Page images
PDF
EPUB

if, therefore, our professions are any thing more than nominal, the whole channel of our thoughts will be directed heavenward; it will be the business of our lives to serve God, and prepare ourselves for another state of existence. The deeper impression we have of these subjects, the greater will be our desire that others, especially those of our own blood, may be interested in them, and become experimentally acquainted with them. While we have only vague and indefinite views of these subjects ourselves, we cannot expect to convince others; for the habitual tenor of our lives will ever prove the most decisive argument we can bring to the truth of those principles which

govern them.

“We read of Christians distinguished for piety, and devotedness to Christ, who spent their entire lives to the glory of God. We speak and think of them as great Christians, beyond us in holiness, but are they not saved by the same grace as we are? Were they greater sinners than others, that they show so much gratitude all their lives after? Is it not my duty to live as near to God as they have done; to devote as much of my time, talents, and money, to glorify God as they? If it is my duty, why do I neglect it? Why am I satisfied to live so differently, to be so far behind, to lose so much usefulness and enjoyment, to be so engrossed with vanity and earth? If it was the duty of ancient disciples to devote a portion of time, morning and evening, and at noon, surely it is mine; and for this purpose I will wri down a plan to which I may recur, and which I hope may be a means of quickening me to do what I acknowledge to be right.

I. “Rise an hour earlier in the morning than I otherwise should, to be devoted to reading the word of God, meditation, and prayer.

If at

any time prevented from observing this rule, devote the hour following breakfast.

II. 6. Retire for a short time after dinner, for communion with God.

III. “Read a portion of Scripture, and engage in prayer before going to rest.

IV. “Endeavour each day, besides reading the Scriptures, to read a portion of some religious work.

V. "Endeavour to read carefully a portion of Scripture, however short, with the commentary; that I may not, through heedlessness, lose the profit I might otherwise gain by the perusal of the sacred volume.

VI. “ Endeavour, if possible in the morning, to learn a portion of the word of God, that it may dwell in me richly, in all wisdom."

The following are further extracts from her diary:

Jan. 28, 1828.-From examining my heart, I find that I am in danger of trusting either to past experience for evidence of being interested in the Redeemer's atonement, or else resting in present performances. But oh, what is the most perfect life ? Nothing, and less than nothing. Christ is all. He is all and in all. None but Christ! none but Christ! Lord, help me to renounce all self-dependence; to remember that my best services are unworthy thy notice, except in proportion as I offer them in the name of Christ, pleading the precious promises of thy holy word.”

5 Feb. 3, 1828.--I have been the last three weeks, or a month, more or less unwell, threatened with fever, unable to engage in the duties of life.”

Feb. 6, 1828.-Death seems extremely near to me, as it often has during my illness. I endeavour to look at it with composure. The holiness of God's character often fills me with awe. My own vileness and pollution, with disgust. On the atonement of Christ I hang my hopes. He is indeed the sinner's Friend. I feel willing to trust in him, to believe that he is able and willing to save me, therefore I go to him ; to such the promise is ‘I will in no wise cast out. My only plea for acceptance with the Father is, His finished righteousness, oh, how complete! When I look at my past life it seems alt vanity, all wasted in pursuing my own pleasures, and in resolutions for future amendment. My sins rise up in mountains before my eyes, sufficient for ever to banish me from the presence of Jehovah. I shrink at the sight, but I look away from myself, and delight to view my heavenly Father's mercy as manifested in the gift of a Son, a. Saviour: “He that spared not his own son, but freely gave him up for us all, shall he not, with him also, freely give us all things?' I shudder at the remembrance of my sins, because they are so many evidences of my ingratitude to my heavenly Father.

O Lord, prevent the evil consequences which may arise from my neglect of my stewardship. Take unto thine own bosom the lamb* thou hast committed to my charge. Prepare her for early death, or future usefulness. May she, with her absent brother and sister, be graven on the palms of thy handflowers planted in the paradise of thy grace. Should I be taken

away from them, may this event be the means in thy Holy Providence of leading them to choose thee for their portion!"

Feb. 28, 1828.-I feel it is entirely owing to the grace of God I am what I am. While my affections are so languid, and my thoughts so much occupied with the things of time, why am I led to self-examination, or any religious duty ? Is it not owing to the gift of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influences quicken me to a discharge of my duty, when my affections are most chained to the world.”

