bright, spoke of his correspondence, etc., and was more inclined to chat than usual.
The writing on the Post Card:
THE FIRS, DENMARK ROAD, EXETER,
10th March, 1906.
MY DEAR J.
How strangely like the attack 20 years ago, not only insomnia but internal drain! Dr C. would not be incredulous now; and Dr. K, warned me of its probable repetition. All is in the best hands. The report much diminution of sugar, and increase of sleep. Good pulse, but little strength. Only they insist on as little writing as possible.
Self-judgment, how due to grace! which blots out our wretched past, and declares that, as He is, so are we in this world: an impossibility, but for His advocacy. This we need, no less than His propitiation.
Love to all.
We reproduce, on the opposite page, the last post card Mr. Kelly ever wrote, it was written to a very old friend in Guernsey, Mr. C., who has very kindly allowed us to have it inserted here.
In the afternoon, as was his custom, he went upstairs to lie down. At four o'clock I paid him my usual afternoon visit, and found him sitting over the fire. Although the room was very warm, he murmured something about feeling cold. He was quite unconscious of all that was done for him, and did not recognize any of us. As his condition was so serious, I telephoned to Dr. G., asking him to come and see Mr. Kelly with me. He kindly did so. We put him to bed and there he remained over Sunday.
On Monday morning, the effects of the seizure having passed off a little, he asked my wife to write a letter for him, and I also wrote some at his request. On Tuesday he wished to dress, but only remained up a few hours — he then returned to bed, and never left his room again alive. He was glad, indeed, to see his daughters, who came to be with him, and Mr. W. P. M. who also came to visit him. He said to me on Tuesday:
"I am peacefully resting, quietly resting through God's mercy."
At another time of the day, he said,
"The Lord may come, or I may go."
He spoke also of people seeking to add to Christ's work. He said, "Saving value is denied for all except through God's redemption in Christ upon the Cross. Some talk of adding something to Christ's work. There can be no addition . . . no other atonement can avail but Christ's."
To the servant, S. W., who waited upon him he said, "Jesus mine for ever be."
His daughter heard him say — "His Father and our Father. His God and our God."
At night when he was being fed, he said, "I have all I want. The Father's mercy, overwhelming mercy. The Son's redemption, perfect redemption."
FRIDAY, MARCH 16.
Mr. W. P. M. left us today — in parting with him Mr. Kelly said,
"When first we met we little thought of meeting again when I was 85.
"Jesus has done all, all that is good, and blotted out all that is bad."
Mr. M said, "My wife sends her love to you."
His answer was, "I send to her the strong love of Him who died for us, and may that be her testimony for ever." He continued, "How poor our love, but His who can doubt except those who doubt everything? What infinite grace that He has given us a new nature that we might know Him.
"We have an old nature, and Satan has succeeded in producing from it every evil, pride, vanity and self-will, and we have told Him our badness, and although so feeble, we can tell Him like Peter did, that He knows all things, He knows that we love Him.
"We might regret that more had not been done to proclaim His word. Matthew, Mark and Luke, but these are in form that they may be published."
These words show clearly how his thoughts were occupied to the very end with the spread of God's truth. Although he felt he had done his work for Christ, and wanted to go, yet still he would have wished, had it been God's will, to have completed the volumes he had in hand.
He never tired in his Master's service, but lived only to proclaim the "unsearchable riches of His grace," as shown so fully in His word.
Mr. Kelly was converted in the latter part of 1841 in the Island of Sark. In writing of his conversion to a friend, in 1889, he says: —
"The gospel received by faith delivered me in no long time; but no preaching reached me, though I was indebted to a lady for directing me to 1 John 5, which brought me into liberty. Nor did I see any brother's face before I left the camp to go forth to Christ outside bearing His reproach, and was glad to find two or three Christian women breaking bread, with whom I esteemed it the highest privilege to break bread.
"A few months later I went to Guernsey, where was a little meeting; and the Lord made my path plain to devote myself to His service, as through grace I have done ever since."
About 1841 Mr. Kelly issued his first publication. It was a pamphlet printed in Guernsey explanatory of his new ecclesiastical position. His last publication was in 1905, a few months before he died, and he was editing the Bible Treasury to within a month of his decease. We thus find that his written testimony for Christ covers a period of sixty-five years.
My happiness, O Lord, with Thee
Is long laid up in store,
For that bless'd day, when Thee I'd see,
And conflict all be o'er.
O Rest! ineffable, divine,
The Rest of God above:
Where Thou for ever shalt be mine,
My joy, eternal love!
J. N. Darby.
NOTE. — Mr. Kelly's letter containing the story of his conversion might perhaps have been better among the reminiscences, but it came into my hands too late to be inserted there.
The Breaking of Bread.
Saviour in love divine,
'Tis Thou hast made us free
To eat the bread and drink the wine
In memory, Lord of Thee.
Oh! if this taste of love
To us is now so sweet,
What will it be, O Lord, above
Thy blessed Self to meet?
To see Thee face to face,
Thy perfect likeness wear,
And all Thy ways of wondrous grace
Through endless years declare.
Sir E. Denny.
LORD'S DAY, MARCH 18.
I went into Mr. Kelly's bedroom early this morning, and after our usual greeting, I said to him, "It is the Lord's Day, Mr. Kelly, I am so sorry you cannot go to the Breaking of Bread." A little further conversation and I left him.
I had only gone a few minutes when I was told that our dear friend had a great desire to remember the Lord in His death. It was early in the morning, but he was emphatic in his wish, and the table was spread with the bread and the wine. Mrs. C., my wife and I, and S. W. gathered around his bed. He lay with his hands clasped, and then said with a loud clear voice, "Let us give thanks unto the Lord."
It was a silent thanksgiving for awhile, and then I gave thanks and broke the bread; and the cup was passed from lip to lip, amid a silence that all felt was in the presence of the Lord. Most beautifully did dear Mr. Kelly give thanks; he spoke of the Lord's presence being surely with us, although the circumstances were unusual and he thanked the Lord. Then we silently rose from our knees, and left him lying peacefully with his hands folded, his lips moving in prayer, and a calm, rapt look upon his face. Oh! what sacred memories will cling to that blessed time! The dying saint — the Lord remembered in the broken bread, and the poured out wine. The thanksgiving from those feeble lips. The deep sense of the presence of our risen and ascended Lord. What it meant to him! What it should mean to all of us! "For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."
