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more watchful against all my spirilual enemies, and more prayerful ! O may. my conversation be more in Heaven ; but, blessed Jesus, without thee I can do nothing !
• Nov. 9. Have felt my mind very low to-day; but this evening I enjoyed such a sweetness and delightful composure of mind, as is, I trust, an answer to prayer. May it be a token for good!
July 29, 1804, Lord's Day evening. I have been hearing two sermons to-day: one from these words (Matt. xii. 43). Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father;'- the other from Rom. xiii, 11, · Now is your salvation 'nearer than when you believed.' But I fear I was not suitably impressed with the importance of the subjects s yet I trust that, in prayer, my heart was, in some measure, kept from tbose wanderings I have so often had occasion to lament. O that I might experience that my salvation is indeed nearer thao when I at first believed, by my views of eternal day being more clear and bright !?
Thus it appears how early, how deep, how permanent the impressions of religion were upon her inind; and how solicitbus she was of being continually influenced by a regard to the all-inspecting eye of God, especially when it is considered that this diurnal was unknown to her dearest relatives until a few weeks previous to her death. To the above strong evidences of genuine piety, may be added the following description of the state of her mind when she was received into church-communion :
November 6, 1803. • In reply to your request, my dear father, I now sit down to endeavour to recollect some of the gracious dealings of Divine Goodness towards me, - some of those methods, by which, I trust, my heart has been in a sinall degree at least, weaned from the poor, low, empty enjoyments of a vain world; and enabled to aspire after those richer, vobler, and more ex alted pleasures which the gospel sets before us!
"If God has graciously opened my blind eyes in any measure, and unstopped my deaf ears, it has been in a manner so gradual and gentle, that perhaps I cannot so exactly relate the particular times and circumstances of it, yet it will be an unspeakable mercy if, like the poor man in the gospel, I am enabled to say, Tható whereas I was once blind, I now see.'
• I trust it has pleased God to bless to me the great advantages I have bad in my religious education ; but when I consider the very little progress I have made in the divine life, and the opportunities of improvement I have enjoyed above many others, I am filled with shame and confusion; and and am ready to say, 'Why me, Lord ? - why me? Why hast thou be. stowed so many favours on one so undeserving, so ungrateful, and so unprofilable as I have been ?!
• For some time pasť my mind has, I trust, been impressed with a sense of the exceeding odiousness of sin, as being so displeasing to the everblessed God, who cannot look upon sin but with detestation. But, oh 1 bow often have I to lament that my sinful heart is so prone to the commige sion of it! I find so many corruptions within, so much coldness and indif. ference, that I sometimes fear that the good work has never been beguo in my soul; and that I bave not had that deep sorrow on the account of sin, which worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.
"I was inucb pleased, and I hope profited, with a sermon which you preached some time ago from these words, ( do not this abominable thing that I hale. I hope I can see sin to be an abominable thing in, deed: I know that the weight of only one sin would plunge me down into Hell! What must then be the accumulated weight of those innumerabla
transgressions, of which I have been guilty! The very idea of it fills me with horror :- but, behold the uusearchable riches of almighty love, which formed the wondrous plan of redemption from misery so great, 80 inevitable. I desire to adore the condescension of the dear Redeemer; who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be inade rich. What stupendous love and matchless grace, that he, who is the brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his Person, should take upon him our nature, - become bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh,' and suffer the cruel, the accursed death of the cross for us! I hope I can see him to be a Saviour every way suitable, just such an onė ös so vile a creature as I am stands in need of: and I would desire to embrace him in all his offices, as my Prophet to lead me in his blessed ways; as my Priest to atone for me, and plead my cause before the Father; and, as iny King, to rule over me. Blessed Jesus, do thou ever reign in my heart, take thou the absolute and entire domi. nion over it! • Drive ihe old dragon from his seat, with all his hellisk crew! May my obedience ever spring from a filial love, and not a slavish fear; and then I shall experience his yoke to be easy, and his burden light indeed!
