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"I AM come," my friends, said the faithful pastor of a remote village, as he entered the room of a farmhouse,"to wish you a happy new year."
On one side of a bright fire sat an old man, whose white curling hair nearly reached his shoulders: on the other, a middle aged woman, in widow's mourning, holding, in her's, the fat hand of a rosy little boy, about five years old, who had just been repeating a hymn to his mother, had received her fond kiss, and taken his usual place on a small stool at her feet. The party, one and all, were rising to receive their kind visitor, but the clergyman, whom we will call Mr. S-, prevented them, by drawing a chair between them, saying, "May the Giver of all good grant you all a happy new year!"
"A happy new year to us, sir," said the old man, sighing deeply! "Ah! happy years are by-gone years with us. Another happy year can never be my loton earth," added he, after a short pause.
"On earth, perhaps not," resumed Mr. S-, “but countless years of greater happiness than earth can give, may be yours in heaven, James,-if your patience-your prayers-your faith fail not."
"Alas! sir, I am fast sinking into my grave; so that, with me, I trust, all sorrowing will soon be over;-but, look at my poor child, my children, I should say; for her only one is as mine, what are my griefs to hers?-What has she not lost? and when I am gone, what, except that sweet boy, has she left ?"
"She has lost," said Mr. S-, " an excellent and tender husband, whose loss she, and you, and I, very deeply lament. She has lost her two daughters; both industrious, modest, obedient young women; and she has lost," said the kindly feeling pastor, "her fine, hopeful son, who, by his affectionate and dutiful disposition, seemed, to our short sight, the most likely to supply to her the loss of his worthy father. All this she has lost by the fever, which, at one time we feared, would carry you all off. And then-what has she left, James ?”"She has God the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, who in His perfect wisdom, decreed this great calamity, Him, who has created all, and has an undoubted right to take the life He gave. She has God the Son, who died, that she may live throughout a happy and blessed eternity. She has God the Holy Ghost, who will sanctify to her all her afflictions; will purify her heart from sin; and will, by His holy influence, direct, and guide, and comfort her, through the years which may yet be appointed to her."
"And I know, my good Hannah," continued Mr. S—, turning to the weeping widow, "that, in the depth of your sorrow, you have peace, and even joy, in believing this;have you not?"
"Oh! yes, indeed," answered she, "I do firmly believe these blessed truths, and I humbly pray, that God will help my unbelief, and make me, through the righteous
THE NEW YEAR'S WISH.
ness of my Saviour, more worthy of all this goodness to
"And you, my poor old friend," said Mr. S-, to James,-"you surely believe this. Have you not read in this precious book," laying his hand upon a large family Bible, which was lying on a table near him," who it is that says, 'Leave thy fatherless children to me, I will preserve them and let thy widows trust in me.' Hath He said, and shall He not do it?'"
"Oh, yes," said the old man, raising his clasped hands, while the tears flowed fast down his wrinkled cheeks,"Oh! yes, I know He is faithful that hath promised, and I am but as sinful dust and ashes. I sometimes tremble to think, that, as I am drawing nearer to my grave, my faith in the Lord is growing weaker and weaker."
"Dear father," said Hannah, “ say not so have you not this very day been talking to me, of the comfort and peace in believing?-have you not often told our little Charles, of the unfailing goodness of God, to all who trust in, and desire to obey him?-My father, sir,” said she, turning to Mr. S-, "will tire himself to look after my affairs during the day; and, when he sits down at night, he mistakes the fatigue of his body for the weakness of his mind. I had just been trying to comfort him, in my poor way, when you came in, sir, and was reminding him of the merciful excuse made by our Lord, for his sleeping disciples, when He said, 'The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'
"Ah! sir," said James, "this dear child of mine often puts me to the blush, by her submission to the will of God. This very morning, when I gave her my new year's blessing, and wished this year might be happier to her, than the last sad one; she smiled, and said, As the Lord shall please, dear father, 'He gave, and He hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' And yet it was plain to me, by the tears which filled her eyes, that she was thinking of her happiness last new year's day, when all around her was health and joy.”
"She is indeed blessed in possessing such entire resignation, and whether greater prosperity, or increasing
sorrows be her portion in this world, be sure that this faith, and these fruits of her faith, will bring to her widowed heart far greater comfort than earthly pleasures, or even the dearest earthly friends can give. Do you remember," continued this Christian minister, turning over the leaves of the Bible," the promises of God given by His Prophet Isaiah, in the first and second verses of the forty-third chapter: But now thus saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob! and He that formed thee, O Israel! fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord, thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.' And again, in the fifty-fourth chapter, the fifth, and following verses: For thy Maker is thine husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth, shall He be called. For the Lord hath called thee, as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,'—' when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but, with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer.''For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee.' (And turning to James, Mr. S-, continued to read the thirteenth and fourteenth verses.) And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.' Are not these great and precious promises, my friends, and shall we not continue submissively to bear afflictions, when thus assured that the Lord Jehovah is our ever-present,―our Almighty help and consolation? Search these Scriptures, dwell on, and pray over the truths they contain,
1839.] DANGER OF PUTTING OFF REPENTANCE.
till you can experimentally say, 'My heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.' Then this, and every new year that may be given you, will be a happy one. And, May the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be among you, and remain with you always!" The old man and his children joined heartily in the devout Amen! E. M.
LINES ON THE BIBLE.
WRITTEN IN THE COVER OF "CLARKE'S PROMISES."
DANGER OF PUTTING OFF THE TIME OF REPENTANCE.
GRIEVOUS, indeed, and full of danger, is the state of that man who says ❝he intends to repent," but that he must put off the work for a little while longer. For, though we may believe that God, in his mercy, will at any time hear the prayer of the real penitent, who, in true faith, and sorrow for his sins, turns unto Him, abhorring himself for his past iniquities, and devoutly seeking for holiness, and newness of heart, and life; yet what man can depend upon ever being brought to such a state of mind, -that really penitent state to which the promises of pardon are given? Such a state of heart is, itself, the work of the Spirit; it is the gift of God. Our merciful Father hath, indeed, promised to give His Holy Spirit to those who seek Him; but He has not promised to give it to those who carelessly reject His offers, and despise His mercies, and who continue-and deliberately resolve to continue-in a course of life which they know that He has forbidden. When such men, in the time of sickness, or at the approach of death, or under the pressure of any affliction, are compelled to see their real state, and to feel