Speaking the same afternoon with Mr. T. M., Mr. Kelly, said,
"The cross of Christ is real, the hatred of the world is real, the love of God is real."
In saying good-bye, Mr. M. said: "We'll meet in the glory." "Yes," he added, "in the glory."
For the remainder of the day he was quietly resting, bursting out in praise now and again, "We thank Thee, O Lord."
Before I speak of the last breaking of bread we had with our beloved brother the Sunday before he passed away, I would like to bring before you in his own words what he has said concerning it in his Lectures on the Church of God.
I wish to put it between the two remembrances of the Lord, so that we may the better realize all it meant to him and what it should mean to us. On page 149 he says: —
"The Lord's Supper .... is primarily and strictly the standing sign of our only foundation; it is the witness of His love unto death and His work, by virtue of which such as we can worship. No wonder, therefore, we have the Apostle Paul showing the very solemn and blessed place which the Lord's Supper claims in the revelations of the Lord to him.
"'I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This Cup is the New Testament in My blood; this do ye, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come.'
"It is evident, on the face of the statement, what a large and deep place the Lord's death has in His Supper. No joy, no brightness of the favour of God in heaven, no consequent communion, nor hopes of everlasting blessedness with Him, can be allowed for a moment to detract from, or overshadow, the death of the Lord. But the reverse is the truth: for the more the Lord's death has its own central value before the Christian, all these things shine out not only more brightly, but also more sweetly and affectingly to the heart. And so the same man who was God's blessed instrument for developing the full extent of the Christian's privileges, is the very one who gathers us around our Lord's death, as that which pre-eminently attracts and fills every heart that loves His name.
"From Acts 20:7, it is plain that the saints should break bread on the first day of the week, not of the month or quarter. But it is the resurrection day, not the day of His death, as if we were summoned to be there in mourning as for the dead. But He is risen, and therefore, with grateful, solemn joy, we take the Supper on the day that speaks of His rising power.
"The death of the Lord keeps constantly before the soul our utter need as once guilty sinners, proved by the Cross: the complete blotting out of all our sins by His blood: the glorifying of God up to, and above all in, death itself; the manifestation of absolute grace, and withal the righteousness of God in justifying us; the perfect glory of the Saviour: — all these things, and infinitely more, are brought and kept before us in those simple but wondrous words: — 'The Lord's death!'
"To take the Supper in remembrance of the Lord, and thus show forth His death, is what gathers us together as our prime desire. There can be no doubt about the meaning of the word of God which records this for our comfort and edifying; yet how could one infer that such was His will if one looked at the practice of Christians? Compare what they are doing Lord's-day after Lord's-day, with the obvious lessons of scripture, and intention of the Lord in so revealing His mind to us; and say whether for the most part this simple, touching memorial has not been slighted by real saints, and whether its character has not been changed universally in Christendom.
"Beware of thinking anything can be of equal moment with duly showing forth the Lord's death. The Supper of the Lord claims an unequivocal prominence in the worship of the saints. Not that one thinks of the mere fact of celebrating it, as to time, in the middle of the meeting. Indeed, it is remarkable how the Spirit of God avoids laying down laws about the Supper (and the same is true of Christianity in general) — a circumstance which the unfaithful may abuse, but which gives infinitely greater scope to the spirit of Christian affection and obedience. This however we may safely say, that it is not a question of the point of time when the act of breaking the bread occurs. The all-important thing is, that the Lord's Supper should be the governing thought when the saints are gathered for this purpose on the Lord's-day; that neither the prayers of many, nor the teaching of any, should put that great object in the shade. In ministry, however spiritual, man has his place; in the Supper, if rightly celebrated, the abased Lord alone is exalted. There might be occasions where the evident guidance of the Spirit brings it early before us, or postpones it late in the meeting, and thus any technical rule binding it to the beginning, or middle, or end, would be human encroachment on Him who alone is competent on each occasion and always to decide."
These are solemn and weighty words, worthy the deep consideration of every Christian.
SUNDAY, MARCH 25.
This was a day of great anxiety to one and all. I quite intended going to the Breaking of Bread with some brothers who had come from a distance to see Mr. Kelly, but at the last moment it was thought better that I should not, and I stayed at home.
The Lord's hand was in my remaining, for about a quarter after ten, we noticed a most serious and ominous change, which came on quite suddenly and without any warning.
The pulse almost ceased to beat, and the end seemed very near; so near that one was led to say, "He will be in heaven while they are at the Breaking of Bread." Again he rallied, and the pulse recovered strength.
At ten minutes to twelve I left him only to be summoned a few minutes later. Weak as he was, he had expressed a wish to remember the Lord once more in His death. Again the table was spread and we gathered around; at this time his two daughters, Miss W , my wife and I, and S. W. His hand had to be guided to the bread which he was almost too weak to swallow. He took no audible part, but lay quiet and still with his eyes closed.
No one had reminded him that it was the Lord's Day. He had rallied to remember his Lord once more, faithful to his Saviour's wishes to the end.
O! what is the remembrance of our Lord to us? Should not the Lord's table be the happiest, holiest, place on earth for every Christian? What an unspeakable privilege to be where "Jesus is in the midst," there to remember Him in His death!
May the words and example of our beloved brother make us feel more and more the solemn responsibility that rests upon us, not to neglect this great duty and this high privilege.
Lord, let us ne'er forget
Thy rich, Thy precious love;
Our theme of joy and wonder here,
Our endless song above.
Oh! let Thy love constrain
Our souls to cleave to Thee,
And ever in OUR hearts remain
That word, "Remember Me!"
J G. Deck.
Light divine surrounds thy going,
God Himself shall mark thy way,
Secret blessings, richly flowing,
Lead to everlasting day.
Though thy path be long and dreary,
Eagle strength He'll still renew;
Garments fresh and foot unweary
Tell how God has brought thee through.
