Infomotions, Inc.The Annals of the Poor / Richmond, Legh, 1772-1827



Author: Richmond, Legh, 1772-1827
Title: The Annals of the Poor
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): christ; jesus; god; jesus christ; dairyman's daughter
Contributor(s): é, Gustave, 1832-1883 [Illustrator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 59,766 words (short) Grade range: 9-12 (high school) Readability score: 63 (easy)
Identifier: etext19671
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Title: The Annals of the Poor


Author: Legh Richmond



Release Date: October 30, 2006  [eBook #19671]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE ANNALS OF THE POOR***





Transcribed from the 1900 T. Nelson and Sons edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org





THE ANNALS OF THE POOR


BY
THE REV. LEGH RICHMOND, M.A.,
LATE RECTOR OF TURVEY, BEDFORDSHIRE.

"Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor."

PSALM lxviii. 10.

London:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
1900




THE DAIRYMAN'S DAUGHTER.


PART I.


It is a delightful employment to discover and trace the operations of
divine grace, as they are manifested in the dispositions and lives of
God's real children.  It is peculiarly gratifying to observe how
frequently among the poorer classes of mankind the sunshine of mercy
beams upon the heart, and bears witness to the image of Christ which the
Spirit of God has impressed thereupon.  Among such, the sincerity and
simplicity of the Christian character appear unencumbered by those
obstacles to spirituality of mind and conversation which too often prove
a great hindrance to those who live in the higher ranks.  Many are the
difficulties which riches, worldly consequence, high connections, and the
luxuriant refinements of polished society, throw in the way of religious
profession.  Happy indeed it is (and some such happy instances I know)
where grace has so strikingly supported its conflict with natural pride,
self-importance, the allurements of luxury, ease, and worldly opinion,
that the noble and mighty appear adorned with genuine poverty of spirit,
self-denial, humble-mindedness, and deep spirituality of heart.

But, in general, if we want to see religion in its most simple and pure
character, we must look for it among the poor of this world who are rich
in faith.  How often is the poor man's cottage the palace of God!  Many
can truly declare that they have there learned the most valuable lessons
of faith and hope, and there witnessed the most striking demonstrations
of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God.

The character which the present narrative is designed to introduce to the
notice of my readers is given _from real life and circumstances_.  I
first became acquainted with her by receiving the following letter, which
I transcribe from the original now before me:--

   "REV. SIR,

   "I take the liberty to write to you.  Pray excuse me, for I have never
   spoken to you.  But I once heard you, when you preached at --- Church.
   I believe you are a faithful preacher to warn sinners to flee from the
   wrath that will be revealed against all those that live in sin, and
   die impenitent.  Pray go on in the strength of the Lord.  And may he
   bless you, and crown your labour of love with success, and give you
   souls for your hire!

   "The Lord has promised to be with those whom he calls and sends forth
   to preach his word, to the end of time; for without him we can do
   nothing.  I was much rejoiced to hear of those marks of love and
   affection to that poor soldier of the S. D. militia.  Surely the love
   of Christ sent you to that poor man.  May that love ever dwell richly
   in you by faith!  May it constrain you to seek the wandering souls of
   men with the fervent desire to spend and be spent for his glory!  May
   the unction of the Holy Spirit attend the word spoken by you with
   power, and convey deep conviction to the hearts of your hearers!  May
   many of them experience the divine change of being made new creatures
   in Christ!

   "Sir, be fervent in prayer with God for the conversion of sinners.  His
   power is great, and who can withstand it?  He has promised to answer
   the prayer of faith, that is put up in his Son's name.  'Ask what ye
   will, it shall be granted you.'  How this should strengthen our faith,
   when we are taught by the word and the Spirit how to pray!  Oh, that
   sweet inspiring hope! how it lifts up the fainting spirits, when we
   look over the precious promises of God!  What a mercy if we know
   Christ and the power of his resurrection in our own hearts!  Through
   faith in Christ we rejoice in hope, and look up in expectation of that
   time drawing near when all shall know and fear the Lord, and when a
   nation shall be born in a day.

   "What a happy time when Christ's kingdom shall come!  Then shall 'his
   will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'  Men shall be daily fed
   with the manna of his love, and delight themselves with the Lord all
   the day long.  Then what a paradise below they will enjoy!  How it
   animates and enlivens my soul with vigour to pursue the ways of God,
   that I may even now bear some humble part in giving glory to God and
   the Lamb!

   "Sir, I began to write this on Sunday, being detained from attending
   on public worship.  My dear and only sister, living as a servant with
   Mrs. ---, was so ill, that I came here to attend in her place and on
   her.  But now she is no more.

   "I was going to entreat you to write to her in answer to this, she
   being convinced of the evil of her past life, and that she had not
   walked in the ways of God, nor sought to please him.  But she
   earnestly desired to do so.  This makes me have a comfortable hope
   that she is gone to glory, and that she is now joining in sweet
   concert with the angelic host in heaven to sing the wonders of
   redeeming love.  I hope I may now write, 'Blessed are the dead that
   die in the Lord.'

   "She expressed a desire to receive the Lord's Supper, and commemorate
   his precious death and sufferings.  I told her as well as I was able
   what it was to receive Christ into her heart; but as her weakness of
   body increased, she did not mention it again.  She seemed quite
   resigned before she died.  I do hope she is gone from a world of death
   and sin to be with God for ever.

   "Sir, I hope you will not be offended with me, a poor ignorant person,
   to take such a liberty as to write to you.  But I trust, as you are
   called to instruct sinners in the ways of God, you will bear with me,
   and be so kind to answer this ill-wrote letter, and give me some
   instruction.  It is my heart's desire to have the mind that was in
   Christ, that when I awake up in his likeness then I may be satisfied.

   "My sister expressed a wish that you might bury her.  The minister of
   our parish, whither she will be carried, cannot come.  She will lie at
   ---.  She died on Tuesday morning, and will be buried on Friday or
   Saturday (whichever is most convenient to you), at three o'clock in
   the afternoon.  Please to send an answer by the bearer, to let me know
   whether you can comply with this request

   "From your unworthy servant,
   "ELIZABETH W---."

I was much struck with the simple and earnest strain of devotion which
this letter breathed.  It was but indifferently written and spelt.  But
this the rather tended to endear the hitherto unknown writer, as it
seemed characteristic of the union of humbleness of station with eminence
of piety.  I felt quite thankful that I was favoured with a correspondent
of this description; the more so, as such characters were at that time
very rare in the neighbourhood.  I have often wished that epistolary
intercourse of this kind were more encouraged and practised among us.  I
have the greatest reason to speak well of its effects both on myself and
others.  Communication by letter as well as by conversation with the
pious poor has often been the instrument of animating and reviving my own
heart in the midst of duty, and of giving me the most profitable
information for the general conduct of the ministerial office.

As soon as the letter was read I inquired who was the bearer of it.

"He is waiting at the outside of the gate, sir," was the reply.

I went out to speak him, and saw a venerable old man, whose long hoary
hair and deeply wrinkled countenance commanded more than common respect.
He was resting his arm upon the gate, and tears were streaming down his
cheeks.  On my approach he made a low bow, and said,--

"Sir, I have brought you a letter from my daughter, but I fear you will
think us very bold in asking you to take so much trouble."

"By no means," I replied; "I shall be truly glad to oblige you and any of
your family in this matter, provided it be quite agreeable to the
minister of your parish."

"Sir, he told me yesterday that he should be very glad if I could procure
some gentleman to come and bury my poor child for him, as he lives five
miles off, and has particular business on that day; so when I told my
daughter, she asked me to come to you, sir, and bring that letter, which
would explain the matter."

I desired him to come into the house, and then said,--

"What is your occupation?"

"Sir, I have lived most of my days in a little cottage at ---, six miles
from here.  I have rented a few acres of ground, and kept some cows,
which, in addition to my day-labour, has been the means of supporting and
bringing up my family."

"What family have you?"

"A wife, now getting very aged and helpless; two sons, and one daughter;
for my other poor dear child is just departed out of this wicked world."

"I hope for a better."

"I hope so too.  Poor thing, she did not use to take to such good ways as
her sister; but I do believe that her sister's manner of talking with her
before she died was the means of saving her soul.  What a mercy it is to
have such a child as mine is!  I never thought about my own soul
seriously till she, poor girl, begged me to flee from the wrath to come."

"How old are you?"

"Near seventy, and my wife is older.  We are getting old, and almost past
our labour, but our daughter has left a good place, where she lived in
service, on purpose to come home and take care of us and our little
dairy.  And a dear, dutiful, affectionate girl she is."

"Was she always so?"

"No, sir; when she was very young she was all for the world, and
pleasure, and dress, and company.  Indeed we were all very ignorant, and
thought if we took care for this life, and wronged nobody, we should be
sure to go to heaven at last.  My daughters were both wilful, and, like
ourselves, strangers to the ways of God and the word of his grace.  But
the eldest of them went out to service, and some years ago she heard a
sermon, preached at --- church by a gentleman that was going to --- as
chaplain to the colony, and from that time she seemed quite another
creature.  She began to read the Bible, and became sober and steady.  The
first time she returned home afterwards to see us she brought us a
guinea, which she had saved from her wages, and said, as we were getting
old, she was sure we should want help, adding, that she did not wish to
spend it in fine clothes as she used to do, only to feed pride and
vanity.  She said she would rather show gratitude to her dear father and
mother, because Christ had shown such mercy to her.

"We wondered to hear her talk, and took great delight in her company; for
her temper and behaviour were so humble and kind, she seemed so desirous
to do us good both in soul and body, and was so different from what we
had ever seen her before, that careless and ignorant as we had been, we
began to think there must be something real in religion, or it never
could alter a person so much in a little time.

"Her youngest sister, poor soul! used to laugh and ridicule her at that
time, and said her head was turned with her new ways.  'No, sister,' she
would say, 'not my _head_ but I hope my _heart_ is turned from the love
of sin to the love of God.  I wish you may one day see, as I do, the
danger and vanity of your present condition.'

"Her poor sister would reply, 'I do not want to hear any of your
preaching; I am no worse than other people, and that is enough for me.'
'Well, sister,' Elizabeth would say, 'if you will not hear me, you cannot
hinder me from praying for you, which I do with all my heart.'

"And now, sir, I believe those prayers are answered.  For when her sister
was taken ill, Elizabeth went to Mrs. ---'s to wait in her place, and
take care of her.  She said a great deal to her about her soul, and the
poor girl began to be so deeply affected and sensible of her past sin,
and so thankful for her sister's kind behaviour, that it gave her great
hopes indeed for her sake.  When my wife and I went to see her as she lay
sick, she told us how grieved and ashamed she was of her past life, but
said she had a hope, through grace, that her dear sister's Saviour would
be her Saviour too, for she saw her own sinfulness, felt her own
helplessness, and only wished to cast herself upon Christ as her hope and
salvation.

"And now, sir, she is gone, and I hope and think her sister's prayers for
her conversion to God have been answered.  The Lord grant the same for
her poor father and mother's sake likewise!"

This conversation was a very pleasing commentary upon the letter which I
had received, and made me anxious both to comply with the request and to
become acquainted with the writer.  I promised the good dairyman to
attend on the Friday at the appointed hour; and after some more
conversation respecting his own state of mind under the present trial, he
went away.

He was a reverend old man; his furrowed cheeks, white locks, weeping
eyes, bent shoulders, and feeble gait, were characteristic of the aged
pilgrim.  As he slowly walked onward, supported by a stick, which seemed
to have been the companion of many a long year, a train of reflections
occurred, which I retrace with pleasure and emotion.

At the appointed hour I arrived at the church, and after a little while
was summoned to the churchyard gate to meet the funeral procession.  The
aged parents, the elder brother, and the sister, with other relatives,
formed an affecting group.  I was struck with the humble, pious, and
pleasing countenance of the young woman from whom I had received the
letter.  It bore the marks of great seriousness without affectation, and
of much serenity mingled with a glow of devotion.

A circumstance occurred during the reading of the Burial Service, which I
think it right to mention as one among many testimonies of the solemn and
impressive tendency of our truly evangelical Liturgy.

A man of the village, who had hitherto been of a very careless and even
profligate character, went into the church through mere curiosity, and
with no better purpose than that of vacantly gazing at the ceremony.  He
came likewise to the grave, and during the reading of those prayers which
are appointed for that part of the service, his mind received a deep,
serious conviction of his sin and spiritual danger.  It was an impression
that never wore off, but gradually ripened into the most satisfactory
evidence of an entire change, of which I had many and long-continued
proofs.  He always referred to the Burial Service, and to some particular
sentences of it, as the clearly ascertained instrument of bringing him,
through grace, to the knowledge of the truth.

The day was therefore one to be remembered.  Remembered let it be by
those who love to hear "the short and simple annals of the poor."

Was there not a manifest and happy connection between the circumstances
that providentially brought the serious and the careless to the same
grave on that day together?  How much do _they_ lose who neglect to trace
the leadings of God in providence as links in the chain of his eternal
purpose of redemption and grace!

   "While infidels may scoff, let us adore!"

After the service was concluded I had a short conversation with the good
old couple and their daughter.  She told me that she intended to remain a
week or two at the gentleman's house where her sister died till another
servant should arrive and take her sister's place.

"I shall be truly obliged," said she, "by an opportunity of conversing
with you, either there or at my father's when I return home, which will
be in the course of a fortnight at the furthest.  I shall be glad to talk
to you about my sister, whom you have just buried."

Her aspect and address were highly interesting.  I promised to see her
very soon, and then returned home, quietly reflecting on the
circumstances of the funeral at which I had been engaged.  I blessed the
God of the poor, and prayed that the poor might become rich in faith, and
the rich be made poor in spirit.



PART II.


A sweet solemnity often possesses the mind whilst retracing past
intercourse with departed friends.  How much is this increased when they
were such as lived and died in the Lord!  The remembrance of former
scenes and conversations with those who, we believe, are now enjoying the
uninterrupted happiness of a better world, fills the heart with pleasing
sadness, and animates the soul with the hopeful anticipation of a day
when the glory of the Lord shall be revealed in the assembling of all his
children together, never more to be separated.  Whether they were rich or
poor while on earth is a matter of trifling consequence: the valuable
part of their character is, that they are "kings and priests unto God;"
and this is their true nobility.  In the number of now departed
believers, with whom I once loved to converse on the grace and glory of
the kingdom of God, was the Dairyman's daughter.

About a week after the funeral, I went to visit the family at ---, in
whose service the younger sister had lived and died, and where Elizabeth
was requested to remain for a short time in her stead.

The house was a large and venerable mansion.  It stood in a beautiful
valley at the foot of a high hill.  It was embowered in fine woods, which
were interspersed in every direction with rising, falling, and swelling
grounds.  The manor-house had evidently descended through a long line of
ancestry, from a distant period of time.  The Gothic character of its
original architecture was still preserved in the latticed windows,
adorned with carved divisions and pillars and stonework.  Several pointed
terminations also, in the construction of the roof, according to the
custom of our forefathers, fully corresponded with the general features
of the building.

One end of the house was entirely clothed with the thick foliage of an
immense ivy, which climbed beyond customary limits, and embraced a lofty
chimney up to its very summit.  Such a tree seemed congenial to the walls
that supported it, and conspired with the antique fashion of the place to
carry imagination back to the days of our ancestors.

As I approached, I was led to reflect on the lapse of ages, and the
successive generations of men, each in their turn occupying lands,
houses, and domains; each in their turn also disappearing, and leaving
their inheritance to be enjoyed by others.  David once observed the same,
and cried out, "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth, and
mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is
altogether vanity.  Surely every man walketh in a vain show; surely they
are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall
gather them."

Happy would it be for the rich if they more frequently meditated on the
uncertainty of all their possessions, and the frail nature of every
earthly tenure.  "Their inward thought is, that their houses shall
continue for ever, and their dwelling-places to all generations: they
call their lands after their own names.  Nevertheless, man being in
honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.  This their way is
their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings.  Like sheep they
are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and their beauty shall
consume in the grave from their dwelling."

As I advanced to the mansion, a pleasing kind of gloom overspread the
front: it was occasioned by the shade of trees, and gave a characteristic
effect to the ancient fabric.  I instantly recollected that death had
very recently visited the house and that one of its present inhabitants
was an affectionate mourner for a departed sister.

There is a solemnity in the thought of a recent death, which will
associate itself with the very walls from whence we are conscious that a
soul has just taken its flight to eternity.

After passing some time in conversation with the superiors of the family,
in the course of which I was much gratified by hearing of the unremitted
attention which the elder sister had paid to the younger during the
illness of the latter, I received likewise other testimonies of the
excellency of her general character and conduct in the house.  I then
took leave, requesting permission to see her, agreeably to the promise I
had made at the funeral, not many days before.

I was shown into a parlour, where I found her alone.  She was in deep
mourning.  She had a calmness and serenity in her countenance which
exceedingly struck me, and impressed some idea of those attainments which
a further acquaintance with her afterwards so much increased.

She spoke of her sister.  I had the satisfaction of finding that she had
given very hopeful proofs of a change of heart before she died.  The
prayers and earnest exhortations of Elizabeth had been blessed to a happy
effect.  She described what had passed with such a mixture of sisterly
affection and pious dependence on the mercy of God to sinners, as
convinced me that her own heart was under the influence of "pure and
undefiled religion."

She requested leave occasionally to correspond with me on serious
subjects, stating that she needed much instruction.  She hoped I would
pardon the liberty which she had taken by introducing herself to my
notice.  She expressed a trust that the Lord would overrule both the
death of her sister and the personal acquaintance with me that resulted
from it, to a present and future good, as it respected herself, and also
her parents, with whom she statedly lived, and to whom she expected to
return in a few days.

Finding that she was wanted in some household duty, I did not remain long
with her, but left her with an assurance that I proposed to visit her
parents very shortly.

"Sir," said she, "I take it very kind that you have condescended to leave
the company of the rich, and converse with the poor.  I wish I could have
said more to you respecting my own state of mind.  Perhaps I shall be
better able another time.  When you next visit me, instead of finding me
in these noble walls, you will see me in a poor cottage.  But I am
happiest when there.  Once more, sir, I thank you for your past kindness
to me and mine, and may God in many ways bless you for it!"

I quitted the house with no small degree of satisfaction, in consequence
of the new acquaintance which I had formed.  I discovered traces of a
cultivated as well as a spiritual mind.  I felt that religious
intercourse with those of low estate may be rendered eminently useful to
others, whose outward station and advantages are far above their own.

How often does it appear that "God hath chosen the weak things of the
world to confound the things which are mighty and base things of the
world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things which
are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory
in his presence!"

It was not unfrequently my custom, when my mind was filled with any
interesting subject for meditation, to seek some spot where the beauties
of natural prospect might help to form pleasing and useful associations.
I therefore ascended gradually to the very summit of the hill adjoining
the mansion where my visit had just been made.  Here was placed an
elevated sea-mark: it was in the form of a triangular pyramid, and built
of stone.  I sat down on the ground near it, and looked at the
surrounding prospect, which was distinguished for beauty and
magnificence.  It was a lofty station, which commanded a complete circle
of interesting objects to engage the spectator's attention.  Southward
the view was terminated by a long range of hills, at about six miles
distance.  They met to the westward another chain of hills, of which the
one whereon I sat formed a link, and the whole together nearly
encompassed a rich and fruitful valley, filled with cornfields and
pastures.  Through this vale winded a small river for many miles: much
cattle were feeding on its banks.  Here and there lesser eminences arose
in the valley: some covered with wood, others with corn or grass, and a
few with heath or fern.  One of these little hills was distinguished by a
parish church at the top, presenting a striking feature in the landscape.
Another of these elevations, situated in the centre of the valley, was
adorned with a venerable holly-tree, which has grown there for ages.  Its
singular height and wide-spreading dimensions not only render it an
object of curiosity to the traveller, but of daily usefulness to the
pilot, as a mark visible from the sea, whereby to direct his vessel safe
into harbour.  Villages, churches, country-seats, farm-houses, and
cottages, were scattered over every part of the southern valley.  In this
direction also, at the foot of the hill where I was stationed, appeared
the ancient mansion which I had just quitted, embellished with its woods,
groves, and gardens.

South-eastward I saw the open ocean, bounded only by the horizon.  The
sun shone, and gilded the waves with a glittering light that sparkled in
the most brilliant manner.  More to the east, in continuation of that
line of hills where I was placed, rose two downs, one beyond the other,
both covered with sheep, and the sea just visible over the furthest of
them, as a terminating boundary.  In this point ships were seen, some
sailing, others at anchor.  Here the little river which watered the
southern valley finished its course, and ran through meadows into the
sea, in an eastward direction.

On the north the sea appeared like a noble river, varying from three to
seven miles in breadth, between the banks of the opposite coast and those
of the island which I inhabited.  Immediately underneath me was a fine
woody district of country, diversified by many pleasing objects.  Distant
towns were visible on the opposite shore.  Numbers of ships occupied the
sheltered station which this northern channel afforded them.  The eye
roamed with delight over an expanse of near and remote beauties, which
alternately caught the observation, and which harmonized together, and
produced a scene of peculiar interest.

Westward the hills followed each other, forming several intermediate and
partial valleys, in a kind of undulations, like the waves of the sea;
and, bending to the south, completed the boundary of the larger valley
before described, to the southward of the hill on which I sat.  In many
instances the hills were cultivated with corn to their very summits, and
seemed to defy the inclemency of the weather, which, at these heights,
usually renders the ground incapable of bringing forth and ripening the
crops of grain.  One hill alone, the highest in elevation, and about ten
miles to the south-westward, was enveloped in a cloud, which just
permitted a dim and hazy sight of a signal-post, a light-house, and an
ancient chantry, built on its summit.

Amidst these numerous specimens of delightful scenery I found a mount for
contemplation, and here I indulged it.  "How much of the natural beauties
of Paradise still remain in the world, although its spiritual character
has been so awfully defaced by sin!  But when divine grace renews the
heart of the fallen sinner, Paradise is regained, and much of its beauty
restored to the soul.  As this prospect is compounded of hill and dale,
land and sea, woods and plains, all sweetly blended together, and
relieving each other in the landscape; so do the gracious dispositions
wrought in the soul produce a beauty and harmony of scene to which it was
before a stranger."

I looked towards the village in the plain below, where the Dairyman's
younger daughter was buried.  I retraced the simple solemnities of the
funeral.  I connected the principles and conduct of her sister with the
present probably happy state of her soul in the world of spirits, and was
greatly impressed with a sense of the importance of family influence as a
means of grace.  "That young woman," I thought, "has been the conductor
of not only a sister, but perhaps a father and mother also, to the true
knowledge of God, and may, by the divine blessing, become so to others.
It is a glorious occupation to win souls to Christ, and guide them out of
Egyptian bondage through the wilderness into the promised Canaan.  Happy
are the families who are walking hand in hand together, as pilgrims,
towards the heavenly country.  May the number of such be daily
increased?"

Casting my eye over the numerous dwellings in the vales on my right and
left, I could not help thinking, "How many of their inhabitants are
ignorant of the ways of God, and strangers to his grace!  May this
thought stimulate to activity and diligence in the cause of immortal
souls!  They are precious in God's sight--they ought to be so in ours."

Some pointed and affecting observations to that effect recurred to my
mind as having been made by the young person with whom I had been just
conversing.  Her mind appeared to be much impressed with the duty of
speaking and acting for God "while it is day," conscious that "the night
cometh, when no man can work."  Her laudable anxiety on this head was
often testified to me afterwards, both by letter and conversation.  What
she felt herself, in respect to endeavours to do good, she happily
communicated to others with whom she corresponded or conversed.

Time would not permit my continuing so long in the enjoyment of these
meditations, on this lovely mount of observation, as my heart desired.  On
my return home I wrote a few lines to the Dairyman's daughter, chiefly
dictated by the train of thought which had occupied my mind while I sat
on the hill.

On the next Sunday evening I received her reply, of which the following
is a transcript:--

   "Sunday.

   "REV. SIR,

   "I am this day deprived of an opportunity of attending the house of
   God, to worship him.  But, glory be to his name, he is not confined to
   time or place.  I feel him present with me where I am, and his
   presence makes my paradise; for where he is, is heaven.  I pray God
   that a double portion of his grace and Holy Spirit may rest upon you
   this day; that his blessing may attend all your faithful labours; and
   that you may find the truth of his word assuring us that wherever we
   assemble together in his name, there is he in the midst to bless every
   waiting soul.

   "How precious are all his promises!  We ought never to doubt the truth
   of his word.  For he will never deceive us if we go on in faith,
   always expecting to receive what his goodness waits to give.  Dear
   sir, I have felt it very consoling to read your kind letter to-day.  I
   feel thankful to God for ministers in our church who love and fear his
   name: there it is where the people in general look for salvation; and
   there may they ever find it, for Jesus' sake!  May his word, spoken by
   you, his chosen vessel of grace, be made spirit and life to their dead
   souls!  May it come from you as an instrument in the hands of God, as
   sharp arrows from a strong archer, and strike a death-blow to all
   their sins!  How I long to see the arrows of conviction fasten on the
   minds of those that are hearers of the word, and not doers!  O sir, be
   ambitious for the glory of God and the salvation of souls!  It will
   add to the lustre of your crown in glory, as well as to your present
   joy and peace.  We should be willing to spend and be spent in his
   service, saying, 'Lord, may thy will be done by me on earth, even as
   it is by the angels in heaven.'  So you may expect to see his face
   with joy, and say, 'Here am I, Lord, and all the souls thou hast given
   me.'

   "It seems wonderful that we should neglect any opportunity of doing
   good, when there is, if it be done from love to God and his creatures,
   a present reward of grace, in reflecting that we are using the talents
   committed to our care, according to the power and ability which we
   receive from him.  God requires not what he has not promised to give.
   But when we look back, and reflect that there have been opportunities
   in which we have neglected to take up our cross and speak and act for
   God, what a dejection of mind we feel!  We are then justly filled with
   shame.  Conscious of being ashamed of Christ, we cannot come with that
   holy boldness to a throne of grace, nor feel that free access when we
   make our supplications.

   "We are commanded to provoke one another to love and good works; and
   where two are agreed together in the things of God, they may say,--

   'And if our fellowship below
      In Jesus be so sweet,
   What heights of rapture shall we know
      When round the throne we meet!'

   "Sir, I hope Mrs. --- and you are both of one heart and one mind.  Then
   you will sweetly agree in all things that make for your present and
   eternal happiness.  Christ sent his disciples out, not singly, but two
   and two, that they might comfort and help each other in those ways and
   works which their Lord commanded them to pursue.

   "It has been my lot to have been alone the greatest part of the time
   that I have known the ways of God.  I therefore find it such a treat
   to my soul when I can meet with any who love to talk of the goodness
   and love of God, and all his gracious dealings.  What a comfortable
   reflection, to think of spending a whole eternity in that delightful
   employment! to tell to listening angels his love 'immense,
   unsearchable!'

   "Dear sir, I thank you for your kindness and condescension in leaving
   those that are of high rank and birth in the world, to converse with
   me, who am but a servant here below.  But when I consider what a high
   calling, what honour and dignity, God has conferred upon me, to be
   called his child, to be born of his Spirit, made an heir of glory, and
   joint heir with Christ; how humble and circumspect should I be in all
   my ways, as a dutiful and loving child to an affectionate and loving
   Father!  When I seriously consider these things, it fills me with love
   and gratitude to God; and I do not wish for any higher station, nor
   envy the rich.  I rather pity them, if they are not good as well as
   great.  My blessed Lord was pleased to appear in the form of a
   servant, and I long to be like him.

   "I did not feel in so happy a frame of conversation that day, nor yet
   that liberty to explain my thoughts which I sometimes do.  The fault
   must have been all in myself; for there was nothing in you but what
   seemed to evidence a Christian spirit, temper, and disposition.  I
   very much wished for an opportunity to converse with you.  I feel very
   thankful to God that you do take up the cross, and despise the shame:
   if you are found faithful, you will soon sit down with him in glory.

   "I have written to the Rev. Mr. ---, to thank him for permitting you
   to perform the burial service at --- over my dear departed sister, and
   to tell him of the kind way in which you consented to do it.  I should
   mention that your manner of reading the service on that day had a
   considerable effect on the hearers.

   "Pray excuse all faults, and correct my errors.  I expect in a few
   days to return home to my parents' house.  We shall rejoice to see you
   there.

   "From your humble servant in Christ,

   "E--- W---."

It was impossible to view such a correspondent with indifference.  I had
just returned from a little cottage assembly, where, on Sunday evenings,
I sometimes went to instruct a few poor families in one of the hamlets
belonging to my parish.  I read the letter, and closed the day with
thanksgiving to God for thus enabling those who fear his name to build up
each other in fear and love.

Of old time "they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and
the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written
before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his
name."

That book of remembrance is not yet closed.



PART III.


The mind of man is like a moving picture, supplied with objects not only
from contemplation on things present, but from the fruitful sources of
recollection and anticipation.

Memory retraces past events, and restores an ideal reality to scenes
which are gone by for ever.  They live again in revived imagery, and we
seem to hear and see with renewed emotions what we heard and saw at a
former period.  Successions of such recollected circumstances often form
a series of welcome memorials.  In religious meditations, the memory
becomes a sanctified instrument of spiritual improvement.

Another part of this animated picture is furnished by the pencil of Hope.
She draws encouraging prospects for the soul, by connecting the past and
the present with the future.  Seeing the promises afar off, she is
persuaded of their truth, and embraces them as her own.

The Spirit of God gives a blessing to both these acts of the mind, and
employs them in the service of religion.  Every faculty of body and soul,
when considered as a part of "the purchased possession" of the Saviour,
assumes a new character.  How powerfully does the apostle on this ground
urge a plea for holy activity and watchfulness!  "What! know ye not that
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have
of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price;
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

The Christian may derive much profit and enjoyment from the use of the
memory as it concerns those transactions in which he once bore a part.  In
his endeavours to recall past conversations and intercourse with deceased
friends, in particular, the powers of remembrance greatly improve by
exercise.  One revived idea produces another, till the mind is most
agreeably and usefully occupied with lively and holy imaginations.

   "Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
   Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain.
   Awake but one, and lo! what myriads rise!
   Each stamps its image as the other flies.
   Each, as the varied avenues of sense
   Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense,
   Brightens or fades; yet all, with sacred art,
   Control the latent fibres of the heart."

May it please God to bless, both to the reader and the writer, this
feeble attempt to recollect some of the communications which I once
enjoyed in my visits to the Dairyman's dwelling.

Very soon after the receipt of the last letter, I rode for the first time
to see the family at their own house.  The principal part of the road lay
through retired narrow lanes, beautifully overarched with groves of nut
and other trees, which screened the traveller from the rays of the sun,
and afforded many interesting objects for admiration, in the flowers,
shrubs, and young trees, which grew upon the high banks on each side of
the road.  Many grotesque rocks, with little trickling streams of water
occasionally breaking out of them, varied the recluse scenery, and
produced a romantic and pleasing effect.

Here and there the more distant prospect beyond was observable through
gaps and hollow places on the roadside.  Lofty hills, with many signal-
posts, obelisks, and light-houses on their summits, appeared at these
intervals; rich cornfields were also visible through some of the open
places; and now and then, when the road ascended a hill, the sea, with
ships at various distances, was seen.  But for the most part shady
seclusion, and objects of a more minute and confined nature, gave a
character to the journey, and invited contemplation.

How much do they lose who are strangers to serious meditation on the
wonders and beauties of nature!  How gloriously the God of creation
shines in his works!  Not a tree, or leaf, or flower, not a bird or
insect, but it proclaims in glowing language, "God made me."

