« PreviousContinue »
songs and jests; I walked rapidly on, and did not stop till I was in the last field belonging to my aunt's farm. The night was very cold; snow had fallen; and the high bent grass was crisp and white with hoar-frost. The moon shone very brightly; and there I stood in that lonely place, and in agony of soul I prayed for pardon, for peace, for faith to believe in the Saviour. I acknowledged my sins, 1 implored forgiveness, and then, in the words of the poor leper, I cried out many times, 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;' and I repeated again and again these gracious words, 'I will: be thou clean; and immediately his leprosy was cleansed.'
"That text comforted me; and then this other came into my mind, ' O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.' Again I prayed, but soon my words were, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,' for the Saviour had been pleased to reveal himself unto me; he had shown his infinite love to me; and, thanks to his holy name, I could love him, I could trust him now. My heart was full of peace, and the Holy Spirit comforted me when all human kindness waB taken away.
"I left my friends all angered against me, and soon after joined my regiment at Portsmouth. Here I was pronounced unfit for active service, and became groom to an officer, with whom I lived for many years. I then got my pension, and married my fellow-servant, who has been a kind, affectionate wife for years. "We have had sickness and distress to contend with; but we enjoy the 'peace of God, that passeth all understanding,'—that peace which the world does not give, and neither can it take away. Thanks be unto God, we have learned to say, 'All is well with us; all is well now, and all will be happy and glorious by and by.'
"Soon after my marriage a long illness afflicted me, and I found it difficult to talk long at a time; so I wrote the story of my life, for fear I might forget any part of it. Old age weakens the memory, and makes us forget even things that deeply interest us; but while I live I think I shall never forget that Sunday when I first visited the little church amongst the mountains, and heard that beautiful text and hymn. It was then I felt myself the 'wicked man,' and heard that even that wicked man may be saved by the atonement of our blessed Eedeemer. Oh that all would come to Christ and be happy! There can be no 56 PRAISE FOR ANSWERED PRAYER.
happiness while living in a life of sin ; but when we are one with Christ, we have joy and peace in believing. All is changed, all is bright to the Christian; and we may say, in the words of Scripture, 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.'"
The life and death of John Price showed the reality ot the change he described; and his wife had evidently "obtained like precious faith," and is doubtless a sharer with him in the peace of heaven.
PRAISE FOR ANSWERED PRAYER.
What are the heavens, O God of heaven?
Thou art more bright, more high:
To thy bright majesty?
Sung by the holy ones;
To a poor sinner's groans?
God minds the language of my heart,
My groans and sighs he hears;
A bottle for my tears.
First wash away their guilt,
My tears would all be spilt.
Lord, thine eternal Spirit was
My advocate within;
My prayer was mix'd with sin.
My advocate above:
An answer full ot love. ,
It could not be that thou should'st hear
A mortal sinful worm,
In a most glorious form.
And turn'd my dross to gold:
Which were by nature cold.
Thou heard'st my groans for Jesus' sake,
Whom thou dost always hear;
My voice of joy and praise.
OR, SOWING BESIDE ALL WATERS.
"In the morning Bow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand."—Eccles. xi. 6.
It was very evident that Miss F— was fearful of giving offence to her brother, and endeavoured to disguise her feelings when he was present. It thus happened that several days passed before I had again an opportunity of saying a word to her on the subject of religion. Meanwhile, as regarded her bodily health, a trifling, but, as
I well knew, only a temporary improvement was just visible. Slight as it was, Mr. F— was in high spirits.
"You have done wonders for my sister, doctor," he said, one day, when ho had accompanied me out of her room.
"Do you think so?" I asked.
"Oh, I am sure of it; she is improving" rapidly, is she not?"
"Not rapidly, Mr. F—."
"At any rate, she is better than she was. By the "way, do you not think that a little society would be beneficial to her, doctor?"
"Has Miss F— any wish for society?" I asked, with some anxiety, very well understanding what meaning he would attach to the word.
"No," replied the brother; "she almost makes me angry—at least I am inwardly vexed—by her pertinacious refusal to be seen. She insists upon being quiet and secluded; and of course she mopes."
I was glad to be able to say that I had not seen any symptoms of this, and, in truth, I had fancied that a calmer and more hopeful expression had lighted up her countenance since the interview I have recorded. I was glad, too, to have it in my power to add that much company would be injurious rather than beneficial to my patient's health. "And since Miss F— wishes to be quiet," I continued, " she ought not to he thwarted."
"She shall not then," said the brother, "since you say so; her wish shall be gratified."
I would have added something more; but the recollection of my patient's earnest entreaty that her brother should be kept in ignorance of her mental conflicts checked me, and I took my leave.
I visited Miss F— again on the following day, and found her alone.
"I am glad you aTe come, and that my brother is not here," she said; "I wish to ask you a question. I think I may trust you to be faithful to me. You will, will you not?"
"What is the question, Miss F—?"
"Will you tell me exactly what you think of me, I mean of my state of health?"
I was embarrassed, but I replied as cheerfully as I could that J had witnessed a slight diminution of some of the symptoms of her disease.
"Yes," she said, "you told me so yesterday; but"— and she fastened her eyes upon me, as though die would, if possible, read the answer in my countenance—" shall I recover?"
I had but one reply to make to this question thus put, and I made it. I scarcely remember now in what precise words, nor how gently, 1 endeavoured to break to fier the truth. It is enough to say that she understood me, and that the announcement did not appear to be unexpected.
"I thank you for your kindness, sir," she said, pressing my hand. "I thought you would tell me the truth. And now, I wish to speak about something of more importance, while my brother is absent. You have not forgotten what we talked about the other day?" "Indeed, I have not."
"Doctor," she resumed, speaking rapidly, and with great energy, "I must be a Christian; I have lived without Christ, but I cannot die without him, I will not die without him; but"—and here the invalid's voice sank into a mournful strain, and her eyes filled with tears—" but if he will not save me—"
"My dear friend, he will save you. He is waiting to save you. He casts out none that come to God by him. These are his own words. Trust him."
"Oh, if I could do this I And I have sometimes, since you spoke to me about it, thought that I could, and have prayed to be received by him; but then when I remember how unworthy I am, how I have lived so long without faith, or hope, or love to him, it seems utter presumption in me to expect that God will have mercy on me now—now that I can do nothing to show my sincerity and gratitude to him."
I saw, or fancied I saw, in this, a desire for salvation, indeed, but a longing in some measure to deserve it; a looking to Christ, certainly, but a looking to him as a helper, and not as a complete Saviour. I said this as faithfully as I was able, and directed my patient to the apostle's words: "Kot by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
I was very earnest, so earnest and absorbed in speaking that I was not aware that another listener was near, neither was Miss F—; but it was so.