When to Canaan's long-loved dwelling,
Love divine thy foot shall bring,
Then with shouts of triumph swelling
Zion's songs in rest to sing.
There, no stranger — God shall meet thee,
Stranger thou in courts above;
He Who to His rest shall greet thee
Greets thee with a well-known love.
J. N. Darby.
MONDAY, MARCH 19.
How deeply we felt the solemnity of these closing scenes. Day by day, and night after night, we heard from those feeble lips the communings of his soul with the Father and the Son. His passage from earth to heaven was marked by the finger posts of exalted faith and trust. There was no shadow in the valley — the waters of death did not overwhelm him. The faith of sixty years was active now. The Saviour he had loved and served so well was with him to the very end. The heavenly truth that God had revealed to him for his Church on earth, was the stay and comfort of his soul in the passing of his days. One could but say and feel, "Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his."
Mr. Kelly spoke to us today about his funeral. He said, "I have no wish as to where I should be buried at all; the humblest and most unpretentious way of burying me I particularly desire. I think this is all I wish to say with kindest love to my brothers. Mrs. Wreford is concerned that I should have sleep and so I have told you this before." Later on he said to my wife:
"The light of my heart is Christ." I said to him:
"How do you feel, dear Mr. Kelly?" He answered: "Weak enough to go to heaven."
I replied: "I hope the Lord may spare you here for some time yet."
He said: "Heaven is my proper place, to be with Christ."
I told him of the many telegrams and letters that had been sent asking how he was — he sent his love to all. To his daughter he said "I am practically a dying man." "But dying," she replied, "to you is only going to be with Christ."
"Surely," he answered.
He sent his love to S. H with this message:
"Tell him I am sorry I could not give the Bible readings on Daniel where he lives as I have here."
We heard him say:
"Christ regulates everything for us as believers."
"I, by grace, stick to Christ. I can never give up Christ for any creature."
He had bad nights, was delirious at times. It was with difficulty we could get him to take his food.
TUESDAY, MARCH 20.
On this day his daughter heard him say:
"The saving Lord of sinners, the saving Head of saints."
He often spoke of J. N. Darby, and always with great affection. He loved to speak of all that he had done for Christ, of his great abilities, and his consecrated life.
. . . . "In no way forgetting what we owe to Mr. Darby." To one who called to see him "Farewell! my dear, dear brother."
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21.
"I long to depart and to be with Christ; I try not to be impatient. By searching myself up and down I have learnt much in my soul by this delay."
To his grandson:
"The true Man, Jack, and the true God. It seems long but it is not long — these are my last words and prayer to ring in your ears for ever."
Broken sentences every now and again fell from his lips:
"Blessing, glory, joy unfeigned."
"Simple faith ... Christ's own word."
On one occasion he was heard to say:
"The true God is confessed — the false god is denied."
. . . . . .
His daughter said to him: "How are you this morning?"
"Happy in Jesus," he replied — then after a pause, "Happy in those who are true in Jesus." Another pause, and then:
"Still more happy in those who love the Father and the Son; not only those who are good and righteous, according to the truth, but who bear for the love of the truth to the uttermost." Other things he said on this day were: "I am willing to go now."
. . . . .
"I own His righteousness."
. . . . .
"Man is sinful and deserves to die. If man receives Jesus and confesses Him, he is righteous through grace."
"I am a Christian, I believe in grace as the only hope of the sinner."
"Grace help me to die as I have lived for Christ, I ask no more."
"God, the righteous God."
"I give God thanks for all His grace and truth, but will in no way listen to anything that will forego His truth and righteousness."
Being asked by someone if he had any message for his brethren; he answered:
"Nothing save this, hoping that they are faithful to live and die for Jesus Christ the Lord, and to hate sin and lying about Jesus."
Mr. W. P. M. telephoned from B to know how Mr. Kelly was. I asked him if he had any message to send back. He replied:
"I still wait. I wait for the triumph of all life — divine power and glory, over all questions for heaven as well as earth; therefore I wait."
I said to him, "You may get better."
He answered, "That is a small thing compared with Christ." Then after a long pause:
"Everything of the highest — supreme."
Two brothers came from a long distance to see him, they had travelled all night. But his brain was weak and he was very tired, so he could not speak much to them, nor did he see the tears that filled their eyes as they left him.
THURSDAY, MARCH 22.
He was a little better and had had a quiet night. When his breakfast was being given to him he said:
"Jesus the food of faith. Jesus also the light and joy of faith."
After a pause:
"The outer form perishes, divine truth triumphs for ever."
He spoke again today about his funeral. He said: "My own opinion is that I should be buried in the place nearest to where I live with the least show, and as little delay as possible."
His daughter asked him if he would like to be buried at Charlton, and he said: "Yes, if it were convenient."
He sent this message to Mr. L.: "I die in Christ."
Often and often would he lift his hands and burst forth into some theme of praise or prayer:
. . . . . .
"All His work, all His efficacy, for such a poor sinner as myself."
. . . . . .
"The sin is taken away — the sins are borne. He bore it Himself! He bore it for God! God has completely destroyed it, and cut it off for ever."
I read part of Hebrews 13 to him, and later on his daughter read to him John 10:27-36. He emphasized those verses particularly.
I was called up to see him in the night by his daughter Mrs. C., who sat up with him. He was very ill indeed, but after a while rallied again.
FRIDAY, MARCH 23.
He saw a brother from our meeting this morning. When he wished him "Good-bye," he pointed upwards and said: "that blessed hope."
Later, he wished his grandchildren good-bye. Most touching was it to see him open his arms in welcome to them, and as he kissed each one, to hear him utter those precious and tender words of loving blessing and farewell.
It was on this day that he said: "I've done my work for Christ. I want to go. Others will be strengthened to do their work, but mine is done.
Many things he said we could not catch, and some were uttered so rapidly they could not all be copied down. We have done our best to preserve all we could, but in some cases the meaning may not be exactly expressed as he wished, owing to the great difficulty experienced at times in remembering all. I wish to say this, so that there shall not be any difficulty in thus accounting for any sentence that may seem at all involved.
