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was in vain to attempt to speak to the poor woman; ut I endeavoured to lead her almost heart-broken husband to that Saviour, whom, in the day of prosperity, they had forgotten, but who waits to be gracious, and casteth out none that come unto him-"a friend that loveth at all times, and a brother born for adversity." Prov. xvii. 17. He seemed to feel what was said, and I felt a hope that his afflictions were by the blessing of God, breaking up the hard and stony ground of his heart, and preparing it to receive the good seed of the Gospel. After I had prayed with, and for this afflicted family, and more especially for the poor woman, that an interval of reason might be granted unto her, to know the things that belonged to her peace, before they were hid from her eyes, I took my leave, promising to call again. Before I could fulfil my promise, I heard that the poor woman was no more. A Christian friend had called upon them and gone to prayer with them; and during his prayer, the poor woman showed some signs of returning reason; she listened attentively, and when he had finished, she clasped her hands together, and exclaiming, "O! Lord Jesus, have mercy on my poor soul," expired almost immediately. He who saved the thief on the cross could, and I hope did, even at this hour work in her heart to believe on him who justifieth the ungodly; but who would wish to die as she died? who would wish to live a life of toil and anxiety, "careful and troubled about many things," and to find upon a dying bed, that the "one thing needful" had been forgotten? I remember to have heard it remarked upon death-bed conversion, that God has given us in his word, one such instance in the dying thief that none might despair, and but one that none might presume. But, O my dear reader, if you would die the death of the righteous, seek for that precious faith which will enable you to live the life of the righteous, and surely you shall find that such a life is a blessed life. Then, though you may be called to labour hard for your daily bread, you shall find the promise true : 'They that seek the Lord, shall not want any good thing." Ps. xxxiv. 10.
Then you shall find that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God:" Deut. viii. 3. for your soul shall be fed with that bread of life, of which if any man eat, "he shall live for ever." John vi. 51. Then, whatever your outward circumstances may be, you will learn, even in this wilderness, to sing with David, "the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
And if to you to live is Christ, to die will be gain; (Phil. i. 21.) and in the valley of the shadow of death, you shall fear no evil, because he is with you, and both his rod and his staff (his fatherly chastisements, and the exceeding great and precious promises, which are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus,) shall comfort you. That this, dear reader, may be your joyful experience in life, and in death, is the earnest prayer of one, who, having tasted that the Lord is gracious, would fain proclaim unto others, "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." CHRISTIANA.
BREATHINGS OF A PIOUS SOUL.
When any thing presents itself, think, "if Christ were now alive, would he do it? or if I were now to die, would I do it? I must walk as he walked, and live as I intend to die: I will therefore so behave, as if Christ were on the one hand, and death on the other. I must not venture on a duty, unless I bring God to it; nor be satisfied, unless I carry God from it. Hear David's precept, "seek the Lord and his strength," &c. Be sure thou rise not from duty, before the countenance of God rise in mercy on thy soul. Christ must fit thee, and Christ must meet thee, or it will be no comfortable ordinance to thee. Blessed is he, who never prays, hears, or receives, but he carries Christ to all, enjoys Christ in all, and brings Christ from all. Lord, in all my approaches to thee, let me go out in thy strength and return in thy presence. As the rivers which flow from the sea, run back again into the sea, so those blessings which come from God, must be employed for God. What I have received from his mercy, I must return to him to his glory; therefore, oh! Lord, whatever I enjoy, let me find thee in it, and serve thee with it. We must not presume upon means without God, nor upon God without means. We must not trust them, because the pipe cannot convey, unless the spring communicates; nor may we depend upon God without the means, because the goings forth of providence are always in the paths of diligence. Therefore, in the battle with Amalek, while Moses prays, Joshua must go and fight; therefore while the heart is lifted up, the hand must be stretched out. He only may rest in God who hath used all his appointed means. I must sow my seed and wait upon the clouds; do my work and leave the event to God. I