I have felt a desire, for some time past, to come to the Lord's Table, if I were really one who had tasted that the Lord is gracious; as it is a command of the blessed Redeemer, who has said, “Do this in remembrance of me;' and I am persuaded that there is no service in which I can engage so pleasing and delightful, so profitable or so honourable. It having often bcen found to be a strengthening ordinance, is another motive ; for I ana sure I have great need of being strengthened. How kind and tender are his words, that the bruised reed he will not break, nor quench the smokiog fax;' and he has promised that they that wait on the Lord shall renew their sirengih, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run anıl not be weary, and they shall walk and not faipt:-- but yet I wouid desire to entertain a godly jealousy over myself, lest I shoula ever bring a reproach upon the name of Christ, and cause his blessed ways to be evil spoken of; lest, while I have a name amongst his people here, I should have no name in the book of life: God forbid that this should ever be my case! May I share an interest in your prayers, my dear father, that it may not, and that he who is alone able to keep me from falling, would preserve me safely to his heavenly kingdom, there to sia down with Abraliain, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the saints in the kingdom of God! : Your most affectionate daughter,
** MARY STEVENSON.”
is a strong additional confirmation of the undissembled piety
“What spectacle in nature is grander than when in a clear winter's evenjog we bebold the boundless ether, filled with an innumerable multitude of stars, probably suns; with planels revolving around them ! Oh, what nothings we appear in creation; we, the inhabitants of this litile insignificant ball of earth ! surely, we may cry out with the Psalmist, · Lord, wbat is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him ! What power, what wisdom, what goodness, shine through the whole plan of creation! Oh, who can look at the starry heavens without loving, praising, and adoring the great Builder and Founder of them!”
In one of her last letters, addressed to her parenis, Jan. 2, 1808, she says,
“ in taking a review of the past year, I find abundant matter for bumiliation, gratitude, and praise. It is true that, to me, a great part of it has been chequered by painful affliction; but even this, I doubt not, I have great reason to be thankful for: yes, I trust it has been a rich blessing in disguise ; affliction teaches more than a thousand lessons could do the vanity of seeking happiness in any thing below the skies. It is true, I thought I was sensible of this before ; but the world, with her ten thousand temptations, endeavoured to persuade me that she likewise had happiness in ber possession, and fain would have allured me to have at least divided my heart, though it were ever so small a share ; but the moment affliction enters, all the creatures silently, though powerfully, exclaim, · It is not in us.' Then Religion, with her all-soothing voice, directs us to him who is an ever-present help in time of need, aud shows us how foolish and how vain to wander only for a moment from that dear centre of bliss; and I trust I now see it to be as much for my pleasure as my interest to walk closely with God; for I am persuaded that the smallest depariure from him, is a departure from real happiness. How kind and how gracious was it in God to use so gentle, yet in his hands so powerfui a means of calling back my wandering heart, a heart which had long since been avowed bis, though not so devotedly bis as it ought to have been ! Instead of saying, • Let her alone,'— that most dreadful of all conditions, to be left of him, he calls to remembrance our firet love, the day of our espousals to him ! Yes, he is a jealous God, and he will have our whole heart, or none at all.”.
Part of the summer of 1305, she spent with her relatives at Trowbridge; from which place she made an excursion to visit her Bristol friends. This visit was made particularly useful to her best interests. . .
It having pleased the great Arbiter of all events to visit her with a pulmonary complaint, in the spring of 1806, her mind was frequently led to the contemplation of what might possibly be the issue. The flattering nature of the malady, a slight sough, a little hoarseness, and these very symptoms occasionally giving way to medicine, deceived both her parents and herself as to the real danger of her case; -- but, in the summer of 1807, these symptoms, renewed by some little cold she had caught, began to assume a very formidable aspect. All the aid of medicine was resorted to, which either the London or country practice could suppiy; the change of air, and journies to distant friends were tried; but all in vain. This flower, this lovely flower, which gave such pure delight to every beholder, gradually faded; for the worm was at its root!