He had a quiet night on Friday.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24.
He uttered many precious thoughts today and was much in prayer. Sentences of faith and hope were constantly coming from his lips. With eyes closed and hands uplifted he said:
"Holy, holy, holy, and good."
. . . . . .
"Oh, the Saviour! Maker of heaven, yet the fullest Saviour of sinners."
"He is wholly perfect . . . . absolutely. Oh! how worthy! How worthy!"
It was beautiful to listen to his reverent voice as he thus spoke of God and Christ. He seemed to be rapt in praise and thanksgiving.
Other things he said were: "Everlasting ruin for all who reject Him. The One who is all, and suffered for all, and who brings in the blessing of the Father and the Son."
. . . . . .
"He is the Creator . . . . above all, and above all that can be uttered, or all that can be expressed."
"We ought to have the mind of Christ whether living or dying. May we meet in His presence."
"God be glorified, God be glorified."
"God absolute and supreme."
"Satan has his snares still for all who do not simply await His coming."
. . . . .
When he was fed he would often speak, and we could hear him when he was alone for a little, praying and speaking to God and extolling His love and truth.
Again we heard him say:
"My faith is in the Creator — the holy God who died for unholy sinners."
"All the value for faith is in God and in His Son — all the blessing is in and through God, who never changes."
"Beware of the snares of the enemy, and look only to the Lord Jesus Christ."
"The holy God who has no tendency to death has come in infinite love to save sinners perfectly."
. . . . . .
"He that had no sin, He could die and deliver those who were sinners. It is to Him I look. In Him I believe. I own Him alone in this infiniteness of divine life and love."
"I own myself a poor feeble sinner entirely dependent on the Father and the Son."
"There is nothing so good as the full grace of our Lord Jesus manifested fully and without any restriction in the Saviour's teaching . . . If we find a poor sinner in his sins, that grace is meant to reach the greatest need."
. . .
" There is nothing beyond Himself in infinite light, love and power."
He said firmly:
"I testify to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the alone givers — not only of life eternal, but of divine grace to make it effective. . .
The Last Three Days.
And is it that I shall be like Thy Son?
Is this the grace which He for me has won?
Father of glory, thought beyond all thought,
In glory to His own blest likeness brought?
O Jesus Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee too there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.
Yet it must be: Thy love had not its rest,
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest,
The love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.
Nor I alone, Thy loved ones all complete
In glory round Thee there with joy shall meet,
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord,
Object supreme of all, by all adored
J N. Darby.
SUNDAY, MARCH 25.
Mr. Kelly awoke at 4 this morning and exclaimed in a loud clear voice:
"The Lord bless His truth in every way through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."
While he was having breakfast given him he said:
"God is everything in love and power, and man is everything in sin and wickedness."
He spoke to his daughters for some time about various things concerning his funeral, etc.
He said to my wife:
"Jesus is always with us."
At 11 o'clock I moistened his lips. He said:
"The absolutely good One . . . Life, love, truth, all in Him, Who is all life. . . ."
Later — . . . . .
"All His love, all His love."
.. . . . . .
"All is good, all is infinite."
"It is His to work according to His goodness as He only can. What man did to Jesus showed what man was capable of — all iniquity. But God, the Father, and the Son, spring and source of blessing . . . to blot out the stain of this terrible evil."
. . . . . .
Softly, he said:
"That lowly life — suffering in all its perfection."
. . . . . .
Lifting up his hands he said, with much feeling and fervour:
"Oh, the mercy of Jesus! The mercy of Jesus! The love of Jesus! Poured upon poor guilty man! Jesus shows fully what man is and what God is. There is no perfection but in Jesus in Jesus."
"Jesus has glorified God."
And then in a loud voice:
"It is Jesus that glorifies God. It is Jesus therefore that could make everything most sweet, and holy, and true, and good . . . but where is it otherwise? . . . Where is it otherwise? Where is it otherwise, except in Jesus. In Him — the Infinite God, . . . every perfection. Suffering for poor lost man . . . and causing man to see in Him his life, his eternal life, his life for evermore."
"What is any life compared with His life."
. . . . . .
"Oh the blessing! Oh the life in all its nature! . . . Life eternal . . . Life of its own infinite life."
Then with great pathos:
"Suffering, suffering as He alone could — suffering according to the Light — the Light — Himself."
"The true God is One that loves, and Who, when man was unworthy, deigned to become man and die for man's sin. The Son: He proves the truth and is it."
"It is Jesus that blesses; it is Jesus that glorifies God."
We heard him say loudly:
"Light of Light Thou art! Creator of infinity! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Infinite Being! beyond all others — in power, and grace, beyond all others.
. . . . . .
"Jesus and Jehovah are one person, the denial is a false god."
"We give love in our little measure, not much, but still we give. The Father knows it and delights in it."
He said emphatically:
"Deny the lie, believe the truth, affirm the word of God Himself. God is the Highest. God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
. . . . . .
This morning, as already related, dear Mr. Kelly wished to remember the Lord in His death. During the afternoon several brothers came to see him. Later on we sang a few hymns together, one of them being "For ever with the Lord." How deeply were our hearts stirred as we thought of the one upstairs, so near the presence of his Lord.
MONDAY, MARCH 26.
This morning he was very weak indeed and we could not catch much that he said. There was the constant uplifting of his hands in prayer and praise, and broken remarks were heard occasionally.
To his daughters who helped to nurse him night and day, he gave many messages, and spoke of those to whom he wished to be remembered after he was gone.
"All the lies will pass away, and all the truth of God in Christ abide for ever."
. . . . . .
"By grace we hold the truth. Thou hast given it to us and wrought it in us."
He wandered at times, and we could hear him preaching the gospel. He said loudly:
"Be in earnest, be in earnest, be in earnest, pray be in earnest now, or you will perish in your sins."
At another time he was speaking, and as he spoke he gave that little shrug of his shoulders we knew so well — it seemed so pathetic to see him do it lying helpless in his bed.
. . . . . . .
