« VorigeDoorgaan »
little from the old subject of her complaints, she appeared not merely composed and resigned, but rejoicing in tribulation. On her return to Edinburgh, her first employment was to supply the vacancy which had occurred in her chapel. She called together for this purpose, those friends who most interested themselves in her concerns. After prayer for divine direc
tion, she advised with them what was best to be done. Their unanimous opinion was, that Mr Joseph Hodgson, minister of Carmunnock, ought to be invited to accept of the office of pastor. They sent, therefore, a deputation to converse with him. He received them kindly; but requested time to make up his mind with regard to their proposal. Her mode of expressing her views on these events, will be seen by the subsequent extract from her Diary.
Edinburgh, Saturday, June 27.-Since I came to town, I have experienced much of the loving-kindness of the Lord, in comforting and supporting me, and carrying me above the present affliction, to seek for comfort in himself. My heart is depressed, yet my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; and he, as it were, says, Am I not better to you than ten pastors? Yes, Lord, thou art my portion; my chief good; my only desire. O that I may never, never seek any other good but thee!
"Take thou my heart, and let it be
For ever closed to all but thee."
Truly my soul has experienced something of the peace that passeth understanding, even when outward things appear most gloomy. I feel a secret power enabling me to rest in the will of God, and believe, that all is
working together for my good, the good of his church, and the glory of his name. O for ever blessed be the Lord my God, now and evermore!
Sunday, June 28.-Yesterday was a day of mercy from the Lord; begun in distress of body, but afterwards strengthened, and carried on in much peace and comfort of mind, particularly in the evening, when I had a meeting of some Christian friends for prayer, to seek the mind of the Lord concerning the steps which ought to be taken for obtaining another pastor. After prayer, and singing the 147th Psalm, I asked them what occurred to them as the most scriptural and proper method of proceeding. I mentioned some ministers, particularly Mr Hodgson, as one I supposed would be agreeable to the congregation: they all were of opinion that he would be the most acceptable of any that could be procured. It was then agreed that two of the number should go to him, and lay our plan before him; this, after another meeting for prayer with a view to him in particular, was done. There was a spirit of love and unanimity appeared so remarkable in our conversation, that surely the Lord himself was with us. We concluded with a very lively and fervent prayer by Mr Scott Moncrieff, and then sung part of the 102d Psalm, and parted. My heart was lifted up in thankfulness to the Lord for giving me such helpers in his work; their hearts appeared to be full of love to the Lord, and their eye single to his glory. This morning I have had some comfort and pleasure in hearing Mr Bonar lecture on the ascension, and preach from Psalm lxxii. 20. "The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended." I have since been able to pour out my heart in prayer, and to commit the providing a minister to the chapel wholly to the Lord, with a
degree of confidence in his answering my request; also for myself, that he will perfect that which concerneth me, and grant me eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As nothing more could be done in this business till Mr Hodgson's determination was known, Lady Glenorchy went, as usual at this season of the year, to Taymouth. Nothing remarkable occurred during her residence in the Highlands. The chapel was supplied by the assistant, while she and the people were waiting Mr Hodgson's decision.
In August she experienced another unexpected stroke, in the death of the master of her school in Edinburgh; a man of high respectability, and greatly beloved. Her mind at this time was much more comfortable than usual. The following reflections on her past experience and conduct, and on the events of the preceding year, are uncommonly interesting.—
Taymouth, Monday, July 13.—I came to this place last Saturday. I was rather in a dead frame on the road, and since I came here: but I feel strong desires after the Lord; my mind goes out towards him; I want to be wholly dead to the world, and alive to him. The Lord, I trust, will keep me from the snares which surround me, else I know I shall fall. I hope the Lord, who is my strength, will manifest his power in preserving me from this present evil world. O grant this, blessed Jesus, for thine own holy name's sake!
Friday, July 17.-This morning I set apart some time for seeking the Lord by self-examination, meditation, and prayer. I have been convinced of much
practical atheism in my heart, particularly want of right apprehensions of the majesty of God, want of reverence in my approaches to him, and want of intercourse with him in my thoughts; so that my heart prefers every trifle to thinking on him, who is the source of all perfection. Perpetual wanderings of heart and affection show the natural tendency and bent of my depraved nature. I have got a clearer view than ever of the necessity of divine power being exerted to reconcile my heart to God, and cause my thoughts to flow in a right channel; and that he that begins this work must also carry it on and finish it. I have seen much self-seeking mixed with all my past plans for promoting the cause of religion. I have often limited the Lord to work in the particular way that I marked out. I trust in some measure he has now enabled me to say, Not my will, but thine be done. I have discovered a great proneness in my heart to lean more on the instruments employed in his work, than on the hand which holds the instrument; and thus have often been left to feel the bitterness and evil of trusting to the creature, and departing in heart from the living God. I have again been convinced of my sinful negligence and slothfulness in not seeking the Lord more constantly by prayer and meditation; in letting my heart grow estranged from him, thus grieving the Spirit, and causing him to depart and leave me to my own desires; not improving spiritual blessings when received as earnests of still greater things, and thus following on to know more and more of the Lord. I am persuaded that all true happiness consists in the knowledge of him. If we know him, we must love him; if we love, we shall obey him; if we love and obey him, he will come unto us, and manifest himself unto us as he doth not unto the world: nay, the
Father and the Son will come and make their abode with us, and in that day we shall know that Christ is in the Father, and we in him, and he in us. O the inconceivable, unfathomable love of God, to admit such vile polluted worms as we are to this close and intimate union with himself! But can this union subsist when the love of sin remains in the creature? Surely not. It is the new nature, the new born soul, that consents to the law of God as holy, just, and good; that abhors evil, and groans under it, and a vile body of sin and death, which is thus made a partaker of a divine nature. This new nature comes from God, is imparted by him, and therefore must be united to him, and will continue to be so to all eternity.
I this day desire, in the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ, to renounce all selfish views and aims in his work; to seek no great things for myself; but that his glory may be promoted upon earth, his kingdom come, his will be done; and that this may be my only end in every action of my life. I would earnestly implore the aid of the Holy Spirit to mortify and crucify this self in me, that Christ may be established on the throne of my heart, and reign the only sovereign there. I earnestly beg the grace of perseverance in known duty, whatever trouble it may cost. I beseech thee, O Lord, to make me willing rather to suffer any thing than sin against thee. O for a more quick sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, for a tender conscience, a more constant breathing and panting after holiness in heart and life. O for power to resist temptation, and to flee from the beginnings and appearances of evil. O to see enmity against a God of love written upon the smallest deviation from the path of duty! My soul longs for more clear impressions of thy image, O God, to be stamped upon it; and that it may begin here