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“It appeared to me, the present would prove a sealing time; and that if I did not now obtain mercy, there would be little or no hope in my case. The daily studies of school were a burthen to my mind, yet I did not consider it duty to relinquish them ; they were therefore in no case neglected, though I gladly embraced every leisure opportunity to reflect on that important subject, which so deeply affected my mind, to attend the means of grace, and receive private instruction. Several in the school were awakened. I considered their situation far more hopeful than my own; some of them soon rejoiced in hope-yet no gleam of light appeared for me. My heart seemed a fountain of wickedness, and melted with heaviness. I was ready to acknowledge every charge brought against me in the Scriptures—for I felt its truth; I felt mine to be a peculiar case, and that I was much beneath the notice of all, but especially Christians. The promises seemed for others, but not to reach me. On the 18th November, I heard the Rev. Mr. S., of Hollis, and was much impressed with his discourses; and his remarks at the evening meeting were still more affecting to me; and when he proposed that those who wished for special prayer should rise, I could
not forbear to avail myself of the privilege, though the adversary would have inclined my heart to do otherwise.
“The next day an inquiry meeting was appointed, which I, with thirteen others, attended. The Rev. Mr. Hall questioned each one separately, and as I in course related my past and present feelings, I could not refrain from weeping. I felt heartbroken and almost despairing. His cxhortation to me was, “What thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' I felt its application to be peculiarly fit and weighty. This was a day never to be forgotten. In the evening there was another meeting, principally of members of the academy. Still I obtaining no relief. After returning, I requested Mrs. S. to retire with me to my room; but her engagements would not permit. I felt my heart breaking with grief. I attempted to cast myself on the Saviour, but could not find access to the throne of mercy. I afterwards felt less acute distress; but the term of school closed, and I left the place (though with deep regret) without obtaining solid relief.
“Shortly after my return, however, I began to view things in a different light. I began to feel there might be hope, even for me. The promise, Him that cometh to
me, I will in no wise cast out,' I found included all; and the passage, “He is faithful that promised,' increased my confidence. I clearly saw that my heart was exceedingly polluted; but those Scriptures, · Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world,' and · The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin,' appeared to meet my case, and they were to me sweetly refreshing. The character of the Saviour appeared lovely, and no longer as “a root out of dry ground: yet my apprehensions of divine things were quite obscure. I often thought of the blind man, who, after once washing his eyes, could discern "men as trees walking. I remained thus, sometimes hoping, sometimes not daring to hope, through the winter. In May, I went again to reside at New Ipswich. The revival had subsided in a measure, though its spirit was still manifest. I again enjoyed many religious privileges, but my heart was still filled with anxious doubts.
“In August, I again returned to my native place. Not long afterwards I heard a discourse by our pastor, from the words, · We know in part,' which greatly relieved my mind. He showed that, as there are mysteries in the natural world, which he particularly noticed, so we must expect to find
them in the spiritual; and that creatures, of so limited capacities and darkened understandings, have no right to inquire into the secrets of the Lord, nor strive to be 'wise above what is written. I saw my error, and my mind was liberated. A tranquil serenity now took possession of my breast, such as had long been a stranger there. The plan of salvation opened to my view in a lovely, engaging light, and I felt that there was safety in committing myself wholly to sovereign mercy; if left to perish, no injustice would be done; yet I fully believes that none who did trust in the Saviour unreservedly, would be cast off. Satan had been foiled, and for a time, seemed to leave the field of contest. About this period, I heard two sermons from the Rev. Dr. C- , of Ashburnham, which were very appropriate to my case. In the morning, from the text, “Who is on the Lord's side ?? and in the afternoon, from “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse. I had long regarded it as a privilege, of which I was utterly unworthy, to be admitted to the Lord's table. I now saw, that unworthy as I was, it was a duty I ought not to neglect. After serious deliberation, therefore, I gave my name to be proposed to the church for admission, and on the 8th of December, 1822, entered into solemn covenant engagements to be the Lord's. It was a day of solemnity and joy to my soul, and one which, I felt, called for the most lively gratitude, not only for the mercy I experienced myself, but that others received the same with me-a dear brother and niece being received to church fellowship at the same time. For a considerable time I was scarcely troubled with a scrious doubt. I had no ecstacies of joy, but a peace and tranquillity such as I had never before experienced.”
After leaving the literary institution, Miss Wood expresses in her journal the most lively concern for the friends with whom she had there become acquainted.
6 Sept. 7th, 1822.--I have now taken my leave of those companions with whom I have spent so many pleasant hours in literary pursuits, and returned to my native place. To many of them I have probably bid the last adieu, no more to meet them on the shores of time. It is a solemn and affecting consideration. It is painful to the heart possessed of any degree of sensibili ty, to separate from those whom we love; to sever the tender ties of friendship.