Again we heard:
"All has come . . . real truth in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the glory with Thee without an end, without a doubt. Christ's and with Christ for ever."
How blessed to hear these words of undaunted faith — "with Thee, without an end, without a doubt." God's servant was nearing home, and the light of the coming glory shone on his heart. The faith he had preached to others filled his soul - his one theme now, the Father and the Son.
TUESDAY, MARCH 27.
And now the last day of his life had come, and soon we were to hear that loved voice no more, nor be permitted much longer to perform those ministrations of love for one we valued so highly, and loved so dearly. His patience had been beautiful to witness all through his illness, his thankfulness for little things done for him so touching. He was very quiet all day, and spoke very little.
"He is all, He is above all, and better than all. Infinitely better than all."
. . . . . .
"Nothing but love."
. . . . . .
"Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Infinite God, infinite life, infinite love, infinite grace, infinite being . . ."
He was spoken to about the Bible Treasury and asked if he wished it to be continued. He said. "Yes, if possible; if not, it had better be discontinued."
He was then asked who he wished to edit it. He gave the name of the one he thought most fitting.
About one o'clock we were all standing around his bed when he suddenly opened his eyes. He looked from one to the other and nodded to each, while a beautiful smile broke over his face as he recognized each one, and its light fell on us all as he intended it should. It was like the last beams of the sun shedding glory on the earth, before the sunset. We shall never forget the recognition of that radiant smile.
And then he slept, or seemed to sleep awhile; but ever and anon the lips were moving in prayer, and then, there was the uplifting of the hands again. For a few days he had had difficulty in speaking, and his words were less distinct. About three o'clock he awoke and said: "Where have I been, where am I?" His daughter said:
"You are still here in H — 's house, with all those you love around you, Mrs. W — and all."
He looked up and said, "Thank God."
He was very quiet all the rest of the afternoon. Feeling the preciousness of each moment as the end drew near, we watched and waited around the bed — Mr. Kelly's daughters, Miss W — , Mr. R, my wife and I, and S. W — .
Just before passing away we heard him say:
"Oh! my Saviour. Oh! my God."
Then a period of unconsciousness came on — and then a short sharp struggle with death — and he was gone to be with Christ. The time was a quarter to seven.
The long warfare was over now, and as we gazed upon him, with eyes well nigh blinded with tears, a sense of irreparable loss seemed to fill our souls. The mystery of dissolution was written on that quiet face. There lay the saint of God who had been untiring in his service for Christ; and nothing now can bring him back to us; neither our tears, nor prayers, nor loving words; nor the want and weakness of saints; nor false doctrine to be combated; nor evil to be judged, and truth maintained. His day of earth is over — his eternal day with God, and Christ, begun.
Let us close this chapter with two of his own verses:
Father Thy love has made us one —
One in Thyself and in the Son:
Proof to the world that Thou didst send
Him who accomplished such an end.
And glory will to all make known,
When we are perfected in one,
That Thou didst love us as Thy Son,
Sharing with Him the victory won.
Rest of the saints above,
Jerusalem of God
Who in thy palaces of love,
Thy golden streets have trod?
There in effulgence bright,
Saviour and Guide, with Thee
I'll walk, and in Thy heavenly light
Whiter my robe shall be.
God and the Lamb shall there
The light and temple be,
And radiant hosts for ever share
The unveiled mystery.
J N. Darby.
And now my loving, yet most sorrowful, task is almost done. The body of our beloved brother was taken to London on Thursday and buried in Charlton Cemetery on Saturday, March 31st, at 3 p.m.
The following account of the funeral is part of an extract from the Kentish Mercury of April 6th.
"The funeral took place at Charlton Cemetery on Saturday, between 500 and 600 persons being present. In accordance with deceased's strong aversion to anything like display, the ceremony was of a very quiet and unostentatious character. At the graveside the hymns 'For ever with the Lord' and 'Saviour, before Thy face we fall' were sung, and appropriate portions of Scripture were read. Addresses were given by Dr. Heyman Wreford, of Exeter (at whose house Mr. Kelly died), and Mr. T. Moore, of Bournemouth, the latter saying that a fortnight before his death Mr. Kelly remarked that there were three things that were real, the cross of Christ, hatred of the world, and the love of God."
Who can tell the sorrow that filled the hearts of the hundreds who stood around his grave. Many eyes were overflowing with tears, and every heart was filled with grief. There was the coffin, telling of our loss, there was the open grave to hold the body of this faithful servant of our Lord, his "pathetic dust." While the strains of the hymn "For ever with the Lord" were rising from our hearts, our thoughts went back to the days of the early Church — and the words uttered by the servant of Christ in the first century seemed marvelously applicable to the one we mourned in the twentieth. What moved hearts and shadowed lives in apostolic times, moved our hearts today.
We seemed to hear the words of farewell, spoken so long ago, again sounding in our ears —
"Ye know, from the first day I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons; serving the Lord with all humility of mind . . . and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you and have taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and to the Greeks repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ."
Yes, we knew, we knew full well, the manner of his life. He lived in these Western Isles for God and Christ, and served Him here, as did Paul in those Eastern lands. Christians wept over Paul departing to his death, we weep over one gone to his rest, We have his testimony with us now. Taught of God, he imparted to us by His Spirit the marvellous truths given to the great Apostle. The unfolding of Scripture, and the ministry of the word, had been the great object of his life.
"And now behold I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, shall see my face no more "
No more. The earthly work is done. The labourer rests with Christ. We shall never see his face on earth again, but, as our hearts sorrow for his loss; we shall remember those sixty years and more of patient work for Christ. Many of us can say, "all our lives he has been with us." We shall think of his service, recall his admonitions, dwell upon his words, and memory's constant aid will recall seasons of blessed fellowship with the one whom God has taken.
This is the human side; but again the great Apostle speaks to us in those blessed words:
"I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This is the divine side.
Small comfort should we find by looking at the grave; small comfort in the human sorrow that will find its place within us. We may fear for ourselves and others now that that loved voice is stilled; but our faith and hope look upward.
Thank God the truth remains — the Lord is still the stay and comfort of His people.