As I approached the village where the good old Dairyman dwelt, I observed
him in a little field, driving his two cows before him towards a yard and
hovel which adjoined his cottage.  I advanced very near him without his
observing me, for his sight was dim.  On my calling out to him, he
started at the sound of my voice, but with much gladness of heart
welcomed me, saying, "Bless your heart, sir, I am glad you are come: we
have looked for you every day this week."

The cottage door opened, and the daughter came out, followed by her aged
and infirm mother.  The sight of me naturally brought to recollection the
grave at which we had before met.  Tears of affection mingled with the
smile of satisfaction with which I was received by these worthy
cottagers.  I dismounted and was conducted through a neat little garden,
part of which was shaded by two large overspreading elm-trees, to the
house.  Decency and order were manifested within and without.  No excuse
was made here, on the score of poverty, for confusion and uncleanliness
in the disposal of their little household.  Everything wore the aspect of
neatness and propriety.  On each side of the fireplace stood an old oaken
arm-chair, where the venerable parents rested their weary limbs after the
day's labour was over.  On a shelf in one corner lay two Bibles, with a
few religious books and tracts.  The little room had two windows: a
lovely prospect of hills, woods, and fields, appeared through one; and
the other was more than half obscured by the branches of a vine which was
trained across it; between its leaves the sun shone, and cast a cheerful
light over the whole place.

"This," thought I, "is a fit residence for piety, peace, and contentment.
May I learn a fresh lesson for advancement in each, through the blessing
of God on this visit."

"Sir," said the daughter, "we are not worthy that you should come under
our roof.  We take it very kind that you should travel so far to see us."

"My Master," I replied, "came a great deal further to visit us poor
sinners.  He left the bosom of his Father, laid aside his glory, and came
down to this lower world on a visit of mercy and love; and ought not we,
if we profess to follow him, to bear each other's infirmities, and go
about doing good as he did?"

The old man now entered, and joined his wife and daughter in giving me a
cordial welcome.  Our conversation soon turned to the loss they had so
lately sustained.  The pious and sensible disposition of the daughter was
peculiarly manifested, as well in what she said to her parents as in what
she more immediately addressed to myself.  I had now a further
opportunity of remarking the good sense and agreeable manner which
accompanied her expressions of devotedness to God, and love to Christ for
the great mercies which he had bestowed upon her.  During her residence
in different gentlemen's families where she had been in service, she had
acquired a superior behaviour and address; but sincere piety rendered her
very humble and unassuming in manner and conversation.  She seemed
anxious to improve the opportunity of my visit to the best purpose for
her own and her parents' sake; yet there was nothing of unbecoming
forwardness, no self-confidence or conceitedness in her conduct.  She
united the firmness and solicitude of the Christian with the modesty of
the female and the dutifulness of the daughter.  It was impossible to be
in her company and not observe how truly her temper and conversation
adorned the principles which she professed.

I soon discovered how eager and how successful also she had been in her
endeavours to bring her father and mother to the knowledge and experience
of the truth.  This is a lovely feature in the character of a young
Christian.  If it have pleased God, in the free dispensation of his
mercy, to call the child by his grace while the parents remain still in
ignorance and sin, how great is the duty incumbent on that child to do
what is possible to promote the conversion of those to whom so much is
owing!  Happy is it when the ties of grace sanctify those of nature!

The aged couple evidently regarded and spoke of this daughter as their
teacher and admonisher in divine things, while at the same time they
received from her every token of filial submission and obedience,
testified by continual endeavours to serve and assist them to the utmost
of her power in the daily concerns of the household.

The religion of this young woman was of a highly spiritual character, and
of no ordinary attainment.  Her views of the divine plan in saving the
sinner were clear and scriptural.  She spoke much of the joys and sorrows
which, in the course of her religious progress, she had experienced; but
she was fully sensible that there is far more in real religion than mere
occasional transition from one frame of mind and spirits to another.  She
believed that the experimental acquaintance of the heart with God
principally consisted in so living upon Christ by faith as to aim at
living like him by love.  She knew that the love of God toward the
sinner, and the path of duty prescribed to the sinner, are both of an
unchangeable nature.  In a believing dependence on the one, and an
affectionate walk in the other, she sought and found "the peace of God
which passeth all understanding;" for "so he giveth his beloved rest."

She had read but few books besides her Bible; but these few were
excellent in their kind, and she spoke of their contents as one who knew
their value.  In addition to a Bible and Prayer-book, "Doddridge's Rise
and Progress," "Romaine's Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith," "Bunyan's
Pilgrim," "Alleine's Alarm," "Baxter's Saint's Everlasting Rest," a hymn-
book, and a few tracts, completed her library.

I observed in her countenance a pale and delicate hue, which I afterwards
found to be a presage of consumption; and the idea then occurred to me
that she would not live very long.

Time passed on swiftly with this interesting family, and after having
partaken of some plain and wholesome refreshment, and enjoyed a few
hours' conversation with them, I found it was necessary for me to return
homewards.  The disposition and character of the parties may be in some
sort ascertained by the expressions at parting.

"God send you safe home again," said the aged mother, "and bless the day
that brought you to see two poor old creatures such as we are, in our
trouble and affliction.  Come again, sir, come again when you can; and
though I am a poor ignorant soul, and not fit to talk to such a gentleman
as you, yet my dear child shall speak for me.  She is the greatest
comfort I have left, and I hope the good Lord will spare her to support
my trembling limbs and feeble spirits, till I lie down with my other dear
departed children in the grave."

"Trust to the Lord," I answered, "and remember his gracious promise:
'Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs I will carry you.'"

"I thank you, sir," said the daughter, "for your Christian kindness to me
and my friends.  I believe the blessing of the Lord has attended your
visit, and I hope I have experienced it to be so.  My dear father and
mother will, I am sure, remember it; and I rejoice in the opportunity of
seeing so kind a friend under this roof.  My Saviour has been abundantly
good to me, in plucking me as 'a brand from the burning,' and showing me
the way of life and peace; and I hope it is my heart's desire to live to
his glory.  But I long to see these dear friends enjoy the power and
comfort of religion likewise."

"I think it evident," I replied, "that the promise is fulfilled in their
case: 'It shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light."

"I believe it," she said, "and praise God for the blessed hope."

"Thank him, too, that you have been the happy instrument of bringing them
to the light."

"I do, sir; yet when I think of my own unworthiness and insufficiency, I
rejoice with trembling."

"Sir," said the good old man, "I am sure the Lord will reward you for
this kindness.  Pray for us, old as we are, and sinners as we have been,
that yet he would have mercy upon us at the eleventh hour.  Poor Betsy
strives much for our sakes, both in body and soul: she works hard all day
to save us trouble, and I fear has not strength to support all she does;
and then she talks to us, and reads to us, and prays for us, that we may
be saved from the wrath to come.  Indeed, sir, she's a rare child to us."

"Peace be to you, and to all that belong to you!"

"Amen, and thank you, dear sir," was echoed from each tongue.

Thus we parted for that time.  My returning meditations were sweet, and I
hope profitable.

Many other visits were afterwards made by me to this peaceful cottage,
and I always found increasing reason to thank God for the intercourse I
there enjoyed.

An interval of some length occurred once during that year in which I had
not seen the Dairyman's family.  I was reminded of the circumstance by
the receipt of the following letter:--

   "REV. SIR,

   "I have been expecting to see or hear from you for a considerable
   time.  Excuse the liberty I take in sending you another letter.  I
   have been confined to the house the greater part of the time since I
   left ---.  I took cold that day, and have been worse ever since.  I
   walk out a little on these fine days, but seem to myself to walk very
   near the borders of eternity.  Glory be to God, it is a very pleasing
   prospect before me!  Though I feel the working of sin, and am abased,
   yet Jesus shows his mercy to be mine, and I trust that I am his.  At
   such times--

   'My soul would leave this heavy clay
      At his transporting word,
   Run up with joy the shining way
      To meet and prove the Lord.

   Fearless of hell and ghastly death,
      I'd break through ev'ry foe;
   The wings of love and arms of faith
      Would bear me conqu'ror through.'

   My desire is to live every moment to God, that I may, through his
   grace, be kept in that heavenly, happy frame of mind, that I shall
   wish for at the hour of death.  We cannot live or die happy without
   this; and to keep it, we must be continually watching and praying: for
   we have many enemies to disturb our peace.  I am so very weak, that
   now I can go nowhere to any outward means for that help which is so
   refreshing to my spirit.

   "I should have been very happy to have heard you last Sunday, when you
   preached at ---.  I could not walk so far.  I hope the word spoken by
   you was made a blessing to many who heard it.  It was my earnest
   prayer to God that it might be so.  But, alas! once calling does not
   awaken many that are in a sound sleep.  Yet the voice of God is
   sometimes very powerful, when his ministers speak; when they are
   influenced by his Holy Spirit, and are simple and sincere in holding
   forth the word of life.  Then it will teach us all things, and
   enlighten our mind and reveal unto us the hidden things of darkness,
   and give us out of that divine treasure 'things new and old.'  Resting
   on God to work in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure,
   we ought always to work as diligent servants, that know they have a
   good Master, that will surely not forget their labour of love.

   "If we could but fix our eyes always on that crown of glory that waits
   us in the skies, we should never grow weary in well-doing, but should
   run with patience and delight in the work and ways of God, where he
   appoints us.  We should not then, as we too frequently do, suffer
   these trifling objects here on earth to draw away our minds from God,
   to rob him of his glory and our souls of that happiness and comfort
   which the believer may enjoy amidst outward afflictions.  If we thus
   lived more by faith in the Son of God, we should endeavour to stir up
   all whom we could to seek after God.  We should tell them what he has
   done for us, and what he would do for them if they truly sought him.
   We should show them what a glorious expectation there is for all true
   believers and sincere seekers.

   "When our minds are so fixed on God, we are more desirous of
   glorifying him, in making known his goodness to us, than the proud
   rich man is of getting honour to himself.  I mourn over my own
   backwardness to this exercise of duty, when I think of God's
   willingness to save the vilest of the vile, according to the
   dispensations of his eternal grace and mercy.  Oh, how amiable, how
   lovely does this make that God of love appear to poor sinners, that
   can view him as such!  How is the soul delighted with such a
   contemplation!  They that have much forgiven, how much they love!

   "These thoughts have been much on my mind since the death of ---.  I
   trust the Lord will pardon me for neglect.  I thought it was my duty
   to speak or write to him: you remember what I said to you respecting
   it.  But I still delayed till a more convenient season.  Oh, how I was
   struck when I heard the Lord had taken him so suddenly!  I was filled
   with sorrow and shame for having neglected what I had so often
   resolved to do.  But now the time of speaking for God to him was over.
   Hence we see that the Lord's time is the best time.  Now the night of
   death was come upon him; no more work was to be done.  If I had done
   all that lay in my power to proclaim reconciliation by Christ to his
   soul, whether he had heard or no, I should have been clear of his
   blood.  But I cannot recall the time that is past, nor him from the
   grave.  Had I known the Lord would have called him so suddenly, how
   diligent I should have been to warn him of his danger!  But it is
   enough that God shows us what _we_ are to do, and not what _he_ is
   about to do with us or any of his creatures.  Pray, sir, do all you
   can for the glory of God.  The time will soon pass by, and then we
   shall enter that glorious rest that he hath prepared for them that
   love him.  I pray God to fill you with that zeal and love which he
   only can inspire, that you may daily win souls to Christ.  May he
   deliver you from all slavish fear of man, and give you boldness, as he
   did of old those that were filled with the Holy Ghost and with power!

   "Remember, Christ has promised to be with all his faithful ministers
   to the end of time.  The greater dangers and difficulties they are
   exposed to, the more powerful his assistance.  Then, sir, let us fear
   none but him.  I hope you will pray much for me, a poor sinner, that
   God will perfect his strength in my weakness of body and mind; for
   without him I can do nothing.  But when I can experience the teaching
   of that Holy One, I need no other teacher.  May the Lord anoint you
   with the same, and give you every grace of his Holy Spirit, that you
   may be filled with all the fulness of God; that you may know what is
   the height and depth, the length and breadth, of the love of God in
   Christ Jesus; that you may be in the hand of the Lord as a keen archer
   to draw the bow, while the Lord directs and fastens the arrows of
   conviction in the hearts of such as are under your ministry!

   "I sincerely pray that you may be made a blessing to him that has
   taken the place of the deceased.  I have heard that you are fellow-
   countrymen: I hope you are, however, both as strangers in this world,
   that have no abiding place, but seek a country out of sight.

   "Pray excuse all faults.

   "From your humble servant in the bonds of the gospel of Christ,

   "E--- W---."

When I perused this and other letters, which were at different times
written to me by the Dairyman's daughter, I felt that in the person of
this interesting correspondent were singularly united the characters of a
humble disciple and a faithful monitor.  I wished to acknowledge the
goodness of God in each of these her capacities.

I sometimes entertain a hope that the last day will unfold the value of
these epistolary communications, beyond even any present estimate of
their spiritual importance.



PART IV.


The translation of sinners "from the power of darkness into the kingdom
of God's dear Son," is the joy of Christians and the admiration of
angels.  Every penitent and pardoned soul is a new witness to the
triumphs of the Redeemer over sin, death, and the grave.  How great the
change that is wrought!  The child of wrath becomes a monument of grace--a
brand plucked from the burning!  "If any man be in Christ he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
How marvellous, how interesting, is the spiritual history of each
individual believer!  He is, like David, "a wonder to many," but the
greatest wonder of all to himself.  Others may doubt whether it be so or
not; but to _him_ it is unequivocally proved, that, from first to last,
grace alone reigns in the work of his salvation.

The character and privileges of real Christians are beautifully described
in the language of our church; which, when speaking of the objects of
divine favour and compassion, says: "They that be endued with so
excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose in due
season: they through grace obey the calling: they be justified freely:
they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his
only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works; and
at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity."

Such a conception and display of the almighty wisdom, power, and love, is
indeed "full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly
persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of
Christ mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members, and
drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things: it doth greatly
establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation, to be enjoyed
through Christ, and doth fervently kindle their love towards God."

Nearly allied to the consolation of a good hope through grace, as it
respects our own personal state before God, is that of seeing its
evidences shed lustre over the disposition and conduct of others.  Bright
was the exhibition of the union between true Christian enjoyment and
Christian exertion, in the character whose moral and spiritual features I
am attempting to delineate.

It seemed to be the first wish of her heart to prove to others, what God
had already proved to her, that Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the
life."  She desired to evince the reality of her calling, justification,
and adoption into the family of God, by showing a conformity to the image
of Christ, and by walking "religiously in good works:" she trusted that,
in this path of faith and obedience, she should "at length, by God's
mercy, attain to everlasting felicity."

I had the spiritual charge of another parish, adjoining to that in which
I resided.  It was a small district, and had but few inhabitants.  The
church was pleasantly situated on a rising bank, at the foot of a
considerable hill.  It was surrounded by trees, and had a rural, retired
appearance.  Close to the church-yard stood a large old mansion, which
had formerly been the residence of an opulent and titled family; but it
had long since been appropriated to the use of the estate as a
farm-house.  Its outward aspect bore considerable remains of ancient
grandeur, and gave a pleasing character to the spot of ground on which
the church stood.

In every direction the roads that led to this house of God possessed
distinct but interesting features.  One of them ascended between several
rural cottages, from the sea-shore, which adjoined the lower part of the
village street.  Another winded round the curved sides of the adjacent
hill, and was adorned, both above and below, with numerous sheep, feeding
on the herbage of the down.  A third road led to the church by a gently
rising approach between high banks, covered with young trees, bushes,
ivy, hedge-plants, and wild flowers.

From a point of land which commanded a view of all these several avenues,
I used sometimes for a while to watch my congregation gradually
assembling together at the hour of Sabbath worship.  They were in some
directions visible for a considerable distance.  Gratifying associations
of thought would form in my mind, as I contemplated their approach, and
successive arrival, within the precincts of the house of prayer.

One day as I was thus occupied, during a short interval previous to the
hour of divine service, I reflected on the joy which David experienced at
the time he exclaimed: "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into
the house of the Lord.  Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O
Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together;
whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of
Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord."

I was led to reflect upon the various blessings connected with the
establishment of public worship.  "How many immortal souls are now
gathering together to perform the all-important work of prayer and
praise--to hear the word of God--to feed upon the bread of life!  They
are leaving their respective dwellings, and will soon be united together
in the house of prayer.  How beautifully does this represent the effect
produced by the voice of the 'Good Shepherd,' calling his sheep from
every part of the wilderness into his fold!  As these fields, hills, and
lanes, are now covered with men, women, and children, in various
directions, drawing nearer to each other, and to the object of their
journey's end; even so, 'many shall come from the east, and from the
west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the
kingdom of God.'"

Who can rightly appreciate the value of such hours as these?--hours spent
in learning the ways of holy pleasantness and the paths of heavenly
peace--hours devoted to the service of God and of souls; in warning the
sinner to flee from the wrath to come; in teaching the ignorant how to
live and die; in preaching the gospel to the poor; in healing the broken-
hearted; in declaring "deliverance to the captives, and recovering of
sight to the blind."--"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound:
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.  In thy name
they shall rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be
exalted."

My thoughts then pursued a train of reflection on the importance of the
ministerial office, as connected in the purposes of God with the
salvation of sinners.  I inwardly prayed that those many individuals whom
he had given me to instruct, might not, through my neglect or error, be
as sheep having no shepherd, nor as the blind led by the blind; but
rather that I might, in season and out of season, faithfully proclaim the
simple and undisguised truths of the gospel, to the glory of God and the
prosperity of his church.

At that instant, near the bottom of the enclosed lane which led to the
church-yard, I observed a friend, whom, at such a distance from his home,
I little expected to meet.  It was the venerable Dairyman.  He came up
the ascent, leaning with one hand on his trusty staff, and with the other
on the arm of a younger man, well known to me, who appeared to be much
gratified in meeting with such a companion by the way.

My station was on the top of one of the banks which formed the hollow
road beneath.  They passed a few yards below me.  I was concealed from
their sight by a projecting tree.  They were talking of the mercies of
God, and the unsearchable riches of his grace.  The Dairyman was telling
his companion what a blessing the Lord had given him in his daughter.  His
countenance brightened as he named her, and called her his precious
Betsy.

I met them at a stile not many yards beyond, and accompanied them to the
church, which was hard by.

"Sir," said the old man, "I have brought a letter from my daughter, I
hope I am in time for divine service.  Seven miles has now become a long
walk for me: I grow old and weak.  I am very glad to see you, sir."

"How is your daughter?"

"Very poorly indeed, sir,--very poorly.  The doctors say it is a decline.
I sometimes hope she will get the better of it; but then again I have
many fears.  You know, sir, that I have cause to love and prize her.  Oh,
it would be such a trial! but the Lord knows what is best.  Excuse my
weakness, sir."

He put a letter into my hand, the perusal of which I reserved till
afterwards, as the time was nigh for going into church.

The presence of this aged pilgrim, the peculiar reverence and affection
with which he joined in the different parts of the service, excited many
gratifying thoughts in my mind, such as rather furthered than interrupted
devotion.

The train of reflection in which I had been engaged when I first
discovered him on the road, at intervals recurred powerfully to my
feelings, as I viewed that very congregation assembled together in the
house of God, whose steps, in their approach towards it, I had watched
with prayerful emotions.

"Here the rich and poor meet together in mutual acknowledgment that the
Lord is the maker of them all; and that all are alike dependent
creatures, looking up to one common Father to supply their wants, both
temporal and spiritual.

"Again, likewise, will they meet together in the grave, that
undistinguished receptacle of the opulent and the needy.

"And once more, at the judgment-seat of Christ shall the rich and the
poor meet together, that 'every one may receive the things done in his
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.'

"How closely connected in the history of man are these three periods of a
general meeting together?

"The house of prayer--the house appointed for all living--and the house
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  May we never separate these
ideas from each other, but retain them in a sacred and profitable union!
So shall our worshipping assemblies on earth be representative of the
general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in
heaven."

When the congregation dispersed, I entered into discourse with the
Dairyman and a few of the poor of my flock, whose minds were of the like
disposition to his own.  He seldom could speak long together without some
reference to his dear child.  He loved to tell how merciful his God had
been to him, in the dutiful and affectionate attentions of his daughter.
All real Christians feel a tender spiritual attachment towards those who
have been the instrument of bringing them to an effectual knowledge of
the way of salvation; but when that instrument is one so nearly allied,
how dear does the relationship become!

If my friend the Dairyman was in any danger of falling into idolatry, his
child would have been the idol of his affections.  She was the prop and
stay of her parents' declining years, and they scarcely knew how
sufficiently to testify the gratitude of their hearts for the comfort and
blessing which she was the means of affording them.

While he was relating several particulars of his family history to the
others, I opened and read the following letter:--

   "SIR,

   "Once more I take the liberty to trouble you with a few lines.  I
   received your letter with great pleasure, and thank you for it.  I am
   now so weak that I am unable to walk to any public place of divine
   worship,--a privilege which has heretofore always so much strengthened
   and refreshed me.  I used to go in anxious expectation to meet my God,
   and hold sweet communion with him; and I was seldom disappointed.  In
   the means of grace all the channels of divine mercy are open to every
   heart that is lifted up to receive out of that divine fulness grace
   for grace.  These are the times of refreshing from the presence of the
   Lord.  How have I rejoiced to hear a faithful and lively messenger,
   just come, as it were, from communion with God at the throne of grace,
   with his heart warmed and filled with divine love, to speak to fallen
   sinners!  Such a one has seemed to me as if his face shone as that of
   Moses did with the glory of God, when he came down from the mount,
   where he had been within the veil.  May you, sir, imitate him, as he
   did Christ, that all may see and know that the Lord dwelleth with you,
   and that you dwell in him through the unity of the blessed Spirit.  I
   trust you are no stranger to his divine teaching, aid, and assistance,
   in all you set your hand to do for the glory of God.

   "I hope, sir, the sincerity of my wishes for your spiritual welfare
   will plead an excuse for the freedom of my address to you.  I pray the
   Giver of every perfect gift, that you may experience the mighty
   workings of his gracious Spirit in your heart and your ministry, and
   rest your all on the justifying and purifying blood of an expired
   Redeemer.  Then will you triumph in his strength, and be enabled to
   say with the poet,--

   'Shall I, through fear of feeble man,
   The Spirit's course strive to restrain;
   Or, undismayed in deed and word,
   Be a true witness for my Lord?

   Awed by a mortal's frown shall I
   Conceal the word of God most high?
   How then before thee shall I dare
   To stand, or how thine anger bear?

   Shall I, to soothe the unholy throng,
   Soften thy truths and smooth my tongue,
   To gain earth's gilded toys, or flee
   The cross endured, my God, by thee?

   What then is he whose scorn I dread.
   Whose wrath or hate makes me afraid?
   A man? an heir of death? a slave
   To sin? a bubble on the wave?

   Yea, let men rage, since thou wilt spread
   Thy shadowing wings around my head:
   Since in all pain thy tender love
   Will still my sure refreshment prove.

   Still shall the love of Christ restrain
   To seek the wand'ring souls of men,
   With cries, entreaties, tears to save,
   And snatch them from the yawning grave.

   For this let men revile my name,--
   No cross I shun, I fear no shame:
   All hail reproach, and welcome pain;
   Only thy terrors, Lord, restrain.'

   "I trust, sir, that you see what a glorious high calling yours is, and
   that you are one of those who walk humbly with God, that you may be
   taught of him in all things.  Persons in your place are messengers of
   the most high God.  Is it too much to say, they should live like the
   angels in all holiness, and be filled with love and zeal for men's
   souls?  They are ambassadors, in Christ's stead, to persuade sinners
   to be reconciled to God.  So that your calling is above that of
   angels: for they are _afterwards_ to minister to the heirs of
   salvation; but the sinner must be _first_ reconciled to God.  And you
   are called on from day to day to intercede with man as his friend,
   that you may win souls to Christ.  Christ is ascended up on high, to
   intercede with his Father for guilty sinners, and to plead for them
   the merits of his death.  So that Christ and his faithful ministers,
   through the operation of the blessed Spirit, are co-workers together.
   Yet without him we can do nothing: our strength is his strength, and
   his is all the glory from first to last.

   "It is my heart's prayer and desire, sir, that you may, by a living
   faith, cleave close to that blessed, exalted Lamb of God, who died to
   redeem us from sin--that you may have a sweet communion with Father,
   Son, and Spirit--that you may sink deep in humble love, and rise high
   in the life of God.  Thus will you have such discoveries of the
   beauties of Christ and his eternal glory as will fill your heart with
   true delight.

   "If I am not deceived, I wish myself to enjoy his gracious favour,
   more than all the treasures which earth can afford.  I would in
   comparison look upon them with holy disdain, and as not worth an
   anxious thought, that they may not have power on my heart to draw or
   attract it from God, who is worthy of my highest esteem, and of all my
   affections.  It should be our endeavour to set him always before us,
   that in all things we may act as in his immediate presence; that we
   may be filled with that holy fear, so that we may not dare wilfully to
   sin against him.  We should earnestly entreat the Lord to mortify the
   power and working of sin and unbelief within us, by making Christ
   appear more and more precious in our eyes, and more dear to our
   hearts.

   "It fills my heart with thankful recollections, while I attempt in
   this weak manner to speak of God's love to man.  When I reflect on my
   past sins and his past mercies, I am assured, that if I had all the
   gifts of wise men and angels, I could never sufficiently describe my
   own inward sense of his undeserved love towards me.  We can better
   enjoy these glorious apprehensions in our hearts than explain them to
   others.  But, oh, how unworthy of them are we all!  Consciousness of
   my own corruptions keeps me often low; yet faith and desire will
   easily mount on high, beseeching God that he would, according to the
   apostle's prayer, fill me with all his communicable fulness, in the
   gifts and graces of his Spirit; that I may walk well-pleasing before
   him, in all holy conversation, perfecting holiness in his fear.

   "If I err in boldness, sir, pray pardon me, and in your next letter
   confirm my hope that you will be my counsellor and guide.

   "I can only recompense your kindness to me by my prayers, that your
   own intercourse with God may be abundantly blessed to you and yours.  I
   consider the Saviour saying to you, as he did to Peter, 'Lovest thou
   me?'  And may your heartfelt experience be compelled to reply, 'Thou
   knowest all things, and thou knowest that I love thee' supremely!  May
   he have evident marks of it in all your outward actions of love and
   humanity in feeding his flock, and in the inward fervour and affection
   of all your consecrated powers: that you may be zealously engaged in
   pulling down the strongholds of sin and Satan, and building up his
   Church; sowing the seeds of righteousness, and praying God to give the
   increase: that you may not labour for him in vain, but may see the
   trees bud and blossom, and bring forth fruit abundantly, to the praise
   and glory of your heavenly Master.  In order to give you
   encouragement, he says, whosoever 'converteth a sinner from the error
   of his way shall save a soul from death;' and that will increase the
   brightness of your crown in glory.  This hath Christ merited for his
   faithful ministers.

   "I hope, sir, you will receive grace to be sincere in reproving sin,
   wherever you see it.  You will find divine assistance, and all fear
   and shame taken from you.  Great peace will be given to you, and
   wisdom, strength, and courage, according to your work.  You will be as
   Paul; having much learning, you can speak to men in all stations in
   life, by God's assistance.  The fear of offending them will never
   prevent you, when you consider the glory of God; and man's immortal
   soul is of more value than his present favour and esteem.  In
   particular, you are in an office wherein you can visit _all_ the sick.
   Man's extremity is often God's opportunity.  In this way you may prove
   an instrument in his hand to do his work.  Although he _can_ work
   without means, yet his usual way is by means; and I trust you are a
   chosen vessel unto him, to prove his name and declare his truth to all
   men.

   "Visiting the sick is a strict command, and a duty for every
   Christian.  None can tell what good may be done.  I wish it was never
   neglected, as it too often is.  Many think that if they attend in the
   church, the minister to preach, and the people to hear, their duty is
   done.  But more is required than this.  May the Lord stir up the gift
   that is in his people and ministers, that they may have compassion on
   their fellow-sinners,--that they may never think it too late, but
   remember that while there is life there is hope!"  Once more I pray,
   sir, pardon and excuse all my errors in judgment, and the ignorance
   that this is penned in; and may God bless you in all things, and
   particularly your friendship to me and my parents.  What a comfort is
   family religion!  I do not doubt but this is your desire, as it is
   mine, to say,--

   'I and my house will serve the Lord,
   But first obedient to his word
      I must myself appear;
   By actions, words, and tempers show
   That I my heavenly Master know,
      And serve with heart sincere.

   I must the fair example set;
   From those that on my pleasure wait
      The stumbling-block remove;
   Their duty by my life explain,
   And still in all my works maintain
      The dignity of love.

   Easy to be entreated, mild,
   Quickly appeased and reconciled,
      A follower of my God:
   A saint indeed I long to be,
   And lead my faithful family
      In the celestial road.

   Lord, if thou dost the wish infuse,
   A vessel fitted for thy use
      Into thy hands receive:
   Work in me both to will and do,
   And show them how believers true
      And real Christians live.

   With all sufficient grace supply,
   And then I'll come to testify
      The wonders of thy name,
   Which saves from sin, the world, and hell:
   Its power may every sinner feel,
      And every tongue proclaim!

   Cleansed by the blood of Christ from sin,
   I seek my relatives to win,
      And preach their sins forgiven;
   Children, and wife, and servants seize,
   And through the paths of pleasantness
      Conduct them all to heaven.'

   "Living so much in a solitary way, books are my companions; and poetry
   which speaks of the love of God and the mercies of Christ is very
   sweet to my mind.  This must be my excuse for troubling you to read
   verses which others have written.  I have intended, if my declining
   state of health permit, to go to --- for a few days.  I say this lest
   you should call in expectation of seeing me during any part of next
   week.  But my dear father and mother, for whose precious souls I am
   very anxious, will reap the benefit of your visit at all events.

   "From your humble and unworthy servant,

   "E--- W---."

Having read it, I said to the father of my highly valued correspondent,--

"I thank you for being the bearer of this letter.  Your daughter is a
kind friend and faithful counsellor to me, as well as to you.  Tell her
how highly I esteem her friendship, and that I feel truly obliged for the
many excellent sentiments which she has here expressed.  Give her my
blessing, and assure her that the oftener she writes the more thankful I
shall be."

The Dairyman's enlivened eye gleamed with pleasure as I spoke.  The
praise of his Elizabeth was a string which could not be touched without
causing every nerve of his whole frame to vibrate.

His voice half faltered as he spoke in reply; the tear started in his
eyes; his hand trembled as I pressed it; his heart was full; he could
only say,--

"Sir, a poor old man thanks you for your kindness to him and his family.
God bless you, sir; I hope we shall soon see you again."

Thus we parted for that day.



PART V.


It has not unfrequently been observed, that when it is the Lord's
pleasure to remove any of his faithful followers out of this life at an
early period of their course, they make rapid progress in the experience
of divine truth.  The fruits of the Spirit ripen fast as they advance to
the close of mortal existence.  In particular, they grow in humility,
through a deeper sense of inward corruption and a clearer view of the
perfect character of the Saviour.  Disease and bodily weakness make the
thoughts of eternity recur with frequency and power.  The great question
of their own personal salvation, the quality of their faith, the
sincerity of their love, and the purity of their hope, are in continual
exercise.

Unseen realities at such a time occupy a larger portion of thought than
before.  The state of existence beyond the grave, the invisible world,
the unalterable character of the dead, the future judgment, the total
separation from everything earthly, the dissolution of body and spirit,
and their re-union at the solemn hour of resurrection--these are subjects
for their meditation, which call for serious earnestness of soul.
Whatever consolations from the Spirit of God they may have enjoyed
heretofore, they become now doubly anxious to examine and prove
themselves whether they be indeed in the faith.  In doing this, they
sometimes pass through hidden conflicts of a dark and distressing nature;
from which, however, they come forth like gold tried in the furnace.
Awhile they may sow in tears, but soon they reap in joy.

