2021 Advent Reading – Hope for the World: Advent with John Wesley

Day 16 Wednesday 22 December 2021

God is with us to the end

Reflection: Journal of John Wesley February 24, 1791

John Wesley lived to a good old age of 88. The following account was written by Betsy Ritchie, one of the saints of early Methodism:

On Sunday morning, with a little of Mr Bradford’s help, Mr Wesley got up, took a cup of tea and seemed much better. Many of our friends were all hopes: yet Dr Whitehead said he was not out of danger from his present complaints.

Tuesday, March 1, after a very restless night (though when asked whether he was in pain, he generally answered “no”, and never complained through his whole illness, except once) he began singing: “All glory to God in the sky, and peace upon earth be restored.” Having sung two verses his strength failed but after lying still awhile he called on Mr Bradford to give him a pen and ink; “I want to write” but “ I cannot”. Mr Bradford said, “Let me write for you, sir tell me what you would say.

“Nothing,” he said, “but that God is with us”.

When his thigs were getting ready, he broke out in a manner which, considering his extreme weakness, astonished us all, in those blessed words:

     I’ll praise my Maker while I have breath

         And when my voice is lost in death,

     Praise shall employ my nobler powers

         My days of praise shall never be past,

    While life, and thought, and being last,

         Or immortality endures.

……… His speech failed; and those lips which used to feed many were no longer able to convey their accustomed sounds…… Finding we could not understand what he said, he paused a little and then with all the remaining strength he had, cried out, “The best of all is, God is with us”, and then, as if to assert the faithfulness of our promise keeping Jehovah and comfort the hears of his weeping friends, lifting up his dying arm in token of victory and raising his feeble voice with a holy triumph not to be expressed, again repeated the heart reviving words, “THE BEST OF ALL IS, GOD IS WITH US!”

Prayer

Echoing the prayer of St Bernard of Clairvaux, “We remember the first coming of Christ, he comes to redeem us sinners and given us new birth. We long for his second coming to fully manifest his glory and redeem us from all our pain and sufferings on this earth. In all the while, living in this world with its many trials and temptations, sufferings and pains, He promised to be our rest and our consolation. He promised to be with us till our dying breath. The best of all is, God is with us. O come, O Come Emmanuel. Amen.

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