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remembered the text, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.'
But I was provoked ;' said my tempted heart. “Love is not easily provoked,' said the voice of God. “She ought to ask my forgivness first,' said my heart. Whatever be her duty, yours is plain,' was the reply. I yielded, and though pride shrunk from the cross, I went into the room of my friend, and told her that I could not rest till she knew how sorry I was for having spoken as I had done, and wounded her feelings. She was in bed, and for some time did not reply; but as I stooped to kiss her, I felt her warm tears on my cheeks, when, twining her arms around me, she said, 'that she only was to blame, and craved my forgiveness. By the confession of my own sin, I had 'gained my sister,' and they were sweet and precious moments that we spent together before him who giveth power to the faint,' to confess their faults one to another, and pray one for another'
“But it was not always thus. I began to find that a sin re. nounced is not always conquered ; and Satan half persuaded me that it was hypocrisy thus to confess again and again the same sins, leading me to the low and dangerous standard of erring humanity, and reminding me of professors who allowed such things. In the mean while, he kept from my memory the promise, 'Lo, I am with you alway; and for want of looking unto Jesus,' I was not willing to run with patience the race set before me.' Once impatient of the yoke, the progress in insubmission was rapid, and the downward course easy. Self-examination became irksome-prayer more and more difficult. Yet often in the stillness of the soul, the voice of conscience quickened by God's Word, was heard tenderly pleading, “Thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob!''thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.' • Turn ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.
“But bad habits of mind, sometime since broken up, had again been formed ; and these fresh impulses did not suffice to overcome them. Little by little,' O! the tremendous consequences involved in those words !—I returned to my usual
indifference, and each new call produced less effect upon my rapidly hardening heart. Prayer became little more than a form; praise never flowed from my lips. My attention wandered from the services of the house of prayer, and the Sabbath became 'a weariness.'"
Anne repeated in a low voice, “He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him.” “ The long-suffering of the Lord is salvation."
" I know it; and that alone gives me hope," was the answer, “ but you do not know how sinful habits, long cherished, cling about the soul, or how hard it is to shake them off. Watch and pray against · little' sins."
Time wore on, and the seat in the accustomed pew became vacant. Miss Elwood was very ill. Anne hastened anxiously to the house to enquire after her. The servant's answer was, that she was much the same-the doctor had ordered that she should be kept perfectly quiet."
Again Anne called: the shutters were closed; she went in and spoke to the nurse. “Miss E. had fainted,” she was told, “when informed of her approaching end, but had afterwards made her final arrangements with composure.”
“ Had she expressed nothing relative to the future state ?" “No," the nurse said, “not that they could make out: she seemed to be praying, and appeared quite resigned to go." And this was all !
Anne read the announcement of her friend's death in the papers, accompanied by a text descriptive of her eternal blessedness; and she thought “Not such would she herself have chosen." Yet, while there was room for hope, she trusted that the cloudy evening might be the precursor of a brighter day, though she heard a voice of warning saying, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Weston super Mare.
ANNA, THE ELDER SISTER.
(Continued from page 321.)
CHAPTER VIII. Sudden death-recollections of her mother-commencement of a new year
thoughts in illness—the retrospect – letter to Sarah-a dying patriarchdeath of her aunt-pricate devotion and prayer for her sister.
The following are extracts from Anna’s diary:
“ Nov. 11, 1827.-I heard of the sudden death of a friend, J. W Six weeks ago I saw him: he then promised soon to visit me; he was well, and as likely to live as I am: now his state for eternity is for ever sealed. Had I been called instead, how should I have met the summons? I picture before me his pale and stiffened corpse, and imagine myself in the same condition. I follow him to the cold grave, and with him lay down my body in the dust, food for worms. I then follow his soul to an untried state of existence; see it appear before God's awful tribunal!