The afflictions with which she was exercised were very: long; but the benefit which she derived from them, and the supports which she found under thein, she owned to be very great. So entirely was she resigned to the will of ner heavenly Father, that she told her sister, that during her illness she had not had one murmuring thought, but was enabled to rejoice in tribulation. Such was the extreme tenderness of her mind, that she feared that in the time of health she had been too much attached to the world; and was very apprehensive that, should she recover, her lieart would be entangled by the snares to which young people are exposed. Firmness of mind, and a readiness to deny her own inclination for the sake of others, were conspicuous traits in her character; at the same time, earnestly desiring to be told of her faults, and taking uncommon pains with herself to correct them.
Her attention to the Sunday-school had been indefatigable for several years, and continued to the last. With her dear mother and sister, she had greatly exerted herself in the in, struction of the children; in forming them into classes, and in endeavouring to inpress upon their minds the infinite importance of religion. When extremely ill, she would urge, her sister to attend; and though at other times unwilling to be deprived of her society, yet on the Sabbath-morning, she would say, 'You had better go; I am afraid you will neglect the school. Many of the children will long remember the affection and ardour with which she used to converse with them; frequently aking them questions which occurred to her in reading to them. This engaged their attention; and very warmly and affectionately were they attached to her. Indeed, there is reason to hope that she was the instrument of much good to them. One dear little girl, who was in her class, said, about three years ago, on her death-bed, That she should have reason to bless God to all eternity that she came to the Sunday-school-To be made the honoured in- . strument of usefulness to others was the highest ambition of her mind.
It only remains to give some account of the spirituality of her temper, and her resignation to the divine, will, during her last illness; from which it will be most apparent how much this dear sufferer had been matured by divine grace for that bright world of glory into which she was so soon to be admitted. A very small extract froin the pious expressions which dropped from her lips will be sufficient.
On the 8th of June, 1803, she asked her mother, Whether her recorery was probable?-to which her dear mother answered,
I hope you will, my dear; yet, to a person under her circumstances it was uncertain. The interesting invalid replied,
I am very happy, and quite 'resigned; but this is not of myself. I have ncver before spent a year so comfortably as the
- last, though it has been a year of great affliction. I have not a wish for any thing but the Lord's will; and all my confidence is upon the only foundation, — the Lord Jesus Christ. I go to him as a poor lost sinner, and he has promised to cast out none that come to him.” She asked her sister to read the 55th chapter of Isaiah; and, upon the conclusion, added, ? There's consolation! every word is worth its weight in gold !?
Lord's Day, July 3, when under great suffering from weakness and an incessant cough, she said to her mother, who was lamenting her situation, ' Don't distress yourself, mamma! you know that it is all right, mamma!' - and the next day, her sister observing her in tears, she said,' they are tears of joy.' , Her mother, then coming into the room, was also desirous of knowing what distressed her: 'Nothing of an unpleasant nature, mamma, occasions this emotion. I find such a sweet evidence that I am the Lord's; and am surprized that he should manifest himself in such a gracious manner to one so unworthy. O, what a support the blessed gospel is!
July 11, she said to her sister, “I do feel so happy that my mind is resigned to the will of God, that I have hardly any preference." "I suppose, if you have any, it is for life?! She answered, “ Sometimes I wish for death; but sometimes I should like to continue in life; not that I think I should be more happy;" Her sister rejoined,' Is it that you may be more useful?' “ Yes,” she returned,” it was. I think it na .. tural for a young person, if it be the will of God, to wish to live, in order to live to his glory. It is a selfish wish to desire death merely to be happy, while there is any thing for me to do in life. If the Lord will condescend to make use of such a weak instrument, I am perfectly satisfied in being in the hands of God; and, if I return to health, I hope that I shall still feel perfectly resigned to his will."
One evening, sitting in the hall with her mother and sister, she broke out mto the most sweet and triumphant language. The whole of her expressions cannot be recollected. The following are some of them :-' The Lord will not leave me; no, he has said he will not; mamma! How sweet are the promises !:: I am happy, O very happy, very happy, indeed! Had I foreseen this affiction, I should never have thought that I should have been so 'supported. It is, to be sure, an åwful thing to go into eternity, an unknown eternity; but, 0, Jesus is there! he is gone before; I shall not be alone.' Her mother then repeated that verse,
There, on a green and flow'ry, mount,
Our weary souls shall sit;