Слике страница
PDF
ePub

crown of rejoicing shall be lost in the fruition of the paradise of God! I felt that I could no longer remain satisfied with the measure of grace that had been given me, and my doubtful hope of acceptance with God; and hungering and thirsting like the prodigal, and like the Syrophenician woman willing to accept of the crumbs, and feeling that they were too good for me, I sought with agonizing supplication my Savior. Is it at all incredible, that thus coming I should find Him? No! I had the promise of God, that thus seeking I should find, and though perplexed, I was not in despair as heretofore, but had just strength enough to carry me to the cross, to the bleeding Lamb of God; and having found him and being found of him, was it strange that joy-joy extatic-heavenly joy, unspeakable and full of glory, should have taken possesion of my soul.

While realizing, that I was safe-safe in the arms of my Savior, I fell down at his feet and worshiped him, and returned home praising and blessing him from my inmost soul for his unutterable love. I felt indeed that it was the commencement of my everlasting song of triumph and of praise. My dear friend, persevere I beseech you in your determinatica to live for Christ, to be wholly his; to renounce the allurements of a perishing world, to renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow him. May God bless you and enable you in the strength of our crucified Redeemer to say, “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Be willing again to agonize to find your Savior, that you may obtain the full assurance of hope unto the end; and press on toward the mark for the prize of your high calling in Christ Jesus ; the same assurance of faith inay be yours, if you strive for it."

We close these extracts with a fragment of a letter begun to her absent brother, for whom she felt the deepest solicitude, in consequence of his having once imbibed some erroneous views respecting the character of Christ. Before his departure, she had followed him with anxiety from room to room, impressing upon his mind her last counsel, saying, as if with a presage of her approaching death, she might probably never see him again. They never were permitted the privilege of again meeting ; but we fondly trust that she, being dead, yet speaketh to his heart—nor has spoken in vain. She thus writes :

My Dear Drother. Feeling that my time on earth may be short, I thought I could not refrain from entreating you to return with humble penitence to that Savior whom by the wiles of the Tempter you have been led to disown. Your former feelings, (alluding to convictions of sin,) you gave up as a delusion; and, the Spirit thus quenched, a more gross and palpable darkness succeeded, and you were left by an offended God, to embrace the soul-destroying error of Unitarianism. I am convinced, however, that you have given up this system in your heart ; and without doing this, you would probably have sunk under those repeated trials which I believe, were sent in mercy to your soul. But, my dear brother, you can never be a partaker of those rich consolations which the gospel contains, until you return to your first love. Hasten, my dear brother, to the foot of the cross, where only you can find pardon, and deliverance from the net which has been privily laid for your feet. Fly to the cross, and there agonize to find the precious Savior whom you have denied. As certain as he keeps the keys of Hades and of death, you will find him: yes, you will find him: he is even inviting you to come and drink again of that living water, which shall be in you a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life. Oh! as you would hope to join in that triumphant song of the redeemed, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, fly to that fountain, and there bathe your immortal soul. My dear dear brother, I must be clear of your blood, and I must tell you what your sin is. The plain truth is, you put your hand to the plough and looked back; and you know that our Savior says of such, that they are unfit for the kingdom of heaven ; and again, “ If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” This then is your sin, and this was my sin : the insensibility you acknowledge, is the stupor of death. I have felt it, and know too well what it is; but you may yet live: though it will require all your energies to enter in. But God is waiting to be gracious, and why should you longer sleep. Shake off the lethargy, I pray you, lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. He is omnipotent to save you: believe it, my dear brother, the Savior is omnipotent; and is it not plain as if written with a sunbeam, that nothing short of omnipotence can save, save from death eternal. “ The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” “Come unto me all you that are weary of labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” O that sweet invitation, Come unto me. O that rest, that heavenly rest which he imparts to the weary and heavy laden; you have been witness in part to the joy I felt in finding my Savior, but conception of it must be faint, until Fou

find him also." This last extract was written about a week previous to that illdess which terminated her days. The letter was never finished or sent, and breaks off abruptly in consequence of interruption by the visit of a relative, to whom she wished to devote her time. All these letters were written at intervals, and often while watching her infant child, and intended as they were for near friends, she was not careful in the choice of her expressions ; yet they afford a glimpse of what she was from day to day. The same unsullied tranquillity, and firm reliance on God, and devotedness to him, continued while she was able to discharge her duty.

