Monday, November 05, 2007

'Through Many Trials' David Brown - XLIII.

The years of man are threescore and ten, but David Brown lived, through vigour of constitution, for fouscore years and fourteen, and they were indeed years of trial. A healthy lifestyle, exercise and the bracing sea air of Aberdeen, all contributed, under God, to a remarkably long life. Indeed, it was not until he was on the verge of turning ninety that his health, beyond his eyesight, started to give way. Whilst walking swiftly through the streets of Aberdeen, he tripped on an open coal-hole and fell with all his considerable force. |One of his legs was seriously injured, and it was a great shock even to his system. For three months he was confined to bed, and he was never quite the same again, though the recovery was remarkable. Winters became more difficult, and trips outside of the Aberdeen area less frequent. In early 1895 he had an attack of inlamation of the bladder, but recovered enough to enjoy his birthday in August. It was during the following winter that his great age began to seriously weigh him down. The cold weather confined him to bed, and in 1897 his friend W.G. Blaikie, coming to Aberdeen to lecture, found Brown confined to bed, in great bodily weakness.
But his mind remained active. He corresponded wirth many friends (though his failing eyesight and remaining nervous shock from the fall in 1892 made his handwriting large and difficult to read) on subjects from recent books (which his daughter Hannah would read aloud to him to save his eyes) to the Keswick movement, to Wesleyanism and hymns. He continued even to write for the press, and his thoughts often went back to the Disruption and the sacrifices of those days. At the same time he looked forward, knowing that the time of his dissolution was drawing near, to seeing the Lord he loved and served. "The best is yet to come," he said with certainty as he lay on his bed. His love of hymns had stored his mind not with the sickly sweet effusions of his age, but with those great hymns of men like Toplady and Wesley. His last words were hymns. On the morning of Saturday 3rd July Hannah Brown heard her aged father repeating the words of a little-known hymn by the English Moravian Bishop John Gambold (one of the 'Holy Club' of Oxford Methodists),
And when I'm to die,
Recieve me, I'll cry,
For Jesus hath loved me,
I cannot tell why;
But this I do find,
We two are so joined,
That He won't be in glory
And leave me behind.
Then he fell asleep. An hour later he woke and asked his daughter to read to him that great hymn of Phillip Doddridge,
O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.

’Tis done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.

That was the faith in which he died. His only hope and all his joy.

Soon afterwards he lapsed into unconsciousness, never to wake in this world again. His soul passed from this world to be with Christ which is far better at about six in the evening.
The Provost of Aberdeen gave the departed champion of the cross a public funeral, and his body was laid in the family plot in St. Nicholas' Kirkyard (pictured), and there it lies still, in blessed hope of the glorious resurrection of life, when he shall know the full gloy he sighed for.

God willing, before we leave David Brown, we shall have a few words to say in measure of the man.



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