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GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT.
I have been in the habit of visiting a poor woman who is much advanced in years; and moreover, so very infirm and helpless, as to be nearly unequal to moving from the house. The place where she lies down at night, is the most deplorable and destitute of comfort I ever witnessed, as inhabited by a human creature. I saw her this morning, and we fell into the following conversation. I asked her how she found herself. To which she replied; "my great Saviour all to me. I go soon I hope to him."
I said, "you are happy, Mary, are you not, when you think of this great Saviour ?"
"At times very happy, oh very happy. God wash me clean then. After my bad heart come again, me pray, pray: then, thank God, you come to talk to me about that. (After a short pause, she said,) only my Saviour comfort me, me no comfort without him." I asked her what she was thinking of all day, as she sat at the fireside.
"Oh nothing but go to the great Saviour, that's all. Great Saviour, wash me in his precious blood, wash every stain, thank him for that: every stain, wash me very clean, I hope that, I hope that."
I have given the out-pouring of this poor woman's heart, in her own precise words, which I wrote down as I sat behind her chair. She added more, which chiefly related to what gratitude she felt, first to God when any heart was opened to relieve her adding, in alluding to the promises of Scripture; "how God does all he says." Upon asking her whether she thought most of the bodily infirmity under which she laboured, or of her Saviour; her countenance assumed a bright momentary animation, as she turned to me and said; "if he is here (putting her withered hand to her heart) that is all, that is all!!" And again with a tone of depression, she added, "but he comes and goes away again." The precious Christian experience, so artlessly expressed, warmed my heart; and I left the abode of poverty, resolving, should my life be spared, again to return and learn a lesson of faith and trust, from one of the neglected and poor of Christ's flock.
LAST MOMENTS OF A POOR PIOUS WOMAN.
I visited a poor woman two years since, who lingered in consumption for some length of time. After her death, and when she was laid out for her grave, I called in upon her husband: as we both sat by the corpse, he gave me the following account of the last moments of her life:
"She suddenly called me to her bedside, and said; 'my dear husband, I am now dying, and wish to say a few parting words to you before I go. You know we owe Mr. G-a little money, and you said you sold him a clock; as soon as ever you are able, I beg you will clear the debt to him. And if we owe a few shillings to any one else, pay as soon as ever you can, do not keep the money if you have it to pay."
'My dear, I do not believe we owe any one else, because if we ever wanted an ounce of tea, or a quarter of sugar, we went without it, if we had not the money to pay."
"So much the better,' she added. And now my dear,' she continued to me, 'I am sure you would wish to meet me in another world; indeed, indeed, if you ever do, you must turn, and mend your ways, and work hard for it too. You have been a good husband to me always; but one thing does grieve me, and you do deceive yourself in it. You think you can bear more drink than you can bear. I think one pint is always enough for you; pray think of me, and never take more than that. Do think of me when idle people press you to drink more. And whenever you feel any sin coming over you, take up my Bible; it is full of my marks, and turn over till you find something that will suit you. And again, my dear husband, I want to speak to you; you and I have always prayed a little together, night and morning; if it was but little, yet it was something; and better to keep up a good habit, though badly done, than to drop it; for, dear man, it is not easy to get into good habits when we have once left them off quite. When I am gone, do the same; and if you do not always know what to say, kneel down, and God will give you words; for Jesus Christ works in us, and the Holy Spirit will make intercession, if it is only with desires after him that you cannot speak. You know I have been preaching to you for five and thirty years; when I am gone, think of what I have said to you so often.' After saying these words, she continued in earnest prayer for about ten
minutes; after which she appeared to struggle for breath a minute or two, and then breathed her last sigh."
The poor man related the above to me as well as his una ected sorrow would allow him; the recital was indeed much more touching to me, given as it was, in broken sentences, interrupted by his tears and sobs, than what it possibly can appear written down. He concluded his little narrative by saying, "I have been upon my knees very often since, and thank God I have not wanted words."
STRIKING ANECDOTE OF A PIOUS SLAVE.
A slave, in one of the West India islands who had been brought from Africa, became a Christian; and behaved so well, that his master raised him to a situation of great trust on his estate. He once employed him to choose for him twenty slaves: the man went to the market to obey this order. He had not looked long at those which were offered him, before he perceived among them an old broken down slave, and immediately told his master that he wished very much that he might be one of the number to be bought. The master was much surprised, and refused at first; but the slave begged so hard that his wish might be granted, that he consented, and the purchase was made. The slaves were soon taken to the plantation, and the master was much surprised to find that his servant paid the greatest attention to the old African. He took him to his own house and laid him on his own bed; fed him at his own table and gave him drink out of his own cup. When he was cold, he carried him into the sunshine, and when he was hot, he placed him under the shade of the cocoa trees. The master supposed that the old man must be some relation to his favourite, and asked him, if he were his father? "Sir, massa,” said the poor fellow, "he no my fader." "Is he then an elder brother ?" "No, massa. "Perhaps your uncle or some other relation?” massa, he no be of my kindred at all, no even my friend.' then asked the master, "do you treat him so kindly?" enemy, massa," replied the slave; "he sold me to the slave dealer; my Bible tell me, when my enemy hunger, feed him, and when he thirst, give him drink."
For grace to help in time of need.
Satan and sin assail my soul,
My own poor efforts to controul,
Thy grace and strength do thou restore,
Where is the rap'trous voice of praise?
When future favours are implored,
Where went the ten whom Jesus healed?
What! " called from darkness into light,"
To see 66
Delivered from the jaws of sin,
Then swell aloud your cheerful song,
A. FOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.
COMFORT IN DEATH.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," i. e. though I am in peril of death, though in the midst of dangers, deep as a valley, dark as a shadow, and dreadful as death itself; or rather, though I am under the arrest of death, have received the sentence of death within myself, and have all the reason in the world to look upon myself as a dying creature Those yet, I am easy. that are sick, or old, have reason to look upon themselves as in the valley of the shadow of death. There is one word indeed which sounds terrible; it is death, which we must all count upon there is no discharge in that war. But even in the supposition of the distress, there are four words which lessen the terror. It is death indeed that is before us, but (1.) it is but the shadow of death, there is no substantial evil in it; the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. (2) It is the valley of the shadow, deep indeed, and dark and dirty; but the vallies are fruitful; and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. (3) It is but a walk in this valley; a gentle, pleasant walk. The wicked are chased out of the world, and their souls are required; but the saints take a walk to another world as cheerfully as they take their leave of this. (4) It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain of spices, on the other side of it. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ; they tremble at it no more than sheep do that are appointed for the slaughter. Even in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; none of these things move me. A child of God may meet the messenger of death and receive its summons with a holy security of mind. The sucking child may play upon the hole of this asp; and the weaned child, that through grace is weaned from this world, may put his hand upon this cockatrice's den,