The will of God has brought us to this gate of sorrow. The path beyond may seem dark to many — but the Lord Himself is the Light.
In a day of weakness the tried heart can find comfort hour by hour in the promises of God. One well may be dried up, but He can cause rivers of blessing to flow in a thirsty land.
We may feel how dependent we have been on a human presence and an earthly voice — but God, even our God, shall bless us and give us to feel that the "everlasting arms" are around us, and that "in His presence there is fulness of joy." Waves of sorrow and a sense of loss may beat upon our hearts in almost overwhelming power, but He still treads the waters of affliction, and beneath His feet the storm is stayed, and furious winds of trouble and raging waves of fear all sink to rest when He says " Peace, be still." He comes in the watches of the night, and we hear Him say "It is I, be not afraid." We sorrow, but "not as others that have no hope," for the foundation of our hope is in Him Who has said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." The future we can and must leave with Him.
Sorrowfully the "blessed dead" is left behind us. The great crowd disappears, and each believer who stood around the grave of God's honoured servant, and our beloved friend and brother, has to face for himself the responsibilities of Christian life.
Let the deep words of Apostolic benediction sound like heavenly music in our ears, and find a real and an abiding place in all our hearts: —
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." — 1 Thess. 3:12, 13.
Farewell! awhile, dear servant of our Lord,
Thy work on earth is done;
The Master calls thee home — His blest award,
Thy faithful heart has won.
Thy pathway to the skies was rough and long:
Reproach for Christ was thine.
But lo! at eventide God gave the song —
And light — His light divine.
His mercy, and His truth, sustained thee where
Thy fields of service lay
And up the shining heights of faith and prayer,
To rest, and endless day.
Reprinted, by permission, from the "Christian."
The Late Mr. William Kelly, Biblical Scholar and Teacher.
By a friend of many years.
The close of the long, strenuous, and devoted life of Mr. Kelly, of Blackheath, is an event that will touch many Christian hearts that held him in deepest affection. He was one of Christ's special gifts to the Church for the late century's revival of Christian learning, truth, and testimony, who in service to the One that had won his heart, counted it gain to go out in separation from all to meet Him; and whose formula of the Christian life was — Faith in God's Word, true obedience thereto, and devotedness to the Person of Christ.
William Kelly was the son of an Ulster squire, and was born at Millisle, Co. Down, in May, 1821, He was educated at Downpatrick and at Dublin University, where the highest honours in classics were his. He was brought up a Protestant Churchman, and became enamoured with "Puseyism"; but was spiritually quickened shortly after graduating. Going to the Isle of Sark, he was brought into Christian liberty through a lady of the Acland family directing him to 1 John 5:9, 10. He touchingly alludes to this happy fact in his "Exposition of the Epistles of John," issued last year — a work he was thankful to accomplish. He never swerved from the truth he then found, proving it the "witness of God" to his soul, of salvation and eternal life. To the last its reality remained with him; as he expressed it shortly before passing away: "The Lord is the light of my heart." Mr. Kelly was twenty-four years old when he first met Mr. Darby, the body of whose teaching he was readily grasping as of the Spirit. The discovery of the "judicious Hooker's" error in asserting that "the field is the Church" (Matt. 13), had given him the key of the truth, and he had closely studied the Scriptures during the intervening period. He now stirred up more widely his Christian activities, and in faith consecrated his great attainments and abilities to the cause of Christ.
Mr. Kelly was a man of recognised erudition, possessing powers, too, of original research. He had rare logical skill, fine precision, and keen controversial force, all with high moral power and spiritual culture. A French writer who long knew his works described him: "Kelly — savant, realisateur, tete logique, resumateur-philosophe"; and an Irish writer spoke of him as "a distinguished alumnus of the University." A student to the end, he was no recluse or mystic; and if he burnt the midnight oil, he also greatly delighted in Christian fellowship, and the practical ministry of preaching and teaching. He was held in high esteem for his critical work by members of the New Testament Revision Committee, with some of whom he held friendly and learned correspondence. He thought Darby's "New Translation" (though erring somewhat), more reliable than the " Revised Version," which he fully and critically examined in his monthly Bible Treasury, a periodical considered by many besides Archdeacon Denison as "the only one worth reading."
Commenced in 1856, this journal is replete with the writings of Brethren's leading expositors, among them none more luminous or richer in spiritual wisdom than his own. its critical studies, devotional papers, Scriptural unfoldings, doctrinal discussions and reviews, all combine to make it a half-century's reliable testimony to the restored truths of practical Christianity. In taking up the task, after Prof. Wallace had had six months as editor, he sought that "grace and wisdom" might be granted him for it; and surely it may be asked: Is not such an editorial service unique?
Mr. Kelly had previously edited The Prospect (1849-50), a most interesting volume as a study of some early work. From it he re-issued a translation of the "Revelation" from the Greek, with notes of manuscript readings and general remarks (1849). He also contributed numerous critical comments to Dr. Tonna's Christian Annotator (1854-6), a journal Mr. Darby did not care for. Dr. Tregelles and Philip Henry Gosse, F.R.S., were also contributors. The work so highly commended by Prof. Ewald was "The Revelation of John, edited in Greek, with an English version," and a statement of authorities and versions. For it Mr. Kelly made use of MSS. never before applied to critical purposes, and gave extracts from the original Codex Sinaiticus, obtained through Prof. Tischendorf (1860).
Our friend edited "The Collected Writings of J. N. Darby," whose thirty-six volumes involved much tedious search over many years and in several languages. By this work "W. K." conveyed an important service to the Church of God, which few, if any, could have adequately accomplished. This is also true of the "Synopsis of the Bible," whose five volumes "W. K." thought J. N. D.'s best single work; as the "Examination" of B. W. Newton's " Apocalypse" his ablest critique. He highly valued Darby's writings, and circulated them as widely as possible. For their author he had profound regard, and delighted to speak of him with reverence and love, although their fellowship had been broken in upon after thirty-five years of happy, hearty co-service. He looked upon him as unapproached for Scriptural unfoldings of long-lost truths, and for dependence upon God and His word. "Read Darby!" he used to say, to the last.
