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"Our best is all defiled with sin;
Our all is nothing worth."
If we feel and deplore this, he is very pitiful and long-suffering; but if we deal in a light, trifling manner with him and holy things, he will remind us that he is a great King and a great God. Our God is a consuming fire.
Well, to go on with my tale. The Lord graciously touched my heart in family worship, and I could beg him to enable me to approach him as my Father in heaven, and could pray for his forgiveness of my sins and the renewing of his Spirit. I retired again to my private apartment when this work of family worship was ended. I hoped that the communion begun in that worship might be continued. At first, this was far from being the case. My previous feelings of stupidity and death came back upon me. I felt sick, both as to body and soul. I was tempted for a moment to give way to the most desponding feelings, and to say, There is no hope for such a case as mine. But just as I was yielding to these desperate conclusions, the Lord came in with these words, checking despair, and raising up my soul to some lively hope:
"Lord, thou canst tell; the work is thine;
The help of man is vain;
On Jacob now arise and shine,
And he shall live again."
These words answered exactly to what Ezekiel replies to the Lord's question in chapter xxxvii.: "Can these bones live?""O Lord God, thou knowest." Faith in the Almightiness of God, in the divine ability to do anything the Lord pleases to do, is a blessed thing. I felt that it was only for the Lord to speak, the Lord to smile, and my poor desert heart should blossom as the rose, my soul should live and praise God again. O! as the poet says:
"The mercy which heals us again
Is mercy transportingly sweet."
After this, I trust, my soul had for a season a good time. O to have the heavens opened, and the heart in prayer and praise ascending unto God! How in a few moments the soul unburdens itself of its woes and wants unto God! O the sweetness of a closet religion; to enter into the closet, and shut the doors about us, and pray to our Father who sees in secret, and rewards us openly! I felt in some degree a wrestling Jacob and prevailing Israel. How my heart could vent itself into the bosom of God, and entreat that I might not dishonour in any way such a cause as his; such a Name as that of Jesus, to which the heavens bow down in wonder and admiration. How I besought the Majesty of heaven that I might be to the glorifying of his dear Son Jesus! How admirable it seemed to be enabled instrumentally to glorify Jesus! How sweet the promise: "He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high!" But what shall I say? O! how at the best the heart faints away beneath a sense of our utter insufficiency. Christ's name is above all praise.
"Fair earth, fair heavens," says one; "but most fair Lord Jesus."
"The chief amongst ten thousand fairs,
A Sun amongst ten thousand stars."
But I must desist, or I shall weary you with my scribblings. Only you know well how sweet it is after a time of darkness, death, and desertion to get Jesus into the arms of faith again. Then the heart expands to his love. Then we cry out:
"Fill all my soul,
And all my power by thine control."
Then all things sink into comparative indifference. Then heaven is in view. Then Christ is All in all; and then we can fully agree with the poet's words:
"Thy presence is the heart of heaven."
Yours in the love of Jesus,
My dear Friend in the Lord,—I cannot refrain from writing to you. I awoke this morning with such a sweet frame of mind, contemplating upon what I had heard at chapel on the previous day, that had you and Mr. Littleton called, I could have said, "Come in, thou blessed of the Lord. What am I, or my father's house, that the servants of the Lord should show me this honour?" It has been my desire for years that I might receive the Lord's servants at my house; and he has granted my request.
The words yesterday were sweet to me: "Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee." Truly he hath led me a way I knew not, that he might make me know man doth not live by bread alone, but on the fulfilment of the promise,-every word that hath proceeded out of the mouth. of the Lord. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits! What scenes of continually-recurring troubles, one after another, like wave upon wave, have passed over me! First, the entire loss of our property of two thousand pounds, by liti gation, leaving us almost penniless. Then my daughter's illness and death, followed by my dear husband's rapid decline and decease, leaving me with four little ones dependent on me, without means. I had a verse given me twelve months ago, which was very sweet, and gave me a good hope that the Lord would supply all my needs. This was the word: "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine." O, my dear friend, I have proved him firm in his promise, for he has supplied all my needs, bless his holy Name; and I do believe I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;" and I do pray the Lord to purify my heart, and that I may be humble, and trust his holy Name for all things, and not trust in an arm of flesh; for I know what a poor weak creature I am. I can sympathize with the writer of the sweet hymn:
"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love."
I can join in with that; for I do love my God, and am greatly grieved when I do anything to displease him.
In the midst of my sorrows, how trouble has been sanctified! What nearness to God has been given! And how sweetly have passed over my wounded spirit the words: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." During this time of affliction the Lord laid with greater weight the ordinance of believers' baptism upon my mind. Night and day my soul was exercised and drawn out in prayer that he would make a way for me to join the dear people of God, and break bread with them. I thought it cruel that our dear minister did not call; almost imagining that he must have known my exercises. Mr. T. being led to come before the church, made the way open. The number of persons present had no influence on me. I felt raised above friend and foe; my mind being stayed on God. The words: "Be still, and know that I am God," rested on my spirit; and prompted by love to the Lamb who suffered for one so vile, I courageously confessed him before men. The forms of anguish from trial, loss, and bereavement, were by grace sweetly exhausted. The cup drained to the dregs; pride and the fear of man suspended; and that memorable sermon by Mr. H. again brought to my mind: "The cup passing in the drinking of it." At the Lord's table a holy serenity pervaded me, and it appeared to me as if our dear Lord and Master sat at the table with us as his disciples.