Their religious feelings have then, perhaps, less of ecstasy, but more of
serenity.

As the ears of corn ripen for the harvest, they bow their heads nearer to
the ground.  So it is with believers: they then see more than ever of
their own imperfection, and often express their sense of it in strong
language; yet they repose with a growing confidence on the love of God
through Christ Jesus.  The nearer they advance to their eternal rest, the
more humble they become, but not the less useful in their sphere.  They
feel anxiously desirous of improving every talent they possess to the
glory of God, knowing that the time is short.

I thought I observed the truth of these remarks fulfilled in the
progressive state of mind of the Dairyman's daughter.

Declining health seemed to indicate the will of God concerning her.  But
her character, conduct, and experience of the Divine favour, increased in
brightness as the setting sun of her mortal life approached its horizon.
The last letter which, with the exception of a very short note, I ever
received from her, I shall now transcribe.  It appeared to me to bear the
marks of a still deeper acquaintance with the workings of her own heart,
and a more entire reliance upon the free mercy of God.

The original, while I copy it, strongly revives the image of the
deceased, and the many profitable conversations which I once enjoyed in
her company, and that of her parents.  It again endears to me the
recollections of cottage piety, and helps me to anticipate the joys of
that day when the spirits of the glorified saints shall be re-united to
their bodies, and be for ever with the Lord.

The writer of this and the preceding letters herself little imagined,
when they were penned, that they would ever be submitted to the public
eye; that they now are so, results from a conviction that the friends of
the pious poor will estimate them according to their value; and a hope
that it may please God to honour these memorials of the dead, to the
effectual edification of the living.

   "REV. SIR,

   "In consequence of your kind permission, I take the liberty to trouble
   you with another of my ill-written letters; and I trust you have too
   much of your blessed Master's lowly, meek, and humble mind, to be
   offended with a poor, simple, ignorant creature, whose intentions are
   pure and sincere in writing.  My desire is, that I, a weak vessel of
   his grace, may glorify his name for his goodness towards me.  May the
   Lord direct me by his counsel and wisdom!  May he overshadow me with
   his presence, that I may sit beneath the banner of his love, and find
   the consolations of his blessed Spirit sweet and refreshing to my
   soul.

   "When I feel that I am nothing, and God is all in all, then I can
   willingly fly to him, saying, 'Lord, help me; Lord, teach me; be unto
   me my prophet, priest, and king.  Let me know the teaching of thy
   grace, and the disclosing of thy love.'  What nearness of access might
   we have, if we lived more near to God!  What sweet communion might we
   have with a God of love!  He is the great I AM.  How glorious a name!
   Angels with trembling awe prostrate themselves before him, and in
   humble love adore and worship him.  One says--

   'While the first archangel sings,
   He hides his face behind his wings.'

   Unworthy as I am, I have found it by experience that the more I see of
   the greatness and goodness of God, and the nearer union I hope I have
   had with him through the Spirit of his love, the more humble and self-
   abased I have been.

   "But every day I may say, 'Lord, how little I love thee, how far I
   live from thee, how little am I like thee in humility!'  It is,
   nevertheless, my heart's desire to love and serve him better.  I find
   the way in which God does more particularly bless me, is when I attend
   on the public ordinances of religion.  These are the channels through
   which he conveys the riches of his grace and precious love to my soul.
   These I have often found to be indeed the time of refreshing and
   strengthening from the presence of the Lord.  Then I can see my hope
   of an interest in the covenant of his love, and praise him for his
   mercy to the greatest of sinners.

   "I earnestly wish to be more established in his ways, and to honour
   him in the path of duty, whilst I enjoy the smiles of his favour.  In
   the midst of all outward afflictions I pray that I may know Christ and
   the power of his resurrection within my soul.  If I were always thus,
   my summer would last all the year; my will would then be sweetly lost
   in God's will, and I should feel a resignation in every dispensation
   of his providence and his grace, saying, 'Good is the will of the
   Lord: Infinite Wisdom cannot err.'  Then would patience have its
   perfect work.

   "But, alas! sin and unbelief often, too often, interrupt these frames,
   and lay me low before God in tears of sorrow.  I often think what a
   happiness it would be if his love were so fixed in my heart that I
   might willingly obey him with alacrity and delight, and gradually
   mortify the power of self-will, passion, and pride.  This can only
   arise from a good hope through grace that we are washed in that
   precious blood which cleanses us from every sinful stain, and makes us
   new creatures in Christ.  Oh that we may be the happy witnesses of the
   saving power and virtue of that healing stream which flows from the
   fountain of everlasting love!

   "Sir, my faith is often exceedingly weak: can you be so kind as to
   tell me what you have found to be the most effectual means of
   strengthening it?  I often think how plainly the Lord declares,
   'Believe only, and thou shalt be saved.  Only have faith; all things
   are possible to him that has it.'  How I wish that we could remove all
   those mountains that hinder and obstruct the light of his grace; so
   that, having full access unto God through that ever-blessed Spirit, we
   might lovingly commune with him as with the dearest of friends.  What
   favour does God bestow on worms!  And yet we love to murmur and
   complain.  He may well say, 'What should I have done more, that I have
   not done? or wherein have I proved unfaithful or unkind to my
   faithless, backsliding children?'

   "Sir, I pray that I may not grieve him, as I have done, any more.  I
   want your counsel and your prayers for me in this matter.  How
   refreshing is the sight of one that truly loves God, that bears his
   image and likeness!

   "But delightful as is conversation with true believers on earth, whose
   hearts are lifted up to things above, yet what is this to that happy
   day which will admit us into more bright realms; where we shall for
   ever behold a God of love in the smiling face of his Son, who is the
   express image of his Father and the brightness of his glory!  Then, if
   found in him, we shall be received by the innumerable host of angels
   who wait around his throne.

   "In the meantime, sir, may I take up my cross, and manfully fight
   under Him who, for the glory that was set before him, endured the
   cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at his Father's right
   hand in majesty.  I thank you for the kind liberty you have given me
   of writing to you.  I feel my health declining, and I find a relief,
   during an hour of pain and weakness, in communicating these thoughts
   to you.

   "I hope, sir, you go on your way rejoicing; that you are enabled to
   thank Him who is the giver of every good gift, spiritual, temporal,
   and providential, for blessings to yourself and your ministry.  I do
   not doubt but you often meet with circumstances which are not pleasing
   to nature; yet, by the blessing of God, they will be all profitable in
   the end.  They are kindly designed by grace to make and keep us
   humble.  The difficulties which you spoke of to me some time since
   will, I trust, disappear.

   "My dear father and mother are as well as usual in bodily health; and,
   I hope, grow in grace, and in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.
   My chief desire to live is for their sakes.  It now seems long since
   we have seen you.  I am almost ashamed to request you to come to our
   little cottage, to visit those who are so much below your station in
   life.  But if you cannot come, we shall be very glad if you will write
   a few lines.  I ought to make an excuse for my letter, I spell so
   badly: this was a great neglect when I was young.  I gave myself
   greatly to reading, but not to the other, and now I am too weak and
   feeble to learn much.

   "I hear sometimes of persons growing serious in your congregation: it
   gives me joy; and, if true, I am sure it does so to yourself.  I long
   for the pure gospel of Christ to be preached in every church in the
   world, and for the time when all shall know, love, and fear the Lord;
   and the uniting Spirit of God shall make them of one heart and mind in
   Christ our great head.  Your greatest joy, I know, will be in
   labouring much for the glory of God in the salvation of men's souls.
   You serve a good Master.  You have a sure reward.  I pray God to give
   you strength according to your day.

   "Pray, sir, do not be offended at the freedom and manner of my
   writing.  My parents' duty and love to you are sent with these lines
   from

   "Your humble servant in Christ,

   "E--- W---."

Epistolary communications, when written in sincerity of heart, afford
genuine portraits of the mind.  May the foregoing be viewed with
Christian candour, and consecrated to affectionate memory!



PART VI.


Travellers, as they pass through the country, usually stop to inquire
whose are the splendid mansions which they discover among the woods and
plains around them.  The families, titles, fortune, or character of the
respective owners, engage much attention.  Perhaps their houses are
exhibited to the admiring stranger.  The elegant rooms, costly furniture,
valuable paintings, beautiful gardens and shrubberies, are universally
approved; while the rank, fashion, taste, and riches of the possessor,
afford ample materials for entertaining discussion.  In the meantime, the
lowly cottage of the poor husbandman is passed by as scarcely deserving
of notice.  Yet, perchance, such a cottage may often contain a treasure
of infinitely more value than the sumptuous palace of the rich man--even
"the pearl of great price."  If this be set in the heart of the poor
cottager, it proves a gem of unspeakable worth, and will shine among the
brightest ornaments of the Redeemer's crown, in that day when he maketh
up his "jewels."

Hence the Christian traveller, while in common with others he bestows his
due share of applause on the decorations of the rich, and is not
insensible to the beauties and magnificence which are the lawfully
allowed appendages of rank and fortune, cannot overlook the humbler
dwelling of the poor.  And if he should find that true piety and grace
beneath the thatched roof which he has in vain looked for amidst the
worldly grandeur of the rich, he remembers the declarations in the word
of God.  He sees with admiration that the high and lofty One, that
inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, who dwelleth in the high and
holy place, dwelleth with _him also_ that is of a contrite and humble
spirit (Isa. lvii. 15); and although heaven is his throne, and the earth
his footstool, yet, when a house is to be built and a place of rest to be
sought for himself, he says, "To this man will I look, even to him that
is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa. lxvi.
2).

When a house is thus tenanted, Faith beholds this inscription written on
the walls, _The Lord lives here_.  Faith, therefore, cannot pass it by
unnoticed, but loves to lift up the latch of the door, and to sit down
and converse with the poor, although perhaps despised, inhabitant.  Many
a sweet interview does Faith obtain, when she thus takes her walks
abroad.  Many such a sweet interview have I myself enjoyed beneath the
roof where dwelt the Dairyman and his little family.

I soon perceived that his daughter's health was rapidly on the decline.
The pale, wasting consumption, which is the Lord's instrument for
removing so many thousands every year from the land of the living made
hasty strides on her constitution.  The hollow eye, the distressing
cough, and the often too flattering flush on the cheek, foretold the
approach of death.

What a field for usefulness and affectionate attention, on the part of
ministers and Christian friends, is opened by the frequent attacks and
lingering process of _consumptive_ illness!  How many such precious
opportunities are daily lost, where Providence seems in so marked a way
to afford time and space for serious and godly instruction!  Of how many
may it be said, "The way of peace have they not known!" for not one
friend ever came nigh, to warn them to "flee from the wrath to come."

But the Dairyman's daughter was happily made acquainted with the things
which belonged to her everlasting peace, before the present disease had
taken root in her constitution.  In my visits to her, I went rather to
receive information than to impart it.  Her mind was abundantly stored
with divine truths, and her conversation was truly edifying.  The
recollection of it will ever produce a thankful sensation in my heart.

I one day received a short note to the following effect:--

   "DEAR SIR,

   "I should be very glad, if your convenience will allow, that you will
   come and see a poor unworthy sinner.  My hour-glass is nearly run out,
   but I hope I can see Christ to be precious to my soul.  Your
   conversation has often been blessed to me, and I now feel the need of
   it more than ever.  My father and mother send their duty to you.  From

   "Your obedient and unworthy servant,

   "E--- W---."

I obeyed the summons that same afternoon.  On my arrival at the
Dairyman's cottage, his wife opened the door.  The tears streamed down
her cheek, as she silently shook her head.  Her heart was full.  She
tried to speak, but could not.  I took her by the hand, and said--

"My good friend, all is right, and as the Lord of wisdom and mercy
directs."

"Oh, my Betsy, my dear girl, is so bad, sir.  What shall I do without
her?  I thought I should have gone first to the grave; but--"

"But the Lord sees good that, before you die yourself you should behold
your child safe home to glory.  Is there no mercy in this?"

"Oh, dear sir!  I am very old and very weak; and she is a dear child, the
staff and prop of a poor old creature as I am."

As I advanced, I saw Elizabeth sitting by the fireside, supported in an
arm-chair by pillows, with every mark of rapid decline and approaching
death.  A sweet smile of friendly complacency enlightened her pale
countenance, as she said--

"This is very kind indeed, sir, to come so soon after I sent to you.  You
find me daily wasting away, and I cannot have long to continue here.  My
flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my weak heart, and I
trust will be my portion for ever."

The conversation was occasionally interrupted by her cough and want of
breath.  Her tone of voice was clear, though feeble; her manner solemn
and collected; and her eye, though more dim than formerly, by no means
wanting in liveliness as she spoke.  I had frequently admired the
superior language in which she expressed her ideas, as well as the
scriptural consistency with which she communicated her thoughts.  She had
a good natural understanding, and grace, as is generally the case, had
much improved it.  On the present occasion I could not help thinking she
was peculiarly favoured.  The whole strength of gracious and natural
attainments seemed to be in full exercise.

After taking my seat between the daughter and the mother (the latter
fixing her fond eyes upon her child with great anxiety while we were
conversing), I said to Elizabeth--

"I hope you enjoy a sense of the divine presence, and can rest all upon
Him who has 'been with thee,' and has 'kept thee in all places where thou
hast gone,' and will bring thee into 'the land of pure delight, where
saints immortal reign.'"

"Sir, I think I can.  My mind has lately been sometimes clouded, but I
believe it has been partly owing to the great weakness and suffering of
my bodily frame, and partly to the envy of my spiritual enemy, who wants
to persuade me that Christ has no love for me, and that I have been a
self-deceiver."

"And do you give way to his suggestions?  Can you doubt, amidst such
numerous tokens of past and present mercy?"

"No, sir, I mostly am enabled to preserve a clear evidence of his love.  I
do not wish to add to my other sins that of denying his manifest goodness
to my soul--I would acknowledge it to his praise and glory."

"What is your present view of the state in which you were before you felt
seriously concerned about the salvation of your soul?"

"Sir, I was a proud, thoughtless girl; fond of dress and finery.  I loved
the world, and the things that are in the world.  I lived in service
among worldly people, and never had the happiness of being in a family
where worship was regarded, and the souls of the servants cared for,
either by master or mistress.  I went once on a Sunday to church, more to
see and be seen than to pray or hear the word of God.  I thought I was
quite good enough to be saved, and disliked, and often laughed at,
religious people.  I was in great darkness; I knew nothing of the way of
salvation.  I never prayed, nor was sensible of the awful danger of a
prayerless state.  I wished to maintain the character of a good servant,
and was much lifted up whenever I met with applause.  I was tolerably
moral and decent in my conduct, from motives of carnal and worldly
policy; but I was a stranger to God and Christ.  I neglected my soul; and
had I died in such a state, hell must, and would justly, have been my
portion."

"How long is it since you heard the sermon which, you hope, through God's
blessing, effected your conversion?"

"About five years ago."

"How was it brought about?"

"It was reported that a Mr. ---, who was detained by contrary winds from
embarking on board ship as chaplain to a distant part of the world, was
to preach at church.  Many advised me not to go, for fear he should turn
my head, as they said he held strange notions.  But curiosity, and an
opportunity of appearing in a new gown, which I was very proud of,
induced me to ask leave of my mistress to go.  Indeed, sir, I had no
better motives than vanity and curiosity.  Yet thus it pleased the Lord
to order it for his own glory.

"I accordingly went to church, and saw a great crowd of people collected
together.  I often think of the contrary states of my mind during the
former and latter part of the service.  For a while, regardless of the
worship of God, I looked around me, and was anxious to attract notice
myself.  My dress, like that of too many gay, vain, and silly servant
girls, was much above my station, and very different from that which
becomes an humble sinner, who has a modest sense of propriety and
decency.  The state of my mind was visible enough from the foolish finery
of my apparel.

"At length the clergyman gave out his text: 'Be ye clothed with
humility.'  He drew a comparison between the clothing of the body with
that of the soul.  At a very early part of his discourse I began to feel
ashamed of my passion for fine dressing and apparel; but when he came to
describe the garment of salvation with which a Christian is clothed, I
felt a powerful discovery of the nakedness of my own soul.  I saw that I
had neither the humility mentioned in the text, nor any one part of the
true Christian character.  I looked at my gay dress, and blushed for
shame on account of my pride.  I looked at the minister, and he seemed to
me as a messenger sent from heaven to open my eyes.  I looked at the
congregation, and wondered whether any one else felt as I did.  I looked
at my heart, and it appeared full of iniquity.  I trembled as he spoke,
and yet I felt a great drawing of heart to the words he uttered.

"He opened the riches of divine grace in God's method of saving the
sinner.  I was astonished at what I had been doing all the days of my
life.  He described the meek, lowly, and humble example of Christ; I felt
proud, lofty, vain, and self-consequential.  He represented Christ as
'Wisdom;' I felt my ignorance.  He held him forth as 'Righteousness;' I
was convinced of my own guilt.  He proved him to be 'Sanctification;' I
saw my corruption.  He proclaimed him as 'Redemption;' I felt my slavery
to sin and my captivity to Satan.  He concluded with an animated address
to sinners, in which he exhorted them to flee from the wrath to come, to
cast off the love of outward ornament, to put on Jesus Christ, and be
clothed with true humility.

"From that hour I never lost sight of the value of my soul and the danger
of a sinful state.  I inwardly blessed God for the sermon, although my
mind was in a state of great confusion.

"The preacher had brought forward the ruling passion of my heart, which
was pride in outward dress; and by the grace of God it was made
instrumental to the awakening of my soul.  Happy, sir, would it be if
many a poor girl, like myself, were turned from the love of outward
adorning and putting on of fine apparel, to seek that which is not
corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in
the sight of God of great price.

"The greatest part of the congregation, unused to such faithful and
scriptural sermons, disliked and complained of the severity of the
preacher; while a few, as I afterwards found, like myself, were deeply
affected, and earnestly wished to hear him again.  But he preached there
no more.

"From that time I was led, through a course of private prayer, reading,
and meditation, to see my lost state as a sinner, and the great mercy of
God through Jesus Christ, in raising sinful dust and ashes to a share in
the glorious happiness of heaven.  And, O sir! what a Saviour I have
found!  He is more than I could ask or desire.  In his fulness I have
found all that my poverty could need; in his bosom I have found a resting-
place from all sin and sorrow; in his word I have found strength against
doubt and unbelief."

"Were you not soon convinced," I said, "that your salvation must be an
act of entire grace on the part of God, wholly independent of your own
previous works or deservings?"

"Dear sir, what were my works, before I heard that sermon, but evil,
carnal, selfish, and ungodly!  The thoughts of my heart, from my youth
upward, were only evil, and that continually.  And my deservings, what
were they, but the deservings of a fallen, depraved, careless soul, that
regarded neither law nor gospel!  Yes, sir, I immediately saw that if
ever I were saved, it must be by the free mercy of God, and that the
whole praise and honour of the work would be his from first to last."

"What change did you perceive in yourself with respect to the world?"

"It appeared all vanity and vexation of spirit.  I found it necessary to
my peace of mind to come out from among them, and be separate.  I gave
myself to prayer; and many a happy hour of secret delight I enjoyed in
communion with God.  Often I mourned over my sins, and sometimes had a
great conflict, through unbelief, fear, temptation to return back again
to my old ways, and a variety of difficulties which lay in my way.  But
He who loved me with an everlasting love drew me by his loving-kindness,
showed me the way of peace, gradually strengthened me in my resolutions
of leading a new life, and taught me, that while without him I could do
nothing, I yet might do all things through his strength."

"Did you not find many difficulties in your situation, owing to your
change of principle and practice?"

"Yes, sir, every day of my life.  I was laughed at by some, scolded at by
others, scorned by enemies, and pitied by friends.  I was called
hypocrite, saint, false deceiver, and many more names, which were meant
to render me hateful in the sight of the world.  But I esteemed the
reproach of the cross an honour.  I forgave and prayed for my
persecutors, and remembered how very lately I had acted the same part
towards others myself.  I thought also that Christ endured the
contradiction of sinners; and, as the disciple is not above his Master, I
was glad to be in any way conformed to his sufferings."

"Did you not then feel for your family at home?"

"Yes, that I did indeed, sir; they were never out of my thoughts.  I
prayed continually for them, and had a longing desire to do them good.  In
particular, I felt for my father and mother, as they were getting into
years, and were very ignorant and dark in matters of religion."

"Ay," interrupted her mother, sobbing, "ignorant and dark, sinful and
miserable we were, till this dear Betsy--this dear Betsy--this dear
child, sir--brought Christ Jesus home to her poor father and mother's
house."

"No, dearest mother, say rather, Christ Jesus brought your poor daughter
home to tell you what he had done for her soul, and I hope, to do the
same for yours."

At that moment the Dairyman came in with two pails of milk hanging from
the yoke on his shoulders.  He had stood behind the half-opened door for
a few minutes, and heard the last sentences spoken by his wife and
daughter.

"Blessing and mercy upon her!" said he, "it is very true; she left a good
place of service on purpose to live with us, that she might help us both
in soul and body.  Sir, don't she look very ill?  I think, sir, we
sha'n't have her here long."

"Leave that to the Lord," said Elizabeth.  "All our times are in his
hand, and happy it is that they are.  I am willing to go; are you not
willing, my father, to part with me into _his_ hands, who gave me to you
at first?"

"Ask me any question in the world but that," said the weeping father.

"I know," said she, "you wish me to be happy."

"I do, I do," answered he; "let the Lord do with you and us as best
pleases him."

I then asked her on what her present consolations chiefly depended, in
the prospect of approaching death.

"Entirely, sir, on my view of Christ.  When I look at myself, many sins,
infirmities, and imperfections cloud the image of Christ which I want to
see in my own heart.  But when I look at the Saviour himself, he is
altogether lovely; there is not one spot in his countenance, nor one
cloud over all his perfections.

"I think of his coming in the flesh, and it reconciles me to the
sufferings of the body; for he had them as well as I.  I think of his
temptations, and believe that he is able to succour me when I am tempted.
Then I think of his cross, and learn to bear my own.  I reflect on his
death, and long to die unto sin, so that it may no longer have dominion
over me.  I sometimes think on his resurrection, and trust that he has
given me a part in it, for I feel that my affections are set upon things
above.  Chiefly I take comfort in thinking of him as at the right hand of
the Father, pleading my cause, and rendering acceptable even my feeble
prayers, both for myself, and, as I hope, for my dear friends.

"These are the views which, through mercy, I have of my Saviour's
goodness; and they have made me wish and strive in my poor way to serve
him, to give myself up to him, and to labour to do my duty in that state
of life into which it has pleased God to call me.

"A thousand times I should have fallen and fainted, if he had not upheld
me.  I feel that I am nothing without him.  He is all in all.

"Just so far as I can cast my care upon him, I find strength to do his
will.  May he give me grace to trust him till the last moment!  I do not
fear death, because I believe that he has taken away its sting.  And oh!
what happiness beyond!  Tell me, sir, whether you think I am right.  I
hope I am under no delusion.  I dare not look for my hope in anything
short of the entire fulness of Christ.  When I ask my own heart a
question, I am afraid to trust it, for it is treacherous, and has often
deceived me; but when I ask Christ, he answers me with promises that
strengthen and refresh me, and leave me no room to doubt his power and
will to save.  I am in his hands, and would remain there; and I do
believe that he will never leave nor forsake me, but will perfect the
thing that concerns me.  He loved me and gave himself for me, and I
believe that his gifts and callings are without repentance.  In this hope
I live, in this hope I wish to die."

I looked around me, as she was speaking, and thought, "Surely this is
none other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven."  Everything
appeared neat, cleanly, and interesting.  The afternoon had been rather
overcast with dark clouds; but just now the setting sun shone brightly
and somewhat suddenly into the room.  It was reflected from three or four
rows of bright pewter plates and white earthenware, arranged on shelves
against the wall: it also gave brilliancy to a few prints of sacred
subjects that hung there also, and served for monitors of the birth,
baptism, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ.

A large map of Jerusalem, and a hieroglyphic of "the old and new man,"
completed the decorations on that side of the room.  Clean as was the
white-washed wall, it was not cleaner than the rest of the place and its
furniture.  Seldom had the sun enlightened a house where order and
general neatness (those sure attendants of pious poverty) were more
conspicuous.

This gleam of setting sunshine was emblematical of the bright and serene
close of this young Christian's departing season.  One ray happened to be
reflected from a little looking-glass upon her face.  Amidst her pallid
and decaying features there appeared a calm resignation, triumphant
confidence, unaffected humility, and tender anxiety, which fully declared
the feelings of her heart.

Some further affectionate conversation and a short prayer closed this
interview.

As I rode home by departing daylight, a solemn tranquillity reigned
throughout the scene.  The gentle lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep
just penned in their folds, the humming of the insects of the night, the
distant murmurs of the sea, the last notes of the birds of day, and the
first warblings of the nightingale, broke upon the ear, and served rather
to increase than lessen the peaceful serenity of the evening, and its
corresponding effects on my own mind.  It invited and cherished just such
meditations as my visit had already inspired.  Natural scenery, when
viewed in a Christian mirror, frequently affords very beautiful
illustrations of divine truths.  We are highly favoured when we can enjoy
them, and at the same time draw near to God in them.



PART VII.


It is a pleasing consideration, that amidst the spiritual darkness which
unhappily prevails in many parts of the land, God nevertheless has a
people.  It not unfrequently happens that single individuals are to be
found, who, though very disadvantageously situated with regard to the
ordinary means of grace, have received truly saving impressions, and,
through a blessing on secret meditation, reading, and prayer, are led to
the closest communion with God, and become eminently devoted Christians.
It is the no small error of too many professors of the present day, to
overlook or undervalue the instances of this kind which exist.  The
religious profession and opinions of some have too much of mere
_machinery_ in their composition.  If every wheel, pivot, chain, spring,
cog, or pinion, be not exactly in its place, or move not precisely
according to a favourite and prescribed system, the whole is rejected as
unworthy of regard.  But happily "the Lord knoweth them that are his;"
nor is the impression of his own seal wanting to characterize some who,
in comparative seclusion from the religious world, "name the name of
Christ and depart from iniquity."

There are some real Christians so peculiarly circumstanced in this
respect as to illustrate the poet's comparison,--

   "Full many a gem of purest ray serene
      The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
   Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
      And waste its sweetness on the desert air."

Yet this was not altogether the case with the Dairyman's daughter.  Her
religion had indeed ripened in seclusion from the world, and she was
intimately known but to few; but she lived usefully, departed most
happily, and left a shining track behind her.  While I attempt a faint
delineation of it, may I catch its influence, and become, through
inexpressible mercy, a follower of "them who through faith and patience
inherit the promises!"

From the time wherein I visited her, as described in my last paper, I
considered her end as fast approaching.  One day I received a hasty
summons to inform me that she was dying.  It was brought by a soldier,
whose countenance bespoke seriousness, good sense, and piety.

"I am sent, sir, by the father and mother of Elizabeth W---, at her own
particular request, to say how much they all wish to see you.  She is
going _home_, sir, very fast indeed."

"Have you known her long?"

"About a month, sir.  I love to visit the sick, and hearing of her case
from a person who lives close by our camp, I went to see her.  I bless
God that ever I did go.  Her conversation has been very profitable to
me."

"I rejoice," said I, "to see in you, as I trust, a _brother soldier_.
Though we differ in our outward regimentals, I hope we serve under the
same spiritual Captain.  I will go with you."

My horse was soon ready.  My military companion walked by my side, and
gratified me with very sensible and pious conversation.  He related some
remarkable testimonies of the excellent disposition of the Dairyman's
daughter, as they appeared from recent intercourse which he had had with
her.

"She is a bright diamond, sir," said the soldier, "and will soon shine
brighter than any diamond upon earth."

We passed through lanes and fields, over hills and valleys, by open and
retired paths, sometimes crossing over and sometimes following the
windings of a little brook which gently murmured by the road side.
Conversation beguiled the distance, and shortened the apparent time of
our journey, till we were nearly arrived at the Dairyman's cottage.

As we approached it, we became silent.  Thoughts of death, eternity, and
salvation, inspired by the sight of a house where a dying believer lay,
filled my own mind, and, I doubt not, that of my companion also.

No living object yet appeared, except the Dairyman's dog, keeping a kind
of mute watch at the door; for he did not, as formerly, bark at my
approach.  He seemed to partake so far of the feelings appropriate to the
circumstances of the family, as not to wish to give a hasty or painful
alarm.  He came forward to the little wicket-gate, then looked back at
the house door, as if conscious there was sorrow within.  It was as if he
wanted to say, "Tread softly over the threshold, as you enter the house
of mourning; for my master's heart is full of grief."

The soldier took my horse and tied it up in a shed.  A solemn serenity
appeared to surround the whole place; it was only interrupted by the
breezes passing through the large elm-trees which stood near the house,
and which my imagination indulged itself in thinking were plaintive sighs
of sorrow.  I gently opened the door.  No one appeared, and all was still
silent.  The soldier followed.  We came to the foot of the stairs.

"They are come!" said a voice, which I knew to be the father's; "they are
come!"

He appeared at the top.  I gave him my hand, and said nothing.  On
entering the room above, I saw the aged mother and her son supporting the
much-loved daughter and sister: the son's wife sat weeping in a window-
seat, with a child on her lap: two or three persons attended in the room
to discharge any office which friendship or necessity might require.

I sat down by the bedside.  The mother could not weep, but now and then
sighed deeply, as she alternately looked at Elizabeth and at me.  The big
tear rolled down the brother's cheek, and testified an affectionate
regard.  The good old man stood at the foot of the bed, leaning upon the
post, and unable to take his eyes off the child from whom he was so soon
to part.

Elizabeth's eyes were closed, and as yet she perceived me not.  But over
her face, though pale, sunk, and hollow, the peace of God, which passeth
all understanding, had cast a triumphant calm.

The soldier, after a short pause, silently reached out his Bible towards
me, pointing with his finger at 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57.  I then broke
silence by reading the passage, "O death, where is thy sting?  O grave,
where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin
is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ."

At the sound of these words her eyes opened, and something like a ray of
divine light beamed on her countenance as she said, "Victory! victory!
through our Lord Jesus Christ."

She relapsed again, taking no further notice of any one present.

"God be praised for the triumph of faith!" said I.

"Amen!" replied the soldier.

The Dairyman's uplifted eye showed that the Amen was in his heart, though
his tongue failed to utter it.

A short struggling for breath took place in the dying young woman, which
was soon over; and then I said to her,--

"My dear friend, do you not feel that you are supported?"

"The Lord deals very gently with me," she replied.

"Are not his promises now very precious to you?"

"They are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus."

"Are you in much bodily pain?"

"So little that I almost forget it."

"How good the Lord is!"

"And how unworthy am I!"

"You are going to see him as he is."

"I think--I hope--I believe that I am."

She again fell into a short slumber.

Looking at her mother, I said, "What a mercy to have a child so near
heaven as yours is!"

"And what a mercy," she replied, in broken accents, "if her poor old
mother might but follow her there!  But, sir, it is so hard to part!"

"I hope through grace by faith you will soon meet to part no more; it
will be but a little while."

"Sir," said the Dairyman, "that thought supports me, and the Lord's
goodness makes me feel more reconciled than I was."

"Father--mother," said the reviving daughter, "He is good to me--trust
Him, praise Him evermore."

"Sir," added she, in a faint voice, "I want to thank you for your
kindness to me--I want to ask a favour;--you buried my sister--will you
do the same for me?"

"All shall be as you wish, if God permit," I replied.

"Thank you, sir, thank you--I have another favour to ask--When I am gone,
remember my father and mother.  They are old, but I hope the good work is
begun in their souls--My prayers are heard--Pray come and see them--I
cannot speak much, but I want to speak for their sakes--Sir, remember
them."

