« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
views of the joys of Heaven ; and being requested, if she was enabled to reply in the aflirmative, to extend her finger, which was her usual mode of expressing assent, --she stretched out both her
arms, while a swect smile sat on her countenance. These questions were frequently repeated, and always received the same answer. On the 21 of Sept. four days before her departure, one of her sisters, whose visits to the sick room were, in consequence of her own ill health, only occa-ional, went thither merely for the purpose of looking at her. The dying saint had at this time scarcely power to articulate; but seeing her sister, she made a sign for her to advance towards her bed, and after a painful effort to speak, she whispered, “ God is love,” while her face seemed to be irradiated by the grace of God which rested on her.
On Saturday, September 5, her hands were clasped and uplisted, and her eyes raised to Heaven throughout the day. A few hours before sbe expired, she uttered something ; but so indistinctly, that it could not be positively ascertained what she said: but it was pretty confidently supposed to be, “ Lord Jesus, come quickly!” At about half past seven her respiration became weaker and weaker, like the breath of an infant falling asleep, till it entirely ceased ; and the unfettered spirit took its fỊight to the bosom of him who waited to receive it.
It may perhaps be asked, What were the means which leil, under the divine blessing, to so triumphant an issue? The answer is easily given; -- The love of retirement. Ever since her health began to decline, she was in the constant habit of retiring to her own room before the rest of the family; and the time so gained was spent in religious exercises.
She also loved and read the Bible. In the year 1800 her mother gave to her and her youngest brother a B ble each :surely the best gift that a parent can bestow upon a child ! Louisa took both these Bibles into her room, and prayed over them, beseeching God to make his word the instrument of salvation to her own and her brother's soul. Her own Bible she carried in her pocket for two years preceding her death, and employed all her leisure time in reading it.
Another mean of improvement was, her love of the public ordinances of divine worship, on which she was a constant attendant. The delight which she experienced under the ministry of the word of God, was great. The gospel was to her heart glad tidings of great joy, hecause she felt her need of a Saviour, and came to the house of God in a state of bumble dependence on divine teaching, and with an earnest desire of enjoying intercourse with the Friend of sinners. That this was the state of her mind is evident from what followed the ordinance ; for, instead of mixing with others in worldly conversation, or even of join. ing in discussing the merits of the sermon, as the manner of some is, she hastened home; and made it an invariable rule to retire to her chamber for the purposes of meditation and prayer.
An high degree of abstraction from the world was conducive to the same end. For many months she scarcely uttered a secular sentence. Her conversation was truly in Heaven ; and when worldly subjects were started, she frequently withdrew to her chamber, as one that had nothing to do with the affairs of this life. The same degree of separation from the world is certainly not in the power of every one: but it may safely be asserted, that much of that communion with the world, and conformity to it, which prevail among religious professors, is the effect of inclination, not of necessity, and a sad bar to peace and joy in believing
But it must be observed, that the piety of Miss C. was not confined to her closet and the house of God. Loving God, she loved her brother also. She was, therefore, often to be found in the cottages of the poor, reading the Scriprures, and conversing on the things that pertain to the kingdom of God; and even after she was confined by sickness, her hands were employed on a eharitable account. Like Dorcas, she made garments for the widow and the fatherless. Two thirds at least of her allowance for clothes and pocket-money were expended for charitable purposes. Real godliness consists not altogether in devotional exercises --but in a due mixture of holy contemplation and active benevolence.
Would the reader cnjoy the comforts of religion in the season of sickness and of death ?--would he not only die in a state of acceptance with God, but have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Saviour ?-let him be constantly looking to Jesus ;-let him imbibe the spirit of devotion, a love of retirement, and an habitually prayerful temper; let him read and study the Scriptures in private, as well as attend on the public means of grace. In the latter, something may be found which corrupt nature relishes; in the former, nothing. The evidence therefore which an attendance on outward ordinances affords, may be dubious and suspicious; but that which arises from secret intercourse with God is clear and indisputable,
A THOUGHT FOR THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR,
Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth.
Psalm xxxix. 5, 6 Tuis is one of the shortest measures. We need not lines to measure our lives by, each one carries a measure about with him, his own band. This is the longest and fullest measure. It is not so much as a span; that might bave been the measure
of old age in the infancy of the world ; but now it is contracted to an hand-breadth ; and that is the longest. But how inany fall short of that! Many attain not a finger-breadth, - multi
from the womb to the grave; and how many end their course within the compass of childhood !
" Whether we take this hand-breadth for the fourscore years, which is ordinarily the utmost extent of human life in our age, or for the four scasons of life, - childhood, youth, manhood, and old age, - there are great numbers who take up their lodging ere they come near the last of any of these ; and few attain to the outmost. border of them. All of us are but a hand-breadth from death, and some of us not so much for we have already passed a part of that hand-breadth, and we know not how little remains.
“ The brevity of life is a very useful consideration. We may learn from thence patience under all our crosses and troubles. They may be shorter than life, but they cannot be longer. There are few on whom an affliction bath lain all the days of their life; and though that were the case, how soon is it over ! In all the bitter blasts that blow on thy face, thou who art a Christian indeed, mayest comfort thyself in the expectation of the good lodging that is before thee. As to others, it were ihs greatest comfort that their p-sent aflictions should be lengthened out to eternity.