At this time the Bible, Thomas a Kempis, Baxter's Saint's Rest, or Leighton, were the companions of her leisure hours ; and she probably spent three or four hours every day in meditation and prayer. If there was any one truth of the sacred book, on which she dwelt with peculiar delight, it was the Atonement of Christ ; and she often might be found in tears over the record of His love to man. Her approach to God seemed to be wholly through Him, and her prayers were more especially directed to Jesus; as if it was from such a Redeemer that she derived her enlargement and confidence to make known her wants. The mention of his name would often melt her to tears, and you could see in these seasons, that her soul was burdened with a sense of its obligatioņs to Infinite Love. About a week before her last illness, some portions of Edwards on the Affections were read to her, for the purpose of trying her faith. She listened with great attention to some of the most discouraging representations there found, and then observed, “ It is true, but that does not shake my faith, I cannot doubt; I am sure. I feel it, I have the evidence, I know I have been owned and blessed ; I know that I love God.At the same time alluding to the uncertainty of life, she remarked, “ I may be taken sick, I may be called to lose my reason ; but if He sees it best, I am willing. I know that He will not desert me.” She soon indeed had occasion for the exercise of that undoubting reliance on His promises, and He did not fail her in her time of need. Again referring to her past sufferings, she said, “ You have heard me describe what I have formerly endured ; but much as I have suffered in thirteen years, I would pass through it all again, for such foretastes of heaven as I have lately had.” On being reminded of the strength of her expression, she said, “ I know it—I know it—but Oh! you cannot conceive of it.” Her mind here seemed laboring for language, and she concluded, " It was joy-joy unspeakable and full of glory. I know what that means. She said, “I think I know something what the wretchedness of a spirit lost must be, and I think I know in some degree too what it will be to be in heaven.” During this conversation, an allusion having been made to such a climate as it was supposed would be congenial to her constitution, she answered, “Any where, where God pleases.” Reading the chapter in Thomas a Kempis beginning - Jesus has many lovers of his heaven, but few bearers of his cross,” etc., she said, “ I wish I could know what my cross is. It is no cross for me to converse with any one on the subject of religion :" then evidently mindful of her natural aversion to pain, she continued, “I am sometimes afraid, that perhaps I am not willing enough to suffer ; and it is my daily prayer, that God would qualify me to suffer for him, if it be necessary.' She undoubtedly had in view certain passages of the scriptures, and the spirit of martyrs leading them to death for the sake of Christ. She was called to meet with some reproach in consequence of her endeavors to do good, but nothing daunted her; and her only return for unkind words was forgiveness and a remembrance in her prayers.

We are now come to the closing scenes of her life. The week previous to her last illness, in company with a female friend, she visited the sick. Before she went forth in her efforts to benefit others, she always retired to her closet and engaged in fervent supplication; and the writer has heard her often say, with a lovely expression of humility, as she went out, “ I think I am right : I do believe God will bless my poor endeavors : I do not go in my own strength: I have been praying that he would be with me.