The aged parents now sighed and sobbed aloud, uttering broken sentences,
and gained some relief by such an expression of their feelings.

At length I said to Elizabeth, "Do you experience any doubts or
temptations on the subject of your eternal safety?"

"No, sir.  The Lord deals very gently with me, and gives me peace."

"What are your views of the dark valley of death, now that you are
passing through it?"

"It is _not_ dark."

"Why so?"

"My Lord is _there_, and he is my light and my salvation."

"Have you any fears of more bodily suffering?"

"The Lord deals so gently with me, I can trust him."

Something of a convulsion came on.  When it was past she said again and
again,--

"The Lord deals very gently with me.  Lord, I am thine; save me--Blessed
Jesus--precious Saviour--His blood cleanseth from all sin--Who shall
separate?--His name is Wonderful--Thanks be to God--He giveth the
victory--I, even I, am saved--O grace, mercy, and wonder!--Lord, receive
my spirit!--Dear sir--dear father, mother, friends, I am going--but all
is well, well, well--."

She relapsed again.  We knelt down to prayer.  The Lord was in the midst
of us, and blessed us.

She did not again revive while I remained, nor ever speak any more words
which could be understood.  She slumbered for about ten hours, and at
last sweetly fell asleep in the arms of that Lord who had dealt so gently
with her.

I left the house an hour after she had ceased to speak.  I pressed her
hand as I was taking leave, and said, "Christ is the resurrection and the
life."  She gently returned the pressure, but could neither open her eyes
nor utter a reply.

I never had witnessed a scene so impressive as this before.  It
completely filled my imagination as I returned home.

"Farewell," thought I, "dear friend, till the morning of an eternal day
shall renew our personal intercourse.  Thou wast a brand plucked from the
burning, that thou mightest become a star shining in the firmament of
glory.  I have seen thy light and thy good works, and will therefore
glorify our Father which is in heaven.  I have seen, in thy example, what
it is to be a sinner freely saved by grace.  I have learned from thee, as
in a living mirror, _who_ it is that begins, continues, and ends the work
of faith and love.  Jesus is all in all: he will and shall be glorified.
He won the crown, and alone deserves to wear it.  May no one attempt to
rob him of his glory!  He saves, and saves to the uttermost.  Farewell
dear sister in the Lord.  Thy flesh and thy heart may fail; but God is
the strength of thy heart, and shall be thy portion for ever."



PART VIII.


Who can conceive or estimate the nature of that change which the soul of
a believer must experience at the moment when, quitting its tabernacle of
clay, it suddenly enters into the presence of God?  If, even while "we
see through a glass darkly," the views of divine love and wisdom are so
delightful to the eye of faith; what must be the glorious vision of God,
when seen face to face!  If it be so valued a privilege here on earth to
enjoy the communion of saints, and to take sweet counsel together with
our fellow-travellers towards the heavenly kingdom; what shall we see and
know when we finally "come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of
angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are
written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of
just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant?"

If, during the sighs and tears of a mortal pilgrimage, the consolations
of the Spirit are so precious and the hope full of immortality is so
animating to the soul; what heart can conceive, or what tongue utter its
superior joys, when arrived at that state where sighing and sorrow flee
away, and the tears shall be wiped from every eye?

Such ideas were powerfully associated together in my imagination, as I
travelled onward to the house where, in solemn preparation for the grave,
lay the remains of the Dairyman's daughter.

She had breathed her last shortly after the visit related in my former
account.  Permission was obtained, as before in the case of her sister,
that I should perform the funeral service.  Many pleasing yet melancholy
thoughts were connected with the fulfilment of this task.  I retraced the
numerous and important conversations which I had held with her.  But
these could now no longer be maintained on earth.  I reflected on the
interesting and improving nature of _Christian_ friendships, whether
formed in palaces or in cottages; and felt thankful that I had so long
enjoyed that privilege with the subject of this memorial.  I then
indulged a selfish sigh for a moment, on thinking that I could no longer
hear the great truths of Christianity uttered by one who had drunk so
deep of the waters of the river of life.  But the rising murmur was
checked by the animating thought, "She is gone to eternal rest--could I
wish her back again in this vale of tears?"

At that moment the first sound of a tolling bell struck my ear.  It
proceeded from a village church in the valley directly beneath the ridge
of a high hill, over which I had taken my way.  It was Elizabeth's
funeral knell.

The sound was solemn; and, in ascending to the elevated spot over which I
rode, it acquired a peculiar tone and character.  Tolling at slow and
regular intervals, (as was customary for a considerable time previous to
the hour of burial,) the bell, as it were, proclaimed the blessedness of
the dead who die in the Lord, and also the necessity of the living
pondering these things, and laying them to heart.  It seemed to say,
"Hear my warning voice, thou son of man.  There is but a step between
thee and death.  Arise, prepare thine house; for thou shalt die, and not
live."

The scenery was in unison with that tranquil frame of mind which is most
suitable for holy meditation.  A rich and fruitful valley lay immediately
beneath; it was adorned with corn fields and pastures, through which a
small river winded in a variety of directions, and many herds grazed upon
its banks.  A fine range of opposite hills, covered with grazing flocks,
terminated with a bold sweep into the ocean, whose blue waves appeared at
a distance beyond.  Several villages, hamlets, and churches, were
scattered in the valley.  The noble mansions of the rich, and the lowly
cottages of the poor, added their respective features to the landscape.
The air was mild, and the declining sun occasioned a beautiful
interchange of light and shade upon the sides of the hills.  In the midst
of this scene, the chief sound that arrested attention was the bell
tolling for the funeral of the Dairyman's daughter.

Do any of my readers inquire why I describe so minutely the circumstances
of prospect and scenery which may be connected with the incidents I
relate?  My reply is, that the God of redemption is the God of creation
likewise; and that we are taught in every part of the word of God to
unite the admiration of the beauties and wonders of nature to every other
motive for devotion.  When David considered the heavens, the work of
God's fingers, the moon and the stars which he has ordained, he was
thereby led to the deepest humiliation of heart before his Maker.  And
when he viewed the sheep and the oxen and the beasts of the field, the
fowls of the air and the fish of the sea, he was constrained to cry out,
"O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"

I am the poor man's friend, and wish more especially that every poor
labouring man should know how to connect the goodness of God in creation
and providence with the unsearchable riches of his grace in the salvation
of a sinner.  And where can he learn this lesson more instructively than
in looking around the fields where his labour is appointed, and there
tracing the handiwork of God in all that he beholds?  Such meditations
have often afforded me both profit and pleasure, and I wish my readers to
share them with me.

The Dairyman's cottage was rather more than a mile distant from the
church.  A lane, quite overshadowed with trees and high hedges, led from
the foot of the hill to his dwelling.  It was impossible at that time to
overlook the suitable gloom of such an approach to the house of mourning.

I found, on my entrance, that several Christian friends, from different
parts of the neighbourhood, had assembled together, to pay their last
tribute of esteem and regard to the memory of the Dairyman's daughter.
Several of them had first become acquainted with her during the latter
stage of her illness; some few had maintained an affectionate intercourse
with her for a longer period; but all seemed anxious to manifest their
respect for one who was endeared to them by such striking testimonies of
true Christianity.

I was requested to go into the chamber where the relatives and a few
other friends were gone to take a last look at the remains of Elizabeth.

It is not easy to describe the sensation which the mind experiences on
the first sight of a dead countenance, which, when living, was loved and
esteemed for the sake of that soul which used to give it animation.  A
deep and awful view of the separation that has taken place between the
soul and body of the deceased, since we last beheld them, occupies the
feelings: our friend seems to be both near, and yet far off.  The most
interesting and valuable part is fled away; what remains is but the
earthly, perishing habitation, no longer occupied by its tenant.  Yet the
features present the accustomed association of friendly intercourse.  For
one moment, we could think them asleep.  The next reminds us that the
blood circulates no more: the eye has lost its power of seeing, the ear
of hearing, the heart of throbbing, and the limbs of moving.  Quickly a
thought of glory breaks in upon the mind, and we imagine the dear
departed soul to be arrived at its long-wished-for rest.  It is
surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, and sings the song of Moses and the
Lamb on Mount Zion.  Amid the solemn stillness of the chamber of death,
imagination hears heavenly hymns chanted by the spirits of just men made
perfect.  In another moment, the livid lips and sunken eye of the clay-
cold corpse recall our thoughts to earth and to ourselves again.  And
while we think of mortality, sin, death, and the grave, we feel the
prayer rise in our bosom, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let
my last end be like his!"

If there be a moment when Christ and salvation, death, judgment, heaven,
and hell, appear more than ever to be momentous subjects of meditation,
it is that which brings us to the side of a coffin containing the body of
a departed believer.

Elizabeth's features were altered, but much of her likeness remained.  Her
father and mother sat at the head, her brother at the foot of the coffin.
The father silently and alternately looked upon his dead child and then
lifted up his eyes to heaven.  A struggle for resignation to the will of
God was manifest in his countenance; while the tears, rolling down his
aged cheeks, at the same time declared his grief and affection.  The poor
mother cried and sobbed aloud, and appeared to be much overcome by the
shock of separation from a daughter so justly dear to her.  The weakness
and infirmity of old age added a character to her sorrow which called for
much tenderness and compassion.

A remarkably decent-looking woman, who had the management of the few
simple though solemn ceremonies which the case required, advanced towards
me, saying,--

"Sir, this is rather a sight of joy than of sorrow.  Our dear friend
Elizabeth finds it to be so, I have no doubt.  She is beyond _all_
sorrow: do you not think she is, sir?"

"After what I have known, and seen, and heard," I replied, "I feel the
fullest assurance, that while her body remains here, her soul is with her
Saviour in paradise.  She loved him _here_, and _there_ she enjoys the
pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore."

"Mercy, mercy upon a poor old creature, almost broken down with age and
grief!--What shall I do!--Betsy's gone.  My daughter's dead--O my child!
I shall never see thee more.  God be merciful to me a sinner!" sobbed out
the poor mother.

"That last prayer, my dear good woman," said I, "will bring you and your
child together again.  It is a cry that has brought thousands to glory.
It brought your daughter there, and I hope it will bring you thither
likewise.  God will in no wise cast out any that come to him."

"My dear," said the Dairyman, breaking the long silence he had
maintained, "let us trust God with our child; and let us trust him with
our own selves.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be
the name of the Lord!  We are old, and can have but a little further to
travel in our journey, and then--," he could say no more

The soldier, mentioned in my last paper, reached a Bible into my hand,
and said, "Perhaps, sir, you would not object to reading a chapter before
we go to the church?"

I did so; it was the fourteenth of the book of Job.  A sweet tranquillity
prevailed while I read it.  Each minute that was spent in this funeral
chamber seemed to be valuable.  I made a few observations on the chapter,
and connected them with the case of our departed sister.

"I am but a poor soldier," said our military friend, "and have nothing of
this world's goods beyond my daily subsistence; but I would not exchange
my hope of salvation in the next world for all that this world could
bestow without it.  What is wealth without grace?  Blessed be God! as I
march about from one quarter to another, I still find the Lord wherever I
go; and, thanks be to his holy name, he is here to-day in the midst of
this company of the living and the dead.  I feel that it is good to be
here."

Some other persons present began to take a part in our conversation, in
the course of which the life and experience of the Dairyman's daughter
were brought forward in a very interesting manner.  Each friend had
something to relate in testimony of her gracious disposition.  A young
woman under twenty, who had hitherto been a very light and trifling
character, appeared to be remarkably impressed by the conversation of
that day; and I have since had ground to believe that Divine grace then
began to influence her in the choice of that better part which shall not
be taken from her.

What a contrast does such a scene as this exhibit, when compared with the
dull, formal, unedifying, and often indecent manner, in which funeral
parties assemble in the house of death!

As we conversed the parents revived.  Our subject of discourse was
delightful to their hearts.  Their child seemed almost to be alive again,
while we talked of her.  Tearful smiles often brightened their
countenances, as they heard the voice of friendship uttering their
daughter's praises; or rather the praises of him who made her a vessel of
mercy and an instrument of spiritual good to her family.

The time for departing to the church was now at hand.

I went to take my last look at the deceased.

There was much written on her countenance.  She had evidently died with a
smile.  It still remained, and spoke the tranquillity of her departed
soul.  According to the custom of the country she was decorated with
leaves and flowers in the coffin: she seemed as a bride gone forth to
meet the bridegroom.  These, indeed, were fading flowers, but they
reminded me of that paradise whose flowers are immortal, and where her
never-dying soul is at rest.

I remembered the last words which I had heard her speak, and was
instantly struck with the happy thought, that "death was indeed swallowed
up in victory."

As I slowly retired, I said inwardly, "Peace, my honoured sister, be to
_thy_ memory and to _my_ soul, till we meet in a better world."

In a little time the procession formed: it was rendered the more
interesting by the consideration of so many that followed the coffin
being persons of a devout and spiritual character.  The distance was
rather more than a mile.  I resolved to continue with and go before them,
as they moved slowly onwards.  Immediately after the body came the
venerable father and mother, {87} bending with age, and weeping through
much affliction of heart.  Their appearance was calculated to excite
every emotion of pity, love, and esteem.  The other relatives followed
them in order, and the several attendant friends took their places
behind.

After we had advanced about a hundred yards, my meditation was
unexpectedly and most agreeably interrupted by the friends who attended
beginning to sing a funeral psalm.  Nothing could be more sweet or
solemn.  The well-known effect of the open air in softening and blending
the sounds of music, was here peculiarly felt.  The road through which we
passed was beautiful and romantic.  It lay at the foot of a hill, which
occasionally re-echoed the voices of the singers, and seemed to give
faint replies to the notes of the mourners.  The funeral knell was
distinctly heard from the church tower, and greatly increased the effect
which this simple and becoming service produced.

We went by several cottages: a respectful attention was universally
observed as we passed; and the countenances of many proclaimed their
regard for the departed young woman.  The singing was regularly
continued, with occasional intervals of about five minutes during our
whole progress.

I cannot describe the state of my own mind as peculiarly connected with
this solemn singing.  I was reminded of older times and ancient piety.  I
wished the practice more frequent.  It seems well calculated to excite
and cherish devotion and religious affections.

Music, when judiciously brought into the service of religion, is one of
the most delightful, and not least efficacious means of grace.  I pretend
not too minutely to conjecture as to the actual nature of those pleasures
which, after the resurrection, the re-united body and soul will enjoy in
heaven; but I can hardly persuade myself that melody and harmony will be
wanting, when even the sense of hearing shall itself be glorified.

We at length arrived at the church.  Looking upwards as I drew near the
church, I observed a dial on the wall.  The sun's declining rays directed
the shadow to the evening hour.  As I passed underneath this simple but
solemn monitor, I was reminded of the lapse of time, the uncertainty of
life, and sure approach of eternity.  I thought with David, "We are
strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers; our days
on earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding."

"Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto
wisdom."

The service was heard with deep and affectionate attention.  When we came
to the grave, the hymn which Elizabeth had selected was sung.  All was
devout, simple, animating.  We committed our dear sister's body to the
earth, in full hope of a joyful resurrection from the dead.

Thus was the veil of separation drawn for a season.  She is departed, and
no more seen.  But she will be seen on the right hand of her Redeemer at
the last day, and will again appear to his glory, a miracle of grace and
monument of mercy.

My reader, rich or poor, shall you and I appear there likewise?  Are we
"clothed with humility," and arrayed in the wedding garment of a
redeemer's righteousness?  Are we turned from idols to serve the living
God?  Are we sensible of our own emptiness, and therefore flying to a
Saviour's fulness to obtain grace and strength?  Do we indeed live in
Christ, and on him, and by him, and with him?  Is he our all in all?  Are
we "lost, and found?" "dead, and alive again?"

My _poor_ reader, the Dairyman's daughter was a _poor_ girl, and the
child of a _poor_ man.  Herein thou resemblest her: but dost thou
resemble _her_ as she resembled Christ?  Art thou made rich by faith?
Hast thou a crown laid up for thee?  Is thine heart set upon heavenly
riches?  If not, read this story once more, and then pray earnestly for
like precious faith.

But if, through grace, thou dost love and serve the Redeemer that saved
the Dairyman's daughter, grace, peace, and mercy be with thee!  The lines
are fallen unto thee in pleasant places: thou hast a goodly heritage.
Press forward in duty, and wait upon the Lord, possessing thy soul in
holy patience.  Thou hast just been with me to the grave of a departed
believer.  Now "go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and
stand in thy lot at the end of the days."

Elizabeth died May 30, 1801, aged 31 years.

{The Dairyman's Daughter's Grave: p89.jpg}




THE NEGRO SERVANT.


PART I.


If a map of the world, instead of being coloured, as is usual, with many
gay and brilliant tints, in order to distinguish its various continents,
kingdoms, and islands from each other, were to be painted with darker or
brighter hues corresponding with the spiritual character of the
inhabitants, what a gloomy aspect would be presented, to the eye of the
_Christian_ geographer, by the greater portion of the habitable globe!
How dark would be the shade thus cast over the larger districts of the
vast continents of Asia and America! and what a mass of gloom would
characterize the African quarter of the world!

Here and there a bright spot would mark the residence of a few missionary
labourers, devoting themselves to God, and scattering the rays of
Christian light among the surrounding heathen; but over the greater part
"the blackness of darkness" would emblematically describe the iron reign
of Mohammedan superstition and Pagan idolatry.

The Christian prays that God would have "respect unto the covenant; for
the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."  He
hopes to see the nations "open their eyes, and turn from darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by
faith."

The curse originally pronounced on the descendants of Ham has, in a
variety of respects, both temporal and spiritual, been awfully
fulfilled--"A servant of servants shall he be."  Slavery, as well of mind
as body, has been continued amongst the Africans through their
generations in a manner which at once proves the truth of the Divine
prediction, and yet calls aloud for the ardent prayers and active
exertions of Christians in their behalf.  The time will come when the
heathen shall be proved to have been given to Christ "for an inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession."  The degraded
Hottentot, and the poor benighted Negro, will look from the ends of the
earth unto Jesus, and be saved.  "Many shall run to and fro, and
knowledge shall be increased."  The Redeemer "shall see of the travail of
his soul, and shall be satisfied," in beholding the gathering together,
not only of the outcasts of Israel that are ready to perish, but of
churches and people from all the tongues, and kindreds, and nations of
the earth.  In the day of his appearing, the sons of Africa will vie with
their brethren of the north, and the west, and the east, in resounding
the praises of God their Saviour from one end of the earth to the other.

In the meantime, we rejoice in every occasional instance of the love and
power of God in effecting the conversion of some, who appear as the first-
fruits of that harvest which shall hereafter so fruitfully grow up, to
the honour of Christ and the blessedness of his redeemed people.

The following narrative of real facts may, perhaps, illustrate the
importance of the foregoing remarks.

During a residence of some years' continuance in the neighbourhood of the
sea, an officer of the navy called upon me, and stated that he had just
taken a lodging in the parish for his wife and children; and had a Negro,
who had been three years in his service.  "The lad is a deserving
fellow," said the officer, "and he has a great desire to be baptized.  I
have promised him to ask you to do it, if you have not any objections."

"Does he know anything," replied I, "of the principles of the Christian
religion?"

"Oh, yes, I am sure he does," answered the captain; "for he talks a great
deal about it in the kitchen, and often gets laughed at for his pains;
but he takes it all very patiently."

"Does he behave well as your servant?"

"Yes, that he does; he is as honest and civil a fellow as ever came on
board ship, or lived in a house."

"Was he always so well behaved?"

"No," said the officer; "when I first had him he was often very unruly
and deceitful; but for the last two years he has been quite like another
creature."

"Well, sir, I shall be very glad to see him, and think it probable I
shall wish to go through a course of instruction and examination; during
which I shall be able to form a judgment how far it will be right to
admit him to the sacrament of baptism.  Can he read?"

"Yes," replied his master; "he has been taking great pains to learn to
read for some time past, and can make out a chapter in the Bible pretty
well, as my maid-servant informs me.  He speaks English better than many
of his countrymen, but you will find it a little broken.  When will it be
convenient that I should send him over to you?"

"To-morrow afternoon, sir, if you please."

"He shall come to you about four o'clock, and you shall see what you can
make of him."

With this promise he took his leave.  I felt glad of an opportunity of
instructing a native of that land whose wrongs and injuries had often
caused me to sigh and mourn; the more so, when I reflected _who_ had been
the aggressors.

At the appointed hour my Negro disciple arrived.  He was a very young-
looking man, with a sensible, lively, and pleasing countenance.

I desired him to sit down, and said, "Your master informs me that you
wish to have some conversation with me respecting Christian baptism."

"Yes, sir; me very much wish to be a Christian," said he.

"Why do you wish so?"

"Because me know that Christian go to heaven when he die."

"How long have you had that wish?" I said.

"Ever since me heard one goot minister preach in America, two years ago."

"Where were you born?"

"In Africa.  Me was very little boy when me was made slave by the white
men."

"How was that?"

"Me left father and mother one day at home to go get shells by de sea-
shore, and as me was stooping down to gather them up, some white sailors
came out of a boat and took me away.  Me never see father nor mother
again."

"And what became of you then?"

"Me was put into ship, and brought to Jamaica and sold to a master, who
kept me in his house to serve him some years; when, about three years
ago, Captain W---, my master, dat spoke to you, bought me to be his
servant on board his ship.  And he be goot master; he gave me my liberty,
and made me free, and me live with him ever since."

"And what thoughts had you about your soul all that time before you went
to America?" I asked him.

"Me no care for my soul at all before den.  No man teach me one word
about my soul."

"Well, now tell me further about what happened to you in America.  How
came you there?"

"My master take me dere in his ship, and he stop dere one month, and den
me hear de goot minister."

"And what did the minister say?"

"He said me was a great sinner."

"What! did he speak to you in particular?"

"Yes, me tink so; for dere was great many to hear him, but he tell dem
all about me."

"What did he say?"

"He say about all de tings dat were in my heart."

"What things?"

"My sin, my ignorance, my know noting, my believe noting.  De goot
minister make me see dat me _tink_ noting goot, me _do_ noting goot."

"And what else did he tell you?"

"He sometime look me in de face, and say dat Jesus Christ came to die for
sinners, poor black sinners as well as white sinners.  Me tought dis was
very goot, very goot, indeed, to do so for a wicked sinner."

"And what made you think this was all spoken to you in particular?"

"Because me sure no such wicked sinner as me in all de place.  De goot
minister must know me was dere."

"And what did you think of yourself while he preached about Jesus
Christ?"

"Sir, me was very much afraid, when he said the wicked must be turned
into hell-fire.  For me felt dat me was very wicked sinner, and dat make
me cry.  And he talk much about de love of Christ to sinners, and dat
make me cry more.  And me tought me must love Jesus Christ; but me not
know how, and dat make me cry again."

"Did you hear more sermons than one during that month?"

"Yes, sir; master gave me leave to go tree times, and all de times me
wanted to love Jesus more, and do what Jesus said; but my heart seem
sometime hard, like a stone."

"Have you ever heard any preaching since that time?"

"Never, till me hear sermon at dis church last Sunday, and den me long to
be baptized in Jesus' name; for me had no Christian friends to baptize me
when little child."

"And what have been your thoughts all the time since you first heard
these sermons in America?  Did you tell anybody what you then felt?"

"No, me speak to nobody but to God den.  De goot minister say dat God
hear de cry of de poor; so me cry to God, and he hear me.  And me often
tink about Jesus Christ, and wish to be like him."

"Can you read?"

"A little."

"Who taught you to read?"

"God teach me to read."

"What do you mean by saying so?"

"God give me desire to read, and dat make reading easy.  Master give me
Bible, and one sailor show me de letters: and so me learned to read by
myself, with God's good help."

"And what do you read in the Bible?"

"Oh, me read all about Jesus Christ, and how he loved sinners; and wicked
men killed him, and he died, and came again from de grave; and all dis
for poor Negro.  And it sometime make me cry, to tink that Christ love so
poor Negro."

"And what do the people say about your reading, and praying, and
attention to the things of God?"

"Some wicked people, dat do not love Jesus Christ, call me great fool,
and Negro dog, and black hypocrite.  And dat make me sometimes feel
angry; but den me remember Christian must not be angry, for Jesus Christ
was called ugly black names, and he was quiet as a lamb; and so den me
remember Jesus Christ; and me say nothing again to dem."

I was much delighted with the simplicity and apparent sincerity of this
poor Negro, and wished to ascertain what measure of light and feeling he
possessed on a few leading points.  St. Paul's summary of religion {97}
occuring to me, I said, "Tell me what is faith?  What is your faith?  What
do you believe about Jesus Christ, and your own soul?"

"Me believe," said he, "dat Jesus Christ came into de world to save
sinners; and dough me be chief of sinners, yet Jesus will save me, dough
me be only poor black Negro."

"What is your hope?  What do you hope for, both as to this life and that
which is to come?"

"Me hope Jesus Christ will take good care of me, and keep me from sin and
harm, while me live here; and me hope, when me come to die, to go and
live with him always, and never die again."

"What are your thoughts about Christian love or charity,--I mean, whom
and what do you most love?"

"Me love God de Father, because he was so goot to send his Son.  Me love
Jesus Christ, because he love men.  Me love all men, black men and white
men too; for God made dem all.  Me love goot Christian people, because
Jesus love dem, and dey love Jesus."

Such was my first conversation with this young disciple.  I rejoiced in
the prospect of receiving him into the Church agreeably to his desire.  I
wished, however, to converse somewhat further, and inquire more minutely
into his conduct; and promised to ride over and see him in a few days at
his master's lodgings.

When he was gone, I thought within myself, God has indeed redeemed souls
by the blood of his Son, "out of _every_ kindred, and tongue, and people,
and nation."  If many of them for a season are devoted to earthly
slavery, {98} through the cruel avarice of man, yet, blessed be God, some
amongst them are, through divine grace, called to the glorious liberty of
the children of God; and so are redeemed from the slavery of him who
takes so many captive at his will.  It is a happy thought, that "Ethiopia
shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God.  Sing unto God, ye kingdoms
of the earth.  Oh, sing praises unto the Lord."



PART II.


When we endeavour to estimate the worth of an immortal soul, we are
utterly lost in the attempt.  The art of spiritual computation is not
governed by the same principles and rules which guide our speculations
concerning earthly objects.  The value of gold, silver, merchandize,
food, raiment, lands, and houses, is easily regulated, by custom,
convenience, or necessity.  Even the more capricious and imaginary worth
of a picture, medal, or statue, may be reduced to something of systematic
rule.  Crowns and sceptres have had their adjudged valuation; and
kingdoms have been bought and sold for sums of money.  But who can affix
the adequate price to a human soul?  "What shall it profit a man, if he
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man
give in exchange for his soul?"

The principles of ordinary arithmetic all fail here; and we are
constrained to say, that He alone who paid the ransom for sinners, and
made the souls of men his "purchased possession," can comprehend and
solve the arduous question.  They are, indeed, "bought with a price," but
are "not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with
the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without
spot."  We shall only ascertain the value of a soul, when we shall be
fully able to estimate the worth of a Saviour.

Too often have we been obliged to hear what is the price which sordid,
unfeeling avarice has affixed to the _body_ of a poor Negro slave; let us
now attempt, while we pursue the foregoing narrative, to meditate on the
value which Infinite Mercy has attached to his _soul_.

Not many days after my first interview with my Negro disciple, I went
from home with the design of visiting and conversing with him again at
his master's house, which was situated in a part of the parish nearly
four miles distant from my own.  The road which I took lay over a lofty
down, which commands a prospect of scenery seldom exceeded in beauty and
magnificence.  It gave birth to silent but instructive contemplation.

The down itself was covered with sheep, grazing on its wholesome and
plentiful pasture.  Here and there a shepherd's boy kept his appointed
station, and watched over the flock committed to his care.  I viewed it
as an emblem of my own situation and employment.  Adjoining the hill lay
an extensive parish, wherein many souls were given me to watch over, and
render an account of, at the day of the great Shepherd's appearing.  The
pastoral scene before me seemed to be a living parable, illustrative of
my own spiritual charge.  I felt a prayerful wish, that the good
Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep, might enable me to be faithful
to my trust.

It occurred to me, about the same time, that my young African friend was
a sheep of another more distant fold, which Christ will yet bring to hear
his voice.  For there shall be one fold and one Shepherd, and all nations
shall be brought to acknowledge that He alone "restoreth our souls, and
leadeth us in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."  On the
left hand of the hill, as I advanced eastward, and immediately under its
declivity, extended a beautiful tract of land intersected by a large arm
of the sea, which (as the tide was fast flowing in) formed a broad lake
or haven of three miles in length.  Woods, villages, cottages, and
churches, surrounded it in most pleasing variety of prospect.  Beyond
this lay a large fleet of ships of war, and not far from it another of
merchantmen, both safe at anchor, and covering a tract of the sea of
several miles in extent.  Beyond this, again, I saw the fortifications,
dockyards, and extensive public edifices of a large seaport town.  The
sun shone upon the windows of the buildings and the flags of the ships
with great brightness, and added much to the splendour of the view.

I thought of the concerns of empires and plans of statesmen, the fate of
nations and the horrors of war.  Happy will be that day when He shall
make wars to cease unto the end of the earth, and peace to be established
in its borders.

In the meantime, let us be thankful for those vessels and instruments of
defence, which, in the hands of God, preserve our country from the hand
of the enemy and the fury of the destroyer.  What, thought I, do we not
owe to the exertions of the numerous crews on board those ships, who
leave their homes to fight their country's battles and maintain its
cause, whilst we sit every man under his vine and fig-tree, tasting the
sweets of a tranquillity unknown to most other nations in these days of
conflict and bloodshed!

On my right hand, to the south and south-east, the unbounded ocean
displayed its mighty waves.  It was covered with vessels of every size,
sailing in all directions: some outward-bound to the most distant parts
of the world; others, after a long voyage, returning home, laden with the
produce of remote climes: some going forth in search of the enemy; others
sailing back to port after the hard-fought engagement, and bearing the
trophies of victory in the prizes which accompanied them home.

At the south-west of the spot on which I was riding extended a beautiful
semicircular bay, of about nine or ten miles in circumference, bounded by
high cliffs of white, red, and brown-coloured earths.  Beyond this lay a
range of hills, whose tops are often buried in cloudy mists, but which
then appeared clear and distinct.  This chain of hills, meeting with
another from the north, bounds a large fruitful vale, whose fields, now
ripe for harvest, proclaimed the goodness of God in the rich provision
which he makes for the sons of men.  It is he who prepares the corn: he
crowns the year with his goodness, and his paths drop fatness.  "They
drop upon the pastures of the wilderness; and the little hills rejoice on
every side.  The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are
covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing."

         "The roving sight
   Pursues its pleasing course o'er neighbouring hills,
   Of many a different form and different hue:
   Bright with the rip'ning corn, or green with grass,
   Or dark with clovers purple bloom."

As I looked upon the numerous ships moving before me, I remembered the
words of the psalmist: "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do
business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his
wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,
which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go
down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They
reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits
end.  Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them
out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves
thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he
bringeth them unto their desired haven.  Oh that men would praise the
Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of
men!" (Ps. cvii. 23-31.)