What a mercy the Lord gives me a hearing ear and a heart to receive under the word! As I know our dear pastor loves to hear of his people growing in grace, I thought this letter might comfort him in his labour of love; and as a wife honours her husband, and labours with him in her soul, I think it will also comfort you. Hoping you are better, and the family well. The Lord be with you, bless you, and do you good.
Yours sincerely in the Lord, Palesgate, Rotherfield, Dec. 22, 1880.
E. A. BOARER.
Dear Brother and Sister,-Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied unto you, through Jesus Christ.
It is a great mercy, my dearly beloved, and may both you and I greatly esteem it to be so, that ever the sovereign Disposer of all events should condescend to cause our hearts to seek his face, to fear his name, to hope in his mercy, and in a small degree to know and love his truth. These great and good things are not given to many in this awful day in which we live; and it is no small mercy for us that it is revealed that God of his own rich, free, sovereign grace makes choice of the poor, the weak, the base, and the despised of this world, to bring them to a knowledge of himself here, and eternal blessedness hereafter. By so doing he secures all the glory to himself, to whom alone it is due. Not
unto us, not unto us, but unto thy Name, O God, be all the praise.
This I hope will ever be the language of our souls, as we know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes,-revealed by the powerful and sacred teachings of the Holy Ghost. Thus you read in the Scriptures of truth, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord;" and we believe there is none teacheth like him. We hope it is the life-giving influences of the Holy Spirit, and his teaching, which have made us sensible of sin and its dreadful consequences, and that make known to our hearts our dead, lost, vile, polluted, loathsome, helpless, self-destroyed, and perishing condition by nature. This teaching makes us feel our need of the good Physician, Jesus Christ, and the invaluable worth of his most precious blood, to cleanse us from all our sensible contracted sin, filth, and pollution; of his all-atoning sacrifice to expiate our guilt; and of his spotless everlasting righteousness to justify our souls in the sight of God. This makes us also seek unto him for an application of these things to our own souls. 0 how sweet are these words of the Saviour of lost sinners to our souls, at times, as well as others of similar import: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." This evidently implies that he takes particular notice of the inward desires and breathings of the soul after him and his great salvation; and that such persons shall, in his own good time, be blessed with a satisfactory knowledge and enjoyment of interest in it. Thus we see what a good thing it is to be brought to seek the Lord, and to wait for him, from a feeling sense of our need of him. The Lord himself says that it is good for a man that he patiently wait and quietly hope for his salvation. And, moreover, for our consolation he has said, "Blessed are all those that wait for me." There is no such counsel and consolation as this from the prince of darkness. No! But the very reverse of all this, to the great disquietude of our souls. It is written again that all Israel shall know every man the plague of his own heart; and one part of the plague of my heart which I experience at this time is its exceeding hardness and stupid insensibility, while such afflictive dispensations and terrible judgments of the Almighty are abroad in the earth. I pray the good Lord in his abundant mercy to bless me with such a frame of mind as I find described in the 9th chapter of Ezekiel and the 9th chapter of Daniel. If you will read those chapters, you will better understand what I mean; for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who in the midst of wrath remembers mercy, and has in this our day of darkness, blasphemy, and apostacy, reserved unto himself a few, though but a few, to stand between the living and the dead, to shield off the impending wrath from this our guilty land. It is true the Lord is slow to anger, and this is now verified indeed,
or we all had ere now been utterly consumed. that which is determined shall be done; and the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth; for we have sinned against him. Therefore, we may rest assured that the Lord God of hosts will visit the iniquity of this our land; and because he will do so his counsel is, Prepare to meet thy God," as he said to Israel. May the good Lord in his tender mercy enable us so to do. And unto God only wise be all glory, praise, and power ascribed, both now and for evermore. Amen.
May the Lord God of Israel bless you and keep you, and lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you peace. This is the desire and prayer of him who is not worthy to be remembered with the least of saints, but am
Your affectionate brother,
Loughborough, Feb. 22nd, 1831.
A WORD FOR THE PRAYER-MEETING.
"Follow peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."2 TIM. II. 22.
THE old Adam nature of a regenerated child of God is a great hindrance to him in the ways of God. In his favoured moments, he longs to be free from it for ever. This old man is corrupt, and a lover of pleasures more than a lover of God. Hence the exhortation: "Flee youthful lusts." By the renewings of grace the believer is enabled to do this; but it is only as he walks in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is standing in the revealed will of God as an obedient son. This walk he finds to be life and peace, and in it he, more or less, enjoys the consolations which are in Christ, the comforts of electing love, the fellowship of the Spirit, and the bowels and mercies of a Triune Covenant God.
What a sacred pleasure it is to him, under this blessed frame, to meet with and join in the prayers of a few like-minded, taught and led by the same blessed Spirit! With dear Shirley he can then say,
"I love to meet among them now,
For such is the paradoxical nature of the actings of divine grace in the soul of a "vessel of mercy," that when his heart is purified, being purged by the application of the precious blood of Christ, and therefore a pure heart, he feels as before a holy God, and is in his own esteem
or, as Erskine puts it:
"Vilest of them all;"
"Thou'st got to see thy filthy self,
Thy Husband's purest light."
Is not this the character Jesus refers to in the words: "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God"? (Matt. v. 8.) Do they not see him here by faith when he gives them access into