“The Judge, we have every reason to believe, is his friend. Oh, glorious exchange for him! Oh, happy soul! You have won the prize in the very bloom of youth. But how could I have met the Judge? What reason have I to suppose I should have found him a friend ? Oh, that awfully-momentous question, how it distracts my soul, and yet how indifferent have I been to it. Oh, Eternity! Eternity! My sins, how they rise like a mountain of black despair, and separate me from God. Is there no promise in the Bible which I can take to myself? • Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.' If my mind were stayed on God, should I not. enjoy perfect peace? O God of mercy, whatever other things thou deniest me, deny me not this one petition:—Save me from the awful danger of self-deception. Oh, if I am lulling myself with a false hope, take off the scales from my eyes; let me see myself as I am, however odious and heart-appalling may be the sight. Rouse me from apathy; may the death of thy servant be the means of waking me from the stupor of death, and arousing me to a sense of my own danger. If sin were pardoned, death would have no pangs, no sting; but I shrink from the idea of death. I cannot see any arm stretched out to protect and assist me in my combat' with my last enemy. I can see nothing to prevent me from sinking, and then Eternity! Oh eternity! my powers are lost in the contemplation. Oh, may God have mercy upon me, leave me not without some light on this subject. At any rate let' me trust thee, even though thou slay me, yet let me trust in thee; for thou art a strong tower of defence. The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
“ Dec. 3, 1827.-I have been particularly led, for a week past, to thoughts of my dearest earthly friend, of whom God graciously saw fit to deprive me, and to leave me alone as it were in the world. Yes, I could approach a mother with the dear appellation of friend, in every sense of the word. I had no wish, no thought 'which I did not wish to share with her. Whenever the beauties of nature particularly struck me, to her I expressed my delight. When the pleasures derived from overcoming difficulties, and finding new light in literary pursuits filled and enlarged my mind, I'ardently sought her; and rested not till I had met her smile of approbation. When an awakened conscience filled me with alarm, to her I went for counsel and admonition. When I felt the peace of pardoning love, with her I took sweet counsel. Without fear of being misunderstood, I imparted each feeling of joy or grief to her safe confidence. Oh, what a tremendous blank is made by the loss of such a friend! How does the iron of anguish enter the soul! What a faintness of heart does the remembrance of our loss produce, if the mind find a momentary forgetfulness in the discharge of its duties and employments. I have been longing for such a friend: I have been dissatisfied and restless, because I had no congenial soul with whom I could again hold sweet intercourse, and share every feeling of pleasure and of pain. I have said then would this world be a Paradise. These have been the predominant feelings of my mind for the last fortnight, and I write them down that I
remember how soon, and how often, my thoughts lose sight of heaven, and how much my affeetions are chained to earth. Is not Christ the one Altogether Lovely ? the chief among ten thousand? Does he not condescend to style himself a friend, even an elder brother ? Has he not given a mosti astonishing and overwhelming proof of his love love stronger than death? O my soul, cease to wander in forbidden paths in pursuit of happiness, paths which lead to disappointment and sorrow. Return to thy Beloved, and confide to him for advice and consolation; whatever happens, trust implicitly to him.
“I have had seasons of gloomy doubt on religious subjects, relative to a personal interest in religion. I have seen a sublimity in religion, it has taken hold of my imagination; the glorious truths of the gospel have filled me with admiration for its great author. The melting scenes of the Saviour's death, his glorious resurrection, have overcome
me with emotions of wonder, sorrow, and delight. The communion of saints has been delightful to me, and in all these subjects I take great delight. Still it may be a mere intellectual pleasure, a pleasure which every mind finds in what is great and glorious. These must not, cannot be, sufficient evidences of being a Christian; my heart may still be supremely attached to self. It is the life and conduct which must furnish evidence of a change of heart. What evidence does mine furnish? Do I overcome one carnal inclination more than any one would do, who has had the restraints of a religious education, who has been taught to regard the esteem of the wise, the virtuous, and the pious, worth exertion ?”
“ January 1, 1828.-Of what avail is it to make new resolutions, when the record of each succeeding year finds them broken and disregarded. Still it must be right to resolve to do better, because nothing good or proper will be done without such resolutions. The sin lies not in forming them, but in breaking them: may this be fixed in my mind through the whole of this year. In looking back on the past year, I find my besetting sin to be a listlessness of feeling, an inclination to be at ease, a natural sluggishness of temper which is the cause of much waste of time, loss of opportunities to do good, loss of the benefits which I should have received from immediately doing what I know to be right instead of intending to do so by and by. May I have strength given me to overcome this propensity for the present year.
“The profession of Christianity evidently implies an abiding sense of the presence of God, and of our obligations to him;