The Negro servant then occurred to my mind.  Perhaps, thought I, some of
these ships are bound to Africa, in quest of that most infamous object of
merchandise, a cargo of black slaves.  Inhuman traffic for a nation that
bears the name of Christian!  Perhaps these very waves, that are now
dashing on the rocks at the foot of this hill, have, on the shores of
Africa, borne witness to the horrors of forced separation between wives
and husbands, parents and children, torn asunder by merciless men, whose
hearts have been hardened against the common feeling of humanity by long
custom in this cruel trade.  "Blessed are the merciful; for they shall
obtain mercy."  When shall the endeavours of _that_ truly Christian
_friend_ of the oppressed Negro be crowned with success, in the abolition
of this wicked and disgraceful traffic? {103}

As I pursued the meditations which this magnificent and varied scenery
excited in my mind, I approached the edge of a tremendous perpendicular
cliff, with which the down terminates.  I dismounted from my horse, and
tied it to a bush.  The breaking of the waves against the foot of the
cliff at so great a distance beneath me, produced an incessant and
pleasing murmur.  The sea-gulls were flying between the top of the cliff
where I stood and the rocks below, attending upon their nests, built in
the holes of the cliff.  The whole scene in every direction was grand and
impressive; it was suitable to devotion.  The Creator appeared in the
works of his creation, and called upon the creatures to honour and adore.
To the believer, this exercise is doubly delightful.  He possesses a
right to the enjoyment of nature and providence, as well as to the
privileges of grace.  His title-deed runs thus: "All things are yours;
whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or
things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's;
and Christ is God's."

I cast my eye downwards a little to the left towards a small cove, the
shore of which consists of fine hard sand.  It is surrounded by fragments
of rock, chalk-cliffs, and steep banks of broken earth.  Shut out from
human intercourse and dwellings, it seems formed for retirement and
contemplation.  On one of these rocks I unexpectedly observed a man
sitting with a book which he was reading.  The place was near two hundred
yards perpendicularly below me, but I soon discovered by his dress, and
by the black colour of his features contrasted with the white rocks
beside him, that it was no other than my Negro disciple, with, as I
doubted not, a Bible in his hand.  I rejoiced at this unlooked-for
opportunity of meeting him in so solitary and interesting a situation.  I
descended a steep bank, winding by a kind of rude staircase, formed by
fishermen and shepherds' boys, in the side of the cliff down to the
shore.

He was intent on his book, and did not perceive me till I approached very
near to him.

"William, is that you?"

"Ah, massa! me very glad to see you.  How came massa into dis place?  Me
tought nobody here, but only God and me."

"I was coming to your master's house to see you, and rode round by this
way for the sake of the prospect.  I often come here in fine weather, to
look at the sea and shipping.  Is that your Bible?"

"Yes, sir; {105} dis my dear goot Bible."

"I am glad," said I, "to see you so well employed.  It is a good sign,
William."

"Yes, massa, a sign that God is goot to me; but me never goot to God."

"How so?"

"Me never tank him enough; me never pray to him enough: me never remember
enough who give me all dese goot tings.  Massa, me afraid my heart is
very bat.  Me wish me was like you."

"Like me, William?  Why, you are like me, a poor helpless sinner, that
must, as well as yourself, perish in his sins, unless God, of his
infinite mercy and grace, pluck him as a brand from the burning, and make
him an instance of distinguishing love and favour.  There is no
difference; we have both come short of the glory of God: all have
sinned."

"No, me not like you, massa; me tink nobody like me,--nobody feel such a
heart as me."

"Yes, William, your feelings, I am persuaded, are like those of every
truly convinced soul, who sees the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the
greatness of the price which Christ Jesus paid for the sinner's ransom.
You can say, in the words of the hymn,--

   'I the chief of sinners am,
   But Jesus died for me.'"

"O yes, sir, me believe that Jesus died for poor Negro.  What would
become of poor wicked Negro, if Christ no die for him?  But he die for de
chief of sinners, and dat make my heart sometimes quite glad."

"What part of the Bible were you reading, William?"

"Me read how de man upon de cross spoke to Christ, and Christ spoke to
him.  Now dat man's prayer just do for me; 'Lord, remember me.'  Lord,
remember poor Negro sinner: dis is my prayer every morning, and sometimes
at night too; when me cannot tink of many words, den me say de same
again; Lord, remember poor Negro sinner."

"And be sure, William, the Lord hears that prayer.  He pardoned and
accepted the thief upon the cross, and he will not reject you; he will in
no wise cast out any that come to him."

"No, sir, I believe it; but dere is so much sin in my heart, it makes me
afraid and sorry.  Massa, do you see dese limpets, {107} how fast dey
stick to de rocks here?  Just so, sin sticks fast to my heart."

"It may be so, William; but take another comparison: do you cleave to
Jesus Christ, by faith in his death and righteousness, as those limpets
cleave to the rock, and neither seas nor storms shall separate you from
his love."

"Dat is just what me want."

"Tell me, William, is not that very sin which you speak of a burden to
you?  You do not love it; you would be glad to obtain strength against
it, and to be freed from it; would you not?"

"O yes; me give all dis world, if me had it, to be without sin!"

"Come then, and welcome, to Jesus Christ, my brother; his blood cleanseth
from all sin.  He gave himself as a ransom for sinners.  He hath borne
our grief, and carried our sorrows.  He was wounded for our
transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of
our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.  The Lord
hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Come, freely come to Jesus, the
Saviour of sinners."

"Yes, massa," said the poor fellow, weeping, "me will come: but me come
very slow; very slow, massa: me want to run, me want to fly.  Jesus is
very goot to poor Negro, to send you to tell him all dis."

"But this is not the first time you have heard these truths!"

"No, sir; dey have been comfort to my soul many times, since me hear goot
minister preach in America, as me tell you last week at your house."

"Well, now I hope, William, that since God has been so graciously pleased
to open your eyes, and affect your mind with such a great sense of his
goodness in giving his Son to die for your sake; I hope that you do your
endeavour to keep his commandments: I hope you strive to behave well to
your master and mistress, and fellow-servants.  He that is a Christian
inwardly will be a Christian outwardly; he that truly and savingly
believes in Christ, will show his faith by his works, as the apostle
says.  Is it not so, William?"

"Yes, sir; me want to do so.  Me want to be faithful.  Me sorry to tink
how bat servant me was before de goot tings of Jesus Christ come to my
heart.  Me wish to do well to my massa, when he see me and when he not
see; for me know God always see me.  Me know dat if me sin against mine
own massa, me sin against God, and God be very angry with me.  Beside,
how can me love Christ if me do not what Christ tell me?  Me love my
fellow-servants, dough, as I tell you before, dey do not much love me;
and I pray God to bless dem.  And when dey say bat tings, and try to make
me angry, den me tink, if Jesus Christ were in poor Negro's place, he
would not revile and answer again with bat words and temper, but he say
little and pray much.  And so den me say noting at all, but pray to God
to forgive dem."

The more I conversed with this African convert, the more satisfactory
were the evidences of his mind being spiritually enlightened, and his
heart effectually wrought upon by the grace of God.

The circumstances of the place in which we met together contributed much
to the interesting effect which the conversation produced on my mind.  The
little cove or bay was beautiful in the extreme.  The air was calm and
serene.  The sun shone, but we were sheltered from its rays by the
cliffs.  One of these was stupendously lofty and large.  It was white as
snow; its summit hung directly over our heads.  The sea-fowls were flying
around it.  Its whiteness was occasionally chequered with dark green
masses of samphire, which grew there.  On the other side, and behind us,
was a more gradual declivity of many-coloured earths, interspersed with
green patches of grass and bushes, and little streams of water trickling
down the bank, and mingling with the sea at the bottom.  At our feet the
waves were advancing over shelves of rocks covered with a great variety
of sea-weeds, which swam in little fragments, and displayed much beauty
and elegance of form as they were successively thrown upon the sand.

Ships of war and commerce were seen at different distances.  Fishermen
were plying their trade in boats nearer the shore.  The noise of the
flowing tide, combined with the voices of the sea-gulls over our heads,
and now and then a distant gun fired from the ships as they passed along,
added much to the peculiar sensations to which the scene gave birth.
Occasionally the striking of oars upon the waves, accompanied by the
boatmen's song, met the ear.  The sheep aloft upon the down sometimes
mingled their bleatings with the other sounds.  Thus all nature seemed to
unite in impressing an attentive observer's heart with affecting
thoughts.

I remained for a considerable time in conversation with the Negro,
finding that his master was gone from home for the day, and had given him
liberty for some hours.  I spoke to him on the nature, duty, and
privilege of Christian baptism; pointed out to him, from a prayer-book
which I had with me, the clear and scriptural principles of our own
church upon that head; and found that he was very desirous of conforming
to them.  He appeared to me to be well qualified for receiving that
sacramental pledge of his Redeemer's love; and I rejoiced in the prospect
of beholding him no longer a "stranger and foreigner, but a
fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God."

"God," said I to him, "has promised to 'sprinkle many nations,' not only
with the waters of baptism, but also with the dews of his heavenly grace.
He says he will not only 'pour water on him that is thirsty,' but, 'I
will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine
offspring.'"

"Yes, massa," said he, "he can make me to be clean in heart, and of a
right Spirit; he can purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; he can
wash me, and I shall be whiter dan snow."

"May God give you these blessings, and confirm you in every good gift!"

I was much pleased with the affectionate manner in which he spoke of his
parents, from whom he had been stolen in his childhood; and his wishes
that God might direct them by some means to the knowledge of the Saviour.

"Who knows," I said, "but some of these ships may be carrying a
missionary to the country where they live, to declare the good news of
salvation to your countrymen, and to your own dear parents in particular,
if they are yet alive!"

"Oh, my dear fader and moder!  My dear gracious Saviour," exclaimed he,
leaping from the ground as he spoke, "if dou wilt but save deir souls,
and tell dem what dou hast done for sinner; but--"

He stopped, and seemed much affected.

"My friend," said I, "I will now pray with you, for your own soul, and
for those of your parents also."

"Do, massa; dat is very good and kind: do pray for poor Negro souls here
and everywhere."

This was a new and solemn "house of prayer."  The sea-sand was our floor,
the heavens were our roof, the cliffs, the rocks, the hills, and the
waves, formed the walls of our chamber.  It was not, indeed, a "place
where prayer was wont to be made;" but for this once it became a hallowed
spot: it will by me ever be remembered as such.  The presence of God was
there.  I prayed: the Negro wept.  His heart was full.  I felt with him,
and could not but weep likewise.

The last day will show whether our tears were not the tears of sincerity
and Christian love.

It was time for my return.  I leaned upon his arm as we ascended the
steep cliff on my way back to my horse, which I had left at the top of
the hill.  Humility and thankfulness were marked in his countenance.  I
leaned upon his arm with the feelings of a _brother_.  It was a
relationship I was happy to own.  I took him by the hand at parting,
appointed one more interview previous to the day of baptizing him, and
bade him farewell for the present.

"God bless you, my dear massa!"

"And you, my fellow-Christian, for ever and ever!"



PART III.


The interesting and affecting conversation which I had with the Negro
servant produced a sensation not easy to be expressed.  As I returned
home, I was led into meditation on the singular clearness and beauty of
those evidences of faith and conversion of heart to God, which I had just
seen and heard.  How plainly, I thought, it appears that salvation is
freely "by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves; it is the gift
of God; not of works, lest any man should boast."  What but the Holy
Spirit, who is the author and giver of the life of grace, could have
wrought such a change from the once dark, perverse, and ignorant heathen,
to this now convinced, enlightened, humble, and believing Christian!  How
manifestly is the uncontrolled sovereignty of the Divine will exercised
in the calling and translating of sinners from darkness to light!  What a
lesson may the nominal Christian of a civilized country sometimes learn
from the simple, sincere religion of a converted heathen!

I afterwards made particular inquiry into this young man's domestic and
general deportment.  Everything I heard was satisfactory, nor could I
entertain a doubt respecting the consistency of his conduct and
character.  I had some further conversations with him, in the course of
which I pursued such a plan of scriptural instruction and examination as
I conceived to be the most suitable to his progressive state of mind.  He
improved much in reading, carried his Bible constantly with him, and took
every opportunity which his duty to his master's service would allow for
perusing it.  I have frequently had occasion to observe that amongst the
truly religious poor, who have not had the advantage of being taught to
read in early youth, a concern about the soul and a desire to know the
word of God, have proved effectual motives for their learning to read
with great ease and advantage to themselves and others.  It was
strikingly so in the present case.

I had, for a considerable time, been accustomed to meet some serious
persons once a week, in a cottage at no great distance from the house
where he lived, for the purpose of religious conversation, instruction,
and prayer.  Having found these occasions remarkably useful and
interesting, I thought it would be very desirable to take the Negro
there, in order that there might be other witnesses to the simplicity and
sincerity of real Christianity, as exhibited in the character of this
promising young convert.  I hoped it might prove an eminent mean of grace
to excite and quicken the spirit of prayer and praise amongst some of my
parishioners, over whose spiritual progress I was anxiously watching.

I accordingly obtained his master's leave that he should attend me to one
of my cottage assemblies.  His master, who was thoroughly convinced of
the extraordinary change, in conduct and disposition, which religion had
produced in his servant, was pleased with my attention to him, and always
spoke well of his behaviour.

I set out on the day appointed for the interview.  The cottage at which
we usually assembled was nearly four miles distant from my own residence.
My road lay along the foot of the hill mentioned in my last account of
the Negro, from the summit of which so luxuriant a prospect was seen.  On
my right hand the steep acclivity of the hill intercepted all prospect,
except that of numerous sheep feeding on its rich and plentiful produce.
Here and there the nearly perpendicular side of a chalk-pit varied the
surface of the hill, contrasting a dazzling white to the sober green of
the surrounding bank.

On the left hand, at the distance of nearly half a mile, the tide flowed
from the sea into a lake or haven of a considerable length and breadth.
At one end of it, fishing and pilot vessels lay at anchor; at the other
appeared the parish church, amongst the adjoining woods and fields.  The
bells were ringing; a gently swelling sound was brought along the surface
of the water, and an echo returned from a prominent part of the hill
beneath which I was riding.  The whole scene was delightful.

I passed some rural and beautifully situated cottages, which seemed to be
formed as fit residences for peace and tranquillity; each was surrounded
by a garden, and each had a little orchard or field adjacent, where the
husbandman's cow enjoyed her own pasture, and at the same time prepared
rich provision for her owner's family.  Such was the wise and considerate
allotment which the landlords and the farmers had _here_ made for the
labouring poor.  The wholesome vegetable, the medicinal herb, and the
sweet-scented flower, intermingled as they grew around these little
dwellings, and reminded me, as I looked upon them, how comfortable is the
lot of the industrious poor, whose hearts have learned the lesson of
gratitude in the school of heavenly wisdom.  For them as mercifully as
for their richest neighbour, the sun shines, the rain descends, the earth
brings forth her increase, the flower blossoms, the bird sings.  Their
wants are few, and contentment makes them less.  How great the blessing
of being poor in this world, but rich in faith and a chosen inheritance
in a better!

I knew that this was the character of some whose humble but neat and
cleanly cottages I passed.  A few such features in the prospect rendered
it most lovely.  Peace be to their memory, both as pilgrims and strangers
here, and as ransomed souls whom I hope to meet in glory hereafter!

The house to which I was travelling was situated at the corner of an oak
wood, which screened it both from the burning heat of summer suns and the
heavy blasts of winter south-west storms.  As I approached it, I saw my
friend the Negro sitting under a tree, and waiting my arrival.  He held
in his hand a little tract which I had given him; his Bible lay on the
ground.  He rose with much cheerfulness, saying--

"Ah, massa, me very glad to see you; me tink you long time coming."

"William, I hope you are well.  I am going to take you with me to a few
of my friends, who, I trust, are truly sincere in their religious
pursuits.  We meet every Wednesday evening for conversation about the
things that belong to our everlasting peace, and I am sure you will be a
welcome visitor."

"Massa, me not goot enough to be with such goot people.  Me great sinner;
dey be goot Christian."

"If you were to ask them, William, they would each tell you they were
worse than others.  Many of them were once, and that not very long ago,
living in an openly sinful manner, ignorant of God, and the enemies of
Jesus Christ by thought and deed.  But divine grace stopped them in their
wicked course, and subdued their hearts to the love and obedience of him
and his gospel.  You will only meet a company of poor fellow-sinners, who
love to speak and sing the praises of redeeming love; and I am sure,
William, that is a song in which you will be willing to join them."

"O yes, sir! dat song just do for poor Negro."

By this time we had arrived at the cottage garden gate.  Several well-
known faces appeared in and near the house, and the smile of affection
welcomed us as we entered.  It was known that the Negro was to visit the
little society this evening, and satisfaction beamed on every
countenance, as I took him by the hand and introduced him among them,
saying, "I have brought a brother from Africa to see you, my friends.  Bid
him welcome in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

"Sir," said an humble and pious labourer, whose heart and tongue always
overflowed with Christian kindness, "we are at all times glad to see our
dear minister, but especially so to-day in such company as you have
brought with you.  We have heard how merciful the Lord has been to him.
Give me your hand, good friend (turning to the Negro).  God be with you,
here and everywhere; and blessed be his holy name for calling sinners, as
I hope he has done you and me, to love and serve him for his mercy's
sake."

Each one greeted him as he came into the house, and some addressed him in
very kind and impressive language.

"Massa," said he, "me not know what to say to all dese goot friends; me
tink dis look a little like heaven upon earth."

He then, with tears in his eyes--which, almost before he spoke, brought
responsive drops into those of many present--said, "Goot friends and
bredren in Christ Jesus, God bless you all, and bring you to heaven at de
last."

It was my stated custom, when I met to converse with these cottagers, to
begin with prayer and reading a portion of the Scriptures.

When this was ended, I told the people present that the providence of God
had placed this young man for a time under my ministry; and that, finding
him seriously disposed, and believing him to be very sincere in his
religious profession, I had resolved on baptizing him, agreeably to his
own wishes.  I added, that I had now brought him with me to join in
Christian conversation with us; for, as in olden times they that feared
the Lord spake often one to another, in testimony that they thought upon
his name (Mal. iii. 16), so I hoped we were fulfilling a Christian and
brotherly duty in thus assembling for mutual edification.

Addressing myself to the Negro, I said, "William, tell me who made you."

"God, de goot Fader."

"Who redeemed you?"

"Jesus, his dear Son, who died for me."

"Who sanctified you?"

"The Holy Ghost, who teach me to know de goot Fader, and his dear Son
Jesus."

"What was your state by nature?"

"Me wicked sinner; me know noting but sin, me do noting but sin; my soul
more black dan my body."

"Has any change taken place in you since then?"

"Me hope so, massa; but me sometime afraid no."

"If you are changed, who changed you?"

"God de goot Fader, Jesus his dear Son, and God de Holy Spirit."

"How was any change brought about in you?"

"God make me a slave when me was young little boy."

"How, William? would you say God made you a slave?"

"No, massa, no: me mean, God let me be made slave by white men, to do me
goot."

"How to do you good?"

"He take me from de land of darkness, and bring me to de land of light."

"Which do you call the land of light? the West India Islands?"

"No, massa; dey be de land of Providence, but America be de land of light
to me; for dere me first hear goot minister preach.  And now dis place
where I am now is de land of more light; for here you teach me more and
more how goot Jesus is to sinners."

"What does the blood of Christ do?"

"It cleanse from all sin; and so me hope from my sin."

"Are then all men cleansed from sin by his blood?"

"O no, massa."

"Who are cleansed and saved?"

"Dose dat have faith in him."

"Can you prove that out of the Bible?"

"Yes, sir: 'He dat believeth on de Son hath everlasting life; and he dat
believeth not de Son shall not see life, but de wrath of God abideth on
him'" (John iii. 36).

"What is it to have faith?"

"Me suppose dat it is to tink much about Jesus Christ, to love him much,
to believe all he says to be true, to pray to him very much; and when me
feel very weak and very sinful, to tink dat he is very strong and very
goot, and all dat for my sake."

"And have you such a faith as you describe?"

"Oh, massa! me tink sometimes me have no faith at all."

"Why so, William?"

"When me want to tink about Jesus Christ, my mind run about after oder
tings; when me want to love him, my heart soon quite cold; when me want
to believe all to be true what he says to sinners, me den tink it is not
true for me; when me want to pray, de devil put bat, very bat thoughts
into me; and me never tank Christ enough.  Now all dis make me sometimes
afraid I have no faith."

I observed a very earnest glow of attention and fellow-feeling in some
countenances present, as he spoke these words I then said--

"I think, William, I can prove that you have faith, notwithstanding your
fears to the contrary.  Answer me a few more questions.

"Did you begin to think yourself a great sinner, and to feel the want of
a Saviour, of your own self, and by your own thoughts and doings?"

"O no; it came to me when me tink noting about it, and seek noting about
it."

"Who sent the good minister in America to awaken your soul by his
preaching?"

"God, very certainly."

"Who then began the work of serious thought in your mind?"

"De goot God; me could not do it of myself, me sure of dat."

"Do you not think that Jesus Christ and his salvation are the one thing
most needful and most desirable?"

"Oh yes, me quite sure of dat."

"Do you not believe that he is able to save you?"

"Yes, he is able to save to de uttermost."

"Do you think he is not willing to save you?"

"Me dare not say dat.  He is so goot, so merciful, so kind, to say he
will in no wise cast out any dat come to him."

"Do you wish, and desire, and strive to keep his commandments?"

"Yes, massa, because me love him, and dat make me want to do as he say."

"Are you willing to suffer for his sake, if God should call you to do
so?"

"Me do tink me could die for de love of him: he not tink it too much to
die for wicked sinner; why should wicked sinner tink it much to die for
so goot and righteous a Saviour?"

"I think and hope I may say to you, William, 'Thy faith hath made thee
whole.'"

Thus ended my examination for the present.  The other friends who were in
the house listened with the most affectionate anxiety to all that passed.
One of them observed, not without evident emotion--

"I see, sir, that though some men are white and some are black, true
Christianity is all of one colour.  My own heart has gone with this good
man, every word he has spoken."

"And so has mine," gently re-echoed from every part of the room.

After some time passed in more general conversation on the subject of the
Negro's history, I said, "Let us now praise God for the rich and
unspeakable gift of his grace, and sing the hymn of redeeming love--

   'Now begin the heavenly theme,
   Sing aloud in Jesus' name,'" &c.

Which was accordingly done.  Whatever might be the merit of the natural
voices, it was evident there was spiritual melody in all their hearts.

The Negro was not much used to our way of singing, yet joined with great
earnestness and affection, that showed how truly he felt what he uttered.
When the fifth verse was ended--

   "Nothing brought him from above,
   Nothing but redeeming love"--

he repeated the words, almost unconscious where he was--

"No, noting, noting but redeeming love, bring him down to poor William;
noting but redeeming love."

The following verses were added and sung by way of conclusion:--

   See, a stranger comes to view,
   Though he's black, {121} he's comely too
   Comes to join the choirs above,
   Singing of redeeming love.

   Welcome, Negro, welcome here,
   Banish doubt and banish fear;
   You, who Christ's salvation prove,
   Praise and bless redeeming love.

I concluded with some remarks on the nature of salvation by grace,
exhorting all present to press forward in the heavenly journey.  It was
an evening the circumstances of which, had they never been recorded on
earth, were yet, doubtless, registered in the book of remembrance above.

I then fixed the day for the baptism of the Negro, and so took leave of
my little affectionate circle.

The moon shone bright as I returned home, and was beautifully reflected
from the waters of the lake; harmony and repose characterized the scene.
I had just been uniting in the praises of the God of grace and
providence; and now the God of nature demanded a fresh tribute of
thanksgiving for the beauties and comforts of creation; as David sang,
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the
stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of
him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?"

In a few days the Negro was baptized, and not long after went on a voyage
with his master.

Since that time I have not been able to hear any tidings of him.  Whether
he yet wanders as a pilgrim in this lower world, or whether he has joined
the heavenly choir in the song of "redeeming love" in glory, I know not.
This I do know, he was a monument to the Lord's praise.  He bore the
impression of the Saviour's image on his heart, and exhibited the marks
of divine grace in his life and conversation, with singular simplicity
and unfeigned sincerity.

Give to God the glory.




THE YOUNG COTTAGER.


PART I.


When a serious Christian turns his attention to the barren state of the
wilderness through which he is travelling, frequently must he heave a
sigh for the sins and sorrows of his fellow-mortals.  The renewed heart
thirsts with holy desire that the Paradise which was lost through Adam
may be fully regained in Christ.  But the overflowings of sin within and
without, the contempt of sacred institutions, the carelessness of soul,
the pride of unbelief, the eagerness of sensual appetite, the ambition
for worldly greatness, and the deep-rooted enmity of the carnal heart
against God: these things are as "the fiery serpents, and scorpions, and
drought," which distress his soul, as he journeys through "that great and
terrible wilderness."

Sometimes, like a solitary pilgrim, he weeps in secret places, and rivers
of water run down his eyes, because men keep not the law of God.

Occasionally he meets with a few fellow-travellers whose spirit is
congenial with his own, and with whom he can take "sweet counsel
together."  They comfort and strengthen each other by the way.  Each can
relate something of the mercies of his God, and how kindly they have been
dealt with, as they travelled onwards.  The dreariness of the path is
thus beguiled, and now and then, for a while, happy experiences of the
divine consolation cheer their souls; "the wilderness and the solitary
place are glad for them; the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose."

But even at the very time when the Christian is taught to feel the peace
of God which passeth all understanding, to trust that he is personally
interested in the blessings of salvation, and to believe that God will
promote his own glory by glorifying the penitent sinner; yet sorrows will
mingle with his comforts, and he will rejoice, not without trembling,
when he reflects on the state of other men.  The anxieties connected with
earthly relations are all alive in his soul, and, through the operation
of the Spirit of God, become sanctified principles and motives for
action.  As the husband and father of a family; as the neighbour of the
poor, the ignorant, the wicked, and the wretched; above all, as the
spiritual overseer of the flock, if such be his holy calling, the heart
which has been taught to feel for its own case will abundantly feel for
others.

But when he attempts to devise means in order to stem the torrent of
iniquity, to instruct the ignorant, and to convert the sinner from the
error of his way, he cannot help crying out, "Who is sufficient for these
things?"  Unbelief passes over the question, and trembles.  But faith
quickly revives the inquirer with the cheerful assurance that "our
sufficiency is of God," and saith, "Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he
shall bring it to pass."

When he is thus affectionately engaged for the good of mankind, he will
become seriously impressed with the necessity of early attentions to the
young in particular.  Many around him are grown gray-headed in sin, and
give but little prospect of amendment.  Many of the parents and heads of
families are so eagerly busied in the profits, pleasures, and occupations
of the world, that they heed not the warning voice of their instructor.
Many of their elder children are launching out into life, headstrong,
unruly, "earthly, sensual, devilish;" they likewise treat the wisdom of
God as if it were foolishness.  But, under these discouragements, we may
often turn with hope to the very young, to the little ones of the flock,
and endeavour to teach them to sing hosannas to the Son of David, before
their minds are wholly absorbed in the world and its allurements.  We may
trust that a blessing shall attend such labours, if undertaken in faith
and simplicity, and that some at least of our youthful disciples, like
Josiah, while they are yet young, may begin to seek after the God of
their fathers.

Such an employment, especially when blessed by any actual instances of
real good produced, enlivens the mind with hope, and fills it with
gratitude.  We are thence led to trust that the next generation may
become more fruitful unto God than the present, and the Church of Christ
be replenished with many such as have been called into the vineyard
"early in the morning."  And should our endeavours for a length of time
apparently fail of success, yet we ought not to despair.  Early
impressions and convictions of conscience have sometimes lain dormant for
years, and at last revived into gracious existence and maturity.  It was
not said in vain, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he
is old he will not depart from it."

What a gratifying occupation it is to an affectionate mind, even in a way
of nature, to walk through the fields, and lead a little child by the
hand, enjoying its infantine prattle, and striving to improve the time by
some kind word of instruction!  I wish that every Christian pilgrim in
the way of grace, as he walks through the Lord's pastures, would try to
lead at least one little child by the hand; and perhaps, whilst he is
endeavouring to guide and preserve his young and feeble companion, the
Lord will recompense him double for all his cares by comforting his own
heart in the attempt.  The experiment is worth the trial.  It is
supported by this recollection,--"The Lord will come with strong hand,
and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his
work before him.  He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall
gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and _shall
gently lead those that are with young_."

I shall plead no further apology for introducing to the notice of my
readers a few particulars relative to a young female cottager, whose
memory is particularly endeared to me from the circumstance of her being,
so far as I can trace or discover, my first-born spiritual child in the
ministry of the gospel.  She was certainly the first, of whose conversion
to God, under my own pastoral instruction, I can speak with precision and
assurance.

Every parent of a family knows that there is a very interesting emotion
of heart connected with the birth of his first-born child.  Energies and
affections, to which the mind has hitherto been almost a stranger, begin
to unfold themselves and expand into active existence when he first is
hailed as a father.  But may not the spiritual father be allowed the
possession and indulgence of a similar sensation in his connection with
the children whom the Lord gives him, as begotten through the ministry of
the word of life!  If the first-born child in nature be received as a new
and acceptable blessing, how much more so the first-born child in grace!
I claim this privilege, and crave permission, in writing what follows, to
erect a monumental record, sacred to the memory of a dear little child,
who, I trust, will at the last day prove my crown of rejoicing.

Jane S--- was the daughter of poor parents, in the village where it
pleased God first to cast my lot in the ministry.  My acquaintance with
her commenced when she was twelve years of age by her weekly attendance
at my house amongst a number of children whom I invited and regularly
instructed every Saturday afternoon.

They used to read, repeat catechisms, psalms, hymns, and portions of
Scripture.  I accustomed them also to pass a kind of free conversational
examination, according to their age and ability, in those subjects by
which I hoped to see them made wise unto salvation.

On the summer evenings I frequently used to assemble this little group
out of doors in my garden, sitting under the shade of some trees, which
protected us from the heat of the sun; from hence a scene appeared, which
rendered my occupation the more interesting.  For adjoining the spot
where we sat, and only separated from us by a fence, was the churchyard,
surrounded with beautiful prospects in every direction.

There lay the mortal remains of thousands, who, from age to age, in their
different generations, had been successively committed to the
grave,--"earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."  Here the once
famed ancestors of the rich, and the less known forefathers of the poor
lay mingling their dust together, and alike waiting the resurrection from
the dead.

I had not far to look for subjects of warning and exhortation suitable to
my little flock of lambs that I was feeding.  I could point to the
heaving sods that marked the different graves and separated them from
each other, and tell my pupils that, young as they were, none of them
were too young to die; and that probably more than half of the bodies
which were buried there were those of little children.  I hence took
occasion to speak of the nature and value of a soul, and to ask them
where they expected their souls to go when they departed hence and were
no more seen on earth.

I told them who was "the resurrection and the life," and who alone could
take away the sting of death.  I used to remind them that the hour was
"coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and
shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of
life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
I often availed myself of these opportunities to call to their
recollection the more recent deaths of their own relatives that lay
buried so near us.  Some had lost a parent, others a brother or sister;
some perhaps had lost all these, and were committed to the mercy of their
neighbours as fatherless or motherless orphans.  Such circumstances were
occasionally useful to excite tender emotions, favourable to serious
impressions.

Sometimes I sent the children to the various stones which stood at the
head of the graves, and bid them learn the epitaphs inscribed upon them.
I took pleasure in seeing the little ones thus dispersed in the
churchyard, each committing to memory a few verses written in
commemoration of the departed.  They would soon accomplish the desired
object, and eagerly return to me ambitious to repeat their task.

Thus my churchyard became a book of instruction, and every grave-stone a
leaf of edification for my young disciples.

The church itself stood in the midst of the ground.  It was a spacious
antique structure.  Within those very walls I first proclaimed the
message of God to sinners.  As these children surrounded me, I sometimes
pointed to the church, spoke to them of the nature of public worship, the
value of the Sabbath, the duty of regular attendance on its services, and
urged their serious attention to the means of grace.  I showed them the
sad state of many countries, where neither churches nor Bibles were
known, and the no less melancholy condition of multitudes at home, who
sinfully neglect worship and slight the word of God.  I thus tried to
make them sensible of their own favours and privileges.