“ This also may teach us temperance in what are called “the Good Things of this World." Though a man had a lease of all that the world can afford for his whole life (which no man ever had) what is it? A dream of an hour long! None of these things, which are so delightful, will accompany the cold lump of clay
In a little time, those who are married and rejoice, shall be as if they rejoiced not," nor ever had done it ; and if so, a wise man makes little difference in these things, between their presence and their absence.
This thought should teach us diligence in our business : we have a short day, and much to do: it were well to be up early, and to remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” And as to you who are come to riper years, be advised to lay holů on that which remains, før ye know not how little it is.
6. The more you fill yourselves with the things of this life, the feebler desires will you have after “the rivers of pleasure which are at Guu's right hand.” They shall never run dry; but all these other things shall soon be dried up; at furthest when old age
sball come, if not sooner : and on the other band, the more we deny ourselves the sensual enjoyment of a present workl, we grow the liker to that divine estate, and are made the surer of it; and I am certain all will grant that this is a very profitable exchange.
Archbishop Leighton's Lecture on Psalm 39.
to the grave.
A PRACTICAL ILLUSTRATION OF THE PASSAGE
OF SCRIPTURE, Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as dores. In the short but inglorious reign of James the Second, when Popery was making rapid strides to power, the king had his agents and emissaries in every part of the kingdom, to harrass, vex, and weary the Protestants into a compliance with the mea. sures he was endeavouring to bring about; and where persuasion and threats had no effect, sometimes force and violence were had recourse to. One of his agents, with a party of soldiers (rather ruffians, I should say) went out on a Sabbath morning to “ hunt down the Protestants,” as they termed it. They met a young woman, a servant maid, running along the road, early in the morning, without either shoes or stockings on.
The captain of this band asked her where she was going, so early in the morning: and what was the urgency of the business that made her run so fast. She told him, That she had learned that her elder brother was dead; and she was going to receive ber share of the riches he had bequeathed to her, as well as to her other brothers and sisters; and she was afraid she should be too late. The commander was so well pleased with her answer, that he gave her half a crown to buy a pair of shoes, and also wished her success : but if he had known the real business she was going upon, which was to a Sacrament, he would most probably have prevented her from going that day to the place where she hoped to receive durable riches.
Dr. Cotton, who was intimate with Dr. Young, paid him a visit abont a fortnight before he was seized with his last illness. The old man was then in perfect health. The antiquity of his person, the gravity of his utterance, and the earnestness with which he discoursed about religion, gave him, in the Doctor's eyes, the appearance of a prophet
. They had been delivering their sentiments upon this book of Newton *, when Dr. Young closed the conference thus: “ My friend, there are two considerations upon which my faith in Christ is built, as upon a rock. The Fall of Man, the Redemption of Man, and the Resurrection of Man, the three cardinal articles of our religion, are such as human ingenuity could never have invented, therefore, they mast be divine. The other argument is this á If the prophecies have been fulfilled (of which there is abundant demonstration) the Scripture must be the word of God; and, if the Scripture is the word of God, Christianity must be true.”
Hayley's Life of Cowper. * On the Prophecies.
THE CHRISTIAN'S REFUGE
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice
of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Isaiah l. 10.
Some, in our times, talk of doubts and fears as being quite impossible in the character of true Christians. They maintain that assurance of a state of salvation is essential to true faith and therefore is the attainment of every true Christian at all times.
It cannot be denied, that this contradicts both the sentiment and the experience of many of the saints of God. I have known many who have imbibed such notions, who were themselves but novices in religion, and who therefore ought to bave spoken with much modesty and diffidence. Some I have heard exclaiming against doubts and fears in Christians as quite anti-scriptural, while their own characters were often very doubtful, or perhaps shewed them to be undoubtedly in the wrong. - Such persons are led to these notions from gross igno. rance of themselves, and from indulging daring presumption before God.
Some are led to adopt such sentiments as those we have been speaking of, from inattention to the subject, or from confound. ing things that are very different. The truth of their characters as believers, and of their interest as dependents on Christ, does not vary, or rise and fall with the degree of their comfort and assurance. Faith in Christ renders them safe, though it may not immediately free them from doubts and fears; nor will their apprehensions endanger them; but by leading them to cleave closer to Christ, will render their safety more evident and undoubted. Such confound too the permanent security of the saints with the perpetual assurance or sense of their safety : but their security is permanent, as it rests on the unchangeable love and power of the Lord, while their assurance of it, or comforts, may vary, according to their present fervour, diligence, and watchfulness.
We have here a particular description of the people of God they fear the Lord, and obey the voice of his servant. The saints all fear the Lord : their fear is not that slavish fear or terror which is connected with hatred of God, and aversion to his character. This is the alarming apprehension ef God's enemies. But the fear of the saints is a filial affectionate fear, or dread of offending him, or dishonouring him. Their understandings are enlightened by his Spirit, and their hearts are filled with love to Him. Solomon tells us, “ The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;