« PreviousContinue »
"I have often remembered your kindnesses very gratefully. My course is mysterious and difficult, but I trust in His Providence who never fails to bring me nearer to Himself by all that I have to pass through.
“The exercise of my profession any more is quite out of the question ; and I have not been able to get settled in a parish with private tuition, as I have been twice successfully in France.
“When out of an Infirmary I have sought a meagre livelihood with little books, &c.
“It is evening; but, as I have little strength and my means are exhausted, will you forgive my leaving this ? and, if you could kindly spare me a half-crown once more for food, &c., &c., on my further way, how thankful I shall be, and it will relieve me much anxiety. You will never be a loser by your kindnesses. In half-an-hour or so I will call for an answer, if you will kindly give the letters, &c. I know you would not like to see me in the painful state of my apparel, &c."
In the note were enclosed two letters of recent date from beneficed clergymen to whom the writer was formerly known.
Now, dear reader, think of the momentous inquiry, “Who maketh thee to differ?" Here was one who had had every scholastic advantage, who was not only the son of a most respectable citizen, but who had gone through a University course ; and, as an ordained Minister, had filled. sundry positions of trust and importance; but now, by his repeated acts of intemperance, and his continued course of the very lowest and most abject degradation and disgrace, had brought himself to a condition scarcely conceivable. Not, we trust, in a pharisaic spirit, but from the actual loathing of sin, our very heart was anguished to the last degree when we saw the hapless writer of the aforenamed letter. But now let us. look at the other side of the picture ; let us contemplate the teachings and operations and power of Divine grace, in the case of dear JOHN TARR. With but little human instruction, and certainly without a University or a College course, he proceeds from a place of business to that great and glorious work to which the Lord had called him. He shall speak for himself in regard to one of his earliest sermons, as expressed in a letter to his mother :
“I spoke from the 42nd verse of the 22nd Matthew, the words being, • What think ye of Christ ?' Think of that! JOHN TARR, the swearer, the Sabbath-breaker, the vain idler, the disobedient to parents, the scoffer at religion, the enemy of God, asking his fellow-creatures such a question as that! What a miracle of grace! Who shall, or can, despair in sight of that? Shall one of the dear ones to whom he is related, by family ties, despond, or rest short of a present, a full, an eternal salvation ? God forbid ! God forbid! Oh! how I long after them all, that
be formed in their hearts the hope of glory; and yet how unfaithful I have been towards them, towards God, and towards myself! Still I rejoice that it is not according to my faithfulness, but His own tender mercies, and free grace, that He will call them, will draw them, will receive, justify, and glorify them.”
“ It is clear that his mind began rapidly to develop itself in a spiritual way. In other words, the Holy Ghost was leading him sweetly into truth, and the which soon led to a more full and clear embracing of those doctrines which subsequently became his meat and drink. In one of the conversations spoken of in his letter, the objection was raised as to one feature of truth to which he had given utterance. That statement,' said his objector, “is the left leg of Calvinism.' It is the right leg of
my religion,' was his reply. The same objector offered to lend him Wesley's Sermons, with a view to helping him in a way of doctrine. His answer was, 'I have the Bible, and that is enough for me.' That he was afterwards led to rejoice in Gospel verities and covenant immutabilities is evident from one of the observations he made to a dear friend, the very evening before he passed away to his rest. · It is not said that they may ·come,' he remarked, but that they all shall come which were ready to perish.'”—P. 18.
When about to commence a diary, he says:
“As my memory is pretty much like a sieve, and thousands of mercies pass through it, I have lately thought it good to write a daily record of them, that I may be able to refresh my soul, and confirm my faith in after time. But I trust also to make it a faithful admonisher when my spirit may be heavy. I do not mean by this that I forebode long winters in my soul, but I have learned not to reckon on summer and sunshine all the
year round; and I confess that I have often had a fire lighted in a cold heart by bringing carefully together the Lord's past mercies, and holding them under the light of His
future promises." The operations of the inner life may be further gathered from his entry under date
“ Saturday, Jan. 5th, 1861.-My birthday-27 years of age. I have had a long life; I fancy, perhaps, it seems longer than it will (if I am spared) at 60. But I am spared, I am saved, I am being sanctified ! So God is love-He must be. I was dead in sin, I am alive in Christ. I have seen much change, more sin, and most grace. I can remember a fearful host of sins; and vanity, with presumption, and blasphemy prominent. I can trace a special providence which in some of its leadings had hair's breadth conditions, but it never broke, for God had joined it from the beginning. I have often wasted, but never wanted. I have broken every part of a law which can never be mended, and yet a holy and just Lawgiver waited that He may show mercy. I have sinned against God, my parents, friends, associates, society at large, and against myself; against reason, knowledge, conscience, and Christ; and have often resisted the Spirit, or neglected His monitions ; but-glory to God in the highest !~JOHN Tarr in heaven will be a greater wonder than the creation of this planet.”
“Dear reader, what think you of this remark ? To say the least, does it not bespeak much self-knowledge-an insight by the Holy Spirit into the depths of depravity of the human heart, and the riches of that grace, and the omnipotency of that arm, which plucked the subject of this Memoir as a brand from the eternal burnings ? Reader, did you ever hear of the three wonders ? 1. If ever we reach heaven, we shall wonder at not seeing those whom we expected to see. 2. We shall wonder at those being there whom we did not expect to see. 3. The last, and greatest wonder of all, will be that of our being there ourselves.”—P. 25.
We must stop for the present. We hope to take up this work again. Meanwhile we commend the book itself to our readers, the more especially as the publication was undertaken as well for the benefit of the widow and fatherless ones, as for the interest and edification of the readers at large. As the work is well got up, it will form a nice giftbook at this season; and, as there are sundry letters addressed to a young man who died of that dread malady, consumption, it is a work admirably adapted for the young, as containing the most seasonable, scriptural counsel and advice.