Neither was I at a loss for another class of objects around me from which
I could draw useful instruction; for many of the beauties of created
nature appealed in view.

Eastward of us extended a large river or lake of sea-water, chiefly
formed by the tide, and nearly enclosed by land.  Beyond this was a fine
bay and road for ships, filled with vessels of every size, from the small
sloop or cutter to the first-rate man-of-war.  On the right hand of the
haven rose a hill of peculiarly beautiful form and considerable height.
Its verdure was very rich, and many hundred sheep graced upon its sides
and summit.  From the opposite shore of the same water a large sloping
extent of bank was diversified with fields, woods, hedges, and cottages.
At its extremity stood, close to the edge of the sea itself, the remains
of the tower of an ancient church, still preserved as a sea-mark.  Far
beyond the bay, a very distant shore was observable, and land beyond it;
trees, towns, and other buildings appeared, more especially when gilded
by the reflected rays of the sun.

To the south-westward of the garden was another down, covered also with
flocks of sheep, and a portion of it fringed with trees.  At the foot of
this hill lay the village, a part of which gradually ascended to the
rising ground on which the church stood.

From the intermixture of houses with gardens, orchards, and trees, it
presented a very pleasing aspect.  Several fields adjoined the garden on
the east and north, where a number of cattle were pasturing.  My own
little shrubberies and flower-beds variegated the view, and recompensed
my toil in rearing them, as well by their beauty as their fragrance.

Had the sweet psalmist of Israel sat in this spot, he would have
glorified God the Creator by descanting on these his handiworks.  I
cannot write psalms like David, but I wish, in my own poor way, to praise
the Lord for his goodness, and to show forth his wonderful works to the
children of men.  But had David been also surrounded with a troop of
young scholars in such a situation, he would once more have said, "Out of
the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength."

I love to retrace these scenes; they are past, but the recollection is
sweet.

I love to retrace them, for they bring to my mind many former mercies,
which ought not, for the Lord's sake, to be forgotten.

I love to retrace them, for they reassure me that, in the course of that
private ministerial occupation, God was pleased to give me so valuable a
fruit of my labours.

Little Jane used constantly to appear on these weekly seasons of
instruction.  I made no very particular observations concerning her
during the first twelve months or more after her commencement of
attendance.  She was not then remarkable for any peculiar attainment.  On
the whole, I used to think her rather more slow of apprehension than most
of her companions.  She usually repeated her tasks correctly, but was
seldom able to make answers to questions for which she was not previously
prepared with replies--a kind of extempore examination, in which some of
the children excelled.  Her countenance was not engaging; her eye
discovered no remarkable liveliness.  She read tolerably well, took
pains, and improved in it.

Mildness and quietness marked her general demeanour.  She was very
constant in her attendance on public worship at the church, as well as on
my Saturday instruction at home.  But, generally speaking, she was little
noticed, except for her regular and orderly conduct.  Had I then been
asked of which of my young scholars I had formed the most favourable
opinion, poor Jane might have been altogether omitted in the list.

How little do we oftentimes know what God is doing in other people's
hearts!  What poor calculators and judges we frequently prove till he
opens our eyes!  His thoughts are not our thoughts; neither our ways his
ways.

Once, indeed, during the latter part of that year, I was struck with her
ready attention to my wishes.  I had, agreeably to the plan above
mentioned, sent her into the churchyard to commit to memory an epitaph
which I admired.  On her return she told me that, in addition to what I
desired, she had also learned another, which was inscribed on an
adjoining stone, adding, that she thought it a very pretty one.

I thought so too, and perhaps my readers will be of the same opinion.
Little Jane, though dead, yet shall speak.  While I transcribe the lines,
I can powerfully imagine that I hear her voice repeating them.  The idea
is exceedingly gratifying to me.

   EPITAPH ON MRS. A. B.

   Forgive, blest shade, the tributary tear
      That mourns a thy exit from a world like this;
   Forgive the wish that would have kept thee here,
      And stayed thy progress to the seats of bliss.

   No more confined to grovelling scenes of night,
      No more a tenant pent in mortal clay;
   Now should we rather hail thy glorious flight,
      And trace thy journey to the realms of day.

The above was her appointed task; and the other, which she voluntarily
learned and spoke of with pleasure, is this:--

   EPITAPH ON THE STONE ADJOINING.

   It must be so--Our father Adam's fall,
   And disobedience, brought this lot on all.
   All die in him--But, hopeless should we be,
   Blest Revelation! were it not for thee.
   Hail, glorious Gospel! heavenly light, whereby
   We live with comfort, and with comfort die;
   And view, beyond this gloomy scene the tomb
   A life of endless happiness to come.

I afterwards discovered that the sentiment expressed in the latter
epitaph had much affected her, but at the period of this little incident
I knew nothing of her mind; I had comparatively overlooked her.  I have
often been sorry for it since.  Conscience seemed to rebuke me when I
afterwards discovered what the Lord had been doing for her soul, as if I
had neglected her, yet it was not done designedly.  She was unknown to us
all, except that, as I since found out, her regularity and abstinence
from the sins and follies of her young equals in age and station brought
upon her many taunts and jeers from others, which she bore very meekly;
but at that time I knew it not.

I was young myself in the ministry, and younger in Christian experience.
My parochial plans had not as yet assumed such a principle of practical
order and inquiry as to make me acquainted with the character and conduct
of each family and individual in my flock.

I was then quite a learner, and had much to learn.

And what am I now?  A learner still; and if I have learned anything, it
is this, that I have every day more and more yet to learn.  Of this I am
certain, that my young scholar soon became my teacher.  I _first_ saw
what true religion could accomplish in witnessing her experience of it.
The Lord once "called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst
of his disciples" as an emblem and an illustration of his doctrine.  But
the Lord did more in the case of little Jane.  He not only called _her_
as a child to show, by a similitude, what conversion means, but he also
called her by his grace to be a vessel of mercy, and a living witness of
that almighty power and love by which her own heart was turned to God.



PART II.


There is no illustration of the nature and character of the Redeemer's
kingdom on earth which is more grateful to contemplation, than that of
the shepherd and his flock.  Imagination has been accustomed, from our
earliest childhood, to wander amongst the fabled retreats of the Arcadian
shepherds.  We have probably often delighted ourselves in our own native
country, by witnessing the interesting occupation of the pastoral scene.
The shepherd, tending his flock on the side of some spacious hill, or in
the hollow of a sequestered valley; folding them at night, and guarding
them against all danger; leading them from one pasture to another, or for
refreshment to the cooling waters.  These objects have met and gratified
our eyes, as we travelled through the fields, and sought out creation's
God, amidst creation's beauties.  The poet and the painter have each lent
their aid to cherish our delight in these imaginations.  Many a
descriptive verse has strengthened our attachment to the pastoral scene,
and many a well-wrought picture has occasioned it to glow like a reality
in our ideas.

But far more impressively than these causes can possibly affect, has the
word of God endeared the subject to our hearts, and sanctified it to
Christian experience.  Who does not look back with love and veneration to
those days of holy simplicity, when patriarchs of the church of God lived
in tents and watched their flocks?  With what a strength and beauty of
allusion do the prophets refer to the intercourse between the shepherd
and flock for an illustration of the Saviour's kingdom on earth!  The
Psalmist rejoiced in the consideration that the Lord was his Shepherd,
and that therefore he should not want.  The Redeemer himself assumed this
interesting title, and declared that "his sheep hear his voice, he knows
them, and they follow him, and he gives unto them eternal life."

Perhaps at no previous moment was this comparison ever expressed so
powerfully, as when his risen Lord gave the pastoral charge to the lately
offending but now penitent disciple, saying, "Feed my sheep."  Every
principle of grace, mercy, and peace, met together on that occasion.
Peter had thrice denied his Master: his Master now thrice asked him,
"Lovest thou me?"  Peter each time appealed to his own, or to his Lord's
consciousness of what he felt within his heart.  As often Jesus commited
to his care the flock which he had purchased with his blood.  And that
none might be forgotten, he not only said, "Feed my sheep," but "Feed my
lambs," also.

May every instructor of the young keep this injunction enforced on his
conscience and affections,--I return to little Jane.

It was about fifteen months from the first period of her attendance on my
Saturday school, when I missed her from her customary place.  Two or
three weeks had gone by, without my making any particular inquiry
respecting her.  I was at length informed that she was not well; but
apprehending no peculiar cause for alarm, nearly two months passed away
without any further mention of her name being made.

At length a poor old woman in the village, of whose religious disposition
I had formed a good opinion, came and said to me, "Sir, have you not
missed Jane S--- at your house on Saturday afternoons?"

"Yes," I replied, "I believe she is not well."

"Nor ever will be, I fear," said the woman.

"What! do you apprehend any danger in the case?"

"Sir, she is very poorly indeed, and I think is in a decline.  She wants
to see you, sir; but is afraid you would not come to see such a poor
young child as she is."

"Not go where poverty and sickness may call me?  How can she imagine so?
At which house does she live?"

"Sir, it is a poor place, and she is ashamed to ask you to come there.
Her near neighbours are noisy wicked people, and her own father and
mother are strange folks.  They all make game at poor Jenny because she
reads her Bible so much."

"Do not tell me about poor places and wicked people: that is the very
situation where a minister of the gospel is called to do the most good.  I
shall go to see her; you may let her know my intention."

"I will, sir; I go in most days to speak to her, and it does one's heart
good to hear her talk."

"Indeed!" said I, "what does she talk about?"

"Talk about, poor thing! why, nothing but good things, such as the Bible,
and Jesus Christ, and life, and death, and her soul, and heaven, and
hell, and your discourses, and the books you used to teach her, sir.  Her
father says he'll have no such godly things in his house; and her own
mother scoffs at her, and says she supposes Jenny counts herself better
than other folks.  But she does not mind all that.  She will read her
books, and then talk so pretty to her mother, and beg that she would
think about her soul."

"The Lord forgive me," thought I, "for not being more attentive to this
poor child's case!"  I seemed to feel the importance of infantine
instruction more than ever I had done before, and felt a rising hope that
this girl might prove a kind of first-fruits of my labours.

I now recollected her quiet, orderly, diligent attendance on our little
weekly meetings; and her marked approbation of the epitaph, as related in
my last paper, rushed into my thoughts.  "I hope, I really hope," said I,
"this dear child will prove a true child of God.  And if so, what a mercy
to her, and what a mercy for me!"

{Little Jane's Cottage: p137.jpg}

The next morning I went to see the child.  Her dwelling was of the
humblest kind.  It stood against a high bank of earth, which formed a
sort of garden behind it.  It was so steep, that but little would grow in
it; yet that little served to show not only, on the one hand, the poverty
of its owners, but also to illustrate the happy truth, that even in the
worst of circumstances the Lord does make a kind provision for the
support of his creatures.  The front aspect of the cottage was chiefly
rendered pleasing by a honeysuckle, which luxuriantly climbed up the
wall, enclosing the door, windows, and even the chimney, with its twining
branches.  As I entered the house-door, its flowers put forth a very
sweet and refreshing smell.  Intent on the object of my visit, I at the
same moment offered up silent prayer to God, and entertained a hope, that
the welcome fragrance of the shrub might be illustrative of that
all-prevailing intercession of a Redeemer, which I trusted was, in the
case of this little child, as "a sweet-smelling savour" to her heavenly
Father.  The very flowers and leaves of the garden and field are
emblematical of higher things, when grace teaches us to make them so.
Jane was in bed upstairs.  I found no one in the house with her except
the woman who had brought me the message on the evening before.  The
instant I looked on the girl, I perceived a very marked change in her
countenance: it had acquired the consumptive hue, both white and red.  A
delicacy unknown to it before quite surprised me, owing to the alteration
it produced in her look.  She received me first with a very sweet smile,
and then instantly burst into a flood of tears, just sobbing out,--

"I am so glad to see you, sir!"

"I am very much concerned at your being so ill, my child, and grieved
that I was not sooner aware of your state.  But I hope the Lord designs
it for your good."  Her eye, not her tongue, powerfully expressed, "I
hope and think he does."

"Well, my poor child, since you can no longer come to see me, I will come
and see you, and we will talk over the subjects which I have been used to
explain to you."

"Indeed, sir, I shall be so glad!"

"That I believe she will," said the woman; "for she loves to talk of
nothing so much as what she has heard you say in your sermons, and in the
books you have given her."

"Are you really desirous, my dear child, to be a true Christian?"

"Oh, yes, yes, sir; I am sure I desire that above all things."

I was astonished and delighted at the earnestness and simplicity with
which she spoke these words.

"Sir," added she, "I have been thinking, as I lay on my bed for many
weeks past, how good you are to instruct us poor children; what must
become of us without it!"

"I am truly glad to perceive that my instructions have not been lost upon
you, and pray God that this your present sickness may be an instrument of
blessing in his hands to prove, humble, and sanctify you.  My dear child,
you have a soul, an immortal soul to think of; you remember what I have
often said to you about the value of a soul: 'What shall it profit a man,
if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'"

"Yes, sir, I remember well you told us, that when our bodies are put into
the grave, our souls will then go either to the good or the bad place."

"And to which of these places do you think that, as a sinner in the sight
of God, you deserve to go?"

"To the bad one, sir."

"What! to everlasting destruction!"

"Yes, sir."

"Why so?"

"Because I am a great sinner."

"And must all great sinners go to hell?"

"They all deserve it; and I am sure I do."

"But is there no way of escape?  Is there no way for a great sinner to be
saved?"

"Yes, sir, Christ is the Saviour."

"And whom does he save?"

"All believers."

"And do you believe in Christ yourself?"

"I do not know, sir; I wish I did; but I feel that I love him."

"What do you love him for?"

"Because he is good to poor children's souls like mine."

"What has he done for you?"

"He died for me, sir; and what could he do more?"

"And what do you hope to gain by his death?"

"A good place when I die, if I believe in him, and love him."

"Have you felt any uneasiness on account of your soul?"

"Oh, yes, sir, a great deal.  When you used to talk to us children on
Saturdays, I often felt as if I could hardly bear it, and wondered that
others could seem so careless.  I thought I was not fit to die.  I
thought of all the bad things I had ever done and said, and believed God
must be very angry with me; for you often told us, that God would not be
mocked; and that Christ said, if we were not converted, we could not go
to heaven.  Sometimes I thought I was so young it did not signify: and
then, again, it seemed to me a great sin to think so; for I knew I was
old enough to see what was right and what was wrong; and so God had a
just right to be angry when I did wrong.  Besides, I could see that my
heart was not right; and how could such a heart be fit for heaven?
Indeed, sir, I used to feel very uneasy."

"My dear Jenny, I wish I had known all this before.  Why did you never
tell me about it?"

"Sir, I durst not.  Indeed, I could not well say what was the matter with
me: and I thought you would look upon me as very bold, if I had spoke
about myself to such a gentleman as you: yet I often wished that you knew
what I felt and feared.  Sometimes, as we went away from your house, I
could not help crying; and then the other children laughed and jeered at
me, and said I was going to be very good, they supposed, or at least to
make people think so.  Sometimes, sir, I fancied you did not think so
well of me as of the rest, and that hurt me; yet I knew I deserved no
particular favour, because I was the chief of sinners."

"My dear, what made St. Paul say he was chief of sinners?  In what verse
of the Bible do you find this expression, 'the chief of sinners;' can you
repeat it?"

"'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners;'--is not that right, sir?"

"Yes, my child, it is right; and I hope that the same conviction which
St. Paul had at that moment has made you sensible of the same truth.
Christ came into the world to save sinners: my dear child, remember now
and for ever more, that Christ came into the world to save the chief of
sinners."

"Sir, I am so glad he did.  It makes me hope that he will save me, though
I am a poor sinful girl.  Sir, I am very ill, and I do not think I shall
ever get well again.  I want to go to Christ if I die."

"Go to Christ while you live, my dear child, and he will not cast you
away when you die.  He that said, 'Suffer little children to come unto
me,' waits to be gracious to them, and forbids them not."

"What made you first think so seriously about the state of your soul?"

"Your talking about the graves in the churchyard, and telling us how many
young children were buried there.  I remember you said, one day, near
twelve months ago, 'Children! where will you be a hundred years hence?
Children! where do you think you shall go when you die?  Children! if you
were to die to-night, are you sure you should go to Christ and be happy?'
Sir, I never shall forget your saying, 'Children,' three times together
in that solemn way."

"Did you ever before that day feel any desire about your soul?"

"Yes, sir; I think I first had that desire almost as soon as you began to
teach us on Saturday afternoons; but on that day I felt as I never did
before.  I shall never forget it.  All the way as I went home, and all
that night, these words were in my thoughts: 'Children! where do you
think you shall go when you die?'  I thought I must leave off all my bad
ways, or where shall I go when I died?"

"And what effect did these thoughts produce in your mind?"

"Sir, I tried to live better, and I did leave off many bad ways; but the
more I strove, the more difficult I found it, my heart seemed so hard:
and then I could not tell any one my case."

"Could not you tell it to the Lord, who hears and answers prayers?"

"My prayers (here she blushed and sighed) are very poor at the best, and
at that time I scarcely knew how to pray at all as I ought.  But I did
sometimes ask the Lord for a better heart."

There was a character in all this conversation which marked a truly
sincere and enlightened state of mind.  She spoke with all the simplicity
of a child, and yet the seriousness of a Christian.  I could scarcely
persuade myself that she was the same girl I had been accustomed to see
in past time.  Her countenance was filled with interesting affections,
and always spoke much more than her tongue could utter.  At the same time
she now possessed an ease and liberty in speaking, to which she had
formerly been a stranger: nevertheless, she was modest, humble, and
unassuming.  Her readiness to converse was the result of spiritual
anxiety, not childish forwardness.  The marks of a Divine change were too
prominent to be easily mistaken; and in this very child, I, for the first
time, witnessed the evident testimonies of such a change.  How
encouraging, how profitable to my own soul!

"Sir," continued little Jane, "I had one day been thinking that I was
neither fit to live nor die: for I could find no comfort in this world,
and I was sure I deserved none in the other.  On that day you sent me to
learn the verse on Mrs. B---'s headstone, and then I read that on the one
next to it."

"I very well remember it, Jenny; you came back, and repeated them both to
me."

"There were two lines in it which made me think and meditate a great
deal."

"Which were they?"

   "'Hail Glorious gospel! heavenly light, whereby
   We live with comfort, and with comfort die.'

I wished that glorious gospel was mine, that I might live and die with
comfort; and it seemed as if I thought it would be so.  I never felt so
happy in all my life before.  The words were often in my thoughts,--

   'Live with comfort, and with comfort die.'

Glorious gospel, indeed!  I thought."

"My dear child, what is the meaning of the word gospel?"

"Good news."

"Good news for whom?"

"For wicked sinners, sir."

"Who sends this good news for wicked sinners?"

"The Lord Almighty."

"And who brings this good news?"

"Sir, _you_ brought it to _me_."

Here my soul melted in an instant, and I could not repress the tears
which the emotion excited.  The last answer was equally unexpected and
affecting.  I felt a father's tenderness and gratitude for a new and
first-born child.

Jane wept likewise.

After a little pause she said,--

"O sir!  I wish you would speak to my father, and mother, and little
brother; for I am afraid they are going on very badly."

"How so?"

"Sir, they drink, and swear, and quarrel, and do not like what is good;
and it does grieve me so, I cannot bear it.  If I speak a word to them
about it, they are very angry, and laugh, and bid me be quiet, and not
set up for their teacher.  Sir, I am ashamed to tell you this of them,
but I hope it is not wrong; I mean it for their good."

"I wish your prayers and endeavours for their sake may be blessed; I will
also do what I can."

I then prayed with the child, and promised to visit her constantly.

As I returned home, my heart was filled with thankfulness for what I had
seen and heard.  Little Jane appeared to be a first-fruits of my
parochial and spiritual harvest.  This thought greatly comforted and
strengthened me in my ministerial prospects.

My partiality to the memory of little Jane will probably induce me to lay
some further particulars before the reader.



PART III.


Divine grace educates the reasoning faculties of the soul, as well as the
best affections of the heart; and happily consecrates them both to the
glory of the Redeemer.  Neither the disadvantages of poverty, nor the
inexperience of childhood, are barriers able to resist the mighty
influences of the Spirit of God, when "he goeth forth where he listeth."

"God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise;
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things
which are mighty."  The truth of this scriptural assertion was peculiarly
evident in the case of my young parishioner.

Little Jane's illness was of a lingering nature.  I often visited her.
The soul of this young Christian was gradually, but effectually,
preparing for heaven.  I have seldom witnessed in any older person, under
similar circumstances, stronger marks of earnest inquiry, continual
seriousness, and holy affections.  One morning, as I was walking through
the church-yard, in my way to visit her, I stopped to look at the epitaph
which had made such a deep impression on her mind.  I was struck with the
reflection of the important consequences which might result from a more
frequent and judicious attention to the inscriptions placed in our
burying-grounds, as memorials of the departed.  The idea occurred to my
thoughts, that as the two stone tables given by God to Moses were once a
means of communicating to the Jews, from age to age, the revelation of
God's will as concerning the law; so these funeral tables of stone may,
under a better dispensation, bear a never-failing proclamation of God's
will to sinners as revealed in the gospel of his grace, from generation
to generation.  I have often lamented, when indulging a contemplation
among the graves, that some of the inscriptions were coarse and
ridiculous; others, absurdly flattering; many, expressive of sentiments
at variance with the true principles of the word of God; not a few,
barren and unaccompanied with a single word of useful instruction to the
reader.  Thus a very important opportunity of conveying scriptural
admonition is lost.  I wish that every grave-stone might not only record
the name of our deceased friends, but also proclaim the name of Jesus, as
the only name given under heaven whereby men can be saved.  Perhaps, if
the ministers of religion were to interest themselves in this matter, and
accustom their people to consult them as to the nature of the monumental
inscriptions which they wish to introduce into churches and church-yards,
a gradual improvement would take place in this respect.  What is
offensive, useless, or erroneous, would no longer find admittance, and a
succession of valuable warning and consolation to the living would
perpetuate the memory of the dead.

What can be more disgusting than the too common spectacle of trifling
licentious travellers, wandering about the church-yards of the different
places through which they pass, in search of rude, ungrammatical, ill-
spelt, and absurd verses among the grave-stones; and this for the
gratification of their unholy scorn and ridicule!  And yet how much is it
to be deplored that such persons are seldom disappointed in finding many
instances which too readily afford them the unfeeling satisfaction which
they seek!  I therefore offer this suggestion to my reverend brethren,
that as no monument or stone can be placed in a church or church-yard
without their express consent or approbation, whether one condition of
that consent being granted, should not be a previous inspection and
approval of every inscription which may be so placed within the precincts
of the sanctuary?

The reader will pardon this digression, which evidently arose from the
peculiar connection established in little Jane's history, between an
epitaph inscribed on a grave-stone, and the word of God inscribed on her
heart.  When I arrived at Jane's cottage, I found her in bed, reading Dr.
Watts' Hymns for Children, in which she took great pleasure.

"What are you reading this morning, Jane?"

"Sir, I have been thinking very much about some verses in my little book.
Here they are,--

   'There is an hour when I must die,
      Nor do I know how soon 'twill come;
   A thousand children young as I
      Are called by death to hear their doom.

   Let me improve the hours I have,
      Before the day of grace is fled;
   There's no repentance in the grave,
      Nor pardon offered to the dead.'

"Sir, I feel all that to be very true, and I am afraid I do not improve
the hours I have, as I ought to do.  I think I shall not live very long;
and when I remember my sins, I say,--

   'Lord, at thy feet ashamed I lie,
      Upward I dare not look;
   Pardon my sins before I die,
      And blot them from thy book.'

Do you think he will pardon me, sir?"

"My dear child, I have great hopes that he HAS pardoned you; that he has
heard your prayers, and put you into the number of his true children
already.  You have had strong proofs of his mercy to your soul."

"Yes, sir, I have, and I wish to love and bless him for it.  He is good,
_very_ good."

It had for some time past occurred to my mind that a course of
_regulated_ conversations on the first principles of religion would be
very desirable from time to time, for this interesting child's sake: and
I thought the Church Catechism would be the best groundwork for that
purpose.

"Jenny," said I, "you can repeat the Catechism?"

"Yes, sir; but I think that has been one of my sins in the sight of God."

"What! repeating your Catechism?"

"Yes, sir, in such a way as I used to do it."

"How was that?"

"Very carelessly indeed.  I never thought about the meaning of the words,
and that must be very wrong.  Sir, the Catechism is full of good things;
I wish I understood them better."

"Well, then, my child, we will talk a little about those good things
which, as you truly say, are contained in the Catechism.  Did you ever
consider what it is to be a member of Christ, a child of God, and an
inheritor of the kingdom of heaven?"

"I think, sir, I have lately considered it a good deal; and I want to be
such, not only in name, but in deed and in truth.  You once told me, sir,
that 'as the branch is to the vine, and the stone to the building, and
the limb to the body and the head, so is a true believer to the Lord
Jesus Christ.'  But how am I to know that I belong to Christ as a true
_member_, which, you said one day in the church, means the same as a
_limb_ of the body, such as a leg or an arm?"

"Do you love Christ now in a way you never used to do before?"

"Yes, I think so indeed."

"Why do you love him?"

"Because he first loved me."

"How do you know that he first loved you?"

"Because he sent me instruction, and made me feel the sin of my heart,
and taught me to pray for pardon, and love his ways; he sent you to teach
me, sir, and to show me the way to be saved; and now I want to be saved
in that way that he pleases.  Sometimes I feel as if I loved all that he
has said and done, so much, that I wish never to think about anything
else.  I know I did not use to feel so; and I think if he had not loved
me first, my wicked heart would never have cared about him.  I once loved
anything better than religion, but now it is everything to me."

"Do you believe in your heart that Christ is able and willing to save the
chief of sinners?"

"I do."

"And what are you?"

"A young, but a great sinner."

"Is it not of his mercy that you know and feel yourself to be a sinner?"

"Certainly; yes, it must be so."

"Do you earnestly desire to forsake all sin?"

"If I know myself, I do."

"Do you feel a spirit within you resisting sin, and making you hate it?"

"Yes, I hope so."

"Who gave you that spirit?  Were you always so?"

"It must be Christ, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  I was quite
different once."

"Now, then, my dear Jane, does not all this show a connection between the
Lord Jesus Christ and your soul?  Does it not seem as if you lived, and
moved, and had a spiritual being from him?  Just as a limb is connected
with your body, and so with your head, and thereby gets power to live and
move through the flowing of the blood from the one to the other; so are
you spiritually a limb or member of Christ, if you believe in him, and
thus obtain, through faith, a power to love him, and live to his praise
and glory.  Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir, I believe I do; and it is very comfortable to my thoughts to
look up to Christ as a living Head, and to consider myself as the least
and lowest of all his members."

"Now tell me what your thoughts are as to being a child of God."

"I am sure, sir, I do not deserve to be called his child."

"Can you tell me who _does_ deserve it?"

"No one, sir."

"How, then, comes any one to be a child of God, when by nature we are
children of wrath?"

"By God's grace, sir."

"What does grace mean?"

"Favour; free favour to sinners."

"Right; and what does God bestow upon the children of wrath, when he
makes them children of grace?"

"A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; is it not, sir?"

"Yes, this is the fruit of Christ's redeeming love; and I hope _you_ are
a partaker of the blessing.  The family of God is named after him, and he
is the first-born of many brethren.  What a mercy that Christ calls
himself 'a _Brother_!'  My little girl, he is _your_ Brother; and will
not be ashamed to own you, and present you to his Father at the last day,
as one that he has purchased with his blood."

"I wish I could love my Father and my Brother which are in heaven better
than I do.  Lord be merciful to me a sinner!  I think, sir, if I am a
child of God, I am often a rebellious one.  He shows kindness to me
beyond others, and yet I make a very poor return.

   'Are these thy favours day by day,
      To me above the rest?
   Then let me love thee more than they,
      And strive to serve thee best.'"

"That will be the best way to approve yourself a real child of God.  Show
your love and thankfulness to such a Father, who hath prepared for you an
inheritance among the saints in light, and made you 'an inheritor of the
kingdom of heaven, as well as a member of Christ, and a child of God.'  Do
you know what 'the kingdom of heaven' means?"

Just at that instant her mother entered the house below, and began to
speak to a younger child in a passionate, scolding tone of voice,
accompanied by some very offensive language; but quickly stopped on
hearing us in conversation up stairs.

"Ah, my poor mother!" said the girl, "you would not have stopped so
short, if Mr. --- had not been here.  Sir, you hear how my mother swears;
pray say something to her; she will not hear me."

I went towards the stair-head, and called to the woman; but ashamed at
the thought of my having probably overheard her expressions, she suddenly
left the house, and for that time escaped reproof.

"Sir," said little Jane, "I am so afraid, if I go to heaven I shall never
see my poor mother there.  I wish I may, but she does swear so, and keep
such bad company.  As I lie here a-bed, sir, for hours together, there is
often so much wickedness, and noise, and quarrelling down below, that I
do not know how to bear it.  It comes very near, sir, when one's father
and mother go on so.  I want them all to turn to the Lord, and go to
heaven.--Tell me now, sir, something about being an inheritor of the
kingdom of heaven."

"You may remember, my child, what I have told you when explaining the
Catechism in the church, that the 'kingdom of heaven' in the Scripture
means the church of Christ upon earth, as well as the state of glory in
heaven.  The one is a preparation for the other.  All true Christians are
heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, and shall inherit the glory
and happiness of his kingdom, and live with Christ and be with him for
ever.  This is the free gift of God to his adopted children; and all that
believe aright in Christ shall experience the truth of that promise, 'It
is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.'  You are a poor
girl now, but I trust 'an entrance shall be ministered unto you
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ.'  You suffer now; but are you not willing to suffer for his sake,
and to bear patiently those things to which he calls you?"

"Oh yes, very willing; I would not complain.  It is all right."

"Then, my dear, you shall reign with him.  Through much tribulation you
may, perhaps, enter into the kingdom of God; but tribulation worketh
patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.  As a true
'member of Christ,' show yourself to be a dutiful 'child of God,' and
your portion will be that of an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
Faithful is He that hath promised.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust
also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."

"Thank you, sir, I do so love to hear of these things.  And I think, sir,
I should not love them so much if I had no part in them.  Sir, there is
one thing I want to ask you.  It is a great thing, and I may be wrong--I
am so young--and yet I hope I mean right--"

Here she hesitated and paused.

"What is it?  Do not be fearful of mentioning it."  A tear rolled down
her cheek--a slight blush coloured her countenance.  She lifted up her
eyes to heaven for a moment, and then, fixing them on me with a solemn,
affecting look, said,--

"May so young a poor child as I am be admitted to the Lord's Supper?  I
have for some time wished it, but dared not to mention it, for fear you
should think it wrong."

"My dear Jenny, I have no doubt respecting it, and shall be very glad to
converse with you on the subject, and hope that He who has given you the
desire, will bless his own ordinance to your soul.  Would you wish it now
or to-morrow?"

"To-morrow, if you please, sir;--will you come to-morrow and talk to me
about it? and if you think it proper, I shall be thankful.  I am growing
faint now--I hope to be better when you come again."

I was much pleased with her proposal, and rejoiced in the prospect of
seeing so young and sincere a Christian thus devote herself to the Lord,
and receive the sacramental seal of a Saviour's love to her soul.

Disease was making rapid inroads upon her constitution, and she was aware
of it.  But as the outward man decayed, she was strengthened with might,
by God's Spirit in the inner man.  She was evidently ripening fast for a
better world.