The following is a very excellent letter to her sister Sarah, which illustrates her experimental religion :

“Dear grandfather has had a good deal of suffering; through much of it he was insensible, and I confess I had not the smallest hope of his recovery. The other evening he called me to him, and said, “Anna, I have lost much strength, and I am declining in health very fast. I may be called suddenly away from time to eternity. It devolves upon you, as the oldest of your family, to sustain the honor of religion in it. I trust you will be an ornament to it; may you grow in grace, my dear child, and may God bless you more and more. I trust you will ever walk in the faith of my fathers, uncorrupted; believing in the blessed doctrines of the Divinity of Christ and his atonement; keeping holy the Sabbath, and adopting that system of faith contained in the excellent Assembly's Catechism. My ancestors have, most of them, been men distinguished for piety, and out of respect to them I should have wished to have lain by their side, and been buried in the sepulchres of my fathers; but owing to the errors which hav crept into the church and town of M

and the present • Uer beloved sister Lucy.

unsettled state of religion among them, I rather wish to be buried in B-, by the side of your mother. As to my temporal concerns, I leave them without anxiety; they are, I believe, arranged as far as possible.' He spoke with much solemnity, but with no appearance of gloom. Death seemed to be familiar to him. He reminded me of the old patriarch, who, calling his descendants around him, gave them his dying blessing. *"

“We have indeed lost a valuable and tender friend; and although far separated from the scene of grief and distress, yet the certainty that we shall no more see her face in the land of the living, overwhelmed us. We have deeply realized too the blank which her loss must occasion to her dear family and your's. But when I think of the delightful meeting of glorified spirits around the throne of God and the Lamb, and their anthems of praise to Him who hath washed them and redeemed them by his own blood unto God, I could almost rejoice with those who have reached the end of their pilgrimage, and are receiving the rewards of faithful servants. Oh, who can conceive of the raptures of disembodied spirits, when, freed from mortal cares and imperfections, they behold the unveiled glories of the upper world. I have enjoyed, my dear sister, such a sense of this, that I can only rejoice at what our beloved aunt has gained ; I can only exclaim, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like her's.' +

“ Since I last wrote to you I have been very ill, por is the disease yet removed. The physician had prohibited writing or reading for a time, so that often when I longed to take up a pen, and tell you some of my feelings, I was obliged to deny myself, and fancy what I should have enjoyed had you been present with me."

“I cannot take my thoughts from the bereaved family, and whenever I think of them, I feel some of the bitterness of my own grief when in their situation. All the events of this gloomy month are vividly before my mind. Every look, word, and action, of our beloved mother, are constantly before my

• His ancestors left England during the reign of Charles I. to seek in America liberty of conscience, and freedom in worshipping God. He preserved in him. self all the sentiments and principles, with very much of the manner, of the Pilgrim Fathers.

+ Let it be kept in mind that she herself had now entered upon her last illness, wh ch so soon gave fruition to her desires.

eyes. My own dreary solitary feelings, the gloom which pervaded every object; the worthlessness of all created enjoyments; that vacancy which was felt, deeply felt by us all. These things are embodied in living colours; and when I think of my cousins in the same situation, I feel a sympathy for them which I cannot express. They have every thing to comfort them in the character of the departed; they have the delightful assurance that she has entered into rest; still her gain is, and ever will be, their loss; and it is for this I sympathize with them. My sincere and earnest prayer to God for them is, that this affliction may work out for them an eternal weight of glory, and that from this time they will take their Heavenly Parent to be the Guide of their youth.

“To you, my dear Sarah, this Providence calls in a loud and solemn voice. Its message to you is, ‘Be ye also ready, for in a day and in an hour when ye think not, the Son of man cometh. O dear Sarah, does this message

find
you
with

your lamp lighted, and ready for the coming of your Lord? Could you truly say, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation?' If you are not prepared for this summons, O repair immediately to the sinner's Friend, who will in no wise cast you out, but will receive you graciously, and love you freely. Commit yourself entirely to him, and renouncing all self-dependence, trust entirely to his merits and atonement. Look at the plan of salvation as it is revealed in the Scriptures, its adaptedness to the condition of mankind. Look, my dear Sarah, at your past life-the many resolutions you have formed and broken, and your inability to do any thing aright of yourself. Look at the amazing exhibition of his love on Calvary, see him bleeding, agonizing, dying, that you might obtain everlasting life.

.« Oh, when I look at this love of Christ which passeth knowledge, and at my own ingratitude as displayed by every act of my life, every thought and feeling, I see myself unworthy the name of Christian, and I feel that the riches of the grace of God are infinite in saving one who has nothing to plead in her own behalf, and who can make no suitable return. I feel, dear sister, especially anxious that you should now determine, unreservedly, to serve the Lord, to avail yourself of the readiness of Christ to receive you; and I write on this account more

« PreviousContinue »