will therefore, from this time lay my hand to the means, as if they were all in all; and raise my eye above them as if they were nothing at all. Oh! my soul, thou art always striving, yet sin is always striving; thou doubtest the truth of thy grace, because thou findest the working of sin, but it will be always thus. Thou canst not come out of Egypt, but Amalek will lay in wait in the way; the flesh will be sure to trouble thee, though it be never able to conquer thee. He that sits down, and is at rest in sin, may know that he still serves Satan the strong man, because his kingdom is at peace; but where there is any work for Christ, there will always be war with sin. I know that while I live, sin will have its being in my mortal body. The ivy will twist about the house, and cannot be destroyed till the wall fall. God would have my soul humbled, and therefore, though he has broke my prison, yet he hath left the chain upon my feet. He would have my graces exercised; therefore, though he translated me into the kingdom of life, he hath left the Canaanite in the land. God would have my faith exercised; therefore Goliath still shews himself in the field, that I may go against him in the name of the Lord. I will therefore unbuckle Saul's armour, humble my own abilities, and seek for the strength of Christ, so though I cannot help the rebelling power of sin, yet I shall always hinder the ruling power of sin. It shall be my grief, that sin has its being, and my care that it shall never have its striving. Though sin may live in me, yet I will never live in sin.
We glorify God, not by giving to him, but by receiving from him.
We too often lay all our faults upon our circumstances, and not upon ourselves.
Where God found satisfaction for his justice, we may find rest to our souls, even in Christ Jesus.
In all thy dealings with us, O Lord, may we never have an unworthy thought of thy faithfulness, love and power. Where we are naturally weak, O Lord, make us spiritually strong.
Measure the depth of your worthlessness, by the depth of your Saviour's humiliation.
The favour of God is the greatest reality in the world.
How does my heart beat? To the world, or to heaven? To my self, or to my Saviour?
May every house in this parish be a Bethel for the God of Jacob; every soul, a temple for the Holy Ghost.
People talk of assurance not being attainable in this world, nor perhaps much to be desired. They and the Devil agree on this point.
HYMN ON THE ASCENSION.
O Jesus, Saviour of mankind,
What strange excess of clemency
Hell's dark abodes are forc'd by thee;
Thou, Lord, the Truth, the Life, the Way,
Jesus, whose memory imparts
No tuneful lays so sweet appear,
O Jesus, our reward above,
A. FOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.
(From an Irish Tract.)
"What! still in tears, Mary," said he, as he entered the poor woman's cottage, for it was evident from her appearance that she had been weeping. "Oh! Sir," she exclaimed, "the tears which I am now shedding, are tears of love, and joy, and gratitude.-O! what a gracious Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ! Oh! that I should ever have had hard thoughts respecting him!" "And how, Mary," enquired the minister, "came you to obtain this blessed change?-Let me see-it was, I think, but the day before illness that I called upon you, and no promy mise that I then read to you, no account of God's kindness to poor penitent sinners, in all ages, could afford you any comfort. "This,' you said, 'does not suit my case, and again, my heart is so hard that nothing can soften it;' and now, even before I have spoken to you a word, I find that your sorrow and doubts are removed, and you can praise your Saviour with joyful lips."
"Oh! Sir," replied the poor woman, "amidst all my fears and doubts, when you last called upon me, I had a sort of faint hope, that surely I should at length find mercy; and those gracious promises you pointed out to me in Scripture, and the kind advice and encouragement you gave me, were, I hope, made a real blessing to my soul. No sooner had you left my house, than I bolted the door, and on my knees, and from my very heart, I begged most earnestly of the Lord to lift up the light of his countenance upon me. Whilst at prayers, I felt my heart unusually softened: Save, Lord, (I cried) or I perish.-Thou, Lord, must begin, thou, Lord, must carry on, thou, Lord, must perfect the gracious work within me. I cast myself as a poor undone, ruined sinner, upon thy Hast thou not said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened'?