I remember these things with affectionate pleasure; they revive my
earlier associations, and I hope the recollection does me good.  I wish
them to do good to thee likewise, my reader; and therefore I write them
down.

May the simplicity that is in Christ render

   "The short and simple annals of the poor"

a mean of grace and blessing to thy soul!  Out of the mouth of this babe
and suckling may God ordain thee strength!  If thou art willing, thou
mayest perchance hear something further respecting her.



PART IV.


I was so much affected with my last visit to little Jane, and
particularly with her tender anxiety respecting the Lord's Supper, that
it formed the chief subject of my thoughts for the remainder of the day.
I rode in the afternoon to a favourite spot, where I sometimes indulged
in solitary meditation; where I wished to reflect on the interesting case
of my little disciple.

It was a place well suited for such a purpose.

In the widely sweeping curve of a beautiful bay, there is a kind of chasm
or opening in one of the lofty cliffs which bound it.  This produces a
very romantic and striking effect.  The steep descending sides of this
opening in the cliff are covered with trees, bushes, wild flowers, fern,
wormwood, and many other herbs, here and there contrasted with bold
masses of rock or brown earth.

In the higher part of one of those declivities two or three picturesque
cottages are fixed, and seem half suspended in the air.

From the upper extremity of this great fissure, or opening in the cliff,
a small stream of water enters by a cascade, flows through the bottom,
winding in a varied course of about a quarter of a mile in length; and
then runs into the sea across a smooth expanse of firm, hard sand, at the
lower extremity of the chasm.  At this point, the sides of the woody
banks are very lofty, and, to a spectator from the bottom, exhibit a
mixture of the grand and beautiful not often exceeded.

Near the mouth of this opening was a little hollow recess, or cave in the
cliff, from whence, on one hand, I could see the above-described romantic
scene; on the other, a long train of perpendicular cliffs, terminating in
a bold and wild-shaped promontory, which closed the bay at one end, while
a conspicuous white cliff stood directly opposite, about four miles
distant, at the further point of the bay.

The shore, between the different cliffs and the edge of the waves, was in
some parts covered with stones and shingle; in some, with firm sand; and
in others, with irregular heaps of little rocks fringed with sea-weed,
and ornamented with small yellow shells.

The cliffs themselves were diversified with strata of various-coloured
earth, black, yellow, brown, and orange.  The effects of iron ore,
producing very manifest changes of hue, were everywhere seen in trickling
drops and streamlets down the sides.

The huts in which the fishermen kept their baskets, nets, boats, and
other implements, occupied a few retired spots on the shore.

The open sea, in full magnificence, occupied the centre of the prospect;
bounded, indeed, in one small part, by a very distant shore, on the
rising ascent from which the rays of the sun rendered visible a cathedral
church, with its towering spire, at near thirty miles' distance.
Everywhere else the sea beyond was limited only by the sky.

A frigate was standing into the bay, not very far from my recess; other
vessels of every size, sailing in many directions, varied the scene, and
furnished matter for a thousand sources of contemplation.

At my feet the little rivulet, gently rippling over pebbles, soon mingled
with the sand, and was lost in the waters of the mighty ocean.  The
murmuring of the waves, as the tide ebbed or flowed, on the sand; their
dashing against some more distant rocks, which were covered fantastically
with sea-weed and shells; sea-birds floating in the air aloft, or
occasionally screaming from their holes in the cliffs; the hum of human
voices in the ships and boats, borne along the water: all these sounds
served to promote, rather than interrupt, meditation.  They were
soothingly blended together, and entered the ear in a kind of natural
harmony.

In the quiet enjoyment of a scene like this, the lover of nature's
beauties will easily find scope for spiritual illustration.

Here I sat and mused over the interesting character and circumstances of
little Jane.  Here I prayed that God would effectually teach me those
truths which I ought to teach her.

When I thought of her youth, I blushed to think how superior she was to
what I well remember myself to have been at the same age; nay, how far my
superior at that very time.  I earnestly desired to catch something of
the spirit which appeared so lovely in her; for, simple, teachable, meek,
humble yet earnest in her demeanour, she bore living marks of heavenly
teaching.

"The Lord," thought I, "has called this little child, and set her in the
midst of us, as a parable, a pattern, an emblem.  And he saith, 'Verily,
except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the kingdom of heaven.'  Oh that I may be humble as this little
child!"

I was thus led into a deep self-examination, and was severely exercised
with fear and apprehension, whether I was myself a real partaker of those
divine influences which I could so evidently discover in her.  Sin
appeared to me just then to be more than ever "exceeding sinful."  Inward
and inbred corruptions made me tremble.  The danger of self-deception in
so great a matter alarmed me.  I was a teacher of others; but was I
indeed spiritually taught myself?

A spirit of anxious inquiry ran through every thought: I looked at the
manifold works of creation around me; I perceived the greatest marks of
regularity and order; but _within_ I felt confusion and disorder.

"The waves of the sea," thought I, "ebb and flow in exact obedience to
the law of their Creator.  Thus far they come, and no further--they
retire again to their accustomed bounds; and so maintain a regulated
succession of effects.

"But, alas! the waves of passion and affection in the human breast
manifest more of the wild confusion of a storm, than the orderly
regularity of a tide.  Grace only can subdue them.

"What peaceful harmony subsists throughout all this lovely landscape!
These majestic cliffs, some clothed with trees and shrubs; others bare
and unadorned with herbage, yet variegated with many-coloured earths;
these are not only sublime and delightful to behold, but they are
answering the end of their creation, and serve as a barrier to stop the
progress of the waves.

"But how little peace and harmony can I comparatively see in my own
heart!  The landscape _within_ is marred by dreary, barren wilds, and
wants that engaging character which the various parts of this prospect
before me so happily preserve.  Sin, sin is the bane of mortality, and
heaps confusion upon confusion, wherever it prevails.

"Yet, saith the voice of Promise, 'Sin shall not have dominion over you.'
Oh, then, 'may I yield myself unto God, as one that am alive from the
dead, and my members as instruments of righteousness unto God!'  And thus
may I become an able and willing minister of the New Testament!

"I wish I were like this little stream of water.  It takes its first rise
scarcely a mile off; yet it has done good even in that short course.  It
has passed by several cottages in its way, and afforded life and health
to the inhabitants; it has watered their little gardens as it flows, and
enriched the meadows near its banks.  It has satisfied the thirst of the
flocks that are feeding aloft on the hills, and perhaps refreshed the
shepherd's boy who sits watching his master's sheep hard by.  It then
quietly finishes its current in this secluded dell, and, agreeably to the
design of its Creator, quickly vanishes in the ocean.

"May _my_ course be like unto thine, thou little rivulet!  Though short
be my span of life, yet may I be useful to my fellow-sinners as I travel
onwards!  Let me be a dispenser of spiritual support and health to many!
Like this stream, may I prove 'the poor man's friend' by the way, and
water the souls that thirst for the river of life, wherever I meet them!
And if it please thee, O my God, let me in my latter end be like this
brook.  It calmly, though not quite silently, flows through this scene of
peace and loveliness, just before it enters the sea.  Let me thus gently
close my days likewise; and may I not unusefully tell to others of the
goodness and mercy of our Saviour, till I arrive at the vast ocean of
eternity!

"Thither," thought I, "little Jane is fast hastening.  Short, but not
useless, has been _her_ course.  I feel the great importance of it in my
own soul at this moment.  I view a work of mercy _there_, to which I do
hope I am not quite a stranger in the experience of my own heart.  The
thought enlivens my spirit, and leads me to see that, great as is the
power of sin the power of Jesus is greater; and, through grace, I _may_
meet my dear young disciple, my child in the gospel, my sister in the
faith, in a brighter, a better world hereafter."

There was something in the whole of this meditation which calmed and
prepared my mind for my promised visit the next day.  I looked forward to
it with affectionate anxiety.

It was now time to return homewards.  The sun was setting.  The
lengthened shadows of the cliffs, and of the hills towering again far
above them, cast a brown but not unpleasing tint over the waters of the
bay.  Further on the beams of the sun still maintained their splendour.
Some of the sails of the distant ships, enlivened by its rays, appeared
like white spots in the blue horizon, and seemed to attract my notice, as
if to claim at least the passing prayer, "God speed the mariners on their
voyage."

I quitted my retreat in the cliff with some reluctance; but with a state
of mind, as I hoped, solemnized by reflection, and animated to fresh
exertion.

I walked up by a steep pathway, that winded through the trees and shrubs
on the sides of one of the precipices.  At every step the extent of
prospect enlarged, and acquired a new and varying character, by being
seen through the trees on each side.  Climbing up a kind of rude,
inartificial set of stone stairs in the bank, I passed by the singularly
situated cottages which I had viewed from beneath; received and returned
the evening salutation of the inhabitants, sitting at their doors, and
just come home from labour; till I arrived at the top of the precipice,
where I had left my horse tied to a gate.

Could _he_ have enjoyed it, he had a noble prospect around him in every
direction from this elevated point of view, where he had been stationed
while I was on the shore below.  But wherein he most probably failed I
think his rider did not.  The landscape, taken in connection with my
recent train of thought about myself and little Jane, inspired devotion.

The sun was now set: the bright colours of the western clouds, faintly
reflected from the south-eastern hills, that were unseen from my retreat
in the cliff, or only perceived by their evening shadows on the sea, now
added to the beauty of the prospect on the south and west.  Every element
contributed to the interesting effect of the scenery.  The _earth_ was
diversified in shape and ornament.  The _waters_ of the ocean presented a
noble feature in the landscape.  The _air_ was serene, or only ruffled by
a refreshing breeze from the shore.  And the sun's _fiery_ beams, though
departing for the night, still preserved such a portion of light and
warmth as rendered all the rest delightful to an evening traveller.  From
this point the abyss, occasioned by the great fissure in the cliff,
appeared grand and interesting.  Trees hung over it on each side,
projecting not only their branches, but many of their roots in wild and
fantastic forms.  Masses of earth had recently fallen from the upper to
the lower parts of the precipice, carrying trees and plants down the
steep descent.  The character of the soil and the unceasing influence of
the stream at the bottom, seemed to threaten further slips of the land
from the summit.  From hence the gentle murmur of the cascade at the head
of the chine stole upon the ear without much interruption to the
quietness of the scene.  A fine rocky cliff, half buried in trees, stood
erect on the land side about a mile distant, and seemed to vie with those
on the shore in challenging the passenger's attention.  In the distance
stood a noble ash-tree, which, on a considerable height, majestically
reigned as the patriarch of the grove near which it grew.  Every object
combined to please the eye and direct the traveller's heart to admire and
love the Author and Creator of all that is beautiful to sense and
edifying to the soul.

The next morning I went to Jane's cottage.  On entering the door, the
woman, who so frequently visited her, met me, and said:--

"Perhaps, sir, you will not wake her just yet; for she has dropped
asleep, and she seldom gets much rest, pool girl!"

I went gently up stairs.

The child was in a half-sitting posture, leaning her head upon her right
hand, with her Bible open before her.  She had evidently fallen asleep
while reading.  Her countenance was beautifully composed and tranquil.  A
few tears had rolled down her cheek, and (probably unknown to her)
dropped upon the pages of her book.

I looked around me for a moment.  The room was outwardly comfortless and
uninviting: the walls out of repair; the sloping roof somewhat shattered;
the floor broken and uneven; no furniture but two tottering bedsteads, a
three-legged stool, and an old oak chest; the window broken in many
places, and mended with patches of paper.  A little shelf against the
wall, over the bedstead where Jane lay, served for her physic, her food,
and her books.

"Yet _here_," I said to myself, "lies an heir of glory, waiting for a
happy dismissal.  Her earthly home is poor, indeed; but she has a house
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  She has little to attach
her to this world; but what a weight of glory in the world to come!  This
mean, despised chamber is a palace in the eye of faith, for it contains
one that is inheritor of a crown."

I approached without waking her, and observed that she had been reading
the twenty-third chapter of St. Luke.  The finger of her left hand lay
upon the book, pointing to the words, as if she had been using it to
guide her eye whilst she read.

I looked at the place, and was pleased at the apparently casual
circumstance of her finger pointing at these words:--

"Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."

"Is this casual or designed?" thought I.  "Either way it is remarkable."

But in another moment I discovered that her finger was indeed an index to
the thoughts of her heart.

She half awoke from her dozing state, but not sufficiently so to perceive
that any person was present, and said in a kind of whisper:--

"Lord, remember me--remember me--remember--remember a poor child--Lord,
remember me--"

She then suddenly started and perceived me, as she became fully awake.  A
faint blush overspread her cheeks for a moment, and then disappeared.

"Dame K---, how long have I been asleep?--Sir, I am very sorry--"

"And I am very glad to find you thus," I replied.  "You may say with
David, 'I laid me down and slept: I awaked, for the Lord sustained me.'
What were you reading?"

"The history of the crucifying of Jesus, sir."

"How far had you read when you fell asleep?"

"To the prayer of the thief that was crucified with him; and when I came
to that place I stopped, and thought what a mercy it would be if the Lord
Jesus, should remember me likewise--and so I fell asleep; and I fancied
in my dream that I saw Christ upon the cross; and I thought I said,
'Lord, remember me;' and I am sure he did not look angry upon me--and
then I awoke."

All this seemed to be a sweet commentary on the text, and a most suitable
forerunner of our intended sacramental service.

"Well, my dear child, I am come, as you wished me, to administer the
sacrament of the body and blood of our blessed Saviour to you; and I
daresay neighbour K--- will be glad to join us."

"Talk to me a little about it first, sir, if you please."

"You remember what you have learned in your Catechism about it.  Let us
consider.  A sacrament, you know, is 'an outward and visible sign of an
inward and spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as
a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.'
Now the Lord has ordained bread and wine in the holy supper, as the
outward mark, which we behold with our eyes.  It is a sign, a token, a
seal of his love, grace, and blessing, which he promises to, and bestows
on, all who receive it, rightly believing on his name and work.  He in
this manner preserves amongst us a 'continual remembrance of his death,
and of the benefits which we receive thereby.'"

"What do you believe respecting the death of Christ, Jenny?"

"That because he died, sir, we live."

"What life do we live thereby?"

"The life of grace and mercy _now_, and the life of glory and happiness
hereafter; is it not, sir?"

"Yes, assuredly: this is the fruit of the death of Christ, and thus he
'opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.'  As bread and wine
strengthen and refresh your poor, weak, fainting body in this very
sickness, so does the blessing of his body and blood strengthen and
refresh the souls of all that repose their faith, hope, and affections on
him who loved us and gave himself for us."

Tears ran down her cheeks as she said,--

"Oh, what a Saviour!  Oh, what a sinner!  How kind! how good!  And is
this for me?"

"Fear not, dear child.  He that has made you to love him thus, loves you
too well to deny you.  He will in no wise cast out any that come to him."

"Sir," said the girl, "I can never think about Jesus and his love to
sinners, without wondering how it can be.  I deserve nothing but his
anger on account of my sins.  Why then does he love me?  My heart is
evil.  Why then does he love me?  I continually forget all his goodness.
Why then does he love me?  I neither pray to him, nor thank him, nor do
anything as I ought to do.  Why then such love to me?"

"How plain it is that all is mercy from first to last! and that sweetens
the blessing, my child.  Are you not willing to give Christ all the
honour of your salvation, and to take all the blame of your sins on your
own self?"

"Yes, indeed, sir, I am.  My hymn says,--

   'Blest be the Lord, that sent his Son
      To take our flesh and blood;
   He for our lives gave up his own,
      To make our peace with God.

   'He honoured all his Father's laws,
      Which we have disobeyed;
   He bore our sins upon the cross,
      And our full ransom paid.'"

"I am glad you remember your hymns so well, Jenny."

"Sir, you don't know what pleasure they give me.  I am very glad you gave
me that little book of Hymns for Children."

A severe fit of coughing interrupted her speech for a while.  The woman
held her head.  It was distressing to observe her struggle for breath,
and almost, as it were, for life.

"Poor dear!" said the woman; "I wish I could help thee, and ease thy
pains; but they will not last for ever."

"God helps me," said the girl, recovering her breath; "God helps me--he
will carry me through.  Sir, you look frightened.  I am not afraid--this
is nothing--I am better now.  Thank you, dame, thank you.  I am very
troublesome; but the Lord will bless you for this and all your kindness
to me: yes, sir, and yours too.  Now talk to me again about the
sacrament."

"What is required, Jenny, of them who come to the Lord's Supper?  There
are five things named in the Catechism; do you remember what is the
first?"

She paused, and then said, with a solemn and intelligent look,--

"To examine themselves whether they repent them truly of their former
sins."

"I hope and think that you know what this means, Jenny.  The Lord has
given you the spirit of repentance."

"No one knows, sir, what the thoughts of past sin have been to me.  Yes,
the Lord knows, and that is enough; and I hope he forgives me for
Christ's sake.  His blood cleanseth from all sin.  Sir, I sometimes think
of my sins till I tremble, and it makes me cry to think that I have
offended such a God; and then he comforts me again with sweet thoughts
about Christ."

"It is well, my child--be it so.  The next thing mentioned in that
article of your Catechism, what is it?"

"Steadfastly purposing to lead a new life."

"And what do you think of that?"

"My life, sir, will be a short one; and I wish it had been a better one.
But from my heart I desire that it may be a _new_ one for the time to
come.  I want to forsake all my evil ways and thoughts, and evil words,
and evil companions; and to do what God bids me, and what you tell me is
right, sir, and what I read of in my Bible.  But I am afraid I do not, my
heart is so full of sin.  However, sir, I pray to God to help me.  My
days will be few; but I wish they may be spent to the glory of God."

"The blessing of the Lord be upon you, Jane; so that whether you live,
you may live to the Lord; or whether you die, you may die unto the Lord;
and that, living or dying, you may be the Lord's.  What is the next thing
mentioned?"

"To have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, sir."

"Do you believe that God is merciful to you in the pardon of your sins?"

"I do, sir," said the child earnestly.

"And if he pardons you, is it for your own sake, Jenny?"

"No, sir, no; it is for Christ's sake--for my Saviour Jesus Christ's
sake, and that only.  Christ is all."

"Can you trust him?"

"Sir, I must not mistrust him; nor would I, if I might."

"Right, child; he is worthy of all your trust."

"And then, sir, I am to have a thankful remembrance of his death.  I can
never think of his dying, but I think also what a poor unworthy creature
I am; and yet he is so good to me.  I wish I _could_ thank him--sir, I
have been reading about his death--how could the people do as they did to
him?--but it was all for our salvation.  And the thief on the cross--that
is beautiful.  I hope he will remember me too, and that I shall always
remember him and his death most thankfully."

"And lastly, Jenny, are you in charity with all men?  Do you forgive all
that have offended you?  Do you bear ill-will in your heart to anybody?"

"Dear sir, no! how can I?  If God is good to me, if he forgives me, how
can I help forgiving others?  There is not a person in all the world, I
think, sir, that I do not wish well to for Christ's sake, and that from
the bottom of my heart."

"How do you feel towards those bold, wanton, ill-tempered girls at the
next door, who jeer and mock you so about your religion?"

"Sir, the worst thing I wish them is, that God may give them grace to
repent; that he may change their hearts, and pardon all their wicked ways
and words.  May he forgive them, as I do with all my soul!"

She ceased--I wished to ask no more.  My heart was full.  "Can this be
the religion of a child?" thought I.  "O that we were all children like
her!"

"Reach me that prayer-book, and the cup and plate.  My dear friends, I
will now, with God's blessing, partake with you in the holy communion of
our Lord's body and blood."

The time was sweet and solemn.  I went through the sacramental service.

The countenance and manner of the child evinced powerful feelings.  Tears
mingled with smiles--resignation brightened by hope--humility animated by
faith--a child-like modesty adorned with the understanding of a riper
age--gratitude, peace, devotion, patience--all these were visible.  I
thought I distinctly saw them all--and did _I_ alone see them?  Is it too
much to say that other created beings, whom I could not behold with my
natural eyes, were witnesses of the scene?

If ministering angels do ascend and descend with glad tidings between
earth and heaven, I think they did so then.

When I had concluded the service, I said,--

"Now, my dear Jane, you are indeed become a sister in the Church of
Christ.  May his Spirit and blessing rest upon you, strengthen and
refresh you!"

"My mercies are great, very great, sir; greater than I can express.  I
thank you for this favour--I thought I was too young--it seemed too much
for me to think of; but I am now sure the Lord is good to me, and I hope
I have done right."

"Yes, Jenny; and I trust you are both outwardly and inwardly _sealed_ by
the Holy Ghost to the day of redemption."

"Sir, I shall never forget this day."

"Neither, I think, shall I."

"Nor I," said the good old woman; "sure the Lord has been in the midst of
us three to-day, while we have been gathered together in his name."

"Sir," said the child, "I wish you could speak to my mother when you come
again.  But she keeps out of your sight.  I am so grieved about her soul,
and I am afraid she cares nothing at all about it herself."

"I hope I shall have an opportunity the next time I come.  Farewell, my
child."

"Good-bye, sir; and I thank you for all your kindness to me."

"Surely," I thought within myself as I left the cottage, "this young bud
of grace will bloom beauteously in paradise!  The Lord transplant her
thither in his own good time.  Yet, if it be his will, may she live a
little longer, that I may further profit by her conversation and
example!"

Possibly, some who peruse these simple records of poor little Jane may
wish the same.  If it be so, we will visit her again before she departs
hence and is no more seen.



PART V.


Jane was hastening fast to her dissolution.  She still, however,
preserved sufficient strength to converse with much satisfaction to
herself and those who visited her.  Such as could truly estimate the
value of her spiritual state of mind were but few; yet the most careless
could not help being struck with her affectionate seriousness, her
knowledge of the Scriptures, and her happy application of them to her own
case.

   "The holy spark divine,"

which regenerating grace had implanted in her life, had kindled a flame
which warmed and animated the beholder.  To _some_, I am persuaded, her
example and conversation were made a blessing.  Memory reflects with
gratitude, whilst I write, on the profit and consolation which I
individually derived from her society.  Nor I alone.  The last day will,
if I err not, disclose further fruits, resulting from the love of God to
this little child, and, through her, to others that saw her.  And may not
hope indulge the prospect, that this simple memorial of her history shall
be as one arrow drawn from the quiver of the Almighty to reach the hearts
of the young and the thoughtless?  Direct its course, O my God!  May the
eye that reads, and the ear that hears, the record of little Jane,
through the power of the Spirit of the Most High, each become the witness
for the truth as it is in Jesus!

I remembered the tender solicitude of this dear child for her mother.  I
well knew what an awful contrast the dispositions and conduct of her
parents exhibited, when compared with her own.

I resolved to avail myself of the first opportunity I could seize to
speak to the mother in the child's presence.  The woman had latterly
avoided me, conscious of deserving, and fearful of receiving reproof.  The
road by which I usually approached the house lay, for some little
distance, sufficiently in sight of its windows to enable the woman to
retire out of the way before I arrived.  There was, however, another
path, through fields at the back of the village, which, owing to the
situation of the ground, allowed of an approach unperceived, till a
visitor reached the very cottage itself.

One morning, soon after the sacramental interview related in my last
paper, I chose _this_ road for my visit.  It was preferable to me on
every account.  The distance was not quite half a mile from my house.  The
path was retired.  I hereby avoided the noise and interruption which even
a village street will sometimes present, to disturb the calmness of
interesting meditation.

As I passed through the churchyard, and cast my eye on the memorable
epitaph, "Soon," I thought within me, "will my poor little Jane mingle
her mouldering remains with this dust, and sleep with her fathers!  Soon
will the youthful tongue, which now lisps hosannas to the Son of David,
and delights my heart with evidences of early piety and grace, be silent
in the earth!  Soon shall I be called to commit her 'body to the ground,
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.'  But oh, what a glorious
change!  Her spirit shall have then returned to God who gave it.  Her
soul will be joining the halleluiahs of paradise, while we sing her
requiem at the grave.  And her very dust shall here wait, in sure and
certain hope of a joyful resurrection from the dead."

I went through the fields without meeting a single individual.  I enjoyed
the retirement of my solitary walk.  Various surrounding objects
contributed to excite useful meditation connected with the great subjects
of time and eternity.  Here and there a drooping flower reminded me of
the fleeting nature of mortal life.  Sometimes a shady spot taught me to
look to Him who is a "shadow in the day-time from the heat, and for a
place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain."  If a worm
crept across my path, I saw an emblem of myself as I am _now_; and the
winged insects, fluttering in the sunbeams, led me comparatively to
reflect on what I hoped to be _hereafter_.

The capacious mansion of a rich neighbour appeared on the right hand as I
walked; on my left were the cottages of the poor.  The church spire
pointing to heaven a little beyond, seemed to say to both the rich and
the poor, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the
earth."  All these objects afforded me useful meditation; and all
obtained an increased value as such, because they lay in my road to the
house of little Jane.

I was now arrived at the stile nearly adjoining her dwelling.  The upper
window was open, and I soon distinguished the sound of voices--I was glad
to hear that of the mother.  I entered the house door unperceived by
those above stairs, and sat down below, not wishing as yet to interrupt a
conversation which quickly caught my ear.

"Mother! mother!  I have not long to live.  My time will be very short.
But I must, indeed I must, say something for your sake, before I die.  O
mother! you have a soul--you have a soul; and what will become of it when
you die?  O my mother!  I am so uneasy about your soul--"

"Oh, dear!  I shall lose my child--she will die--and what shall I do when
you are gone, my Jenny?"  She sobbed aloud.

"Mother, think about your soul.  Have you not neglected that?"

"Yes, I have been a wicked creature, and hated all that was good.  What
can I do?"

"Mother, you must pray to God to pardon you for Christ's sake.  You must
pray."

"Jenny, my child, I cannot pray: I never did pray in all my life.  I am
too wicked to pray."

"Mother, I have been wanting to speak to you a long time; but I was
afraid to do it.  You did not like me to say anything about religion, and
I did not know how to begin.  But indeed, mother, I must speak now, or it
may be too late.  I wish Mr. --- was here, for he could talk to you
better than I can.  But perhaps you will think of what I say, poor as it
is, when I am dead.  I am but a young child, and not fit to speak about
such things to anybody.  But, mother, you belong to me, and I cannot bear
to think of your perishing for ever.  My Lord and Saviour has shown me my
own sin and corruptions: he loved me, and gave himself for me: he died,
and he rose again: I want to praise him for it for ever and ever.  I hope
I shall see him in heaven; but I want to see you there too, mother.  Do,
pray do, leave off swearing, and other bad ways: go to church, and hear
our minister speak about Jesus Christ, and what he has done for wicked
sinners.  He wishes well to souls.  He taught me the way, and he will
teach you, mother.  Why did you always go out of the house when he was
coming?  Do not be angry with me, mother; I only speak for your good.  I
was once as careless as you are about the things of God.  But I have seen
my error.  I was in the broad road leading to destruction, like many
other children in the parish; and the Lord saw me, and had mercy upon
me."

"Yes, my child, you were always a good girl, and minded your book."

"No, mother, no; not always.  I cared nothing about goodness, nor my
Bible, till the minister came and sent for us, as you know, on Saturday
afternoons.  Don't you remember, mother, that at first you did not like
me to go, and said you would have no such _godly_, _pious_ doings about
_your_ house; and that I had better play about the streets and fields,
than be laughed at and be made game of for pretending to be so good?  Ah,
mother, you did not know what I went for, and what God designed for me
and my poor sinful soul!  But, thank God, I did go, and there learned the
way of salvation.  Mother, I wish you had learned too."

As I listened to this affecting conversation, it appeared to me, from the
tone and manner of the mother's voice, that she was more under the
influence of temporary grief, on account of her child's extreme illness,
than sincere sorrow from any real sense of her sins.  I however hoped the
best, and rejoiced to hear such weighty and important exhortation
dropping from her daughter's lips.  I felt that present circumstances
rendered it far more valuable than my own could have been.

I have often, since that time, seen the wicked and careless much
affected, while sitting by the dying bed of a near relative: I have
witnessed their temporary acknowledgments of sin, and heard their
professions of amendment.  But, after a short season, all has passed away
like the morning dew.  The friend has been buried out of sight.  The
world and its cares, the flesh and its sins, have returned with new
temptations, and the eloquence of iniquity has prevailed over the voice
of truth.  "The dog has returned to his vomit, and the sow to her
wallowing in the mire."

On the other hand, how frequently have the deathbeds of true believers
been blessed to the eye-witness of the triumphs of grace over sin, death,
and hell!  Often has the careless bystander received the first saving
impression of divine truth, whilst the dying Christian has experienced
and testified the supports of love and mercy in the trying hour.  At such
seasons, faith wields a bright and burning torch, which occasionally
softens the hardest and warms the coldest heart.  The expressions of that
heavenly consolation and devout solicitude, which the Holy Spirit
vouchsafes to some, thus become the happy means of grace and blessing for
the conversion and edification of others.

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches!"

At this moment the house-door opened, and a younger child, a brother of
Jane's, came in.  The mother asked from above who it was: the boy
replied; and, without further inquiry, she remained in the chamber.  I
beckoned to the lad to sit down quietly; and thus it still remained
unknown that I was below.

"Mother," continued Jane, "that is my brother, and will soon be your only
remaining child.  Do, pray, encourage him to follow good ways.  Send him
to Mr. ---, and he will be kind to him, as he has been to me.  He is a
wild boy, but I hope he will be brought to think about his soul in time.
Those naughty, wicked boys teach him to swear and fight, and run after
all manner of evil.  Lord, help him to flee from the wrath to come!"

I made a sign to the boy to listen to what his sister said concerning
him.  He seemed to hear with attention, and a tear dropped down his
cheek.

"Ay, Jenny, it is to be hoped he will, and that we shall all likewise."

"Mother, then you must flee to Christ.  Nothing you can do will save you
without that.  You must repent and turn from sin: without the grace of
God you cannot do it; but seek, and you shall find it.  Do, for your own
sake, and for my sake, and my little brother's sake."

The woman wept and sobbed without replying.  I now thought it time to
appear, went to the bottom of the stairs, and said, "May a friend come
up?"

"Mercy on me!" said the mother, "there is Mr. ---"

"Come in, sir," said Jane; "I am very glad you are come _now_.  Mother,
set a chair."

The woman looked confused.  Jane smiled as I entered, and welcomed me as
usual.

"I hope I shall be forgiven, both by mother and daughter, for having
remained so long below stairs, during the conversation which has just
taken place.  I came in the hope of finding you together, as I have had a
wish for some time past to speak to you, Sarah, on the same subjects
about which, I am happy to say, your daughter is so anxious.  You have
long neglected these things, and I wished to warn you of the danger of
your state; but Jenny has said all I could desire, and I now solemnly ask
you, whether you are not much affected by your poor child's faithful
conversation?  You ought to have been _her_ teacher and instructor in the
ways of righteousness, whereas she has now become _yours_.  Happy,
however, will it be for you if you are wise, and consider your latter
end, and the things which belong to your peace, before they are hidden
from your eyes!  Look at your dying child, and think of your other and
only remaining one, and say whether this sight does not call aloud upon
you to hear and fear."

Jane's eyes were filled with tears whilst I spoke.  The woman hung her
head down, but betrayed some emotions of dislike at the plain dealing
used towards her.

"My child, Jenny," said I, "how are you to-day?"

"Sir, I have been talking a good deal, and feel rather faint and weary,
but my mind has been very easy and happy since I last saw you.  I am
quite willing to die, when the Lord sees fit.  I have no wish to live
except it be to see my friends in a better way before I depart.  Sir, I
used to be afraid to speak to them; but I feel to-day as if I could hold
my peace no longer, and I must tell them what the Lord has done for my
soul, and what I feel for theirs."