Learned readers have often expressed appreciation of Mr. Kelly's critical writings; and studious (as all, he thought, should be) believers everywhere valued his expositions as "comfort and food" of rich worth. Their great extent and instructive variety is perhaps unparalleled. His "Lectures on the Revelation" form a profound work of critical value and spiritual perception, recently revised. In it he fully analyses the teaching of Elliott's "Horae Apocalypticae." The "Doctrine of the Holy Spirit" is still an exposition of rare value, as when declared by Dr. Bledsoe the "best discussion" extant on the subject. " Preaching to the Spirits in Prison" is a contribution of important interest to the discussion of this attractive subject. "Lectures on the Second Coming" afford clear and definite teaching on this much detested subject. The "exposition of Isaiah" (1895) is "a new book rather than a re-issue," which the learned author hoped would render "greater help to the Christian student, and even to the larger circle of those who seek more intimate acquaintance with the richest and most comprehensive of the Prophets." He exhaustively discusses the nature and object of Prophecy, and combats unsparingly the "bitter hostility" of the Neo-criticism he so deplored, in its assault upon "whatever is most bright and blessed."
The smaller "Daniel" is an instructive study of this little understood prophet of great precision, the new edition of which, after forty years, has also an expose of Neology. The "Exposition of John," 1898, was "written from first to last, with the deep conviction how little my plummet can sound John's revealed depths." His "Epistles of John" already alluded to, should stand with the "Gospel." The two volumes form an incomparable study of John's presentation of the Lord; nor does anyone need "Lives of Christ," who possesses these beautiful writings, so full of mature learning and spiritual understanding in the unfolding of the Person and work of God's Son. The graces of the Lord as Man are displayed in Luke; in John it is God making known Himself in Christ. Moreover, "Life eternal in the Son of God declared and manifested in His character in WAYS and WORDS, and that he gives this life is there written with more than sunbeam brightness." "The Creation" (long published) and "In the Beginning and the Adamic Earth" (1894) (commended by Archbishop Benson, and accepted by Gladstone for St. Deiniol's library), evince the beauty and perfection of revealed knowledge, and the faith and power of "W. K." for its elucidation. They form a profound guide to the study of Cosmogony. "Christ Tempted and Sympathising" (1871) is a finely discriminative study, and none will deny the devout erudition of his exposition of "The Lord's Prayer" (1850; new ed. 1900), or that the "Pastoral Epistles" are choice meditations of high spiritual character and helpfulness. His "Acts of the Apostles" is an instructive unfolding of the early days of the Church, as his "Corinthians" is of Church order and government, of gifts and ministry. To these should be added "Lectures on the Church of God," a veritable text-book; and "Notes on Ephesians," a book of the highest character of Christian instruction.
One of his later volumes, "God's Inspiration of the Scriptures," exhibits with unanswerable faith and proof the perfection of Divine revelation and "the grace of its purport in the glory of God." Mr. Kelly thought this work should be of help to "the spiritual understanding of all who value the Bible from beginning to end." To him it was a sad thing that many professed believers should seek to undermine God's word, and often attach more weight to inscribed stones and engraved cylinders than to the Divine revelation of the Scriptures.
Such are a few of the multitude of Mr. Kelly's writings, a rare legacy to the Christian community, all so evidently full of precise instruction to the spiritual intelligence. They bear the mark of an able writer, who sought such ease of style as would "come home" to the reader's heart and conscience, and who desired neither to form nor belong to any school of thought, doctrine, or interpretation; but in faith to take God at His word by the Spirit's guidance, and so to teach the Christian.
He sought to forward growth in grace and Divine knowledge, to prepare both "sincere milk" and solid food for Christian growth, "till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." He pressed for the cultivation of truth in the "inward parts," and the practical exercise of what was learnt, in testimony to Christ for His glory. He was as a "father" who had "known Him that is from the beginning," as well as one who would teach faithful men, that they might, by continuance in the things they had learnt, be able to teach others also.
Many of Mr. Kelly's books are reports of lectures. As a lecturer he especially excelled, being a public speaker of easy but impressive address. He made no display of learning, yet conveyed solid instruction. On rare occasions he would so open up the deep recesses of heart and mind as to cause wonder for what might be contained there.
He had a winning personality, with a charm of manner, a fine courtesy, and a humour of the purest. His small Bible and pushed-up spectacles, his firm mouth and shrug of the shoulders, have oft obtained affectionate remark, as now they have public notice. He also laboured with zeal in the gospel wherever he went, and wrote largely upon it. His "Born of Water and of the Spirit" and "The Apostle at Athens" studiously exhibit what Christ's work is, its mode of operation in grace, and what it involves for man's blessing and God's glory. They well illustrate the high character of his "gospel" productions. Years ago he was interested in some inquiring Japanese students in England, proving of marked service to them; and one of his last activities was in the selection of special Christian literature for China and Japan.
Mr. Kelly wrote a few choice hymns, finely expressive of worship "for grace and truth revealed in blessing for eternal glory." But he did not cultivate this "recreative work." He deeply deplored the flimsiness of faith today compared with a former robustness of Christian character, the increasing worldliness of believers, and growing lack of devotedness. The spread of materialism, Ritualism, and Popery pressed upon his heart, though according to revelation; and his constant aim was to deliver souls from these. He wrote sternly against the late Pope's Encyclical, and interesting cases of converted priests, monks, and others of education and high place have come before him both at home and in France.
It was his regret also to observe how hindrances to Christian light were spreading in University life and teaching, and around the young life of future Christian leaders. He considered the great lack to be a living faith in God and His revelation. David showed his superiority over Solomon in his greater value of the Ark, "for faith is always, if I may say so, wiser than wisdom." So again in Rev. 3, the Laodicean condition arises out of "despising the testimony given to Philadelphia — the fruit of the rejection of the special truth that formed that Church" — keeping the word of His patience, and not denying His Name. His answering query, "For which world?" when once told he might readily "make a fortune," was perhaps surpassed by his reply to one who generously offered his influence to "do something" for him: "What can you do for me more than has already been done by the Lord Jesus?" He sought to avoid the Laodicean spirit at all cost.