There was such a simplicity of filial confidence in this feeling, that no one who witnessed it, could help being deeply impressed and affected. After she had called on her female friend to join her on these visits of mercy, she said, “ Now ought we not to pray together before we go: you know we need grace and strength.” Having visited a lady who was very ill, and conversed and prayed with her almost in a whisper ; on leaving the house she said to her friend, I think my conversing with Mrs. —could not have injured her; do you suppose it could?” Her friend replied she presumed not. “Oh! said she, we are so careful of these poor frail bodies, we must not burt them: but the soulthe soul—that seems of comparatively little consequence.” In the course of these visits also, she called at the house of a poor woman whose child was ill, and in a state of gloom. She urged him to put bis trust in the Savior, and poured out her most earnest intreaties to God, in his behalf. On leaving her friend, and proposing to go the next week on similar labors of love, she observed, “ If we cannot induce others to listen, we can go out into the huts of the poor, and try to make them acquainted with Christ.” Her friend during the whole time they were together, was much affected by her conversation and appearance, her nearness to God, her devotedness to the Savior, and the absorption of her soul in her Redeemer's cause. She could not help even then thinking, as she has since remarked, “ Mrs. could not be long for this world; she seemed so far above it.” Alluding to her prayers, her friend said, “ there was such an entire confidence in God's grace, that it was just like a child going to its parent; not the least hesitancy as to her right to the promises, not the least distrust of his willingness to give, she seemed to ask as if she expected to receive blessings." The next day, she met the young female converts for the last time. After the meeting was closed, she followed them to the outer door, urging on one and another increasing devotedness to Christ, and greater holiness of character. In the same room, where she had thus led them to the throne of grace, a fortnight from that day, they gathered to gaze on the so lately animated countenance of their beloved friend and teacher, sealed in the slumbers of death. On the sabbath she attended church as usual, and in the evening again entered the sanctuary for the last time. The theme of the discourse was christian readiness for death, and the text in these words, “ I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand,” etc. she was returning, she expressed her gratification in the meeting, dwelt upon the subject, and alluded to her own feelings at the thought of such a departure from this world. The moon was now shining brightly, having just passed a cloud which lay beneath it, and the writer cannot forget the intense delight which she seemed to feel in contemplating it, and beholding in the firmament the handy-work of our Creator. Seizing upon the image, she compared the silver orb which had been obscured, and was now shedding its mellow light on the surrounding creation, to the christian coming out of darkness into light, and thus reflecting the glories of the Savior. She spoke much of heaven, and of the transition from this world to that glorious state beyond the grave. We stopped several times to gaze on the mild radiance which was falling around us, and little did the writer then think, that it was for the last time; that they never more should look together upon that softened light. The next day she once more visited the disconsolate boy, and her last labor of love was to carry comfort to his soul. Before another revolving sun she was laid upon the bed of sickness. Although for the most part conscious of the presence of her friends, yet from the nature of her disease, her case at other times exhibited the sadder features of mental derangement. The same room where she had so often knelt in secret wrestling with God, and which was hallowed by the remembrance of her communion with her Savior, was now the scene of the last triumph of her faith. On the very first night of her illness, before the physician had pronounced her to be in danger, she solemnly bade her mother and her child, who only were then present, farewell, and expressed her hope that she might be with her Savior before the morning dawned. For more than a week she lay upon her dying bed, and rapidly wasted away, racked as it appeared to others with excruciating pain, yet scarcely ever spoke of suffering; and when asked if she was happy, her invariable reply was, “ Perfectly so." In her lucid intervals, she was assured and triumphant; longing to depart and be with Christ : wholly resigned to his will. « All is well, and all is right,” was her answer to those who sympathized with her on account of her suffering. At one time she called for her bible, the companion of her closet hours, and after laying it upon her breast, clasping her hands over the sacred volume, with a peculiar expression, she repeated the following lines.

“ Should all the forms that men devise,
Assault my faith in treacherous guise,
l'll call them vanity and lies,

And bind the Gospel to my heart." Upon closing the stanza, she pressed the blessed book to her bosom with an earnestness which told more strongly than words could speak, how precious to her soul were the oracles of God. Even when reason wandered, her whole soul was still absorbed in desires for the salvation of others, and with the most moving appeals she would intreat sinners to come to the Savior, exclaiming that she was willing to be broken-torn to pieces-crucified-trampled upon--any thing, if they would only believe. It is true, that there were also many long hours, when the recollections of her former days of dark

« ПретходнаНастави »