There was a firmness, I may say a dignity with which this was uttered
that surprised me.  The character of the child seemed to be lost in that
of the Christian; her natural timidity yielded to a holy assurance of
manner resulting from her own inward consolations, mingled with spiritual
desire for her mother's welfare.  This produced a flush upon her
otherwise pallid countenance, which in no small degree added to her
interesting appearance.  The Bible lay open before her as she sat up in
the bed.  With her right hand she enclosed her mother's.

"Mother, this book _you_ cannot read; you should therefore go constantly
to church, that you may hear it explained.  It is God's book, and tells
us the way to heaven; I hope you will learn and mind it; with God's
blessing it may save your soul.  Do think of that, mother, pray do.  I am
soon going to die.  Give this Bible to my brother; and will you be so
kind, sir, as to instruct him?  Mother, remember what I say, and this
gentleman is witness: there is no salvation for sinners like you and me
but in the blood of Christ; he is able to save to the uttermost; he will
save all that come to him; he waits to be gracious: cast yourself upon
his mercy.  I wish--I wish--I--I--I--"

She was quite overcome, and sank away in a kind of fainting fit.

Her mother observed, that she would now probably remain insensible for
some time before she recovered.

I improved this interval in a serious address to the woman, and then
prepared to take my departure, perceiving that Jane was too much
exhausted for further conversation at that time.

As I was leaving the room, the child said faintly, "Come again soon, sir;
my time is very short."

I returned home by the same retired road which I had before chosen.  I
silently meditated on the eminent proofs of piety and faith which were
just afforded me in the scene I had witnessed.

Surely, I thought, this is an extraordinary child!  What cannot grace
accomplish?  Is it possible to doubt after this, _who_ is the alone
Author and Finisher of salvation; or from _whom_ cometh every good and
perfect gift?  How rich and free is the mercy of Jehovah!  Hath not he
"chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things which are
mighty?"  Let no flesh glory in his presence: but "he that glorieth, let
him glory in the Lord."



PART VI.


The truth and excellence of the religion of Jesus Christ appear to be
remarkably established by the union of similarity with variety, in the
effect which it produces on the hearts and lives of true believers.  In
the grand and essential features of Christian experience, the whole
household of God possess an universal sameness of character, a family
likeness, which distinguishes them from all the world besides: yet, in
numerous particulars, there also exists a beautiful variety.

On the one hand, in the aged and the young, in the wise and the
unlearned, in the rich and the poor; in those of stronger and weaker
degrees of mental capacity, in more sanguine or more sedate dispositions;
and in a multitude of otherwise varying circumstances, there is a
striking conformity of principles and feeling to Christ, and to each
other.  Like the flowers of the field and the garden, they are "all
rooted and grounded" in the soil of the same earth; they are warmed by
the same sun, refreshed by the same air, and watered by the same dews.
They each derive nourishment, growth, and increase from the same life-
giving Source.  As the flower puts forth its leaves and petals, adorns
the place which it inhabits with its beauty, and possesses an internal
system of qualities, whereby it is enabled to bring forth its seed or
fruit in the appointed season; so does the Christian.

But, on the other hand, like the flowers also, some Christians may be
said to grow on the mountain tops, some in valleys, some in the waters,
and others in dry ground.  Different colours, forms, and sizes,
distinguish them from each other, and produce a diversity of character
and appearance which affords a delightful variety, both for the purposes
of use and beauty.  Yet is that variety perfectly consistent with their
essential unity of nature in the vegetable kingdom, to which they all
equally belong.

In another particular they likewise resemble.  They both die a natural
death.  The Lord ever preserves "a seed to serve him," from generation to
generation; for as one disappears, another springs up to supply his
place.  But "it is appointed unto all men once to die."--Man "cometh
forth like a flower and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and
continueth not."--"All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the
flower of the grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth
away."

In the midst of such diversity of Christian characters there is much to
love and admire.  I have selected the case of little Jane, as one not
undeserving of notice.

It is true, she was only a child--a very poor child--but a child saved by
divine grace, enlightened with the purest knowledge, and adorned with
unaffected holiness; she was a child, humble, meek, and lowly.  She
"found grace in the eyes of the Lord" while she was on earth; and, I
doubt not, will be seen on his right hand at the last day.  As such,
there is preciousness in the character, which will account for my
attempting once more to write concerning her, and describe her last
moments before she went to her final rest.

At a very early hour on the morning of the following day, I was awoke by
the arrival of a messenger, bringing an earnest request that I would
immediately go to the child, as her end appeared to be just approaching.

It was not yet day when I left my house to obey the summons.  The morning
star shone conspicuously clear.  The moon cast a mild light over the
prospect, but gradually diminished in brightness as the eastern sky
became enlightened.  The birds were beginning their songs, and seemed
ready to welcome the sun's approach.  The dew plentifully covered the
fields, and hung suspended in drops from the trees and hedges.  A few
early labourers appeared in the lanes, travelling towards the scene of
their daily occupations.

All besides was still and calm.  My mind, as I proceeded, was deeply
exercised by thoughts concerning the affecting event which I expected
soon to witness.

The rays of the morning star were not so beautiful in my sight, as the
spiritual lustre of this young Christian's character.  "Her night was far
spent;" the morning of a "better day was at hand."  The sun of eternal
blessedness was ready to break upon her soul with rising glory.  Like the
moon, which I saw above me, this child's exemplary deportment had gently
cast a useful light over the neighbourhood where she dwelt.  Like this
moon she had for a season been permitted to shine amidst the surrounding
darkness; and her rays were also reflected from a luminary, in whose
native splendour her own would quickly be blended and lost.

The air was cool, but the breezes of the morning were refreshing, and
seemed to foretell the approach of a beautiful day.  Being accustomed, in
my walks, to look for subjects of improving thought and association, I
found them in every direction around me as I hastened onwards to the
house where Jane lay, waiting for a dismissal from her earthly dwelling.

I felt that the twilight gravity of nature was, at that hour, peculiarly
appropriate to the circumstances of the case; and the more so, because
that twilight was significantly adorned with the brilliant sparklings of
the star on one hand, and the clear, pale lustre of the waning moon on
the other.

When I arrived at the house, I found no one below; I paused for a few
minutes, and heard the girl's voice very faintly saying, "Do you think he
will come?  I should be so glad--so very glad to see him before I die."

I ascended the stairs--her father, mother, and brother, together with the
elderly woman before spoken of, were in the chamber.  Jane's countenance
bore the marks of speedy dissolution.  Yet, although death was manifest
in the languid features, there was something more than ever interesting
in the whole of her external aspect.  The moment she saw me, a renewed
vigour beamed in her eye; grateful affection sparkled in the dying face.

Although she had spoken just before I entered, yet for some time
afterwards she was silent, but never took her eyes off me.  There was
animation in her look--there was more--something like a foretaste of
heaven seemed to be felt, and gave an inexpressible character of
spiritual beauty, even in death.

At length she said, "This is very kind, sir--I am going fast--I was
afraid I should never see you again in this world."

I said, "My child, are you resigned to die?"

"Quite."

"Where is your hope?"

She lifted up her finger, pointed to heaven, and then directed the same
downward to her own heart, saying successively as she did so, "Christ
_there_, and Christ _here_."

These words, accompanied by the action, spoke her meaning more solemnly
than can easily be conceived.

A momentary spasm took place.  Looking towards her weeping mother, she
said, "I am very cold--but it is no matter--it will soon be over--"

She closed her eyes for about a minute, and, on opening them again, said,
"I wish, sir, when I am gone, you would tell the other children of the
parish how good the Lord has been to me, a poor sinner--tell them, that
they who seek him early will find him--tell them, that the ways of sin
and ignorance are the ways to ruin and hell--and pray tell them, sir,
from me, that Christ is indeed the Way, the Truth, and the Life--he will
in no wise cast out any that come.  Tell them that I, a poor girl--"

She was quite exhausted, and sunk for a while into a torpid state, from
which, however, she recovered gradually, uttering these expressions:
"Where am I?--I thought I was going--Lord, save me!"

"My dear child, you will soon be for ever in _His_ arms who is now
guiding you by his rod and staff through the valley of the shadow of
death."

"I believe so, indeed I do," said she; "I long to be with him!--Oh, how
good, how great, how merciful!--Jesus, save me, help me through this last
trial!"

She then gave one hand to her father, the other to her mother, and said,
"God bless you, God bless you--seek the Lord--think of me when I am
gone--it may be for your good--remember your souls--oh, for Christ's sake
remember your souls--then all may be well--you cannot know what I have
felt for both of you--Lord, pardon and save my dear father and mother!"

She then took hold of her brother's hand, saying, "Thomas, I beg you to
leave off your bad ways--read the Bible--I give you mine--I have found it
a precious book.  Do you not remember our little brother, who died some
years since?--he was praying to the last moment of his life.  Learn to
pray while you are in health, and you will find the comfort and power of
it when you come to die; but, first of all, pray for a new heart--without
it you will never see God in heaven--your present ways lead to misery and
ruin--may the Lord turn your heart to love and follow him!"

To the other woman she said, "I thank you, Dame K---, for all your
kindness since I have been ill--you have been a Christian friend to me,
and I hope that the Lord will remember you for it, according to his rich
mercy:--you and I have many a time talked together about death; and
though I am the youngest, he calls me first to pass through it: but,
blessed be his name, I am not terrified.  I once thought I could never
die without fear; but indeed I feel quite happy, now it is come; and so
will you, if you trust him--he is the God both of the old and the young."

"Ah, my child!" said the woman, "I wish I was as fit to die as you are;
but I fear that will never be--my sins have been many, very many."

"Christ's blood cleanseth from all sin," said the child.

At this moment, instead of growing weaker, through the fatigue of so much
speaking, she seemed to gather fresh strength.  She turned to me with a
look of surprising earnestness and animation, saying,--

"You, sir, have been my best friend on earth--you have taught me the way
to heaven, and I love and thank you for it--you have borne with my
weakness and my ignorance--you have spoken to me of the love of Christ,
and he has made me to feel it in my heart--I shall see him face to
face--he will never leave me nor forsake me--he is the same, and changes
not.  Dear sir, God bless you!"

The child suddenly rose up, with an unexpected exertion, threw her livid,
wasted arms around me, as I sat on the bedside, laid her head on my
shoulder, and said distinctly, "God bless and reward you--give thanks for
me to him--my soul is saved--Christ is everything to me!  Sir, we shall
meet in heaven, shall we not?--Oh yes, yes--then all will be
peace--peace--peace--"

She sank back on the bed, and spoke no more--fetched a deep
sigh--smiled--and died.

At this affecting moment, the rays of the morning sun darted into the
room, and filled my imagination with the significant emblem of "the
tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited
us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of
death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

It was a beam of light that seemed at once to describe the glorious
change which her soul had now already experienced; and, at the same time,
to shed the promised consolations of hope over the minds of those who
witnessed her departure.

This was an incident obviously arising from a natural cause; but one
which irresistibly connected itself with the spiritual circumstances of
the case.

For some time I remained silently gazing on the breathless corpse, and
could hardly persuade myself that Jane was indeed no longer there.

As I returned homeward, I found it difficult to repress the strong
feelings of affection which such a scene had excited.  Neither did I wish
it.  Religion, reason, and experience, rather bid us indulge, in due
place and season, those tender emotions, which keep the heart alive to
its most valuable sensibilities.  To check them serves but to harden the
mind, and close the avenues which lead to the sources of our best
principles of action.

Jesus himself _wept_ over the foreseen sorrows of Jerusalem.  He _wept_
also at the grave of his friend Lazarus.  Such an example consecrates the
tear of affection, while it teaches us, concerning them which are asleep,
not to sorrow, as those which have no hope.

I soon fell into meditation on the mysterious subject of the flight of a
soul from this world to that of departed spirits.

"Swifter than an arrow from the bow, or than the rays of light from the
sun, has this child's spirit hastened, in obedience to its summons from
God, to appear in his immediate presence.  How solemn a truth is this for
universal consideration!  But, 'washed in the blood of the Lamb that was
slain,' and happily made partaker of its purifying efficacy, she meets
her welcome at the throne of God.  She has nothing to fear from the
frowns of divine justice.  Sin, death, and hell, are all vanquished
through the power of Him who hath made her more than conqueror.  He will
himself present her to his Father, as one of the purchased lambs of his
flock--as one whom the Spirit of God 'has sealed unto the day of
redemption.'

"What a change for her!--from that poor tattered chamber to the regions
of paradise!--from a bed of straw to the bosom of Abraham!--from poverty,
sickness, and pain, to eternal riches, health, and joy!--from the
condition of a decayed, weary pilgrim in this valley of tears, to that of
a happy traveller safely arrived at home, in the rest that remaineth to
the people of God!

"I have lost a young disciple, endeared to me by a truly parental tie.
Yet how can I complain of that as lost which God has found?  Her willing
and welcome voice no longer seeks or imparts instruction here.  But it is
far better employed.  The angels, who rejoiced over her when her soul
first turned to God, who watched the progress of her short pilgrimage,
and who have now carried her triumphantly to the heavenly hills, have
already taught her to join

   'In holy song, their own immortal strains.'

Why then should I mourn?  The whole prospect, as it concerns her, is
filled with joy and immortality: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'"

As I looked upon the dewdrops which rested on the grass and hung from the
branches of the trees, I observed that the sun's rays first filled them
with beautiful and varied colours; then dried them up, and they were seen
no longer.

Thus it was with myself.  The tears which I neither would nor could
restrain, when I first began thus to reflect on the image of the dying
chamber of little Jane, were speedily brightened by the vivid sunshine of
hope and confidence.  They then gradually yielded to the influence of
that divine principle which shall finally wipe the tear from every eye,
and banish all sorrow and sighing for evermore.

On the fourth day from thence, Jane was buried.  I had never before
committed a parishioner to the ground with similar affections.  The
attendants were not many, but I was glad to perceive among them some of
the children who had been accustomed to receive my weekly private
instruction along with her.

I wished that the scene might usefully impress their young hearts, and
that God would bless it to their edification.

As I stood at the head of the grave, during the service, I connected past
events, which had occurred in the churchyard, with the present.  In this
spot Jane first learned the value of that gospel which saved her soul.
Not many yards from her own burial-place, was the epitaph which has
already been described as the first means of affecting her mind with
serious and solemn conviction.  It seemed to stand at _this_ moment as a
peculiar witness for those truths which its lines proclaimed to every
passing reader.  Such an association of objects produced a powerful
effect on my thoughts.

The evening was serene--nothing occurred to interrupt the quiet solemnity
of the occasion.

"Peace" was the last word little Jane uttered while living; and peace
seemed to be inscribed on the farewell scene of the grave where she was
laid.  A grateful remembrance of that peace revives in my own mind, as I
write these memorials of it; and oh, may that peace which passeth all
understanding be in its most perfect exercise, when I shall meet her
again at the last day!

Attachment to the spot where this young Christian lay, induced me to
plant a yew-tree close by the head of her grave, adjoining the eastern
wall of the church.  I designed it as an evergreen monument of one who
was dear to memory.  The young plant appeared healthy for a while, and
promised by its outward vigour long to retain its station.  But it
withered soon afterwards, and, like the child whose grave it pointed out
to notice, early faded away and died.

The yew-tree proved a frail and short-lived monument.  But a more lasting
one dwells in my own heart.  And perhaps this narrative may be permitted
to transmit her memory to other generations, when the hand and heart of
the writer shall be cold in the dust.

Perchance some, into whose hands these pages may fall, will be led to
cultivate their spiritual young plants with increased hopes of success,
in so arduous an endeavour.  May the tender blossoms reward their care,
and bring forth early and acceptable fruit!

Some, who have perhaps been accustomed to undervalue the character of
_very_ youthful religion, may hereby see that the Lord of grace and glory
is not limited in the exercise of his power by age or circumstance.  It
sometimes appears in the displays of God's love to sinners, as it does in
the manifestations of his works in the heavens, that the _least_ of the
planets moves in the nearest course to the sun; and there enjoys the most
powerful influence of his light, heat, and attraction.

The story of this Young Cottager involves a clear evidence of the
freeness of the operations of divine grace on the heart of man; of the
inseparable connection between true faith and holiness of disposition;
and of the simplicity of character which a real love of Christ transfuses
into the soul.

How many of the household of faith of every age,

   "Alike unknown to fortune and to fame,"

have journeyed and are now travelling to their "city of habitation,"
through the paths of modest obscurity and almost unheeded piety!  It is
one of the most interesting employments of the Christian minister to
search out these spiritual lilies of the valley, whose beauty and
fragrance are nearly concealed in their shady retreats.  To rear the
flower, to assist in unfolding its excellences, and bring forth its fruit
in due season, is a work that delightfully recompenses the toil of the
cultivator.

While he is occupied in this grateful task of labouring in his heavenly
Master's garden, some blight, some tempest, may chance to take away a
favourite young blossom in a premature stage of its growth.

If such a case should befall him, he will then, perhaps, as I have often
done, when standing in pensive recollection at little Jane's grave, make
an application of these lines, which are inscribed on a grave-stone
erected in the same churchyard, and say--

   "This lovely bud so young and fair,
      Called hence by early doom,
   Just came to show how sweet a flower
      In paradise would bloom."




THE COTTAGE CONVERSATION


As I journeyed late on a summer evening, meditating on the beauties of
the prospect around me, while they gradually faded from my sight, through
the approach of darkness, it grew suddenly quite gloomy, and a black
cloud hanging over my head threatened a heavy shower of rain.  The big
drops began to fall, and an open shed, adjoining to a labourer's cottage,
offering me a seasonable shelter, I dismounted from my horse, and found
it large enough to protect him as well as myself.

The circumstance reminded me of the happy privilege of the believing
sinner, who finds a "refuge from the storm, and the blast of the terrible
ones, in the love of his Redeemer," which prepares him "a covert from
storm and from rain."  I went in unperceived: the door of the cottage was
half open, and I heard the voices of a poor man, his wife, and some
children within.

I was hesitating whether to go into the house and make myself known, or
to enjoy in solitude a meditation on the foregoing comparison, which my
situation had brought to my mind, when these words, spoken in a calm and
affectionate tone, struck me with mingled pleasure and surprise, and
determined me not to interrupt the conversation:--

"Indeed, wife, you are in the wrong.  Riches would never make us happier,
so long as the Lord sees it good that we should be poor."

"Well," replied the wife, "I can see no harm in wishing for more money
and better living than we have at present.  Other people have risen in
the world; and why should not we?  There's neighbour Sharp has done well
for his family, and, for anything I can see, will be one of the richest
farmers in the parish, if he lives; and everybody knows he was once as
poor as we are: while you and I are labouring and toiling from morning to
night, and can but just get enough to fill our children's mouths, and
keep ourselves coarsely clothed, and hardly that."

"Wife," answered the man, "having food and raiment, let us therewith be
content.  And if it please God that even these things should fall short,
let us submit ourselves to God in patience and well-doing, for he gives
us more than we deserve."

"There, now you are got to preaching again," said the woman; "you never
give me an answer, but you must always go to your Bible to help you out."

"And where can I go so well?" replied the husband.  "Is it not God's own
word for our instruction?"

"Well, that may be, but I don't like so much of it," answered she.

"And I do not like so little of it as I see and hear from you," returned
the man.

"Why, that book has taught me that it is an honour and comfort to be a
poor man, and, by the blessing of the Spirit of God, I believe and feel
it to be true.  I have, through mercy, always been enabled to get the
bread of honest industry, and so have you; and though our children feed
upon brown bread, and we cannot afford to buy them fine clothes, like
some of our vain neighbours, to pamper their pride with; yet, bless the
Lord, they are as healthy and clean as any in the parish.  Why then
should you complain?  Godliness with contentment is great gain!"

"An honour and a comfort to be a poor man, indeed!  What nonsense you
talk!  What sort of honour and comfort can that be?  I am out of patience
with you, man," the wife sharply cried out.

"I can prove it!" replied he.

"How?" returned his partner, in no very pleasant tone of voice.

"My dear," said the good man, "hear me quietly, and I will tell you."

"I think it an honour, and I feel it a comfort, to be in that very
station of life which my Saviour Jesus Christ was in before me.  He did
not come into the world as one that was rich and great, but as a poor
man, who had not where to lay his head.  I feel a blessing in my poverty,
because Jesus, like me, was poor.  Had I been a rich man, perhaps I
should never have known nor loved him.  'For not many mighty, not many
noble, are called.'  God's people are chiefly found among the base things
of the world, and things which are despised.  This makes my poverty to be
my comfort.

"Besides, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and
heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?  This
thought makes my poverty also to be my honour.

"Moreover, to the poor the gospel was and is preached, and to my heart's
delight I find it to be true, every Sunday of my life.  And is it not
plain, all the neighbourhood through, that while so many of our rich
farmers, and tradesmen, and squires, are quite careless, or set their
faces against the ways of God, and are dead to everything that is
gracious and holy; a great number of the poorest people are converted and
live?  I honour the rich for their station, but I do not envy them for
their possessions.  I can not forget what Christ once said, 'How hardly
shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!'

"Oh! my dear wife, if you did but know how to set a right value upon the
precious promises which God has made to the poor, how thankful should I
be!

"The expectation of the poor shall not perish.  He delivereth the poor
and needy from him that spoileth him.  He has prepared of his goodness
for the poor.  The poor among men shall rejoice in the holy one.  For he
became poor, that we, through his poverty might be rich; not in gold, but
in grace.

"These promises comfort my soul, and would make me happy, even if I were
deprived of that which I now enjoy.  I can trust my Saviour for this
world as well as for the next.  He that spared not his own Son, but
delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give
us all things?

"The Lord of his mercy bless you, my dear Sarah, with the grace of a
contented mind!"

Here the gracious man stopped: and whether affected by her husband's
discourse, or by any other cause, I know not, but she made no reply.  He
then said, "Come, children, it is our time for rest; shut the door, and
let us go to prayer."

"Forgive me," said I, laying hold of the door, as the child was obeying
her father's orders, "if I ask leave to make one in your family
devotions, before I travel homeward.  I have heard you, my friend, when
you knew it not, and bless God for the sermon which you have this night
preached to my heart."

The honest labourer blushed for a moment at this unexpected intrusion and
declaration, but immediately said, "Sir, you are welcome to a poor man's
dwelling, if you come in the name of the Lord."

I just looked round at the wife, who seemed to be startled at my sudden
appearance, and the six fine children who sat near her, and then said,
"You were going to pray; I must beg of you, without regarding me, to go
on as if I were not here."

The man, whom I could not but love and reverence, with a simple,
unaffected, modest, and devout demeanour, did as I requested him.  His
prayer was full of tender affection and sincerity, expressed with great
Scriptural propriety, and was in all respects such as became the preacher
of those sentiments which I have overheard him deliver to his wife just
before.

When he had finished, each of his children, according to the good old
patriarchal custom of better days, kneeled down before him in turn to
receive a father's blessing.

It was now late, and the rain was over.  I gave the poor man my blessing,
and received his in return.  I wished them good night, and went onwards
to my own home, reflecting with much self-abasement of heart, what an
honour and comfort it is to be a poor man, rich in faith.




A VISIT TO THE INFIRMARY.


I went a few months since to visit a parishioner, then in the county
infirmary, within some miles of which I reside, and was informed that in
an adjoining ward there lay a very good old man, confined by a
mortification in his foot, who would take particular satisfaction in any
Christian conversation which my time would allow me to afford him.

The nurse conducted me into a room where I found him alone on a bed.  The
character of his countenance was venerable, cheerful, contented, and
pious.  His hoary hairs proclaimed him to be aged, although the
liveliness in his eye was equal to that of the most vigorous youth.

"How are you, my friend?" I said.

"Very well, sir, very well.  Never better in all my life.  Thank God for
all his mercies!" replied the man, with so cheerful a tone of voice as at
once surprised and delighted me.

"Very well!  How so?  I thought from what I heard you were in much pain
and weakness," said I.

"Yes, sir, that is true; but I am very well for all that.  For God is so
good to my soul, and he provides everything needful for my body.  The
people in the house are very kind; and friends come to see me, and talk
and pray with me.  Sir, I want nothing but more grace to praise the Lord
for all his goodness."

"Why, my friend, you are an old pilgrim, and I am glad to see that you
have learned thankfulness as you travel through the wilderness."

"Thankfulness!" quickly returned he.  "No, sir; I never did thank the
Lord, I never could thank him; no, nor I never shall thank him as I
ought, till I get to glory.  And then--oh, then--how I will thank him for
what he has done for me!"  Tears of affection filled his eyes as he
spoke.

"What a good Master you serve!" I added.

"Ay, sir, if the servant was but as good as the Master.  But here I am, a
poor old sinner, deserving nothing, and receiving everything which I
need.  Sir, I want nothing but more grace to serve him better.  I lie
here on this bed, and pray and sing by night and day.  Sir, you must let
me sing you my hymn; I always begin it about four o'clock in the morning,
and it keeps my spirits alive all the day through."

Without waiting for my reply, he raised himself up, and in an aged and
broken, but very affecting tone of voice, he sang two or three verses,
expressive of God's goodness to him, and his own desire to live to God's
glory.  The simplicity, serenity, and heartfelt consolation, with which
this venerable disciple went through it, gave a colouring to the whole,
and left an impression on my mind which it would be impossible to convey
to the reader.

As soon as he had finished his hymn, he said, "Do not be offended, sir,
at my boldness: you love the Lord, too, I hope; and then I am sure you
won't be angry to hear me praise him.  But now, sir, talk to me about
Jesus Christ.  You are his minister, and he has sent you here to-day to
see a poor unworthy soul, that does not deserve the least of his mercies.
Talk to me, sir, if you please about Jesus Christ."

"Neither you nor I are able to talk of him as we ought," I answered; "and
yet, if we were to hold our peace, the very stones would cry out."

"Ay, and well they might, sir, cry shame, shame upon us, if we refused to
speak of his goodness," said the old man.

"Jesus Christ," I continued, "is a sure refuge, and a present help in
time of trouble."

"That's right, sir; so he is."

"Jesus Christ has taken care of you, and watched over you all the days of
your life; and he will be your guide and portion in death."

"That's right again, sir; so he will."

"You have committed your soul into his keeping long since, have you not?"

"About forty years ago, sir; about forty years ago, (when I first used to
hear Mr. Venn and Mr. Berridge,) he came to seek and to save me, a vile
sinner, who deserved nothing but his wrath.  I can never praise him
enough."

"Well, my friend, and this very Saviour, Jesus Christ, whom you love, and
in whom you trust, lived for you, and died for you; he rose again for
you, and has sanctified you by his Holy Spirit, and now lives to make
daily intercession for you: and having done all this, do you think he
will leave you to perish at last?"

"No, sir," said the old man: "faithful is he that hath promised, and will
do it.  Mine, alack, is a changing heart; but he changeth not.  I believe
that he hath laid up a crown of glory for me; and though the old enemy of
souls sometimes tells me I shan't have it, I believe in Christ sooner
than in him, and I trust I shall have it at last."

"And do you not find by experience," I added, "that his yoke is easy, and
his burden light?  His commandments are not grievous, are they?"

"No, sir, no: it is a man's meat and drink, if he loves the Lord, to do
what he bids him."

"Where were you before you came into this infirmary?"

"In the parish workhouse of S---."

"Have you a wife?"

"She died some years since, and got to her heavenly home before me."

"Have you any children?"

"Yes, sir, I have two sons married, and settled in the world with
families.  One of them has been here to see me lately, and I hope he is
in a good way for his own soul, and brings up his children in the fear of
God."

"Have you any worldly cares upon your mind?"

"_Not one_, sir.  I am come to this house, I plainly see, to end my days;
for this mortification in my leg must, before it be very long, bring me
to the grave.  And I am quite willing, sir, to go, or to wait the Lord's
own time.  I want nothing, sir, but more grace to praise him."  Which
last words he often repeated in the course of the conversation.

"You have reason," I said, "to feel thankful that there is such a house
as this for poor and sick people to be brought to, for both food,
lodging, and medicine."

"That I have, indeed, sir; it is a house of mercies to me, and I am
ashamed to hear how unthankful many of the patients seem to be for the
benefits which the Lord provides for them here.  But, poor creatures,
they neither know nor love him.  The Lord have mercy upon them, and show
them the right way.  I should never have known that good way, sir, if he
had not taken compassion upon me, when I had none upon myself."

Tears ran down his aged cheeks as he spoke these last words.  "Here,"
thought I, "is a poor man that is very rich, and a weak man that is very
strong."  At this moment the nurse brought in his dinner.  "There, sir,
you see, more and more mercies!  The Lord takes care of me, and sends me
plenty of food for this poor, old worn-out body."

"And yet," said I, "that poor old worn-out body will one day be renewed
and become a glorified body, and live along with your soul in the
presence of God for ever."

"That's right, sir," said the good old man, "so it will: 'though after my
skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.'  But,
come, sir," seeing me look at my watch, "you must speak a word _to_ your
Master, if you please, as well as _for_ him.  I will put down my dinner
while you pray with me."

I did so, the man often adding his confirmation of what I offered up by
voice, gesture, and countenance, in a manner highly expressive of the
agreement of his heart with the language of the prayer.

Having ended, he said, "God be with you, sir, and bless your labours to
many poor souls!  I hope you will come to see me again, if my life be
spared.  I am so glad to see those who will talk to me about Jesus
Christ, and his precious salvation."

I replied, "May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who carried them
through the days of their pilgrimage, and brought them safe to a city
which hath foundations, bring you there too, and bless you all the
remaining days of your journey till you get home!  I am going to see
several serious friends this evening, who would be glad, I know, to
receive a message from one who has had so much experience of a Saviour's
mercies.  What shall I say to them?"

"Tell them, sir, with my Christian love and respects, that you have been
to see a poor dying old man, who wants nothing at all in this world but
more grace to praise the Lord with."

So ended our first interview.  I could not help reflecting, as I returned
homewards, that, as the object of my journey to the infirmary had been to
carry instruction and consolation myself to the poor and the sick; so the
poor and the sick were made instrumental to the conveying of both
instruction and consolation to my own heart in a very superior degree.

I saw him four or five times afterwards, and always found him in the same
happy, patient, thankful, and edifying state of mind and conversation.
The last time I was with him, he said, "Sir, I long to be at my heavenly
home, but I am willing to remain a traveller as long as my Lord and
Master sees good."

He died {203} not long after my last sight of him, in the steadfast
assurance of faith, and with a full hope of immortality.




Footnotes:


{87}  The mother died not long after her daughter; and I have good reason
to believe that God was merciful to her, and took her to himself.

An interesting account of a visit recently made to the Dairyman's cottage
appeared in the _Christian Guardian_ for October 1813.  A still more
recent visit to the good old Dairyman (who still lives, at the age of
eighty-two) has been made by the author of this narrative.  (_June_ 1814)

The good old Dairyman died in 1816.  His end was eminently Christian.

{97}  "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of
these is charity" (1 Cor. xiii. 13)

{98}  This circumstance took place before the late abolition of the slave
trade.

{103}  The day has since arrived, when the persevering efforts of Mr.
Wilberforce to accomplish this happy purpose have been fully answered.
_The slave trade is abolished_!  The Church of God rejoices at this
triumph of the cause of Christ over the powers of darkness.

{105}  In the course of conversation, he sometimes addressed me with the
word "Massa," for "Master," according to the well known habit of the
Negro slaves in the West Indies; and sometimes 'Sir,' as he was taught
since his arrival in England; but the former word seemed to be most
familiar to him.

{107}  A kind of shell-fish, which abound in the place where we were, and
which stick to the rocks with exceeding great force.

{121}  Song of Solomon i. 5.

{203}  The foregoing conversation took place on September 22, 1808, and
is faithfully related.

J--- S---, the good old man, died in the Infirmary, in December 1808.



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This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext19671, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext19671



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