He was concerned, too, for the vast amount of unprofitable reading extant, which he thought "best counteracted by sound and interesting testimony to the truth"; asserting that the young were largely affected by the "abounding fiction and worthless poetry of the day." Many Christian believers, he said, thought more of Milton's "fine imaginations" or of Tennyson's groping for light, than of God's true record; and too little of the writings of Cowper, "one of the best of all the poets," who through faith had helped many to praise God. He largely believed, however, with Darby, that poetry (not hymns) "is chiefly the effort of the human mind to create, by imagination, a sphere beyond materialism, which faith gives in realities." Like Abraham, "W. K." believed God!
Mr. Kelly never changed his ecclesiastical position after turning from the Established Church in 1841, and going "forth unto Christ outside the camp, bearing His reproach," but, with sufficient statement for Christian conscience and intelligence, continued steadfastly onward. He never "broke fellowship" with the leaders in the unhappy divisions among Brethren in the bitter way often ascribed to him; but, when having had to withhold confidence, he always lucidly, logically, and scripturally stated his ground as occasion called, consistently adhering to first principles. He was as severe in condemning unscriptural divergences (whether ecclesiastical or doctrinal) among Brethren as anywhere else. He could warn as well as help, rebuke as well as encourage. His sarcasm was the searching rapier of applied truth.
From beginning to end he bore unchanging practical testimony to the oneness of the Body, the unity of the Spirit, and separation unto the Name and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, awaiting His return. One of the happiest of Christians, he knew the sorrows as the joys of the path, yet as he wrote myself not long ago, "Ours after all is but light affliction compared, I do not say, with His who suffered as none but Himself ever did, but with the Apostle, a man of like passions with ourselves. What had he not to endure from Jew, Gentile, and the Church of God!"
Mr. Kelly married firstly a Guernsey lady — Miss Montgomery. His second wife, who died in 1884, was a daughter of Rev. Mr. Gipps, of Hereford. A lady of devoted natural and spiritual ability, she skilfully rendered much aid in her husband's special work. Like himself, she was a clever linguist, and possessed of wide knowledge. She translated nearly half the Psalms, to which Mr. Kelly added the rest, and last year issued them as a personal memento of her. Much pleasing interest attaches to her memory.
The gift of Mr. Kelly's remarkable library of 15,000 volumes, the choice tools of a scholarly and devoted Christian worker, was anonymous, and desired by him to remain so, but a London journal revealed it. Every consideration was given to the question of its future locale, and it is in appreciative hands. To have seen something of it, with its learned owner as interpreter, was a valued privilege. It included the great Codices (some in facsimile); all the great Polyglots; the works of the Fathers, and the Schoolmen. Replete in the departments of Science, Philosophy and History, it was specially rich in Classics, Ecclesiastical History, and Theology, including many very rare items connected with Biblical research. His hope, in sending it into Yorkshire near two years ago, was that others might prove its helpfulness in God's work.
Mr. Kelly devoted much time and labour to correspondence, serving alike the learned and the ignorant; every line of his exceedingly small but very legible writing carrying clear instruction and reliable information, Christian counsel and encouragement, — all choicely expressed. He sought to be of the utmost possible service even in this respect, as over a hundred letters and postcards now on my table fully prove; spending himself for the Lord and the good of His people. He left the results, but was always grateful for the confidence and affectionate regard of believers everywhere. He had many admirers in the higher walks of life, and close readers of his writings there, who fully recognised his reaming and regarded his constancy and devotion. His friendship was a privilege, his confidence no mean trust, and to know him was to love him.
Thus passed the days and years in happy, constant, fruitful service until, after a few weeks at Dr. Heyman Wreford's home in Exeter, "peacefully resting and waiting," he was "put to sleep by Jesus," March 27. So closed a unique ministry, whose effect will remain unto many days, with many grateful hearts.
Mr. Kelly was interred at Charlton Cemetery (near to his gifted wife) on March 31, in the presence of some 500 mourners. Dr. Wreford having prayed, two hymns were sung — "For ever with the Lord" and "Saviour, before Thy face we fall." Brief remarks by Dr. Wreford on Acts 20:25, emphasized gratitude for God's rich gift to the Church in "W.K.," and sorrow to see him here no more; but joy for the hope of the Lord's return: reading 1 Thess. 4:13-18. Mr. Moore read Ps. 91:1, applying also, "the beauty of the Lord," from Ps. 90:16, 17; dwelt on "W. K.'s" love and work for the Lord, and how at the last he spoke of "realities"; as with emphasis he said, "the cross is a real thing; the hatred of the world is a real thing; and, [beloved brethren,] the love of God is a real thing!" The brief, solemn, yet appropriate and comforting service was closed in prayer by Colonel Binney, and all was over — "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away."
H. W. Pontis.
In Memoriam — W. K.
"They are all gone into the world of light." — H. Vaughan.
"A great man and a prince has fall'n today,"
Our eyes with tears are dim,
And life is dipt in hues of leaden grey,
As we lament for him.
Yet rather for ourselves must we deplore
The loss of such a mind,
So rich a treasury of sacred lore,
While selfless zeal, combined
With that great knowledge, mark'd him all the day
From youth to mellow age;
He was content to win the Master's praise
At end of pilgrimage
His was a real eloquence, that made
The Bible wondrous clear;
All tones were in it — answering every shade
Of thought, they reach'd the ear.
And aye his speech was clothed with dignity,
At times with pathos rare,
Or vivid scorn, or gentle irony,
But weak or aimless ne'er.
For his the speaker's gifts — yet did we find
Them e'er 'neath strict control;
He sought not to delight the idle mind,
But to inspire the soul.
And, earnest always, most he kindled, when
Descanting on the Name
Of the Redeemer and the Hope of men,
And setting forth His fame.
Ah, we no more shall see him — he has pass'd
Into that world of light,
Where flowers are faceless, pleasures ever last,
And there is no more night
"A great man and a prince has fall'n today";
I lose a lifelong friend;
But, though a moment grief becloud our way,
Joy cometh at the end.